You might hold an ethical position that it’s wrong to lie, but if you have plans for a war in Iraq, and you want to keep them secret for practical reasons – to reduce casualties, perhaps – and someone asks you about those plans, you may need to lie for a ‘good’ outcome.
I have never really been fond of animals. I certainly wasn’t an ‘animal lover’ when I became involved in the movement. I just came to be persuaded that animals should be treated as independent sentient beings, not as means to human ends.
Robots already perform many functions, from making cars to defusing bombs – or, more menacingly, firing missiles. Children and adults play with toy robots, while vacuum-cleaning robots are sucking up dirt in a growing number of homes and – as evidenced by YouTube videos – entertaining cats.
Today, if you have an Internet connection, you have at your fingertips an amount of information previously available only to those with access to the world’s greatest libraries – indeed, in most respects what is available through the Internet dwarfs those libraries, and it is incomparably easier to find what you need.
They tend to be pretty abstract ones then, like doing what will have the best consequences; obviously you wouldn’t specify what consequences are best, they may be different in some circumstances, so at a lower, more specific level, you may well get differences.
Of all the arguments against voluntary euthanasia, the most influential is the ‘slippery slope’: once we allow doctors to kill patients, we will not be able to limit the killing to those who want to die.
More people with HIV/Aids are getting inexpensive anti-retroviral drugs, and their life expectancy has increased, but universal access is still far off, and the disease is still spreading, if more slowly than before.
Human decision-making is complex. On our own, our tendency to yield to short-term temptations, and even to addictions, may be too strong for our rational, long-term planning.
Dolphins are social mammals, capable of enjoying their lives. They form close bonds with other members of their group.
Had Rumsfeld said at any time ‘get me a report on what’s going on’, he could have had it. You’re right, it depends on choices that we make, which parts of the world we want to be in immediate contact with.