A Mind for Madness

Musings on art, philosophy, mathematics, and physics

Ethical Voting Habits

10 Comments


Is it ethical to vote based on well-informed opinions? By well-informed opinions I mean an opinion in which an educated rational person could successfully argue both sides. Take abortion for instance. I have an opinion on it, but I can also put that opinion aside and “successfully” argue either side. This is in opposition with something like an ill-informed opinion in which no rational person could successfully argue for slavery, say. If you are an issue voter voting on ill-informed opinions, then without discussion I’ll consider that unethical or at least ignorant and irresponsible.

The idea now is that we should be free to vote based on our (well-informed) opinions. The side with the most number of people wins and policies are created based on the majority. But what happens if fact comes up that doesn’t allow us to vote based on our opinions? This is our current situation. It has become apparent that Palin is not fit for the VP position. These are indisputable facts. She cannot name a single major newspaper of the world. She has no experience on a global scale. She believes things that are not true (e.g. the world is 6000 years old). When asked a question she has not been told the answer to, she becomes completely incoherent or changes the question to one that she has been told the answer to.

We have been put into a moral dilemma. Are we ethically obligated to put our opinions aside and vote for the qualified side? I hate to apply to a utilitarian argument, but it is very overwhelming at this point. We are not some small country that can do what we want (i.e. vote on single issues or on our opinions alone). We must take into consideration the rest of the world. We are voting into office a world leader, yet the rest of the world doesn’t get to vote.

Suppose for the next four years people continue to have abortions (insert issue of choice). The world continues. Suppose McCain is elected and then dies a few months or even years in. I’m not saying the world will end, but it will be drastically changed and not in a good way. How can Palin have reasonable conversations with other world leaders when at this point they probably don’t respect her? She won’t be taken seriously and her presence at these meetings will be purely for show.

Outside of America, abortion (insert any issue) isn’t really even considered an issue. To ignore the rest of the world in this decision and vote for a world leader based on something the rest of the world is not concerned about is to vote unethically. Thus, the ethical decision when fact turns up, is to put aside your opinions and vote in alignment with fact.

Clearly McCain’s choosing Palin was the initial unethical decision, since assuming a rational and ethical population, we no longer have the freedom to vote on our opinions. Now that his unethical decision was made, we must shed our opinions and partisanship and vote against him.

Author: hilbertthm90

I write about math, philosophy, literature, music, science, computer science, gaming or whatever strikes my fancy that day.

10 thoughts on “Ethical Voting Habits

  1. 1. There is very little direct evidence that the world is over 6000 years old.

    2. We are voting into office a world leader, but this world leader is not running the world. This leader deals with what happens inside our country, and if, in our country, abortion is an important issue, what does it matter if it’s not important in Libya? If we were truly voting on what the rest of the world thinks is important, we need to define “rest of the world”. There are some third-world countries that have very different ideas of what issues are important than say, Germany.

    3. By voting against McCain, I assume (correct me if I’m wrong) that you are voting for Obama. You have made no argument in support of Obama, but wouldn’t it be unethical to dispose of one candidate and vote for the other without a proper weighing of each? I say this because in the last sentence you urge us to vote against McCain while providing zero support for any other party.

    If you respond to this, take note that I am not trained in philosophical matters in any way, if that’s not already apparent.

  2. I have no idea what 1 is referring to. In fact, the ONLY evidence we have about the Earth’s age all says that it is far, far over 6000 years old. This is something we know to be truth. The only thing that says something different is a book written by humans filled with all sorts of nonsense. This political correctness has got to stop. Science is not some religion with untestable hypotheses. We know the Earth to be over 6000 years old, and to pretend like other beliefs about it are equally valid just so that we don’t hurt other people’s feelings is ludicrous.

    “This world leader is not running the world.” Well, I find this statement very lacking in evidence when you just look at how the world has been affected the last 8 years with Bush in office. There may not be a single world leader, but this position is as close as it gets.

    True. I didn’t say vote Obama, but in all realism you haven’t actually voted against McCain if you vote for some third party candidate. I think it wouldn’t be hard to make the case that an average person on the street is more qualified than Palin, so the case for a highly educated person like Obama is extremely easy.

