Why should I care?

Evangelion
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Why should I care?

 I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.  After all, if I am sentient star dust in a universe which is entirely the result of random chance, doomed to dissolution, limited to a lifetime (or less) of free choice, sense experience, empirical and dialectical pursuit of the truth, reproduction, and altruistic endeavour before my the final dissolution of my human form into its material constituents, that is to say, if all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death, well, what does it really matter?

I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises necessary for a perfectly livable nihilism, and then, at the last moment, suddenly back off, renounce the obvious--glaringly obvious--implications of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.  Yes, moral values.  

In the world as so-called rationalists have cast it, I hardly see why it is any better to know the truth as opposed to not, or, knowing the truth as they believe it to be, why I should live by it.  All of your arguments, all of your impassioned anti-religious campaigns, your mockery, your sarcastic invective, your polemical prowess, your YouTube videos, public debates, books, talks, seminars, conventions, lectures, the combined dialectical force of a thousand genius IQ's, of ten-thousand University professors, every anti-theist T-shirt, coffee mug, webpage, and journal, all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.  And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.

Fortunately for you, I'm not an atheist.  It keeps me honest.

 

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


Beyond Saving
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 I don't care if you care

 I don't care if you care or not. You can worship whatever crazy deity you care to dream up and do whatever crazy rituals you want. As long as you don't try to make me do it or control my life with it, I couldn't care less. I will however laugh at your stupidity because I find it amusing. 

 

Evangelion wrote:


Fortunately for you, I'm not an atheist.  It keeps me honest.

Like that line. Pure comedic gold. 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Evangelion wrote: I find it

Evangelion wrote:

 I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.  After all, if I am sentient star dust in a universe which is entirely the result of random chance, doomed to dissolution, limited to a lifetime (or less) of free choice, sense experience, empirical and dialectical pursuit of the truth, reproduction, and altruistic endeavour before my the final dissolution of my human form into its material constituents, that is to say, if all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death, well, what does it really matter?

I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises necessary for a perfectly livable nihilism, and then, at the last moment, suddenly back off, renounce the obvious--glaringly obvious--implications of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.  Yes, moral values.  

In the world as so-called rationalists have cast it, I hardly see why it is any better to know the truth as opposed to not, or, knowing the truth as they believe it to be, why I should live by it.  All of your arguments, all of your impassioned anti-religious campaigns, your mockery, your sarcastic invective, your polemical prowess, your YouTube videos, public debates, books, talks, seminars, conventions, lectures, the combined dialectical force of a thousand genius IQ's, of ten-thousand University professors, every anti-theist T-shirt, coffee mug, webpage, and journal, all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.  And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.

Fortunately for you, I'm not an atheist.  It keeps me honest.

 

Exactly what sort of point are you trying to make to all of this ? Assuming there is one other than a bunch of sweeping generalizations.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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 Funny that I became an

 Funny that I became an atheist because of the dishonesty of Christianity. You can pretty much do as you like as often as you like just as long as you throw in a few "Forgive me Jesus" phrases along the way.

amazing that you think your god is that stupid.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Evangelion wrote: I find it

Evangelion wrote:

 I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.

I care a great deal about how you treat me and others, and I have perfectly logical reasons to do so whether there's a Kim Jong Il in the sky or not. If you're referring to what you do with your own life, then I don't give a shit, but we both know the religious don't keep their bullshit to themselves, they push their beliefs on us by committing acts of terrorism to try to limit people's access to abortion for example (which is hilarious as the bible never explicitly condemns abortion but it's not like you people care about facts and logic so...).

Quote:
After all, if I am sentient star dust in a universe which is entirely the result of random chance, doomed to dissolution, limited to a lifetime (or less) of free choice, sense experience, empirical and dialectical pursuit of the truth, reproduction, and altruistic endeavour before my the final dissolution of my human form into its material constituents, that is to say, if all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death, well, what does it really matter?

How you treat other sentient beings matters, none of the things you listed affect that in any way.

Quote:
I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises necessary for a perfectly livable nihilism, and then, at the last moment, suddenly back off, renounce the obvious--glaringly obvious--implications of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.  Yes, moral values.

The existence of god does absolutely nothing to affect ethics on a meta-ethical level. Why would the opinion of some super being in the sky affect whether it's ok for me to stick a fork in your eye?

Quote:
In the world as so-called rationalists have cast it, I hardly see why it is any better to know the truth as opposed to not, or, knowing the truth as they believe it to be, why I should live by it.

Well it's kinda hard to rationally decide whether I should jump off the cliff if I don't understand the truth about gravity and such, so this is complete nonsense.

Quote:
All of your arguments, all of your impassioned anti-religious campaigns, your mockery, your sarcastic invective, your polemical prowess, your YouTube videos, public debates, books, talks, seminars, conventions, lectures, the combined dialectical force of a thousand genius IQ's, of ten-thousand University professors, every anti-theist T-shirt, coffee mug, webpage, and journal, all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

We do it so there will be less people with preposterously idiotic notions of reality fucking everything up for the rest of society.

Quote:
If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.

Yeah, if you're a selfish cunt and don't care about ethical behaviour, then you really can justify anything, so it really just boils down to how big of an asshole you are without a celestial dictator keeping you on a leash.

Quote:
And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.

If that's all religious people did, atheists wouldn't give a shit.


Atheistextremist
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This is a nicely written post

Evangelion wrote:

I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.  After all, if I am sentient star dust in a universe which is entirely the result of random chance, doomed to dissolution, limited to a lifetime (or less) of free choice, sense experience, empirical and dialectical pursuit of the truth, reproduction, and altruistic endeavour before my the final dissolution of my human form into its material constituents, that is to say, if all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death, well, what does it really matter?

I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises necessary for a perfectly livable nihilism, and then, at the last moment, suddenly back off, renounce the obvious--glaringly obvious--implications of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.  Yes, moral values.  

In the world as so-called rationalists have cast it, I hardly see why it is any better to know the truth as opposed to not, or, knowing the truth as they believe it to be, why I should live by it.  All of your arguments, all of your impassioned anti-religious campaigns, your mockery, your sarcastic invective, your polemical prowess, your YouTube videos, public debates, books, talks, seminars, conventions, lectures, the combined dialectical force of a thousand genius IQ's, of ten-thousand University professors, every anti-theist T-shirt, coffee mug, webpage, and journal, all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.  And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.

Fortunately for you, I'm not an atheist.  It keeps me honest.

 

But same as the rest of them it's simply a fallacious appeal to consequence and contains an underlying insistence that without an undefined and undefinable god thing, life has no meaning. It's demonstrable that life means what we feel it means, what we subjectively rationalise it means. There is no 'true' meaning and no context in which to ascertain what such 'ultimate' meaning might be. 

