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Felix

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  1. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    I don't like mushrooms and raw tomatoes. I have no idea why. I just don't like them. I also prefer chocolate ice cream over lemon flavor. If you combine milk and multivitamin juice it tastes pretty good but looks rather strange. I could certainly come up with wonderful rationalizations why mushrooms and raw tomatoes are bad or why chocolate is superior to lemon. But even though I could do that, I still think it would be utter nonsense. Doing the same regarding sex is not better.
  2. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    I don't think this has to be the case. What a person finds attractive is a function of that person's beliefs and preferences. I don't see a relation between attraction and self-esteem. I'd say that in regard to attraction to humans, which character a person finds attractive says something about their beliefs, not necessarily about their self-esteem. (It could be but doesn't have to be the case.) But (to get back to the actual topic of this thread ) there's obviously more to attraction than character. The very existence of a huge cosmetic industry should be proof enough. And how prefering redheads over blondes has a relation to self-esteem is even more beyond me. You can't nail down every belief to self-esteem. Doing so would result in rationalisations worse than Freudian dream interpretation. As Freud himself (who was known for seeing phallus symbols everywhere) said it so eloquently: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
  3. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    That's true. I have never met any sodomite or necrophile. But I've been talking to people who are into weird sex practices (SM for example). They lead happy lives and are reasonable people. This sort of sex just turns them on. They couldn't give me a reason except that they tried it and liked it. I would never have guessed they would do that. They don't do it out of self-loathing or some other mental issues. For some the pain -they explained- gives them some sort of relief and relaxation and increases their sexual pleasure. Others just get a kick out of doing something "forbidden". The point is: They like it. And they are not nuts or unhappy. So I just thought that necrophilia and sodomy are similar. A lot weirder, sure. But I just put it in the same category. It could be that people do it out of self-loathing, as a way of self-punishment. That's not what I doubted. And I also think there can be people who are into weird sex out of some strange sort of compulsion and mental problems even though this doesn't always have to be the reason. What I seriously doubted was the idea that self-esteem changes what you're attracted to. As far as I know it doesn't. The way Maarten presented it, it didn't make sense to me. He made it look like people become attracted to animals or dead bodies because their self-esteem is low. That is what I challenged. It could be that they loathe it and do it for self-punishment. But they don't become attracted out of low self esteem. I don't become attracted to ugly mass-murderers when I have a bad day. My point was that attraction is unrelated to self-esteem. That people have weird sex to punish themselves certainly happens. But it's not the only reason one can think of. They can do it for pleasure. I have no direct proof that this goes as far as bestiality and necrophilia, but for less extreme sex it is certainly the case and therefore it could well be that people do these stranger things for pleasure, too. I doubt I'll ever get further than this, because I don't think people would admit to these practices since they are a taboo in our culture.
  4. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    Well, there are also several sexual practices of which I can't understand how anyone could like to do them. I have no clue what makes someone be attracted to animals or corpses. It's way beyond my worldview and I think it's beyond the worldview of anyone on this forum. That's what makes these things very hard to discuss. It's a bit like blind people talking about colors. It would be an indicator of low self esteem only if that person accepted our belief system to start with. That was my point. It's not necessarily a matter of thinking one wouldn't be good enough for any kind of human being. Besides I don't think self-esteem could fall that low. I also can't think one would pick animals then. Also, one wouldn't be attracted to animals, but the thought would be as repulsive to them as it would be to us. I don't know what makes someone be sexually interested in animals or corpses. I've never met someone like that and I doubt I ever will. But I seriously doubt it's a self-esteem issue. Self-esteem doesn't change what you're attracted to. It merely changes what you aim for. That was the point I wanted to drive home.
  5. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    I used to believe that, too. But I wondered. Why would that be true? Do people of low self-esteem actually lust for sick stuff? Or are they (for example) attracted by health and beauty and don't think they are worth it and settle for less. I think the latter is the case and not the former. I don't think the self esteem-sex-connection holds water. People can be attracted to pretty much anything without it having a relation to their self-esteem. What can happen is that it may be against custom. Given that people are actually attracted to animals and dead bodies (and who knows what else the human mind can come up with), I can't see a real limit here. Attraction, then, is merely a function of belief. Based on this model, I could think of a person lusting for animals but not doing it out of low self-esteem. You start with a belief structure part of which is sexual attraction. If that person considers his attraction as conflicting with the rest of his beliefs it will (like any incongruency) then lower his self-esteem. David had a good question by turning mine upside down: Why is sex moral? It pointed straight to the core of the issue. My basic premise of considering sexual pleasure as inherently good. It is -at its root- a hedonistic premise: Sex is best if it is had in alignment with your beliefs. What these beliefs are, then, would change the sex, but not the pleasure. I still consider sex drive a natural thing that just finds its way to fulfillment in accordance to a person's beliefs and I still consider it better to do so since it's natural, no matter which attraction structure the rest of the belief system may give rise to. So what one has to consider here from a moral point of view is not the sexual pleasure or its fulfillment, but the beliefs it would display. And this is what one can then consider immoral or not. The belief system the attraction reveals. The question would then be: What should one consider attractive? And it also answers the question of why (or better: when) sex is moral. Given the nature of man as a rational animal, I'd say that considering health, beauty, intelligence and success in humans of the opposite sex as attractive is the right thing to do. Maybe there's even some bias towards that ideal, even though this can obviously be overcome by a sufficiently strong belief system. Even some animals are homosexual after all even though there's no biological reason for that. But still, I could imagine a successful person who just happens to be attracted to animals. And the only problem he would have would be cultural taboo. I don't see what effect attraction to something strange would have on the rest of the life of a human being. Maybe that's the problem. I don't see it as having an effect on happiness or survival. It would only make sense if one adds reproduction to the picture as far as I can see it now.
  6. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    Okay, I agree on the unsanitarity. I also consider this stuff gross and sick. But I can't come up with a real reason why. What's the "other slew"? I share the knee-jerk reaction. Not exactly sure why exactly I have it, though. However, I'd like to postpone a possible discussion till after the holidays. Don't want to ruin my appetite.
  7. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    Hm. Good question. As far as I can see if one considers my argument bestiality and sex with corpses would be part of that "other stuff". I can't come up with a real reason why it would be any more harmful than watching a movie. All my feelings tell me that there's something wrong about it, but rationally I didn't find anything. With animals and corpses the question of consent comes into place, making this more complicated (depending on the nature of the animal, and I think one would need the consent of the person who is dead to, well, use it) But I doubt that this was where this question was aiming. If anyone can come up with a reason why it's immoral, tell me. Nice topic for Christmas time, btw.
  8. Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

