Saturday, 31 October 2009
Threats and a Dialog
Boat Vendor (BV)
BV: (Pointing to an empty space) Buy this boat.
C: What boat? There's no boat to be found.
BV: Well, I don't actually have anything to show you, but I have a book that was written long ago about people who saw the boat and think it's great.
C: Which people? How do you know they are telling the truth, how do you know the report is accurate?
BV: It just is. You should buy this boat, because if you don't, you'll die a horrible death.
C: So, all you have for evidence is a book of questionable authenticity?
BV: Well, you've just gotta believe me that this boat exists. Now, give me some money and you can have it.
C: How do I even know this boat is going to work as planned? Maybe it has holes in it, maybe it'll sink.
BV: It won't sink, it's made of flat steel planks.
C: But, flat steel planks don't float.
BV: If you believe hard enough they will.
C: So, I'm supposed to believe in this boat that you have no evidence for, that you describe as something that won't work, and I'm supposed to buy this from you with no assurance that it'll work or that it actually exists.
BV: If you don't, you'll die a horrible death.
C: I think I'll pass.
Later that night, BV blows up the local dam and floods the town killing C.
Did C ask for the dam to be blown up and be drowned? Did C ask to die horribly by not buying the boat? Isn't this extortion? Would anyone agree that BV's actions here are moral, just, or good? Then, why would we use those descriptors when god essentially takes BV's place in the story.