Conscientious Objection for an Atheist Soldier


Resident Ass-Kisser
Some of you guys already know about this whole thing, but I'm posting it here so that I'll have a place to direct people who want to see it. Currently, PlainSight would like to see it in order to get a better idea of how morals can arise without Christianity.

It is incomplete, but I will be updating it here from time to time. If you're curious, it's about 1/3 complete. And no, I'm not necessarily going to apply for CO status. I'm just preparing the essay in case I do. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to review my own thoughts in an organized manner to help me make the best decision.


I. Introduction to My Objection

Not withholding relevant information, yet keeping my testament concise and accurate, I do hereby state that I object to supporting the United States’ military or any other military due to moral and ethical objection to unsolicited and unprovoked violence based on conclusions to which I have reached only after enlisting as a service member in the United States Army.

My purpose is to explain the nature of my objections; how they have changed since the time I enlisted, when I came to them, and how they have influenced my behavior. My objections are based on conclusions which, although controversial, I hold to be true to the best of my knowledge.

II. The Nature of My Objection

The foundation of my disagreement is my knowledge derived from the sciences of psychology, sociology, biology, and physics. Through independently studying these subjects, I have concluded that not only is punishment unnecessary, but also insufficient for the attainment of the desired goal: to prevent further infractions.

A. Action Reaction

The works of Richard Dawkins, the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public understanding of Science at Oxford University, and Stephen Hawking, the Lucasion Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, and many other intellectually successful men and women, have broadened my knowledge of the natural world from the atomic level to the cosmological level.

I do not believe in Free Will. I believe that the laws of physics govern all matter, including that of which our brains are consisted. Any system, no matter its origin or complexity, will produce the same results given that the stimuli remain consistent. A calculator will give you the same answer twice if you plug in the same equation twice. An arrow will hit the same target twice if you shoot it at the same speed and trajectory twice, given that all external conditions such as wind and gravity are equal. Robots are becoming increasingly complex, and they are beginning to mimic what we might consider to be Free Will, but we do not label them with such a characteristic because we propose ourselves to be somehow different. I fail to see that difference.

B. Robots and Humans, Responsibility and Value

Many who shun the idea of no Free Will often claim that no Free Will entails the subsequent lack of responsibility and morals. I disagree, and can explain why in a very simple analogy.

If a robot came into your home with a knife and began attacking you, you would hold the robot, and probably the person who built it, responsible. When I say that you would hold the robot responsible, I mean that after you stopped the robot from attacking, you would try to find a way to prevent its attacks in the future. You would probably attempt one of three methods.

1. Destroy it.
2. Detain it.
3. Reprogram it.

The analogous actions with a human (arbitrarily assumed to be male) are as follows.

1. Execute him.
2. Confine him.
3. Rehabilitate him.

Because the methods of deterrence are essentially the same for a robot and a human, we can now leave the robot example behind. It has served its purpose. Now, let us examine the three options from an economical point of view.

A person, like a robot, has value. People contribute to the economy, care for families and entertain friends. These are positive values. There are also negative values. People steal, neglect families and commit acts of disloyalty to their friends. For simplicity’s sake, we will look at the value of any particular human being as being the total of all their positive values minus their negative values.

In the following sections, I will demonstrate how execution and confinement are not the most effective means of deterring infractions and how rehabilitation is the best option of the three.

1. The Option of Execution

Before I begin to explain why execution is not the most effective means of deterring infractions, let me first admit freely that the execution of an individual will deter that individual from committing the infraction again. Because this is such an obvious statement, I wish it weren’t a prerequisite for explaining the matter at hand.

It is important to discuss why we, as a society, execute offenders, aside from the obvious point made above. We execute members of our population for three reasons: to prevent future infractions of the guilty party, to make an example for potential offenders, and for revenge.

Prevent Future Infractions
a. Argument: Execution prevents the offender from committing future infractions.
b. Counter-argument: Life in prison. Even if the offender could not be rehabilitated, killing him is not the only option. Furthermore, it is more ethical to confine him while awaiting a treatment which could then be used as a means of rehabilitation. Solitary confinement would keep him from committing infractions against inmates.

Setting an Example
c. Argument: Execution sets an example that deters potential offenders from committing infractions.
d. Counter-argument: No evidence suggests that this reasoning has produced results. Evidence suggests that violence is linked to lesser educated demographical populations who may not understand that they will get caught at all, thus do not fear the death penalty.

e. Argument: Those who kill deserve to be killed.
f. Counter-argument: Simply put, two wrongs do not make a right. More accurately, the argument commits the fallacy of special pleading. One form of killing is justified, but another is not. Generally, this logic tends to follow a ‘Might is Right’ philosophy.

2. The Option of Confinement (incomplete)

3. The Option of Rehabilitation (incomplete)

(to be continued)
This is really good. It presents some very compelling arguments in a clear and easy to understand manner. Looking forward to seeing more of it as it becomes more complete.

If you want, I'll move this into Literature, which might be a better forum for it, but I suppose it's your choice if you'd rather have it in SubTalk