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Other => Off Topic => Topic started by: BoonDogle on November 01, 2018, 10:40:21 AM

Title: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: BoonDogle on November 01, 2018, 10:40:21 AM
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

To be honest, I am guilty of many of the small offenses above.  Just curious if anyone has thought about this and has a clearly defined ethical line?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: obstinate on November 01, 2018, 12:27:58 PM
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

To be honest, I am guilty of many of the small offenses above.  Just curious if anyone has thought about this and has a clearly defined ethical line?
It depends. Of the things you mentioned, almost all of them are unethical and sleazy.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PDXTabs on November 01, 2018, 12:45:13 PM
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Don't forget that there is a difference between ethics and morality. Ethics is following external written (or potentially unwritten) rules like laws and written codes of conduct, morality is following your internal sense of right and wrong.

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

I don't lie to get money or goods, that it equivalent to stealing.

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

Yes, by definition if you are following the written rules it is ethical, whether or not your feel that it is moral is on you. I have no qualms "taking" from government programs or large companies if I am following their written rules. Now a small non-profit might be different. I would not take advantage of a non-profit unless I really needed their help, or they really wanted to give it to me knowing my situation. But that's not because of the ethics, that's because of my own sense of morality.

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

I wouldn't take a ream of paper, but I might take a paperclip and a couple of pages. This would fall into what some businesses classify in writing as "incidental personal use." But I can hardly say that taking an entire ream of paper would be incidental.

I give back extra change if I notice, but I don't lose sleep if I don't notice.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: mountain mustache on November 01, 2018, 12:52:58 PM
I will occasionally print a page or two of something "personal" at work, but I would never take a ream of paper, or pens, or any kind of supplies for my own use. If I use a stamp, I pay for it. I spend time at work sometimes doing things that are not necessarily "work" but I also spend time at home answering work related e-mails off the clock. To the tune of probably 30-45 min a day.

I personally do not like churning credit cards/bank accounts...just not my thing. I'm not sure if I consider it unethical, but it's straddling a line for me. Not worth it in my opinion.

I had a friend here in town a few years ago who would go to the "free lunch" at one of the churches here. It was meant for unemployed/homeless,etc demographic, though it did not explicitly state that. That to me is crossing the line. She was employed full time, had food on her table, and a place to live, and I always thought it was just strange to go take resources from others who literally have nothing. But that's just my ethics, maybe others see nothing wrong with it.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: soccerluvof4 on November 01, 2018, 01:03:37 PM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

Churning credit cards are don't find as a big deal because they put rules in place and if you abide by them so be it.

Cheating on taxes or stealing anything from an employer is unethical no matter what you think you are deserving or not.

I have lied , cheated and stole and never felt good about it so I try to avoid at all costs. And as you mature and the less you do these things the easier it is imo to not do them or be tempted to do them. Morally or unethical.

Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: gaja on November 01, 2018, 02:02:26 PM
During a lunchchat today I discovered that some of the rules I follow for reporting travel costs, are just my own moral codes. A theoretical example; if I have a meeting at location B first thing in the morning (50 km from the office (location C)), but I go straight from home (location A) and therefore really travel 70 km, I will only report the 50 km from C to B.

I don't feel bad for taking a private phone call at work, or surfing the net for a few minutes, because it just as often happens that I will update the business Facebook page at home while surfing the internet, or read a couple of science articles in my free time. The same way, I have no problem printing private stuff at work, since I often print work stuff at home.

We receive several types of welfare, that we could have managed without economically speaking. But this is not support aimed at poor people, it is a type of public insurance that you can apply for if you are sick, disabled, or have a lot of extra work because of sick children.

For taxes and credit card churning, I will follow the rules. If I find a rule that is an advantage for me, I will use it and not feel bad at all.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: TVRodriguez on November 01, 2018, 02:12:18 PM
I try not to lie--as Mark Twain said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

Cheating at work:  I work for myself, so if I need time for personal stuff, fine, I do it.  I don't have to lie about it.  I just can't bill that time to clients, and I don't.  I admit to mailing personal stuff from work sometimes.  It's just easier.

Cheating on taxes:  Not worth it in the least.  There have been a couple of items I deducted that were mixed and I paid from work, but more b/c it's just easier to pay one fee to a vendor.  For example, I recently got a new headshot taken for my website, and the photographer (a friend) included a family photo on the same day for a single fee.  I paid from using my work credit card.  Should I have divided the cost?  Maybe, but eh, whatever.

Credit card churning:  Bless you if you have the time and inclination to keep track of that.  I don't, but I do take advantage of the miles offered.

I'm sure I'm not squeaky clean, but I don't knowingly engage in shady practices.  I don't want to have to to remember everything!
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Cranky on November 01, 2018, 02:41:29 PM
All of that seems like a lot of work. I will fudge the truth to avoid hurting someone, but otherwise I’d rather live so that I don’t need to tell lies.

I took my own pens and paper to work; there really wasn’t anything to steal.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Peter Parker on November 01, 2018, 02:44:15 PM
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Peter Parker on November 01, 2018, 02:49:26 PM
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places

And if I get outed, I recently learned to use "whataboutism" and gas lighting.  And, of course, when that doesn't work, you throw a dog whistle in and get people to look away.

Wish I hadn't wasted most of my life trying to be a good person.  I could've been somebody!
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: nessness on November 01, 2018, 02:57:51 PM
In general, I would say that if you feel the need to avoid getting caught, it's probably unethical (with obvious exceptions like planning a surprise party). For example, I'd have no problem putting one office pen in my purse in front of my boss, but I wouldn't dump in a whole box in front of him, so I'd say that taking one pen from work is unethical but not several.

As far as correcting mistakes in my favor, I'll ask myself whether I'd correct the same mistake if it was in the other person's favor. For example, if a store overcharges me by 50 cents, I'll correct it in the moment if I notice it, but if I don't notice until I get home I'll just let it go. But if they overcharged me by $10, I'd ask them to correct the mistake next time I went to the store. So I act the same in reverse - I'll correct a 50 cent undercharge in the moment but I won't to back to the store if I notice it later. One time my kids' daycare undercharged me by about $200 due to a computer glitch, and I tried 2 or 3 times to get them to correct it before giving up.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 01, 2018, 03:27:16 PM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: BoonDogle on November 01, 2018, 04:45:39 PM
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Luck12 on November 01, 2018, 07:30:41 PM
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places

And if I get outed, I recently learned to use "whataboutism" and gas lighting.  And, of course, when that doesn't work, you throw a dog whistle in and get people to look away.

Wish I hadn't wasted most of my life trying to be a good person.  I could've been somebody!

LOL so true.  Anyway I wouldn't consider credit card churning anywhere near unethical or immoral, I mean come on, I've had banks deny me bonuses when I clearly met the requirements.  Thankfully CFPB fought to get my bonuses.  So fuck the banks.   

"Stealing time from the employer" - Ha, as long as you are meeting the job requirements, so what?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: BoonDogle on November 02, 2018, 07:16:08 AM
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Don't forget that there is a difference between ethics and morality. Ethics is following external written (or potentially unwritten) rules like laws and written codes of conduct, morality is following your internal sense of right and wrong.

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

I don't lie to get money or goods, that it equivalent to stealing.

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

Yes, by definition if you are following the written rules it is ethical, whether or not your feel that it is moral is on you. I have no qualms "taking" from government programs or large companies if I am following their written rules. Now a small non-profit might be different. I would not take advantage of a non-profit unless I really needed their help, or they really wanted to give it to me knowing my situation. But that's not because of the ethics, that's because of my own sense of morality.

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

I wouldn't take a ream of paper, but I might take a paperclip and a couple of pages. This would fall into what some businesses classify in writing as "incidental personal use." But I can hardly say that taking an entire ream of paper would be incidental.

I give back extra change if I notice, but I don't lose sleep if I don't notice.

PDX, that is interesting that you distinguish between the two words.  I have not heard that point of view and I generally use the two interchangeably.  From that standpoint, something could be ethical but not moral and vice versa.  I definitely agree on the incidental personal use and I also make the distinction that you make between government programs and non-profits.  Thanks for you point of view.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: lollipop_hurricane on November 02, 2018, 07:25:04 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: BoonDogle on November 02, 2018, 07:40:10 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

Agreed.  I got a good laugh from the irony in your story.  Tell them the truth and they all believe you are lying - lol.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: BoonDogle on November 02, 2018, 08:07:14 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: DS on November 02, 2018, 08:25:11 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

Agreed.  I got a good laugh from the irony in your story.  Tell them the truth and they all believe you are lying - lol.

Haha, yeah, why would they believe someone wouldn't WANT to see them?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Blueberries on November 02, 2018, 08:46:31 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay. <edit>

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

This response addresses exactly how I feel about it all. 

I try not to lie.  I have found it easier now that I have children because I know they are listening and watching.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 02, 2018, 08:54:13 AM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I kinda disagree with the whole concept of the white lie.  Rather than lie, tell people the truth in a non-dickish way.

"How do I look today?"

"You look tired, but I still think you're lovely."




"How do these pants look?"

"I think you look prettier in your blue pants."

etc.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: shenlong55 on November 02, 2018, 09:35:33 AM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I kinda disagree with the whole concept of the white lie.  Rather than lie, tell people the truth in a non-dickish way.

