Thought Experiment

Thought Experiment January 27, 2012

In which you are the captain of the Goodface and you have to decide what to do about the sinful crew of the doomed River of Stars. Or you are the captain of the Goodface in hot pursuit of the fleeing star cruiser Evilface.

Death! Mortal Sin! Moral conundrums! It’s all there today on the Register!

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  • Noah D

    River of Stars? Someone’s been reading Mike Flynn, methinks. 🙂

  • Yup! You beat me to it. Flynn’s The Wreck of the River of Stars is a riveting and fascinating novel. And let me add that his latest, In the Lion’s Mouth, is a worthy and wonderful addition (part 3, after The January Dancer and Up Jim River) to his Spiral Arm series.

    • Noah D

      Speak no more to me of Those of Name! I’m re-reading the whole Spiral Arm series, before delving into Into the Lion’s Mouth.

      One of the few I’ll buy in hardback.

    • I’ll wait for ye in the Bar of Jehova, Noah.

  • moral dilemmas that engage my inner nerd. It is good.

  • bill bannon

    Parenthetically Mark, I’d urge you (if thugs break into your home at night) to ignore what seems to be your theory that all enemies must be verbally warned.
    At Augustine’s time, they didn’t have weaponry that traveled near instantaneously.
    Warning thugs in the dark will tell them where you are in the dark…and thus where to aim their glocks. Exodus thus sees night encounters very differently than day encounters:
    Exodus 22:
    1 If a thief is caught* in the act of housebreaking and beaten to death, there is no bloodguilt involved.
    2 But if after sunrise he is thus beaten, there is bloodguilt.
    Jehu by the way not only doesn’t warn the Baal priests and laity but he tricks them into a slaughter setting verbally/ then slaughters them and shortly thereafter God says to him:
    ” Because you have done well what I deem best….etc.” 2 Kings 10:30

    • Mark Shea

      It is… telling… that you appeal to Jehu, one of the most bloodthirsty characters in the Old Testament as your model for just warfare. Par for the course for your kill crazy philosophy. I’m glad you weren’t president–or fleet commander–during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

      • bill bannon

        So God was wrong to say to him in that context “Because you have done well what I deem best…” ?
        Of course God wasn’t wrong. Wasn’t God imprudent to praise a bloodthirsty character in a clean context? Of course God wasn’t. Did you just break the 8th commandment by ascribing a kill crazy philosophy to me?
        Sure you did. Did you just break Benedict’s exhortation of charity by Catholic bloggers? Sure you did.

    • Noah D

      Speaking as someone who has had civilian training in personal defense with firearms, has learned a good deal from people much smarter than me about self-defense (Ayoob, Awerbuck, Cooper, etc.), and has investigated quite thoroughly the laws of my home state (Indiana)…

      …that’s utter bunk.

      A home defense situation is NOT an infiltration mission. You want to illuminate the target (not only to blind them, but to make sure you follow the classic rule #4 (identify your target)). Someone yelling, even screaming at the intruder – ‘Get out or I’ll shoot!’ or something like that, or even shorter will do – is an element of potential deterrence. If the intruder(s) are willing to blaze away at the first sound, then you’re already in a very, very difficult – and rare – situation. Home defense is almost always against robbery. They want stuff, and not to die. Light, noise and the promise of force are the antithesis of their MO. They’re the infiltrators, you’re the guard.

      Under the laws of the State of Indiana, I am justified in using deadly force in defense of myself, my property, or others. I do not have to provide a warning – but it is a very, very good idea to do so. Very little looks worse to a jury – and if you are involved in even the most righteous of self-defense actions, you could be in front of one – than to have a witness (or even a perpetrator!) say something like ‘that guy just started shooting!’ It also helps your own conscience if, God forbid, you do take the life of another human being, no matter how necessary it might be. You *don’t* get over that. If yelling at them before firing cause them to turn around and run away, well, all the better.

      • bill bannon

        Noah D
        Exodus draws a distinction between night and daylight for another reason. The night robber will be armed because he knows people are home. witnesses are home. Burglars on the radical other hand enter to take things only during the day and most often without weapons because that saves them an additional three years in jail in some states and they could thus be out of jail in mere months
        ( I fought one a year ago…he was weaponless and I didn’t use my shotgun on him).
        The states have varying rules on these matters. I wouldn’t shoot at night in a home breakin until I knew it was not a wandering mentally ill person or a firefighter because my house went on fire.

  • jcb

    I just had an image pop into my head of someone hanging around their local parish, charitably shooting people as they leave the confessional. It’s one of many images that I wouldn’t want to see actualized, but nevertheless find amusing.

    • AfroDoc

      Wasn’t that a major plot point in Hamlet?

      • jcb

        Just the opposite, I think. Act III, scene iii,


        Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
        And now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven,
        And so am I reveng’d. That would be scann’d.
        A villain kills my father; and for that,
        I, his sole son, do this same villain send
        To heaven.
        Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge! […]
        To take him in the purging of his soul,
        When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
        Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
        When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage;
        Or in th’ incestuous pleasure of his bed;
        At gaming, swearing, or about some act
        That has no relish of salvation in’t-
        Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
        And that his soul may be as damn’d and black
        As hell, whereto it goes.

        Which isn’t messed up at all.

      • AfroDoc

        Yep, that’s the one… Similar concept, opposite intent.

    • Beadgirl

      Actually, I’m surprised no one’s made a movie of a psycho serial killer priest who forces people to confess before killing them.

      • S. Murphy

        Do thou not give them the damn’d idea!

  • Confederate Papist

    Yes…but nobody’s talking about the most important thing and that’s the fact that these ships may be using warp power to travel and we all know that it’s hurtful to the space environment.