Regarding evidence

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Regarding evidence

How do we know quarks exist? There is no direct observations of quarks. But there is indirect evidence that is expected to be there based on theoris of physics. Becuase these theories are remarkably consistent, we safely conclude that quarks are real.

 

Does evil exist? Is there any evidence that evil is real? I can give a definition of evil - pleasure derived from intentional harm to an innocent. And I don't have to look too hard to find examples of this. And yet there is great argument over whether or not evil is objectively real. Which seems odd. Not only can I give a defintion of evil, and find examples of evil, I can also give examples of the effects of evil (PTSD in a sexually abused child). So why is a quark considered objectively real, but evill is still argued over?


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Wave, you should be able to

Wave, you should be able to figure this one out. A quark is a subatomic particle with definite physical properties.

Evil is the interpretation of acts committed by individuals with incredibly complex sets of desires and motivations.

You're comparing apples and pocket lint.

[edit: definite properties as far as quantum mechanics go, anyway...  You get the idea, though.]

 

 

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Obviously, 'evil' as you

Obviously, 'evil' as you defined it, is a description of something which occurs. That definition is not referring to a physical object, but a particular class of human actions, so that it cannot be said to 'exist' in the same sense as a quark. IOW, not a good analogy.

When people refer to the existence of Evil in a general sense, they tend to be referring to it existing in some Platonic idealist sense, as something which somehow exists independent of human minds. This is a debatable, mainly philosophical, point, IOW just a matter of different ways of thinking about abstract ideas, rather than a demonstrable 'fact' about the Universe.

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Quarks are predicted by the

Quarks are predicted by the standard model.  There existance is shown moslty by high energy scattering of electrons and protons.


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  Subatomic particles can

 

Subatomic particles can be demonstrated objectively. Even if the model of how they work is revised, it will happen objectively; it doesn't require emotion or a subject to exist.

Evil requires a perspective to be experienced, and exists only as an experience, for it's the egregious diminution of whatever properties hold value: i.e. the deprivation of life. But the deprivation of life for one could mean the continuation of life for another. We admit this brutal dance out at the dinner table, unless we're fruitarians who succeed in killing nothing for our nourishment. We kill certain animals to live, and for our culinary pleasure, committing the most heinous act that can be committed against a living thing: from the animal's perspective, it could be an evil act.

Subjectivity in morality is often caricatured for derision, as though it opens the floodgates for decadence -- but the subjectivity, the perspective, is all that gives value and substance to our experiences: it is our experience in total. The variations on moral views in a healthy society are marginal, but the power of the experience to the individual is what drives him or her to act at all. If a person, can, for instance, feel empathy, that is sufficient to prevent them harming another person under normal circumstances. There are transitional points in societies where it takes an act of will to demonstrate, for instance, that another race or subculture is deserving of such consideration; but once established, it's assumed. We don't have to wake up each day and make the choice whether to be bigots (bigots as we understand them, anyway).

We have core values, like the value of the lives of ourselves and our own; and the different ways in which we interpret those values, and their execution, can vary enough that different cultures can see each other as evil. I think Christianity and Islam are evil, for instance, because they reject the assumption that life has intrinsic value; displacing worth from the whole of our experience, devaluing the only thing we certainly have and glorifying its forfeiture, to a saccharine caricature of life that is promised, but not demonstrated -- an afterlife.

So evil, I think, is just a description of whatever is severely harmful to whatever we value.

 


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This all strikes me as a

This all strikes me as a dance around the obvious.

So what should the rape of a 5 year old be called? Why do we need volumes of behavioeal science to classify it? Behaviors don't exist? Then the entire body of law is useless as it prosecutes a mirage.

Does evolution exist? There is no "object" like a quark. Is evolution real? Evolution is a process. Why can a process be real but not a behavior?


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wavefreak wrote: This all

wavefreak wrote:

This all strikes me as a dance around the obvious.