"How do I look today?"

"You look tired, but I still think you're lovely."




"How do these pants look?"

"I think you look prettier in your blue pants."

etc.

+1
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 02, 2018, 03:51:44 PM
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).

This has an official term: "de minimis". Most ethical guidelines have a de minimis exemption where an infrequent acceptance of objects less than a certain value are not considered unethical. For example, using the office printer occasionally, accidentally taking a pen home, etc.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: bacchi on November 02, 2018, 05:40:10 PM
Our ethics and morality often get imposed upon by others, sometimes unknowingly.

Take a mortgage. The terms are clear -- a bank loans you money and you pay them back. If you default, the bank takes the collateral. Is it amoral to walk away from a mortgage?

In the US, there are "exempt" employees. An exempt employee may work more than 40 hours/week (and usually do) but, on the other side, an exempt employee can't be docked pay if they take off early. In other words, if you can work more than 40, you can work less than 40 (though you may get fired or use up vacation time). Is it amoral to work fewer than 40 hours?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Indexer on November 02, 2018, 11:19:56 PM
Telling my GF I love her hair, when I really wish she would lose the highlights? It avoids an unhappy GF. Happy GF > losing the highlights.


The only thing on the original list that applies to me is churning credit cards. Yes, I do it, but I don't see any harm in that. The company is trying to entice me to use their card. For a couple companies it paid off. I use my Uber card and my citi double cash cards on a regular basis, not because of the original sign up bonus, but because they have really good cash back features. All of the other credit cards I used were just for the sign up bonus. Maybe those companies should offer better ongoing perks, but they don't want to do that because it will eat into their profits. Who is being unethical? The company that gambled a sign up bonus would trick me into using an inferior card or me for taking advantage of their sign up bonus with no intention of using the card after that? 

Quote
In the US, there are "exempt" employees. An exempt employee may work more than 40 hours/week (and usually do) but, on the other side, an exempt employee can't be docked pay if they take off early. In other words, if you can work more than 40, you can work less than 40 (though you may get fired or use up vacation time). Is it amoral to work fewer than 40 hours?

That's me. Exempt roles are normally roles where the results are more important than the time you took to achieve them. As long as the results are delivered the employer doesn't care how long it took to do it. One person might take 50 hours to get the job done and another might only take 30 hours. There are some weeks I only work about 30 hours, but I deliver the same or better results as peers who work more. That said, part of the reason I work less is that I spent time on the front end planning how to do things efficiently, and preventing potential problems that would eat up a lot of my time.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: driftwood on November 03, 2018, 07:46:25 AM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing?  I see it talked about a lot in ethical discussions about lying. The famous "does this make me look fat?" question. I've never had any woman in my life ask me that question. Most of the time, people don't ask me such limited questions that have to be answered by a lie (to not hurt their feelings), or with a pre-defined judgmental answer... in this example, you either say they look good or you default to their suggested 'fat'. Does this happen to you guys?

The CLOSEST I get to situations like this is when someone likes something I don't care at all about. They tell me something, and then say something like "isn't that cool?" In those cases I feel like I'm expected to answer in alignment with their interests, but I can usually find a way to answer without lying. "That must be really exciting for you".

I've found I can be honest with others and I'm not alone. But the people I surround myself with don't ask questions limited to: 1. lie, 2. say something terribly insulting or crushing.

Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: driftwood on November 03, 2018, 07:53:32 AM
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).

This has an official term: "de minimis". Most ethical guidelines have a de minimis exemption where an infrequent acceptance of objects less than a certain value are not considered unethical. For example, using the office printer occasionally, accidentally taking a pen home, etc.

For government employees, we actually have a regulation (Joint Ethics Regulation) that covers these kind of things. Can you use the shredder at work for personal mail? Yes, after hours, because then you're not using your work time to do a personal chore. Wear and tear on the shredder is minimal. I don't remember the other rules, but a lot of common examples are covered.

I've used my own personally-bought pens for work since at least 2004. I also print things at work sometimes. I think it balances out.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Apple_Tango on November 03, 2018, 08:07:37 AM
I’m quite good at evading questions even though people think I’ve answered.

“Do you like the new neighbors?”
“They seem like they’ll really fit in here!”

Lol. So what I really said is “you people all suck” but people tend to just hear the complement and miss the message. Especially if you throw in a vague head nod. And it’s not lying! If someone calls me out then Sometimes I’ll white lie or sometimes I’ll be honest depending on the situation.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: accolay on November 03, 2018, 11:57:34 AM
Usually I draw the line where I could either be fired, eternally ruin my reputation or go to jail. Or a mix of all three.

White lies are usually ok, but it depends on the circumstance. When I call in sick to work, I may not be physically ill, but I'm definately sick of work :) I'd never lie on an application or exaggerate facts though- did Hollywood teach you nothing?

It is unethical to cheat your employer on time reporting and something that could come around to bite you in the ass, but in the indursty I work in there is not way to be late and not have it noticed. It's absolutely unethical and illegal take funds for the poor if you are wealthy. http://www.startribune.com/couple-with-yacht-luxury-lake-home-charged-with-welfare-fraud/251443751/ (http://www.startribune.com/couple-with-yacht-luxury-lake-home-charged-with-welfare-fraud/251443751/) I hope their funds were redistributed.
Churning credit cards could be slightly murky ethically maybe, but I feel more like the universe is being corrected than an actual person being harmed. Similar to how "Piracy is not a vicimless crime." Why is it ok for the financial industry to screw everyone, but we can't take advantage of their programs while following their rules?

I don't steal from work, but I have made a few personal copies. If I take one of their crappy pens home accidently, I take it back to work to use it there because I don't want it around my house and I wont buy pens for work and throwing it away would lead to more waste. As far as surfing the internet on company time? For the number of times I've had to miss or severely shorten break due to work load, I think we might almost be square if I check my email and the news while at work during downtime. If retail gives me the wrong change and I didn't notice right away, oh well. But if i notice then and there I'll make things right. Because it counts against that person at the register if their register count is off. That's good karma.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: accolay on November 03, 2018, 12:09:16 PM
I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.

I've had conversations with strangers or coworkers that I don't feel like revealing all about myself or my loved ones. I don't necessarily lie, but I don't need to reveal everything about myself either. I think most people on this forum probably do this if talk about finances comes up at work.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: scottish on November 03, 2018, 03:25:57 PM
How about this case?

You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.

Six months later, you go to watch it again.   But it's no longer available, because Apple no longer licenses the movie.  Or perhaps you're in a different country and there's no license for that movie in your new country.

Do you:

suck it up and buy the movie (again) from Amazon?

download it using BitTorrent over your VPN?  (This is illegal)

download it from a file sharing site so that you aren't uploading any of the movie to other people?   (This is marginally legal in Canada, but not in the US)

never watch the movie again and start an online protest against Apple or the movie producer?

(reference linky:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnarcher/2018/09/17/apple-responds-to-disappearing-itunes-movie-purchases-issue/#49f623a572b6 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnarcher/2018/09/17/apple-responds-to-disappearing-itunes-movie-purchases-issue/#49f623a572b6) )
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: accolay on November 03, 2018, 04:34:58 PM
How about this case?
You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.
download it using BitTorrent over your VPN?  (This is illegal)

I'd go with that while remembering, "Piracy is not a vicimless crime."
I've seen the scores of downtrodden movie executives across the nation in soup lines and begging for my dollars at street corners...

Sure, two wrongs don't make a right, or something, but if you already payed for it t's The Man's problem.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on November 03, 2018, 04:37:13 PM
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics? 

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?



 

That I am a literalist is among the reasons I abominate lying.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: SwordGuy on November 03, 2018, 05:43:44 PM
I’m quite good at evading questions even though people think I’ve answered.

“Do you like the new neighbors?”
“They seem like they’ll really fit in here!”

Lol. So what I really said is “you people all suck” but people tend to just hear the complement and miss the message. Especially if you throw in a vague head nod. And it’s not lying! If someone calls me out then Sometimes I’ll white lie or sometimes I’ll be honest depending on the situation.

On the same note, I ran across a Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Referrals some years back.  The author would use them when they had, for social reasons, to give a referral but were unwilling to lie to the employer or lose the friendship of the person asking for the recommendation.  Each of them has two possible meanings:

“In my opinion you would be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.”

"I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever."

“All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly.”

“I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine.”

“I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.”

“I would urge you to waste no time in making this person an offer of employment.”

Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Villanelle on November 04, 2018, 11:23:19 PM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.

Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them. 
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: accolay on November 05, 2018, 02:50:38 AM
Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them.

Ah the old nature vs. nurture argument. Go watch Three Identical Strangers. It gave me some insight on what may be factored into our genes.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: DS on November 05, 2018, 07:48:49 AM
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.

Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them.

Or maybe men have historically been in positions to commit fraud so these stats are skewed. And with time and equity will balance.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Roland of Gilead on November 05, 2018, 08:27:11 AM
The same people who wouldn't steal a paper clip don't think twice about downloading a movie or song from the web without payment.   Ethics are subjective.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 05, 2018, 08:46:14 AM
The same people who wouldn't steal a paper clip don't think twice about downloading a movie or song from the web without payment.   Ethics are subjective.

