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
    So the right to life is part of the social contract? We need each other, therefore we will agree not to kill each other.

    There are species that are cannibalistic though. They eat the "slow" or inferior ones of their own offspring, to reserve time and effort only to those that they deem worthy. When humans do something akin to this we throw a hissy fit and designate it the term fascism. But judging by how many we are now competing for the earth's limited resources I'd say the time is ripe for some thinning out of the population.
  2. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Interesting. You know who'll be at the top of that list? Hope you're not an American, because the world will be most upset with such a consumer attitude.
  3. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Of course, instead of murdering the people already here we could always just exercise some restraint when it comes to breeding.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    That's fine, I'm done. I think.
  5. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9


    Smart assed reply was not needed here. I asked you to define "murder". You defined "killing".
  6. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Which species are you thinking of that is regularly cannibalistic, exactly?
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    While not all killing or murder is immoral:

    1) The circumstances under which they ARE moral is a rare condition of an act that is extremely rare in and of itself.

    2) As time goes on, the conditions of these justifiable conditions are occuring less and less as technology advances to give us not only more options but also ensure things are never brought to that point.

    3) Like those that claim they fight a just war, "the lady doth protest too much". Very few who claim thier killing as a moral act are to be believed. Killing is not a mathematics error, and people that do it should not take it should not wear thier "just" motivations on thier sleeve. It always seems to be that YOUR killing is the just killing, or YOUR war is the just war.

    The circumstances of just wars and just murders find YOU, and not the other way around.
  8. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    I see nothing immoral about a soldier killing another soldier in a war. That has always been seen as a legitimate use of deadly force.

    Now, the morality of the statesmen and leaders who create the wars is another issue.
  9. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Would you consider that sort of killing, civilized behavior?
  10. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Essentially all great civilizations have fought wars that allowed them to be great. So, I'd say that yes, warfighting is "civilized." That doesn't make it pleasant or desirable.
  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    But 'great' is subjective.
  12. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Wouldn't it be better to exercise restraint instead of killing people already born? Sure. But we're not doing such a bang up job of doing that as a species so Plan B.

    VLM, yes I was being smart-assed with you. But weren't you being a smart ass when you asked me to define murder, waiting for me to to make a fool of myself, instead of just telling me your point, like Vivec did? If your intention was to teach me something, going at it directly would have been more effective, evidently. But credit where credit is due, even when I wanted to return your smart-assedness I did it wrong and made an even bigger fool of myself so congratulations, you far exceed me in the art of being obnoxious.

    Jabba-wocky, according to this"the act of eating one's offspring, [occurs] in many different types of animals, including bank voles, house finches, wolf spiders and many fish species. Paradoxically, all of the species also care for the young that they don't eat." Wikipedia-entry on the subject here. I will admit, though, that filial infanticide - killing of young by their own parents - is extremely rare. By others in the same species that are not related to the infant, not as much but still rare compared to species that don't do this.
  13. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    So it's time for a verdict. I will summarize as follows and anyone who disagrees, chime in:

    Killing is NOT inherently immoral. Man in it's primitive stages figured out that we benefit greatly from working together and killing each other gets in the way of this. It was likely not a question of right and wrong, just plain rationality, an assessment of effort and gain. The attempt of making relations between people as smooth as possible becomes the basis for people's unwritten codes of conduct: morals. As time passes groups grow bigger and eventually conflicts would arise with parties against each other. Sometimes people are independent of each other and with no need to appease the other, they see no reason to behave "morally" towards them. Especially if the others are weaker. Some clever weak guy makes up a story to scare the big guy. If you kill me you will be punished by the invisible man. What invisible man? Why, the one who made the earth of course. This weak guy and his story becomes popular, and all of man is deceived into thinking there is such an absolute truth as "wrong actions" and "right actions". People still believe this guy's story and stories like it. In reality, some ways of conduct are beneficial to us as social animals that are part of a society and some are not, end of story. That is why we don't kill each other. There is no "right" and "wrong".
  14. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I guess we should work in reverse order. First, your derivation is bad. Nietzsche's "slave morality" aside, what you propsoe isn't really logical. These are humans. It isn't a fight between comic book superheroes. People aren't that absolutely stronger or weaker than one another. While, yes, there are clearly people that could best others in a "fair" fight, there is no reason to limit our analysis that way. Especially when you're saying we should throw all arbitrary social conventions out of the window. Even the strongest, most skilled combatant tires, or has to sleep, can be caught off guard, etc. In an absolutely no-holds barred scenario, it's fairly easy to kill pretty much anyone. Therefore, the idea that this arose as "some weak guy's" lie to protect himself is pretty much a non-starter. Never mind that it depends on all the "strong" people being stupid or gullible, which is a fairly arbitrary assumption.

    More troubling, though, your evidence is poor. You spent a lot of time citing the behavior of r-selected species to explain the behavior of a K-selected one (humans). That doesn't make any sense. They have manifestly different life strategies. For primates in particular, we are hard-wired as social animals. The Harlow experiments prove definitively that simply providing the resources necessary for survival, in the absence of social interaction, produces severe derangement. Likewise, the Spitz studies used pretty much the same metric with human babies, and the results were so bad that that's actually were the term "failure to thrive" was coined. All of this becomes relevant because you can't have any sort of social structure when there are no limits on when/whom you can kill. At the very least, there have to be basic rules like "only kill outsiders." Therefore, the need for rules around the use of lethal force is not simply some fanciful, culturally based whim that someone along the way came up with to gain some benefits. It's a hard-wired aspect of human behavior.

