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Author Topic: If we can play god? Should we?  (Read 2783 times)

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Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #50 on: June 20, 2013, 05:00:03 PM »
Ephiral people see things diffrently.
There is no right or wrong answer.

People believe in god for a reason others in science because they believe it backs up everything or because they have no wishes or need to believe in god.
There is no right or wrong answer.

I believe in god, so do many others.
Many believe in science to be behind everything, so do others.
There's never been and never will be a right or wrong way of belief, faith is a choice like believeing science is behind everything.

That is my point.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #51 on: June 20, 2013, 05:10:28 PM »
Ephiral people see things diffrently.
There is no right or wrong answer.

Wrong. "Snow is white" is true iff snow is white. "Faith explains things" is true iff faith provides an explanation.

People believe in god for a reason others in science because they believe it backs up everything or because they have no wishes or need to believe in god.
There is no right or wrong answer.
I don't "believe in" science. I don't need to. The same goes for others who familiarize themselves with it. We accept that it is a useful tool, because it can explain and predict the evidence found in the world around us. If the question is "which is a better tool for understanding the universe?", then yes, there absolutely is a right answer.

I believe in god, so do many others.
Many believe in science to be behind everything, so do others.
And? Popularity does not determine truth. I say again: "Snow is white" is true iff snow is white.

There's never been and never will be a right or wrong way of belief, faith is a choice like believeing science is behind everything.
Yes, there very much is a right way to believe, if by "right" you mean "correct": Believe that which is true, and reject that which is false. This is an extremely difficult project, and one you are unlikely to be completely successful in - but by completely disregarding evidence as a metric, you are unlikely to be successful at all.

EDIT: Toned down a bit.
DOUBLE EDIT: For the record, no, faith is not always a choice. There was a period in which I actively and sincerely sought out evangelical types and asked them to please convert me. I remain an atheist, because I was and am simply incapable of accepting a premise as true without evidence or question. It's just not something my brain does.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 05:22:34 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Qt

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #52 on: June 20, 2013, 05:27:20 PM »
Belief in god has no relation to "belief"  in science... Why do people try to equate them and somehow try to make them a level ground.. It's not.

Science is about discovery... It's a process.. People constantly try to prove each other wrong so we can have the right answer.

Religion simply shoves you and answer and make your accept it.

There's also no concensus on the definition of God... So in a way we can't even begin to argue about its existence until we can agree on what it means of implies.

Offline Mathim

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #53 on: June 20, 2013, 05:29:55 PM »
Faith provides an explanation? A lucky guess, occasionally, perhaps, but...anyway, this seems a little off-topic what with the whole faith vs. science debate-isn't there a thread for that already?

About the choice to play god, ethics does have to enter into the equation in some way. Pros vs. cons, many vs. few, etc. We're not perfect but we can do research, think critically and band together to share our knowledge. Is it always going to be the right choice to utilize advanced technology? Considering a lot of it is for the sole purpose of killing people, obviously the answer is no. I think if we become more civil and disciplined as a species, we will 'advance' in step with our technology and be more responsible with what we develop and how we use it. Problem solved...if only it were that easy for us psychologically.

Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #54 on: June 20, 2013, 05:38:58 PM »
1 - Snow may ne white and the sky may be blue but that is a pointless arguemnt as its not about faith or religion.

2 - There is no right answer its like saying Slavery was acceptable or that all religion should be baned. There is no right or wrong way to believe in anything, its peoples views and beliefs thats it and just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean everyone has to.

3 - yer and? snows white, the skys blue and grass is green so what, that has no point in an arguement over faith and belief and religion.

4 - No there isn't.
People believe what they want and that is whatever they wish to be right or wrong but openly and honestly there is NO wrong or right answer to anything, except murder and other things like that.
Faith and belief happens in everything we do every day.
Its like you telling a preist there is no god, he/she would stand there and argue with you till the moon was blue and the sky was pink if he/she had to.
Just as i will state the whole snow is white and sky is blue thing is invalid in a arguement over faith and religion.
Like if you went to the pope and said there is no god.
I bet he would argue with you until the whole world was gone, there's no right or wrong but he wouldn't stand their if and argue if you said a valid point to do with science or your belief in whatever you believe in f you do.

as i said no wrong or right way to belief in anything and theres no explanation for everything.



I'm sorry for the off topic, i'm just a very passionate believer.
I believe in science such as for new treatment and ways to help people when thier ill, like cancer and MS.
But i also believe in god and he's there to help us when we ask for it.