    I don't see why not. As long as it remains nothing but pleasure(that is: if there's no emotional involvement or addiction that could cause pain in the future), I can really not find a reasonable basis for considering it immoral. The same applies, as you said, to porn and strip clubs and whatever other stuff there may be. The argument could be made, though, that satisfying urges with lesser means necessarily makes one lose the motivation they create to really go for the higher value (a real loving relationship). The danger of being content with the lesser value would then be there. In this case, I think this negative effect would depend upon the sex drive and the willingness to go for the highest value in the first place. I don't see a serious problem here. Hence my position regarding this topic. If you're in a relationship, this is a sacrifice. If it's not (and this would include going for someone who is not your current partner) it is a sign of dishonesty and the relationship shouldn't have been entered to begin with.
  9. Moral vs Moral *worth*

    (Bold mine) Okay, just to be clear we're talking about the same thing here. There's a (negative) judgement, which is something you just think and there's a condemnation which is sharing your final (negative) judgement with someone else. I completely agree with both of you on the importance of the judgement for your own life. But I still seriously doubt the value of the condemnation. I think it has a negative effect. I've already stated my reasons. Why do you think the condemnation (without its rational support) is good? What purpose does it serve? I still don't see the answer. It doesn't do any good. But what good does it to condemn them? Also, to lighten things up a little, here's my experience with a communist board: I posted the question why they believed anyone would work if all of his work was taken away from him and distributed. The first answer I got was: They will willingly work for the betterment of the society and thorugh the goodness of their heart. I couldn't help but reply: (1)You mean they work for the betterment of others without pay. (2)What about those who don't? (3)How's that good? I was banned immediately.
  10. Moral vs Moral *worth*

