Do you believe in free will? - Page 5

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View Poll Results: Does free will exist
Yes 20 80.00%
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:46 PM   #81 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by •LX• View Post
There is an enormous gap out there. The unknowable. Religions approach it one way, science another, but it doesn't make it any more knowable. I fail to see any wisdom in insisting on making obvious uncertainties into claims of certainty. Science and religion both do so only at their own peril. Progress comes through learning just how much we don't know, because that increases with actual knowledge. I can recognize the possibility of us all being intricate, biological automatons of a sort, or of us being each our own gods in a sense. What always stands out for me is that in the end the ideas come from us. Who created the creator, or energy? Ultimately we did. Where did the ultimate blueprint originate? Within minds the workings of which are largely unknowable, but which we can claim as our own. We can only experience what we experience, we cannot step outside of ourselves and our experiences, and then trace out the ultimate true workings that lie therein.
Yes, there is an enormous gap, but are science and religion really even remotely comparable ways of "knowing"? Indeed, is religion even a way of knowing at all?

Look at the methods of discovery: religion relies on personal revelation. That's it. God said such and such to so and so and they divine that it's been revealed to them correctly. Not only would it be bad of me to think I know something based on a personal revelation to me, it would also be ridiculous of me to expect someone else to believe that I had such a revelation; it is necessarily first person. Also, I believe that religion, particularly the monotheisms, do claim absolute truth.

Science, on the other hand, is very different. It works in the public sphere, relying on repeatable and demonstrable evidence. It does not claim absolute truth; in fact, science has shown a rich history of being willing to correct itself over and over again. This is one of the key differences between religion and science: science has a self-correcting mechanism built into it. But tell me, how does one tell whether religious claim A is more likely than religious claim B?

I think to put religion and science on equal grounds of "knowing" is a bad mistake. Certainly from a philosophical standpoint, science does not get us to certainty (indeed, any scientist who tells you otherwise is being a bad scientist), but it does get us to reliable knowledge far better than religion does.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:54 PM   #82 (permalink)
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Let's take, for example, a comparison between a religious way of determining our origins, and a scientific way of determining our origins.

From the religious perspective, you have the book of Genesis. This explanation is not one we determined by weighing evidence; it was "given to us" directly from some sort of divine interaction. What mechanism does religion have to test whether this is true or not? Instead, it is asserted by fiat, until science comes along with it's legitimate way of acquiring knowledge and says "Wait a minute, that doesn't make any sense." Then the religious start to weave this new knowledge into their religious beliefs, even though the source in which their beliefs is grounded contradicts this new understanding.

Because science has a way of determing whether claim A is better than claim B, it is better than religion at acquiring knowledge. That's why we had to wait for science to tell us that the universe was heliocentric after centures of religions telling us it was geocentric.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:59 AM   #83 (permalink)
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I don't think I equated science and religion, or claimed that Religion was a way of knowing. I said it took one approach towards grappling with the unknown. Of course dogmatic religion does not intend to grapple so much as provide absolutes. But all religions at their best, are actually about faith, not belief. Exercises in faith can be entirely useful when dealing with the unknown, and recognizing the overall tremendous mysteries that we live within, and grappling with them, is an integral part of that.

And in terms of determining our origins and the nature of the universe, science requires all kinds of outlandish and unprovable mumbo jumbo, with the advantage being that questioning theories is a built-in attribute. But string theory is grounded in as much actuality as Adam's Rib. They are both our creations, and we are required to make them our own and carry them forward, or not. And the unknowable remains just as unknowable.
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:45 PM   #84 (permalink)
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I expanded a little bit on what I said elsewhere:

Dreaming of free will Reason and Science

LX: What is your opinion on epistemology? Can anything be known and, if so, how?
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:25 AM   #85 (permalink)
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ok, here we go. it's not thorough, and i can't possibly respond to every issue that has been raised here, but what follows is the position i want to put forward... or maybe it's just the biochemical response i have no choice but to put forward...

i think ligeia has put things pretty well in this post:

Do you believe in free will?

but i will try to lay out a few thoughts here in response to armchair and to the discussion in general. (cory - i'm not going to respond to your comments because you just take snippets out of context and it becomes pointless. there's a reductio-ad-absurdum that takes place when one does this in a complex argument, and it spirals out of control. if you want to put a position together and present it i will try to respond, but i'm not going to do the whole 'you said' / 'i said' thing in a discussion this complex.)

i will concede that i cannot know exactly how consciousness plays into this, and that it may be the case that i only come to 'realize' my decision milliseconds after the biochemical computation has taken place. i will also concede that some choices are indeed predetermined my biochemical response to experience and to stimulus.

but i don't think (and what i am doing is speculating as i am not a neuroscientist) that this applies to all choices. and if it indeed does apply to all choices it becomes a rather squibbling point to make because i think it just means free will, at least as far as we can comprehend it.

the point i have been trying to make is that the totality of our experience informs our choices, such that we attempt, as best as possible, to take into account our emotions, our hopes, our previous choices, etc when we decide things. at this point i think we are arguing whether the net result of this is simply a biochemical response that would be the same for anyone in precisely similar circumstances or if two equals could make different choices. i can't know the answer to that, so at this point i suppose that i am speculating.

but when i think about what i am typing here i start to piece together decisions that could go either way. take this sentence from my previous paragraph:

Quote:
at this point i think we are arguing whether the net result of this is simply a biochemical response that woud be the same for anyone in precisely similar circumstances or if two equals could make different choices.
i could have said 'could' or i could have said 'might'. both are appropriate, but have slightly different meanings. i could/might have gone either way. i chose 'could' because of it's connection to intention as opposed to possibility (in my own understanding of the words), but frankly i'm still not sure if i used the right term. i believe that i had the intention to use that word because given my past experiences it could have gone either way, and there was no clear perfect choice. this may not be the best example, surely you should object if it is not, but this is the kind of thing that makes me think some decisions are not pre-determined. they come down to an equal choice, and i'm not sure how biochemical response pre-determined which word i chose there.

in part this is all a matter of hope. it would be hard for me to face the world if i felt that, no matter what, i was going to wake up today, come to work, slack off for a while, and write exactly this response to your point. if that's the case there is no point living. i freely () admit that this is purely speculative hope, but it is what it is, to use a phrase that i hate. i am not a scientist, so i choose to believe that i have some control.

but it also becomes absurd to me to think that every choice, every possibility, everything i say and do is determined by a natural response. and if it is, is that response not precisely will? i mean what else would there be besides the brain making a computation based on the way the brain works? is naturalist pre-determinism not exactly the freedom of the person in whose head the relevant brain exists to make decisions? i suppose i don't separate the consciousness from the function of the brain in this way. call it pre-determined if you want, but i don't see how this is different than choice. it's me making choices using my brain.

my opposition was to the assertion that predeterminism is a point of logic. i don't see this as a valid argument because it is clear to me that we make illogical choices all the time. rational computation - no, biochemical response - maybe, i don't know the answer ot that. but if it is just a question of biochemical response vs free will, i think we are just arguing semantics. as i said before, is not the function of the brain making biochemical computations not the same as the person attached to that brain making decisions? i don't separate the person from the brain. maybe that's my error, but as i said from the outset, i think this becomes a rather squibbling point to make because i think naturalist predeterminism just means free will, at least as far as we can comprehend it.

