New to the site and I have a few questions - Please Help

Goose
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New to the site and I have a few questions - Please Help

Hi everybody,

I am new to this site and I was wondering if a couple of you might be able to explain what it is all about.  I read in FAQ that morality is a construct of evolution. I have discussed this idea with friends because often they say that morality "flies in the face" of natural selection. First let me define what I mean by morality. By morality, I mean doing right thing even if it is not in the individual's best interest. For example, I have been confronted by some friends with the question, "why would someone put their life on the line to help another person if they were drowning?" They argued that it is not in anybody's best interest from an evolutionary standpoint to help the drowning person (unless its a guy saving a girl Smiling -  so let's say a guy saving another guy ) because it gives the person a better chance at expressing his genes in the next generation if the drowning guy dies. They said, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is beneficial to society to let the guy die if he was stupid enough in the first place to swim out there and not strong enough to swim in or if he just couldn't swim, period. They further argued that there is something else inside people that unites them. Some of them took the "we are all god approach but still thought naturalism" was correct based on science. I guess this might work - sort of.... but it definitely confused me. One of my friends suggested reading this guy Deepak Chopra (?). I have read a bit but I was having a hard time reconciling the finite approach of evolution with the "we are one with world approach." Any help would be greatly appreciated?


Brian37
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Quote:I am new to this site

Quote:
I am new to this site and I was wondering if a couple of you might be able to explain what it is all about.

What kind of question is that?

Being an atheist is about how to properly BBQ kittens, and spread debotchery and worship Hitler, and force humanity to listen to Clay Akin music 24/7.

Either that or this is a place for atheists to hang out and disscuss issues they have in common and to invite theists to debate.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Cpt_pineapple
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In social psychology there

In social psychology there is something called recprical altruism. That is that if somebody goes out of their way to help somebody then the society is more liekly to help them.

 

If I'm nice and people like me then they will be likely to help me out when I'm in need.

 

 

If I help you, you help me kinda thing.

 

 

So yes, it is in the self-interest of the person.

 

 

 

 


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Brian37 wrote:Being an

Brian37 wrote:
Being an atheist is about how to properly BBQ kittens, and spread debotchery and worship Hitler, and force humanity to listen to Clay Akin music 24/7.

Ok, now you have gone too far! Forcing them to listen to Clay Aiken is just plain evil!

 


pauljohntheskeptic
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Goose wrote:Hi everybody,Hi,

Goose wrote:

Hi everybody,

Hi, Goose welcome.

One helps because one can. If the point in helping is to receive a reward than you are likely dealing with theists such as Christians that have been indoctrinated since birth that they will be rewarded in the next life. 

Other thoughts, if it's a guy that needs to be saved he might be rich or the son of a rich man and you'll get cash to buy music other than Clay Aiken.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


Thomathy
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Goose wrote:I read in FAQ

Welcome Smiling

Goose wrote:
I read in FAQ that morality is a construct of evolution.
It sure is.

Quote:
I have discussed this idea with friends because often they say that morality "flies in the face" of natural selection.
And they're wrong.

Quote:
First let me define what I mean by morality. By morality, I mean doing right thing even if it is not in the individual's best interest.
Well, that's not what morality is, but we'll run with this for now.  Remember, however, that you're going to have to learn what morality really is and that the 'right thing' is subjective.

Quote:
For example, I have been confronted by some friends with the question, "why would someone put their life on the line to help another person if they were drowning?" They argued that it is not in anybody's best interest from an evolutionary standpoint to help the drowning person (unless its a guy saving a girl Smiling -  so let's say a guy saving another guy ) because it gives the person a better chance at expressing his genes in the next generation if the drowning guy dies.
Umm... not necessarily.  And that's a terrible reason (logically speaking) not to help someone.  Cpt. already exlained reciprical altruism.

Quote:
They said, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is beneficial to society to let the guy die if he was stupid enough in the first place to swim out there and not strong enough to swim in or if he just couldn't swim, period. They further argued that there is something else inside people that unites them.
You're friends don't understand evolution.  A drowning person has nothing to do with evolution.  'Survival of the fittest' is a concept endorsed by people ignorant of how the phrase was originally used and in what context.

Quote:
Some of them took the "we are all god approach but still thought naturalism" was correct based on science.
Yeah, what?  We're all god?  That's wonderful.  And...?  It's a meaningless statement.

Quote:
I guess this might work - sort of.... but it definitely confused me.
No kidding.

