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BroDavid
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QUOTED and Agreed in the last post.

I’d hate to see America become like communist countries, where the "official" theory was taught as fact, and no dissenting views were allowed.

And I also agree. But unfortunately it exists today right here.

We have evolution thrust down our throats as fact because it is the "Accepted, Supported View" and anyone who disagrees is intolerantly delared to be a Bible thumping fundamentalist. Yep that is exactly the situation described above and it is here.

But wasn't this thread about Ethics?
What happened to that discussion?


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Steve Brooks
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Why do I feel like I'm sitting in a lecture at a university?

I believe Ethics was the original discussion, and what constitutes right or wrong, good or bad, still remains to be a very personal thing.

I firmly believe there are those walking the Earth that could murder someone, and not feel the least bit guilty about having done so. I still believe that it is wrong.

I have a friend who has over 2000 compact discs full of music he has copied from store bought discs, and or downloaded from the Internet. He will argue with you (to the point of becoming very angry) why it's okay, and all the reasons in the world to justify his actions. I still believe he is wrong.

My belief and feelings aside, in the United States, this is by law... Illegal.
Besides breaking the law, is it ethical?

Regarding magic, is it ethical to copy video tapes, lecture notes, etc. It certainly is illegal. But once again, is it ethical?

I looked up the word ethical in Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary.
Here is what it said:

Eth-i-cal
1) Pertaining to or treating of ethics and morality.
2) Conforming to right principles of conduct as accepted by a specific profession, etc.

My interpretation of the above leads me to believe that since most folks in the magic industry believe the copying of video tapes, notes, books and tricks is wrong, then ethically speaking... it is. Since the magic profession as a whole believes it to be wrong, and it is not a acceptable behavior.

Am I making any sense here? I think I am.
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Peter Marucci
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Yes, you're making sense, Steve -- and a lot of it!
Your friend with the pirated CDs seems to answer his own question:
If you have to defend your stand THAT vehemently, then your stand is probably wrong.
Because, in the final analysis, you are really defending it from your own better nature.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Reian
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Nice discussion guys. I also had this discussion at college. It was more based on the business side. Like if you work for a company and you take company pens from your work and give some to your family and friends. That would be ethically wrong of course cause your taking money from your company in taking the pens. Thus your company would have to spend more money in making pens. But it's minor, but still, you cant deny it's unethical. Of course if your allowed to take pens for family and friends.

When having the discussion at college, I started thinking that ethics is something that society and the majority decides, you are conditioned to think this way. Like here in America, we can chew gum freely, but I believe in Singapore, your not allowed to chew gum. I believe it's Singapore, trying to remember what was taught to me in high school this year. So as you can see, it's what the majority thinks is good and bad and what your conditioned to do. But again that's my thought on what ethics really is. Majority rules all and if you go against it, you must be wrong.

I think it was Scott the great, greatscott brought up communism. Maybe someone could do a thread on governments. Take Communism, nothing wrong with it, it's the people behind it that makes it bad or good. I guess cause we're so pro Democracy from being conditioned to like it, from school telling us about the Red Scare and whatever. And us Americans, with our money grubbing capitalist attitude. Just kidding. I'm a weirdo trying to expand my knowledge about government so I can look smart in front of my friends.
Peter Marucci
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Reian,
Sometimes, democracy just means that the majority of people who are wrong are on the same side.
On the matter of pens and, by extension, everything else, there is this anecdote told of playwright George Bernard Shaw:
At a dinner party, Shaw was seated next to a woman; at one point, he asked her: "Would you sleep with me for a million pounds."
She replied: "Why, of course."
He then asked: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
The woman was shocked! "No," she said, "what kind of a woman do you think I am?"
Shaw replied: "We've already established that; now we're just haggling over the price."
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Scott O.
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Well, to say that this has turned out to be an interesting thread is a bit of an understatement. I didn't mean to "write and run" when I posted this topic. I just haven't had time to respond of late.

It's quite obvious from reading the various responses that our little community has quite diverse worldviews. For the record, mine is definitely grounded in Christian thought (it hasn't always been there--but that's another story). And for those who wondered, yes, Chuck Colson is taking a Christian approach to ethics in his column (which started this whole thread).

He is merely making the point that in our present culture we see a shift in the meaning of ethics. It no longer seems to be based on an unchanging standard, but is instead based on whatever standard a particular individual subscribes to (permissive).

Quote:
. . .ethics, classically, are unchanging
standards which derive their authority from a transcendent Authority. Well, the problem is if you teach permissive ethics, you'll turn out the best and brightest into permissive businessmen who cut corners
and think they can get away with it. . .


Obviously, if the standard changes--it's not really a standard is it? And Mr. Colson's point is just that-- "When you fail to teach right and wrong, don't be surprised when people do wrong." I'm pretty sure we can, for the most part, still determine right from wrong. But given enough time, as we continue to teach a permissive ethic based on the shifting sand of personal feeling and thought, clearly defined right and wrong (black and white) tend to take on the appearance of gray. I don't believe the gray exists, but our abandonment of the standard by which to measure all things muddles the issue.