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Old 12-31-2009, 09:04 PM   #86 (permalink)
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Interesting discussion. It's taken place before and will take place again, with no answers, just an adumbration of perspectives.

My own view, without much throat-clearing, is this:

There are scientific laws (law of gravity, e.g.). If person A throws a ball in the air, science can accurately predict its motion. Can anyone predict how hard person A will throw the ball? No, there's free will at work there. But can someone predict the motion of the ball in advance with the proper numbers / inputs? (determinism) Yes.

My point is, yes you can have free will, and yes, one with knowledge of the relevant laws can predict outcomes in general based on different freely made decisions. Things are more opaque with moral laws, obviously.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:12 AM   #87 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by soulstice99 View Post
Interesting discussion. It's taken place before and will take place again, with no answers, just an adumbration of perspectives.

My own view, without much throat-clearing, is this:

There are scientific laws (law of gravity, e.g.). If person A throws a ball in the air, science can accurately predict its motion. Can anyone predict how hard person A will throw the ball? No, there's free will at work there. But can someone predict the motion of the ball in advance with the proper numbers / inputs? (determinism) Yes.

My point is, yes you can have free will, and yes, one with knowledge of the relevant laws can predict outcomes in general based on different freely made decisions. Things are more opaque with moral laws, obviously.
I think you're slightly conflating two different ideas here.

On the one hand, you have the idea that there are cause-and-effect relations which seem so common that we can deduce from cause C what effect E will occur. In your example, we have observed in every known instance that, at the macroscopic level, objects follow the laws outlined in Newtonian mechanics. This is, in part, much easier because we are observing a single aspect of a fairly simple object.

Determinism, however, doesn't by any means suggest that we can predict everything based on our current understanding. A determinist may suggest that if we know every single causal factor prior to a "decision" being made, we could predict what the decision would be, but our understanding right now is so limited, and the causal factors so complex, that we are nowhere near being able to make such predictions.

What a determinist might say to your example (certainly I can't speak for all determinists but I'll pose a response that most would likely agree with):

Why stop your inquiry when the relation becomes too complex? You say: the ball travels in a predictable motion because of a certain type of cause: namely, the physical laws of nature. We must continue to look further, though, and continue to ask questions where you have erected a barrier.

Why did the person throw the ball at the velocity that they did? I'll try to use a simpler example to make the point clear. Suppose we're talking about a baseball pitcher. They could throw any number of different pitches: maybe a three-finger fastball, a slider, or a curveball. Suppose that a pitcher throws an 80mph slider low and inside. If we wish to be good philosophers, it is not enough to say "Well, that's the pitch he chose to throw. Being that he chose it over any number of other possible choices, that demonstrates free will."

What we must ask is why did he choose that pitch? Perhaps it was because it was an 0-2 count, and the pitcher has learned from previous experiences that a batter down in the count is more likely to take a risk on a pitch they shouldn't. Maybe the pitcher is facing a batter who has a history of being unable to hit an inside slider, or maybe the batter has a history of hitting pitches in the middle of the plate out of the park. Maybe the pitcher has a high pitch count and doesn't have the arm or the energy to throw another fastball. Maybe he just threw a fastball and wants to surprise the batter with a change of pace and movement. Maybe it's the start of the game and the pitcher wants to work his way into the game slowly, without too much risk.

It could be any of these factors, separately or compounded. It could be yet another factor which I've failed to consider. But couldn't any of these reasons be considered good causes for the effect (namely, throwing a low-and-inside slider)?

We can crank our microscope up to 100x and look at it in more detail. Why a slider specifically? I would argue it is because the pitcher has an understanding that a ball held in a certain fashion, thrown at a certain velocity, with a particular arm motion, will be the causes for which the effect is the ball arriving at the plate in a particular position with a particular velocity at a particular angle.

We can also include within this idea the role that emotions play. I think a pitcher who has confidence in his slider is more likely to throw it, but from where does this confidence come? I postulate that it would likely be either: a) Past success with the slider, b) Past success in pitching more generally, c) What makes him a person (his past experiences and genetic make-up).

Two counter-arguments that are likely to be posed, which I will try to cut off at the knees (though I think I have done so earlier):

Q: Couldn't the pitcher have chosen any other pitch?
A: Maybe. This is a strong supposition: that we could have (or would have) done something other than what we did. Still, it gets us no further in understanding why it is that the pitcher threw that particular pitch and didn't make one of the alternative choices.

Q: Couldn't the pitcher have randomly chosen a pitch?
A: Possibly, although the question remains: why did they randomly choose a pitch? Even if we stop the inquiry at the assertion of randomness (which I don't think is true), we can still build causal factors that led to this effect (the random choice). We also have the question of how randomness could produce any meaningful free will in the sense so often implied. As I have argued earlier, if what we "choose" is random, then we are not one iota closer to the free will we conventionally think of. What we chose was no product of our own consciousness, but a simple roll of the dice for which the dice deserves more credit than we do. On the contrary, those arguing for free will are arguing that we (a "conscious" being) are the ones making the decisions, not the dice. So asserting randomness doesn't get us to the notion of free will I think most are trying to establish.

A last attempted rebuttal:

Q: What if we have no good reasons for making the choices we do? If it is illogical or irrational, doesn't that, in some way, indicate indeterminism?
A: Determinism makes no claim over how well reasoned our decisions are. Indeed, we make decisions all the time for simply atrocious reasons, often because we have no choice but to make a decision without the full information (think of every vote you've ever cast....), and just as often because we think we have all the correct and necessary information when we don't. Still, when we make a choice, we are doing so because we expect a particular outcome or range of outcomes from that choice, and this expectation is utterly and completely a product of past experience and your genetic make-up. Even if our expectation is false, it is precisely because of that expectation that we made the decision we did.