To be fair, theft is completely different than copy-write infringement.  In one you are depriving someone of something, in the other you are making a copy of something.  While downloading a song from the web without payment is clearly on the wrong side of ethics, there are many instances not quite so clear cut.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Johnez on November 05, 2018, 09:55:04 AM
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 05, 2018, 10:18:38 AM
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.

The difference is that with theft, you deprive someone of something.  If I steal your poster of Mickey Mouse off your wall, I have deprived you of your questionable taste in art.

With copyright infringement, you theoretically deprive someone of something (maybe).  If I download the album of a new band that I want to check out, it's possible that I've deprived the music company (and to a lesser extent) the artist of money.  It's also possible that I don't like the music and will never listen to it again.  It's possible that I never would have purchased the album to begin with.  It's only in theory that someone has been deprived of something.

Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side.  You should pay for the media you consume.  If you don't do so, that's wrong.  But I can certainly see how theft is not equivalent to copyright infringement.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Slee_stack on November 05, 2018, 10:28:18 AM
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.
As a counterpoint, I have a good number of music files on multiple hard drives.

I also have a decent sized CD collection gathering dust in the attic.  Yep, my files are predominantly ripped ones from my discs.

Along the way, I've probably given a portion of my electronic files to friends and I've received a number in return.

In the older days, we would give each other cassettes, but the net behavior was the same.

I know both cases are probably unethical. 

The more one digs into things, the more unethical one might discover they themselves are!   My closet is pretty full anyway.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 05, 2018, 11:00:05 AM
It's simple really.

Ask yourself "will anyone's interests be harmed by this action?"

If yes, it's probably unethical and you should proceed very carefully with any subsequent rationalizations. We can talk ourselves into doing horrible things to people we don't like or because we think we deserve something. But if your starting point is the recognition that another person will be harmed, and that most unethical behavior is rationalized, you've at least cut yourself off from the sort of harm denial and bargaining that characterize the thought processes of unethical people.

It's easy to think of ethically tricky scenarios with two mutually exclusive harm outcomes (i.e. the old runaway trolley thought experiment). Yet the moral dilemmas we usually face are of the do I rationalize harming another person or not variety.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: robartsd on November 05, 2018, 12:38:13 PM
How about this case?

You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.


Or you're watching a movie on DVD, but your player runs into an error at a certain scene. Online search reveals that the publisher did something non-standard at the transition between layers to thwart piracy (literally top search results for this particular scene indicates that this is a common problem with this DVD). Can't find a DVD rip or clip of the missing scene, so you finish the movie with a BlueRay rip from BitTorrent. Does it matter that the DVD was borrowed from the library? What about when the playback error is because the disk is damaged rather than the studio's DRM?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 05, 2018, 12:48:36 PM
I consider myself to be a generally ethical person (though typing this at work....). However, my opinion on the copyright discussion is that it kind of depends. If you sincerely have negligible income and savings (high school or college student, unemployed), and wouldn't have purchased any movies or music otherwise, I think a case can be made that pirating these items is not a net negative for society, in that the producers would not have received compensation anyways, and the consumers can become socially aware without spending what little money they have on things they truly can't afford (MMM style). If you are pirating and have a legitimate income or savings, you are at this stage being a cheap unethical bastard.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 05, 2018, 03:23:23 PM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing? 

Yes, people ask others how they look and probably have since the beginning of time.  Our current obsession with Facebook/Instragram is a microcosm of the fact that people like external validation.


Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.

Not sure why that's considered fucked up at all.  Surely there are at least some traits that your partner possesses that you aren't thrilled with.  Telling the truth on each of them is focusing on the flaws instead of realizing that all people are flawed and doing your best to ignore the little things that don't matter. 

"This is one of the worst meals I've ever eaten" is different than "it's not bad, but I think I prefer the chicken instead"  The former is the truth.  The latter is a lie.  They both accomplish the same thing, but only one makes you an asshole.  I can assure you that being an asshole will not build you a stronger relationship.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 05, 2018, 03:38:15 PM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing? 

Yes, people ask others how they look and probably have since the beginning of time.  Our current obsession with Facebook/Instragram is a microcosm of the fact that people like external validation.


Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.

Not sure why that's considered fucked up at all.  Surely there are at least some traits that your partner possesses that you aren't thrilled with.  Telling the truth on each of them is focusing on the flaws instead of realizing that all people are flawed and doing your best to ignore the little things that don't matter. 

"This is one of the worst meals I've ever eaten" is different than "it's not bad, but I think I prefer the chicken instead"  The former is the truth.  The latter is a lie.  They both accomplish the same thing, but only one makes you an asshole.  I can assure you that being an asshole will not build you a stronger relationship.

One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 05, 2018, 05:42:14 PM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 05, 2018, 06:10:40 PM
I don't lie to be tactful.

If you actually hate something that someone cooked for you, you don't have to comment on the taste at all.  You can talk about the presentation, you can talk about how thankful you are that the person cares enough about you to cook food, you can talk about the effort and/or time they clearly put into the meal . . . there are a lot of other ways you can handle the situation.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Johnez on November 05, 2018, 06:35:50 PM
^Bingo. This is not a court room where you have to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Answer part of the question or an unrelated question and let the matter die. Not too difficult. If it gets to the point where your wife makes the same horrible meatloaf every Friday, ya dun goofed and have to come clean. If ya tell her, "Well babe, I dig how you put the barbecue sauce on top but to be honest I haven't like meatloaf since I was a kid," ya sent the same message as if you told her "Hon, tastes like shit," except without the asshole-ness.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 05, 2018, 06:45:24 PM
^Bingo. This is not a court room where you have to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Answer part of the question or an unrelated question and let the matter die. Not too difficult. If it gets to the point where your wife makes the same horrible meatloaf every Friday, ya dun goofed and have to come clean. If ya tell her, "Well babe, I dig how you put the barbecue sauce on top but to be honest I haven't like meatloaf since I was a kid," ya sent the same message as if you told her "Hon, tastes like shit," except without the asshole-ness.

Actually, I'd probably just offer to cook on Fridays.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Johnez on November 05, 2018, 06:50:40 PM
LOL. Great plan....until she springs it to you on Monday with enough leftovers lunches for half the week!
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: rocketpj on November 06, 2018, 06:51:20 AM
Sometimes a lie is a more private answer.  When someone asks you a question that may be a bit personal, or have a complex answer full of context that you don't feel obliged to explain.

There are few jobs that don't have some opportunity to steal or misreport something to your own benefit.  Most of us won't do it intentionally.  I've seen people fill their own fuel tanks with company gas cards, take long lunches at company expense etc.  I've also seen people get fired for forgetting to pay for a cup of coffee (!).
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: turketron on November 06, 2018, 07:06:17 AM
I don't have much to add to this conversation, but just wanted to state that everyone here should watch The Good Place if the discussion here interests them   :D
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 06, 2018, 07:13:54 AM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: bluebelle on November 06, 2018, 08:06:06 AM
I’m quite good at evading questions even though people think I’ve answered.

“Do you like the new neighbors?”
“They seem like they’ll really fit in here!”

Lol. So what I really said is “you people all suck” but people tend to just hear the complement and miss the message. Especially if you throw in a vague head nod. And it’s not lying! If someone calls me out then Sometimes I’ll white lie or sometimes I’ll be honest depending on the situation.

On the same note, I ran across a Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Referrals some years back.  The author would use them when they had, for social reasons, to give a referral but were unwilling to lie to the employer or lose the friendship of the person asking for the recommendation.  Each of them has two possible meanings:

“In my opinion you would be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.”

"I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever."

“All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly.”

“I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine.”

“I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.”

“I would urge you to waste no time in making this person an offer of employment.”

I love these.....adding
"I'll give that suggestion all the consideration it deserves" when given a stupid idea
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 06, 2018, 08:16:24 AM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.

Why would you say that you like something that you don't like? That's not remotely what Eric was suggesting.

I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 06, 2018, 09:59:52 AM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.

Why would you say that you like something that you don't like? That's not remotely what Eric was suggesting.

I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

Eric was posing a dichotomy that didn't exist. Let's go back to his first quote. (He has moderated since then.)

To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I assume Eric could have found something good in the person he was talking to if he tried and was committed to not dying old and alone. It is not a lie to filter the truth.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 06, 2018, 11:21:23 AM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.

Why would you say that you like something that you don't like? That's not remotely what Eric was suggesting.

I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

Nope.  Fuck those people who ask how you are but don't want a response.  I give an honest response every time.  If they don't want to know how I am, they can bloody well stop asking.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: ditheca on November 06, 2018, 11:32:08 AM
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I don't lie.  Not even the fancy white kind.  If you practice telling the truth, you get good at it. You should always be able to find something positive.  If their wardrobe is a mess, maybe you can compliment them on their hair or their smile.  If you completely draw a blank, not answering the question is always an option, although there are some hoops to jump through to make it tactful!

I have some coworkers that I struggle to honestly complement.  It is worth the struggle.

My wife and children both appreciate that they can always trust me. This morning I was able to help DW feel much better about her anxiety disorder... she didn't have to second guess if I was just saying what she wanted to hear, because I don't do that.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 06, 2018, 11:40:45 AM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.

