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View Poll Results: The human race will be wiped out if you don't kill and eat the baby
Kill the Baby 6 8.00%
Accept Extinction 69 92.00%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:07 am
Serious Serious is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

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Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
However you left out one very important part of the equation. One course of action requires committing an intrisically evil act. The other does not.
This needs to ask for clarification. The "non-action" still will result the extinction of the whole human race, thus "depriving" God of all the possible future worshippers - which seems to be pretty serious.

The problem is that both the action and the non-action carry consequences. For example, if one sees a boulder starting to roll downhill (and could prevent it in time) and fails to do so, it would be a "cheap" excuse to say: "hey it was gravity that did it, why blame me?". The fact is that there is no difference between "by commission" and "by omission".
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  #62  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:14 am
ValPal ValPal is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindOverMatter2 View Post
The aliens leaders demand that we shoot the child in the head and eat its bodily-remains, otherwise they will wipe out the 7 billion inhabitants of the planet earth, putting an end to our miserable race.
Any being that sets up this scenario is not interested in the safety of the human race. It is reasonable to guess that the end result is the same regardless of which action is taken.
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  #63  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:15 am
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Maybe I would ask the "aliens" if I could kill myself instead of the baby and so save the 7 billion.
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  #64  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:16 am
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oneGODoneCHURCH oneGODoneCHURCH is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

You dont kill the Baby. end of story.
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  #65  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:18 am
Serious Serious is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

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Originally Posted by davidv View Post
By its very nature murder is instrincally evil. No circumstance changes this.
In the case of war, every "killing of an enemy soldier" is premeditated - and thus it is a murder. Yet, it is "excused". There is another one: "killing in self-defense" or in the defense of others. It is also a premeditated taking of the life of the attacker and it is also a murder, but also excused. So murder is not "intrinsically evil"... it is only wrong under some well defined circumstances and not wrong under some other circumstances.
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  #66  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:20 am
Debora123 Debora123 is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Accept the extinction.

I could never kill an innocent person.

...Much less a baby whose remains I'd have to eat.
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  #67  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:39 am
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
In the case of war, every "killing of an enemy soldier" is premeditated - and thus it is a murder. Yet, it is "excused". There is another one: "killing in self-defense" or in the defense of others. It is also a premeditated taking of the life of the attacker and it is also a murder, but also excused. So murder is not "intrinsically evil"... it is only wrong under some well defined circumstances and not wrong under some other circumstances.
No. This is simply not the case. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quote:
2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.
Murder is deliberate killing that does not take into account the sacredness of life while self-defense does since it is not always necessary to kill the other in order to render him incapable of doing further harm. Killing when it is the only option in self-defense or in war is not murder that is excused--it simply is not murder. The commandment against killing is against murder not against killing for any reason at all.
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  #68  
Old Feb 20, '12, 10:46 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
No action ever takes place in isolation. The circumstances cannot be "glossed over" - that would be an error. And the concept of "intrinsically evil" is incorrect, precisely because it does attempt to evaluate an act as if it happened in isolation.

Just one example: many say that "stealing" is intrinsically wrong or "evil" - no if's and's and but's. Of course these people will change their tune when one asks a specific question: "is it intrinsically evil to steal a piece of bread to avoid stavation?". Surpise, surprise... All of a sudden, "stealing" is not intrinsically evil. You said in the highlighted text that everything needs to be taken into consideration - and, of course I agree. But that immediately excludes the blanket condemnation of "act X is intrinsically evil, under any and all circumstances".
Are you saying there's no such thing as an act that is "intrinsically evil"? You're certainly entitled to that opinion, but that is not Catholic teaching.

Stealing is an intrinsically evil act, but taking a loaf of bread to feed your starving family is not stealing. Stealing is taking something to which you have no right. A starving man has a right to food to feed his family.

I really do recommend Veritatis Splendor. It does an excellent job of explaining all this stuff. Much better than I do. Here is one paragraph that speaks to what we are discussing:
56. In order to justify these positions, some authors have proposed a kind of double status of moral truth. Beyond the doctrinal and abstract level, one would have to acknowledge the priority of a certain more concrete existential consideration. The latter, by taking account of circumstances and the situation, could legitimately be the basis of certain exceptions to the general rule and thus permit one to do in practice and in good conscience what is qualified as intrinsically evil by the moral law. A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid in general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision about what is good and what is evil. On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called "pastoral" solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a "creative" hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.

No one can fail to realize that these approaches pose a challenge to the very identity of the moral conscience in relation to human freedom and God's law. Only the clarification made earlier with regard to the relationship, based on truth, between freedom and law makes possible a discernment concerning this "creative" understanding of conscience.
Note, the Pope says that the position that circumstances allow for exceptions to general moral rules is a threat to the very identity of moral conscience. In other words, tread carefully.
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

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  #69  
Old Feb 20, '12, 11:13 am
Serious Serious is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

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Originally Posted by Della View Post
Killing when it is the only option in self-defense or in war is not murder that is excused--it simply is not murder.
Redefinition is your friend. If all else fails - redefine the problem. Murder is an intentional taking of the life of another human being - that is it. Yet, some of the intentional killings is now not "defined" as not murder.
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  #70  
Old Feb 20, '12, 11:23 am
Serious Serious is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
Stealing is an intrinsically evil act, but taking a loaf of bread to feed your starving family is not stealing. Stealing is taking something to which you have no right. A starving man has a right to food to feed his family.
If that loaf of bread is the property of someone else, and you do not have permission to take it, then it is stealing. Rights are - of course - social constructs. In the tribal communities there are no "rights", everyone owns the whole shebang and no one owns specific "things".