To re-iterate my argument as succinctly as I can: we have the free will to act in the manner that has been determined. Any other sort of free will (ie. contra-causal or without-cause) lacks coherence.

Having essentially argued for a world consisting completely of cause-and-effect, I hope to have some time tomorrow to cast a little bit of doubt on this relationship (mostly using the Problem of Induction), though I think what I have argued thus far will still have legs to stand on.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:05 AM   #88 (permalink)
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Yikes! Lots has been said while I was out of town. Okay, my name came up a couple of times, and other great comments have been made by people, so i am going to weigh in again. I screwed a couple of points up in that intial post. I really want to clarify my views on God and religion so that people don't think I was being a douche for the sake of being a douche. I'll elaborate soon. I can't sleep AGAIN, so I'll probably respond by this morning. Yes, Bmats, I'll get to your post. Sorry for missing that one.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:23 AM   #89 (permalink)
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Okay, for starters, I want to clarify a statment I made in December.

This one:

Quote:
Having said that, I am genuinely intrigued when Atheists argue in favour of free will. Discussing this issue with religious people is pointless because, to varying degrees, they believe in the supernatural, substance dualism and host of other garbage that falls outside the realm of science and concrete observation (even on a speculative level). Thus it is a waste of time to debate this issue with them, when they are inclined to fall back on "...spirits"..."we have a soul"... "God done did it. Don'tcha know?."
So, what was I trying to get at with this paragraph (that probably should have been phrased differently)? Well, for starters, I was interested in what Atheists have to say about free will. That much should be obvious. As Legia so aptly pointed out, Atheism is a LACK OF BELIEF in God. NOTHING MORE. Therefore, if they think we have free will, they're like not going to say they think free will comes from God. Get it? That's why I like talking to people like Trane. See, when I talk to theists, they tend to say we have a soul given to us from God. They also tend to say God gave us free will. In fact, LX touched on this point with his remarks about Catholic school. Some of my relatives are Catholic and believe that stuff. Even some of the other denominations in my family believe those ideas.

My problem with "substance dualism", "souls", and "God done did it" (and I mean gave us free will, when I say that), is that it just fills in a blank with no explanation of empirical value. See, I was talking about the human mind. That's why I find the discussion pointless. Their explanations fall so far outside the realm of observation, in terms of what we can assess within the human mind. I mean, if somebody is just going to say, "listen ACGM, God exists and he gave you free will", how the fuck do I carry out a productive dialogue based on that? That's the frustration I was trying to articulate. I hope that clears things up. For the record, I know full well that many thiests/diests..etc.. respect most aspects of science and accept natural laws. There are a lot of different religious positions. Some people disrespect science and take the bible literally, but many do not. My mother and two of my ex-girlfriends, for example, believed in souls, yet they all accepted the goodies that science has discovered. None of them followed the bible; they knew it didn't add up. I enjoy talking about many topics with people like them (theists), but a discussion about free will is usually pointless. I would much rather talk about it with people like Trane or Legiea who are going to talk in different terms. They are more likely to talk about aspects of the brain and decision making that we can observe, rather than other excuses. I said more likely, because I concede that some theists/diests will talk about things without playing the God card. For that reason, I probably should have made my post more inclusive to the forum members and just said "I'm interested in hearing the explanations of all members who are not going to just say "God gave me free will", while offering no other explanation. That's what I should have said. I hope things are now clear. I apologize for not making my post more inclusive.

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Old 01-05-2010, 07:29 AM   #90 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
I'd like to know your thoughts on the pre-big bang, singularity, strings or whatever you believe was the beginning of the universe as we know it, within the constraints of time that we believe.

I would like to know your explanation on "the beginning" of everything (ie.. the universe).
Then:

Quote:
I'm interested in ur answers to my question above AC GM.
First off, I've been out of town since I replied to Cory. Shortly after responding to Cory, I had to hop on a plane to see my family. I'm sorry if you feel slighted by the fact I responded to him first. I probably chose to do so because he seemed upset by my characterization of his views, so I thought I should take care of that before I was away from the internet for 2 weeks.

I read threw your exchange with Ligeia and he/she seems to have addressed everything you're saying, even after you repeatedly missed the point about atheism. I am going to respond to you now, but, when addressing several of your posts, I am simply going to build upon what Legiea has already said.

1 - Please try to remember that Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God. How many times does Ligeia have to tell you that? And like a prideful theist you never apologized for mischaracterizing the position. No, I can't say for certain if God exists. But there is absolutely no reason for me to believe in "souls" or accept statements like "God gave us free will. Don't 'cha know?" I see no evidence of God, therefore, I see no evidence of theistic notions of free will that stem from a God. That's what I was trying to get at. I've had almost a dozen real life conversations about free will with theists, and I'm tired of the God gave us free will position. I really hope I don't have to repeat that like 4 times. I was talking about the supernatural in terms of the human mind, not the start of the universe. But since you brought up the "beginning", I will now switch over to that. In another post, I will return to discussing my own thoughts on free will.

It seems to me that the best way of discussing my views is in response to points you've been raising.

You said:

Quote:
One of the fundamental dogma's of science is that energy (matter) cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. So where the hell did everything come from? There had to be something, or some form of energy that is outside our concept of time. Something BEYOND the laws of science had to have started everything, because from our view of time, the beginning of the Universe started with some energy already in place.
Then you said this to Cory:

Quote:
So energy has always been there. [?] There's no scientific evidence to prove any of this... energy was just there.[?] So why is it so outside the realm of everything to say God was just there?

Or, in other words, that energy was God. I'm not trying to argue this, but to explain how science can't explain everything, and why religion tries to explain things that science just can't.

Well tell me AC GM, "energy always being there" is outside the realm of science and concrete observation as well, so what is your stance on the beginning of the universe? You're just going to believe that energy was already there to be transformed?
Well, as we'll see later in this post, Legia informed you that physcists are working on explanations involving quantum fields. You've been making a lot of bold assertions yourself, and without even being up to speed on all arguments. It happens to all of us, but you're being a real dick about the whole atheism thing. And you're wrong to say that science can't always explain everything; that is not a known. It's possible that science can't explain everything, but it's possible that the scientific method has the potential to uncover current unknowns. See, science can't explain everything at a GIVEN MOMENT in historical time, but that doesn't mean there isn't a natural explanation for everything that can be uncovered through science. We are in the process of formulating speculatative theories in science for how the universe began (if "began" is even an approriate term) and those speculative theories will be tested and possibly revised through observation. If you know how we can observe God so that we can speculate better about him/her/it, then write an article and get that shit published.