Faith provides an explanation? A lucky guess, occasionally, perhaps, but...anyway, this seems a little off-topic what with the whole faith vs. science debate-isn't there a thread for that already?

About the choice to play god, ethics does have to enter into the equation in some way. Pros vs. cons, many vs. few, etc. We're not perfect but we can do research, think critically and band together to share our knowledge. Is it always going to be the right choice to utilize advanced technology? Considering a lot of it is for the sole purpose of killing people, obviously the answer is no. I think if we become more civil and disciplined as a species, we will 'advance' in step with our technology and be more responsible with what we develop and how we use it. Problem solved...if only it were that easy for us psychologically.

I dunno if there is, but what about the world being made what's the belief of that, 7 days by god or about 10000000000 billions years from ash and gas?

yes i surpose you are right about that.
yes i agree with the killing people, thats wrong and so is other things.
i agree with you, if only it were that simple.
But i think it'll take a few more decades before we truely ever become completley civilized and dicaplined as a species.
But if there was a way maybe it could be through science or through a new religion perhaps?
I dunno i'm not god and have no intenction of ever playing god.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #55 on: June 20, 2013, 05:39:55 PM »
This was the point I was originally driving at, Mathim: Technological advances will continue to happen. Guidelines for how to handle things ethically are far stronger as taboos, and far more adaptable to new situations and technologies, than blanket "We do not do this!" statements. The same research that gave us the nuclear warhead gave us the nuclear reactor, after all - and now warheads are being decommissioned to fuel more reactors.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #56 on: June 20, 2013, 05:53:39 PM »
1 - Snow may ne white and the sky may be blue but that is a pointless arguemnt as its not about faith or religion.
You have completely missed the point here. The statement was not about snow, it was about truth. More generally: A statement is true if and only if it accurately reflects the real world.

2 - There is no right answer its like saying Slavery was acceptable or that all religion should be baned. There is no right or wrong way to believe in anything, its peoples views and beliefs thats it and just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean everyone has to.
If you really think that, then answer me this: Can you cross a busy highway safely by believing that cars cannot harm you? Can you go without food or water by simply believing yourself above such petty concerns? Can you respond to this post without a computer by believing hard enough?

There are absolutely correct and incorrect beliefs. A correct one makes a statement about reality that matches that reality. An incorrect one makes a statement about reality that does not match that reality. It's really that simple.

For the record, your habit of ascribing things like war and slavery to the godless? Really fucking offensive. Please stop.

3 - yer and? snows white, the skys blue and grass is green so what, that has no point in an arguement over faith and belief and religion.
Really? A definition of truth has no place in a discussion of beliefs? I... find this confusing.

4 - No there isn't.
People believe what they want and that is whatever they wish to be right or wrong but openly and honestly there is NO wrong or right answer to anything, except murder and other things like that.
Um. If you truly believe that factual questions do not have factual answers, I wonder how you are typing this. After all, your belief in your computer can't possibly be right, can it?

Faith and belief happens in everything we do every day.
Belief, yes. Faith... maybe in everything you do. Stop assuming your experience is universal.
Its like you telling a preist there is no god, he/she would stand there and argue with you till the moon was blue and the sky was pink if he/she had to.And would the length of the argument affect its truth value? Or is the truth of the argument determined by whether or not there is actually a God?
Just as i will state the whole snow is white and sky is blue thing is invalid in a arguement over faith and religion.
Like if you went to the pope and said there is no god.
I bet he would argue with you until the whole world was gone, there's no right or wrong but he wouldn't stand their if and argue if you said a valid point to do with science or your belief in whatever you believe in f you do.
You are wrong on two major counts here. First: There is a right or wrong. Either God exists in the form the Pope or the priest asserts, or he does not. Either way, one of us is right, and the other is wrong. Our inability to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt which is the case does not affect the fact that one of these two things is true, and one is not. Second: Yes, people do routinely argue valid points. In fact, when presented with hard-and-fast irrefutable evidence that proves them wrong, most people tend to double down.

as i said no wrong or right way to belief in anything and theres no explanation for everything.
Except you've completely failed to make your case, and you have failed to make it using a machine that is powered by a quantum-mechanical explanation of reality as we know it.

You're welcome to your passionate beliefs. Just stop trying to pretend that literally all evidence has no effect on truth value or our estimations thereof, and please stop the incredibly offensive treatment of atheists.

Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #57 on: June 20, 2013, 06:04:39 PM »
Whatever you say Ephiral, but i'm not saying everything i believe in is correct.

For example how does a scientist show his work of he does not have faith in his results or any belief that it is correct?
Or how does a religous man explain god is real?

