Morality

Cognitive dissonance

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

– Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996)

These are excerpts of a discussion I had with one Mr. Kroor one fine evening when we had nothing better to do. We were debating over the talk Sam Harris gave at TED. This is my take on the talk.

The central theses of Sam Harris’ talk were:
(i) There are right and wrong answers to moral questions, and
(ii) Science can objectively tell us what is right or wrong.

Claim (i) betrays a stance of moral absolutism/naturalism. When one makes such sweeping statements, one should substantiate it with adequate evidence. Else they just remain claims rather than facts. Also care must be taken so as to not fall prey to Hume’s Guillotine (the is/ought problem, or I/O for short). Consider the following statements.

(i) Punching people in the face causes them pain.
(ii) One ought not cause people pain.
(iii) One ought not punch people in the face.

When you take a stance on a moral issue (like I do not want to cause people pain), you are being normative (read subjective). You have taken your stance based on what you as an individual think is right or wrong. In other words you are biased. Once you have taken that stance you look for facts; facts that tell you what causes pain to people (punching people in the face for instance). Notice that this is a factual statement and not a normative one. And this is where science comes in handy.

Finally, armed with scientific facts and the power of reasoning, one goes about their life doing what they feel is the right thing to do for any situation (stop punching people in the face because causing people pain is wrong or you may get punched back which will cause you a lot of pain). So the role of science is only as an arbiter in

(i) deciding the facts that carry the required import, and
(ii) checking for logical inconsistencies.

Harris says in his talk:

Values are a certain kind of fact. They are facts about the well-being of conscious creatures.

In the example above we saw that the factual statement (i) was distinct from the statement on moral values (ii). One cannot directly go from statement (i) to statement (iii) without invoking some form of statement (ii) and one can keep on adding similar normative statements to plug any leaks. And these statements are reflective of our biases and does not follow from (i). In other words, neither statement (ii) nor (iii) is a logical conclusion that one can derive from a factual statement. So a value statement like (ii) or (iii) are not facts in themselves.

In conclusion, facts on values or value judgements (like statement (i)) are not values themselves. And hence, science cannot give us right or wrong answers to moral questions since it deals with facts and factual claims. Science can give us facts about wellbeing of creatures. Right or wrong answers to moral questions differ from person to person (from claim to claim). These value statements which carry within them subjective biases hence cannot logically follow from factual statements (i.e., they cannot themselves be factual statements).

Kroor’s reply

Consider the following:

(i) I don’t like pain [Universally observed in animals. Humans, say, presently]
(ii) If I cause someone pain, they will retaliate [Almost universal in animals; hence in humans]
(iii) Therefore, I should not pain someone else. [Evidently normative prescription; arrived at from a universal observation and an almost universal observation generalized slightly].

Is this not what Harris is saying when he says “Values are a certain kind of fact. They are facts about the wellbeing of conscious creatures”? If yes, we’ve apparently proved him right. If not, you take objection to the golden rule or resort to the possibility that I’m a masochist. I think that (i) and (ii) hold quite generally.

Can moral statements have absolute answers?

I don’t know.

Can most of conventionally accepted morality be derived from (i) and (ii) above?

I think so.

So, can reason/logic give answers to moral questions, given (i) and (ii) above?

Evidently.

Have I shown that all morality is derivable inductively from the golden rule?

No. Abortion, for example. Are you hurting the foetus when you abort it? We don’t know. Will the foetus hurt you back, even if you are? Definitely not. Is abortion, therefore, murder? I don’t know.

A rebuttal

(i) I don’t like pain [Universally observed in animals. Humans, say, presently]

(ii)If I cause someone pain, they will retaliate [Almost universal in animals; hence in humans]

(iii)Therefore, I should not pain someone else. [Evidently normative prescription; arrived at from a universal observation and an almost universal observation generalized slightly].

Claims (i) and (ii) are normative and hence are ought claims. To say that animals (in this case you (we’re the fifth ape)) don’t like pain is an opinion (subjective) whereas a statement like pain causes suffering in animals is objective and factual. To say animals will/should retaliate when subjected to pain is again your opinion. Facts may tell you that very often they do. It does not mean that they always have to do which is a hasty generalization on your part. In short you have not given me any factual claims to consider your argument seriously.