  3. Hi, Im from Australia. I find right-wing USA politics extremely bizarre. In fact I would call it an exercise in collective psychosis.

    That having been said I wonder if you are familiar with the recent Open Letter To John McCain by Frank Schaeffer who was a prominent figure among the psychotic crazies who run the “religious” right in the USA. Somehow he managed to wake up and become relatively sane again.

    It is very much about ethical voting and the ethics, or more correctly, the lack of ethics now being displayed by the right wing wing-nuts.

    As distinct from sane balanced conservatism.

  4. 1. Yes, we have this book written by humans, filled with nonsense, that has been around for 2000 years and has yet to be conclusively shown wrong on any point. What evidence do you have that shows the earth is well over 6000 years old? I would like to hear it.

    2. Yes, the world has been affected by President Bush. I’m not arguing that; I’m arguing that voting for a President based on his policies that affect me personally is more ethical than voting based on whether the policy that affects me would be considered important in other countries. I’m speaking against the statement that begins, “Thus, the ethical decision when fact turns up,…” What I gather from that statement is, “Vote in alignment with the rest of the world, even if it’s wrong.”

    3. I would like to hear your defense of Barack Obama’s political experience vs Palin’s. In what extraordinarily little research I’ve done, Palin’s great experience seems to be the talking point of Democrats and Republicans alike. I have read from several sources that Palin is more qualified than Barack in multiple areas.

    4. Cheers!

  5. Even I think I can answer some of your questions KT, and I haven’t been trained in philosophy either.

    1. Certainly your book is wrong on many points conclusively by definition. Just compare Revelation and Matthew. It would take me all day to come up with as many contradictions as are in just those two books.
    “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
    ~ Matthew 5:9
    “The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing in the sea died.”
    ~ Revelation 16:3
    I mean, I only have to open it up and pick random passages and they conflict. I’m sure there are much better ones to prove my point.

    What evidence is there for the age of the Earth?? What evidence isn’t there? First of all, there are techniques to date rocks, which I can’t go into here. You can easily look them up (search radioactive dating), but if you don’t know what they are right now, I doubt it will do any good. The oldest rocks are something like 3.8 billion years old. We can use many different techniques to verify this number. And that’s just the oldest we can find! So the Earth is at least that old. Anyway, ever been to a museum? Seen those dinosaur bones? Well, we can date those too, and guess what, the Jurassic Period was about 199 million years ago which is much longer ago than 6000 years. Also, where does it say “Then God created the dinosaurs and killed them off because they were being mean to each other.”?

    2. Let me address this with a question. It’s more ethical to be self-centered and focused on your own wants than the rest of the world’s needs?

    3. I don’t have the energy to address this one well, but Palin was good at her small town Alaska governing. No doubt about it, but that hardly makes you knowledgeable in world affairs which is super important if you are the President of the USA.

  6. 1. Hmm…I could systematically go through the Bible and point out all that is wrong, but that would take years. So I’ll start with the first paragraph and that should be sufficient to prove my point. God creates light on the first day, and creates the sun on the third. Contradiction! The sun is the source of light on Earth. So it only took me a few sentences to find the first flaw.

    Again, I don’t really want to get into this argument since it is pointless. The ONLY evidence we have is that the Earth is much much older than 6000 years old, thus there is no argument. We have numerous techniques such as radiometric dating, we see stars further than 10,000 light years away, evolution takes longer than 6000 years, we know of civilations that were around much much longer ago than 6000 years, and on and on it goes. I’m not a geologist, so I’m sure there are many other ways that I don’t know about.

    2. I made a utility argument. I didn’t say vote blindly based on what everyone else wants. There are over 6 billion people on Earth. Suppose 5 billion want Obama, but the 1 million that actually get to vote, vote for McCain. How democratic is that considering the decision will affect all 6 billion?

