Category Archives: Philosophy

David Goodall’s Death Reaffirms How Important the “Right to Die” Is

As many of you may have heard by now, renowned ecologist David Goodall has passed away. While it is of course extremely unfortunate to hear about the death of somebody who was well-loved, I think the details surrounding his passing make for an interesting philosophical discussion.

The cause of his death was suicide, however it was not suicide in a way that society would consider “conventional.” Rather, he ended his own life by a method known assisted suicide. Assisted suicides differ from conventional suicides as they occur under the care, supervision, and judgement of physicians, therapists, and psychologists.

Goodall’s death seems to have reignited the discussion surrounding assisted suicide, especially regarding its philosophy and ethics, so I decided I would like to weigh in on this issue since it is something that I have personally thought, read, and talked about for a long time.

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To paraphrase a quote by Daniel Defoe, “There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” If the statement is true, then we should have the right to determine how death and taxes occur and play out.

We have the ability to vote for our government officials who will then go on to enact legislation and policies regarding how much tax we will have to pay and how those taxes will be used. If you dislike taxation, you may likely vote for the candidate who supports lower taxes. If you find that paying more taxes is beneficial, you may likely vote for the person who takes that platform as well.

What I find so egregious however, is the fact that we don’t have a system set up which allows us to decide how we die. At the very least, one of the last decisions we ever make in our life should be how we depart this world. We write our wills, hopefully pick our nursing homes, and prepare our end-of-life care as much as we possibly can, however the vast majority of us still don’t have the ability to preferentiate when and how we die.

To die with dignity is a noble and novel concept. For someone to die on their own terms can be one of the most empowering choices they will ever make. It’s almost definitely how I will choose to go. I have been a personal supporter of the right to die for as long as I can remember. And I don’t mean just for terminally ill people. If someone wants to die and perhaps therapy, drugs, etc have all failed, then why should they be stopped from seeking assisted suicide as an option? It is their life, their body, and they have a fundamental right to seek this method of suicide.

Mr. Goodall had to fly all the way from Australia to Switzerland in order to end his life in the closest way possible to how he wanted. He said he would have rather died in Australia, but Australia’s laws made the prospect of finding a safe assisted suicide clinic impossible. While I’m glad he was able to find a facility in Switzerland, it is still slightly depressing to me that he could not die in his home country as he wanted.

We need to give people safe and effective ways to end their life. Doctors, therapists, psychologists, facilities, and equipment dedicated to assisted suicide.

David spent his last hours with his friends and family while enjoying his favorite food and activities. During his final moments, as he listened to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the last movement ‘Ode to Joy’ began. David flicked a switch which would administer the drug that would stop his heart and his eyes closed for the final time just two minutes later.

Much like the debate surrounding Planned Parenthood, women who want or need abortions will seek alternative and dangerous methods if they are not given easier access to safe abortion facilities. If people want to kill themselves, they’re going to do it. We should at least give them a space which is safe and dignifying.

How I became an Atheist in Pakistan

Pakistani Muslim students attend a religious madrassa, or school, to learn the Quran, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Religious schools in Pakistan, most of them in mosques, are the only source of education for thousands of children. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore at dusk.

 

This story is being posted on behalf of a member of the AAPN community. Our friend Adeel.

I am no different from anyone around me. Being born in a Muslim family I was no different from every other Muslim baby. When I was born my parents felt that I was blessing of Allah forgetting that in fact it was completely their effort. The first words I ever heard were “Azzan”, which is said in my right ear and ” Aqamat” which was said in my left. Being the first boy of the family I got a lot of love and attention from my family. This included religious indoctrination. While growing up the first word I learned was “Allah”. Muslim parents love to hear “Allah” as the first word from their baby’s mouth. When I learned to speak, the first class I had was about the Koran. I was like every other kid, waking at 5:30 AM in the morning to go to the nearby “Madrassa” (Islamic School) before going to primary school. Even primary school stressed religious instruction.