That's great, but doesn't seem like a tough situation to deal with at all.  Was she going to take offense and consider divorce if you didn't like some drink that was made by a bartender?  lol

I'm certainly not saying that you should default to lying.  But it's a tool in your toolbox.  Completely removing that option makes no sense to me, especially when it can come in handy during an actual tough situation to deal with.  Plus, the general idea that a white lie is always bad is just silly.  If it's the path of least resistance and you don't feel like dealing with the issue, it's certainly the best option.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 06, 2018, 11:43:30 AM
I don't lie.  Not even the fancy white kind.  If you practice telling the truth, you get good at it. You should always be able to find something positive.  If their wardrobe is a mess, maybe you can compliment them on their hair or their smile.  If you completely draw a blank, not answering the question is always an option, although there are some hoops to jump through to make it tactful!

I have some coworkers that I struggle to honestly complement.  It is worth the struggle.

Why is it worth the struggle?  Especially if it's just some random coworker.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 06, 2018, 11:47:10 AM
I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

High five!  I was specifically asked at work why I wasn't riding my bike last week.  Instead of telling the truth about something that was none of their business, I lied and said that I was "nursing an injury, but will be back to riding soon".  Which of course led to no further questions or comments as expected.  The perfect outcome.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 06, 2018, 12:31:57 PM
I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

High five!  I was specifically asked at work why I wasn't riding my bike last week.  Instead of telling the truth about something that was none of their business, I lied and said that I was "nursing an injury, but will be back to riding soon".  Which of course led to no further questions or comments as expected.  The perfect outcome.

The problem with lying, in my opinion, is that you become an untrustworthy person. Sooner or later, as the lies add up, some start slipping through the cracks. Then people start to think, if he can lie about something as stupid as why he didn't ride his bike, what else is he capable of lying of?

And are you telling me there isn't a quick and easy truthful response to why you didn't ride your bike? "I didn't feel like it" usually suffices. You're implying your lie was the only option for the desired outcome, which in and of itself is probably not the truth.

I don't necessarily disagree with the white lie in theory. I use it every Christmas and Easter. I used it when my young kids asked me where babies come from. ("From a mommy's belly." "My friends told me it comes from a girl's private parts." "Umm.... No, no, definitely the belly.") I just try to use it extremely sparingly, so that when people hear the words coming out of my mouth the first thing they don't think is whether or not I am telling the truth.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 06, 2018, 12:47:21 PM
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.

My wife loves chavelas. To me they taste wretched, and I can't understand how someone can destroy a good beer like that. The first couple times she offered me one, I tasted it, gave it back to her, and told her I'm not a fan. She thinks I'm weird for it and vice versa, but going to the bar is now easy because she never has to worry about me trying to steal her drink. No lying was necessary, and no awkwardness down the line when she orders me a chavela because I said I liked it.

Why would you say that you like something that you don't like? That's not remotely what Eric was suggesting.

I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

Nope.  Fuck those people who ask how you are but don't want a response.  I give an honest response every time.  If they don't want to know how I am, they can bloody well stop asking.

If I got pissed at all the people who say "How are you" but don't actually care how I am, I'd have no anger left to direct at our historically inept and offensive political leaders. Gotta pick my battles.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 06, 2018, 12:54:44 PM
I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

High five!  I was specifically asked at work why I wasn't riding my bike last week.  Instead of telling the truth about something that was none of their business, I lied and said that I was "nursing an injury, but will be back to riding soon".  Which of course led to no further questions or comments as expected.  The perfect outcome.

The problem with lying, in my opinion, is that you become an untrustworthy person. Sooner or later, as the lies add up, some start slipping through the cracks. Then people start to think, if he can lie about something as stupid as why he didn't ride his bike, what else is he capable of lying of?

And are you telling me there isn't a quick and easy truthful response to why you didn't ride your bike? "I didn't feel like it" usually suffices. You're implying your lie was the only option for the desired outcome, which in and of itself is probably not the truth.

I don't necessarily disagree with the white lie in theory. I use it every Christmas and Easter. I used it when my young kids asked me where babies come from. ("From a mommy's belly." "My friends told me it comes from a girl's private parts." "Umm.... No, no, definitely the belly.") I just try to use it extremely sparingly, so that when people hear the words coming out of my mouth the first thing they don't think is whether or not I am telling the truth.

I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the kind of lie that would cause people to question my integrity vs. the kind that I tell every day as a normal, functioning member of society. If you are the type of person who would get offended if I wasn't straightforward about the reason my balls are sore (which is none of your damn business), then I'm pretty sure I know which of the two of us is more likely to be treated suspiciously by our common acquaintances.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Eric on November 06, 2018, 01:07:33 PM
I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

High five!  I was specifically asked at work why I wasn't riding my bike last week.  Instead of telling the truth about something that was none of their business, I lied and said that I was "nursing an injury, but will be back to riding soon".  Which of course led to no further questions or comments as expected.  The perfect outcome.

The problem with lying, in my opinion, is that you become an untrustworthy person. Sooner or later, as the lies add up, some start slipping through the cracks. Then people start to think, if he can lie about something as stupid as why he didn't ride his bike, what else is he capable of lying of?

And are you telling me there isn't a quick and easy truthful response to why you didn't ride your bike? "I didn't feel like it" usually suffices. You're implying your lie was the only option for the desired outcome, which in and of itself is probably not the truth.

Come on now, this is getting ridiculous.  I'm not on trial.  I'm not being interviewed by the FBI.  There is no "tangled web of lies" to remember.  It's a simple dismissal of a trivial situation in which no one is hurt.  It's the path of least resistance.  I'm not any more or less trustworthy than before I had the vasectomy.

I don't necessarily disagree with the white lie in theory. I use it every Christmas and Easter. I used it when my young kids asked me where babies come from. ("From a mommy's belly." "My friends told me it comes from a girl's private parts." "Umm.... No, no, definitely the belly.") I just try to use it extremely sparingly, so that when people hear the words coming out of my mouth the first thing they don't think is whether or not I am telling the truth.

Oh, so you're also an untrustworthy person!  Well, well, well, how the turntables!  How will you ever remember the truth if you start lying to anyone about where babies come from or if there's really a Santa Claus?  It's a SLIPPERY SLOPE to becoming completely untrustworthy!!!!1111  LOL
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Gondolin on November 06, 2018, 01:10:06 PM
These ethics threads pop up with some regularity. I always question their utility simply because the unethical people will never respond. Posters are always people who “consider themselves to be highly ethical” and it takes no time at all for the discussion to devolve into nitpicking over white lies and copyright infringement. The board member who’s cruising to FI by committing elder abuse, falsifying time cards or reselling misplaced inventory isn’t rushing to admit it on a public forum.

Anyway, no shade on those who are participating, just an observation that OP is not likely to get the full diversity of opinion on this topic.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 06, 2018, 04:36:36 PM
I tell white lies to people all the time. It's part of being a normal part of society. When a casual acquaintance asks me, "Hey, how are you?" I don't spill my guts about my two-month old keeping me up half the night, or the fact that my balls are sore because I just had a vasectomy. I just say "Good, how are you?" Because I know from experience and observation that they're just following polite social protocols and not genuinely interested in how my day is going. If a close friend or a family member asks me the same question, I'll likely respond with an honest assessment of my day, because I know that they actually care.

High five!  I was specifically asked at work why I wasn't riding my bike last week.  Instead of telling the truth about something that was none of their business, I lied and said that I was "nursing an injury, but will be back to riding soon".  Which of course led to no further questions or comments as expected.  The perfect outcome.

The problem with lying, in my opinion, is that you become an untrustworthy person. Sooner or later, as the lies add up, some start slipping through the cracks. Then people start to think, if he can lie about something as stupid as why he didn't ride his bike, what else is he capable of lying of?

And are you telling me there isn't a quick and easy truthful response to why you didn't ride your bike? "I didn't feel like it" usually suffices. You're implying your lie was the only option for the desired outcome, which in and of itself is probably not the truth.

Come on now, this is getting ridiculous.  I'm not on trial.  I'm not being interviewed by the FBI.  There is no "tangled web of lies" to remember.  It's a simple dismissal of a trivial situation in which no one is hurt.  It's the path of least resistance.  I'm not any more or less trustworthy than before I had the vasectomy.

I don't necessarily disagree with the white lie in theory. I use it every Christmas and Easter. I used it when my young kids asked me where babies come from. ("From a mommy's belly." "My friends told me it comes from a girl's private parts." "Umm.... No, no, definitely the belly.") I just try to use it extremely sparingly, so that when people hear the words coming out of my mouth the first thing they don't think is whether or not I am telling the truth.

Oh, so you're also an untrustworthy person!  Well, well, well, how the turntables!  How will you ever remember the truth if you start lying to anyone about where babies come from or if there's really a Santa Claus?  It's a SLIPPERY SLOPE to becoming completely untrustworthy!!!!1111  LOL

Yep, I am guilty. How many people do you know have been fired for lying on their job application? Over smoking pot a few times in college? Because their recruiter told them to lie about it? Do you know how difficult that is to explain when trying to get a new job? Or I guess one could just lie again.

