Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Penn Jillette when his is right.

   I wrote an earlier post where I was not pleased with a quote attributed to Penn Jillette. Now I have to turn the tables and post something from Penn that I find to be really great. Below is the video message he presented to the Reason Rally back in March. I'll highlight some of the great parts below.

It's about time we grabbed the moral high-ground. Many people who are religious—they are sometimes doing their good deeds: their charity, their kindness. Sometimes comes from reward and punishment—going toward reward and away from punishment. I can make the argument—and I have—that the only ones with true morality are us, the atheists. We are doing good because it is good and we are doing right because it is right and not for reward or punishment.


We are the people who believe in this life. We are the people who believe in morality. If you are doing something for reward or punishment, you do not have morality. Morality must come from inside you—from your mind and from your heart. You can't say "Don't hit your sister and I'll give you an ice cream sandwhich;" "You must not hit your sister because it's wrong to hit your sister."
   My only thought is this is a bit contradictory to that quote from that earlier post. That quote implied getting "moral credit" and "great joy" from helping people. But aren't these rewards, especially the moral credit? The great joy is something internal, but could I not call that a self-reward? It would seem that either Penn did not say that quote or he is holding contradictory ideas. From my writings, it should be clear that the Penn in the video above is the Penn I agree with.

UPDATE: I found the source of the quote from my earlier post. It appears to be a response to his interview with Piers Morgan back around August of last year, which is actually the interview from which I based some of my thoughts of Penn in that post, particularly with how he used anecdotal evidence during that interview. (I actually posted the first part of that interview on this blog. The video I embedded is apparently no longer available, but the links to other videos still work.)

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