Antivaxxer lies about vaccines causing infertility

Vaccines, the only light at the end of this grim tunnel called “COVID-19 pandemic.” Now that scientists have developed several safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, we should put them in people’s arms as quickly as possible. Yet that isn’t happening. In many countries people are doing a great job with immunizing freezers. Of course, I cannot blame hospitals or doctors, because distributing a large amount of vaccines is an immense logistical challenge. Still, we should try to do better. [Read more…]

Playing with Temptation

For me, temptation is something to play with and pleasure is something I choose to pursue every now and then. Yet for some other people (those who are religious and/or conservative) temptation and pleasure appears to be a source of endless fear. Why? Why fear and desperately try to avoid something that can be a source of harmless fun and enjoyment? Do some people really distrust themselves so deeply? [Read more…]

Pokémon and the Ethics of Interspecies Relationships in Fictional Universes

Like many people, I like fiction. When reading a science fiction or fantasy novel, I am especially interested in worldbuilding (the process of constructing an imaginary world). What fantasy creatures live in some imaginary universe? How do they behave? How different species interact with each other? What kind of awesome technology or magic is there? What about the geography, the planet itself, the physical laws that govern the universe? [Read more…]

Hardships and Character-Building

Among conservative Americans there exists an idea that overcoming hardships is essential for character-building. People imagine that poverty is a just punishment for laziness, that a state cannot just give people free food, affordable housing, free healthcare, child support, and guaranteed minimum income, because then everybody would just become lazy and stop working. In fact, merely working isn’t sufficient, a person has to work hard in order to earn their daily bread and a roof above their head. [Read more…]

Agricultural Biodiversity: Bean Days

Genetic erosion is a process where a limited gene pool of some species diminishes even more. In wild endangered plant and animal species, low genetic diversity leads to a further diminishing gene pool pushing that species towards eventual extinction.

Yet during the last century humanity has lost also a significant amount of agricultural biodiversity despite it being important for food security and dealing with a changing climate. [Read more…]

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…]