I'm not equating a white lie to a lie on an application, but I am saying that lying sometimes has consequences (unless you're a supreme court nominee).

By the way, sympathies on the scrotal pain. A worthy Mustachian excuse for not riding the bike.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 08, 2018, 11:01:32 AM
Yep, I am guilty. How many people do you know have been fired for lying on their job application? Over smoking pot a few times in college?

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.

But again, there's a massive rift between lying on your job application and telling your kids that Santa brings them presents at Christmas. The stakes are much higher. I don't lie to avoid trouble or to get things that aren't rightfully mine. I do lie to my kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I do lie to people occasionally when they expect a brief, canned response for polite social interactions. I don't lie to my wife about where I've been. I don't lie to my boss about how far along I am on a given project. It just seems ridiculous to suggest that complete honesty, all the time, is somehow a more ethical state of being.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: DS on November 08, 2018, 11:06:35 AM

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.


This is why I took that off my resume recently! I was like, if someone actually wanted to speak with me in an interview I'd be doomed.

Never meant to lie, just have lost some of the skill over time and forgot to take it off.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 08, 2018, 11:14:50 AM

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.


This is why I took that off my resume recently! I was like, if someone actually wanted to speak with me in an interview I'd be doomed.

Never meant to lie, just have lost some of the skill over time and forgot to take it off.

I'm conversational in Portuguese, but I've never been bold enough to put it on my resume. That's a risky maneuver unless you're pretty confident in your abilities. It's come up in my interviews, given that my resume lists research projects in Brazil, but I'm always careful to be clear about my limitations.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 08, 2018, 11:17:50 AM
I do lie to people occasionally when they expect a brief, canned response for polite social interactions.

The only thing I'm saying is I don't know when I've ever been in a situation where a canned lie was needed when some variant of the truth wouldn't fit the bill.
"How are you doing?"
"Good, thanks, and you."
"Fine."
Even if both of these people feel like shit for whatever reason, I don't look at this as a lie. There are very few times where I feel bad about everything going on in my life. What this type of conversation works really well for is the rare situations in which someone feels like shit and really wants to talk about it, or someone feels great and really wants to talk about it. 99% of the time people aren't expecting stream-of-conscience honesty out of this question.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: shenlong55 on November 08, 2018, 11:23:02 AM
Yep, I am guilty. How many people do you know have been fired for lying on their job application? Over smoking pot a few times in college?

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.

But again, there's a massive rift between lying on your job application and telling your kids that Santa brings them presents at Christmas. The stakes are much higher. I don't lie to avoid trouble or to get things that aren't rightfully mine. I do lie to my kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I do lie to people occasionally when they expect a brief, canned response for polite social interactions. I don't lie to my wife about where I've been. I don't lie to my boss about how far along I am on a given project. It just seems ridiculous to suggest that complete honesty, all the time, is somehow a more ethical state of being.

I'm not sure that I would consider these things lies...  The Santa, Easter Bunny Tooth Fairy stuff is debatable depending on how you speak to your kids about them I think.  But I don't think responding to the actual message being communicated by another person rather than the literal message coming out of their mouth is lying.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 08, 2018, 11:54:31 AM
Yep, I am guilty. How many people do you know have been fired for lying on their job application? Over smoking pot a few times in college?

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.

But again, there's a massive rift between lying on your job application and telling your kids that Santa brings them presents at Christmas. The stakes are much higher. I don't lie to avoid trouble or to get things that aren't rightfully mine. I do lie to my kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I do lie to people occasionally when they expect a brief, canned response for polite social interactions. I don't lie to my wife about where I've been. I don't lie to my boss about how far along I am on a given project. It just seems ridiculous to suggest that complete honesty, all the time, is somehow a more ethical state of being.

Why lie to your kids about Santa?  My kid (four and a half) asked me the other day if the tooth-fairy was real.  I said 'No, but the money you get under your pillow is!'.  End of story, no big upset, no total loss of innocence . . . and later on, no moment where my kid feels like he can't trust me after the truth about the tooth fairy is revealed.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 08, 2018, 12:11:13 PM
Yep, I am guilty. How many people do you know have been fired for lying on their job application? Over smoking pot a few times in college?

Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.

But again, there's a massive rift between lying on your job application and telling your kids that Santa brings them presents at Christmas. The stakes are much higher. I don't lie to avoid trouble or to get things that aren't rightfully mine. I do lie to my kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I do lie to people occasionally when they expect a brief, canned response for polite social interactions. I don't lie to my wife about where I've been. I don't lie to my boss about how far along I am on a given project. It just seems ridiculous to suggest that complete honesty, all the time, is somehow a more ethical state of being.

Why lie to your kids about Santa?  My kid (four and a half) asked me the other day if the tooth-fairy was real.  I said 'No, but the money you get under your pillow is!'.  End of story, no big upset, no total loss of innocence . . . and later on, no moment where my kid feels like he can't trust me after the truth about the tooth fairy is revealed.

I've contemplated this a lot. I don't particularly like lying to the kids. But ultimately, it may be a good thing that kids at some point learn you can't trust everything you hear, even if it is coming from every adult including your parents. But on the other hand, maybe it is giving the impression it's ok to lie? A real moral quandary, that Santa Claus.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PoutineLover on November 08, 2018, 12:14:12 PM
This thread is interesting, these are my thoughts on some of the examples that have come up.
I think the question "how are you" is meant to lubricate social interactions, and not be an opening to tell someone the story of your life. I think good, busy, not too bad, how about you, are all normal responses and don't need to be analyzed or considered lies. But if your spouse or family asks you because they truly want to know, going into depth is appropriate.
I don't really see the point of lying to someone about how they look, you aren't doing them any favours and usually if I ask that question I would like an honest (but tactful) response. But don't ask the question if you can't accept the truth. Also, don't make insincere compliments, if you have nothing nice to say, just don't say anything.
Breaking the law and stealing are usually unethical, but accidentally swiping a pen isn't really stealing. It would only cross a line if you regularly and purposely did it so that you'd never have to buy your own pens or something.
And breaking the law is not necessarily unethical, if the law itself is immoral. If there's a law against homosexuality, it's not unethical to get married as a gay person, but the law itself is what needs changing. If it's illegal to protest, but injustice is occurring, it's practically your duty to protest it.
To me, the line on ethics is where the action crosses from harmless to harmful, and from inconsequential to consequential. Lying to your kids about Santa Claus is pretty harmless and inconsequential, up to a certain point, but I'd never bother to lie once they started to figure it out and question it. Lying on a job application is definitely consequential and therefore unethical.
I'm a bit torn on music or movie downloads, cause on the one hand the artists aren't getting paid, but I only feel bad for small time artists, not people who get paid millions. And most of the time, it's not depriving them of a sale, if I can't download it I just won't watch it, I wouldn't have bought it anyway. Maybe I am a bit unethical on that point, but I consider it fairly inconsequential and not that harmful so it doesn't cross my personal line.
Finally, credit card bonuses exist to be used, and if they didn't want you to have them they wouldn't offer them. For credit card companies I'm probably the worst customer, I never pay interest and I usually just fulfill the minimum conditions to get the bonus. But it's not my fault if they lose money on it, I never lie to get a card and I think they weigh the cost of people like me against the real clients they expect to get and consider it the cost of doing business or the cost of customer acquisition.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 08, 2018, 12:33:50 PM
Lying to your kids about Santa Claus is pretty harmless and inconsequential, up to a certain point, but I'd never bother to lie once they started to figure it out and question it.

I'm gonna keep that lie all the way to my grave. If they get testy over it, I'll continue saying it's the truth, but add that you don't always have to believe what people tell you.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 08, 2018, 01:07:19 PM
Lying to your kids about Santa Claus is pretty harmless and inconsequential, up to a certain point, but I'd never bother to lie once they started to figure it out and question it.

I'm gonna keep that lie all the way to my grave. If they get testy over it, I'll continue saying it's the truth, but add that you don't always have to believe what people tell you.

My parents played up the Santa Clause story until we were in college. They knew good and well we didn't believe by the time we were 7 or 8, and we knew good and well that they knew we didn't believe. It's harmless fun, and I never considered my parents to be dishonest.


Why lie to your kids about Santa?  My kid (four and a half) asked me the other day if the tooth-fairy was real.  I said 'No, but the money you get under your pillow is!'.  End of story, no big upset, no total loss of innocence . . . and later on, no moment where my kid feels like he can't trust me after the truth about the tooth fairy is revealed.

Because all the parents at your kids' school who want to pass down a centuries-old tradition to their children will be pissed at you when your kids spills the beans to all their classmates? Seriously, I don't care what you tell your kids, and I don't care if your kids tell my kids that Santa ain't real. But I've known some parents to get really touchy about that shit.

Honestly, though - I enjoyed the mythology as a kid, and I'd like for my kids to enjoy it as well. I don't think it teaches kids that their parents are untrustworthy - but maybe it'll teach them not to believe in every mythical being that sincere-sounding people try to convince them is real.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 08, 2018, 01:27:12 PM
Lying to your kids about Santa Claus is pretty harmless and inconsequential, up to a certain point, but I'd never bother to lie once they started to figure it out and question it.

