Is murder inherently amoral?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Violent Violet Menace, May 5, 2010.

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  1. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Why is it amoral to kill people? From a religious perspective the answer is really unsatisfactory. Some god says you can't, therefore you can't. No explanation as to why.

    From a non-religious and atheistic point of view: because you wouldn't want someone to kill you, so you shouldn't kill others. Yes, this is true although a bit contrived. It is just primal survival instinct and is quite irrational, because after I'm dead, I'm dead. I don't care by then. I'm gone. I won't know. It would be the same as before I was conceived. Did I get happy that I was conceived? Did I ask for it? No. I didn't exist yet, so it didn't matter, it was irrelevant. I couldn't want something when I didn't exist. I just was. So the same way, after I'm dead I can't be hurt or sorry, because I no longer exist. So why does it matter? Sure I'll probably whine and say "PLEASE don't kill me", but after I'm dead I won't care either way because I don't exist anymore, so what difference does it make?

    The only reason I can think of that it would be amoral to kill me is because those who love and care about me will miss me and grieve. But they'll get over it. Besides, everyones dies sooner or later, it's the way of nature, everything is in constant change. So what if it's a little sooner? And besides, going by this logic it wouldn't be wrong for me to kill some homeless orphan on the street, because no one would miss him anyway so no harm done. I could just kill all the hobos.

    The only reason I can think of off the top of my head is, if we allow it, "everyone" are gonna be doing it, until we are in danger of bringing ourselves to extinction, which is counter-productive to the survival of our species, i.e. against the natural instinct of all organisms. On the other hand, when our species is extinct it won't care anymore either because it no longer exists. There's that silly survival instinct again, our brains sub-consciously telling us "You are very important!! You must reproduce and live on through your offspring!! You must ensure the survival of your species!!". In the grand scheme of the universe we're just a little speck on a needle in a haystack. Who notices? We're not as important as we deceive ourselves to be.

    But back to morals, unless the person has sentimental value to another person, I see no moral fault in killing them. So if I didn't know anybody, if I was living on my own in the woods like Tarzan and no one knew me, there would be nothing morally wrong with killing me. However if you kill me in an unnecessarily painful way, that would be cruel. Just as we think it is cruel to cause animals unnecessary harm when slaughtering them, but there's nothing inherently wrong in just ending their lives.


    What do you guys think? Do you think there is something inherently amoral about killing someone, except for the fact that you cause grief to their loved ones? Or do you agree with me that there is nothing inherently amoral in it, it's just dangerous to allow it because it endangers our species, and we want to retain our species just as we work to prevent species of dolphins to go extinct, to preserve genetic diversity - in other words, for sentimental purposes? And please don't just give me the "God says it's wrong so it's wrong" diatribe. Wormie can refrain from posting in this thread. I won't mind.


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    For the record: this thread is intended as a work in progress, meaning that I look forward to your input on the issue and am expecting that through the ideas that are put forward by others, my ideas and opinions will change and further develop.
  2. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Why is it wrong to eat people? (if you don't mind me adding another question into the mix)

  3. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    After you've killed them it doesn't matter what you do with them. They no longer care. If you're debating whether it is wrong to kill people with that motive, then that is covered by the opening question: whether murder is wrong AT ALL, and is thus redundant.
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    We evolved as social animals, so we have a strong innate sense of social group insiders vs. social group outsiders. Killing social group insiders is a bad idea because they may be part of the support structure that helps share food gathering duties, protection of young, protection of territory, grooming, etc.

    Killing social group outsiders may be fine though, depending on the context.
  5. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Depends.

    If you wish to live in a civilized world, then you should expect other people to demand some measure of safety from one another. If you think it's alright to kill others, then you should be perfectly content if someone should decide to kill you. One thing I think to be very hypocritical is when people are eager to do what benefits them, but then complain when someone does exactly the same thing at their expense. If someone wants to go on a killing spree, then he shouldn't expect everyone else to be so considerate to his own miserable life.
  6. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    What if you didn't kill them, you just ate them after they died?
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    It's not, it's just generally thought of as an unsettling prospect because we're one of a handful of species that's afraid of our remains.
  8. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Where does this 'morality' come from? Who does it benefit?

