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(Washington Post)   Ethicist says helping five-year-old Batkid is the wrong thing to do. Ethicist is a jerk   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 139
    More: Dumbass, Batkid, global health, Save the Children, Make-A-Wish, mosquito nets, Malawi, psychological research, family practices  
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7213 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Dec 2013 at 11:17 PM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



139 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-12-19 08:15:23 PM  
"Ethicist "? Spell check doesn't even consider that a word, much less a profession.
 
2013-12-19 08:18:37 PM  
In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.
 
2013-12-19 08:20:30 PM  

Mugato: "Ethicist "? Spell check doesn't even consider that a word, much less a profession.


Perhaps he is a usurer in England?
 
2013-12-19 08:21:52 PM  
An Ethicist is just a person with a Philosophy degree that couldn't hack it in Law School, isn't it?
 
2013-12-19 08:22:34 PM  
Pffftttttt

What does Fark know about ethics?
 
2013-12-19 08:53:38 PM  

Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.


This.
 
2013-12-19 08:54:32 PM  
terribleanalogies.com
Ethics without empathy

/no thanks
 
2013-12-19 08:59:34 PM  

Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.


Actually, no. That's a perfect world.

In an ethical world, we all minimize the suffering of all with each choice.
 
2013-12-19 09:22:28 PM  
Ethicist is Peter Singer, who is a compleat asshole in addition to being a jerk.
 
2013-12-19 10:43:24 PM  
The comparison this guy makes is crap, but he's a little right about wish granting spectacles.

The whole wish-granting charity thing was started by a guy named Brian Morrison who founded Grant-A-Wish, which initially wanted to find a way to help potentially terminally sick children. Then Make-A-Wish and others got going and a bunch of people who were good at marketing figured out that they could get businesses like Disney to donate trips to Disney World and a host of other things because the free press in local papers is way better than paid advertising. The charities grew really fast when companies caught on, but it's a bit ghoulish using sick kids that way. Morrison realized it was a flawed idea and changed his charity to Believe in Tomorrow which provides housing for children and their families near big hospitals like Hopkins and retreat housing for recuperation at the beach or in the mountains. His charity doesn't get near the money Make-A-Wish does, because he abandoned the corporate marketing angle.
 
2013-12-19 10:52:37 PM  
I heard Peter Singer keeps the heat in his house at 69 degrees.  If he was truly ethical, he would keep the house at 65 degrees and wear a sweater.  With the money saved annually, he could buy a desk for a poor child in rural Guatemala.  His selfish choices have proven him to be, once again, a true monster.
 
2013-12-19 11:19:50 PM  

Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.


With ethical in this sentence meaning "A world with no scarcity of resources"
 
2013-12-19 11:19:51 PM  

2.bp.blogspot.com
Peter Singer

 
2013-12-19 11:21:52 PM  
What an asshole.  And if anybody knows an asshole it's me.
 
2013-12-19 11:22:04 PM  
people still making a stink about this?   it happened.  it's over and done with.   move on.
 
2013-12-19 11:23:50 PM  
But what about the kid that wants to world to end in nukular apocalypse?

mtv.mtvnimages.com
 
2013-12-19 11:26:14 PM  
Philosophy 101, while happiness is not exactly quantifiable, consider a class of 60 freshmen taking Intro to Philosophy. There is a cake. You could give one student the whole cake and they would be very happy, but the other 59 students would be kinda pissed off. You could cut the cake into 60 razor thin slices, everyone gets some, its better than no cake at all, but its hardly satisfying for anyone. Or you could cut the cake into 20 decent sized pieces. 1/3 of the class gets a satisfying amount of cake, the other 2/3 go hungry. While not exactly fair, the third solution probably produces the most overall happiness among the group.
 
2013-12-19 11:27:01 PM  
cdn.twentytwowords.com
 
2013-12-19 11:27:02 PM  
The guy's not wrong.
 
2013-12-19 11:27:43 PM  
How dare Peter Singer suggest that we try to be reasonable with our charitable giving. Shocking!
 
2013-12-19 11:28:47 PM  
This "Ethicist" is welcome to suck my ass.

\it'll be a learning and growing experience....
 
2013-12-19 11:29:06 PM  
I thought "batkid" ceased to be a thing when the Weekly World News went under.

Now I find out it's a totally different thing. This kid doesn't even look like a bat.

Modern pop culture, you suck.
 
2013-12-19 11:29:50 PM  
He has a point -- the science shows that we're much more emotionally invested in the plight of an individual than of a people. It's a lot easier to feel emotionally connected to a 5-year-old who wants to play Batman for a day than it is to think about Malaria sufferers in a third-world country who often don't have access to indoor plumbing, comfy beds or effective mosquito netting.

It's sort of like when that grade school girl was being bullied for liking Star Wars and the Internet got all up in arms and made some giant cause out of it because people felt sympathetic to her. It's silly, and it's misdirected, and it's probably a waste of resources that could go to better causes. But it's also harmless at worst and potentially galvanizing to get people to think more about others at best.