I'm gonna keep that lie all the way to my grave. If they get testy over it, I'll continue saying it's the truth, but add that you don't always have to believe what people tell you.

My parents played up the Santa Clause story until we were in college. They knew good and well we didn't believe by the time we were 7 or 8, and we knew good and well that they knew we didn't believe. It's harmless fun, and I never considered my parents to be dishonest.


Why lie to your kids about Santa?  My kid (four and a half) asked me the other day if the tooth-fairy was real.  I said 'No, but the money you get under your pillow is!'.  End of story, no big upset, no total loss of innocence . . . and later on, no moment where my kid feels like he can't trust me after the truth about the tooth fairy is revealed.

Because all the parents at your kids' school who want to pass down a centuries-old tradition to their children will be pissed at you when your kids spills the beans to all their classmates? Seriously, I don't care what you tell your kids, and I don't care if your kids tell my kids that Santa ain't real. But I've known some parents to get really touchy about that shit.

Honestly, though - I enjoyed the mythology as a kid, and I'd like for my kids to enjoy it as well. I don't think it teaches kids that their parents are untrustworthy - but maybe it'll teach them not to believe in every mythical being that sincere-sounding people try to convince them is real.

Lying about Santa is a weird thing that parents do for their own personal enjoyment.  It doesn't help a kid in any way.  Christmas isn't about Santa, it's about embracing materialism, gluttony, randomly killing a tree (because fuck conifers!), wasting energy on coloured lights, learning to hate your close family due to painfully long trips in the car through horrific traffic in the heavy snow, visiting your extended family to remember why you don't do so very often, and hard drinking to make it through the one church service every year Grandma has deemed is mandatory (and no, your gay cousin is not invited).  :P

Don't get me wrong, I like Santa as much as the next person and will continue to give gifts from "Santa" and read stories about him with my Son.  To me, that's carrying on the centuries (well, one century anyway) long tradition and it makes my kid happy.  If my son is old enough to question if Santa's real though, he's old enough to know the truth.  If someone wants to get angry because I'm not lying to my kid who isn't then lying to his friends . . . well, I'm not even sure how to approach that scenario . . . but it's likely going to involve some sarcasm.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: robartsd on November 08, 2018, 01:37:34 PM
My mom answered the question "Is Santa real?" with "Yes, he is magic pretend." She also made it clear that Santa wouldn't bring things for people who persisted in challenging the myth.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 08, 2018, 02:29:55 PM
Let's take this one step (controversially) further. What is your response if the kids ask if God's real? (This question does not apply to the religious.)

Here's another one where I lie. Is it unethical? I really don't know the answer.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: shenlong55 on November 08, 2018, 02:36:14 PM
Lying to your kids about Santa Claus is pretty harmless and inconsequential, up to a certain point, but I'd never bother to lie once they started to figure it out and question it.

I'm gonna keep that lie all the way to my grave. If they get testy over it, I'll continue saying it's the truth, but add that you don't always have to believe what people tell you.

My parents played up the Santa Clause story until we were in college. They knew good and well we didn't believe by the time we were 7 or 8, and we knew good and well that they knew we didn't believe. It's harmless fun, and I never considered my parents to be dishonest.


Why lie to your kids about Santa?  My kid (four and a half) asked me the other day if the tooth-fairy was real.  I said 'No, but the money you get under your pillow is!'.  End of story, no big upset, no total loss of innocence . . . and later on, no moment where my kid feels like he can't trust me after the truth about the tooth fairy is revealed.

Because all the parents at your kids' school who want to pass down a centuries-old tradition to their children will be pissed at you when your kids spills the beans to all their classmates? Seriously, I don't care what you tell your kids, and I don't care if your kids tell my kids that Santa ain't real. But I've known some parents to get really touchy about that shit.

Honestly, though - I enjoyed the mythology as a kid, and I'd like for my kids to enjoy it as well. I don't think it teaches kids that their parents are untrustworthy - but maybe it'll teach them not to believe in every mythical being that sincere-sounding people try to convince them is real.

Lying about Santa is a weird thing that parents do for their own personal enjoyment.  It doesn't help a kid in any way.  Christmas isn't about Santa, it's about embracing materialism, gluttony, randomly killing a tree (because fuck conifers!), wasting energy on coloured lights, learning to hate your close family due to painfully long trips in the car through horrific traffic in the heavy snow, visiting your extended family to remember why you don't do so very often, and hard drinking to make it through the one church service every year Grandma has deemed is mandatory (and no, your gay cousin is not invited).  :P

Don't get me wrong, I like Santa as much as the next person and will continue to give gifts from "Santa" and read stories about him with my Son.  To me, that's carrying on the centuries (well, one century anyway) long tradition and it makes my kid happy.  If my son is old enough to question if Santa's real though, he's old enough to know the truth.  If someone wants to get angry because I'm not lying to my kid who isn't then lying to his friends . . . well, I'm not even sure how to approach that scenario . . . but it's likely going to involve some sarcasm.

If your son is old enough to question Santa then he's probably old enough to understand that it's not always necessary or helpful to proactively correct others' false beliefs.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 08, 2018, 05:03:19 PM
Absolutely!  Given the prevalence of competing and contradictory religious beliefs in the world, it's probably a good idea to get kids used to stepping lightly around false belief that elicit strong emotion.

(FTR, I did make it a point to tell my son that not all of his friends know about the tooth fairy, and that it might make them sad or upset if he told them.)

Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PoutineLover on November 08, 2018, 05:49:42 PM
Let's take this one step (controversially) further. What is your response if the kids ask if God's real? (This question does not apply to the religious.)

Here's another one where I lie. Is it unethical? I really don't know the answer.
I was raised religious, but no longer am, and never truly believed in God. I would never lie to my kids and say God is real, but I would tell them what the stories are and why some people believe in God, and how there's a huge diversity of religions out there with different gods they can learn about. It's more important to me that they learn to question and develop their ability to research and investigate claims, and I'm not going to muddy the waters by teaching them to believe in a god with no evidence.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 08, 2018, 08:41:53 PM
Let's take this one step (controversially) further. What is your response if the kids ask if God's real? (This question does not apply to the religious.)

Here's another one where I lie. Is it unethical? I really don't know the answer.
I was raised religious, but no longer am, and never truly believed in God. I would never lie to my kids and say God is real, but I would tell them what the stories are and why some people believe in God, and how there's a huge diversity of religions out there with different gods they can learn about. It's more important to me that they learn to question and develop their ability to research and investigate claims, and I'm not going to muddy the waters by teaching them to believe in a god with no evidence.

Yeah, at one point when the kids were younger I was able to talk around it. Eventually, they started asking me very directly. I cracked. I also grew up in a religious household, so I didn't want any awkwardness when the parents were visiting and praying at the table or what have you.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PoutineLover on November 08, 2018, 08:50:10 PM
Let's take this one step (controversially) further. What is your response if the kids ask if God's real? (This question does not apply to the religious.)

Here's another one where I lie. Is it unethical? I really don't know the answer.
I was raised religious, but no longer am, and never truly believed in God. I would never lie to my kids and say God is real, but I would tell them what the stories are and why some people believe in God, and how there's a huge diversity of religions out there with different gods they can learn about. It's more important to me that they learn to question and develop their ability to research and investigate claims, and I'm not going to muddy the waters by teaching them to believe in a god with no evidence.

Yeah, at one point when the kids were younger I was able to talk around it. Eventually, they started asking me very directly. I cracked. I also grew up in a religious household, so I didn't want any awkwardness when the parents were visiting and praying at the table or what have you.
It would still be important to me to teach them to respect the religious traditions of others, and bow their heads if someone was praying at the table. Many people including my grandma got a lot out of religion including a sense of purpose and comfort and a supportive community. Everyone needs a source of that, it just doesn't necessarily have to be religious. No one should be a dick about something that means a lot to someone, as long as they aren't trying to force those beliefs on others.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 07:12:50 AM
It would still be important to me to teach them to respect the religious traditions of others, and bow their heads if someone was praying at the table. Many people including my grandma got a lot out of religion including a sense of purpose and comfort and a supportive community. Everyone needs a source of that, it just doesn't necessarily have to be religious. No one should be a dick about something that means a lot to someone, as long as they aren't trying to force those beliefs on others.