    3. The burden of proof is on you. I claim no experience, you claim experience, please name something. I assure you that Democrats and Republicans unite on the fact that Palin has no experience, so I’m not sure where you heard that (see the Republican Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama in which even he says she’s not ready). She was mayor of a small town for a few years, and then governor of Alaska for a few years. I’ve had my passport longer than her. Until this year, I had been to more foreign countries than her. She is highly uneducated. She doesn’t read any major newspapers. Please tell me where her experience is. This is my point. I’ll finally be able to sleep at night if one person can give me one reason why it would be a good idea to vote for her. At least Obama is highly educated at Columbia and Harvard Law. He has the ability to make decisions. Ack. This is too long already, and again nearly anyone is more qualified than Palin, so…

  7. 1. Interestingly, you both mentioned radiocarbon dating. This method of determining age is ONLY valid up to 100,000 years IF the assumption that the ratio of C12 and C14 molecules in the atmosphere has remained constant for the last 100,000 years. This ratio is not constant, and major discrepancies in measurements are the result. Hilbert, you mentioned seeing stars that are very far away. This is an illogical argument against creation, as the same argument can be applied to the Big Bang. Whereas creation theory has a few plausible explanations for this happenstance, the Big Bang theory does not aside from speculation. As for civilizations that were around more than 6000 years ago, how do we know the dates they were around? Carbon dating? Macro-evolution taking more than 6000 years begins from the premise that things were not created. The other point to macro-evolution is that there is too much information in the genetic structure of humans (or anything, for that matter) to call evolution a reasonable explanation. There is not a single process or mutation that has been shown to add information to genetic code. Not one.

    2. “How democratic is that considering the decision will affect all 6 billion?” Then what would be democratic? To vote in line with the other 5 billion against your own principles? I don’t understand your argument here.

    3. I will concede that Biden is much more qualified in international relations than Palin. I typed “Palin’s experience” into google, and here are the first five results:
    The first is critical:

    http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/08/sarah_palins_experience_checkm.html

    The second puts her above both Obama and Biden:

    http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,174715,00.html

    The third is middle of the road:

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/09/dems-call-palin.html

    The fourth puts Palin on equal footing with Biden:

    http://wizbangblog.com/content/2008/08/31/before-liberals-dismiss-governor-palins-experience-as-commander-in-chief-of-alaskas-national-guard.php

    The fifth is somewhat critical:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/02/mccain-surrogates-struggl_n_123213.html

    I realize google is not the greatest source of information, but two out of the first five links described Palin’s experience as above reproach.

    4. I think we’ve sufficiently deviated from the original topic that emails could be exchanged instead of using this message board. jmarkey@iastate.edu

  8. There’s simply no evidence that Palin thinks the world is 6000 years old. There was a cranky long-time opponent of hers who posted on his blog that he’d heard her one time say she thought that and that her saw her again years later and asked her again, discovering that she’d changed her mind. But even if you believe this long-time partisan opponent of her who produces no other witnesses or evidence, it’s not true that she believes it. It’s only true that she once believed it and was convinced otherwise once she looked at the issues more carefully.

    There was also a gubernatorial debate where she indicated that she thought both sides of the evolution debate could be discussed if a student brought up the subject, but that doesn’t mean she agrees with the creationist side (even if you assume creationism to mean six-day creationism, which may not even be what she meant; she may have just meant intelligent design, which is compatible even with common descent, or she may have meant old-earth creationism without common descent).

    I see stress on well-informed opinions in your post, but it’s hard to see the claim that Palin thinks the world is 6000 years old as very well-informed.

  9. It is actually quite well-informed. It is very clear that she “changed her belief” to gain votes. Politically it is better if she says that she doesn’t believe such an absurd claim.

    My method of inferring her belief is much more sophisticated than “she says she doesn’t believe it, thus she doesn’t believe it.” Just watch any (and I mean any) of her interviews. They are extremely laden strict interpretation of the Bible. This is her actual viewpoint, and it comes out between the lines when she speaks without being told what to say. This method of inferring her beliefs is far more reliable (though takes some more sophisticated analysis) than just relying on what other people tell you her beliefs are.

    Not to mention that that was just a random example that wasn’t meant to be taken as the sole reason not to vote for her. She clearly has many absurd viewpoints that are completely informed by religion having nothing to do with what science or ethics actually tells us. So if you don’t like the age of the Earth one, insert your favorite one.

    (P.S. Intelligent design is also absurd and non-scientific. It was invented by religion to advance their agenda).

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