Let's also recognize what Triumph stated above -- that Make-A-Wish is an organization about spectacle and that it has to do things like this from time to time to get press so it can continue to get corporate sponsorships for its lesser wish fulfillment activities... and to pay the salaries of its staff and fees of its marketing agencies.
 
2013-12-19 11:29:55 PM  
The only reason I could see this as being bad is if the disappointment of terminally ill children not getting the same treatment outweighed the delight of the children who do get these difficult to repeat special days. I doubt that's the case though.
 
2013-12-19 11:30:39 PM  
Ethics remains a poor substitution for morals. Businesses justify horrible acts everyday as being ethical.

It is similar to only concerning about the legality of an act over the moral right/wrong of it.  Sure it may not be illegal to cheat on your wife, but it is wrong.
 
2013-12-19 11:30:51 PM  

Cyno01: Philosophy 101, while happiness is not exactly quantifiable, consider a class of 60 freshmen taking Intro to Philosophy. There is a cake. You could give one student the whole cake and they would be very happy, but the other 59 students would be kinda pissed off. You could cut the cake into 60 razor thin slices, everyone gets some, its better than no cake at all, but its hardly satisfying for anyone. Or you could cut the cake into 20 decent sized pieces. 1/3 of the class gets a satisfying amount of cake, the other 2/3 go hungry. While not exactly fair, the third solution probably produces the most overall happiness among the group.


God, that me hungry.
 
2013-12-19 11:31:36 PM  

Yes this is dog: Cyno01: Philosophy 101, while happiness is not exactly quantifiable, consider a class of 60 freshmen taking Intro to Philosophy. There is a cake. You could give one student the whole cake and they would be very happy, but the other 59 students would be kinda pissed off. You could cut the cake into 60 razor thin slices, everyone gets some, its better than no cake at all, but its hardly satisfying for anyone. Or you could cut the cake into 20 decent sized pieces. 1/3 of the class gets a satisfying amount of cake, the other 2/3 go hungry. While not exactly fair, the third solution probably produces the most overall happiness among the group.

God, that made me hungry.


FTFM
 
2013-12-19 11:32:11 PM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: I heard Peter Singer keeps the heat in his house at 69 degrees.  If he was truly ethical, he would keep the house at 65 degrees and wear a sweater.  With the money saved annually, he could buy a desk for a poor child in rural Guatemala.  His selfish choices have proven him to be, once again, a true monster.


Just what I was thinking - I'd love for some intern to follow him around for a week and chastise every decision he made "Oh, you bought a cup of coffee - that $4 could have fed a family for a month in Africa".
 
2013-12-19 11:32:52 PM  
pactiss.org
 
2013-12-19 11:35:49 PM  
They could have taken the time to teach the kid how lame Batman really is, and point out that Batman's not a superhero.

So, yeah, they failed.
 
2013-12-19 11:37:33 PM  

Cyno01: Philosophy 101, while happiness is not exactly quantifiable, consider a class of 60 freshmen taking Intro to Philosophy. There is a cake. You could give one student the whole cake and they would be very happy, but the other 59 students would be kinda pissed off. You could cut the cake into 60 razor thin slices, everyone gets some, its better than no cake at all, but its hardly satisfying for anyone. Or you could cut the cake into 20 decent sized pieces. 1/3 of the class gets a satisfying amount of cake, the other 2/3 go hungry. While not exactly fair, the third solution probably produces the most overall happiness among the group.


How does that produce the most happiness?  2/3 of the class is pissed off at 1/3, which is a net negative.  If everyone gets an unsatisfying slice, then everyone is equally disappointed, with no net negative.
 
2013-12-19 11:37:41 PM  
I don't see this as a bad point at it's most basic. Was the Bat Kid event a waste of resources in source of where the money could have gone? Of course but so is the Superbowl and that gift I gave at today at a secret santa exchange.  I can give a thousand dollars to animals and people will say it's a waste because it could go to help people, not even those thousands of suffering people in X impoverished country, just locally or in the state.
 
2013-12-19 11:37:58 PM  
www.toonpool.com
 
2013-12-19 11:38:29 PM  

secularsage: Let's also recognize what Triumph stated above -- that Make-A-Wish is an organization about spectacle and that it has to do things like this from time to time to get press so it can continue to get corporate sponsorships for its lesser wish fulfillment activities... and to pay the salaries of its staff and fees of its marketing agencies.


Although the implied criticism here is that Make-A-Wish's efforts are best spent elsewhere. Sure you made one kid's day, but you could've saved a thousand from malaria. Ethics is a rough field. I donate to animal charities and in the process human charities lose dollars. Am I a monster because I feel more connection to helpless pets than third-world human statistics? It's reasonable for someone to assume that I am a monster, or at least misguided.

Emotion on some level is essential for charity. Without it nobody would donate to anything.
 
2013-12-19 11:39:55 PM  
He does have a point. Yes the batkid thing makes us feel all wonderful inside, but the money could be spent better if the goal is to reduce as much suffering as possible. There is a catch though. Donating to local causes, people we relate to our feel kinship with makes "some" people feel better than donating to third world countries.

