The debate "Is a person's life worth more than that of a cockroach" was started by
October 29, 2019, 11:09 am.
185 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 58 people are on the disagree side.
That might be enough to see the common perception.
It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.
Allirix posted 25 arguments, diecinueve posted 7 arguments, CastLight posted 1 argument, Nemiroff posted 6 arguments, jrardin12 posted 3 arguments, TRUELOVE posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
Audrey23 posted 1 argument, Nemiroff posted 5 arguments, LitleTortilaBoy posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.
arkasamanta681, truthseeking, Allirix, MightyJackalope, CastLight, TheExistentialist, chelseat99, Agrumentman, StarianaMusicINFP, Andrew_Sagirius, YEET, Debatelegend, Mimi, Rayyan989, Grant65, NoctaRavage, plank420, chelrasonjohn, mtbtheboss, Cisco, jrardin12, rohanpatel2301, benmiller, RoyDierlijk, fireball4thewin, HopeleSSJames3925, devinmungo, Jemjem13, Millenialist, Sparkytusk, Entropyrose, wolf, Helloguys, TRUELOVE, shadab_ansari, Nemiroff, Juwilson, Dij748, Liam, Thandaza3 and 145 visitors agree.
Audrey23, mr_raaz8948, Unaluhabe, Bnice80, LitleTortilaBoy, aspy and 52 visitors disagree.
we value human life more than material things because it cannot be recovered, why do we value our cleanliness more than the life of cockroaches?
True, we value human life above material goods so if you kill to defend your stuff you go to jail. But if you kill in self defense, ie to defend your own life, you do not get punished by society.
But the benefit you get is less than the damage you do to them. If someone steals you 100 dollars, he is threatening your security, but killing him is still bad
No, of course not, you still have an argument, it's just set with values instead of abstract notions of good and bad. You could say killing cockroaches is not bad because they at least symbolically threaten safety, health, and cleanliness, important values most people have.
Ok, so the rules are not objective, but they must have arguments. You cannot say that killing cockroaches is not bad just because they are cockroaches.
Why is that a rule though? What makes it necessarily bad to take someone's else's benefit? What if you are benefited far more? What if you consent? What if they do bad? Is taking freedom from a criminal bad? I know there are answers to each of these, my point is you cannot answer these questions objectively. You answer them with a set of values, and there's nothing objective about the set you choose.
My position is that there are rules to know when something is bad.
Removing someone from a benefit that belongs to them is bad, but removing someone from a benefit that does not belong to them (such as stopping a thief) is not bad.
As many people are saying, it is mostly a subjective feeling for each individual. In matters of "worth", the only actual value we can guarantee is zero, worthless. This seems nihilistic, but hear me out. Without the ability to assign worth, something is worthless, but it is at the same time, priceless. The value is placed by the person valuing it. A phrase I've come up with is; "All life is precious, but none of it special."
The act of killing the roach is an entirely new discussion. I am of the belief that sometimes, the roach must be killed. To go out of your way out of malice, or pleasure is something different. I will catch a roach and throw it outside if I can.
Is that your position too? If so that wasn't clear. Technically that's not my entire position though. It's not exactly society's assumption of what's good or bad that makes something good or bad, but instead a belief of what is perceived to be valuable (values) and what acts agasint those values that makes something good or bad.
according to what you said, that something is bad depends on what society assumes is bad
We're arguing over what is good and bad. You can't just assume something is bad and say that's why it's bad..
Is this a SERIOUS Topic?
The thief benefits from something that is not his. Since the thief is doing something wrong, then stopping him is good.
What an odd thing to say. You don't believe a thief benefits from stealing something?
when you stop a thief you don't take their benefits because what he was going to steal doesn't belong to him. What you do is prevent you from losing benefits, so doing so is good
So stopping a burglar is bad. Defending your country is bad. I don't agree.
I don't think that depends on the weight society gives it. Taking someone's benefit is bad even if it benefits you.