And there's this. Christianity does not own the set of characteristics we label morality. It's a human thing. It is older than your religion. And your final comment - that the fact you're not an atheist keeps you honest - underscores your lack of intellectual integrity. You finish with ad hominem. If you have any cogents proofs for any part of your position, anything useful to add that is not bald assertion with a fringe of pleasant humour, lay it down.  

In the meantime we will not be threatened into accepting the undefined governs the unknown. 

 

 

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


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Manageri wrote:Evangelion

Manageri wrote:

Evangelion wrote:


If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.

Yeah, if you're a selfish cunt and don't care about ethical behaviour, then you really can justify anything, so it really just boils down to how big of an asshole you are without a celestial dictator keeping you on a leash.

These religious types actually think that there can not be some sort of an ethical system or meaning to life without some god.

I put forth the notion that this is evidence that a lot of christians are indeed evil at heart.  IOW, they are saying that if nothing was policing them, they would commit heinous acts.

After all, when I decided that I no longer believed in god, I did not start committing robbery, rape and murder and it didn't have nothing to do with fear of prison either.

I am not a rapist, robber and murder.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Exactly right

harleysportster wrote:

Manageri wrote:

Evangelion wrote:


If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.

Yeah, if you're a selfish cunt and don't care about ethical behaviour, then you really can justify anything, so it really just boils down to how big of an asshole you are without a celestial dictator keeping you on a leash.

These religious types actually think that there can not be some sort of an ethical system or meaning to life without some god.

I put forth the notion that this is evidence that a lot of christians are indeed evil at heart.  IOW, they are saying that if nothing was policing them, they would commit heinous acts.

After all, when I decided that I no longer believed in god, I did not start committing robbery, rape and murder and it didn't have nothing to do with fear of prison either.

I am not a rapist, robber and murder.

 

I'm also a far better, bigger and necessarily braver person as an atheist. But god people do love to argue by insult.

 

 

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


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harleysportster wrote:I put

harleysportster wrote:

I put forth the notion that this is evidence that a lot of christians are indeed evil at heart.  IOW, they are saying that if nothing was policing them, they would commit heinous acts.

I second this. At least re. the ones bringing up this subject who don't seem to understand why it's invalid.


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Evangelion wrote: I find it

Evangelion wrote:

 I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.  After all, if I am sentient star dust in a universe which is entirely the result of random chance, doomed to dissolution, limited to a lifetime (or less) of free choice, sense experience, empirical and dialectical pursuit of the truth, reproduction, and altruistic endeavour before my the final dissolution of my human form into its material constituents, that is to say, if all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death, well, what does it really matter?

Following this train of thought:

So live only matters if there is a prize at the end of the ride? That prize being another ride?  I don't see how a god changes the problem you think exist.

How does adding a god to the equation change the "mattering" of your existence or its own?  How exactly does gods existence have a meaning?  In an infinite existence of you, what exactly does your person-hood do or mean?

Not following your train of thought:

My existence while finite might help expand humanities knowledge to the point where the death of the universe does not mean the death of us.  I don't have any clue to if that is possible, but astrophysicist agree that the current working model leads to heat death of the universe.  However without that pursuit we will never know.  

It might be possible to store "consciousness" on a computer like system and reconstruct or live in a virtual existence.  Without the pursuit of knowledge about our reality we cannot find this answer.  I am not sure if I would want to exist forever, at some point I think I would either get bored.

Evangelion wrote:


I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises necessary for a perfectly livable nihilism, and then, at the last moment, suddenly back off, renounce the obvious--glaringly obvious--implications of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.  Yes, moral values.  

  I have good reasons for morality, but an implication of your argument is that you are moral because someone has a gun (hell) to your head and will shoot you if you don't do what they(god) says.  Not sure how that is different than any other tyrant or a living hell in and of itself.  Anyone ever think of this is Stockholm Syndrome.

 Morals are beneficial actions that we use to help build a more stable society.  It has evolved over time as our knowledge and social structure improves. Moral are useful.

Evangelion wrote:


In the world as so-called rationalists have cast it, I hardly see why it is any better to know the truth as opposed to not, or, knowing the truth as they believe it to be, why I should live by it.  All of your arguments, all of your impassioned anti-religious campaigns, your mockery, your sarcastic invective, your polemical prowess, your YouTube videos, public debates, books, talks, seminars, conventions, lectures, the combined dialectical force of a thousand genius IQ's, of ten-thousand University professors, every anti-theist T-shirt, coffee mug, webpage, and journal, all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

If there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.  And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.


Fortunately for you, I'm not an atheist.  It keeps me honest.

 

 Your liberty to do what you want end where mine begins.  With no god there are no sins to confess, or hell for people to go to.  You can be just like the a Westboro Baptist if you want, that will not change reality.  You will just be marginalized, mocked, and ridiculed by those with good reason and good reasons to do so.

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
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Vastet
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Quote:I find it irrational

Quote:
I find it irrational that the "rationalist" lot seem to care a great deal about what I believe, or, for that matter, what I do.

Right back at you. Why are you here?

Quote:
I am appalled to find such self-confessedly careful thinkers admit all of the premises ~ of their own premises, and try to spirit in an entirely arbitrary set of moral values.

Care to be specific, or are you just a typical driveby with vague and meaningless accusations?

Quote:
all of this and more than I can say, amount to a great big, "So what?"

So what?

Quote:
if there is no God, I am at liberty to do whatever the hell I like.  And that includes going to Mass, fasting at the appropriate times, confessing my sins to a priest, and telling people like you where to get off, and threatening you all with hell if you don't.

Yep. And we're at liberty to tell you that you're a self absorbed, delusional asshat in the process.

So glad I'm an atheist. It keeps me ethical and true.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Latinate words may look impressive...

In order.:

Beyond Saving,

I certainly understand why you care.  What I want to know is why I should care, unless, that is, you use force to make me abandon my beliefs, or to abandon the project of trying to enshrine those beliefs in law, in which I see no good reason to fail to persist, even if, adopting a purely mundane perspective, I have ceased to give assent to those beliefs as true.  The whole rational morality rests on a conditional necessity.  What if I refuse to abide by those conditions.  A subjective teleology messes up the whole system.

 

jcgadfly,

I believe that I am forgivable only because of revelation.  I wouldn't dream of presuming on God's mercy. 

That being said, make no mistake, I think that reason is capable of arriving at a kind of rational norm of behaviour, but in order to make an "ought" of any objective understanding of reality, any "is," I must introduce a conditional necessity.  Thus I am virtuous, in the classical sense, in order to be happy, and if I want happiness in the sense that it is promised by the virtuous life, if I want to function well as the kind of thing I am, to fulfill the intrinsic ends of my nature (loaded words all, I am well aware, but they are not the main point of this argument), then I will pursue virtue.  But if I understand those ends of nature as mere accidents of purely random forces (Divine Providence is little understood, and makes far too many people biblical literalists for insufficient reasons, so don't think I'm a Young Earther or even ID in the sense it is commonly understood as a result of this comment), then I would acknowledge that I am free *not* to act towards those ends. 