So what should the rape of a 5 year old be called? Why do we need volumes of behavioeal science to classify it? Behaviors don't exist? Then the entire body of law is useless as it prosecutes a mirage.

Does evolution exist? There is no "object" like a quark. Is evolution real? Evolution is a process. Why can a process be real but not a behavior?

There are many ways to identify with the child, or with her parents, and ways to see the harm done to her and to society in general, by such an act; which isn't to say conscious thought is necessary to react, as our outrage and disgust would occur transparently. Lacking empathy, a sociopath might say, "What's the big deal?" It's also conceivable a society could exist where that act is a rite of passage, or is otherwise considered acceptable. My potent indoctrination into this society reels at the prospect, but again: core values can be contorted (looking at religion, again), and it takes work to disentangle them.


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Also, the specific process

Also, the specific process of evolution has definite properties demonstrated with every single generation of an animal. Evil is, again, a qualitative label for whatever contradicts our values. If our values place a value on life, destruction of life could be considered evil. And again, I say "could be" over a broad view of social evolution and cross cultural values, not as a decision individuals frequently make -- most of us are quite set in our ways.


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magilum wrote: wavefreak

magilum wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

This all strikes me as a dance around the obvious.

So what should the rape of a 5 year old be called? Why do we need volumes of behavioeal science to classify it? Behaviors don't exist? Then the entire body of law is useless as it prosecutes a mirage.

Does evolution exist? There is no "object" like a quark. Is evolution real? Evolution is a process. Why can a process be real but not a behavior?

There are many ways to identify with the child, or with her parents, and ways to see the harm done to her and to society in general, by such an act; which isn't to say conscious thought is necessary to react, as our outrage and disgust would occur transparently. Lacking empathy, a sociopath might say, "What's the big deal?" It's also conceivable a society could exist where that act is a rite of passage, or is otherwise considered acceptable. My potent indoctrination into this society reels at the prospect, but again: core values can be contorted (looking at religion, again), and it takes work to disentangle them.

 

Blah, blah, blah.

 

What would YOU call the rape of a 5 year old child? 


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wavefreak wrote:   Blah,

wavefreak wrote:

 

Blah, blah, blah.

 

What would YOU call the rape of a 5 year old child?

 

I would call it a horrible act. 


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wavefreak wrote: magilum

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

This all strikes me as a dance around the obvious.

So what should the rape of a 5 year old be called? Why do we need volumes of behavioeal science to classify it? Behaviors don't exist? Then the entire body of law is useless as it prosecutes a mirage.

Does evolution exist? There is no "object" like a quark. Is evolution real? Evolution is a process. Why can a process be real but not a behavior?

There are many ways to identify with the child, or with her parents, and ways to see the harm done to her and to society in general, by such an act; which isn't to say conscious thought is necessary to react, as our outrage and disgust would occur transparently. Lacking empathy, a sociopath might say, "What's the big deal?" It's also conceivable a society could exist where that act is a rite of passage, or is otherwise considered acceptable. My potent indoctrination into this society reels at the prospect, but again: core values can be contorted (looking at religion, again), and it takes work to disentangle them.

Blah, blah, blah.

What would YOU call the rape of a 5 year old child?

Your example is meant to overcome the category mistake you're making?

Rape is terrible, heinous, unforgivable, contrary to all I value -- evil, in accordance to all the qualifiers I've offered. Satisfied?

But whence evil? The evil tree, with evil fruit, dripping evil juice? Finding confirmation of values within the same culture doesn't help the evil-as-substance hypothesis. 


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Isn't this the old tree

Isn't this the old tree falling in the forest question again?   As Bob said, doesn't the answer depend on whether you define the phenomenon as a either (1) a type of human perception or (2) a natural phenomenon apart from human perception?