I totally understand (and generally agree with) what you're saying here, but feel the need to point out something that's kinda hypocritical.  Telling someone who strongly doesn't believe in existence of God to bow their head in deference to Him during grace is being a dick about something that means a lot to someone, and is forcing belief in God on others.  A religious person offering praise to a God that someone at the table doesn't believe in, is no different than an atheist offering thanks for the lack of God in his life at a table with a very religious person.  Both are kinda being a dick about something that means a lot to someone, and are attempting to force those beliefs on others.  Only the atheist will catch shit for doing so though, so we need to be very clear in the actual advice we're giving here:

Atheism is not to be taken as seriously as belief in God, and special accommodations should only be made for those who believe in God.  Overtly forcing others to take part in minor religious ceremony is OK, and expected.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PoutineLover on November 09, 2018, 07:28:10 AM
@GuitarStv I guess to me when people are praying at the table it would be rude to text or talk or whatever, so I guess just bow head and wait for it to finish is the least disruptive way of dealing, even if you don't agree with the prayer being said. There's a difference between choosing to cooperate and being forced to, so I don't think anyone should be forced to do anything they aren't comfortable with. I would do the equivalent for any religion, and have participated in different meals that include religious traditions. I consider it bonding with the people having the meal more than a specifically religious gesture.
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way, but to me atheism is more of a lack of religious traditions, so it's hard to think of an equivalent situation.
However when it comes to governance and things that are official functions that happen to contain religious prayers, I think it's fine to challenge those, because there's no place for religion in a secular society, and one religion definitely shouldn't take precedence over the rest.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 07:35:58 AM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: PoutineLover on November 09, 2018, 07:46:20 AM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.
I do see your point, but I guess I'm coming at it from a perspective of having grown up near religion but not believing in it, and not wanting to rock the boat. My lack of religious belief is basically a non issue to me except when I directly encounter religion, so in those situations I just stay quiet and respect their tradition. I'm not going to convince them not to believe just like they won't convince me to believe.
I guess if I really think about it, there are probably people who say grace at their own table, but don't impose that when they're eating at their friend's house. So maybe the compromise is that whoever is offering the meal gets to say grace or not, but if you're religious and you're eating at an atheist's house, you don't impose grace on them. 
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on November 09, 2018, 07:54:53 AM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I consider myself agnostic, not atheist, but I have no problem with saying a prayer or bowing for a prayer. I'm not disrespected in the least when people pray around me. When I pray, I don't pray for intercession from a deity, but I do find value in being humble and articulating thankfulness. But whatever. You can be offended by prayer if you wish.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 09, 2018, 07:55:59 AM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I don't mind bowing my head and praying occasionally, because I am truly thankful for life, food, health, etc. Meditating on that is healthy, so I do not feel too offended when praying (for the right purposes; can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 08:15:20 AM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I consider myself agnostic, not atheist, but I have no problem with saying a prayer or bowing for a prayer. I'm not disrespected in the least when people pray around me. When I pray, I don't pray for intercession from a deity, but I do find value in being humble and articulating thankfulness. But whatever. You can be offended by prayer if you wish.

I'm not personally offended by prayer at all but like you, I'm not an atheist.


I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I don't mind bowing my head and praying occasionally, because I am truly thankful for life, food, health, etc. Meditating on that is healthy, so I do not feel too offended when praying (for the right purposes; can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).

As mentioned, this isn't something that personally offends me . . . but common advice is to let the religious celebrate their religion in the name of respect (indeed, this is the advice I give my son).  This respect doesn't usually extend to those who are uncomfortable with the celebration of religion though, which is weird.

Agreed, meditating is healthy and there's nothing offensive about giving thanks.  If a grace doesn't mention a deity and simply discusses thankfulness, that would should be acceptable and inoffensive to anyone.  I've rarely heard a grace said before a meal that didn't directly mention a God or blessings from a God though.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: RobertMa on November 09, 2018, 08:45:09 AM
I aspire to follow Brad Blanton's "Radical Honesty" method. (www.radicalhonesty.com).  In my consensual relationships where I am free to end the relationship at any time (family, friends, employer), I have a duty to be honest and transparent.

In non-consensual relationships that I did not choose and from which I cannot decide to remove myself (government officials and their laws, soldiers at the door, a mugger with his gun in my ribs), I owe no duty to be honest. In fact, it is my duty to subvert them whenever possible.

This makes a lot of sense to me.

Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Johnez on November 09, 2018, 08:48:34 AM
Absolutely!  Given the prevalence of competing and contradictory religious beliefs in the world, it's probably a good idea to get kids used to stepping lightly around false belief that elicit strong emotion.

(FTR, I did make it a point to tell my son that not all of his friends know about the tooth fairy, and that it might make them sad or upset if he told them.)

Great approach! I'll have to keep that in my old brain till my son reaches the age of questioning.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 09:11:01 AM
In non-consensual relationships that I did not choose and from which I cannot decide to remove myself (government officials and their laws... In fact, it is my duty to subvert them whenever possible.

This makes a lot of sense to me.

If you live in a democracy, government officials and their laws are chosen by you.  There are many ways that you can decide to remove yourself from their control . . . leaving the country, running for office or becoming politically active to change the system, etc.  Actively attempting to subvert the laws of the land wherever possible is actively working against the will of your countrymen, and a betrayal of your country.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: rocketpj on November 09, 2018, 10:38:45 AM
Let's take this one step (controversially) further. What is your response if the kids ask if God's real? (This question does not apply to the religious.)

Here's another one where I lie. Is it unethical? I really don't know the answer.

I tell them the truth, which is that I have no idea.  It's up to them to figure out what they think about stuff like that.  I will offer my opinions, but no prescriptions because I have no direct knowledge of any gods or other deities.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: robartsd on November 09, 2018, 11:37:47 AM
As a religious person, it isn't offensive to me if a host does not offer grace at a meal. I am free to silently offer grace for myself before partaking without involving others (of course other religious traditions may not be as flexible).  I am also not offended by hosts voicing a prayer in a religious tradition that does not match mine.

can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).
I agree that praying that your side wins isn't really appropriate; but praying to do your best, to be safe, to make wise choices, or that others might make wise choices might be.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 12:08:43 PM
can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).
I agree that praying that your side wins isn't really appropriate; but praying to do your best, to be safe, to make wise choices, or that others might make wise choices might be.

Mark Twain wrote a great short story about that . . .  https://warprayer.org/ (https://warprayer.org/).
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: shenlong55 on November 09, 2018, 12:49:47 PM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I consider myself agnostic, not atheist, but I have no problem with saying a prayer or bowing for a prayer. I'm not disrespected in the least when people pray around me. When I pray, I don't pray for intercession from a deity, but I do find value in being humble and articulating thankfulness. But whatever. You can be offended by prayer if you wish.

I'm not personally offended by prayer at all but like you, I'm not an atheist.


I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I don't mind bowing my head and praying occasionally, because I am truly thankful for life, food, health, etc. Meditating on that is healthy, so I do not feel too offended when praying (for the right purposes; can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).

As mentioned, this isn't something that personally offends me . . . but common advice is to let the religious celebrate their religion in the name of respect (indeed, this is the advice I give my son).  This respect doesn't usually extend to those who are uncomfortable with the celebration of religion though, which is weird.

Agreed, meditating is healthy and there's nothing offensive about giving thanks.  If a grace doesn't mention a deity and simply discusses thankfulness, that would should be acceptable and inoffensive to anyone.  I've rarely heard a grace said before a meal that didn't directly mention a God or blessings from a God though.

My personal judgment in situations like this is kind of contradictory and maybe counter intuitive, but I would expect the atheist to respect the religious person by bowing their head while the prayer was being said but if they didn't for the religious person to respect the atheist by not complaining about it.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 09, 2018, 01:09:13 PM
In non-consensual relationships that I did not choose and from which I cannot decide to remove myself (government officials and their laws... In fact, it is my duty to subvert them whenever possible.

This makes a lot of sense to me.

If you live in a democracy, government officials and their laws are chosen by you.  There are many ways that you can decide to remove yourself from their control . . . leaving the country, running for office or becoming politically active to change the system, etc.  Actively attempting to subvert the laws of the land wherever possible is actively working against the will of your countrymen, and a betrayal of your country.

Maybe this is the American (versus Canadian) in me, but we tend to celebrate a little rebellion against tyranny. Boston Tea Party? Declaration of Independence (aka Fuck You George!)? MLK? Etc. (Let's leave the Civil War out, we all know (to a certain degree in retrospect) that slavery is fucked up.)

That being said, falling under government is to some extent a social contract, unless you believe in anarchy. Therefore, one should consider it a consensual relationship, unless certain particular laws are negatively affecting the rights of man.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 09, 2018, 01:19:04 PM
can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).
I agree that praying that your side wins isn't really appropriate; but praying to do your best, to be safe, to make wise choices, or that others might make wise choices might be.

Mark Twain wrote a great short story about that . . .  https://warprayer.org/ (https://warprayer.org/).

Thanks for brightening my day with a little Twain.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 01:58:35 PM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I consider myself agnostic, not atheist, but I have no problem with saying a prayer or bowing for a prayer. I'm not disrespected in the least when people pray around me. When I pray, I don't pray for intercession from a deity, but I do find value in being humble and articulating thankfulness. But whatever. You can be offended by prayer if you wish.

I'm not personally offended by prayer at all but like you, I'm not an atheist.


I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I don't mind bowing my head and praying occasionally, because I am truly thankful for life, food, health, etc. Meditating on that is healthy, so I do not feel too offended when praying (for the right purposes; can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).

As mentioned, this isn't something that personally offends me . . . but common advice is to let the religious celebrate their religion in the name of respect (indeed, this is the advice I give my son).  This respect doesn't usually extend to those who are uncomfortable with the celebration of religion though, which is weird.

Agreed, meditating is healthy and there's nothing offensive about giving thanks.  If a grace doesn't mention a deity and simply discusses thankfulness, that would should be acceptable and inoffensive to anyone.  I've rarely heard a grace said before a meal that didn't directly mention a God or blessings from a God though.

