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Monday, December 13, 2010

Ideas are Neutral: Implementaion is Where the Evil May Lie

Ideas, like tools, are completely neutral to their surroundings.

A handgun, for instance, is born of the idea of killing someone. Killing someone, we can safely assume, is generally not a good thing. Handguns, though, are also used for defending yourself when someone else is trying to kill you. Defending oneself is generally a good thing. Handguns, obviously, are fairly neutral. On the one hand they can be used for acts of evil but they can also be used to stop acts of evil.

A pencil is generally a useful tool. They are used to jot down important notes. Write books. Write letters, etc. Pencils, however, can also be used to stab people. Does the fact that pencils COULD be used to kill someone make them evil? Nope; it shows that they are neutral.

Fire consumes all that it touches and turns it to ash. Fire can inflict HUGE amounts of pain and generates toxic gasses that kill many things silently. Fire ravages the countryside in an indiscriminate way. Fire destroys homes and lives. Fire kills. Fire also provides the heat used to generate electricity in coal plants. Fire converts gasoline into kinetic energy we use to get around in our cars and cut our lawns. Fire is used to process dirty water into water that is safe to drink. Fire cooks our food and makes it a fantastic meal rather than a disease filled raw pile of meat.

Dihydrous Monoxide is a powerful substance that can eat through metal and rock. It destroy buildings. It turns stable ground into sinkholes that devour people, cars, houses, and many other things. It is used at some stage of production in EVERY toxic chemical known to man. It's found in the lungs of everyone who has ever drown. There is a large concentration of it in the bloodstream of everyone who has died from physical injuries. EVERYONE who has ever come into contact with dihydrous monoxide has eventually died. That's right; this substance is completely and totally lethal to mankind in the right dosage and placement. But this substance goes by another name. The other name is far more commonly known. That other name is water. Without water we die in three days. Without water we are nothing more than a few pounds of minerals. Without water life would not exist. Water, therefore, is neither evil nor good. It is essential AND lethal. Water just is.

Most ideas just are as well. Many ideas have inherently good and bad properties to them. I'm sure if you think about many of the ideas that you encounter in your daily life you'll find good and bad in all of them.

One such idea that is important is the idea of Natural Selection among mankind.

Natural Selection is a powerful "law" of nature. It is the engine that powers evolution. It is what allows the strong and the successful to thrive and survive while eliminating the weak and those who fail. Natural Selection is a force for optimization and efficiency.

We've reached a point in our development as a species where we have leveraged the natural world enough to not only counter the force of Natural Selection but move beyond it. We're working counter to the "law" of nature that allowed for all optimized life to evolve to the point that it is at now.

The idea of preserving the efficiency and optimization of life is not a bad idea. I, personally, think it is a GREAT idea. The problem is not in the core idea; it's in the execution of that idea.

The movie Serenity deals with this idea. (SPOILER ALERT) It deals with it by exposing 30 million people to a chemical to "make them better." It fails. They create a HUGE population of monsters.

History has shown multiple instances of this. The ancient Spartans did this by examining EVERY baby and leaving those they deemed inferior out to die from exposure. Is the core idea of trying to be the strongest, fastest, smartest, most well trained warriors ever a bad idea? No. Was their execution of that idea evil? YES.

Hitler was on a quest for the "super man" and he went about it by actively killing any and all who did not meet his image of that (ironically, he did not fit the mold, but he allowed himself to live through much of the war). Is the idea of killing MILLIONS of people who you deem inferior evil? Yes.

Is there a way to counteract the idea of counteracting Natural Selection without being evil? That is debatable. I think there is, but that would be a longer post that often enrages many people on either side of the debate.

The important thing here is that ideas are neither good nor evil. It is ALWAYS the execution of the ideas that is either good or evil. That includes the idea of this idea.

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