    I suppose that murder isn't inherently immoral... it is just an act. If you have a system of beliefs by which make it immoral, then it will always be as such. The act doesn't change, but one's perception does. Maybe you think that there's nothing wrong with it, considering that no one else seems to respect the value of your own life.
  9. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
  10. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Well, I'm asking a related question: why is it considered 'immoral' to kill someone? Why should we abide by it? Why is killing considered an 'evil' act, instead of just an act that limits our species' chance of survival and thus irrational (if preserving your species is among your priorities)?

    Agreed.

    I have friends and certainly family who value my life, and would be sad if I died. But how is that relevant though? The value of a person's life should be measured by how much others value them? I tend to agree, as do most people, which is why people would get more upset if a family man with wife and kids is killed than a single guy. Because he would leave a void in other people's lives in a greater way than the single guy would (presumably). So that means that a person's life has no inherent value in itself? Rather it is dependent on how much and whether others cherish their existence? Based on this logic it would be much more immoral to kill a pop star than an average person because a lot more people cherish the existence of the pop star.


    Actively and on purpose causing a fellow member of your species (I believe the term is 'slaughter' when applied to other species?) to die. Good enough for you, or would you like me to elaborate further?
  11. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    The question is completely incorrect. Murder is the unlawful killing of someone. Amoral means neutral or lack distinction between right and wrong


    I think the question you're trying to ask after reading your post is "is killing inherently immoral?"
  12. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Yes, you're right, I mixed up the terms. Thanks for clearing that up. :)

    Listen everyone! What Vivec said! :p
  13. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    No problem! :)


    Sometimes all it takes is asking the right question.
  14. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    No, murder is not inherently immoral. It all depends on the social system involved. The Aztecs did not consider murder immoral, in the context of human sacrifice.

    Before you can ask whether X is moral or immoral, you have to first define "morality."
  15. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Why does it matter whether other people get upset over something as insignificant as this? I can't say I notice any void in my life after September 11. So it's not like that really impacts me. And it doesn't really impact all that many people.

    No, I'm just saying it really doesn't matter. In fact, I would rather see a pop star eliminated than just some random soul off the streets. It would discourage people from becoming pop stars.

    Simple fact... you have a death penalty and people will be less inclined to kill each other. You will be less inclined to do it and others will be less inclined to kill you. I would assume more people would rather have more protection than looser laws.
  16. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Well, I like most people define morality to be striving towards doing to others what you would have them do unto you. Or at least that you don't do things to others that you wouldn't like them to do to you.

    But as much as I like to use this simple principle as my moral compass, it has a flaw. If I don't mind being killed, because I just don't care or because I think I wouldn't care, then I see no problem in killing others.
  17. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Eh. There was no murder in the context of human sacrifice. Just like there's no murder in the context of the death penalty. Murder is, by definition, and illegitimate taking of life.
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Asking if killing is amoral is like asking if sex is immoral. There are some very important qualifiers that are being ignored. Some sorts of killing are, I think, inherently immoral. Other sorts of killing are, I think, not at all immoral. A lot needs to be qualified for that question.
  19. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Think about your friends and family. Each person's life and the existence we lead here on Earth is worth something, no? And yet we're all biological lifeforms. A bullet to the head will instantly end the life of any one of us. Death at age 80 is painful enough....why the hell should someone be allowed to end another person's life at age 25? And look at how much money and effort it takes to keep someone alive via medical procedures as opposed to that bullet. That's why murder is immoral.
  20. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    But your reasoning is again putting the value of human life in the value they pose for other fellow humans, by arguing against killing by pointing to the pain it causes the close ones of the killed. That means if I kill a suicidal friendless loser or a hobo in the street, there would be nothing wrong with that. While I personally couldn't bring myself to do that I can't put my finger on why it's so wrong either.
  21. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I would contend that it is, ultimately, an issue of why the killing is happening. I would say that it is immoral for an individual to take the life of an adult if it is not in self-defense or consented to (euthenasia, etc) because there is an inherent right to life that can be sacrificed by a person, but can not simply be taken.
  22. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Why?
  23. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Because rights are human-generated concepts. They can easily be given or taken.
  24. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I would say because that basis is a necessary starting point both culturally for the stability of a society and biologically for the species as a whole to survive. Though the exceptions or ways that right can be removed vary from culture to culture and philosophy to philosophy.
  25. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    What does that have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that people kill others so they can have a greater share of the world's resources?

    Actually that has been fairly accurate on a number of occasions, especially with imperial powers.
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