NFL Referees, Religious Weddings, Food Safety, and More

Radio Q&A: 30 September 2012

I answered questions on greed in the NFL dispute with referees, a religious wedding for an atheist groom, preventing information overload, food safety in a free society, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 30 September 2012. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download the podcast below.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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Segments: 30 September 2012


Question 1: Greed in the NFL Dispute with Referees (5:32)

Question: Were the NFL owners guilty of greed in their dispute with the referees? Until earlier this week, the NFL was in a labor dispute with its referees, and so the first three weeks of games used replacement referees. Those replacements weren't capable of performing up to the standard required in the NFL. Games were rife with missed or wrong calls, dangerously dirty play, and out-of-control fights. Commentators and fans were disgusted and furious, particularly after the touchdown ruling in Monday night's game between the Packers and the Seahawks. That furor seemed to force the NFL's hand. An agreement with the regular referees was reached on Wednesday night. Before that, some people claimed that the NFL owners were motivated by "greed." Is that right? Also, if the NFL hadn't brought back the regular referees, should fans have boycotted games?

Answer, In Brief: The concept "greed" is not a usable concept: it's hopelessly confused, if not corrupted by altruism. As for the NFL, the owners seem to have been mistaken on several points, but not in the grip of any fever to save a few dollars.

Tags: Business, Ethics, Greed, Long-Range Thinking, Selfishness

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Question 2: A Religious Wedding for an Atheist Groom (25:01)

Question: Should an atheist refuse to have a religious wedding? I'm an atheist, but my fiancée is a not-terribly-devout Christian. My parents – and her parents too – are Christian. Everyone wants and expects us to have a religious wedding, but I don't want that. My future wife would be willing to have a secular wedding, but she prefers a religious one. Mostly, she doesn't want to argue with her parents over it. Should I insist on a secular wedding? Or should I just let this one go? What's the harm, either way?

Answer, In Brief: For an atheist to agree to a religious wedding under pressure from family means risking his character, his marriage, and his family relations. Don't do it!

Tags: Atheism, Communication, Compromise, Family, Honesty, Independence, In-Laws, Integrity, Marriage, Religion, Weddings

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Question 3: Preventing Information Overload (40:02)

Question: How can I prevent information overload? What are some good ways to limit the amount of information I process in the age of the internet? Besides Philosophy in Action, I follow several other podcasts, blogs, and news feeds. What's the best way to prioritize and limit my inputs without feeling like I'm missing something important? How can I retain the information I process and not feel like I'm jumping from one feed to the next without remembering anything?

Answer, In Brief: To prevent information overload, a person needs to be ruthlessly purposeful and selective about the information he choose to pursue and consume.

Tags: Communication, Epistemology, Internet, Media, Psychology, Social Media, Time Management, Value Hierarchy

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Question 4: Food Safety in a Free Society (46:40)

Question: How would the government protect the safety of food and drugs in a free society? Would the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) exist in free society? If so, would food or drugs have to gain FDA approval to be sold? Would it have the power to remove food or drugs deemed unsafe from the market? If not, what would protect consumers from harm due to adulterated or otherwise unsafe food or drugs?

Answer, In Brief: The FDA violates rights: it should be abolished. The safety of food and drugs would be ensured in a free market by the profit-seeking of companies within the context of a legal system that bans fraud, torts, and other rights-violations.

Tags: Ethics, Food, Free Society, Health, Law, Medicine, Torts

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:06:39)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • If someone without any ties and preparations whatsoever died in a free society what should be done with their assets and corpse?

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Conclusion (1:07:46)

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and most Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or chat about a topic of interest.

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