Its faith and belief.
And facts.
The bible is god's facts by christians.
The science of today and the last few centrys is what facts science has.

I'm saying theirs no right or wrong way to believe in anything, there is wrong things to believe in but theres no wrong way to believe in anything.

And i apologies to the atheists but i am not saying i am correct or wrong.
Its a opinion and belief.

I have said i have no arguement with any religion or kind of person, people believe what they want that is what i am saying theres no right or wrong to believe in anything.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #58 on: June 20, 2013, 06:17:05 PM »
Whatever you say Ephiral, but i'm not saying everything i believe in is correct.
No, you're saying that absolutely no belief of any sort can possibly ever be correct. Which is, frankly, wrong.

For example how does a scientist show his work of he does not have faith in his results or any belief that it is correct?
"Belief that it is correct" does not necessitate faith. He doesn't need to "have faith" in his results; he can check the actual process and data acquired, and then put it out to his peers to check for errors. This is how science works.

Or how does a religous man explain god is real?
In my experience, poorly, relying on demands for blind faith instead of evidence.

Its faith and belief.
And facts.
The bible is god's facts by christians.
The science of today and the last few centrys is what facts science has.
No. You get your own opinions. You do not get your own facts. The Bible's geocentricism is not correct just because the Bible says so, for example; it is provably (and proven) wrong.

I'm saying theirs no right or wrong way to believe in anything, there is wrong things to believe in but theres no wrong way to believe in anything.
I suppose that depends on what your goals are. Mine is to hold beliefs which are true.

And i apologies to the atheists but i am not saying i am correct or wrong.
Its a opinion and belief.

And your "opinion" is both factually incorrect and incredibly offensive. I'd suggest you refrain from ascribing evil and only evil to other, substantial demographics on E, especially when doing so is provably wrong.

I have said i have no arguement with any religion or kind of person, people believe what they want that is what i am saying theres no right or wrong to believe in anything.
I believe you are actually a swarm of 13 926 487 tiny chartreuse devils pretending to be a single person. Is this belief right or wrong?

Also, it's really hard to accept both "I have no argument with you" and "nuclear war and slavery are your fault, nyah nyah!" as true. They're kinda contradictory.

Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #59 on: June 20, 2013, 07:12:01 PM »
And your "opinion" is both factually incorrect and incredibly offensive. I'd suggest you refrain from ascribing evil and only evil to other, substantial demographics on E, especially when doing so is provably wrong.
I believe you are actually a swarm of 13 926 487 tiny chartreuse devils pretending to be a single person. Is this belief right or wrong?

Also, it's really hard to accept both "I have no argument with you" and "nuclear war and slavery are your fault, nyah nyah!" as true. They're kinda contradictory.

If thats what you believe then thats what you believe, i can not say it is wrong or right.
There is no right or wrong way to believe anything.

I never said they are YOUR fault, its humans who caused it (well the americans who started the civil war because of it) and thats it.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #60 on: June 20, 2013, 07:21:15 PM »
I'm going to handle this in inverse order because holy shit.

I never said they are YOUR fault, its humans who caused it (well the americans who started the civil war because of it) and thats it.
2 - There is no right answer its like saying Slavery was acceptable or that all religion should be baned.
So your assertion is that this is equally valid as a religious position? And which religion holds that all religion should be banned, hm?

Moving on to the first half of your post:

If thats what you believe then thats what you believe, i can not say it is wrong or right.
There is no right or wrong way to believe anything.
...really. Seriously. This is your position. You cannot say whether or not it is factually correct that you are a swarm of tiny devils, because that would be assigning truth value to something.

Okay, I think I'm done here.

Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #61 on: June 20, 2013, 07:29:06 PM »
So your assertion is that this is equally valid as a religious position? And which religion holds that all religion should be banned, hm?

Moving on to the first half of your post:
...really. Seriously. This is your position. You cannot say whether or not it is factually correct that you are a swarm of tiny devils, because that would be assigning truth value to something.

Okay, I think I'm done here.



None. it was just a point.

Nope. We're made up of particals, water and skin with fat and tissue and bones.
So i'm sure i'm not a devil though we all have devils inside us. Its life.

okay.

Offline Kythia

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #62 on: June 20, 2013, 07:55:35 PM »
If I might, I think you're separated by a common language here.  I think you're using words like "right", "correct", "valid" and so on in two subtly different ways.

