The Purpose of Morals and Laws

What’s the purpose of moral rules? My answer: To prevent people from causing harm to other sentient beings.

Of course, other people have different answers. For example, most conservative people would probably want moral rules that promote family values, purity, loyalty, obedience to authority figures, etc. Personally, I reject such answers.

Growing up in a society, people develop a “gut feeling” about which actions are good or bad. The society instills into us a ready-made set of moral rules, and most people go through their lives without even questioning these rules. In fact, religions and conservative mindsets actively discourage people from questioning the moral rules they were taught since an early age. For example, “Anal sex is bad, it is an abomination. Why is it bad? Don’t ask; don’t even dare to think about such silly topics.” Unfortunately, it’s not just the devoutly religious people who fail to question everything that was taught to them. The rest of us sometimes do it as well. That’s a pity, because once you carefully examine the current moral rules we have in our society, it turns out that many of those are outdated or just silly. [Read more…]

Food waste: Free carrots and no sticks

Food waste. An enormous problem. Approximately one-third of all the food humans produce gets wasted and remains uneaten.

Food waste is a major part of the impact of agriculture on climate change. In order to grow food, we cut down forests, we use fossil fuel to run farm equipment, produce nitrogen fertilizer, and distribute food to consumers. Moreover, when organic waste is not handled properly (through composting), it produces methane, a greenhouse gas, from anaerobic digestion of organic matter in a landfill. Also, non reclaimed phosphorus in food waste leads to further phosphate mining, which is a finite natural resource.

On one hand, humanity wastes a lot of food that we produce. Meanwhile, millions of impoverished people experience hunger and malnutrition. [Read more…]

Creepy Sexual Practices

Which sexual practices are creepy or unacceptable and which ones are fine? There are multiple ways how to try to answer this question, and some criteria for “creepiness” make more sense than others.

“Do I like this sexual practice and would I want to engage in it?” is the wrong question. “Does this sexual practice cause harm for any other people or animals?” is a much better question to ask. As long as people don’t cause harm for anybody else, they ought to be free to do with their genitals whatever they want, and how I personally feel about their actions is irrelevant. [Read more…]