Let me rephrase your argument for clarity.

(F1) Pain causes suffering in animals (fact).
(C)  I should not pain animals (conclusion).

As I said earlier, to reach the conclusion given above you need to make a subjective claim like (S1) I don’t like paining animals. This can indeed be reinforced by another subjective claim (animals are cute or torture is bad or I am a Jain etc). If you then now add another observed fact that (F2) animals often retaliate when tortured you need another subjective claim (S2) animals will torture me when I pain them. The two subjective statements can then be combined to read (S) I don’t like paining animals because they will retaliate if I pain them. There is simply no way to work around this problem. The subjective claim simply does not follow from facts.


Is this not what Harris is saying when he says “Values are a certain kind of fact. They are facts about the well-being of conscious creatures”? If yes, we’ve apparently proved him right. If not, you take objection to the golden rule or resort to the possibility that I’m a masochist. I think that (i) and (ii) hold quite generally.

I hope this is not what he meant. If yes then he has made the same mistake as you in not understanding the precepts of moral relativism and the I/O distinction. There is a reason why I/O problem has stood the test of time. But I think he’s too smart to make such a fundamental error. Waiting for further clarifications from his book.

Can moral statements have absolute answers?
I don’t know.

No as per current understanding.

Can most of conventionally accepted morality be derived from (i) and (ii)above?
I think so.

Circular reasoning. From the statements “Bible is the word of God” (normative) and the “Bible says that God exists” (factual) you cannot reach a conclusion that “God exists”. This is a classic example of begging the question. In other words the normative statement does not follow from the factual claim. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to repeat this.

So, can reason/logic give answers to moral questions, given (i) and (ii)  above?
Evidently.

Evidently no (see above).

Have I shown that all morality is derivable inductively from the golden rule?
No. Abortion, for example. Are you hurting the foetus when you abort it? We don’t know. Will  the foetus hurt you back, even if you are? Definitely not. Is abortion, therefore,  murder? I don’t know.

Golden rule is not a fact. It’s a choice (which you either choose to follow or not). Other than that I find no flaws there. Nice reductio ad absurdum to your own argument there! (see question above)



Epilogue

While I personally don’t condone immoral deeds, I definitely do object to the statement that science can be used to “derive” answers to moral questions. There are a lot of grey areas and the potential for abuse if such systems get implemented needs no mention.

Science, Religion and Morality – Part 2.71828182845904523536….

Sam Harris recently gave a talk at TED on “Science and Morality”. Having stirred up a hornet’s nest with his audacious thesis ‘Science can answer moral questions’, he discusses how scientific precepts may be used to logically conclude whether certain actions are morally right or wrong.

I would surely post on my take on the matter real soon. For those of you who don’t quite like the reductionist attitude of Sam (that was a big giveaway) here’s a brilliant rebuttal by Sean Carrol.

Science, Religion and Morality – Part 2 : A direct causal link

“Philosophy is about questions that cannot be answered. Religion is about answers that cannot be questioned.”
– Anonymous
[recap]

Simplicio : Yes. I agree they must take responsibility for their actions and I see a lot of bad in what they do, but I see a lot of bad in pretty much every organization in the world. I dont see why anyone should isolate this particular organization. You might say they do the most damage. But if you simply say that, I cannot take your word for it.

As we have seen our friend Simplicio has finally conceded that institutions like the Catholic Church are not the ultimate word on morality. Yet he raises an issue that the Church is not alone in that respect. But Salviati is far from finished. Let us listen to what he had to say about Simplicio’s objection.

Salviati : Well, you have raised an important issue there. First of all I’m not blaming religion for all the bad things happening in the world. But you must admit that it does more than a fair share of damage. Ultimately, I believe dogmatism is the root cause of all problems. And religion is one of the most virulent forms of dogmatism. Nazism is another. What separates these from science and reason is the lack of necessary evidence to support their claims and the intolerance they exhibit towards people who disagree with them.

Will there ever have been twin tower bombings of 9/11 by militant groups like Al-Queda but for religion?  Or the Mumbai attacks or the mass pogrom in Gujarat? What about  the partition  of India and Pakistan and the consequential struggle for Kashmir?  Can you imagine a fight happening in west Asia between the Israelis and the Palestinians were it not for religion? I mean here we have two Messianic groups   fighting it out for their share of the holy land, a land purportedly given to them by God (in his capacity as an omniscient real estate agent).