That's why I have a beef with the way some people use the term supernatural. Yes, the term can be used in different ways. You, and others like you, seem to suggest that anything we don't know is possibly "supernatural", whereas, myself and Legia would not view it that way. Aside from the double negative in the sentence, Legia put it best when he/she said:

Quote:
Originally posted by Legia
I subscribe to the position that what we don't know is not synonymous with the supernatural, and thus only the position of naturalism is a tenable one given our understanding so far.
I don't know what your personal religion is, Bmats, but most have been pwned by science...repeatedly. Flat earth. Fail. Science eventually smashed that. Humans created in days or weeks or whatever. Fail. Evolution eventually revealed the continuum (or web or tree) of life. And now, science is getting closer and closer to understanding Abiogenesis; that is, the origin of life on earth (commonly confused with the theory of evolution, by assholes like Ben Stein). Do you see where I am going with this? Human knowledge and our minds evolve, just like our physical bodies. As we gain more knowledge, our language grows and our ability to conceptualize follows accordingly...well, at least for most of us who try to learn. I see no evidence to believe in God. I see evidence that science, with enough time, will yield the answers to questions that seem perplexing, but eventually make sense. That's why I prefer to discuss things along the those lines. Naturalistic lines.

And if you call energy God, that's a different explanation than most theists give, especially in terms of free will. It's a God that is taking a naturalistic form. And that's what this thread is about: free will. See, the theists, at least the ones I was refering to (and I've already admitted I should have added qualifications), talk about God as a supernatural being who decides things (designing) and is capable of causation. Saying that "God is energy" is very, very fucking vague and much different from what the typical theist says. It sounds like that definition is talking about God in a naturalistic sense.

Let's look at what Ligeia said (I will build upon it):

Quote:
Originally posted by Ligeia 1) I watched a lecture by the physicist Lawrence Krauss that ended up with the conclusion that the "something" could have come from "nothing" as a result of quantum fluctuations. I don't have the technical know how to challenge his authority, nor have I read anything that contradicted what he said.
Yes. Krauss is definitely not the only one suggesting such things. I've heard Sten Odenwald, a NASA astronomer, discuss the possibility of these claims. But, as Odenwald points out, most people get lost by the "nothing" part, and then insert some bullshit argument against it. See, when physicists talk about nothing, they don't mean it in the common sense use of the word. Common sense frequently does not apply to science, since science is usually uncovering new things that we have to adapt to. The human mind and the knowledge it posseses evolves just like our bodies. We currently don't have words that are appropriate to describe what occupied the vaccum of "nothingness." We currently don't have enough knowledge to fully grasp the "beginning", or as Ligiea astutely pointed out, whether or not talking about a "beginning" is even necessary. Where does the planet earth begin and end? Oh, shit, it's not flat...thanks science! We no longer need to ask such strange questions about where Earth begins and ends. Common sense sucks hairy balls because it's usually one step behind. Science and discovery for the win!

Quote:
Originally posted by Ligeia 3) The conservation of energy, or the first law of thermodynamics, is not dogma. It is an empirical observation. If evidence arises later that would call it into question, it would be abandoned, which is the exact opposite of dogma.
Yup. Just wanted to say yup. Again, this touches on the point about knowledge evolving. Science will adapt if necessary....religion...usually only changes if forced by science, human politics...etc.. God does not speak to humans to help revise religion. Yeah, yeah, new prophets...whatever. No way of proving those personal experiences through replication. Plus it can always be a misunderstaning of a physical phenomenon or experience. Greek gods, anyone?

Quote:
Originally posted by Ligeia Undoubtedly we know very little about how the universe began. This doesn't, however, allow us to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with god.
Touchdown. Cosmology is in its infant stages. I am going to say more, but first, Bmats, let's look at how you responded to Ligeia's point:

Quote:
Originally posted by Bmats
I know what your saying, because we don't know something, it doesn't allow us to fit God into what we don't understand. However, ACGM said this:

"Discussing this issue with religious people is pointless because, to varying degrees, they believe in the supernatural, substance dualism and host of other garbage that falls outside the realm of science and concrete observation (even on a speculative level)."

What does that mean? There is nothing outside the realm of science and concrete observation? Then tell me how the universe started. There are many things outside the realm of science, you might attribute it to nothing and say energy has always been there. Others might say that God has been there from the beginning. You can't throw religion out the door because there is no concrete evidence that God exists, there is no concrete evidence that energy was there from the beginning either, so can we throw science out the window??? Of course not.
1 - I clarified what I meant in a different post I made tonight/morning. I was refering to people talking about "souls" and the "supernatural" in terms of free will and the human mind. You made this conversation about the start of the universe.

2 - You asked if I think there is nothing outside the realm of science and concrete observation. Well, death, obviously. But seriously, think about what I said about "flat earth" and "the first humans created in days." Science pwned that shit. Adam and Eve, and stories similar to that, are such a joke to anybody who knows the basics of genetics. Name one thing religion has PROVEN....:::crickets:::....Now name claims about religion that have been disproven...too slow, I already did it. But the most important point is that science changes and adapts and revises and tries to discover new knowlege, while religion is mostly dogma. Science changes from within. It demands that it be questioned and interegated. It encourages it. Religion, for the most part, does not. I only say for the most part, because some fringe religions MIGHT encourage you to question the religion itself, I don't know all religions.

3 - Look closely at the passage I bolded. You are creating a FALSE analogy. We can test theories that speculate energy was there from the beginning. Given the track record of science, we will probably refine and develop even better methods of testing as time goes by. There will probably be advances in several different, yet complementary fields, such as math and physics, and this will add new insights. Cosomology, as I've already stated, is only in its infant stages. Geneticists didn't discover DNA over night.


4 - I think the flying spaghetti monster started it all. You don't believe me, do you, bmats? See, you're an athiest, too, buddy.

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Old 01-05-2010, 10:20 AM   #91 (permalink)
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I can't respond to everything posted, well because I just started 2nd semester in University and I spend most of my time on the raps discussion side of this forum.

From what I understand, the summation of Ligeia and ACGM's posts are about not putting God in the place of things that are not yet understood. Science continues to question itself and is progressive. Like when my dad was doing his Ph.D, there were only 7 dimensions to the string theory, now there is something upwards of 17, with some Docs even going well up to 30 dimensions to try to explain the beginning of the universe.

