Friday, 24 July 2015
human beings were naturally selected to help others either because they bear the same genes or because they might help us in return;
we experience this motivation as moral obligation, not as calculating self-interest;
extraterrestrials cannot bear the same genes but might help us in return and, in any case, as conscious beings should be protected from harm;
therefore, our morality should apply to them;
religions tell stories that are good if they express universal morality and bad if they do not;
thus, "Thou shalt not kill" is good whereas "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" is bad and the stoning of an adulteress is abominable.
"'By adversity, the God tempers the steel of the Race.'"
-Poul Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (New York, 2012), p. 447.
This is a racial, not a universal, religion. The God wants his Race to enslave or exterminate others. Fortunately, not all Merseians are in the Roidhunate.
"I thank thee, Tchernobog, for the gift of my enemy's pain. I feel their pain, finer than the sweetest of wine on the tongue!'"
-SM Stirling, The Peshawar Lancers (New York, 2003), p. 425.
Good God! If I had to fight and even kill Ignatieff, I would neither cause him unnecessary pain nor enjoy whatever pain he did experience.
Anderson and Stirling show us two bad religions. But how should we assess the New Faith of Anderson's Ythrians?