Yesterday I was just reading a really interesting article by Joshua Greene on the idea that morality is a phenomenon of perception, rather than a reality that exists apart from human consciousness.  Like color perception, moral sense is a set of raw experiences (i.e. brain states) that every normal person has in common, but that you learn to identify and classify only through experience and interaction with others.

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magilum wrote: wavefreak

magilum wrote:
wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

This all strikes me as a dance around the obvious.

So what should the rape of a 5 year old be called? Why do we need volumes of behavioeal science to classify it? Behaviors don't exist? Then the entire body of law is useless as it prosecutes a mirage.

Does evolution exist? There is no "object" like a quark. Is evolution real? Evolution is a process. Why can a process be real but not a behavior?

There are many ways to identify with the child, or with her parents, and ways to see the harm done to her and to society in general, by such an act; which isn't to say conscious thought is necessary to react, as our outrage and disgust would occur transparently. Lacking empathy, a sociopath might say, "What's the big deal?" It's also conceivable a society could exist where that act is a rite of passage, or is otherwise considered acceptable. My potent indoctrination into this society reels at the prospect, but again: core values can be contorted (looking at religion, again), and it takes work to disentangle them.

Blah, blah, blah.

What would YOU call the rape of a 5 year old child?

Your example is meant to overcome the category mistake you're making?

Rape is terrible, heinous, unforgivable, contrary to all I value -- evil, in accordance to all the qualifiers I've offered. Satisfied?

But whence evil? The evil tree, with evil fruit, dripping evil juice? Finding confirmation of values within the same culture doesn't help the evil-as-substance hypothesis.

 

You'll have to forgive for being a bit of a prick, especially since you are habitually reasonable and articulate. But I'm trying tear away all the verbiage and cut to the heart of the matter. I think this is a key thing in my theism. I consider such a thing an act of evil. It is sufficient evidence for me. In my mind it is evil across all cultures and time. It is like a rock is a rock. No matter when or where or what language, it's still a rock.

Am I being simple? Or am I just calling a spade a spade?  

 


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nope, your being simple, a

nope, your being simple, a spade today is not a spade in the past, children being raped in the past horrible? I doubt it, if the child was from a different tribe, society or class, so what, if the child belonged to a different religion who cares, it happened throughout history, but now that the world is much smaller, and we as humans have intergrated much more, it is different, a rape is a horrible act not matter to who it happens to, if they are innocent it is a horrible act, however in the past, it wasn't the case, your case wavefreak would have to not change throughout history, evolution doesn't depends on perspective, nor does a quark, evil however does depend on a perspective.

    Would you say lowering a live cat into a fire pit slowly so that it suffers as morally wrong? This was done as entertainment in the 14 through 17th century in theaters. How about killing babies? well that's an evil act, well it depends in what era, or location in the world your talking about, and who's baby, or what society, race or religion the child belongs to (rwanda it occurred and was back by the catholic and evengalical churches in rwanda) so, what is evil? I can tell you evolution occurs and does not depend on a perspective, quarks can be shown to exist, that does not require a pespective, evil....that requires a perspective to define. 


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Quote: I consider such a

Quote:

I consider such a thing an act of evil. It is sufficient evidence for me. In my mind it is evil across all cultures and time. It is like a rock is a rock. No matter when or where or what language, it's still a rock.

This does not rectify your category mistake, since all it would establish at absolute best is that certain moral concepts and ideas are ingrained innate, largely universal and transcultural. But your ontological assertion is problematic, ie that evil should be an observable, testable entity via indirect observation the way quarks are discovered. As I said before, such an assertion, while it may be true, does not fix the category mistake of such an assertion.

Comte argued that a scientific methodology was transcultural, that it would work universally in all frames of reference. Such an argument would not demonstrate that "science" is actually a substance in the void to be universally recognized and observed, rather it would only establish that the propensity towards the method is innate in human curiosity. Your argument is a non sequitur. It would be no more valid than if Comte had concluded that science was actually a substance in the ether that surrounded us.  