Not trying to put words in anyone's mouth here, but reading it through:

Harketh seems to be saying that everything/a lot of things are valid as a belief system.  That is to say, Christianity, Chartreuse devils and anything else you might think of fulfils all the criteria to be a belief system.  Which is fine (from my point of view here, Ephiral is more than capable of deciding whether she agrees with it or)

Ephiral seems to be arguing that some belief systems - or, rather, one in particular - conforms to reality.  Or, if we want to be super pedantic, is focused around refining itself until it does, I don't want to give the impression I think science is "finished."  So when he talks about correctness and suchlike he isn't focusing on the belief system per se but rather how well the results of that system conform to reality, and a "valid" one is one which conforms as well as possible.

So.  After stating I didn't want to put words in anyone's mouth then proceeding to do exactly that, I shall bow out.  Just observations from an onlooker.

Welcome to E, by the way, LordHarketh193.  Congratulations on your approval.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2013, 08:03:23 PM »
Yeah, that's pretty much where I was going, Kythia. As you say, science is, of course, not finished - and is sometimes not the best tool (it's glacially slow for important decisions, for one thing, and it says not one damn thing about morality without outside help). I don't uphold it as the be-all end-all. But... I hold that any belief which says something about reality should have its validity measured by its accuracy. That which we know does not conform to reality should be discarded. That which has no credible supporting evidence should not be considered equally valid to that which does. That which does not say something about reality... well, then we get into confusing territory quickly, since there's no such litmus test for validity - though there are still some beliefs in this category that are demonstrably horrible ideas.

Offline Cthonig

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #64 on: June 20, 2013, 08:40:53 PM »
    Should we play "god" by ... hmm, wait, god really doesn't have a good record. So, play "god", no. Advance technology to save lives, improve ourselves, etc.? Yes, definitely.

    As others have mentioned, we need to use our ethics. Bad scripting of movies aside, scientists generally have good ethics so they aren't the problem. It's what gets done with the technology that we need to worry about and put a stop to sometimes. For example, cars and cell phones. Cell phones aren't a danger in and of themselves. Cars ... well, they are a danger but one we've chosen to have in our lives. But the best thing right now would be some ethical choices on the part of car manufacturers: installing (short-range) signal jammers in all vehicles which are automatically switched on when the vehicle is in gear. No calls or texting cuts down on possible accidents. Testing has confirmed that phone calls and texting while driving are as dangerous as drinking and driving.

It hasn't always worked out for the best in every case. I think we're regretting moving the cane toad or kudzu out of their natural habitat and similar mistakes. However despite the mistakes and set-backs overall these actions have done a lot to improve the quality of life.
Yes of course we should continue to advance but we do need to occasionally be a little more careful.
    Indeed. But it's not just technology as you point out here. We thought asbestos was a good thing but, as it turns out, not so much. I think we should study genetically modified plants and animals over a long period so we only use the safest ones but should not ban them outright.

There would be, in a Gattaca world, people who want to work with modified people, and there would be people who are modified who don't like normal people, and people who are normal who don't like modified people, and that's not even getting into who can and can't GET it.
...
The question isn't about IF we should 'play god,' but HOW we should.
    Indeed. Some people have speculated that if we could engineer our children then some people might decide to not have any gay children. But (and this goes back to the idea of unforeseen consequences) what if the potential for being gay is too closely tied into beneficial traits like creativity and performing? (There has been some evidence that this might be the case.)

Science... is really just another religion as far as I'm concerned, it's built up on faith at its very core because ultimately we're faith-based creatures. I hardly think science is the problem, the problem is that science is just a newer facet of the same old issue: humanity.  :\ 
    To the average person who has no clue about science, it could be considered to be a matter of belief but it is not a religion. I know that until I read up on evolution I believed in it but really had no clue. Once I learned more, I no longer believed in it, instead I understood evolution. Since I've always been interested in physics and dabbled in other sciences, if I can fail at understanding something then it's almost certain that someone who doesn't have an interest only believes.
    That said, there is still a huge difference between science and religion: science can be proven and people can be educated as to what it actually entails while religion has no facts to be proven and involves blind belief, not education. This is part of the danger of religion: if taken too far, it blinds people to reality. "Faith" in science is normally trust while faith in religion is just blindness.
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of anti-science people usually religious out there who really have no clue what they are talking about but they talk loudly, often, and throw around a lot of money it seems.

-Their core argument was that science and religion can learn from each other. They completely failed to support the idea that science can learn from religion in any way at all.
    I can think of things science can learn from religion: how to manipulate people, how to indoctrinate people, the denial people engage in for societal companionship and  reinforcement, the unifying effect of music in a group, and a few more things. Wait, you did mean scientific study of religion as a social phenomenon, right?

