Astronomically Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

Should MPs vote for the Withdrawal Agreement today? Let’s ask the Big Book of Magic Stuff Part I.


4 thoughts on “Astronomically Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

  1. Harries gets it wrong when asking “What would I want for that person if I were in their situation?”.
    My opinion from my understanding of my interpretation of someone else’s life is close to irrelevant. If I really care about what someone else wants, I should ask them – and listen to the answer. To do otherwise is to impose myself on them – sometimes this may be justified but, in general, a selfless, undogmatic approach is the truly caring one, whether or not there’s disagreement.
    Harries & co have never understood this – and maybe never will.


  2. This was TftD by Random Sentence Generator. A rambling, incoherent, poorly composed jumble of dud half-thoughts, non sequiturs and ad libs that generated neither light nor heat.

    He clearly spends too much time in Parliament.


  3. “Love thy neighbour” or the equivalent is of course much older than the “Hebrew Bible”, as we must learn to call it these days. It appears in pretty well all cultures and centuries; and on its own it has nothing to do with any god. Indeed it may have been inherited from our animal ancestors: reciprocal altruism is widespread in the nonhuman world, and is pretty clearly of evolutionary advantage.

    But treating someone fairly so that they will treat you fairly does not mean that we have to seek compromise on every issue that arises. If I am faced with an anti-Semitic white supremacist, I am not going to move halfway towards his position in the search for common ground. The same goes for flat-earthers, creationists, and indeed mainstream religious people, if they insist on claims for which there is no evidence. It is perfectly possible to treat other people with politeness, consideration and even love, while at the same time being prepared to say “You’re wrong”.

    But I won’t comment on how any of this relates to Brexit. I’ve had as much of that as I can stand this week.


  4. “Do unto others…” and all similar variants profoundly illustrate only one thing, which is that it is impossible to distil morality into a few trite phrases. It doesn’t work for difference in outlook, of course, and it is downright dangerous if applied by someone who is otherwise immoral. For example, if you are looking for a fight, it categorically gives you permission to start one. In the Bishop’s political example, it is a disaster. What would I want from others? Well maybe that they accept the best idea. And which is the best idea? Mine.

    People have tried to fix it, using its negative version for example (Don’t do unto others what you don’t want for yourself), but ultimately these all fail as well. What we are left with is that there is a core of rightness in the phrase, but whatever you do don’t try to pass it off as somehow perfect. As StephenJP points out, we have an innate sense of morality provided for us not by words and thoughts, but by evolution and genetics. This is almost always a much better guide to morality than any written phrases or lessons from a book. What sort of people need to look up right and wrong in a book? Oh yeh…


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