My personal judgment in situations like this is kind of contradictory and maybe counter intuitive, but I would expect the atheist to respect the religious person by bowing their head while the prayer was being said but if they didn't for the religious person to respect the atheist by not complaining about it.

If I gave thanks to our dark Lord Satan in grace, for the bounty he has bestowed upon his followers would you expect a Christian to quietly bow their head and go along?  What if I gave thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for touching our pasta with His noodley appendage?
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Boofinator on November 09, 2018, 02:01:34 PM
If I gave thanks to our dark Lord Satan in grace, for the bounty he has bestowed upon his followers would you expect a Christian to quietly bow their head and go along?  What if I gave thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for touching our pasta with His noodley appendage?

Ramen.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 02:18:15 PM
If I gave thanks to our dark Lord Satan in grace, for the bounty he has bestowed upon his followers would you expect a Christian to quietly bow their head and go along?  What if I gave thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for touching our pasta with His noodley appendage?

Ramen.

Pasta be with you.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: shenlong55 on November 09, 2018, 02:27:12 PM
I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I consider myself agnostic, not atheist, but I have no problem with saying a prayer or bowing for a prayer. I'm not disrespected in the least when people pray around me. When I pray, I don't pray for intercession from a deity, but I do find value in being humble and articulating thankfulness. But whatever. You can be offended by prayer if you wish.

I'm not personally offended by prayer at all but like you, I'm not an atheist.


I also think religious people should respect atheists in the same way

This is really the crux of the issue.  A religious person respecting an atheist wouldn't say grace.  An atheist respecting a religious person would bow their head while grace is said.  If you have these two disparate groups eating at the same table, someone will not be respected . . . and in my experience this is always the atheist.

I don't have a solution for the problem and would encourage someone who doesn't believe in God to bow their head and stay quiet . . . but it's a pretty obvious double standard, and it's evident how this might be grating/frustrating for the person who doesn't believe in religion to constantly be forced to pay respects to other people's beliefs - other people who refuse to respect his own.

I don't mind bowing my head and praying occasionally, because I am truly thankful for life, food, health, etc. Meditating on that is healthy, so I do not feel too offended when praying (for the right purposes; can't stand when people pray to win before a sporting event or election).

As mentioned, this isn't something that personally offends me . . . but common advice is to let the religious celebrate their religion in the name of respect (indeed, this is the advice I give my son).  This respect doesn't usually extend to those who are uncomfortable with the celebration of religion though, which is weird.

Agreed, meditating is healthy and there's nothing offensive about giving thanks.  If a grace doesn't mention a deity and simply discusses thankfulness, that would should be acceptable and inoffensive to anyone.  I've rarely heard a grace said before a meal that didn't directly mention a God or blessings from a God though.

My personal judgment in situations like this is kind of contradictory and maybe counter intuitive, but I would expect the atheist to respect the religious person by bowing their head while the prayer was being said but if they didn't for the religious person to respect the atheist by not complaining about it.

If I gave thanks to our dark Lord Satan in grace, for the bounty he has bestowed upon his followers would you expect a Christian to quietly bow their head and go along?  What if I gave thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for touching our pasta with His noodley appendage?

Yep!  But if they didn't I would expect you not to complain about it, and it would only have a minor negative effect on my opinion of them (same with the atheist who chooses not to bow their head).
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Dabnasty on November 09, 2018, 02:41:21 PM
If I gave thanks to our dark Lord Satan in grace, for the bounty he has bestowed upon his followers would you expect a Christian to quietly bow their head and go along?  What if I gave thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for touching our pasta with His noodley appendage?

Ramen.

Pasta be with you.

And orzo with you.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: TVRodriguez on November 13, 2018, 01:15:45 PM
Not to digress from the very important pasta conversation, but my 2 cents on whether to tell your partner the truth on how he or she looks:

When my husband told me that a new pair of pants did not look good on me, I returned them.  I trust his opinion much of the time.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: ditheca on November 14, 2018, 12:33:37 AM
Personally? None. I do know people who have not been hired for lying on their job applications. Fun story: My boss once interviewed applicants for an internship, one of whom claimed to be "fluent in Spanish" on his application. My boss studied in Uruguay and regularly travels to Central and South America so he opened the interview with a question in Spanish. The applicant froze, then admitted that he had travelled to Mexico once with his family, but was not conversational in Spanish. My boss advised him to never lie on a job application again and ended the interview.

I interviewed an Asian-looking kid who claimed to speak Chinese.  Unluckily for him, I speak it... and he didn't.  Took a chance and hired him anyways, and he turned out to be one of my best employees!

I admit to taking pleasure in assigning him to configure several computers with a Chinese-language OS installed... normally would have done it myself.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: driftwood on November 15, 2018, 09:34:14 AM
Too many quotes in quotes to get the quote I want. But I'd like to suggest that you can be respectful to Christians praying by merely being still and quiet while they pray. Not bowing your head is not disrespectful.

As an atheist, a Christian praying doesn't bother me, nor do I find it disrespectful to me. You do you.

On the other hand, expecting me to bow my head to your God is unreasonable. If you suggested a Christian bow to any diety that isn't their god it would be highly offensive....and directly disrespectful to their god.

I don't see bowing as a polite action.  I see it as a form of subservience. I wouldn't bow to our president (not part of US culture), I don't bow to England's monarchs (because I don't fall under their monarchy), etc. I don't bow to your god, and there's no way in hell you'd bow to a foreign god... in fact, that would be seen as betrayal of your own god.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: Milkshake on November 16, 2018, 09:35:25 AM
The religious discussion is very interesting. As someone who is on the fence between agnostic/atheist, I bow my head when I visit family who are religious. Their table, their rules, and I think it is respectful. OTOH, when my religious family comes to my house, they can pray silently to themselves if they want while I dig in and talk to others, because it's my house now.
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: x02947 on November 26, 2018, 12:24:08 PM
[…] As someone who is on the fence between agnostic/atheist, I bow my head when I visit family who are religious. Their table, their rules, and I think it is respectful. OTOH, when my religious family comes to my house, they can pray silently to themselves if they want while I dig in and talk to others, because it's my house now.

For me this pretty much hits it on the head.  It’s about circumstance, right?.  Family?  Friends?  Work party?  Close family- I know we are all Roman Catholic religious so no problem we all say our particular version of grace.  Over thanksgiving I was with my brother’s family, who is Methodist.  We kinda traded out who said grace first for which meal, and for the sake of our (very young) kids we then said the other family’s version second.  But in years past we’ve all been adults about it and whoever doesn’t say it out loud just takes a few more seconds to themselves before digging in.

If I have some of my non-religious friends over, yah, I expect them to tolerate me saying grace with my family, but I don’t expect them to participate or do anything other than sit/stand quietly for 30 seconds.  In return I don’t expect anything over at their places- they just see me go quiet for a few seconds (in your head goes a lot faster than out loud).  I mean, spreading the faith is great and all, but you aren't gonna win any converts by forcing people to listen to a 30 second spiel once in a blue moon.  What are you really trying to accomplish in that setting?  Are you really trying to say thanks, or are you trying to show off how pious you are?  Don't let left hand know what your right is doing, and all that. 

What if, at a large non-family gathering, someone running the show grabbed the mike to say “Hey food is ready.  Feel free to go ahead and start eating- if you want to say grace then bow your heads with me…”  Would that be awkward? 
Title: Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
Post by: funobtainium on November 27, 2018, 07:32:09 AM
[…] As someone who is on the fence between agnostic/atheist, I bow my head when I visit family who are religious. Their table, their rules, and I think it is respectful. OTOH, when my religious family comes to my house, they can pray silently to themselves if they want while I dig in and talk to others, because it's my house now.

For me this pretty much hits it on the head.  It’s about circumstance, right?.  Family?  Friends?  Work party?  Close family- I know we are all Roman Catholic religious so no problem we all say our particular version of grace.  Over thanksgiving I was with my brother’s family, who is Methodist.  We kinda traded out who said grace first for which meal, and for the sake of our (very young) kids we then said the other family’s version second.  But in years past we’ve all been adults about it and whoever doesn’t say it out loud just takes a few more seconds to themselves before digging in.

If I have some of my non-religious friends over, yah, I expect them to tolerate me saying grace with my family, but I don’t expect them to participate or do anything other than sit/stand quietly for 30 seconds.  In return I don’t expect anything over at their places- they just see me go quiet for a few seconds (in your head goes a lot faster than out loud).  I mean, spreading the faith is great and all, but you aren't gonna win any converts by forcing people to listen to a 30 second spiel once in a blue moon.  What are you really trying to accomplish in that setting?  Are you really trying to say thanks, or are you trying to show off how pious you are?  Don't let left hand know what your right is doing, and all that. 

What if, at a large non-family gathering, someone running the show grabbed the mike to say “Hey food is ready.  Feel free to go ahead and start eating- if you want to say grace then bow your heads with me…”  Would that be awkward?

We fell into a group of friends that do the "lets hold hands for a minute and say thanks/grace" thing at dinner parties. It's pretty non-denominational, and though I'm not religious, I consider that a "when in Rome moment" and go along.  After all, I'm grateful to have food in general, even if I don't think a deity is responsible for it versus farmers and ranchers and cooks.

But if it was really over-the-top or made me uncomfortable, I'd probably skip the events.