Death By Trolley gets its name from The Trolley Problem, a philosophical thought experiment within the domain of morality and ethics. There are multiple formulations of The Trolley Problem. One of the most well-known versions invites the hearer to imagine that a trolley is on its way to running over five people. There is a fork in the trolley track. On the other side of the fork is one person who, if the trolley were to change paths, would be killed, thereby sparing the other 5 people. The quandary that the hearer faces is that they can pull a lever which will cause the trolley to switch course and run over the 1 person, sparing the five. They choose who lives and who dies.
A main focus of this blog is to consider and compare different political and ethical philosophies so as to promote better understanding of one’s own worldview and those of others. I frequently focus on progressivism/liberalism and libertarian conservativism, arguing that these incompletely overlapping moral/political philosophies each have their own internal logic and validity, but that when viewed from the perspective of the other, each is libel to look stupid and/or even evil.
Close to a year ago, I posted Atheists are Religious. Here I re-post it with modifications. In this article, I argue that while lack of a belief in this or that God is not itself a religion, any value system that an atheist may hold is ultimately ungrounded in any sort of empiricism. Rather, these and all value systems rely on circular self-validation and assumptions and assertions that are themselves unscientific. As I will argue below, this doesn’t make them wrong or deserving of dismissal; it just means that subscribers cannot claim that their values are rooted in nothing but reason and logic. Reason and logic, in these value systems, are applied based on unempirical values, which can be conceived of as faith claims about an implied moral/existential reality. Continue reading