For example how does a scientist show his work of he does not have faith in his results or any belief that it is correct?
...
I have said i have no arguement with any religion or kind of person, people believe what they want that is what i am saying theres no right or wrong to believe in anything.
    No, a scientist does not have faith in his work. He knows whether or not he has tried to do the best he can to perform all the experiments correctly and report the results accurately.
    There are wrong beliefs. If a mother believes her children are suffering and that killing them is the best thing for them, that is a wrong belief very, very, very wrong. So there are wrong beliefs.

    Moraline brings up the subject of fusion not only should we develop it, we desperately need it. If we can develop self-sustaining fusion reactors, we will have an alternate energy source which is cleaner than fossil fuels and fission but more reliable than solar, wind, etc. Humanity desperately needs this a decade ago but since we can't time travel, now will do. This is an example of "Heck, yes!" for should we keep advancing our technology.

Offline LordHarketh193

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #65 on: June 21, 2013, 03:28:38 PM »
    There are wrong beliefs. If a mother believes her children are suffering and that killing them is the best thing for them, that is a wrong belief – very, very, very wrong. So there are wrong beliefs.

    Moraline brings up the subject of fusion – not only should we develop it, we desperately need it. If we can develop self-sustaining fusion reactors, we will have an alternate energy source which is cleaner than fossil fuels and fission but more reliable than solar, wind, etc. Humanity desperately needs this a decade ago but since we can't time travel, now will do. This is an example of "Heck, yes!" for should we keep advancing our technology.

Yes you are right, that is wrong but if their religion says its right then to them its right.
There are some things that are wrong but to others their right.

Yes we should have had this deacade of new clean energy before it became too late, btu i assume its better late than never right?
But adaption is always good, like the foxes that live in the north pole their smaller and white and the one's in forests or nature reservse are brown and orange(ish) and bigger.
if only humans could continue to adpat well and quickly.




If I might, I think you're separated by a common language here.  I think you're using words like "right", "correct", "valid" and so on in two subtly different ways.

Not trying to put words in anyone's mouth here, but reading it through:

Harketh seems to be saying that everything/a lot of things are valid as a belief system.  That is to say, Christianity, Chartreuse devils and anything else you might think of fulfils all the criteria to be a belief system.  Which is fine (from my point of view here, Ephiral is more than capable of deciding whether she agrees with it or)

Ephiral seems to be arguing that some belief systems - or, rather, one in particular - conforms to reality.  Or, if we want to be super pedantic, is focused around refining itself until it does, I don't want to give the impression I think science is "finished."  So when he talks about correctness and suchlike he isn't focusing on the belief system per se but rather how well the results of that system conform to reality, and a "valid" one is one which conforms as well as possible.

So.  After stating I didn't want to put words in anyone's mouth then proceeding to do exactly that, I shall bow out.  Just observations from an onlooker.

Welcome to E, by the way, LordHarketh193.  Congratulations on your approval.

Yes that's what i was getting at.
Thank you Kythia :)

and thank you for the welcoming :)



Offline Sabby

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #66 on: June 21, 2013, 04:35:18 PM »
Yes you are right, that is wrong but if their religion says its right then to them its right.

Dude, could you please keep a consistent stance? You change your position every post. It's making it very hard for us to follow.

Is there right and wrong beliefs or is everything up to personal choice? Pick one and stick to it.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 04:36:45 PM by Sabby »

Offline Mathim

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #67 on: June 21, 2013, 05:52:07 PM »
Yes you are right, that is wrong but if their religion says its right then to them its right.
There are some things that are wrong but to others their right.

Yes we should have had this deacade of new clean energy before it became too late, btu i assume its better late than never right?
But adaption is always good, like the foxes that live in the north pole their smaller and white and the one's in forests or nature reservse are brown and orange(ish) and bigger.
if only humans could continue to adpat well and quickly.




Yes that's what i was getting at.
Thank you Kythia :)

and thank you for the welcoming :)

That's the point I was making. Our technology advances faster than we do (culturally and psychologically, not physically, that's kind of irrelevant to this sort of thing) and that's going to create problems. It'll influence the types of technology we come up with and how it's used even though alternatives with a more positive effect can be produced instead. If only, IF ONLY, we were collectively wise, critically-thinking and compassionate enough to move forward in accordance. Sadly that is not the case. Now if only most of us were not actively lobbying against that sort of cohesiveness, that would still be fantastic. But we don't even get that as a consolation.

You sound kind of nihilistic or solipsistic rather than theistic, actually. Like you subscribe to the belief that we can't concretely prove anything is true but not for the same reasons as, say, that we can't prove we aren't just brains in a jar dreaming that this is reality; it's hard to figure out exactly the reasoning behind your indecisive view of objective reality.