The girls, 5 to 5 years old, were supposed to wear “hijab” as part of their training. I was taught to pray when I was 7. We learned the prayers through nursery rhymes. We also attended a mandatory class called Islamic Studies. This was where we were brained-washed with Islamic stories and so-called Islamic values. We were not to question our religion nor its concept of a God. As I was to find out, there is no space for question in religion. Like every other Muslim child I was indoctrinated with their concept of heaven, about how beautiful it is and about the many beautiful women I would get if I lived my life acting on the rules of Islam. Like every other kid I was told that only Muslims are going to heaven because God loves only Muslims and he created heaven only for Muslims. Like everyone else I was told to hate other religions. I was to feel proud for being a Muslim. I was told how important it is for girls to wear hijab so that no man can see them. I was conditioned so well to accept this that I started to force the women and girls in my family to wear the hijab. As a teenager I joined Islamic groups who travel from city to city to invite people to Islam. I grew the beard and I was happy that I was born a Muslim; imagining myself going to heaven and getting 72 virgins gave me great motivation to become even more devoted to my religion.

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul…Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN – Tags: RELIGION)

This was all to change. It shocked me when I started to study other religions and I realized that every religion has the concept of heaven and hell, and every religion promises its followers to let them enter into heaven. I read that every religion tells its followers to hate other religions and that followers of every other religion are going to hell. This opened my eyes and really made me question my own beloved Islam. I began to see how all the Islamic sects spread hate against the other sects. The more I read the more the more I started to hate my own religion, to hate any religion. I tired of it all, though I didn’t lose my faith in God.

Then when I was 20 my grandfather had an attack of paralysis. I visited him in the hospital. That visit to the hospital was a game changer. I was walking through the childrens ward, thinking of my grandfather, when I heard some children crying in pain. This event really made me question my beliefs about God. I wondered how God could really exist if he could not help these children. After that visit I saw several accidents on the road. As I saw that they were all man-made accidents, it dawned on me that really God, too, is just a creation of man’s own mind. Later I began to see that this concept of a God is also something that is used to help rulers control the poor, for a few to exert power over the rest of mankind. I saw that religion is used to divide people and make them fight each other for personal gain and advantage.
So this is how I turned from being Suni Muslim to an atheist. I will never look back.

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Logic, And Why God Isn’t The Answer

Originally published by our friends at www.answers-in-reason.com Jan 10 2016

I have come across many different types of believers in my time. Those that believe because of Indoctrination, those that believe because of fear, those that believe because of personal experiences, and many more. But the one thing that I struggle with understanding more than any other are those that believe that God is the logical conclusion, otherwise intelligent people who genuinely believe that a belief in the supernatural god is logically sound.

I have to assume that this is because of a misunderstanding of logic itself. Just because you have intellectually justified something, does NOT mean that it was done so through logic.

To demonstrate this, I will guide you through the three different types of logic first, and then explain why God cannot be the conclusion for them.

Deductive:

Deductive Logic is the most accurate way of finding a definitive answer. It is looking at a complete set of information that unquestionably points to a specific answer.

For Example: I have left a chocolate cake alone in a room with my son. I have locked the door when I left, and there are no windows in the room. When I return, the cake is gone, the room is clean, my son has chocolate crumbs around his mouth, and a stomach ache from a sugar crash.

In this example there is enough evidence to point to only one answer. My son has definitely eaten the cake.

Inductive:

Inductive Logic is a good way of predicting results, but is not definitely right. It is looking at an incomplete set of information, but that is enough to indicate a pattern from which we can estimate other results.

For Example: I have repeated the example from the Deductive Logic section several times, and the result has always been the same. I repeat the actions again. I leave my son locked in a room with a chocolate cake. As I approach the door I can hear him moaning in pain on the other side.

In this example it is entirely reasonable for me to induce that my son has eaten the cake again. But the important difference is that I don’t actually know. He may have fallen over, or had a sudden onset of Appendicitis.

Abductive:

Abductive logic is another way of figuring out what is likely, but not necessarily true. It is making an observation, and working out the simplest answer to fit.