Now, it just so happens that fundamentally I agree with you. Helping to prevent starvation superceeds the property rights. But that does not "redefine" the act to become "not stealing". In a society where there are property rights, it will remain an act of stealing. But no decent judge of jury would condemn such and act - thus affirming that there are no "intrinsically evil" acts. Funny stuff that we agree on the principle to follow, but we disagree on the wording.
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  #71  
Old Feb 20, '12, 12:05 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
Redefinition is your friend. If all else fails - redefine the problem. Murder is an intentional taking of the life of another human being - that is it. Yet, some of the intentional killings is now not "defined" as not murder.
Sorry, but you are the one doing the "redefining". Just because you think all killing is "murder" doesn't make it so. Your philosophical reasons for thinking so are flawed, as has been explained to you.
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  #72  
Old Feb 20, '12, 12:12 pm
NewEnglandPriest NewEnglandPriest is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Lt. Commander Data: "Would you choose one life over one thousand, sir?"

Captain Picard: "I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that."
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  #73  
Old Feb 20, '12, 12:13 pm
Serious Serious is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

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Originally Posted by Della View Post
Sorry, but you are the one doing the "redefining". Just because you think all killing is "murder" doesn't make it so.
Please show me where did I say that all "killing" is "murder". I said that murder is the premeditated taking the life of another human being.
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  #74  
Old Feb 20, '12, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

I would accept extinction. I don't believe that human beings have the moral authority to shed innocent blood (the Bible says as much); and certainly no one is more innocent than a baby.
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  #75  
Old Feb 20, '12, 1:42 pm
sw85 sw85 is offline
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Default Re: Hypothetical Dilemma: 7 Billion People will die if you don't shoot the baby in the head and eat its Bodily-Remains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
This needs to ask for clarification. The "non-action" still will result the extinction of the whole human race, thus "depriving" God of all the possible future worshippers - which seems to be pretty serious.
It isn't much of a stretch to say that omniscience would be aware of this and omnipotence capable of preventing this outcome, if it so desired.

So if we were put into this situation, it would be safe to assume that it's because God would be OK with the extinction of the human race. Sounds to me like a good reason to let just that sort of thing happen.

Quote:
The problem is that both the action and the non-action carry consequences. For example, if one sees a boulder starting to roll downhill (and could prevent it in time) and fails to do so, it would be a "cheap" excuse to say: "hey it was gravity that did it, why blame me?". The fact is that there is no difference between "by commission" and "by omission".
Stopping a boulder rolling down a hill isn't evil. Killing someone is. Pushing a fat man in front of the boulder to stop it from rolling would be evil and you'd be morally forbidden from doing it.

Consequences are not the determinant of the ethical character of an action. Except in consequentialism, which the Church rejects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
In the case of war, every "killing of an enemy soldier" is premeditated - and thus it is a murder. Yet, it is "excused". There is another one: "killing in self-defense" or in the defense of others. It is also a premeditated taking of the life of the attacker and it is also a murder, but also excused. So murder is not "intrinsically evil"... it is only wrong under some well defined circumstances and not wrong under some other circumstances.
Murder is illegitimate premeditated killing.

Killing someone in a (legitimate) war is therefore not murder and therefore not evil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
Redefinition is your friend. If all else fails - redefine the problem. Murder is an intentional taking of the life of another human being - that is it. Yet, some of the intentional killings is now not "defined" as not murder.
Duh. Because there are circumstances under which killing is legitimate (i.e. in accordance with the demands of justice, self-defense, or obedience to God). I cannot imagine even a single circumstance in which I would have to kill a baby in justice or self-defense and the scenario outlined in the OP makes clear that we do not have God's explicit permission to kill the baby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious View Post
If that loaf of bread is the property of someone else, and you do not have permission to take it, then it is stealing. Rights are - of course - social constructs. In the tribal communities there are no "rights", everyone owns the whole shebang and no one owns specific "things".

Now, it just so happens that fundamentally I agree with you. Helping to prevent starvation superceeds the property rights. But that does not "redefine" the act to become "not stealing". In a society where there are property rights, it will remain an act of stealing. But no decent judge of jury would condemn such and act - thus affirming that there are no "intrinsically evil" acts. Funny stuff that we agree on the principle to follow, but we disagree on the wording.
The bolded section above is false. Rights arise from our duties, and our duties from our natures.

There is a very limited right to private property. It does not extend beyond what is necessary to perform your duties to yourself, your family, the state, and God. Therefore you do not have a right to property which is not immediately necessary to the performance of these duties. Therefore there is no sin in someone taking that property in order to survive.

So your argument hinges on an equivocation. Of course "stealing" is always wrong. But "stealing" itself hinges on circumstances. It is not simply conflatable with "taking something that doesn't belong to you."

There are, in fact, "intrinsically evil" acts -- i.e., acts that are always and everywhere immoral so that not even God can command it. The only one that man can perform is disobedience to God (the only one God can perform is the total affectation of nonbeing, i.e., total destruction of a being). Everything else is contingent with respect to the circumstances, the intentions, and the end: if absolutely nothing else, contingent with respect to whether or not God has ordered X.
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