Simplicio : First of all militant terrorism was done by extremists who form only a small minority of the religious populace who misconstrued the religious teachings. Speaking of west Asia, I can certainly imagine such fights happening because religion was never an issue there. People would still fight for the land. Even in the absence of religion there would still be a community, with people lacking basic necessities. In a struggle for existence, they wouldn’t mind fighting with people around them because resources would be limited. Speaking of examples, what about the Maoist insurgency in India. Or the military invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by the US government. You can see the basic reason. People find something wrong with others and they feel in the interest of preservation of whatever the consider ‘our selves’, they fight others; some people fight for ‘religious beliefs’, some for ‘political beliefs’, some for ‘economic beliefs’. The problem is not with these beliefs themselves, but inabliity to accept that others may hold different beliefs but stil have the right to co exist with us. OPEN-MINDEDNESS is the issue.

Salviati : I agree with you on a lot of the points you’ve made. Open mindedness indeed is the issue. I spoke about how dogmatism leads to intolerance. The one thing common with the examples you gave are the that the dominant parties (the US or the Indian government) have some vested interests (oil, mineral resources like bauxite/iron ore, MoUs). And there are dogmatic underpinnings. But we are digressing off topic here. You say that people will fight irrespective of religion. I say religion (among other things) makes people fight because it makes people close-minded and intolerant. Also, you cannot blindly (and wrongly) assume that people are just waiting for a reason to fight and religion is the only thing holding them back. In fact many sacred texts have verses goading their followers to take up arms and kill the infidels. As physicist Weinberg aptly put it : “Good people do good things bad people do bad things, but it takes religion to make good people do bad things.”

Simplicio : There are a lot of places where open-minded hindus, christians, muslims coexist. And to those people, their religion gives them a reason to be moral and an additional reason to love people outside of their family of 3 or 4 people. That is where the ‘GOOD SIDE’ of religion comes from a ‘social perspective’. I believe a lot of people in this world, possibly ‘most’ people in the world are moral to a greater or lesser extent because they have a religious belief that asks them to be that way.

Salviati :  I implore you not to say that we derive our morality from religion.  We do not. I can reason it out to you. The truth is…

Simplicio : Just wait a minute. I want to say something. Then you can explain your reasons.

Salviati : Sorry. Mea culpa. Look who’s intolerant now. 🙂

Simplicio : Yeah, right. :). You say ‘we’ for a certain set of intellectual people      including you and me but we are not all that exists in the world. There are people who can’t reason like this, people who don’t understand all abstract philosophy and morality.

I myself was brought up in a religiously inclined family. I followed the customs and traditions and my parents taught me to be moral. I did all these without knowing why. I wanted to reason out what being moral was and why I need to pray to a god. I started reading the scriptures and on philosophy and then lots of ideas started making sense to me, and appealed to me as a reason of which I believe I have got more answers – more satisfying than anything yet – and I am looking for more answers from everywhere.

Now here is the point. Many times during the past, and even now, I have thought about morality and I don’t see any reason why I need to be moral, outside of religion. Suppose I don’t care about when I will die.  If that fear isn’t there, what can stop me from doing what I want to do? Nothing whatsoever. I can start killing or looting people just depending on my mood (assuming I’m capable). Why should I care if others cry, why should I care if society is hurt? The only thing that would affect me is my own mind and the only external thing that can affect me is if they catch me and jail me. Even then I get enough food. If they hang me, I don’t anyway care about death, so I am still doing fine. Why should I be moral? I can get an answer only from religion.

Similarly , if I am a robber, I steal from someone and i have the choice of killing or not killing someone from whom i robbed. I don’t really care either ways but if I have a religious belief, I might not kill the person and once such act of mercy might stay in my mind, and I might not kill a person in the next such instance. It is not so far fetched as you may think. Our minds work on habits. So that is the point. Now go ahead.

Salviati : You have painted a very grim picture of humanity. It seems to me as if you think we would all be sociopaths and psycopaths but for religion to help us out of our misery. Talk about imagination run amok. Now, there are two claims or two issues (s’il vous plait) to address here which you have made.