For Example: Similarly to the original example, I have left a cake in a room, but this time I have left the door unlocked. When I return i see my son hurrying away from the door, and find that the cake is gone.

In this example the simplest solution is that my son has eaten the cake, and hurried away so as to not get caught. But there is no way of proving this with the information that is available at the time.

And now why God cannot be the reasonable conclusion for any of these.

Deductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Deductive Logic, we would have to have an amount of evidence that CANNOT be attributed to anything else. The evidence would have to point to God as the ONLY possible solution.

Inductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Inductive Logic, we would have to have empirical evidence of the supernatural. For a supernatural entity to be the conclusion through Inductive Logic, there has to be proof of enough supernatural happenings or entities to indicate a pattern.

Abductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Abductive Logic, it would have to answer more questions than it raises. Where this may have been the case in the past, in times when science hadn’t answered so many of the fundamental questions that we have, it is certainly not the case anymore.

Conclusion:

You may be able to find a way, as a Theist, to intellectually justify your belief in God. But PLEASE stop saying it is logical. It isn’t. You are doing a disservice to logic, and you are doing harm to your own intelligence in the eyes of people who know how logic works.

Kriss Pyke

The Divine Plan Fallacy

A Quick Dose of Harsh Reality  

I can’t stand it when people try to assert to me their god has “a plan for me”…
If God has a plan for you, me and every other poor smuck in the world to include the world itself, did god plan to have the twin towers destroyed in such a horrific manner? If the Jews are supposedly “gods chosen people” and god is all knowing with a divine plan, did god plan Hitler and the Holocaust?

Christian apologists claim god gave us free will but in the next breath claim god always has a plan. When things don’t exactly pan out the way they wanted it to, they attribute it to god working in mysterious ways, or it was not part of god’s plan (as if they somehow knew).

So would this loving god that works in mysterious ways have a reason to plan the horrific events like the Boxing day tsunami in the south pacific? Why would this be considered as just or good when such unmerited human suffering is created? Why would god let countless children die of starvation in Africa, especially since he is claimed to have loved us so much and values the lives of the innocent so dearly?

People attribute god as being whatever it is they imagine it to be, after all, it makes perfect sense that god is exactly as the believer imagined it to be; that’s the key word here, imagined…
So why find fault in something that is claimed to be perfect, especially when things go badly it can be claimed as god working in mysterious ways or that of being man’s free will… Even though there’s a divine plan and god supposedly made a plan for us…

See the conflict here?
Divine Plan Fallacy

Why the God of the Gaps Drive Atheists Nuts!

Why the God of the Gaps Drive Atheists Nuts!

 

God of the Gaps

 

The ‘God of the Gaps’ fallacy seems to be one of the most common philosophical errors in today’s age, from the dawn of humanity, to the big bang, we have many explanations and plenty of evidence, but many still reject the evidence.

External link for video here 

“Science doesn’t seem to know, therefore it must be god” seems to be the common ploy. The reality is that the notion of God is an ever receding line drawn in the sand as science presses forward. For example the definition of God then is different than it is now, so this begs the question, what is “God”.  When will this realization dawn upon us and people draw that oh so logical conclusion that  there was no god in the first place? We live in an era where we can now explain how events happen(ed), the world, the universe, they’re all wondrous in every aspect, we don’t need to attribute a supernatural aspect to it for us to appreciate it.

 

The Problem With “Christian Values”

The Problem With “Christian Values”

 

"Christian Values"

‘Christian values’, are completely subjective as one ‘Christian’s values’ are completely different than another’s ‘Christian values’, which begs the question, what is the definition of ‘Christian values’ when Christians can’t even agree on what they believe is the correct set of values.

Or view here https://youtu.be/703ZJSzyyOA
If your morals and values come from a fear of reprisal from a higher power and only act with decency to your fellow man because of that, you are no better than a rabid dog on an imaginary leash. If the only reason you act with kindness and compassion to your fellow man is your hope of reward from this supposed higher power then you are incredibly divisive and selfish.
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