RU-486 SKIL dinner

Morality and Learning

I heard a rumor and I don't know if its true. But it makes for an interesting starting point for a SKIL Dinner discussion. The rumor is that some derivative of the drug RU-486 has the capability of making a woman who just gave birth (that has a unique set of hormones active) permanently infertile. In summary putting this drug in the water supply implements a one child per family program.You have a bottle of this chemical. No one knows the chemical exists or that you have it.

The dinner question: Is it more moral to
       a) put the bottle in you pocket and forget you ever had it.
Or is it more moral to
       b) put the liquid in the world's water supply.

To begin the discussion, guests declare, one at a time, going around the table what action they would take -- in pocket or -- in water supply.Then each is given two minutes, uninterrupted time to state the most important concepts on which they based their decision. The rest of the evening is open discussion.

------ more background --
        (not necessarily part of the dinner invitation.)

This dinner becomes a discussion about how different thinking and learning processes affect the above choice in behavior and not a discussion about the character of the dinner guests. What kind of thinking process would find this implementation of RPD inappropriate. What kind of thinking process would find this implementation of RPD appropriate.

Each person's thinking process not each person's moral code is the focus of the dinner. This follows from the assumption that while a culture's moral code is written, the moral code of any individual is what is used to guide behavior. The personal code is results from his or her thinking process. That is, the moral code of an individual is the conjoint result of all inputs weighted by the individual's thinking processes.

Consider some rudimentary examples. Assume that an individual would prefer not to take another human life. The culture's moral code suggests human sacrifices. It suggests capital punishment. It suggests killing is allowed in self defense. Killing is allowed in group defense. Killing is allowed in group sanctioned aggression. Even with each of these cultural inputs, the individual can still think through the issues and not perform killing behaviors. Or he or she can go along with the culture's dictates. There are deadly consequences either way.

OK back to the RU-486 drug in the water supply option. At first glance the act (preventing a parent from having a second child) seems to be an unprovoked act of violence against the parent. However, if the actor's thinking is robust enough to show that having a second child will result in the death of a future person, then the act of having a second child could be thought of as an act of aggression against the future person to be confronted with an RPD act to prevent it.

It is obvious that if a person was turned into a zombie and did not realize that his acts were hurtful, then it would be OK to restrain him or her against his or her will. Isn't the RU-486 proposal about the same thing. A person has the second child partly because the resulting death caused by the act of facilitating the life of a second child is absent from their view of consequences or within their view but undervalued.

In this reference, the appropriateness of the RU-486 derivative decision, depends on if the RU-486 actor has adequate thinking processes to see and value the future individuals who will be killed by the parent's act of having a second child.


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