(C1) We derive our morality from religion
(C2) If there was no religion to instil morality in us, then we would be doing all sorts of bad things.

Consider a deeply religious person  who most would consider to be good. She (Now that’s a consciousness raiser by the feminists. Most people would expect a ‘he’ there) reads her bible (or qur’an or torah)  daily and in it she sees  verses like love your neighbours, don’t kill, steal, commit adultery or perjury. She then says to herself that this must indeed be the word of God. But then she sees verses that say homosexuality is a sin,  you’ll go to hell if you don’t worship me, or  kill  your unbelieving parents or children in my name, you’re a sinner by virtue of being born, verses condoning slavery, rape, incest, genocide, infanticide, patricide, fratricide  among other wicked things. Then she says to herself. These are indeed bad things. The God I pray to surely could not have said this for he is all kind and loving. People should have taken it out of context or they misunderstood my God or this is not my kind of Christianity(Islam/Hinduism).

NOW, all these passages come from the same book that people hail as the highest authority on moral values but the believer cherry-picked those verses which she liked,  which she thought represented her world better, would lead to good and rejected the bad verses. If I may ask you now how did she know which verses to pick and choose? Surely not from the book because it says things both good and bad. So i put it to you that people have an innate sense of morality which doesn’t derive out of religion. And it is precisely this sense of right and wrong which prevents people from doing bad things.

Simplicio :  I get your point, of course. Well…this is it. There are people who do what you said. Probably they do have an innate sense of morality. There also  are people who just see ‘holy book’ and take it literally and while it does contain  ‘bad’ statements that is not the ‘highlight’. The main theme is doing good. Therefore, these people end up doing good things albeit blindly out of fear or ignorance.

Salviati : Even then it is highly condescending of you to suggest that people  should find their bliss in ignorance as they are  incapable of understanding the truth. They might do better than you think. Also,  I believe that all religions are bad but not equally bad (there’s the shades of grey for you). For example jihad or martyrdom is not a fringe doctrine in Islam. Mass pogroms in the name of God are guaranteed tickets to heaven in Abrahamic religions. God is loving only to those who worship him and no one else. But then again, who has ever heard of a Jain suicide bomber? You don’t see Tibetan Buddhist monks blowing themselves up in Chinese buses or killing abortion doctors. I personally believe truth trumps any fiction. I’d rather swallow the red pill than be stuck in a fairy tale of illusions and magic. Religious faith is the permission people give one another to believe things strongly without evidence. It would be intellectually dishonest if you deny that there is a direct causal linkage between what people believe and what people do.

Simplicio : Yes. “He is loving only those who worship him” that is the logical flaw I see in religion. Which means really rational people cannot follow it. But people who don’t care that much about reason can still believe and do good by its teachings. We can take out the good precepts from the books nonetheless. Conversion is done with the loving interest of bringing them to light as well. But isn’t atheism another form of dogmatism?

Salviati : And ‘not collecting stamps’ is a hobby.  Personally I don’t like the word atheism. It is like calling someone a ‘non-astrologer’. You don’t need religion to teach people the good things. It is like asking you to eat the peel along with the banana. American journalist Christopher Hitchens put this challenge out in one of his debates. He asked people to come up with a good deed which only  a religious person can do which a non-believer cannot. As a corollary  also  to come up with a bad deed which a religious person would do and a non-believer cannot. You can see that whereas the first question really has no answer you need not even think for a second to come up with numerous examples for the second case.

Simplicio : My acknowledging good effects of christianity doesn’t go as far as to say it hasn’t done any bad or that it is in any way logical in its theory.  And you have a valid point. Whatever morality a religious man can have, a non-religious man can also have. But does science and reason give us any answers to moral questions? If not then how does one answer moral questions?

To be continued…

Science, Religion and Morality – Part 1 : Views on Pope and the Church

In light of the recent revelations of the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church, I put up a status message which went “POPE – Paedophilia Orchestrator Par Excellence“. I could not resist the bacronym and I meant it in jest. Anyway it attracted a bit of attention and I started receiving a few comments that I crossed a “line” this time. Here are excerpts from a few of the chats. This is not meant as a libel and I’ve left out details which are not pertinent (after all these are private chats). I’ve also where ever possible tried to(bend over backwards and) paraphrase their views to the best of my understanding. Also I’ve resorted to a dialogue format which I thought would be more engaging and is something which I’d always wanted to do.  In penning my thoughts, I was deeply influenced by the works of numerous people, notably the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to whom I owe my deepest of gratitudes.

