I just want to pose an interesting question for discussion..

Rate these In order 1-4, 1 being most preferred course of action and 4 being the least preferred

Right thing for the right reason
Right thing for the wrong reason
Wrong thing for the wrong reason
Wrong thing for the right reason

I'm guessing the results should be the same for most of us... I'm just interested in seeing whats more important to other atheists motive or actions...

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Right thing for the right reason

Wrong thing for the right reason

Right thing for the wrong reason

Wrong thing for the wrong reason

how can you have a 'wrong thing for the right reason'?


Wouldn't establishing that it is 'wrong' kind of make the reason for it 'wrong' as well? Also , 'wrong' is very subjective to many. 


Right thing for the wrong reason can be either good or bad or neutral in my opinion.  


Wrong thing for the wrong reason seems to be obviously least preferred.  


Right thing for the right reason is most preferred by me.  


So 1.)  is best , 3.)  is worst , 2 seems to be subjective and 4 seems to be illogical or irrational.  

Wrong thing for the right reason is simple enough.


Mr Green is convinced that performing action A will result in saving the life of Mrs Blue.

Mr Green performs action A. However, he was wrong. Performing action A actually caused Mrs Blue to die.

Mr Green did the wrong thing. However, he did it for the right reasons. (Wanting to save Mrs Blue)


Now, my rankings:

Right thing for the right reason.

Right thing for the wrong reason.

Wrong thing for the right reason.

Wrong thing for the wrong reason.


Why do I rank "Wrong thing for the right reason" third? Simple. Think homeopathy. Think parents praying for their kids to get well instead of taking them to a hospital. Think airport security theater.


The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Based upon Mr. Greens prospective he was doing the right thing for the right reason.. Just not the correct thing to get the desired outcome.  The actual outcome is unimportant at this point it is a step to far forward..


As well with parents praying for their kids to get well instead of taking them to the hospital.. It could just as easily be the right thing for the wrong reasons. Using prayer instead of medication even though they have the knowledge of a cure or treatment existing they choose their delusion because they think what they are doing is right. Same with Homeopathy..


Lets say specifically In these situations the persons taking these actions are based  upon motives that they know are either right or wrong. 


Does this change your answer?


You now you have me thinking on a follow-up discussion  though (and i notice more parameters need to be set for this question initially) :D

I was considering the "right/wrong" thing as being the action that resulted in the desired outcome and that shaped my response.

With the definitions being that right/wrong reason is the intention and right/wrong thing is an action that the person believes will/won't achieve a desired outcome (regardless of if it actually will), I'll have to think some more. With those definitions, wrong thing for the right reason seems to be totally demented. "I want X to occur, so I'll do Y which I believe will not cause X"

I give up.  Chrome deleted my comment again sigh.  


OK , summary.  


IMO,  it doesn't matter what the outcome of an action is.  The word 'thing' in 'the right thing' or 'the wrong thing' is confusing.  It could relate to the action itself , or the outcome of an action.  


So there is intention , an action performed to achieve a desired outcome , and the outcome itself.  


If I ran into the rail road tracks and shoved little suzie out of the way because a freight train was coming at her , but I hit her so hard and had more body weight but landed with her so her neck got snapped and she died , how is that 'the wrong thing'?  It was the right thing , with the wrong outcome , but also with the right intention.  


I think the guide lines of the original blog is only allowing for 2 variables and I cannot decide if they meant it as the action or the outcome.  The intention is the reason I am assuming.  


I consider it the right thing because your intention was to save her life and protect her

before i answer, what is the right thing and the right reason, the wrong thing and the wrong reason... without a reference, how can we decide?


it is hard to define these as i see since most people may not have the same view of right and wrong, nor are they truly absolute.

Taking into consideration of what is right and is wrong in the mind of the person. There has to be a motive of some sort and to do something just because it was the right thing is circular there has to be a reason why..  Still this is slightly overstepping the context of the question initially.. If you are completely personally knowledgeable and accountable.. You then have self control of your actions and you are aware of your general intentions when preforming the actions.. So if the knowledge is there of both the what and the why.. and you willingly chose the wrong why in any situation does it invalidate the act as right and technically make it the wrong thing to do for the wrong reason... And does that in tell make doing the wrong thing for the right reason even more noble and make it definitively right?


This may in fact just be the ravings of a mad man but I'm trying to expand my view a little farther than my personal opinion lol



from what you have stated, it seems to me that on some level, right or wrong in any situation is perceived by the participant and the viewer. so, if that is true, you run the risk of conflict in philosophy as sociopaths have no sense of right or wrong on which to base any decision other than what is their impulse to act on. so, if that is true, the question you ask has no real basis in reality as all morals and ethics are based on some relative, constantly fluid standard.

this is the morality issue that is pervasive in our culture right now. Who has the final authority to judge right and wrong for man? the government? some religious authority? each person alone? 50%+1 of the population?

we agree as a society that some things are right and some things are wrong and we all try to act accordingly and live a peaceful life within the context of where we are in our lives. However, the issue has to be addressed at some point. What is right for you, may not ever be right for me in any situation and the converse is also to be expressed as valid.

for instance, i may think that nude sun-bathing should be legal and acceptable everywhere and that sexuality needs to be released from the fake puritanical control of hypocritical religious leaders. you may agree with the standards that are in place and think i am wrong. so, you look at me on the beach with contempt as i break the standard of acceptable conduct of the society we live in. Yet, one doesn't have to travel far to find many countries that laugh at our ridiculous outlook at these issues. there is one state in the USA that still has laws forbidding the sale of sex toys! go figure.

as you can see, this issue is not as 1,2,3,4 as you would like it to be as the scale of relativity is broad and our society has conditioned us to accept the religious right's version of right and wrong with little resistance. Is killing someone ever right? some would argue of course it is, yet i believe that killing is always wrong and would rather die than take someones life or go to jail rather than join the army. some would call me a non-patriot or a treasonous leach on society, yet the value i place on your life and the life of those around me gives me the resolve to believe i am right. where would that fit in your questions? am i right or wrong? there is no real easy answers to these questions, but it is fun to discuss them!

Ok, obviously you go right for right in #1 and wrong for wrong in #4.  For the middle two, well, I would obviously prefer to always start doing the right thing for the right reason and I think the results would reverse my opinion on the thing more often than the reason so for #2 I'll say wrong thing for right reason.  This of course leaves #3 as wrong reason/right thing.  These are post hoc rationalizations however and would be reversed if I was dealing priori in both categories.  Is ya happy now!?  I tried dammit, and now all I got left is my VAN, down by the RIVAHHH!

I agree.. I value motive over action.. So rationally I come to the conclusion of 

Right for Right

Wrong for right

Right for wrong

Wrong for wrong


The problem is breaking the things down to be definitely wrong and definitively right..

I value motive over action when evaluating/rationalizing after the fact, but action over motive when consequences are known before hand.  If you outline the perspective from which you want these things ranked then I think most people come to the same conclusion - the real issue is whether or not they can understand the difference and/or which perspective they evaluate from by default.


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