A good example is contraception.  Although nothing is clearer than the natural teleology of the reproductive faculty, there is nothing, nothing at all which would compel me to use that faculty for its end, except some assumed premise that it is good to use things only for what they are for (perhaps an Epicurean moderation).  And so, as I believe Richard Dawkins once observed, from the secular perspective it is a triumph of human reason that we can now exploit the sexual faculty for the end of pure enjoyment, to turn evolution's innate purposes to our own advantages.  Why this logic cannot extend to atrocities is not clear to me.
 

Manageri,

Why should I care that you care?  Why does my not liking to be poked in the eye with a fork make it necessarily wrong for you to do so?  Why is my subjectivity your objectivity?  Suppose you feel insulted and injured by my unwillingness to let you poke me in the eye with a fork.  Whose subjectivity comes out king?

 

Atheistextremist,

Nice ski mask.  Starting from the back, it is hardly an ad hominem to state that, as I currently see it, there would be no grounds for me to abide by moral behaviour as a non-Christian.  No less a mind than Dostoyevsky entertained a similar notion; it's not all that mad.

Ultimately, however, in the absence of any teleology but the subjective I fail to see the grounds for any objective moral behaviour.  It is well-attested that many people derive a perverse pleasure from injuring others.  On what grounds, other than sheer force of will, are their acts to be deprecated?  On what grounds is their pleasure even to be called perverse, or they to be called "self-centered asshats," rather than simply differently constituted accidents of an absurd universe devoid of substance?

 

harleysportster,

Evil?  What is evil and why shouldn't it be done?

 

Magus,

Ab oriente?  Perhaps I will send you home by another way .  At any rate, it's good to see a possibilarian on here, showing us the magic of imagination.  Sorry, I rather like to pun.  Anyway:


I fail to see how the death of the Universe, that is real heat death, the final dissipation of all energy into an undering state of cold equilibrium, would not spell the end of Second Life II: Eternal Bliss, or any other contrivance of the human mind dependent upon material motion for its continued operation.  I fail to see how, absent an immaterial principle of human consciousness, the death of the body would not spell the death of the person, or consciousness transfer in any sense other than that of the great Persian potentate Xerox the Ape would be possible.  I would not be closed to a real, robust, coherent proposal of a true possibility for human immortality (nor would Descartes have been), but I fail to see that what you have set forth is such a thing.
 

There is, however, a moreover. 

Moreover, even if such a scheme were possible, it clearly would not benefit me, unless eternal life is, at this point, less than 50 years away (and that's as far as I can get if I push my mortal coils to their limits).  And, although I happen to be ordered in such a way by the forces of random chance and sheer luck to innately give a damn about the survival of my race, I fail to see how, having apprehended the ultimately absurd origins of this empathy, I should at all feel that there is any objective content to my empathy which makes it any better to work for the eternal survival of the human race as opposed to any and all other arbitrary projects I might set myself.  After all, as you said, it's not even clear to you why eternal life simply considered is necessarily worthwhile, which makes my point.  Indeed, perhaps we could take it further and suggest that to murder is to take people out of their boredom.

I know morality is useful for certain mundane ends.  It's a matter of purely conditional necessity, but the condition is not even an objective teleology which exerts any binding force.

 

Vastet,
 

Quid vastavisses?  Anyway, many eager Pandoras have now opened my box.  Behold the wuldor it contains.

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


Atheistextremist
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An intelligent and erudite

Evangelion wrote:

In order.:

Beyond Saving,

I certainly understand why you care.  What I want to know is why I should care, unless, that is, you use force to make me abandon my beliefs, or to abandon the project of trying to enshrine those beliefs in law, in which I see no good reason to fail to persist, even if, adopting a purely mundane perspective, I have ceased to give assent to those beliefs as true.  The whole rational morality rests on a conditional necessity.  What if I refuse to abide by those conditions.  A subjective teleology messes up the whole system.

 

jcgadfly,

I believe that I am forgivable only because of revelation.  I wouldn't dream of presuming on God's mercy. 

That being said, make no mistake, I think that reason is capable of arriving at a kind of rational norm of behaviour, but in order to make an "ought" of any objective understanding of reality, any "is," I must introduce a conditional necessity.  Thus I am virtuous, in the classical sense, in order to be happy, and if I want happiness in the sense that it is promised by the virtuous life, if I want to function well as the kind of thing I am, to fulfill the intrinsic ends of my nature (loaded words all, I am well aware, but they are not the main point of this argument), then I will pursue virtue.  But if I understand those ends of nature as mere accidents of purely random forces (Divine Providence is little understood, and makes far too many people biblical literalists for insufficient reasons, so don't think I'm a Young Earther or even ID in the sense it is commonly understood as a result of this comment), then I would acknowledge that I am free *not* to act towards those ends. 

A good example is contraception.  Although nothing is clearer than the natural teleology of the reproductive faculty, there is nothing, nothing at all which would compel me to use that faculty for its end, except some assumed premise that it is good to use things only for what they are for (perhaps an Epicurean moderation).  And so, as I believe Richard Dawkins once observed, from the secular perspective it is a triumph of human reason that we can now exploit the sexual faculty for the end of pure enjoyment, to turn evolution's innate purposes to our own advantages.  Why this logic cannot extend to atrocities is not clear to me.
 

Manageri,

Why should I care that you care?  Why does my not liking to be poked in the eye with a fork make it necessarily wrong for you to do so?  Why is my subjectivity your objectivity?  Suppose you feel insulted and injured by my unwillingness to let you poke me in the eye with a fork.  Whose subjectivity comes out king?

 

Atheistextremist,

Nice ski mask.  Starting from the back, it is hardly an ad hominem to state that, as I currently see it, there would be no grounds for me to abide by moral behaviour as a non-Christian.  No less a mind than Dostoyevsky entertained a similar notion; it's not all that mad.

Ultimately, however, in the absence of any teleology but the subjective I fail to see the grounds for any objective moral behaviour.  It is well-attested that many people derive a perverse pleasure from injuring others.  On what grounds, other than sheer force of will, are their acts to be deprecated?  On what grounds is their pleasure even to be called perverse, or they to be called "self-centered asshats," rather than simply differently constituted accidents of an absurd universe devoid of substance?

 

harleysportster,

Evil?  What is evil and why shouldn't it be done?

 

Magus,

Ab oriente?  Perhaps I will send you home by another way .  At any rate, it's good to see a possibilarian on here, showing us the magic of imagination.  Sorry, I rather like to pun.  Anyway:


I fail to see how the death of the Universe, that is real heat death, the final dissipation of all energy into an undering state of cold equilibrium, would not spell the end of Second Life II: Eternal Bliss, or any other contrivance of the human mind dependent upon material motion for its continued operation.  I fail to see how, absent an immaterial principle of human consciousness, the death of the body would not spell the death of the person, or consciousness transfer in any sense other than that of the great Persian potentate Xerox the Ape would be possible.  I would not be closed to a real, robust, coherent proposal of a true possibility for human immortality (nor would Descartes have been), but I fail to see that what you have set forth is such a thing.
 