I agree that morality is governed by rules, and those rules include felt harm and benefit. I just don't agree those rules are objective because it needs to be more than that to resolve conflicts ie when an action makes one person feel good but another feel bad. We determine which side is more important by applying our values.
I think of it like this: if person_A's action makes them feel feeling_A and it makes person_B feel feeling_B, society applies weight A and B to each feeling to determine if it's moral. That weight summarises the values applied to the situation.
if A * feeling_A is greater than B * feeling_B
then action by person_A is good
if A * feeling_A is less than B * feeling_B
then action by person_A is bad
if they're equal or within an acceptable margin then action = amoral
Suppressing the sexuality of a paedophile makes a paedophile feel bad, but acting on it harms children and makes them feel bad. We weight the feeling of the child higher than the feeling of the paedophile.
When a burglar robs my home they are benefitted and I am harmed. Even though my loss of the object is equal in magnitude to the robber's gain of the object, society's values weight my harm high enough that inflicting harm on the robber is still moral. This is because we value security highly and the burglar is attempting to breach that.
The set if values we use to weight each feeling is what is subjective.
When I said that morality is objective, I meant that it does not depend on what society says, but is governed by rules. Something good will always be something that makes someone feel good and something bad will always be something that makes someone feel bad.
Suppressing the feelings of homosexuals makes homophobes feel good, but it makes homosexuals feel bad, and making someone feel bad is bad, therefore, homophobia is bad
I'm not sure if I understand you correctly because it feels like you're contradicting yourself. You're saying morality is objective and doesn't change, yet you're using an argument for cultural relativism to try and support it. You're saying morality is also pinned to the perceived harm and benefit on an individual. That's very much not objective because what's harmful and beneficial changes between individuals, generations, cultures, and eras. Objective harm and benefit also changes cross-culturally. Using homophobia to repress one's own homosexual feelings is objectively beneficial in a society that ostracizes or even murders homosexuals, but harmful in a society that accepts it.
Also, minds can be changed through debate and social conditioning. It's difficult, but possible. The abortion debate you brought up is a good example of how social conditioning has changed public perception. Framing it around a person and bodily autonomy changes the focus from killing a human life to female empowerment and defining the edge of a legal entity. That helps women who benefit from abortions more easily accept their decision.
So if a person thinks that human life has an intrinsic value, that person will think that abortion is bad, and nothing can be done to change his mind, since it depends on what he thinks.
I think that to know what is good and what is bad, we must imagine if we would like them to do that to us. Something good is something that we would like to be done to us and something bad is something that we would not like to be done to us, but different people like to be done different things, so you have to use something that we all like. We all like to feel good and nobody likes to feel bad, so something good is something that makes someone feel good and something bad is something that makes someone feel bad.
Thus, slavery and homophobia were always wrong, but society had not noticed. Morality is objective, it doesn't change, but if you can change the opinion of people who are wrong
Just because morality is relative to culture doesn't mean you cannot debate it. That actually makes it more open to debate than something that is objectively true. It's not your individual morality that determines society's morality. It's not subjective in that sense. The idea of Cultural relativism is closer to a collective subjectivity. That means debate is necessary and perpetual. If your group's view doesn't align with the consensus then you have the ability to change it with a lot of hard work. Slavery is now bad, war is now bad, homophobia is now bad, women in the workforce and in management positions is no longer bad, and so much more has changed thanks to debate. So debate is a key part of having a relative morality. It has nothing to do with an objective morality. If our morality is objective then it shouldn't change so there's no point in debating it.
so you cannot debate what is good or bad because it is totally subjective
What's bad is what the philosophy or belief system that society subscribes to says is bad. That's been my point from the start.
What is the definition of "a bad thing"?
If someone feels bad for killing a cockroach then they probably believe it's bad to kill cockroaches. But most people don't empathise with cockroaches, just like most people don't feel good killing people, so our society doesn't see it as a bad thing to do.
a tibetan monk would say no to all.
a health code worker would say yes to be safe.
which one is wrong?