Simplicio : Hey you there?

Salviati : Yes.

Simplicio : Well, nothing in particular. I just wanted to give my opinion on your status message. I know you don’t love the church or anything, but your status message is very silly.

Salviati : Maybe. I was merely demonstrating a bacronym and making a point. He plays apologetics. Or is that too mild a word? Maybe one should call it “The Great Catholic cover up”.

Simplicio : Well… it’s the ‘making the point’ part that I commented about. Do you really think that the pope would be a paedophile or a paedophile-approver??? What do you mean ‘apologetics’?

Salviati : He was in charge of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition) who were responsible for the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. When the news of children getting raped kept on coming to light, he was more worried about protecting the name of the Church rather than the countless victims. He passively condoned the acts. The parents were wrongfully accused for letting their children get raped. He had with the threat of defrocking sworn the priests to secrecy to keep them from going public. This was before he became Pope. So the Church knew exactly well whom they were choosing to represent them. And the Vicar of Christ on Earth was doing a good job in covering up all their rotten crimes until recently.

Simplicio : No. I think I have heard of this already. You may be right. He may even have did something in the way of covering up, thinking that it would hurt the Church, and thinking that protecting the church would do more good than bringing the truth to light. It is true and I certainly consider this as wrong. But seeing so many statements, I seriously doubt you are looking at a conspiracy-theory website. I wouldn’t believe their ‘facts’ any more than i would believe the ‘facts’ brought out by the church. Do you think it is the Church which continues religion???

Salviati : No it’s people who do apologetics like you who allow these religiot misanthropes to thrive and take cover and plead ignorance. I might sound overly aggressive but the situation demands immediate attention. Young children and getting raped here by the very same people whom their community look up to for moral guidance. The parents put their children under these peoples care. And then people like you continue to lend credence to their antediluvean ideologies. Statements like the ones you made, dear sir, are the reason why religion still exists as a festering peri-anal wound on the corpus of human condition.

There is a difference between conspiracy and facts. Look at the court cases. Look at the successful court cases in Malta, in the US. The cases coming up in Ireland, Canada and where not.

Simplicio : I suppose you have never heard of cases brought forth to malign someone, or about wrong convictions. I am not saying that is the case here. I accept a lot was done wrong by the church and I don’t love the church, by any stretch of imagination but I seriously don’t think it is likely that Ratzinger wished to encourage paedophiles or anything. I am sure when he tried to cover it up, indirectly you can say he is at least tainted by association, but I wouldn’t call him a paedophile or a paedophile-assister, myself. Because even if he did the cover-up, his intention would not have been to encourage paedophiles. It would have been to save the church.

Salviati : First of all, that statement was meant in jest. But I’m happy now that I did so because we are having a discussion. And it seems to me that we do agree on a lot of issues. It feels as if you are merely quibbling over a status message. I want you to see beyond that statement into what is really going on. These are the same people who claim to hold the moral high-ground. Hence, it is inexcusable that they come out and then say things like the church is not to blame. You cannot do apologetics for pope and say he couldn’t have known better. Well then, what is he there for?

He is the representative of a religion which feels it has the authority to tell you what is right from wrong. If he was a responsible person, he should have at least had the decency to admit its mistake. in 1992, Pope John Paul finally had the courage to admit to a lot of the ‘sins’ the Church committed in the past. He finally admitted that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun, even for the Vatican. Thank God for that. Else we would have been fighting another war in the (American) public school system.

Simplicio : If I were in his position, in my present state of mind, I would say I did something very wrong and if I did really have anything to do with the cover-up, I would decide to resign too because it was unpardonable. But as a person accusing the pope, I cannot go that far. I see that you are one of those people in the world who only see ‘black and white’. You don’t even seem to be able to contemplate ‘shades or grey’. Whereas, I would believe even Adolf Hitler had some good qualities, and even his actions may have had some good effects some way or the other.