Admittedly, uncertainty is a given. We can't know anything for 100% certain, we can only do research and experiments to enhance our finite understanding of things and have reasonable expectations of how things work or how things will unfold. But this pertains to tangible things like is grass green or is there enough oxygen to breathe underwater. Going by the other methods is understandably a bit weird and unsettling when, as Ephiral was kind enough to point out, other methods have been proven false. No amount of belief is going to make those true. Even the supernatural, if proven by science, will be believed with enough evidence but then they wouldn't be supernatural anymore, would they? Science is not intransigent. Blind faith and beliefs of that nature ARE intransigent. Which is usually the one that is going to be better in the long run? Is a person who never changes their mind about anything going to be generally happy, have a lot of good friends, healthy relationships and a bright future? I'm not going to answer that. I have a feeling certain beliefs will inevitably lead anyone who reads this question to come up with their own, and there will be a broad spectrum of answers.

When it comes to ethical questions it gets muddy. While there are 'yes' or 'no' questions (is it wrong to murder? Is depriving people of live-saving treatment because they can't afford it permissible in today's world?), unlike in science there are usually loads of grey areas and exceptions and whatnot from every point of view. No one can claim absolute moral authority, that is derived from societies. Logic dictates that 'right' comes from different criteria, such as whatever promotes greatest societal health (interestingly enough, most societies with the highest concentrations of atheists have the highest levels of societal health...funny old world, isn't it?) or what causes the greatest amount of well-being and the least amount of pain. Can anyone claim with utmost certainty that these are absolutely correct? Of course not. There is simply no way to know such a thing, barring a creator admitting its existence openly to the entire human race in an undeniable way and saying so, which to my knowledge has yet to occur.

All we can do is make choices. Wrong or right, we make them all the time, and rationalize them so we don't get eaten alive by guilt when we make ones we feel are wrong. Are we always right? No. Are we always wrong? No. We're human. We need to accept we're at this current stage of evolution and we need to keep moving forward. Now that we have a firm grasp of the concept we ought to be taking steps to speed up the process. We're now the dominant life form on this planet, it's our responsibility to become worthy of that for more than just our ability to outsmart our animal counterparts. With great power comes great responsibility. It's almost poetic justice in things like Terminator or The Matrix or I, Robot where our own creations turn against us and punish us for just being who we are since we can't pull it together ourselves. It shouldn't take that kind of apocalyptic wake-up call for us to finally pull our collective heads out of our asses and become what we need to be, the responsible caretakers of the planet we live on. I may claim to have a solution that will work and fix most if not all our problems; I believe it will work but I don't expect any single other person in the world to agree with me, but I can believe I'm right, and that makes me feel content. It's not a religious belief (quite the opposite, in fact) but I am very aware it is only a belief and should be treated as such. I'm not going to live my life as though my belief is true because I understand reality is something that renders it moot. If only more people could follow that example. It also doesn't mean I'm closed-minded about listening to others' ideas, yet another nice example more people could stand to follow.

If we continue on the current path all we'll get out of our technology is the ability to kill more effectively and record it in resolution that makes real-life look unsatisfying compared to the screen.

Offline littlerooster

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #68 on: June 28, 2013, 12:20:11 AM »
Perhaps if there is a God we were given higher intelligence so we could fix our own problems and improve things. So yes, why pray to a God to cure a disease or stop famine when we have the power to fix these things ourselves.

I always think of this story, when I hear arguments about playing God.

A man is walking home one day, it is a long distance but he is fit and willing, it starts to rain, the rain gets worse and soon he is up to his knees in water, he prays to God, "please let me get home before it gets too deep" he asks God.

 A man on a horse comes along and offers him help,  "No, no, God will not let me drown" the man says and waves the horseman off.

He keeps walking and now the water is just past his waist, a man in a boat comes along and offers him a ride. "No, no, God won't let me drown" and he waves the sailor off.

And the water reaches his neck, a man in a helicopter comes along and throws down a ladder "No, no, God won't let me drown" the man yells and waves the pilot away.

And then the water rises past his neck and the man drowns.

The man goes to heaven and is speaking with God "I asked you for help and you let me drown, why?" he asks confused.

"What do you mean I let you drown? I sent a horse, a boat and a chopper, you waved them all away!" God responds.

The point of course being is that people think some hand is going to come down and help them but we don't live in a disney movie.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 07:23:17 PM by littlerooster »

Offline Caela

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2013, 11:43:53 PM »
Looking at this question from the perspective of someone who does believe in Diety...my answer is still yes.