    It doesn't have to be told. It has to be proven. That's my whole point. Just calling them evil without providing the reasonable grounds is just throwing an unconnected fact into free space, ungrounded in reality and devoid of reason. If your morality is supported by reason and your goal is to spread the word, just stating it as a truth without providing proof is a very poor way of accomplishing your goal, actually I'm certain that it backfires. And it does because it's the wrong way to do it. You can post your proof on a forum and leave if you don't find a partner for a reasonable discussion. But just stating something as truth without providing a reasonable foundation for that statement is the realm of religious fanaticism. It doesn't matter what the content is; if it's provided without rational support it's worthless. You can arrive at the fact that 2+2=4 by making two errors on the way that "correct" one another. If you want to make a point, then make it with all you have. And if the only resistance you find is pointless chatter, just move on. Have people tell one another they're evil without supporting their alleged wisdom with reason and you're back in medieval times. That's why I'm so opposed to moralizing. There is truth and there are moral values, but you betray them both by just stating the results of your thoughts without revealing how you ended up there in the first place.
  11. Moral vs Moral *worth*

    Then the judgement doesn't have any effect just as I stated. Condemnation to me was always emotional flaming. I see what you mean now.
  12. Moral vs Moral *worth*

    Not loved ones. I think I put this one wrong. I explained later in my post to which degree I actually try to convince these people of a different viewpoint. I judge their viewpoint as stupid and if I care about them I try to change their point of view and try to do so very carefully. I see condemning as writing them off. You say: "They're evil." and that's it. End of case. Stupidity, on the other hand, can and should be fought, but this doesn't happen by just shouting "evil", but by pointing out the underlying error and showing how to fix it. The article you linked to is an example of that. I think we have a different understanding of what condemnation is. If condemnation is seeing a behavior as immoral or intellectually attacking on an idea, I'm all for it. But I see condemnation as a statement like "You did something bad and deserve the worst." without explaination or help. It's that which I refrain from doing and which I consider remnants of religious nonsense. I'm not against criticism, I just think it should be reasonable. It doesn't make the actions any better, that's right. My point was that just standing by and shouting "You're evil" doesn't really help because very often it doesn't even reach the person for the reasons I have stated. The judgement itself doesn't have any effect if you don't help the other person to understand that judgement, too.
  13. Moral vs Moral *worth*

    I have a simple solution to this: I don't call people who act against their self-interest immoral. I call them stupid. It's the same thing (stupidity in this sense is not defined as lack of intelligence, but avoidance of known facts). I don't condemn them or even think too much about them. I think all this moral bashing doesn't help anyone. It has its roots in religious belief and that's where it should stay. It leads nowhere. Know the principles and live by them. I'm hesitant in calling people stupid, too. The problem of false positives is an easy trap. And I've found that most people are open to reasonable discussion if you actually give it a try and listen to them first. But then there are those who don't even listen, know what you're saying before you say it and refuse to take a look at the world because it could threaten their current model of it. These people are usually hopeless. They are also the ones that resort to force where reason doesn't suffice. So I think a mental split between taking immoral actions and being an immoral person is justified. A person may be wrong in his judgement while believing he's right and do things that hinder his well-being and therefore commit immoral actions. But as long as he is open to reason and willing to consider arguments, I refrain from calling them immoral or stupid. They're just wrong. It's -at its very basis - an epistemological error. The moral problem (the stupidity) begins when they stop thinking. It's also understandable to me that someone who has spent a big part of his life believing in an idea is usually unwilling to even consider it to be wrong, especially, because it's become such a part of his identity that attacking the idea is perceived as an attack on himself and his life. I wouldn't do it and I hope I will never do this out of error. You can't talk people into thinking about something they consider immoral to start with. I think that it's easier for most people to condemn something than to learn something. They start to "know" stuff they don't really know and confuse their assumptions for facts. I'm still not sure why it happens, but that it does is a sad fact.
  14. My mother tongue is German. But I can talk and think in English quite well, too. The funny thing I realize sometimes is that I can express some things in English that I can't say in German. The most obvious such things are puns, which is the only stuff that comes to mind right now as I try to think of a good example. Edit: got one! For example there's no word for "mind" in German. All I could say is "spirit, imagination, ghost, thinking, thought, imagination, ...", but there's no word with the meaning of the word mind. Another thing is that in German there's only one word for both happiness and luck (go figure what the consequences are). Language is a tool one uses to think better. This tool, however, can also ruin your thinking if you don't understand that it is one. Or as Maslow put it: "If all you have [and know] is a hammer, every problem is a nail."
  15. These videos almost drove tears to my eyes. I'm glad there's actually someone on TV to announce stuff like this. Dawkins attacks religion as incompatible with reason and shows how all religions share the common trait of demanding faith which he calls the root of all evil. With stuff like that in the media, there's still hope. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1...+evil&hl=en http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=63...+evil&hl=en
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