There is, however, a moreover. 

Moreover, even if such a scheme were possible, it clearly would not benefit me, unless eternal life is, at this point, less than 50 years away (and that's as far as I can get if I push my mortal coils to their limits).  And, although I happen to be ordered in such a way by the forces of random chance and sheer luck to innately give a damn about the survival of my race, I fail to see how, having apprehended the ultimately absurd origins of this empathy, I should at all feel that there is any objective content to my empathy which makes it any better to work for the eternal survival of the human race as opposed to any and all other arbitrary projects I might set myself.  After all, as you said, it's not even clear to you why eternal life simply considered is necessarily worthwhile, which makes my point.  Indeed, perhaps we could take it further and suggest that to murder is to take people out of their boredom.

I know morality is useful for certain mundane ends.  It's a matter of purely conditional necessity, but the condition is not even an objective teleology which exerts any binding force.

 

Vastet,
 

Quid vastavisses?  Anyway, many eager Pandoras have now opened my box.  Behold the wuldor it contains.

 

theist to play with. What fun after the misery of TWD39 and Damasius. 

 

Welcome to/and/or back to the site, Evangelion. I'll reply in more detail later. 

 

 

 

 

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


Manageri
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Evangelion

Evangelion wrote:
Manageri,

Why should I care that you care?  Why does my not liking to be poked in the eye with a fork make it necessarily wrong for you to do so?  Why is my subjectivity your objectivity?  Suppose you feel insulted and injured by my unwillingness to let you poke me in the eye with a fork.  Whose subjectivity comes out king?

Because, quite obviously, ethics is about sentient welfare. Why do you think the bible threatens people with eternal torture and attempts to bribe them with eternal paradise if that isn't what matters to people? The reason I can say my hypothetical disappointment at your refusal to let me poke you in the eye is not more important than your pain is because your pain obviously weighs more than whatever petty notions of disappointment might go through my head, not complicated.


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Summary of Points

Just in case someone is happily typing a reply right now, I will put this in a new post.
 

Thesis: A secular man cannot consistently jump the chasm between "is" and "ought."

1) By "consistently" is meant the contrary of "arbitrarily."  There is no good reason to privilege any will's judgment of what "ought" statement it is better to hold over any other's.

Premiss 1: The chasm between "is" and "ought" cannot be jumped except by a conditional necessity.

1) Any "ought" statement involves acting for an end.  I "ought" to do something only "in order to" achieve something else. 

2) The chasm cannot be jumped by absolute necessity, such as, for instance, physical laws, since "ought" statements involve the real possibility of not acting or of acting otherwise.  That rocks fall when dropped is an "is" statement, a fact.  That I will fall when I jump off the cliff is likewise.

3) A conditional necessity alone meets both criteria for jumping the chasm.  To introduce a conditional necessity, I observe that it is necessary for me to do something, which I could just as well choose not to do, in order to bring about a certain state of affairs, for example that it is necessary for me to study to pass my exam.  Thus there is acting for an end and the possibility of not acting or acting otherwise.  The statement becomes an "ought" statement when I choose to act towards that end.

Thus:
X "is" a good that I desire.
It "is" necessary to act in Y way to achieve X.
Thus, given that I do desire X, I "ought" to act Y.  The chasm has been jumped.

Premiss 2: The comparative worth of desires is judged according to the end of the one desiring.

1) A judgment of the worth of desires is an "ought" statement.  It is alleged that I "ought" to want something and not something else "in order to" actualize myself in some way more fully than if I desired the other thing.

2) Even self-sacrificial "oughts" are cast in the language of legacy, or place a large part of my own actualization in the actualization of those around me.  Alternatively, we could read these as malicious "oughts" perpetrated by those who would use me to further their own actualization at the expense of my life.  Which of these is the case is irrelevant to the larger point.  A deceiver would nonetheless need to cast self-sacrificial "oughts" in the language of legacy or of heroism, encouraging great sacrifice of self only with the promise of a concomitant and proportional ennobling of self.  A third alternative, the most classical of the three, is the privileging of the society as an organic whole over the individual, and the individual as a part functioning well even by sacrificing himself for his society.

Premiss 3:  The secular worldview of evolution by a blind process of natural selection removes the possibility of an objective teleology of human acts.
 

1) Insight into human teleology is obtained by observation of human inclinations. 

2) But human inclinations are explained by an atheistic natural selection as those inclinations which survived because those creatures which had them were more able to survive than those which did not. 

3) Thus, strictly speaking man is not "for" anything, but simply exists.  What he wants has nothing to do with his own actualization, but is an accident of his condition. 

4) Thus, those whose desires do not contribute to individual or collective survival cannot be deprecated, since their desires reflect no real end, but only accidents of their own condition.

THEREFORE:


1) Since all "ought" statements are conditional necessities directed to a desired end
,

2) And since all desired ends must be weighed according to the end of the one desiring,

3) And since the secular view of man as the product of blind evolutionary forces removes the possibility of an objective teleology of human acts,

The conditional necessities on which man chooses to act cannot, according to that worldview, be weighed against one another, there is no good reason to value one such "ought" statement over any other, and thus

A secular man cannot consistently jump the chasm between "is" and "ought," quod erat demonstrandum.

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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Summary of Points

[accidental double post]

 


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Evangelion wrote:4) Thus,

Evangelion wrote:

4) Thus, those whose desires do not contribute to individual or collective survival cannot be deprecated, since their desires reflect no real end, but only accidents of their own condition.

That is a very good point; I do think people should be less harsh towards those who are born without (or with severe limitations to) the ability to develop empathy and compassion for other living things. However, I still think such actions can be rightly condemned, since a functional society requires granting and respecting certain rights for all people.

In addition, if you care not for your own welfare or for the welfare of others, you should do whatever you wish. If, however, those actions include hurting other people, you should (and will) be stopped.

 


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To be even more blunt, why

To be even more blunt, why should any of us care if you care? And why should we therefore change anything about what we do or believe?

As far as morality goes, it is demonstrably subjective, to the opinion of the majority. That's all it needs to be to work.
Objective morality has no basis in reality. Ethics are always changing.

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Evangelion wrote:A secular

Evangelion wrote:

A secular man cannot consistently jump the chasm between "is" and "ought,"

Neither can a deist, theist, warlock or the easter bunny, and your post did nothing to prove otherwise. Like I stated before, the potential existence of god has zero impact on meta-ethics.


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Evangelion

Evangelion wrote:

 

harleysportster,

Evil?  What is evil and why shouldn't it be done?

 

Your going to ask ME ? YOU ?

BTW. That is called question begging and it is a logical fallacy.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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 In

 In order:

AtheistExtremist,

Thanks for the welcome!