Quote:
One of my friends suggested reading this guy Deepak Chopra (?). I have read a bit but I was having a hard time reconciling the finite approach of evolution with the "we are one with world approach."
I don't understand it either.  Probably because it's nonsense.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Brian37
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KSMB wrote:Brian37

KSMB wrote:

Brian37 wrote:
Being an atheist is about how to properly BBQ kittens, and spread debotchery and worship Hitler, and force humanity to listen to Clay Akin music 24/7.

Ok, now you have gone too far! Forcing them to listen to Clay Aiken is just plain evil!

 

I think that is going easy, RRS could have forced humanity to listen to Ray Comfort.

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Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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My view of morality is that

My view of morality is that it's a loaded term. Cpt_Pineapple's use of atruism is more effective. Morality is just a cute and fluffy term that theists use. In your example of the swimmer, if the person doing the rescue is a father with 3 kids to support is it moral for to risk his life to save a stranger? Altruism explains this phenomenon more than morality.

 

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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Goose wrote:Hi everybody,Hi

Goose wrote:

Hi everybody,

Hi Goose! Welcome to the forum!

Goose wrote:
First let me define what I mean by morality. By morality, I mean doing right thing even if it is not in the individual's best interest. For example, I have been confronted by some friends with the question, "why would someone put their life on the line to help another person if they were drowning?" They argued that it is not in anybody's best interest from an evolutionary standpoint to help the drowning person (unless its a guy saving a girl Smiling -  so let's say a guy saving another guy ) because it gives the person a better chance at expressing his genes in the next generation if the drowning guy dies. They said, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is beneficial to society to let the guy die if he was stupid enough in the first place to swim out there and not strong enough to swim in or if he just couldn't swim, period. They further argued that there is something else inside people that unites them. Some of them took the "we are all god approach but still thought naturalism" was correct based on science. I guess this might work - sort of.... but it definitely confused me. One of my friends suggested reading this guy Deepak Chopra (?). I have read a bit but I was having a hard time reconciling the finite approach of evolution with the "we are one with world approach." Any help would be greatly appreciated?

My morals, and, I would think, the morals of most non-theists, are neither built around our own survival nor the survival or our species. It is were, non-theists would go around slaughtering Creationists and attempting to proliferate the next generation like Catholics or Mormons, and we certainly don't. There will be a number of utilitarians, but even that is for producing the most happiness, not necessarily the greatest chance of allowing our species to survive. Also, there is no evolutionary standpoint to morality. Evolution is a biological process; it has nothing to say about human ethics, so arguing that one person shouldn't save the other drowning person because of evolution is a naturalistic fallacy (DG will be pissed), and those who hold to such a philosophy are crazy.   

For me, morality is a sufficiently complicated and subjective topic that it cannot be summarized with such things as omnipotent Gods or categorical imperatives. Morality is a human concept, so what is "right" is dependent on what you believe. Therefore, it also follows that even if we can agree that something is wrong, it is wrong simply because we agreed that it's wrong, not because of some transcendental law. To determine whether something is right, I would have to consider my conscience, my happiness, the happiness of others, science, philosophy, etc... 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Goose wrote: I have

Goose wrote:

 I have discussed this idea with friends because often they say that morality "flies in the face" of natural selection. First let me define what I mean by morality. By morality, I mean doing right thing even if it is not in the individual's best interest.

 

I think evolution predicts species will behave in ways that are in the 'genes' best interest, not the individuals. Why does an ant do what is best for the colony instead of just doing what it wants? The survival of the colony and thus it's genes depends on it putting self interest behind colony interest.

Goose wrote:

For example, I have been confronted by some friends with the question, "why would someone put their life on the line to help another person if they were drowning?" They argued that it is not in anybody's best interest from an evolutionary standpoint to help the drowning person (unless its a guy saving a girl

 

Unwritten social contract to do so. It is in the gene's interest to have a social contract to try and save one another. Because then others will help you in time of need. It's like buying insurance.

Why do the blood cells in your body give up their oxygen and nutrition to other cells? Why don't they selfishly keep it to themselves? Cooperation is a survival strategy. So obviously we have an instinct to do so. We also have an instinct to survive individually, sometimes these instincts clash.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Doesn't this question assume

Doesn't this question assume that evolution only produces positive survival traits?

Sounds made up...
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butterbattle
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Magus wrote:Doesn't this

Magus wrote:

Doesn't this question assume that evolution only produces positive survival traits?

Good point. Maybe you won't save the drowning person because you're a selfish gene. Lol. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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What happened to you guys?

I've been a long time fan of you guys, however, I lost track of you a while back (years) and recently heard about some violent event which I doubt people would want to get into, but the sum of my question is....

What happened to you guys, why did you stop posting videos on youtube.

Take care, and thanks for satisfying my burning curiosity... hopefully.