Now, I cannot convert either of you to theism, which I understand, and that was never my intention. I don't think Adam and Eve, or Noah's Ark or all that kind of stuff are meant to be taken literally... atleast I don't take them literally anyway. But I'm very much a cause and effect guy. I think there is a cause to this universe, there was someone who created this cause (God), there's a reason we're all here... and I understand I can't prove any of that. But faith is really a personal matter, and that's why we all live different lives.

On the free will side of things, I'm not sure what it means when people say God gave us free will. I dont quite understand that. I think religion tries to explain the effects and consequences of our free will... because determinism takes away all aspects of morality. And without morality, is anarchy.

I think morality leads us to help others, and we should use our free will to help the less fortunate. That's what the message in the bible is to me anyway.

"The higher the buildings, the lower the morals" - Noel Coward.

And I'm not really sure why you called me a dick either, extremely immature.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:30 PM   #92 (permalink)
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I think God or godliness or the supernatural gets thought of in terms of energy within many religions. Within the structures of "churches" that ends up being less prevalent, and so it comes to the forefront in religions that rely much less on such structures. Buddhism and aboriginal cultures come to mind. I put very little stock in religious thought that has been used to prop up power and control populations, and yes, science wins hands down in that regard. But the origins of religious thought comes from a much deeper interaction with the human mind and the energy within the external realities it encounters. Maybe it's not an important distinction. I think it is to many people who have looked to such things beyond the dogma that the power structures apply to them, and gained some real insight, and to just paint all religious thought as dogma isn't all that fair to them.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:35 PM   #93 (permalink)
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But I'm very much a cause and effect guy. I think there is a cause to this universe, there was someone who created this cause (God), there's a reason we're all here... and I understand I can't prove any of that. But faith is really a personal matter, and that's why we all live different lives.
Obviously you're not a very much cause-and-effect guy, or you'd believe in determinism.

Instead, you've found a specific effect for which you're certain there must be a cause, and because you don't know what that cause is, you call it god. It's the Cosmological Argument that has been put forth in philosophy for centuries, and I encourage you to read the scientific and philosophical challenges to it. I'm not saying that you can or must prove it to me; just make sure you're aware of some of the issues associated with it that might explain why someone like me finds it to be an extremely weak argument (although it is certainly better than other arguments, like the transcendent argument, the ontological argument, or the teleological argument, the latter two being particularly weak).

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On the free will side of things, I'm not sure what it means when people say God gave us free will. I dont quite understand that. I think religion tries to explain the effects and consequences of our free will... because determinism takes away all aspects of morality. And without morality, is anarchy.
That's quite an assertion: that determination eliminates morality. Can you provide some reasoning to back that?

I'd say also that you can have a complete lack of morality without anarchy, or vice-versa.

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I think morality leads us to help others, and we should use our free will to help the less fortunate. That's what the message in the bible is to me anyway.
Well, certainly we can interpret things as we see them. When I read the Bible, I see legitimate morality playing a very small part of the message. More importantly, I see other philosophical work that give us better reasons for being moral (beyond divine command or fear of hell) without all the goobledygook.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #94 (permalink)
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I can't respond to everything posted, well because I just started 2nd semester in University and I spend most of my time on the raps discussion side of this forum.
Okay, cool.

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Originally posted by BmatsNow, I cannot convert either of you to theism, which I understand, and that was never my intention. I don't think Adam and Eve, or Noah's Ark or all that kind of stuff are meant to be taken literally... atleast I don't take them literally anyway.....
Okay, fine. It's not my intention to get adults to leave their belief in God or gods. I was simply articulating a frustration stemming from debating a specific issue with certain theists.

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... because determinism takes away all aspects of morality. And without morality, is anarchy.
Ugh. Okay, I have a lot I can say on that. But I am not going to address you specifically, because I don't want you to feel compelled to reply. I can tell you don't want this to drag out. I will just incorporate my views on that into my response to Trane's post. I'll tie it all together. It was something I had planned to briefly touch on anyway, since it is an integral part of a discussion regarding free will.

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And I'm not really sure why you called me a dick either, extremely immature.
Really? You still don't get it.

You said:

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And by the way, it's pride to say, because I dont understand God, he doesn't exist lol.
It was a total mischaracterization of the position (atheism). Now, in your defense, it's possible that you just opened the wrong dictionary. In fact, some dictionaries don't even contain the proper definition. This is a classic case of religion influencing public knowledge in a bad way. Certain groups try to re-write the english language. However, you never offered an explanation for that. Legia pointed out your error, and you failed to apologize. I brought it up again, and you failed to apologize in your most recent post. I made a joke about you being a prideful theist in order to prove that very point to you (I was turning it around), yet you still completely failed to pick up on it. Maybe you don't think it's a big deal, but your remark was unfair. It occured to me that my initial post was not inclusive enough, so I apologized for that, even though I wasn't asked to. I just did it because I felt it should be done. Here, I'll do what you didn't do. I am sorry I called you a dick, Bmats. It was immature to use the word dick.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:10 PM   #95 (permalink)
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I will just incorporate my views on that into my response to Trane's post. I'll tie it all together.
oh shit! i'd better clear some room in my schedule...
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:38 AM   #96 (permalink)
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When I brought up the fact that the center of atheism is pride... Ligeia responded:

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Tell me: what is more prideful than thinking that we're special creations who the most perfect being cares about above all other things?
I told him Atheism is based on pride, he tells me Christianity is more prideful than Atheism. That's fine, that's an argument, no need for anyone to apologize, and even less reason to call anyone a dick.

If there is no God, and no objective truth, then there is no morality. Each person will create his own morality and there will be anarchy. If you really believe there is nothing objectively right or wrong and that morality is in the eye of the beholder than we live in different universes. (Ie: in certain parts of the world it's ok for polygamy, or let's say an 80 year old man can marry a 10 year old girl), is there nothing wrong with that? Who gets to decide what's right or wrong? Why do we have laws if morality is in the eye of the beholder? Why can the majority of the people decide on what is moral if morality is relative?

I accept your apology ACGM, but this is a forum for arguing, i don't mind arguments... but we can avoid using words like "dick" etc. There is another topic i'd like to get your thoughts on, I'll PM it to you.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:25 AM   #97 (permalink)
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When I brought up the fact that the center of atheism is pride... Ligeia responded:



I told him Atheism is based on pride, he tells me Christianity is more prideful than Atheism. That's fine, that's an argument, no need for anyone to apologize, and even less reason to call anyone a dick.