Manageri,

Indeed you seem to believe that ethics are about "sentient welfare"--obviously so, you claim (or, indeed, "obviously, so you claim&quotEye-wink.  So all things that can experience pain are the locus of moral value?  Can I kill something if I anesthetize it first, thus rendering it non-sentient?

 

blacklight915,

What is a functional society for?  After all, I say things are functional when they do what they are supposed to do.  What, then, is society supposed to do?

 

Vastet,

I'm just kind of assuming that you care.  This website, after all, exists, and although it could be a nihilistic exercise posing as a sincere attempt to spread the gospel of reason, I'm going to assume it is for what it says it is for.

 

harleysportster,

You claimed that I am evil.  What do you mean?

If you can show me my vicious circle, I'll renounce it.

 

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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Evangelion

Evangelion wrote:

harleysportster,

You claimed that I am evil.  What do you mean?

If you can show me my vicious circle, I'll renounce it.

 

No, I said that I put forth the notion that if theists need a god to arbitrate their morality then they must be secretly evil.

For instance, let me put forth this hypothesis. If you found out there was no god. 100 % proof there was no god, what would you do ? Commit murder and rape ? Abandon your loved ones ?

NO. You probably WOULD NOT.

That is the whole point I am making. Your morals do not come from god, they come from YOU.

Isn't that easy to see ?

I was trying to refute the argument that if there is no god it does not matter what you do. That's crap. Neither you nor I would rape children because there is no god. We don't rape children because we are not child molestors.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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I desire to post this, stop me.

harleysportster,

The argument from inclinations only works if those inclinations are supposed to point in some way to man's actualization.  In a godless universe, they merely stand as consequences of the natural forces which bring man into being.

Now, you're probably right; I would not rape and murder if I found out there was not a God.  I am not inclined to do so.  But we both know perfectly well that there are those amongst us who are inclined to do so.  Hence there are rapes and there are murders.  

What I cannot for the life of me discover is how, in a godless universe, we could say either:

a) that these desires are disordered, since human desires are not "ordered" towards anything, but merely have survived because they could survive,

or b) that, given those desires, the one so desirous should not act upon them, since just as my happiness is supposed to depend on my fulfilling my desires, so too their happiness likewise seems to depend on their fulfilling their desires, there being no end beyond the fulfillment of desire, e.g. "your morals come from YOU," towards which their actions should be ordered.

Thus I can see a few things:

1) Why I would not commit rape and murder (I don't want to).

2) That likely these things would remain illegal (most people don't want to be raped and murdered, and will use the force of law to protect themselves from those eventualities).

What I can't see is this:

1) Why anything you say here, incapable as you are of enforcing your will by physical force across cyberspace, should convict me in the privacy of my own conscience that I should not act on my desires.  Indeed, you seem to have, in entirely subjectivising morality, given me good grounds for doing so.

 

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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Evangelion

Evangelion wrote:

harleysportster,

The argument from inclinations only works if those inclinations are supposed to point in some way to man's actualization.  In a godless universe, they merely stand as consequences of the natural forces which bring man into being.

Now, you're probably right; I would not rape and murder if I found out there was not a God.  I am not inclined to do so.  But we both know perfectly well that there are those amongst us who are inclined to do so.  Hence there are rapes and there are murders.  

What I cannot for the life of me discover is how, in a godless universe, we could say either:

a) that these desires are disordered, since human desires are not "ordered" towards anything, but merely have survived because they could survive,

or b) that, given those desires, the one so desirous should not act upon them, since just as my happiness is supposed to depend on my fulfilling my desires, so too their happiness likewise seems to depend on their fulfilling their desires, there being no end beyond the fulfillment of desire, e.g. "your morals come from YOU," towards which their actions should be ordered.

Thus I can see a few things:

1) Why I would not commit rape and murder (I don't want to).

2) That likely these things would remain illegal (most people don't want to be raped and murdered, and will use the force of law to protect themselves from those eventualities).

What I can't see is this:

1) Why anything you say here, incapable as you are of enforcing your will by physical force across cyberspace, should convict me in the privacy of my own conscience that I should not act on my desires.  Indeed, you seem to have, in entirely subjectivising morality, given me good grounds for doing so.

 

Congrats on not wanting to rape and murder - you're better and more moral than your God. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Evangelion wrote:What I

Evangelion wrote:

What I cannot for the life of me discover is how, in a godless universe, we could say...

...given those desires, the one so desirous should not act upon them, since just as my happiness is supposed to depend on my fulfilling my desires, so too their happiness likewise seems to depend on their fulfilling their desires, there being no end beyond the fulfillment of desire, e.g. "your morals come from YOU," towards which their actions should be ordered.

How does it matter whether there's a god or not? Because he'll punish me if I'm naughty? We don't decide what's ethical based on whether or not we can get away with it. Is it because he's smarter? That still doesn't mean he gets to define ethical behaviour without that concept becoming entirely arbitrary (which is what you accuse secular morality of).

Once again you have done nothing to demonstrate that god does anything to change the fundamental nature of ethics.


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Evangelion wrote:What I

Evangelion wrote:

What I can't see is this:

1) Why anything you say here, incapable as you are of enforcing your will by physical force across cyberspace, should convict me in the privacy of my own conscience that I should not act on my desires.  Indeed, you seem to have, in entirely subjectivising morality, given me good grounds for doing so.

You might not act on your desires because as you pointed out they might be illegal which means acting on them could cause you to have experiences you would rather not have. Also, people around you are going to react to your actions so you might decide not to act on your desires because it is not worth the negative reaction you might get from others. Other than how other people around you might react and whether or not you are willing to risk those consequences there is no reason not to act on your desires. So what?

Do you have desires to do something that you hold back solely because of your belief in god?

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Evangelion wrote:What is a

Evangelion wrote:

What is a functional society for?  After all, I say things are functional when they do what they are supposed to do.  What, then, is society supposed to do?

Improve the well-being of all living things, starting with humans.

 

Evangelion wrote:

Indeed you seem to believe that ethics are about "sentient welfare"--obviously so, you claim.  So all things that can experience pain are the locus of moral value?  Can I kill something if I anesthetize it first, thus rendering it non-sentient?

If you change it to "a locus of moral value", you would be correct. Additionally, killing living things often harms more than just what you killed.

 


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Quote:I'm just kind of

Quote:
I'm just kind of assuming that you care.  This website, after all, exists, and although it could be a nihilistic exercise posing as a sincere attempt to spread the gospel of reason, I'm going to assume it is for what it says it is for.

I care about not being subjected to religious laws and beliefs. I don't care about the beliefs of an individual beyond that, in this context. You'll note I'm on a site by and for atheists, not a christian or other theist site.

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Quote:Now, you're probably

Quote:
Now, you're probably right; I would not rape and murder if I found out there was not a God.  I am not inclined to do so.  But we both know perfectly well that there are those amongst us who are inclined to do so.  Hence there are rapes and there are murders.  