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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latincanuck wrote: I can

latincanuck wrote:

I can tell you evolution occurs and does not depend on a perspective, quarks can be shown to exist, that does not require a pespective, evil....that requires a perspective to define.

Apparantly there are elements of quantum mechanics that are dependant on the observer. How is this not a perspective? 


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change the topic, i said

change the topic, i said evolution and quarks can be shown, i am not talking about quantum mechanics, second, evil is a matter of perspective, the mere definition of what is evil changes from each society, religion and as well as era, what is evil, what you define as evil is not the same as evil the past.  Rape a 5 year old child you say is evil, i say it depends, evil now yes, evil in the past, doubtful, it changes from era to era, from society to society and from religious views to other religious views. Evil is solely dependent on perspective. Everything in the bible about killing others, about killing babies about slaughtering whole races is evil, now, but not then, and even then some don't view those acts as evil. So many acts that can be considered evil yet it all depends on the person committing the act, the society in which it occurs and the era in which it happens.


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deludedgod wrote: Comte

deludedgod wrote:

Comte argued that a scientific methodology was transcultural, that it would work universally in all frames of reference. Such an argument would not demonstrate that "science" is actually a substance in the void to be universally recognized and observed, rather it would only establish that the propensity towards the method is innate in human curiosity. Your argument is a non sequitur. It would be no more valid than if Comte had concluded that science was actually a substance in the ether that surrounded us.

 

But science exists. When I talk about scientific methodology, you know what I mean. Does it only exist because it has been defined as such? Scientific methodolgy as defined allows observable, predictable, repeatable results. There is no "substance" of which can be said "this is science", but you can't possibly believe that science is not real. 

 

I don't follow your comment on a category mistake. What property am I assigning to "evil" that should not be so assigned?


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Quote: I don't follow your

Quote:

I don't follow your comment on a category mistake. What property am I assigning to "evil" that should not be so assigned?

Reification.  

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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latincanuck wrote: change

latincanuck wrote:
change the topic, i said evolution and quarks can be shown, i am not talking about quantum mechanics, second, evil is a matter of perspective, the mere definition of what is evil changes from each society, religion and as well as era, what is evil, what you define as evil is not the same as evil the past. Rape a 5 year old child you say is evil, i say it depends, evil now yes, evil in the past, doubtful, it changes from era to era, from society to society and from religious views to other religious views. Evil is solely dependent on perspective. Everything in the bible about killing others, about killing babies about slaughtering whole races is evil, now, but not then, and even then some don't view those acts as evil. So many acts that can be considered evil yet it all depends on the person committing the act, the society in which it occurs and the era in which it happens.

 

I would disagree. The rape of a child has measurable psycological  affects. Are you saying those affects aredifferent in different cultures? You keep talking about how a culture perceives the act. What about how the victim is changed by the act?  The physical and psychological damage counts for nothing? This damage is attenuted by culture?


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deludedgod

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

I don't follow your comment on a category mistake. What property am I assigning to "evil" that should not be so assigned?

Reification.

 

And so science isn't real. Is change real? 


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Quote: And so science

Quote:

And so science isn't real. Is change real?

Now you are making a fallacy of equivocation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_%28fallacy%29 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

And so science isn't real. Is change real?

Now you are making a fallacy of equivocation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_%28fallacy%29

 

No. 

I never categorized evil as something with actual substance . You stated I committed a category mistake (reification). The implication then is that something that is real must have substance, else a category mistake is made. Science has no substance, therefore it is not real. 


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wavefreak

wavefreak wrote:
deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

And so science isn't real. Is change real?

Now you are making a fallacy of equivocation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_%28fallacy%29

 

No. 

I never categorized evil as something with actual substance . You stated I committed a category mistake (reification). The implication then is that something that is real must have substance, else a category mistake is made. Science has no substance, therefore it is not real. 