We "play god" all the time. When medical scientists starting making vaccines an all but eradicated (at least in first world countries) things like smallpox and polio, we were playing god and to good effect. When other scientists figured out how to split the atom and the military used that to create nuclear weapons that was us playing god to some very negative effects.

We play god all the time. It's human nature to be curious, to experiment, to discover and innovate and create new things. It's my personal belief that "God" (in whatever form a person may, or may not as the case may be) created us with those traits, that Diety wants us to learn and grow and expand. Do we screw up sometimes? Yes. Do our discoveries and innovations sometimes gallop along faster than our social mores? All the time. Does that mean we should put a halt on experimentation and discovery? No. It means we, as a people, should work harder to educated the next generation, to raise our children with the knowledge, understanding, and mores needed to try and keep up with the discoveries that will come along in their lifetimes and maybe be able to answer some of the questions we can't.

Offline alextaylor

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #70 on: July 18, 2013, 11:23:15 AM »
As long as it's voluntary to be the victim of playing god.

GM food? Sure. Just don't make me eat it.
200 year lifespan? Sure. But I'm opting out of it.
Cloning? Probably not, unless you can make sure the clone isn't prone to getting cancer.

We've already played God plenty. Life expectancy took a massive spike in the last half century alone, thanks to medical progress. But it comes at a major cost. Medical bills are crippling economies. My parents are practically living on life support... one has failed organs all over, the other is living on a plastic bag full of pills every month. Compare Gen X to the Baby Boomer generation.

I have a relative who's a nurse in a very good hospital. She was a proponent of medical pills, took them for everything. 30 years later, she's the unhealthiest in the family, allergic to so many things that she had to retire early because she couldn't be around drugs.

Should we stop? Probably not. But we should be wary of the side effects.

Personally, one thing I am worried about is that there'd be some super steroid 'with minimal effects' that everyone takes, and later on realizes that the effects kick in unexpectedly. I think that one of humanity's strength is its weakness - people are slower and weaker than animals, and developed better tools and tool usage as a result from it. A tiger or gorilla is physically superior to any man, but the man will win because of tools. If we could engineer super-soldiers, we might be reverting socially after a few generations, because we'd no longer need as many tools. Many empires fall when their citizens become too comfortable and decadent.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #71 on: July 18, 2013, 11:53:18 AM »
GM food? Sure. Just don't make me eat it.
This one in particular strikes me as a bad example: Try finding a food that wasn't genetically modified before we knew what genes were. You don't really have a choice here, and this was not an issue before people started making completely unfounded allegations.

We've already played God plenty. Life expectancy took a massive spike in the last half century alone, thanks to medical progress. But it comes at a major cost. Medical bills are crippling economies. My parents are practically living on life support... one has failed organs all over, the other is living on a plastic bag full of pills every month. Compare Gen X to the Baby Boomer generation.
None of these are actual costs. Citation sorely fucking needed on medical bills crippling economies (as opposed to bankrupting individuals and households, which is a problem with an economic model and not with medicine). As to your parents? They would have been dead at a significantly younger age without medicine. Something that gives you more is not a cost. If they're forced against their will to continue living, that's a different matter - but again, that's not medicine's fault, that's a societal taboo problem. The answer here is more "playing god", not less.

I have a relative who's a nurse in a very good hospital. She was a proponent of medical pills, took them for everything. 30 years later, she's the unhealthiest in the family, allergic to so many things that she had to retire early because she couldn't be around drugs.
The plural of anecdote is not data. Do you have any evidence that people who rely on modern medicine, on average, are less healthy than people that don't? (Hint: Look at quality-of-life and life-expectancy values for nations where medicine is freely and widely available vs ones where it is not.)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 01:42:07 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Cthonig

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #72 on: July 18, 2013, 06:53:33 PM »
GM food? Sure. Just don't make me eat it.
    That's your option - sort of. As Ephiral said, we already eat (genetically) modified food. I'm not worried about the GM food as long as sufficient testing is done. I'm worried about the growing tread towards monoculture - the overuse of only one crop/plant species. And I'm guessing that GM foods could lead to even more monoculture agriculture which will be very susceptible to being wiped out by disease/pest.

Life expectancy took a massive spike in the last half century alone, thanks to medical progress. But it comes at a major cost. Medical bills are crippling economies. My parents are practically living on life support... one has failed organs all over, the other is living on a plastic bag full of pills every month.
    That's not an issue of playing god. That's an issue of people with distorted morals deciding for everyone that continued existence is "life" and is "sacred". We treat our pets more humanely at the end of their lives than we do other humans. People should have the option - without others making them feel bad - of not going to extremes for continuing their lives. The fact that money can be made off of the nearly dead being kept alive doesn't help the matter either.

