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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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?
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)
(for all intensive purposes) giggles... for all intents and purposes...

on Chivalry.... Chivalry has very little to do with why to put women and children on a lifeboat, it has all to do with continuance of human lineage. And the male/female ratio can drop very low and the species will continue on since the limitation is the gestative ability. Today, not only are we the top predator on the planet, we also outnumber hundreds of lower predators and and herbivores of large mass.

Humans have never prevented extinction. No other species on the planet has single handedly in so short a time extinguished the myriad of species we have, so when the occasional Paul Watson save a whale, it's not humanity preventing extinction, it's one of us blocking the madness of the rest of us. Humanity has done nothing but harm to our environment. For me the measure of a man, and the measure of humanity is if we can say that we left this place a better place than we found it. For the last couple of thousand years, the resounding answer is no.

In our ecological pyramid, I have never excluded others than mammals. Both large mammals and large reptiles happen to be the species which have dropped below their survival threshold due to human activity. If lions had outnumberered elephants, elephants would have long ago disappeared. In a healthy ecosystem, the top predators must be less numerous. That is a fundamental notion of biological sciences.

You persist in attempting to explain life and values away using anecdotal, selfish examples. As we are sentient beings gregarious in nature, we should be able to put aside such petty whims as "who would I like to be with on an island?", it is petty and selfish and short sighted. My selfish desires have no bearing on the biological reality of a healthy ecosystem.
I have to admit these answers really cracked me up, whether your arguments about reproductive or biological value were meant to be funny or not – I hope they were tongue-in-cheek.

Let’s face it, no one would ever make such arguments and if you did you probably would be, and rightfully so, thrown overboard.

We would follow what are essentially human norms the world over, women and children first. I am a gentleman, and you can think of it whatever you wish, but I would give my place to a lady and a child. This would be my choice.

But I have to ask would a feminist relinquish this gender based selection and chose to die with the men instead.
Wow. He's asking you who you would allow to die and there is no good answer, only degrees of bad answers.

First I'm curious what the out-of-the-closet asshole would do... pray, I guess.

For me, take those most likely to help the others survive. Random is stupid as utility isn't universal, i.e. a doctor would be far more useful than a chef. A lifeboat full of children isn't going to make it very far. Morality only matters insofar as a person is going to help the others survive.
if a boat is sinking, who should go first to the life boats? The only answer possible in this impossible scenario is "not me".


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