Imagine a world where we had no ruler. Well at least not one standard ruler. Instead what I felt was an inch (or centimeter) was fine for me. But you think it is longer, and Harmon down the street thinks it is shorter. Could you imagine all of us getting together to build a table? It would be a disaster. Each leg would be a different length, the top would be too small and the sides of the frame wouldn't fit together at all. That is not unlike what is happening to ethics as we abandon a single standard in favor of our own personal feelings-oriented "standard".

The idea of right and wrong, moral absolutes, honor -- all of these are classically intertwined, and, I'm sure, ought to be.

But as I started out saying, we are a diverse group, and many will disagree or just reject this line of thinking.


Scott Smile
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
amagician
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I don't know if the values I ascribe to originated in a religious system or simply evolved as people realized that they wanted to continue to enjoy the company of people other than those they were tied to by blood or power and so tempered their behaviour (well, except for the ones who persist in doing counting card tricks).
But I am sure that no group or philosophy has the patent on proper values.
I could be wrong. I was wrong only last week. I thought I made a mistake but, of course, I hadn't.
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Peter Marucci
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Regardless of anyone's stand here, it would be difficult -- or, might I suggest, impossible -- to find another board (and certainly not another MAGIC board) where such a reasoned and intelligent discussion could take place.
We do, indeed, have a great group on a great board.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Steve Brooks
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Yes we do Peter, indeed we do. Smile Smile
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dorbolo
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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

This is a very intelligent and interesting discussion.
<joke> Now, I get paid to lecture on ethics and so certainly will not do so for free. </joke>

Let me suggest that magicians may benefit by focusing on the question of "integrity" in the pursuit of our craft. As we have seen,
"ethics" and "morality" come with alot of historical and conceptual baggage that must be cleared away in the pursuit of earnest discussion. I am not suggesting that these concepts are negligible - but if we ask the question: "what is required for a magician to act with integrity" we may come close to some everyday concerns of performers.

There is a performance aspect to magical integrity:
investing sufficient practice to ensure quality performance.
showing respect for audience members

There is a business aspect to magical integrity:
giving excellent service for a fair price
covering for the regular gig even if a lucrative opportunity arises
not selling rip off products

There is a community aspect to magical integrity:
showing respect for other magicians
choosing to improve the public image of magic

The meta-ethical questions as to whether there is an absolute basis for value; whether ethics is possible without God; whether the law is coextensive with morality; and much more - these are all issues that are dear to my heart and worthy of reading, study, and discussion. Those interested in such philosophical ethics can find some good resources at the following url's and one recommended book.

Ethics Updates
http://ethics.acusd.edu/

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/ethics.htm

Short History of Ethics by Alasdair MacIntyre
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0......-4563901

In the present context, I'd like to ask what folks here think about the issue of integrity. What is needed to be a magician with personal and performative integrity?

In good spirit,

Jon
maurile
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Quote:
On 2002-02-04 14:43, Peter Marucci wrote:
Regardless of anyone's stand here, it would be difficult -- or, might I suggest, impossible -- to find another board (and certainly not another MAGIC board) where such a reasoned and intelligent discussion could take place.


Not just reasoned and intelligent, but polite. Normally, wherever religion is discussed on the Internet, people are pretty quick to start calling each other stupid.

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On 2002-01-22 00:21, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
Actually, the Bible teaches that the earth is round and that it travels around the sun!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Out of curiosity, what passage(s) do you have in mind?

There aren't very many flat-Earthers around anymore, but the only ones I'm familiar with purport to base their views on the Bible.
Scott O.
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I believe Great Scott was refereing to at least the following passage when he mentioned that "the Bible teaches that the earth is round. . ."

Isaiah 40
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
maurile
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Thanks, Scott O.

Perhaps this is one of those situations where Biblical support can be found on either side if you look hard enough. In any case, this has gotten away from ethics, so I'll shut up now.
Allan-F
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Quote:
On 2002-03-27 09:28, Scott O. wrote:
I believe Great Scott was refereing to at least the following passage when he mentioned that "the Bible teaches that the earth is round. . ." ... He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.


Not to make any claims about the teaching of the Bible here, I'd just like to point out that this passage--as translated here--refers to the Earth as a circle, and says nothing to really indicate whether it means a sphere or a flat pancake, both of which could be described as circles.

I am no authority on this question, but I used to read the Bible quite a lot back when I was heavily into Christianity (a long time ago now) and I don't recall the Bible making much of a claim either way, but would be interested to see some actual passages.

Just a few comments on the many interesting points that have been made in this thread:

(1) There is no reason to assume that just because one has no "transcendent authority" for one's ethics, that one must needs be a moral relativist. I personally believe there are absolute moral standards, but I don't believe in a transcendent authority.