Is killing an insect that does not cause disease bad?
If something bad is something that makes someone feel bad, and killing cockroaches makes them feel bad, then killing cockroaches is bad.
You can if you want, but we don't have laws protecting the rights of cockroaches because most people don't
disease, especially in dense urban environments.
What threat do they pose?
Don't we take them into account just because they can't express what they want? That is unfair
dont you mean it is is bad to *murder* cockroaches as killing within the law is acceptable for even humans. in fact according to human morality it is *good* to kill cockroaches as they pose a threat to us as a group.
We don't negotiate with cockrockes so their standard of morality doesn't need to matter to us.
"So together we have negotiated a standard for morality, using how we assume we'd feel in each situation."
If we were cockroaches we would not like to be killed, so it is bad to kill cockroaches
You're right. To an individual isolated from society it's what makes you feel good that is good and what makes you feel bad that is bad. But society is a collection of individuals and we don't live in a world by ourselves. Since we must interact with others we can't just operate by what makes us feel good or bad. So together we have negotiated a standard for morality, using how we assume we'd feel in each situation, to determine what behaviour is acceptable, not acceptable, good, bad, or amoral.
Our conceptualisation of these standards is instilled by our parents, teachers, idols, media, and friends. But we often try rebelling agasint it in our teens to find a group that aligns closer to our own individual morality. But that often ends in an eventual acceptance of the standards set by society.
Some people do get sexual gratification from murdering. But they are anomalies and silent voices in the negotiation of the standards we set in our society
Some people feel good murdering people.
I do not think that good and evil are what society says. If so, what happens to things that are not decided if they are right or wrong? I think that something good is something that makes someone feel good and something bad is something that makes him feel bad.
in our society... maybe. murder is wrong, but i can think of many times killing is justified. other societies have different exceptions.
absolutely no killing
absolutely all killing
has never been the norm. its always in the grey area.
Therefore the German people had a choice of what to do with Jews and they elected Adolf Hitler who spewed a lot of hate toward Jews. Therefore, the German society is responsible for what happened to the Jews.
Nemiroff, while Germans didn't know that Jews were being massed murdered they did want Jews off the street and out of economic competition. So the German people did not care what happened to the Jews because it the German people who helped round them up.
So it is good to kill other peoples?
nope. most germans did not know about the mass murder and thought they were simply being relocated. social morals do not shift that much that fast.
however Spartans had no issues with murdering other peoples.
So in Nazi Germany was it right to kill Jews?
Not just imposed. It's invented and enforced by society
So is it imposed by society?
Our laws codify and enforce a subset of easily defined, static, unanimous rules about what our society has agreed is good and bad.
But most social rules are too murky, dynamic, or not unanimous enough to codefy into law and not everyone has an equal say in the writing of laws so it's not actually an accurate representation of what society actually thinks is good or bad, but it's the best approximation we have.
Are good and evil rules imposed by society?
Yes and no. There's no universal law that makes something good or bad. So if you need something to be objective for it to be real then there is no good or bad.
But the goods and bads we have exist to us. They come from the values we negotiate and agree are important to uphold. So things are still good or bad, but it's a subtle negotiation process not an objective set of laws.
So nothing is bad or good?
Whether he thinks it's bad or good doesn't make it objectively bad or good though.
if you try to throw them out the window, it means that at least it's a little bad to kill them
no, that is not why.
i have no problem killing them, but i also have no desire to go out of my way to kill.
even if you are ok with killing something, to seek it out without reason is a bit extra.
Don't you kill them because it's wrong to do it?
i dont kill insects unless they are in my house and i cant easily chase/toss them out the window. or if they are at my job where ill people sleep and eat, i kill there. however, the important part was my first sentence, about objectivity vs subjectivity.
then to ants or any insect that does not transmit diseases
that is objectively the opposite of subjective.
also roaches spread disease. if its us or them, i pick us.
if a race superior and different from us kills us it would be wrong. So subjectively for us that someone kills another just for being different is wrong. So subjectively for us, killing cockroaches is wrong
objectively there is no objective answer. it depends on your perception, thus it is subjective.
