Showing posts from June, 2015

Relative Morality: The Trolley Problem and Seven Scenarios thatDemonstrate Morality is Relative and Dependent on our Prior Knowledge

Many hold to the belief that there is an objective or absolute moral standard that exists externally from us, and that we have a kind of moral sense that sniffs out this underlying moral code, or they believe their religion or their God provides a moral basis for all our moral actions and judgments. All of these assumptions seem to be falsified by one simple thought experiment. You may have heard of it. It’s called The Trolley problem . Here I am merely going to consider seven alternate scenarios of the trolley problem and change the conditions of each version of the events in the thought experiment and then discuss the moral consequences of each. If I’m correct, I think you’ll find that when the conditions change our moral inclination changes as well. When the prior knowledge we have available changes our moral judgement shifts too. This will prove that morality is relative and dependent upon conditional restraints, including but not limited to our level of understa

Why are Certain People More Religious than Others? Answering a Reader's Question

I have a regular reader who emails me questions that he is currently wrestling with as someone who has recently lost faith. I am always glad to lend my opinion and share my own experiences, even though at the end of the day that's all it amounts to--me just yapping my mouth. But if it adds some sort of consolation or comfort to someone else, then I'm more than happy to oblige. My reader wrote me asking the following (I trimmed it a bit due to length, but I left the gist of it): Hi Tristan, I've got one question for you. I cannot understand one thing. Why are some people, like you or me, (more) susceptible to religion than others? For example, in my family everyone goes by as Christian on paper, except my father and sister. But the thing is none of these relatives of mine even have a Bible in their homes, let alone go to church. It was only me who got interested in Jesus Christ beyond what is considered ordinary Christian life in my country... Is it a relig

Is Caitlyn Jenner a Hero?

I thought I was done talking about this topic, but obviously not. There are too many dense heads and unsympathetic people who'd rather sling nasty hate than try for one second to exercise a modicum of empathy. So, without further ado...  Some people are saying what Caitlyn Jenner did is not brave or heroic.  Lots of memes of Caitlyn Jenner juxtaposed against other athletes and war veterans carry the insensitive captions hero, hero, hero, Caitlyn Jenner: not a hero. A lot of this hullabaloo comes hot off the heels of the announcement that Caitlyn Jenner is going to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. So, the question is: Is Caitlyn Jenner a Hero? Is she courageous? Brave? Most Likely. Yes. Those who still may not think Caitlyn Jenner is doing something heroic, let me just say that I can guess with fair certainty that you are not a transgender person hiding in the closet for fear of walking down the street to get groceries or p

Why I won't Misgender Caitlyn Jenner or any other transgender-person

Let me get up on my soapbox here for a minute. Recently I posted this meme on my personal Facebook timeline. It instantly sparked a long debate in the comments section of the post, but not for the reasons you'd think. Nobody was talking about the incestuous scumbag Josh Duggard and how he raped his 4 year old sister until she was 12 or about how his parents helped conceal the terrible truth of it and cover up years of molestation within the family. Rather, to my dismay, it seemed people were more morally outraged by a person changing their gender identity. First, never mind the fact that a person having a sex change or who changes their gender has nothing to do with you and is completely a personal matter. What's more, it isn't hurting anyone, but people still want to misgender Caitlyn Jenner and say that because she hasn't had a full genital reconstruction she isn't technically a woman yet and so stubbornly dismiss her coming out and continue to pedantically re