And people with those inclinations will act on them whether there's a god or not.

Quote:
that, given those desires, the one so desirous should not act upon them, since just as my happiness is supposed to depend on my fulfilling my desires, so too their happiness likewise seems to depend on their fulfilling their desires, there being no end beyond the fulfillment of desire, e.g. "your morals come from YOU," towards which their actions should be ordered.

Your rights end where mine begin, and vice versa.

Quote:
1) Why anything you say here, incapable as you are of enforcing your will by physical force ~ snip

Are you looking to be convinced?

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Evangelion wrote:I fail to

Evangelion wrote:

I fail to see how the death of the Universe, that is real heat death, the final dissipation of all energy into an undering state of cold equilibrium, would not spell the end of Second Life II: Eternal Bliss, or any other contrivance of the human mind dependent upon material motion for its continued operation. 

 In this sort of computer simulation you would survive the heat death of the universe.  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22028-computer-that-could-outlive-the-universe-a-step-closer.html

Evangelion wrote:

I fail to see how, absent an immaterial principle of human consciousness, the death of the body would not spell the death of the person, or consciousness transfer in any sense other than that of the great Persian potentate Xerox the Ape would be possible.

 There already exists people who have computer components integrated into from the field of neuroprosthetics. Research is already working on integrating with memory.

Evangelion wrote:

There is, however, a moreover. 

Moreover, even if such a scheme were possible, it clearly would not benefit me, unless eternal life is, at this point, less than 50 years away (and that's as far as I can get if I push my mortal coils to their limits).

 I suggest you don't need eternal life in less than 50 years, only the ability to extend your life long enough for them to figure it out.

Evangelion wrote:

  And, although I happen to be ordered in such a way by the forces of random chance and sheer luck to innately give a damn about the survival of my race, I fail to see how, having apprehended the ultimately absurd origins of this empathy, I should at all feel that there is any objective content to my empathy which makes it any better to work for the eternal survival of the human race as opposed to any and all other arbitrary projects I might set myself. 

 You are forgetting natural selection, that is the non random part.  Natural selection clears out those without that innately DNA driving survival instincts to reproduce well because that don't feel the need to survive/reproduce.  Empathy provides fitness for the species that is why it exists. However its origins are irrelevant and ultimately not important.  In this scenario the question isn't should you work towards these goals, but when others do solve them why should they let you get the benefits of it?  If you are unwilling to help society why should it help you?

Evangelion wrote:

After all, as you said, it's not even clear to you why eternal life simply considered is necessarily worthwhile, which makes my point.  Indeed, perhaps we could take it further and suggest that to murder is to take people out of their boredom.

I know morality is useful for certain mundane ends.  It's a matter of purely conditional necessity, but the condition is not even an objective teleology which exerts any binding force.

  If it is clear to you why eternal life is worthwhile please explain it.  You still have not explained how a god solves the problems you propose exist in your initial post.  How does it creates an objective teleology?

  Murder does end the boredom. No argument there.  In such a society hope you never get bored and murdered.  However in a society where we help solve the problem of boredom in others we potentially figure out how to solve the potential boredom in ourselves .  This lead to a more cohesive society which in turns increases the chances of our survival.

Sounds made up...
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An evil and adulterous generation seeks a rational response...

 Whimsical title.  In order:

jcgadfly,

That's an entirely different question.  I know it's hard; the internet is big and your righteous zeal and moral indignation against religion seethes out of your every pore, but lack of precision and focus will destroy any and all rational discourse.  We are discussing men, and men who explicitly deny the existence of God at that (really or hypothetically).  Let's stay on target.

 

Manageri,

At least if I am to understand my other interlocutors, we have reduced the source of moral judgments to individual human desire.  But human desire reduces to the consequence of evolutionary forces.  Thus the whole abyss of human passions, sweet compassion and righteous fury, tender love and hate, hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, are nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  

I can see that people desire what they desire, that most people tend to desire the same things, that people will ally and make law to protect themselves and attempt to fulfill these desires, but I fail to see how any of this will convict Raskolnikov, in his private conscience, granting a hypothetical guarantee of impunity, that he should not act on his desires.  What should make him value his desires less than those of the common throng?  Why should I read this material on RR and be moved to act in any other way than I already do, even if you convince me of atheism?

Since you asked:

[There exists within Christianity, and even to an extent within theistic philosophies such as Aristotelian or Platonic ethics, a robust mechanism for this devaluation of individual desires.  All desire is understood to aim at the attainment of the good, and the highest good is understood to be God.  Thus conversion, the turning away from one's own desires as absolute law and the pursuit of the love and service of God, is demanded by nature of every man, and is the highest and clearest expression of that yearning latent in all of his other desires.  Indeed, I do not think a well-read Catholic in the world would for a moment maintain that everyone is born with desires which are all in order.  Everyone must to some greater or lesser extent put his wants in order.

Thus the Psalmist writes, "The sinner will behold [the happiness of the just man who delights in the law of the Lord], he will gnash his teeth and wither away.  The desire of the wicked will perish."  Contrast this with the just man, "for he will not be moved for-ever" (Psalm 111[112]: 10, 6).

The man who orders his desires out of the love of God pursues the good, and his desires lead to life, to happiness.  The man whose desires are disordered pursues things which pass away, ignores those things which last, and the way of the wicked leads nowhere.]

 

Beyond Saving,

To your question, absolutely.  They're likely nothing you would be offended at, however.  

 

blacklight915,

What is well-being?  

Sartre asked the same unanswerable question in a different way: Why should I not commit suicide?

 

Vastet,

Fair enough on your part, although I wonder just what the Rational Response Squad is for.  Squads aren't generally conceived of as group hugs.

 

Vastet',

I am looking for an answer to my question.

 

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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Magus gets his very own reply post!

 Magus,

Where exactly is the 'self' which we would download onto the mainframe?  Would the self continue to be after the body was disconnected and destroyed?

Fair enough point about my pathetic lifespan.

I'm not sure that society should help me outlive my fourscore.  Then again, I'm not sure that I would want it to in an absurd universe.  After all, you wrote, "I am not sure if I would want to exist forever."  Why I should not commit suicide (and suicide it would be if eternal life were a click away) is a question that must be answered prior to this discussion.

My reply to Manageri largely addressed your last question.  If it is unsatisfactory, I would be happy to elaborate.

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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Evangelion wrote: Why

Evangelion wrote:
 

Why should I read this material on RR and be moved to act in any other way than I already do, even if you convince me of atheism?

Evangelion wrote:
 

Beyond Saving,

To your question, absolutely.  They're likely nothing you would be offended at, however.  

Well for one thing if you became convinced there was no deity, you could do those things that you desire to do but don't because of your belief in god. I would think that would be a good thing for you.

Assume for a moment that there is no god- would you rather live your life holding the false belief and denying your desires or would you rather know the truth?  