Personally when I donate money, I try to donate to the cause the prevents the most suffering, but a lot of people want to help local children, children that they feel are part of their "group". It's the whole we vs them thing. Might also help if when we donate to prevent blindness or cure leprosy if they followed the kid, had more video, so we could enjoy the benefits of the donation more. Spending 1/3 of the money donated to make the donater feel good about what they've done and more likely to do it again might just be worth it.
 
2013-12-19 11:42:56 PM  

Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.


I thought BatKid's illness was in remission, so he wasn't even a dying kid, just a sick one...
 
2013-12-19 11:44:19 PM  

Lsherm: Cyno01: Philosophy 101, while happiness is not exactly quantifiable, consider a class of 60 freshmen taking Intro to Philosophy. There is a cake. You could give one student the whole cake and they would be very happy, but the other 59 students would be kinda pissed off. You could cut the cake into 60 razor thin slices, everyone gets some, its better than no cake at all, but its hardly satisfying for anyone. Or you could cut the cake into 20 decent sized pieces. 1/3 of the class gets a satisfying amount of cake, the other 2/3 go hungry. While not exactly fair, the third solution probably produces the most overall happiness among the group.

How does that produce the most happiness?  2/3 of the class is pissed off at 1/3, which is a net negative.  If everyone gets an unsatisfying slice, then everyone is equally disappointed, with no net negative.


Or you could poison the cake and give it all to one kid. He'd be happy because 'ooh, cake!!'. ...but then when he keeled over, the rest of the class would be happy because of schadenfreude - asshole got what he deserved.

End result: everyone is happy!
 
2013-12-19 11:44:59 PM  

x1v16: He does have a point. Yes the batkid thing makes us feel all wonderful inside, but the money could be spent better if the goal is to reduce as much suffering as possible. There is a catch though. Donating to local causes, people we relate to our feel kinship with makes "some" people feel better than donating to third world countries.

Personally when I donate money, I try to donate to the cause the prevents the most suffering, but a lot of people want to help local children, children that they feel are part of their "group". It's the whole we vs them thing. Might also help if when we donate to prevent blindness or cure leprosy if they followed the kid, had more video, so we could enjoy the benefits of the donation more. Spending 1/3 of the money donated to make the donater feel good about what they've done and more likely to do it again might just be worth it.


Sounds like the Monkeysphere. 
http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html
 
2013-12-19 11:45:31 PM  

RatMaster999: Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.

I thought BatKid's illness was in remission, so he wasn't even a dying kid, just a sick one...


The goddamned Batkid doesn't WANT to go on the cart
 
2013-12-19 11:47:03 PM  
The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few or the one. A quote from a Vulcan...who has no emotion. Since we have deeeeeeep emotions, to help even one is worth it. We can not save them all.
 
2013-12-19 11:47:14 PM  
Helping people is wrong full stop.

Stabbing them with a spear is the correct action
 
2013-12-19 11:49:10 PM  

Mangoose: In an ethical world, you wouldn't have to choose between giving a dying kid a last wish and helping other sick kids.


But how do you get there? As I see it, the world is not ethical or unethical. It is dispassionate. Does being ethical get you to the place you imagine, though?

That is a big question. People have attempted this through communism, with Cuba probably being the most successful example. But capitalism and free trade undoubtedly produce more wealth. The trick then is that the wealth is unequally distributed.

Can wealth be produced through capitalism and then later distributed in a way that both does not disturb the original production of wealth and leads to an "ethical" world (I'm taking it here to mean a more equitable one)? It's hard to say as it's never been attempted in a big way.
 
2013-12-19 11:50:22 PM  
It's true that sometimes you want to say, "The hell with starving third world children who are dying of malaria. I want a big screen TV." And you're entitled to. This article isn't saying anything about THAT.

Instead, it's arguing about money you've already decided to give to charity. Taking for granted that you want this money to make the world a better place, Batkid is a waste. You're failing to achieve your own alleged goals when you give money to the Make a Wish Foundation instead of any of the other charities listed. Now, if you actually do just enjoy making a media spectacle of terminally ill kids, then see my first paragraph.

But you should be honest enough without yourself to admit that you're not being "charitable," as such.
 
2013-12-19 11:57:44 PM  
yabooklog.nassaulibrary.org
 
2013-12-19 11:58:42 PM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: I thought "batkid" ceased to be a thing when the Weekly World News went under.

Now I find out it's a totally different thing. This kid doesn't even look like a bat.

Modern pop culture, you suck.


This reference made me lol as I didnt know what subby was talking about.
 
2013-12-19 11:58:49 PM  
Wouldn't it be more ethical to skip the charitable giving completely and donate the money to companies developing cures for these diseases?  That way we're saving even more people!
 
2013-12-20 12:01:51 AM  
....how the f*ck do you become an ethicists?
 
2013-12-20 12:02:38 AM  
Ethicist. Ethathywtfeverf*ckyou
 
2013-12-20 12:02:46 AM  

megarian: ....how the f*ck do you become an ethicists?


I bet sucking at math is a prerequisite.
 
2013-12-20 12:03:17 AM  
This is one of those ethe-cysts that think "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one" is the perfect ethic.  Sometimes the needs of the one benefit the many, asshole.  Ethically, Mr. Singer needs to take the stick out of his ass.
 
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