Beatrice: We spoke before about the problem of evil. I’d like to talk about a new defence:
First, I’d want to say that, even if there is no justification of the evils we see in the world, that they are nonetheless outweighed by the goods. The world is (pace the anti-natalists or negative utilitarians) net positive, and the objection raised by the problem of evil is not that God did a bad thing in making the world, but rather fell far short of moral perfection.
Adam: And the second consideration?
Beatrice: The second is that it is good to bring positive things into existence. This can be weaker than a Total-view-esque it is as good to bring positive things into existence than it is to improve existing things by the same amount: just something like, “Given the option, it is better (ceritus paribus) to bring something good into existence”.
Adam: Okay. Where are you going? Continue reading
“Good morning, it’s Gregory the surgical SHO. You bleeped – how can I help?”
To contact a doctor overnight, you generally paged them, and I had a well-rehearsed patter when replying. The delivery was slightly too jaunty for 2AM on a Saturday morning, but there were worse images to project than eccentric enthusiasm.
“Hello, it’s Sabine the sister on ward eight. Can you review Mr. Amir? I think his breathing has gotten worse.”
My heart sank. I was on call, and although Mr. Amir wasn’t under my team when I was working normal shifts, I knew him by reputation. Metastatic colorectal carcinoma, resection was unsuccessful, leaving him with both a poor prognosis and a major operation to try and recover from. I had heard his team talking about him with little hope – the best case scenario would be he would recover from our forlorn attempts to help him and could go home with palliative treatment. The worst case would be that he would die in hospital. I knew he wasn’t doing well: recurrent chest infections, multiple courses of antibiotics – ineffective, poor wound healing, bedbound.
“Of course. Is there a purple form?” Continue reading
“Hi, single to the hospital, please.”
“You’re not ill, are ya?” The bus driver teased.
“No-no, I’m just training there.”
He let her go with a laugh and she walked up the aisle of the bus. The white tunic with blue trim poking out from under her coat made me guess student nurse. I was next in the queue; the driver spared me the same joke when I asked for the same ticket. Continue reading
She lay in the dirt, facing up at me; a smile like sunshine and a hole in her head. The bullet caught her between her eyes, and a ring of gore around the back pointed to where it came out; a spatter on the wall behind at about waist height. She looked like an Otaku’s wet dream – Asian, in a waist high skirt and a mock school shirt, jacket and tie. Implants bulged conspicuously underneath.
I got to my feet and looked around. Wailing alarms punctuated by gunshots echoed down the alley, gently accompanied by the pitter-patter of rain on the sheet plastic above. I reached inside her breast pocket and found a picture of her family, subscript in letters I couldn’t read. Probably another migrant, fleeing from the latest fiscal disaster when the computers couldn’t put enough zeros on the chits to keep up with the inflation. So she went, with a host of other desperate young professionals, to the City of Angels. I guess I knew what happened next.
I walked out of the alley, a gaggle of girls milling around outside. I smiled at them in placation and walked past them. A couple hid behind the corner, others giggled spontaneously, all childlike in the haze of the drugs. The perpetual cold sores on their faces told me they’d been hooked on Arex: looks like pocky sticks, but laced with a Opioid three hundred times stronger than Morphine. Tastes like Chocolate – apparently.
“So, Michael, what happened?” Continue reading