Matt

To assume knowledge, is to ensure ignorance

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheReasonWhyGuy


Sapient
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TheReasonWhyGuy wrote:I've

TheReasonWhyGuy wrote:

I've been a long time fan of you guys, however, I lost track of you a while back (years) and recently heard about some violent event which I doubt people would want to get into, but the sum of my question is....

What happened to you guys, why did you stop posting videos on youtube.

Take care, and thanks for satisfying my burning curiosity... hopefully.

Matt

This will at least answer some of the youtube questions.

Here's where we plan to post our videos from now on.

Here's information regarding the violent event.

Here's some RRS rumors.

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wow

Thanks for responding so fast, it gives me hope for this site, since I was thinking it might be dead... but looking around, I see a good amount of activity.

 

As for the violent incident, I initially heard about it from a creationist, trying to use it against atheism.

They completely left out that he was bipolar...

 

I'm glad the world is still graced by your presence, and that according to some forum posts, that greydon(that's his name right) expressed remorse.

Even if it was after being a prick about it...

 

I looked into your youtube replacement, and I'm surprised about how excellent it looks.

Youtube still gets most the traffic, and thus I would advise the use of it for advertising the site.

I have 1000+ subscribers on youtube, and I'm thinking about advertising your site.

 

Anyways,  I don't mean to blather on about nothing, just wanted to express my love for this organization, and it's members. take care and may Jake bless you

 

Matt

To assume knowledge, is to ensure ignorance

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheReasonWhyGuy


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Yeah I reckon butter

butterbattle wrote:

Goose wrote:

Hi everybody,

Hi Goose! Welcome to the forum!

Goose wrote:
First let me define what I mean by morality. By morality, I mean doing right thing even if it is not in the individual's best interest. For example, I have been confronted by some friends with the question, "why would someone put their life on the line to help another person if they were drowning?" They argued that it is not in anybody's best interest from an evolutionary standpoint to help the drowning person (unless its a guy saving a girl Smiling -  so let's say a guy saving another guy ) because it gives the person a better chance at expressing his genes in the next generation if the drowning guy dies. They said, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is beneficial to society to let the guy die if he was stupid enough in the first place to swim out there and not strong enough to swim in or if he just couldn't swim, period. They further argued that there is something else inside people that unites them. Some of them took the "we are all god approach but still thought naturalism" was correct based on science. I guess this might work - sort of.... but it definitely confused me. One of my friends suggested reading this guy Deepak Chopra (?). I have read a bit but I was having a hard time reconciling the finite approach of evolution with the "we are one with world approach." Any help would be greatly appreciated?

My morals, and, I would think, the morals of most non-theists, are neither built around our own survival nor the survival or our species. It is were, non-theists would go around slaughtering Creationists and attempting to proliferate the next generation like Catholics or Mormons, and we certainly don't. There will be a number of utilitarians, but even that is for producing the most happiness, not necessarily the greatest chance of allowing our species to survive. Also, there is no evolutionary standpoint to morality. Evolution is a biological process; it has nothing to say about human ethics, so arguing that one person shouldn't save the other drowning person because of evolution is a naturalistic fallacy (DG will be pissed), and those who hold to such a philosophy are crazy.   

For me, morality is a sufficiently complicated and subjective topic that it cannot be summarized with such things as omnipotent Gods or categorical imperatives. Morality is a human concept, so what is "right" is dependent on what you believe. Therefore, it also follows that even if we can agree that something is wrong, it is wrong simply because we agreed that it's wrong, not because of some transcendental law. To determine whether something is right, I would have to consider my conscience, my happiness, the happiness of others, science, philosophy, etc... 

Is getting to the heart of it. The thing with morality is that it is the same in all humans, whether we ascribe it to god or to inherent and instinctive elements of human nature - stuff that's both genetic and deeply ingrained in infancy and childhood.

Theists talk about morality being some sort of filter system bolted across humanity's OS but this doesn't begin to explain the nature of it - in fact adding god to the equation just makes understanding morality harder still.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I think the basis of

I think the basis of morality is ingrained within us as an instinct (we are social creatures and to be outside the group is potentially death)

Personally, I guide my morals in a basic "do unto others" type thing.  (yes, just because it's in the bible, doesn't mean I assume it has no value.  The bible after all was designed to teach people and reinforce basic behavior.)

I wouldn't like people to steal from me, therefore I should not steal.  I would not want other people to hurt me, therefore I should not hurt others.  I would want my rights respected as a person, therefore I should respect the rights of others.  It's a pretty basic logic and it really has not failed!

"Shepherd Book once said to me, 'If you can't do something smart, do something right.'" - Jayne

Personally subverting biological evolution in favor of social evolution every night I go to work!