What objective values are you using to measure the worth of a human and cockroach to say that they or of equal worth?
objectively the life of a person and that of a cockroach are equal, so the objective answer is that it is wrong
Yes. So there is no objective answer here. It's relative to the values of each subject. So I agree and disagree.
Human life has more values I rank highly, so to me they're worth more.
That hierarchy is different in each person. For a cockroach, its life is in the first place, and killing it just because in your hierarchy is too low, it would be very selfish
There's a method to elicit your value hierarchy by asking "why" to everything you say. Getting to fundamental values let's you define why you believe what you believe. Without them discussion is difficult.
An example for someone who believes all life is equal could be:
They may think it's sentience (feelings, perceptions, mind's eye, subjective experience, etc) that what makes life valuable. It's what separates objects from subjects and you either have it or you don't. Each form of sentience is equal because it's superior to say otherwise. You therefore have a duty to care for life that may struggle to defend itself. Idk
Or you may be a nihilist and these are your values:
The lives are worth the same because the lives are equally worthless.
well other, more superior, species get hungry too.
furthermore they may also see us as pests, possibly full of disease. or perhaps simply a predator. we are clearly superior to a tiger... a tiger can still cause alot of death and destruction to us.
there are many reasons to kill, and many questions considering interspecies morality.
as to my theory, it has nothing to fo with right or wrong. but what is. our brains cannot handle billions of individuals (and thats just humanity, forget all life). we compartmentalize, organize, and prioritize our reality. as much as even the best of us understands the flaws of stereotypes, one cannot think of people in a foreign nation one has never met as anything other then a nationality or ethnicity in the most general terms. and its much harder to care about "random Chinese farmer" then it does about a person you know as an individual. that care rises exponentially the more you identify with the person. family (usually) > friends > neighbors > strangers > foreign strangers (debateable) > any animal > unfamiliar animal.
I eat meat because I like it, just like I kill cockroaches in my room because they scare me. we take their lives for the benefit of ourselves. that's wrong, but it's hard to change it
rights are political permissions that vary depending on the government/culture.
if you mean morality, as in "is it right for them to kill us", that relies on objective morality even more complicated by species differences. does it apply to our systematic imprisonment and murder of cattle? what if the superior species considers us tasty and nutritious? does that change the equation?
And that is correct? imagine that there is a race superior and different from ours. Would that give him the right to kill us?
yes it is right. even amongst humans do you give the same value to the lives of your family as your friends? do you give the same value to your friends as your neighbors? etc.
it isnt exactly about whether it is us or not, but how close to us it is in relation. thus a chimpanzee and orangutans are being represented in court to get human rights, while rats and cockroaches are still being undefended in their slaughter.
Do you think it is right that we give less value to its life just because it is not us?
If you were cockroach, will you thinking human life is worth than cockroach? it's all about who you are and you choose to be in who's shoes
well it has to deal with perspective completely if you're someone who cares about every single thing on earth then yeah a cockroach would be the equivalent to a human on the other hand however for Christians God made humans in his image and a cockroach is not a human it is an animal and Christians say that every other animal is a soulest beast and really their lives do not matter as much as God's image that's what we say so from Christian's perspective a human life would not be equal with a cockroaches life. It depends completely on perspective
What is intrinsic value? Is it some sort of objective value that is outside the value we give ourselves? If so I'd love to hear more about it
I dont think anyone honestly believes that a human life and the life of a cockroach is equal. Whether they want to admit it or not everyone knows deep down that human lives have intrinsic value.
Because we value human life and not the life of a roach
Why is it wrong to kill a person and not a cockroach?
Depends what set of values you use to judge "worth". Otherwise it's nonsensical