(2) Who has first claim to ethics in history has little bearing on whose legitimate concern it is now. Religion was first, but humanist philosophers have been on it for at least 2500 years.

(3) My own opinion: Socrates was right--if what is moral is moral only because the gods declare it so, then morality is arbitrary--merely a summary of the gods' opinions--and we have a kind of moral relativism. There can only be an absolute nonarbitrary standard for morality if we suppose that moral deeds are moral independent of whether the gods consider them to be so--but then moral deeds are seen by the gods as moral because they already ARE moral; they are not moral because they are decreed to be so by the gods. Hence, it is nonsensical to suggest that belief in a God or gods is required for belief in a moral absolute (although one can still sensibly argue that God, being omniscient, is a better judge of what is moral than we are--but this does not make the very notion of an atheistic moral absolutist an oxymoron, as I have heard some Christians assert).
Allan-F

"What can be thought of or spoken of necessarily IS, since it is possible for it to be, while it is not possible for NOTHING to be." -- Parmenides
Paul
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I immediately read that and thought flat circle rather than sphere,Allan, but I didn't think the point important enough to post twice. Now excuse me while I rush out and join the flat earth society.Smile

Paul Hallas.
Burt Yaroch
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Quote:
On 2002-03-30 03:34, Allan-F wrote:
--but this does not make the very notion of an atheistic moral absolutist an oxymoron, as I have heard some Christians assert).



Did he call me a moron?
Yakworld.
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Smile

I say I say that was a joke son. Ya missed it. Boy's about as sharp as a wet sack of mice.

Very interesting thoughts Alan. I'm with ya there brother (unless you were calling me a moron in which case I'll reserve judgement until I've heard both sides of the issue.)
Yakworld.
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Quote:
On 2002-03-30 16:02, Paul Hallas wrote:
I immediately read that and thought flat circle rather than sphere,Allan, but I didn't think the point important enough to post twice. Now excuse me while I rush out and join the flat earth society.Smile

Paul Hallas.

Well, and I'm afraid that the mention of a canopy in the following verse would also suggest something hanging over a disk and not a sphere. I don't feel the Bible was trying make a call one way or the other and it probably shouldn't be used to argue either way. But yes, atheists are just as much in error for saying the Bible ever stated the earth was not round (that was the religious leaders of the time), as the Christians are for stating the Bible said it was a sphere.
Quote:
(3) My own opinion: Socrates was right--if what is moral is moral only because the gods declare it so, then morality is arbitrary--merely a summary of the gods' opinions--and we have a kind of moral relativism. There can only be an absolute nonarbitrary standard for morality if we suppose that moral deeds are moral independent of whether the gods consider them to be so--but then moral deeds are seen by the gods as moral because they already ARE moral; they are not moral because they are decreed to be so by the gods. Hence, it is nonsensical to suggest that belief in a God or gods is required for belief in a moral absolute (although one can still sensibly argue that God, being omniscient, is a better judge of what is moral than we are--but this does not make the very notion of an atheistic moral absolutist an oxymoron, as I have heard some Christians assert).

I won't disagree that atheists can have set moral standards (it's been demonstrated by several philosophies), but I would also have to disagree with Socrates here, and state that he did not look deeply enough into the matter. I will allow him a certain leniency, because the gods of his time and culture tended to be highly human, therefore I can understand his reasoning. However, the idea of "God" (whatever that means to you), having an ultimate moral edict, is anything but arbitrary. The theory behind this stance, is that morality is a system in keeping with that natural order of life. The theory therefore, is that if God (creator being, not polytheistic godling), created the universe, then he also created the natural order of things and has ultimate understanding of what is and is not in keeping with that order. What humans do with that is of course another matter entirely.


Sable

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maurile
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Quote:
On 2002-03-30 19:07, Jeb Sherrill wrote:
However, the idea of "God" (whatever that means to you), having an ultimate moral edict, is anything but arbitrary.


Socrates asked: "What does 'God is good' mean? Does God like good things because they're good, or are they good because God likes them?"

If the former, we don't need God to be moral -- there are good things and we can like them all by ourselves. If the latter, there's no difference between a 'good' God and an 'evil' God.

Either way, Socrates showed that morals can't come from gods.
Jeb Sherrill
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Socrates showed nothing of the sort. In fact I think he misunderstood the question altogether. It is not a matter of God "liking" or "disliking". It is certainly not a matter of God being moral or immoral. It is a matter that if a certain system is created (and I mean completely created, not something created in an already existent universe), then whatever is right for that system is what "morality" is and only the creator could know that for certain (keep in mind I am arguing a stance based on a “creator God” concept). Nevertheless, considering the gods Socrates was probably considering, I can see his stance. The problem was that Socrates did not look far enough.

Sable
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