Salviati : If you ask me he should not resign. He epitomizes what that whole institution stands for . And besides, why should religion be given a special status? Why should it be made immune from criticism? Consider the following scenario. A child was molested by a priest. What would be your first instinct:

(i) to protect the child and make sure the priest gets punished, or
(ii) to make sure that the church gets saved.

Simplicio : I might be a person who feels bad for the child, feels angry at the priest, but also think protecting the church might be the best thing to do. That is what i mean by shades of grey.

Salviati : You would make a much better pope. But you make an even better apologetic. You speak of shades of grey. I ask you how it is that any moral person in his right mind can defend someone who has time and again proved to be a child molester. Vatican has provided asylum to many such paedophiles. Top Vatican officials — including the Pope Ratzi — did not defrock a priest (Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy) who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why would you want to protect an organization which actively connives to such evil deeds?

Simplicio : I would do that if I thought the organization was good in itself, and its general effect on the entire society was much more positive than negative. And especially, if I spent my whole life for the organization, forgetting family life and pleasures, I would probably think that way He would honestly believe it is what he thinks that matters not what you and I think see. I can see your perspective. But what i am saying is this. Look at it from his perspective. There is truth in what you say. There is truth in what all the accusers say. But there is also truth in what the Church says. You cannot let this single incident represent the entirety of what the Church stands for.

Salviati : Will that argument hold in a court of law? You kill someone and then go to a court and say that you felt like it. Will you get away with it? I don’t think so. But if you then say I did so because my religion permits such events, then it becomes a whole new matter. Would such a person hold moral authority anywhere?

Simplicio : Maybe I could get away. That is up to the court. The court might let me go, or not let me go and I should not complain either ways. I am just sensible enough to be able to think of the other person too. If it was not the pope, but an ordinary murder case, I could still make this argument.

Salviati : You are sounding more and more more fundamentalist in you attempt to play the advocatus diaboli (I hope you are doing that). By the way, there are cases where doctors and staff running abortion clinics where shot down in the name of religion. Such anti-abortion crimes are pretty common in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. So can you still say that the Catholic church a positive force in the world?

Simplicio : I don’t claim to know. I may have heard of facts saying it is good and it bad, but I havent done a detailed study of its 2000 years of existence. I would be a fool to say it is, or it is not. I don’t know, and since I have nothing to gain by finding it out, I don’t care.

Salviati : I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood my question. My question was is the Catholic church a positive force in the world today, in the 21st century? Does it hold the right to tell people what to do and what not? Let us look at some facts. The Pope warns people that condomn use is bad in AIDS stricken Africa where it has taken a toll of over 25 million lives. Aid from the church is contingent on not using condoms. The Pope in fact claimed on his visit to Africa that the use of condoms increases the chances of catching AIDS. Pope’s chief exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth says the sex abuse scandals are ‘evidence the Devil is in the Vatican’. All I can say to him is, Amen.

Simplicio : The Church most certainly doesn’t hold any moral high ground.

Salviati : THANK YOU.

Simplicio : Let me finish. The Church gives moral statements and the people have the freedom to accept or reject those statements if they think they are worth it. The church might even be hypocritic, but people might still accept their statements if they think they are actually good.

Salviati : But my dear friend, things are not that simple. They wield positions of power, a clout gained by medieval barbarism in the dark ages. Countless intelligent people were burned at stake for heresy. It was convert, subjugate or kill. But sorry I’m being hypocritic by speaking about the past.

Simplicio : Yes you are. What ‘positions of power’ do you mean??

Salviati : The Pope is ex officio head of state and the head of government of Vatican City. Millions of people look up to him and other priests for moral advice on a daily basis. He influences political decisions. Many member countries of the UN genuflect in the direction of Vatican city. It is one of the richest institutions in the world yet with a tax exemption status in many countries. These pompous, arrogant , supercilious, pugnacious, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic pricks should learn to lose their holier-than-thou attitude and accept responsibility for their misdeeds. Oh, and they wear a costume. What is that supposed to mean? It’s like wearing cowboy hats or carrying light sabres. NOT COOL ANYMORE.

Simplicio : Yes. I agree they must take responsibility for their actions and I see a lot of bad in what they do, but I see a lot of bad in pretty much every organization in the world. I don’t see why anyone should isolate this particular organization. You might say they do the most damage. But if you simply say that, I cannot take your word for it.