    More problematic still is your incredibly loose usage of terms. If your only goal all along was to make the point that you think human ethics and morals are products of our own imagination, you haven't really done that here. Even if you can conceive of a scenario where the immorality of murder arose completely out of conscious self-interest, that's not the same thing as disproving, for instance, that there isn't also a deity of some sort who has declared it immoral. You've just given a reason why we should listen.
  15. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    From a nihilistic point of view, nothing is immoral.

    Moral means "good for society".

    If something is good for society, it is moral/right. If something is bad for society, it is immoral/wrong.
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm going to say, if we think of the subject thread as being killing, and not murder.... then I would actually agree that killing is amoral. Kinds of killing absolutely involve a question of morality, but just looking at killing itself seems to be outside of the moral questions since that's more case by case.

    Please cite where that definition if coming from in saying that it means "good for society".
  17. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Depends on the circumstances?
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    When it comes to killing, one might say that a legal execution may be debated for its morality. If it's a murderer who poses a danger to others, then killing would seem the only option. If you could imprison such people and ensure they are kept under lock and key, then you might find issue with execution.

    I would say that execution tends to be a long and inefficient way to deal with threats, which is why I don't favor capital punishment so greatly. But it only makes sense that if a person murders another, he gave up his right to live within that society. Execution would not be for revenge, but for the sake of everyone else.
  19. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    But what if the killer only had a problem with one specific person and with that person out of the equation, the killer no longer poses a threat to everybody else. Execution is not for the protection of others. If that was the case, why not just stick to lifetime in prison aspunishment instead? Actually, we call it punishment, not "the rest of society"-protection. I think it's fairly obvious what the idea behind it is.
  20. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I am not referring to executing every single case where a lifetime sentence would suffice; I'm only referring to criminals who would otherwise need to be confined to no less than a federal supermax facility. And only if such a person posed a genuine danger to society. Otherwise the risk of executing wrongfully-convicted people would be too great.

    And yes, sentencing is for punishment. But the idea behind severe punishment is to be a preventive measure.
  21. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Murder is wrong because it involves the taking of another person's life--exerting one's will over another in a tyrannical loveless action. It is inherently not loving or "good" because it lacks such "goodness" in and of itself. That is, if goodness were to be defined ultimately by love in the first place. What is "bad" or immoral could be argued to be what lacks goodness. When it comes to something amoral--one might need to deny the meaning(s) of things like love (and how it is as an action, associated with goodness, if it is an action at all). I'm not sure how murder could be above morality, unless of course morality itself is actually non-existent (amorality). Did you mean immoral, or amoral?

    If murder is a loveless act, and something loveless is arguably immoral because it lacks goodness (the action, in and of itself), then murder is immoral.
  22. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    We don't exactly have much in the way of supercriminals like the Joker around these parts, so I'm having a hard time imagining someone so dangerous to society that he or she can't even be kept in solitary confinement (and even those guys can probably be reintroduced to society or the prison population at large). About the only thing prisoners in prison are a danger to is other prisoners, and that has more to do with the fact that the US penal system is an atrocious mess from top to bottom that is probably a source of more ills than it is a cure.

    Capital punishment is a complete farce and a blight on any modern society. "You shouldn't kill people unless they've killed people" is either plain hypocrisy or it implies the creation of a rights-less caste of individuals bereft of the protections of society (or unless you execute someone and then have the executor executed. Then it's turtles all the way down until someone commits suicide). And that's not even getting into the actual execution of the process. While it's simple and cheap enough to put a bullet into someone's head, if you're the kind of society that doesn't like innocents dying (since that would be... murder?) then you have to actually make sure it's the right person. Which involves a long and costly investigation and there's still a chance that you've messed up somewhere (oddly enough, these chances tend to skyrocket when you're a poor minority. Weird). If you have a system wherein you can absolutely 100% determine the guilt of a criminal beyond all doubt... you probably won't have a crime problem to begin with because you're omniscient and no one is going to do anything if they know there's a 100% chance of getting caught (crimes of passion might still happen though). If you don't have such a system... well, I hope you like murder for the sake of stopping murder (which won't completely stop murder anyways because negative reinforcement is not very effective. You'd just be making sure that some of the murder is in-house and providing jobs for honest murderers).

    So really, why favor capital punishment at all?
  23. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Similarly, it is a farce for the government to hold someone in jail against their will for holding someone against their will for kidnapping. Wait, no.

    We've a well established difference between what the government can do and what an individual can do. Which is why I can't pull you over for speeding but a cop can, and why the government collecting taxes against someone's will isn't illegal, but forcing someone to give you money for services against their will is.

    I'd even go further to say that "You shouldn't kill people unless they've killed people" isn't what the law even does. Which is why abortion, manslaughter, and negligent homicide are not, on any level, considered eligible for the death penalty to my knowledge, and euthanasia is fairly close to the same, although I'm less certain about it. Self-defense isn't ruled as something one gets a capital punishment for either, although that one is a bit more complex.

    You're ignoring that specifically MURDER allows for execution, and what constitutes murder is not the same as what constitutes execution, on the whole. Questioning if you can be sure it's the right person is one thing, but ignoring that they're being accused of something more specific than just killing someone is ignoring any nuance to the discussion and using overly broad strokes.

    It'd be like trying to say punishing rapists is ridiculous because people shouldn't go to jail for having sex. You're ignoring a key part of the qualifier.
  24. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
  25. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    When it's moral, they don't call it murder.

    It's 'manslaughter', or 'execution', or 'self-defence', etc. etc.
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