I was on another website discussing Humanism, and someone posted this:

A moral question I'd like to ask humanists (who I think are really just in-the-closet Christians). If you start with the axiom "all humans have the same value"... What conclusions do you arrive at in practical scenario?

Example: if a boat is sinking, who should go first to the life boats?
1. random order (all are equal in all situations)
2. women and children (old gender prejudice)
3. the most moral of the people (all are equal, but the moral ones will contribute to more well-being, and so save more people e.g. more worth by their survival)

Now, aside from this guy claiming that I was an "in-the-closet Christian" (which I am not in any way), his question stumped me for a little bit. Upon further consideration, I gave the answer: "I would allow the women, children and aged to go before me, but I would let others make their own decisions regarding whether or not to be self sacrificing."

This is my first reaction, so I went with my instinct, but I'm not sure how it matches up against the ideals of Humanism. I'm still in the stage of studying Humanism, although I feel like I know enough to identify as a Humanist. So, I'd just like the opinions of other people here.


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Example: if a boat is sinking, who should go first to the life boats?

... whoever knows how to work the lifeboat rigging. Fat lot of good it does having lifeboats full of people that are still attached.

Now who should get IN those lifeboats is another question entirely.
People with the propencity and capacity to either reproduce, or contribute more over time would go first. If there is an equality amongst them, it is to be decided by vote. the most virtuous would likely be those to stay behind, but in a situation as such no games would be played~ so they stay. morality should not be much of an issue, as long as it doesn't dive into negative moralities ie letting the supremely immoral go because of possible contribution disregarding relative harm. personally, the oldest get no priority in my scenario. for fairness, they compete with the abled body equals (those involved in the vote)

that being said, I'm not sure if there should be any absolutes to begin with. the group should vote anyways.. if there isn't time to, go ahead with earlier plan.


everyone fights to the death for the boats. survival of the fittest!
WHY!!!! why on this overpopulated planet does my reproductive ability have any ADDED value whatsoever??????? where do you think that comes from???? R E L I G I O N

And I had tubal ligation so there! I find it insulting that women have added value because we can give you babies, truly insulting.

ya ya theoretically humanity could sustain an entire population with only a few men around... but that would mean our genetic diversity would be severely depleted and women would have to en masse become lesbians...!

I think people need to get away from knee jerk reaction examples such as lifeboat situations and look at the grander picture.
Actually, value of reproductive ability comes from the biological drive to advance our own species. There's nothing religious about it. Religion hinders population growth.

Also, you say you don't commit murder because you fear getting caught... Why the hell would you want to kill people? It's not logical to just up and go on a killing spree. It serves no purpose.
You may not have anybody on your fantasy kill list... I do.

Religion has multiplied reproduction, not only through religion itself but through it's desire for transcendance. The origins of life sciences are religious, it is only recently that science has been distancing itself from it religious beginnings. In as much, the ethical foundations lain down for science were religious morals. As supposedly sentient beings, we should recognise that we have taken the human race way beyond any need for self preservation. We have overpopulated and destroyed great swaths of this planet and so in my eye, the "value" of individual humans is not very much. I ascribe to the Paul Watson view of humanity, we are just big brained apes gone crazy. Reminiscent of the 'Girls gone Wild' videos.

You belong to the mentality of "human life is precious" I do not, I see only religionism in that. And I hope that any advancement of atheists' cause will grow beyond that.
And there you have it. Homosexuality is officially a choice.

On over population. Sorry. Not true. The entire population on the world could fit in the state of Rhode Island.

And may Gods children populate the Earth ...
You're seriously using this obviously religious website to convince atheists that overpopulation is not a problem?

Really?  I hope this is an obtuse attempt at sarcasm.

Overpopulation has very little to do with space on the planet; if anything, its about the rising population in contrast to the infrastructure and necessary resources that people need to survive.  Sure, we can fit a billion starving people in pensacola, Fl~ how does that mean anything when the people are still starving?

I sure hope this is a failed attempt at humor~ if not, you should start another thread so that this one doesn't become polluted with ignorance.

well in hope of moving away from the current discussion i say it is completely up to personal moral preference, inspired by religion or morals based on your life experiences.

personally i would like to think that i would be the last to board, however i can not help but think that this entire discussion is useless simply because of the fact that we act like different people and take shelter in our emotions and basic(although supressed) instinct for survival in times of such peril.
(double post, sry)
One of the problems I'm seeing here is the assumption that reproductive capability has anything to do with the equation~ it doesn't. men have the same reproductive capability that women do. without one, the other is useless (for all intensive purposes). this scenario doesn't state anywhere that the world population is depleted, or that these people matter at all in the grand scheme of things.
With that being said, the notion that women and children goes back to the chival(ristic) routes of modern western society. women viewed as fragile property and what not, blah blah blah. it has nothing to do with a propensity to procreate, or the ability to do so.
Another thing that I'm finding interesting is the notion that some thing humans are of no value at all, because we have amassed such a population~ and that endangered species are more important than humans. while that could be viewed as a valid perspective, I'd like to remind those who perpetuate that notion that there are many animals that would be extinct without human intervention. yes, there are many that have gone extinct due to human progression, but whats the number, 99% of all animal species once on the earth are now extinct? extinction is a natural process, part of the same process that ironically allowed homo sapiens to progress to such a point where they can posit their own worth as a species, something unheard of anywhere else. it is the very function that you are sighting as a blight on the world that allows you to even comprehend the situation itself.

another question I'd have to ask is 'why stop at mammals?' why not value avian, reptilian, or any other animal as less? cephalopods are quite intelligent creatures, so why not they over a human? it would seem to be much easier to ascribe a value to a kindred species, one the benefits of which are readily apparent, and that has the ability for discourse and change, than one that for all intensive purposes is mindless.
~ if you value animals so much over humans, let me ask you this; if you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with a human (with food source) or an animal (with food source)? and answer honestly~ while i know that some would much rather be with their dog than a stranger, it can be any person in the world, any person conceivable. think about it.

aside from that, in the same situation, I'd vote for the moose. less competition on the open water, and a guilt free food source!


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