Thought Experiments

There’s a lot to talk about this week. However, I do not intend to do so until Saturday, because today is not politics day. So, moving on, to the actual post.

If you’ve been following this blog, you might have noticed that there was a brief discussion following the last post regarding “divine command” vs. “divine nature” morality. Mentioned in the initial comment was the idea that under divine command theory, God could command that rape and murder were right and kindness be wrong.

While I’m not sure about that, this lead me to think about thought experiments in general. While these are oftentimes useful for considering cause and effect–for instance, asking and answering the question of what would have happened had Lincoln not been elected president in 1860 would help with determining his effect on history–sometimes their hypothetical nature inspires people to do very silly things.

For example, I once ran across a post where someone has posed the question “What if heterosexual sex and not homosexual sex was considered an abomination?” and had done a video based on the notion.

The very question itself made no sense, because it does not recognize the very basic nature of the reality that heterosexual sex is the most cost-effective way to produce children. Such a society would end within three generations, for one of two reasons: 1. It would go the way of the Shakers, who never had sex ever and so are down to around six members last I checked; 2. The heterosexuals would overwhelm the homosexuals by sheer weight of numbers after a few decades of childbearing, and heterosexuality would soon no longer be considered an abomination.

Similar to such are various ideas about the commands of God, and “what if they were different?” The answer is that the very fabric of reality itself would be changed and shifted, and we would not be having this discussion. If God was so psychotic as to decree that rape and murder were good, I’d either be dead or lynching someone right now.

Let me put it this way: thought experiments are only actually valid when they don’t go up against some fundamental bit of reality. Perhaps someone can disagree with this, but at the point where what you’re talking about makes no sense based on the rules of the reality we live in, what’s the point?

‘Til next time,

Lowell Van Ness


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