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Evangelion wrote: Manageri,

Evangelion wrote:

Manageri,

At least if I am to understand my other interlocutors, we have reduced the source of moral judgments to individual human desire.  But human desire reduces to the consequence of evolutionary forces.  Thus the whole abyss of human passions, sweet compassion and righteous fury, tender love and hate, hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, are nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  

I can see that people desire what they desire, that most people tend to desire the same things, that people will ally and make law to protect themselves and attempt to fulfill these desires, but I fail to see how any of this will convict Raskolnikov, in his private conscience, granting a hypothetical guarantee of impunity, that he should not act on his desires.  What should make him value his desires less than those of the common throng?  Why should I read this material on RR and be moved to act in any other way than I already do, even if you convince me of atheism?

 

Humans have empathy.  The ability to distinguish emotions in other people, to imagine our self in their position, and to respond to other people's needs and desires.

Humans need empathy so much in our society that we have special names for people without empathy.  Borderline personality.  Psychosocial Disorder (psychopath/sociopath).  Narcissistic personality.  Asperger's Syndrome.  Autism.  Satan or evil is not the cause of any of these disorders.  They are a combination of genetic predispositions and environment. 

Our empathy circuit in our brain is very complex, consisting of ten (10) different regions of our brain.  If any one of these areas has not developed properly, the person has difficulties functioning in society.  If the brain is damaged enough, we look at their symptoms and we give them what help we can.  If the problem is mild, we may be able to teach a person how to recognize emotions.  How to imagine how you would feel if you had that emotion and extrapolate it to the other person.  We can teach someone how to offer help in a non-threatening way when help is needed that we can supply.  If the empathy circuit is damaged to the point that the person can not be taught, then often that damaged person is institutionalized in some way.

For a detailed and informative look at empathy, I recommend Zero Degrees of Empathy: A new theory of Human Cruelty by Simon Baron Cohen.  Dr. Cohen is a professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Cambridge University.  He has studied children with Asperger's Syndrome and autism for a number of years.

And what does this have to do with morals and ethics?  Everything.  Without empathy, there are no morals and ethics, no laws to ensure that those with out empathy are properly restrained.  Without empathy, there would be no society, no civilization, and no large human populations.  We would still live in caves, unable to cooperate with each other or raise large families.

You may, and I am sure you will, claim that this empathy circuit was designed by your god/s/dess.  You would think if said entity was intelligent, they would have made the brain more robust as it is very easy for the empathy (and other) circuits to be interrupted and/or damaged.  And there would be fewer tragedies in this world. 

I prefer to stick with evolution - more children means more hands to ensure health and well-being for the entire family-tribe.  More children because everyone in the tribe cares for their well-being.  And so those that cared the most were those that reproduced the largest families.  And their genes and well developed brains with empathy circuits were the ones that out produced the ones whose offspring were not as well cared for.

Most people have empathy circuits that function well enough.  Well enough to care for our families, friends, neighbors, community, and even strangers.  You don't need religion to have an empathy circuit.  You need good genetics and loving parents.  I had three sons whom I love very much and I raised them as atheists.  They love me and their families and care for their friends and community.  No god/s/dess required.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Hi Evangelion

 

 

 

 

Evangelion wrote:

Atheistextremist, Nice ski mask. 

 

Ta. Nice to meet another fan of woollen couture. 

 

Evangelion wrote:

Starting from the back, it is hardly an ad hominem to state that, as I currently see it, there would be no grounds for me to abide by moral behaviour as a non-Christian.  No less a mind than Dostoyevsky entertained a similar notion; it's not all that mad.

 

I do argue there is an implicit insult in the observation that humans without god are less moral that theists, devoid of grounds for moral behaviour. The empirical evidence expressed as prison statistics shows atheists are significantly underrepresented in prison populations. Perhaps you did not mean this but you did suggest we were ‘lucky’ you were a christian, which is an interesting bias. 

In any case, it’s a point you will need to prove more conclusively than by appealing to the authority of Dostoyevsky, who can hardly be considered an expert on the underlying mechanisms of human behaviour, for all his perceptiveness in relation to human nature. The man was prey to intense cultural bias.

But the more interesting discussion here is going to relate to what morality actually is - whether it is a subjective/relative expression of a general universal human behaviour. The theist position tends to imply that in the absence of god – which they identify as their own religion in the absence of a coherent definition of what a god is and how it operates – humans are more likely to start behaving like psychopaths. It’s obvious given our vast cities and integrated communities that we do not do this. 

 

Evangelion wrote:

 

Ultimately, however, in the absence of any teleology but the subjective I fail to see the grounds for any objective moral behaviour. 

 

 

As a fallabilist I would tend to argue that all we have as human beings are subjective interpretations of external stimuli that we rationally consider in our neural workspaces. But this should not be used to suggest I believe there is no meaning. I would argue that meaning itself is subjective and it does not lose value thereby. I would argue that we cannot know what ultimate meaning is. 

So, while we cannot confirm the existence of universal teleology, in its absence I would argue that there is intrinsic and extrinsic value in human feelings associated with certain behaviours and in our considered and instinctive reactions to certain behaviours exhibited by others and by ourselves.

I would argue human behaviours are driven by physiological processes in our bodies and brains that serve group survival. This is the direction in which the evidence points. The jesus mythology, in which one man dies to save the group and is worshipped, is hardly a new idea. Beowulf, Superman. Neo. Flash Gordon. The One. The list of such characters is endless. Humans have latent self sacrificial urges and consider them the ultimate expression of love. 

 

Evangelion wrote:

It is well-attested that many people derive a perverse pleasure from injuring others.  

 

I would be keen to know the exact statistics for psychopathic behaviour but it is an aberrant behaviour and not widely represented in the community. But I agree that there are people I consider strange in the world. Studies show that psychopaths are profoundly lacking in oxytocin.

 

Evangelion wrote:

On what grounds, other than sheer force of will, are their acts to be deprecated?  

 

Here you seem to be taking the position that good and god are identical things, that without the unproved and unprovable assertion that there exists universal good, humans have no motivation to behave in a manner that serves others. This position ignores the fact giving and helping others variously feels good, relieves stress hormones, builds mutually supportive relationships, serves the shared genome of one's in-group. 

Human behaviour is complicated. Humans do good I would argue, in part through instinct. There’s also fear of social ostracism and punishment built into all this. CPTED principles show crimes are always far less likely to be committed when a person has a sense they are being watched – whether that feeling is imparted by the built environment, the presence of surveillance cameras or the mental image of an all-seeing god.

Further, I would argue humans do good for local reasons. We can have no coherent understanding of universal good and no ability to behave in a way that expresses universal altruism beyond momentarily conceiving our own limited idea of it. We live in a competitive environment in which at the very cellular level our bodies are at war with their environment and their microbial payload.

At the same time at the cellular level we see symbiosis so profound Eukaryotes and multicellularity would be impossible without it. To my mind the most profound evolutionary development of all is intercellular communication. I can’t help thinking this symbiosis is mirrored in our teeming societies and in this conversation.

