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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Default Moral equivalents?

    It is my opinion that global warming promoters showing me pictures of dead or suffering animals is just as objectionable as pro-lifers showing me pictures of aborted fetuses. Are these moral equivalents? Or am I missing something?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    I don't know if I would call them moral equivalents, but they are equivalent in attempting to evoke an emotional response, rather than the mature, objective discussion that should take place about either topic.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It is my opinion that global warming promoters showing me pictures of dead or suffering animals is just as objectionable as pro-lifers showing me pictures of aborted fetuses. Are these moral equivalents? Or am I missing something?
    If they try to promote global warming by showing pictures of dead animals, they have a poor understanding of human psychology.

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    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    It sounds like they want to evoke a specific response, one that will only be found in certain listeners. Just consider it an advertisement targeted at someone that isn't you, and move on. If it doesn't impact you, make note of it and continue. Or dwell on it, you might discover something. Just do whatever you want.

  5. #5

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    Even though I am horrified by the current mass extinction (one of only seven in the few billion years life has existed on this planet, and the fault of ours truly), I consider this type of advertising manipulative and resist it whenever I see it. Arguments from emotion are not bad; however, there must be some statistics presented, causation highlighted, and clear presentation, not just pictures of drowning polar bears and weepy music.

    However, I do think it is different from the manipulative anti-abortion advertisements, albeit for a very different reason. See, there are debates as to whether a fetus is a person with rights (such as the right to life). Doesn't matter whether you think they are persons or not, there is still a debate on, and a sensible one in my opinion (even though I am not anti-abortion) as they do belong to the same species and have the potential to grow up to be just like you or me. Animals don't have any rights in the legal sense of the word; though cruelty should be looked down on, the right to life cannot really be given to animals, because it would result in the extinction of thousands of carnivorous species (who themselves would have the right to life). On the other hand, the mass extinction is a different cup of tea, because it is threatening the balance of all life. The scale is infinitely greater than the abortion of human fetuses.

    You're comparing macro to micro, human (legal) to non-human. It can't really be done.

  6. #6
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It is my opinion that global warming promoters showing me pictures of dead or suffering animals is just as objectionable as pro-lifers showing me pictures of aborted fetuses. Are these moral equivalents? Or am I missing something?
    Hmmm... in your opinion, does either of these examples equate to using photos of stacked bodies from the death camps to oppose Nazism?

    Is that practice ethical? And if there is a range of values of moral legitimacy, where does this third example fall?

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Hmmm... in your opinion, does either of these examples equate to using photos of stacked bodies from the death camps to oppose Nazism?

    Is that practice ethical? And if there is a range of values of moral legitimacy, where does this third example fall?
    My personal belief is that emotional manipulation is unethical, but I know it won't end because so many people are susceptible to it.

    You make an interesting point about Holocaust victims. Perhaps I view my examples differently because they are advocating for a particular political position whereas I have never run into anyone trying to advocate for a political position using photos of Holocaust victims. I'm not sure. I'll have to think about it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Hmmm... in your opinion, does either of these examples equate to using photos of stacked bodies from the death camps to oppose Nazism?

    Is that practice ethical? And if there is a range of values of moral legitimacy, where does this third example fall?
    Very interesting question!

    I think there are some obvious similarities (playing on emotion, shock factor, etc), but also some differences that may or may not be relevant to different people. One difference I can think of off-hand is that depicting dead human beings is not the same as depicting dead fetuses or animals (of course, you may feel that fetuses and/or animals deserve the same rights to live, but they are still depicting different things). Some people may not agree that the difference is morally relevant, of course.

    However, it's clear that killing human beings is certainly more-commonly abhorred compared to fetuses and animals (not to say that a majority makes things objectively "moral", but it's another difference). So it's very likely that people seeing the photo of dead people are against murder, whereas the average person seeing dead animals or fetuses isn't necessarily against abortion or whatever the dead animals are symbolizing. The "shock value" of the photos in the latter cases is to attempt to persuade people to change their stance, whereas in the case of the death camps, it seemed more of a "look what's happening! we have to do something" rather than an attempt to show how bad murder is. Maybe?
    -end of thread-

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    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    My personal belief is that emotional manipulation is unethical, but I know it won't end because so many people are susceptible to it.

    You make an interesting point about Holocaust victims. Perhaps I view my examples differently because they are advocating for a particular political position whereas I have never run into anyone trying to advocate for a political position using photos of Holocaust victims. I'm not sure. I'll have to think about it.
    Each of us is most susceptible to the propaganda that we want to believe in. The Holocaust pictures don't seem manipulative because they agree with the view that you already have. The pro-life or global warming pictures are presenting a message that you don't particularly agree with, so it seems manipulative.

    Effective propaganda doesn't change a person's mind. It either reinforces an established view, or it gives a person an opinion before they formed their own.
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  10. #10
    Oberon
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    On balance, I'm not certain that it's right to shortchange the validity of content that engenders emotion. I'm not certain that an emotional response should be assumed to be any less valid than an intellectual response. Although intellect is the arena in which I almost always operate, I have come to distrust unalloyed intellect as a guiding principle.

    On that basis, I say that as long as the content presented in the images is factual, i.e. it correctly and truly represents what it's claimed to represent, then it's fair game.

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