Your quark comparison fell into that fallacy, but let's move on. I gather that you're saying because there's a way to discern between valid science and otherwise (i.e. a controlled test can support something, whereas an uncontrolled one cannot -- for the sake of argument), might there be a consistent way to do the same with morality? Unfortunately, I don't think so, because science aims to remove the subject, and evil is a subjective (the subject being an individual and expression of society both) qualitative observation. I've outlined why I think this is so, previously. Eventually, we may be able to discern more clearly what harm we do without knowing it now -- what kinds of communication are passive-aggressive or manipulative, how we make people miserable through our political and economic choices, etc., but there's the looming possibility that eliminating evil is just fulfilling whatever parameters we create (not from scratch, but developed like language).

For example, if a person was kicking a dog to death in the street, I'd want to stop them; but I could have just walked over from a hamburger stand to do so. Is there a specific thing, other than proximity, that gives one animal a right to live in my eyes, and another not? The level of suffering may be comparable to both subjects, yet I treat them differently.


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yet here you go again, it's

yet here you go again, it's a matter of perspective, to the child the act is evil, the perpetrator, it isn't, and the society in which the perpretator lives in may or may not view this act as evil. Again it's a matter of perspective, the child sure views it as bad, but what you define as evil, well again what is evil. That act could be just a bad act, not necessarily evil. all a matter of definition and perspective, evolution and quarks are not dependent of this pespective.


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Even if, as may very well

Even if, as may very well be so, everyone today would regard the rape of a 5-year-old child as abhorrent, and would most likely agree that such an act deserved the label 'evil', that just establishes that we share some basic reactions to suffering of other individuals. We are gaining real insights into the neural under-pinnings of such feelings, thru 'mirror-neurones', for instance. 

I see no real point in going beyond this account of 'Evil', into a metaphysical, philosophical, or (puke)theological discussion. IMHO, such a discussion would only serve to confuse the issue.

'Evil', as a noun, still refers to a very different sort of 'thing' to 'quark'.

'Evil' refers to a class of action, based on subjective judgement, which may well have significant agreement between a majority of individuals, especially within any one culture;

'Quark' refers to a theorised component of a class of sub-atomic particles, for which we have physical evidence;

'Science' refers to a particular approach to obtaining reliable and supportable insights into the nature of reality, designed to overcome the limitations and quirks of individual researchers and their  pre-conceptions, as well as broader common errors of informal reasoning. It can also refer to the collective institutions which support scientific endeavours, and the accumulated body of established theories and observations.

These words all have 'real' referents, but they refer to very different categories of 'thing'.

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I hope this comment isn't

I hope this comment isn't too much of a tangent, but it seems relevant. It's probably not hugely insightful, but it's a card I wanted on the table while I was reading through this thread.

 

 We may want to avoid confusing "good vs bad" with "good vs evil".

 

For example, it's possible to own a good car or a bad car. But if you don't own a good car, you wouldn't say that you owned an evil car. (Well, you might, but you'd probably be joking). Even if your "bad" car had negative effects on you psychologically or even physically (in the case of an accident perhaps) it would still be just a "bad" car, not an "evil" car.

Many GvB situations like that are questions of practicality, cost versus benefit, and so on. Nothing spiritual needed. 

When a 5-year-old is raped, there are all kinds of damaging things happening to the 5-year-old. Since being raped is a "bad" experience in so many ways (in the GvB way, not in the GvE way) compared to NOT being raped (bodily harm, betrayal of trust if the child knows the person, etc), it's easy to see why the child would not think very highly of it.

Your example preys on the empathy you know that the majority of us (save for the sociopaths) share for children. We don't like to see children being hurt, but that's very arguably a biological point. And to some extent, you're probably being speciesist. Most species care about their children, but in many the males could really give a shit, and in many the animals only care about their OWN children and not those of others.

 Question: Do you have the same feelings of empathy toward horses, pigs, and sheep that are raped by farmers with bestiality fetishes? You might want to say these acts are "evil" because they disgust you, but the truth is that they simply disgust you. End of story. And we'd probably agree that it's not fair to the animals (assuming they disagree with it), but it's not the same as the child rape.

So, yes, the child rape is bad in many ways. It's disagreeable. I would not prefer it to the child NOT being raped. It's definitely harmful to the child. All of those statements are true, but they are true all by themselves. You don't need to bring any new words like "evil" into it.

Ask all the different religious cultures throughout history what is considered "evil", and the summary of the responses will probably go like this: "Whatever we don't like."

In short, GvB =/= GvE 

 

 Of course, there is an obvious difference between the car analogy and the rape analogy in that the "bad" in the rape analogy is the result of a premeditated human action. But if you're going to start describing evil in terms of human intentions, that's just opening another can of worms, which I think Todangst may have already written some articles about. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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All of your responses are

All of your responses are interesting and give me lots to think about.

I chose the rape of a child not for the emotional impact but for the clarity. There are many other abhorrent acts that have more amibiguity in them.

What I am hearing is that "real" things must be void of subjectivity or variable according to point of view. But pure objectivity is illusion. Already it has been shown witihin quantum mechnics you cannot separate the observer and the observed. How can we insist on removal of subjectivity from defining what is real when the fundemental building blocks of reality refuse the influence of the observer. It seems to me that subjectivity is imbedded in reality, not in human thought.

 


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wavefreak wrote: All of

wavefreak wrote:

All of your responses are interesting and give me lots to think about.

I chose the rape of a child not for the emotional impact but for the clarity. There are many other abhorrent acts that have more amibiguity in them.

What I am hearing is that "real" things must be void of subjectivity or variable according to point of view. But pure objectivity is illusion. Already it has been shown witihin quantum mechnics you cannot separate the observer and the observed. How can we insist on removal of subjectivity from defining what is real when the fundemental building blocks of reality refuse the influence of the observer. It seems to me that subjectivity is imbedded in reality, not in human thought.

I think this is a composition fallacy, dude. What happens at a subatomic level doesn't bear on moral standards any more than I can pour myself from pitcher for being 90% water.


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magilum wrote: I think

magilum wrote:

I think this is a composition fallacy, dude. What happens at a subatomic level doesn't bear on moral standards any more than I can pour myself from pitcher for being 90% water.

I think that this is as of yet one of the open questions of science. How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background? The many worlds theory suggests that it doesn't, essentially stating that all possible futures exist and the one experienced by the observer is the collapse of a wave function into a specific one. Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted. 


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Quote: How does the

Quote:

How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background?

Simply put, probability functions degrade the larger a physical body becomes. Without the mathematics, simply put, the bigger something is, the less it behaves in a quantum fashion, because the probabilities of it doing so are impossible. This is true of all effects that are local to sub-atomic particles (sum over histories, wavefunctions, wavicle duality, entanglement, tunnelling) this is why classical laws hold perfectly from the atom upward.  

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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wavefreak wrote: magilum

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:

I think this is a composition fallacy, dude. What happens at a subatomic level doesn't bear on moral standards any more than I can pour myself from pitcher for being 90% water.

I think that this is as of yet one of the open questions of science. How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background? The many worlds theory suggests that it doesn't, essentially stating that all possible futures exist and the one experienced by the observer is the collapse of a wave function into a specific one. Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted. 

I'm not versed in physics, but I'll try to follow along in the abstract. I actually have asked the question of causal determinism and its implications for free will before, and I think you bring up two questions related to this: from what 'scale' (I dunno what term to use) consciousness is an emergent property of, and whether said consciousness can deliberately affect its constituent elements. I've never heard the claim that consciousness occurs at a subatomic level; though my question of determinism was if said particles would follow their natures, follow the path of least resistance, and do whatever they do without our being individually aware of them, does our conscious experience go from being an agency to an observer? I don't like determinism, to be honest, even though I don't consider it a prescriptive viewpoint, but it seems plausible for now.

Do you have data?

EDIT: here's the thread I reference. I recommend the PDF Vessel posted for some interesting stuff.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/11431


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I'm with Wavefreak here (at

I'm with Wavefreak here (at least what I think he's saying) in that I think those who are confidently asserting a categorical difference between "concepts" and "objects" are on shaky ground. Once you start poking at the boundaries of these categories, they start to come apart.

I mean, isn't this the whole line of questioning that Husserl/Heidigger worked with that underpins a lot of Modernism? On some level, everything is a concept since, in order to verify the existence of an object, you need to observe it.  At which point it becomes a concept.

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Textom wrote:  Once you

Textom wrote:

 Once you start poking at the boundaries of these categories, they start to come apart.

Yeah. That's it. I'm definately poking at the boundary. It is a very interesting "space".


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magilum wrote: Do you have

magilum wrote:

Do you have data?

 LOL. I wish. I'm still not sure exactly what question I'm asking. At best I am probing the ideas that surround all this stuff and I doubt that I have had any original thoughts on the matter. Every time I start one of these conversations I learn something. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to be any more than a member of the peanut gallery while the real work on these questions is being done by others.


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...and to follow up on

...and to follow up on that, these boundaries call attention to the fact that the categories (objects vs. concepts) are themselves conceptual, and not necessarily inherent features of the material universe. 

There's no particular reason why human categories should map directly and consistently onto objective reality.  Examples from quantum physics, probabilities or apparent paradoxes like Shrodinger's Cat are places where the categories break.

You can't call "category error" where there aren't consistent categories. 

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Evil is quite simply what

Evil is quite simply what the majority of people say it is.

Despite the fact most people these days think genocide, slavery  , burning people alive for believing in the wrong fairy at evil at times in the past this has been a good act.

What is evil even today is highly contreversial. I consider murdering defenceless prisoners to be evil,  i consider abortion nothing more than removing a tooth.   

 

 


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Well I wouldn't go to far

Well I wouldn't go to far in the other direction either, mrjonno, and say that "evil" is a concept that is 100% socially determined.

The best evidence right now suggests that some moral senses are "hardwired" into human neurology, and that all normal humans (and some non-human primates) share the same unpleasant feelings in response to the same moral questions and situations.  It's what evolutionary theory would predict, since morality is on some level a survival mechanism, that the brain's reward/punishment system is a more reliable way to get the behavior you need than depending on culture to work the right way.

The exceptions, places where humans train themselves away from the hardwired norms, don't disprove the rule in this case, because the rules are backed up by things like brain scans and primate studies. 

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Textom wrote: I'm with

Textom wrote:

I'm with Wavefreak here (at least what I think he's saying) in that I think those who are confidently asserting a categorical difference between "concepts" and "objects" are on shaky ground. Once you start poking at the boundaries of these categories, they start to come apart....

 ...on some level, everything is a concept since, in order to verify the existence of an object, you need to observe it. At which point it becomes a concept.

 

But wouldn't it also be dangerous to move from there to "it's all just a bunch of concepts, so whatever difference between the concept of a quark and the concept of evil has thus been leveled out"?

 

I can have the concept of a unicorn, and yet the concept of a unicorn is not on the same level as the concept of the chair I'm sitting on. I can rearrange the concepts on my "desktop" to create novel ones (like unicorns), but those novel concepts are just inventions. On some level they are true, but they are false in their arrangement. That's how basic fiction works. For example, you couldn't invent a fictional animal in your mind without basing it on concepts of other things you already have (or other fictional creatures that are probably based on other concepts, etc).

It seems to me that the concept of evil works like the unicorn concept. Just like tacking a horn onto the head of a horse to invent a unicorn, some undefined, supernatural element is tacked onto common badness or deviance to invent "evil".