Human behaviour seems to me to be a balancing act between selfish interest and selfish group interest, twisted by the fact we have gone from family based rural communities to huge cities in the space of a couple of hundred years. 

 

Evangelion wrote:

On what grounds is their pleasure even to be called perverse, or they to be called "self-centered asshats," rather than simply differently constituted accidents of an absurd universe devoid of substance?

 

I’m not going to claim to know how to answer this one directly other than to say that to my subjective perception, and to that of other well adjusted humans, such people are not pleasant to be around. They are shunned. Personally, I think they are broken in some way. That a great good god, should he exist, would reach down and correct their physiologies or the brain structure formented by their troubled lives and heal them. I don’t think they are accidents of an absurd universe. I think that in certain conflicted environments people like them might actually serve a nasty but necessary purpose. This is conjecture, obviously. 

 

 

 

 

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


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Evangelion wrote:Manageri,At

Evangelion wrote:

Manageri,

At least if I am to understand my other interlocutors, we have reduced the source of moral judgments to individual human desire.  But human desire reduces to the consequence of evolutionary forces.  Thus the whole abyss of human passions, sweet compassion and righteous fury, tender love and hate, hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, are nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

It is a retarded story, but that doesn't mean our suffering isn't real and meaningful.

Quote:
I can see that people desire what they desire, that most people tend to desire the same things, that people will ally and make law to protect themselves and attempt to fulfill these desires, but I fail to see how any of this will convict Raskolnikov, in his private conscience, granting a hypothetical guarantee of impunity, that he should not act on his desires.  What should make him value his desires less than those of the common throng?  Why should I read this material on RR and be moved to act in any other way than I already do, even if you convince me of atheism?

This is just asking how to close the is-ought gap. You already know that can't be done. All we can do is start with an ethical axiom (such as welfare matters) and do logic from there.

Quote:
Since you asked:

[There exists within Christianity, and even to an extent within theistic philosophies such as Aristotelian or Platonic ethics, a robust mechanism for this devaluation of individual desires.  All desire is understood to aim at the attainment of the good, and the highest good is understood to be God.  Thus conversion, the turning away from one's own desires as absolute law and the pursuit of the love and service of God, is demanded by nature of every man, and is the highest and clearest expression of that yearning latent in all of his other desires.  Indeed, I do not think a well-read Catholic in the world would for a moment maintain that everyone is born with desires which are all in order.  Everyone must to some greater or lesser extent put his wants in order.

Thus the Psalmist writes, "The sinner will behold [the happiness of the just man who delights in the law of the Lord], he will gnash his teeth and wither away.  The desire of the wicked will perish."  Contrast this with the just man, "for he will not be moved for-ever" (Psalm 111[112]: 10, 6).

The man who orders his desires out of the love of God pursues the good, and his desires lead to life, to happiness.  The man whose desires are disordered pursues things which pass away, ignores those things which last, and the way of the wicked leads nowhere.]

All you're doing here is making an assertion that God is good for whatever reason. It really is no different at all from a secularist making the assertion that welfare is good (or indeed any other standard).

Thought experiment: Let's say god declares that all the stuff he commands you to do is good and you therefore have an ethical duty to follow those rules, BUT your "reward" for doing so is eternity in hell. Conversely, the people who act, as defined by god, unethically, will find themselves spending eternity in heaven. What possible reason would people have in that universe to act "ethically"?

This is why it's meaningless to pose anything else than welfare as the basis for ethics.


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Evangelion wrote:What is

Evangelion wrote:

What is well-being?

For life-forms that lack something functionally similar to a brain or central nervous system, it is a physical state of optimum functionality. For life-forms not lacking these things, it is a desirable mental and emotional state. However, I just thought up these definitions in about 5 minutes, so they may not be very good. I'm sure you could find a better and more thorough answer online with some searching.

 

Evangelion wrote:

Sartre asked the same unanswerable question in a different way: Why should I not commit suicide?

If you want to and if it won't upset anyone else, go right ahead.  However, since evidence of an afterlife is quite slim at best, I wouldn't recommend it.

 


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"Vastet', I am looking for

"Vastet',

I am looking for an answer to my question."

Sorry, I'm a lazy fucker sometimes, especially when heading to bed, and don't want to reread the topic to find the question I missed. If you'd be so kind as to repeat it, so its in my face when I get up, I'd appreciate it.

If not, I'll look then.

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On the road

I got to the last thread, and I tried to make reply to this, but I have to leave on business and will be out probably until Sunday afternoon.

Not fleeing, just driving.

See you all soon!  Thanks for the discussion so far!

Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.


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2: Fair enough on your part,

2: Fair enough on your part, although I wonder just what the Rational Response Squad is for.  Squads aren't generally conceived of as group hugs.

This isn't necessarily a question, so I skipped over it, but it can be, so I'll address it now.

This site is many things for many people. Primarily it is a social group for and by atheists which promotes discussion on theism. But it is also a political platform for various positions. It is also an emotional buffer for people who feel oppressed by their religious surroundings, or are just having a bad day. It's a place where you can make friends, and enemies, all over the world. It's a place to discuss media and social trends. It's a place where science news and breakthroughs are often celebrated. And for some it's an organising centre for activist activities.

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Apparently 1: was lost. If

Apparently 1: was lost.

If the question in Latin is the one you refer to, then you'll need to elaborate. If not either of these, then I don't know what you're asking.

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Evangelion wrote:a) that

Evangelion wrote:

a) that these desires are disordered, since human desires are not "ordered" towards anything, but merely have survived because they could survive,

or b) that, given those desires, the one so desirous should not act upon them, since just as my happiness is supposed to depend on my fulfilling my desires, so too their happiness likewise seems to depend on their fulfilling their desires, there being no end beyond the fulfillment of desire, e.g. "your morals come from YOU," towards which their actions should be ordered.

Hello Evangelion, it looks as though you're having fun.  And while philosophy is fun Smiling here's my two cents on the evolution of morality.

Human desires are indeed "ordered" towards something.  They didn't just survive because they could, they survived because they were able to.  In other words, they had enough merit to offer a concrete benefit to survival.  So, in my proposition, evolution promotes individuals that have the traits advantageous to survival.  In humans, having a "good nature", or the ability to understand "goodness" helps your survival.  In other words, homicidal psychopaths are thrown out of a small tribe, and get to pass their genes along less frequently.  Over thousands of years, they get weeded out, unfortunately, not completely. 

Not all, but enough that the majority of civilization has an "instinctive" sense of "goodness".  Or, if you like, they have an instinctive benefit to survival, in this case, compassion.

Your b) you seem to confuse the phrase "fulfilling my desires", with the phrase "fulfilling my evil and harmful towards others desires", which I hope is not a Freudian slip.  Could it be that your "desires" are instinctively compassionate and good in nature?

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc