Thursday, January 8, 2009

12 Ṭeveth 5769: Postal Day/Show and Tell Day at Work/World Literacy Day/National Clean-off-your-desk Day

Greetings.

Worthy cause of the day: “Take Action for Green Jobs and Wildlife”.


Other other worthy cause of the day: “Tell Congress: Ban Shark Finning”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:  This has me annoyed:   “The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center's Great American Think-Off.”  Every year they choose a question for people to submit answers to, and then the writers of the two best submissions get to debate the question live.   This year’s question is one that defies logic:   “Is It Ever Wrong to do the Right Thing?”  The answer is conclusively “no”, and here is why:

Given any moral, ethical, or legal system, let us define:

1) An action which is meritorious or obligatory is considered right.

2) An action which is forbidden is considered wrong.

Notice that “right” and “wrong” are two mutually exclusive categories; they do no overlap.  Because they do not overlap, it is impossible for the right thing to be the wrong thing.   QED.

I am well aware that actions may be morally/ethically/legally neutral, in which case such actions are neither right nor wrong.  How moral/ethical/legal an action is may fall on a continuum between purely right and purely wrong, but there is no difficulty so long each action has one and only one moral/ethical/legal status.  Some actions may have a status which is contingent on context, e.g., returning lost property is generally the right thing, but not when said property is a sharp knife and the owner a psychopathic killer.  There may also be doubt as to whether an action is right or wrong, especially if the consequences of the action are unclear.  In some cases, there may be no desirable outcome, only a choice between different undesirable outcomes, making finding the right action an exercise in finding the least undesirable action.  But in no case do “right” and “wrong” actually overlap.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing, submitted by Barry, is a list of clichés. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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