So i've been in a quandry the past few weeks because of a single phrase being thrown around. The phrase is "...I'm a Realist."
The phrase popped up in an email discussion with an old friend. Seemed to make sense in the context. Next it came from talking with a customer who was trying to use the bible to say homosexuality is a sin. And finally it popped up in a phone conversation with a muslim friend who was defending the Taliban and saying that he couldn't say if the decisions made by the Taliban were bad or not because he wasn't there and couldn't weight the choices they had to make "... because i'm a realist."
Now i've taken a logic course, i read books, i'd like to think i'm of a philosophical bent; but i've never heard of the "realist movement" in the history of philosophy. Since i'm a mentat (as well as a NERD) and this phrase kept reoccurring and causing a rift in my brain... i had to figure it out.
Wikipedia says this about Philosophical realism, which is what i believe these people are pledge'n their thought process to. Boiled down "Realists tend to embrace what they believe is actually real, despite how unattractive reality itself may be." Okay... free thinkers. Great, i try to do the same, but there's a fundamental flaw here.
What is reality? (OH! And since it's summer, pee'n in the pool will not turn the water colors.. that's not part of reality.)
I used to call myself a realist without understanding what it means. Sure i could be a realist, and you, imaginary reader, could be one too if you so choose. but my persception of reality is much different from yours, from a former-Taliban member, or from Brittney Spears. So when i was using this phrase, it was just a cover up for my own selfish actions. If i needed to justify a stance and didn't want to really challege myself and critically think about it, i'd just spit out the phrase.
Now i consider my self more of a deontologist or that one should "ought to live by a set of defined principles that do not change merely as a result of a change in circumstances (ie. situational ethics)." So saying the Taliban can't be bad cause they had to make hard decisions due to their situation is logically flawed. Like the Bush phrase "War for Peace" only works in a situational ethic situation. War bad. Peace good. Therefore war for peace good. It doesn't work. So the Taliban are bad because killing stadiums full of people and violating human rights and stone'n women to death is BAD. You cannot make a logical argument for these actions.
As for the "gay" statement... that's a whole other thing. People tend to confuse morality with ethics. Simply stating Ethics are the means to find morals. They are mutually exclusive in this context. There are two ways to approach this topic... since it's such a hot topic right now, and i'll state out front that i'm an ally of the GLBT community.
First we'll start with the text he used... The ol' Sodom and Gomorrah Text of Genesis 19... which i believe is the weakest one of the whole argumentive passages. (he could have used Leviticus 18 and 20.. but i'd counter that what Leviticus makes law would send the entire population of Heaven straight into the flames). Our minister, Rev. Bill spoke on this topic at leangth... and came to the conclusion that the "male on male relations" this passage lays out is a rape.. not homosexual sex. Rape is wrong period. Also offering your two virgin daughters to a mob should be brought into question as well.
The second way to attack this is the biological way. In his book "The Trouble with Testosterone" Robert Sapolsky makes a statement that says homosexuality could be a genetic mutation in species for population control and should not be considered immoral as it is a naturally occuring event. He also lays out an argument that states that most religous rituals are more than likely a result of copied OCD behavior. Interesting stuff.
So unless you like famine, disease, and pestulence, let's just go with the over-population theory and just follow the GOLDEN RULE: Don't Fake the Funk on a Nasty Dunk... and Love your Neighbor.
My Deontological stance of homosexuality is that it is love. Love doesn't hurt others wantingly. "Love is patient, love is kind." as Corinthians says. Love can't be wrong then, can it? Some may counter... that kind of stand says it's okay for petiphilia... now how can that be logical? it's hurting the kid isn't it? One party is a victim, that isn't love. That's on the level of saying that killing women is okay for Ted Bundy cause he loved doing it. Not a logical argument. Nor is loving animals or dead people or anything else on that level.
So i guess the moral of this long and boring post is... always question your own motives. everyone is more or less out for themselves, including your own person. So be nice, stay positive.. just like my hero Barbaro.
Like Grandma used to say "your potential will always outweight your problems."
Go get 'em tigers!