If there is no God, and no objective truth, then there is no morality. Each person will create his own morality and there will be anarchy. If you really believe there is nothing objectively right or wrong and that morality is in the eye of the beholder than we live in different universes. (Ie: in certain parts of the world it's ok for polygamy, or let's say an 80 year old man can marry a 10 year old girl), is there nothing wrong with that? Who gets to decide what's right or wrong? Why do we have laws if morality is in the eye of the beholder? Why can the majority of the people decide on what is moral if morality is relative?

I accept your apology ACGM, but this is a forum for arguing, i don't mind arguments... but we can avoid using words like "dick" etc. There is another topic i'd like to get your thoughts on, I'll PM it to you.
Okay, now you're making it sound like you want me to directly address you on morality. The posts in the future are going to get lengthy, or they will have to be broken up and come frequently. Again, my apologies for using the word dick. You are thinking in simplistic terms on morality. I am going to get detaild and will definitely address this morality issue in another post.

For starters, I am going to give you something to chew on....your own contradictions. See, you don't take the bible literally and you don't think others do. You already stated that in this very thread. If the bible is not literal, then it is subject to personal interpretation by individuals or institutions that are abstracting the message from the allegory or metaphor and deciding what it is. Humans are flawed and makes different interpretations. That does not lead to objective morals. It leads to subjective interpretations of morality. But even if the bible did represent objective, absolute morals, it is being interpreted subjectively, so you still have people acting based on subjective interpreations that fall short of the true intention of the hypothetical objective message. For example, why don't some people stone their daughters for commiting certain transgressions, even though religious texts call for such acts? Get it? Subjective interpretations. In fact, religous texts slow down acheiving preferential systems of morality. Has the world crumbled under the weight of all the subjective interpretations around the world? No. I would submit that is has not crumbled. The world is not in anarchy due to the subjective interpreatations of the bible. Therefore, the world would not crumble under the subject interpretations of a humanistic philosophy based on critical thinking, knowledge, ethics...etc If anything, the humanistic philosophies will improve the world. They are partly responsible for shifting people's visions of the bible and women. Look at feminism. I mean, your assertion that the bible helps is simply not tenable, given the types of things the bible can be used to promote under certain subjective interpretations that are going on every day.


1 - humans codify laws based on social contracts that are not reliant upon religious texts that supposedly represent absolute moral authority. Not all laws are decided by the majority. Wrong. Wrong. If you have a constitution in place that protects minorities against certain acts, and said constitution is respected, the majority can't just do whatever they want. In fact, we codify a charter of Freedoms to ensure that the majority cannot violate human rights of minorities. Social contracts protect individual rights. Religious texts are not necessary for those social contracts. We codify laws as "objective" principles to be recognized, in the sense that we recognize basic human rights and the justice system will back them. You can't just kill somebody without just cause. You don't need a religious text to construct such a law. You need critical thinking law makers, who respect the notion of human rights, to do that. Many countries that base their laws on religion think that they are following objective morals, bmats. Those countries allow crimes like stoning women and cutting off of heads. Those stonings and killings take place for the littlest of transgressions. Seriously. Think about. Again, you have the problem of subjective interpretation, that quite frankly, you can't get away from.

2 - Your questions about polygamy make me chuckle. Most of that stuff is done in the name of various relgions and cults that claim absolute moral truth from God!!! They completely disregard science in their construction of their views on morality. I can turn that argument around on you soooo quickly. Are you familiar with the case of Bountiful, Alberta? Or the cult rings connected to Bountiful that were broken up in Texas? Ugh. The same can be said of 80 year olds marrying a 10 year old. Most of the places that said crap happens in, are following religious principles, like places such as Bountiful, or Islamic countries that follow religous laws. Of course we can point out something wrong with an 80 year old having sex with a 10 year old. Due to SCIENCE, we know that the pre-frontal cortex, which plays a big role in decision making, is not fully developed until adulthood. It is unreasonable (a word connected more with logic and philosophy than religion) to expect a child of 10 years to be able to provide reasonable consent to a sexual act. We can use knowledge like this, not an old religious text written by primitive people, to create laws and social contracts that respect individual human rights. Morals evolve based on knowledge and bilogical necessity. That's the only reason why they are not objective. There are no morals that can be applied to EVERY historical period of time, and, in my opinion, which is supported by a vast scientific literature, that's why you can't talk about morals as being universally objective. However, and this is a big motherfucking however, you can talk about moral systems being better than one another based on certain goals that society wants to achieve. If you add a qualification to the statement, such as "we want to respect human rights because, as reasonable humanists we recognize the importance", then you can add some objectivity. If we say that we want to respect ALL human rights and we, as a secular society, make that our objective, we can then start talking about certain systems as being better than another in a given time. Certain systems are better for achieving certain goals. It only takes reason to engage in a social contract that forms the basis of a society worth living in. I don't want to be killed, you don't want to be killed, so let's form a social contract, okay? You don't need God or gods for such logical thinking. You just need a charter of freedoms or a constitution that is a) followed b) has sections protecting the minority population (whatver that may be) which logical thinking humanists will support.

3 - I want to use an extreme example to demonstrate the necessity of recognizing how morals evolve and, therfore, can't technically be objective, but can be judged as getting better in respect to human rights. At this particular period in human history, due to developments in various complementary fields, you can't really make a good case that a 13 year old and 25 year old are on even ground in terms of decision making. 13 year olds don't understand the consequences of their actions in the same terms as a 25 year old. For that reason, you could make a sound argument that a 25 year old should not be allowed to manipulate a 13 year old into having sex and engaging in said act. The 25 year old is at a different level....cognitively speaking. The 25 year old can understand laws, so you can punish the 25 year old for violating the laws through the manipulation of the 13 year old. A 13 year old having sex with a 13 year old is obviously going to be treated differently, since they are both at similar cognitive stages. Enforcing the law against the 25 year old ensures that unjust manipulation doesn't occur, though. However, many, many thousands of years ago, human beings did not have the privilege of enforcing such judgements in regards to age, even if they had the knowledge to understand cognitive development. In order for the species to thrive and overcome the threats of the environment, populations had to grow at almost any cost. Reproduction was necessary to get passed just spending all day looking for food. It had to happen. If it didn't, the species wouldn't have made it. So, on many occasions, 13 year old girls who were just menstrating were having sex with much, much older men. The life expectancy of the human was not as lengthy as in later centuries, and that reproduction had to come fast and furious. Lots of things that would be considered violations of human rights in today's western society were actually once necessary for the species to survive. But, since we have evolved in terms of knowledge, technology...etc....there is no basis to provide a logical argument as to why such acts (a 25 year old having sex with a 13 year old) are necessary. If it's not necessary, then why should it happen? If it seems to infringe on human rights, then shouldn't it be eliminated? These are the types of questions that humans can ask without any help from religion. In fact, I would argue that the best way to answer them is to incorporate humanistic philosophies and knowlege about the human condition that we obtain from science..etc. Asking questions and challenging conventional notions is the way to improve in the future. As the human condition changes, so will our expectations for one another. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

This post is doesn't even fully address my thoughts. I'm sorry if it comes across like a lecture or something like that, but you instigated further discusion, and I don't see how I could really do such an important topic justice without getting a little longwinded.

