Monday, August 26, 2013

On Overriding Free Will

I find our discussion of pills and brainwashing to be woefully incomplete.  All I got was a vague "yeah, sometimes pills are abused and that's bad, but sometimes they're not".  I was hoping for a deeper exploation of the nature of free will and the consequences of removing it.

I sometimes see this used as a proof for the non-existence of God.  The argument is that God appears to be unable or unwilling to override the free will of murderers, rapists and other evil-doers.  Therefore, God doesn't exist.  The argument is obviously flawed, in that it skips a few steps and completely fails to distinguish between active action, passive action and inaction.

The thing I find odd is the fact that this argument presupposes that overriding someone else's free will is the most moral action you can choose.

This is odd, because I was always taught the exact opposite.  I believe that overriding someone else's free will is an intrinsic evil.  "Intrinsic evil" meaning it is always wrong, no matter what the circumstances.  A good example of "overriding someone else's free will is always wrong" is rape.  Rape is always wrong, no matter what the circumstances.

And the primary reason rape is wrong is that it destroys the natural dignity people have, by overriding their free will and treating them as objects, not as people.  Of course, there are also secondary reasons why rape is wrong, relating to sexuality and gender.  Please note that these are not called "secondary reasons" because they are less important, but because they can change from rape to rape, depending on the sexualities and genders of the parties involved.

Question I've Been Leading Up To: Is brainwashing someone (through pills or another means) the moral equivalent of mind rape? In both cases, you forcibly override their free will, which is always evil.

31 comments:

GameOverTown said...

What just happened!?!?!!
You had a Phoenix Wright blog post 2 minutes ago!!!

Suzanne Klare said...

Wait, what? What about Phoenix Wright, Michael?

Katie Nelson said...

1. lol seriously???? Michael took down his Pheonix Wright post??? :( i wish i could have seen it!!!
2.I just realized MICHAEL YOU DIDN'T WRITE THE POST IN PARAGRAPH FORM!!!! LOL XD JK JK
3.yeah, i do agree both cases are bad.
4.I CAN'T STOP LAUGHING ABOUT THE FACT THAT MICHAEL TOOK DOWN THAT PW POST!!! it's halarious, your reading the post, then all of a sudden POOF it's GONE!!! AHAHAHA LOL XD ROFL

GameOverTown said...

William D I am trying to do this...

https://sites.google.com/site/gameovertownofficial/locked-doors-secret-passageways

Stephanie Braddock said...

*Sigh*. We are woefully off topic. Michael, I agree with most of what you say here.... But I disagree with your evaluation that taking away free-will is always wrong. It will never be "right", per say, but if you believe the words "wrong" and "evil" to mean that nothing positive comes out of the action, or that it wasn't the best option, I'm forced to disagree. An example I will use to justify this is the murder of Osama Bin Laden.

We killed this man. He was not a good man; I have no doubts that he was evil. He deserved to die, and people were saved by his death. But is his death "good"? Is it not still "wrong"? We took away his free-will when we killed him. By your reasoning, we should have let him live (personally, I do not think killing him WAS the smartest move, but that's besides the point). By all rights, at the very least his capture was justified. If we left him his free-will, many more would be dead, and he would be free. That's the problem. If we agree that we all have a right to free-will, that implies that we can do things that take away the free-will of others. In other words, it creates a bit of a paradox. I am not justifying the suppression of the rights' of others by any means. I'm just saying that your reasoning that we all have free-will is a bit contradictory.

Sometimes we HAVE to force others to relinquish their rights for the betterment of society. As we all have vastly different views, it is quite unfortunately necessary to prevent suffering. When it comes to brainwashing.... To me, that will always be wrong. If you need to physically restrain someone, lock them away, even KILL them- I accept this as an eventual necessity. But to rip from a person their mind, what makes them who they are.... There will never be justification, as far as I'm concerned. By all definitions, it is mind-rape, and it should not be practiced. For these reasons, as well as my opinion that it is unnecessary and vengeful, I will never tolerate torture.

But what of people who voluntarily alter their minds and their personality? What if someone wishes to take these medication? There, I feel, is the point in which they cross the line separating what is right for others and what is right for them. At that point, I feel as if they have every right to proceed.

Anonymous said...

Illuminati.

C said...

I don't see taking a life the same as taking free will. Both are wrong of course, but I don't think that killing bin Laden was wrong because it took away free will, because it didn't - it took away life.

Brainwashing is mind rape, yes. I don't know what else there is to add to this. Unless ... I don't know, someone has dangerous information that could blow up society, then maybe it would be justified. But brainwashing just to get someone to agree to your own biased, subjective point of view ... no.

As for pills ... you are choosing to take the risk of whatever changes happen. Thus I don't see it as brainwashing.

And on a note of free will vs God:

Some people argue that if God exists, there cannot exist free will. God is omniscient. He knows everything.

Say that tomorrow for breakfast you will choose between toast or a banana. God knows you will choose the banana, because he knows every single thing. If instead you choose toast, then God would have been wrong, and thus not omniscient, which he is. If God knows you are going to choose the banana, then there is no possibility of you choosing toast, thus you don't have free will.

It's not a very good argument, but I've seen it pop up.

William D said...

I just ain't gonna say anything because I'll just make it worse =3 (Yes I know I said that : / )

Anonymous said...

Yes, please don't William D.

William D said...

XDD Your wish is my command (for now :P)

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious praise the lord Jesus and whatever for Willaim D not having anything "intellectual" to say about anything? All hail the Catholics of all. Illuminati, ya'll.

I might as well get me three husbands and become "Mormon" at this point. Hell yeah to all polyglites. ;) Brainwash me and make me the second or tenth wife. Go Utah!

GameOverTown said...

I still don't know why this couldn't wait til tomorrow. Your first blog post was funny.

William D said...

@Anon at 1:24 A.M: o-o Wow.

GameOverTown said...

To anon 1:24

Who is Willaim D?

William D said...

I'm just someone who usually shares my views, and people ask me questions about them, and I answer them. Apparently someone doesn't like me doing that O_O

Suzanne Klare said...

Can we just stop with jumping on William all the time? He has an opinion, and he shares it on here. You can disagree with him, but that's no reason to constantly be like that to him.

C said...

Umm I think GameOverTown was snarking the fact that the person misspelled William's name.

Suzanne Klare said...

I know that, I was talking to the anon.

William D said...

Hi, C, sorry for being a Jerk to you before : /

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone always want to be mean to William D?

William D said...

Ehhh, who knows XDD

William XD said...

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William D said...

o-o I didnt make those last two comments o-o

William XD said...

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William D said...

o-o

Anonymous said...

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William D said...

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XD said...

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William D said...

........ -.-

xd said...

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