I have a relative who's a nurse in a very good hospital. She was a proponent of medical pills, took them for everything. 30 years later, she's the unhealthiest in the family, allergic to so many things that she had to retire early because she couldn't be around drugs.
    That sounds very much like someone who went too far with the pills. One doesn't normally develop an allergy (which you implied) with normal usage.

Personally, one thing I am worried about is that there'd be some super steroid 'with minimal effects' that everyone takes, and later on realizes that the effects kick in unexpectedly.
    Well, that scenario is unrealistic, even if characteristic of too many (bad) movies. There is always something someone won't take. But going with the idea of many people taking it: such a situation would depend upon how thorough the testing was. If the testing requirements are "streamlined" too much, such a situation is remotely possible. But it will affect people at different rates and with different severity. Additionally, there will be those who are more susceptible as well as those who are more resistant. And we will be able to use those extremes to help determine how to deal with it.

Offline alextaylor

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #73 on: July 18, 2013, 07:32:26 PM »
Quote
As to your parents? They would have been dead at a significantly younger age without medicine. Something that gives you more is not a cost. 
Death isn't the worst thing that can happen. It's a choice between living a life full of pain (or living on painkillers) and dying. Of course, as long as you're allowed to keep someone alive, you're compelled to by ethics and culture, even if death is an end to suffering. I know it's a horrible thing to say. But when I'm old, I wouldn't want to be living with chronic pain, lying down 80% of the time, forced to eat bland food, taking day-long trips to the hospital.

Quote
Citation sorely fucking needed on medical bills crippling economies
It's common knowledge. E.g. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/a-world-of-rising-health-care-costs/ "Crippling" might be a little dramatic, but nobody can deny that they're a significant cost.

Quote
(Hint: Look at quality-of-life and life-expectancy values for nations where medicine is freely and widely available vs ones where it is not.)
Compare Cuban healthcare expenditure to American healthcare. America spends significantly more, and yet their life expectancy is only slightly higher. I would dig up the data for you if you asked nicely, but you seem to be argumentative, so would probably be a waste of time. But when looking at statistics, note that life expectancy does not tell the whole story. Accidents and violent crime reduce life expectancy greatly. A country with not enough money to spend on health will likely not spend on infrastructure or crime prevention, and those are the things which reduce quality of life and life expectancy.

That's your option - sort of. As Ephiral said, we already eat (genetically) modified food. I'm not worried about the GM food as long as sufficient testing is done. I'm worried about the growing tread towards monoculture - the overuse of only one crop/plant species. And I'm guessing that GM foods could lead to even more monoculture agriculture which will be very susceptible to being wiped out by disease/pest.

No such thing as sufficient testing. Tests on rats are better than nothing, but not sufficient. You'd have to test it on humans (like early adopters), and test it over a long period of time for long term effects. I'm actually fine eating the stuff, but there should be an option for people not to, so that the human race doesn't die out in case it turns us into zombies or whatever.

That sounds very much like someone who went too far with the pills. One doesn't normally develop an allergy (which you implied) with normal usage.
Depends on what you mean by "normal usage". Used sparingly (like once a year), fine. But most of them have side effects. A lot of the pills given to very sick people are there to counter one side effect after another. Pharmaceuticals work because it's designed to do one specific thing. Any doctor will tell you that any medicine that does anything has a side effect, but whether or not that side effect is hazardous is up for debate.

Offline Cthonig

Re: If we can play god? Should we?
« Reply #74 on: July 18, 2013, 07:50:40 PM »
No such thing as sufficient testing. Tests on rats are better than nothing, but not sufficient. You'd have to test it on humans (like early adopters), and test it over a long period of time for long term effects. I'm actually fine eating the stuff, but there should be an option for people not to, so that the human race doesn't die out in case it turns us into zombies or whatever.
    It depends upon how you define sufficient. You seem to be using a more conservative concept in your definition. Yet you finish the paragraph with a reference to zombies - lol.
    Even if someone custom designed a pathogen with the right blend of contagion, delay of onset and lethality, the pathogen still would not wipe out everyone. Sure, such a disease would be devastating. But it would be difficult to wipe out humanity. So, GM foods will not wipe out humanity.

    As for zombies, some of us explored that topic in this thread: After the Zombie Apocalypse. No one has posted in it since March 5th since we pretty much beat the subject to death but you might find it an interesting read.