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Old 01-07-2010, 09:15 AM   #98 (permalink)
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I have to say that I don't see religion as having any great purpose in relation to morals. I've been in places where there is a degree of anarchy, and not felt any great sense of threat to my well-being. Anarchy is just a boogieman most of the time, and in fact can bring about a high level of democratically-inspired actions and decisions. While decisions based on religious laws have lead to countless travesties. Religious thought without the dogma attached can help individuals combat evil they might face personally, but it is unable to bring dogma into the picture when it attempts to combat evil on a societal level, at least in my experience. Let's say the greatest evil I have personally experienced (with family members victimized) came at the hands of a priest with sanctioning of a sort from Bishops who kept the cops from acting for decades. Anarchy feels like a cool breeze in comparison to that reality, and it is a reality that plays out over and over again. Placing moral authority in the hands of people that should be doing no more than guiding people through mysteries that they themselves have no ultimate, absolute answers to, is hardly a pre-requisite to a healthy society.

Our actions come from within, or they become susceptible to terrible manipulations. Shakespeare made a career out of that simple equation.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:54 AM   #99 (permalink)
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It only takes reason to engage in a social contract that forms the basis of a society worth living in. I don't want to be killed, you don't want to be killed, so let's form a social contract, okay? You don't need God or gods for such logical thinking
Ok. Social contracts, perfect. Person A and Person B don't want to kill each other so that both benefit from the situation, thus no one kills anyone. No religious law needed there.

HOWEVER things are not so cut and dry. If Person B has nothing to offer person A in a similar context, Person A will not have anything to do with Person B. If an African child is starving, he has nothing to offer you, from an Atheists point of view... what is the value of helping that person? He can offer you nothing, and since atheists believe we are just like any other creatures on this planet ... what's the use of helping him?

On the other hand, from a Christian viewpoint... this person may not be able to offer me anything, but I should try my best to help him out just because he's another human being. Having compassion towards our neighbour rather than just a strictly A vs. B social contract.

Since you agreed that a 25 year old might need to procreate with a 13 year old back in the day to allow the human race survive, you agree that laws can change and can be broken or recreated to meet specific purposes at a time. Since the world is already overpopulated, isn't it in your best interest not to help these African children who can offer very little to the world but are spreading STD's such as AIDS to other people? Aren't they just a prick in your side? Tell me, what is the purpose to be compassionate to people, especially people who can't offer you anything in return?

Maybe, in the end, we know deep down that it's JUST RIGHT and GOOD to help these people regardless of anything they can offer in return. And this, this is why humans are moral agents, capable of making these decisions, which ultimately ties us to an objective good.

Oh and by the way, if you read through the new testament, Jesus was a central character in equality for women. He was actually radically against inequality for women compared to the society he lived in. When they wanted to stone a prostitute I think it was... he said something like.. let the one who is without sin cast the first stone. And then no one stoned her. He also took around his mother and other women around with him which was very unlike other people at this time.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:37 PM   #100 (permalink)
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Ok. Social contracts, perfect. Person A and Person B don't want to kill each other so that both benefit from the situation, thus no one kills anyone. No religious law needed there.
Yup. Glad we agree on that. But it extends far beyond murder.

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HOWEVER things are not so cut and dry. If Person B has nothing to offer person A in a similar context, Person A will not have anything to do with Person B. If an African child is starving, he has nothing to offer you, from an Atheists point of view... what is the value of helping that person? He can offer you nothing, and since atheists believe we are just like any other creatures on this planet ... what's the use of helping him?

On the other hand, from a Christian viewpoint... this person may not be able to offer me anything, but I should try my best to help him out just because he's another human being. Having compassion towards our neighbour rather than just a strictly A vs. B social contract.
Bmats, you read my post, but did you consider it? Humanistic philosophy? I mentioned it in my post. Christianity is not the only doctrine that suggests you should help out a fellow human. You don't need a religious text for that. And even if you have one, people will provide help in varying degrees. Some times a particular Christian will help a lot, sometimes another one won't. They make subjective interpretations. Sometimes a particular Atheist will help a lot, sometimes another one won't. Faith in God and a religious text is not required to have morals. Furthermore, believing in God does not mean that a person will necessarily act on behalf of a paricular moral "good." Sound reasoning and empathy are usually the common denominator.

Why are these subjective interpretations taking place if there is an inherent good in all Christians? This is usually where religious people tell me God gave us a religious brand of free will. Not sure if that's what you'll say. You could be different. You also dodged the fact that religion is used to justify the very acts you were so worried about. The bible might inspire compassion in some people through certain passages. I believe that you're a compassionate person. But the very same text can be used to advocate acts that some would deem not compassionate. All kinds of attrocities have been committed. You personally might not interpret things in a way that's detrimental to other people, but someone else who reads the same passage may draw a different conclusion.

You're making the erroneous assumption that atheists "believe we are just like any other creatures on this planet." It's not that simple. Through evolution, we've evolved into something different. I raised the issue of critical thinking, knowledge, ethics...etc.. as a foundation for laws that respect human rights. Are other animals capable of that? No, they are not. So a particular Atheist may not view themselves as a special child of God or gods, but a particular atheist, as a human, may view him/herself as bound to a higher standard by the very ability to reason and understand. Those two things lead to empathy Our ability to think is what leads to more complex social contracts. As time goes by, our interaction with others grows. At one point you're in a tribe, then a village, then over time cities grow, then nation states...now globalization. Social contracts are more complicated than just selfish desires. They get more complex as our interactions change. No need for a God or gods for an atheist to have moral standards. The ability to think allows for the possibility of empathy. It has nothing to do with religious texts. Religous people express empathy in varying degrees, and some appear to lack it. Priests rape kids all the time. Atheists have empathy in varying degrees, and some appear to lack it, too. More on compassion and empathy to come.

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Since you agreed that a 25 year old might need to procreate with a 13 year old back in the day to allow the human race survive, you agree that laws can change and can be broken or recreated to meet specific purposes at a time. Since the world is already overpopulated, isn't it in your best interest not to help these African children who can offer very little to the world but are spreading STD's such as AIDS to other people? Aren't they just a prick in your side? Tell me, what is the purpose to be compassionate to people, especially people who can't offer you anything in return?
Okay, lets disect this. First off, a MAJOR problem with overpopulation and the spreading of STD's and AIDS in africa is the FACT that the Catholic church advocates against the use of condoms. The Pope, who is the supposed moral leader of the world, made a subjective interpretation that condoms are not the answer to AIDS. A claim to moral truth that stems from a different historical period is what is contributing to this problem. I feel bad for these children. I feel bad that their parents listen to the Pope and other church leaders, rather than doctors who know better. Yeah, the Catholic church is sure helping their neighbour through compassion. Where's the Church's empathy? Abstinance is solving nothing. The supposed religious "truth" isn't working. Knowledge and education could solve these problems. The humanist approach would help the Africans. The religious approach is failing them. I want Africans to have education and knowledge about the transmission of STDS and AIDS and how contraception can help prevent that when used properly. You know, the knowledge that science gave us. The Church offers them dogma and they die. Religious doctrine is killing most of these people. Yet the church's version of compassion and empathy is not enough to change the dogma that has led so many lives to be lost.

First, lets look at this on practical level before I switch back to compasion. AIDS has consequences for all of the globe, since all of us have the potential to lose out by deseases existing and spreading. Curing them and preventing them is a basic public health necessity.You can make a basic argument for helping people off of that premise alone. Furthermore, today most critical thinking humans value human rights and, by default, humans, regardless of weather they are an atheist or religious. You can make an argument for helping people off of that premise alone. My ability to think is all that is needed for empathy. I was taught to empathize with others before I was even capable of reading a religious text (supposing I wanted to). In cognitive development, the ability to empathize on some level can begin as early as 2 years old. From there, it can be taught well by responsible parents. You don't need religion to teach a distaste for suffering.

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Maybe, in the end, we know deep down that it's JUST RIGHT and GOOD to help these people regardless of anything they can offer in return. And this, this is why humans are moral agents, capable of making these decisions, which ultimately ties us to an objective good.
You still never addressed the problem with saying there is an objective good when things change over time. Evolution does not afford the opportunity to make universal claims of absolute moral truth across time, given what was necessary for survival in the past, and what we deem wrong today. What one might call an objective good today, such as not allowing sex between a 25 year old and 13 year old, is not necessarily an objective good at a particular stage in history that we're not too far removed from. Morals evolve. Even if God or gods existed, that entity or entities would then be responsible for putting humans in these conditions of evolving morals, under which they had to act "immorally" in one context in order to survive. So, basically, nothing is proven to support your case. Nature and science contradict the bible, even on morality. It's not a bad thing, so long as the process pushes us towards more respect for human rights and increases our individual and collective ability to avoid harm (an important form of freedom).

Evidence suggests the potential to get people to recognize the value of human dignity exists in all of us. Unfortunately, many people fail to live up to that potential. It's not a given that people will just act for "good." Just look at the genocide, rape...etc...commited in the name of God and gods. Those people include the Pope, child raping church officials from various denominations, suicide bombers...religious government officials...you know where I am going with this. Many athiests, who never look at a religious text, don't do those things. So, again, it comes back to education, environment, knowledge, and ethical considerations, not necessarily some inherent good passed down by God. "Good" is a subjective term, too, unless you add qualifications, like the ones I discussed in my earlier post. You can talk about preferential moral systems for achieving certain goals, only then does objectivity begin to enter the picture.

Further understanding of the human condition is the best way to get to the root of this and take advantage of the knowledge, and then produce a better society. Now, before I move on, I want to clarify something you said in an earlier post that's misleading and you still don't seem to be picking up on now.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bmats....If there is no God, and no objective truth, then there is no morality....If you really believe there is nothing objectively right or wrong and that morality is in the eye of the beholder than we live in different universes.
Okay, last time, I missed the part where you mentioned "truth" in the equation. You can have objective truth without God. Science yields objective truths that we replicate all the time. I even talked about this earlier in the thread. There is truth in natural laws. No need for God. One truth of natural laws is that humans evolve and, therefore, the human condition evolves. If you read my last post carefully, I explained how you can have preferential moral systems that seek objective goals. But those goals are not universal to all periods of time, since evolution and history have changed human conditions. You dodged my point on evolution and its relationship to morals. In fact, you never even conceded that sexual interactions we deem as "bad" today were necessary during a given historical period. It's knowledge that created the laws that stopped your pedophillia example. That shit went on unchecked by Christianity for years....sadly, it still does in some churches. You need to account for the role of evolution in relationship to morality. See, when the historical variables change, so does morality. You can strive for objectivity in a given context. Similarly, you can determine the temperature needed to boil water under given conditions. It will be a truth. But that truth is subject to variables. Changes in context will change a variable, such as pressure, and that in turn will mean that you need a different temperature to boil the water.

Quote:
Oh and by the way, if you read through the new testament, Jesus was a central character in equality for women. He was actually radically against inequality for women compared to the society he lived in. When they wanted to stone a prostitute I think it was... he said something like.. let the one who is without sin cast the first stone. And then no one stoned her. He also took around his mother and other women around with him which was very unlike other people at this time.
The first time I brought up stoning, it was used in reference to "religious texts" calling for said acts, but I did not say the new testament specifically. I appreciate the point you're trying to make regarding the Jesus. Fair enough. However, this example that he supposedly set clear in the bible, did not lead to progress for women, even after hundreds of years passed. One could argue that women still don't have full equality in the western world, and they only started to make strides towards that once changes outside of religion started to take place and forced changes within both religion and society. Christianity and other religions did not immediately grant women their equal status.

Edit, I really should number my questions to make it easier. And I've removed a couple of questions since it is simply unfair to bombard you with so many.


Since you asked me about the situation in Africa, I would like to ask you some questions regarding what you think about the Pope's position on condom usage, okay?



1 -Do you think he is acting compassionately? If so, why?

2 - What is the objective, morally good response to the situation in Africa?
- Is it one based on knowledge and education that seeks to eradicate the desease through means consistent with human nature, desires and likely actions? That is, a response to the situation that accepts the fact that humans will have sex and need to be educated on how to protect themselves? Or is it one consistent with a religious interpretation that adovcates abstinance?

Last edited by Bill Haverchuck; 01-07-2010 at 06:17 PM.
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