 

Concession: I don't claim to be a well-versed in philisopical reading, so this post is more exploratory than a claim that I'm right.

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wavefreak wrote: How does

wavefreak wrote:

How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background?

 

relative distance.

 

 

Quote:

The many worlds theory suggests that it doesn't, essentially stating that all possible futures exist and the one experienced by the observer is the collapse of a wave function into a specific one.

 

Actually all many worlds can say is that it does disappear into the background, and to this end it has some form of existence.

Quote:
 

Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.

That is a fair point, but in terms of your original question it takes us back to the start, perception and consciousness.

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wavefreak wrote: How do we

wavefreak wrote:

How do we know quarks exist? There is no direct observations of quarks. But there is indirect evidence that is expected to be there based on theoris of physics. Becuase these theories are remarkably consistent, we safely conclude that quarks are real.

Not exactly... quarks exist insofar as our conventions of subatomic physics and the efficacy of their models of the data show.  They are useful conventionalized entities that we assume to be physically real... but not 'real' in any ontological sense.

Quote:
Does evil exist? Is there any evidence that evil is real? I can give a definition of evil - pleasure derived from intentional harm to an innocent. And I don't have to look too hard to find examples of this. And yet there is great argument over whether or not evil is objectively real. Which seems odd. Not only can I give a defintion of evil, and find examples of evil, I can also give examples of the effects of evil (PTSD in a sexually abused child). So why is a quark considered objectively real, but evill is still argued over?

Evil is also conventionalized... but there are more than one convention out there that frames/models/defines it.

  

 


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wavefreak wrote:   You'll

wavefreak wrote:
 

You'll have to forgive for being a bit of a prick, especially since you are habitually reasonable and articulate. But I'm trying tear away all the verbiage and cut to the heart of the matter. I think this is a key thing in my theism. I consider such a thing an act of evil. It is sufficient evidence for me. In my mind it is evil across all cultures and time. It is like a rock is a rock. No matter when or where or what language, it's still a rock.

Am I being simple? Or am I just calling a spade a spade? 

 Ok sense you are TELLING us to forgive you ....... Maybe i will maybe i wont..  Don't mine me if i do not ask for or want your forgiveness. 

Cutting to the heart of the matter.... Rape is RAPE... See.. Like a light bulb is a light bulb.. And a car accident is a car accident. It IS WHAT IT IS .. Nothing more nothing less. Pretty simple concept if you ask me.. 

And yes a spade is a spade ...... That is pretty simple to understand also.. But if we were to use your logic a spade isn't a spade it is something else entirely.. .Maybe it is a fork ? 


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dave805 wrote:

dave805 wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

You'll have to forgive for being a bit of a prick, especially since you are habitually reasonable and articulate. But I'm trying tear away all the verbiage and cut to the heart of the matter. I think this is a key thing in my theism. I consider such a thing an act of evil. It is sufficient evidence for me. In my mind it is evil across all cultures and time. It is like a rock is a rock. No matter when or where or what language, it's still a rock.

Am I being simple? Or am I just calling a spade a spade?

Ok sense you are TELLING us to forgive you ....... Maybe i will maybe i wont.. Don't mine me if i do not ask for or want your forgiveness.

Cutting to the heart of the matter.... Rape is RAPE... See.. Like a light bulb is a light bulb.. And a car accident is a car accident. It IS WHAT IT IS .. Nothing more nothing less. Pretty simple concept if you ask me..

And yes a spade is a spade ...... That is pretty simple to understand also.. But if we were to use your logic a spade isn't a spade it is something else entirely.. .Maybe it is a fork ?

Forgive me, I was an art major in college and never took any philosohpy classes so it is somewhat foreign territory to me.

At any rate philosophy itself seems to be a sort of play toy....fine for purposes of amusement but having no actual utility. I had a rather useless discussion about the nature of reality with fellow forum member BMcD who appeared to be a "desciple" of Descartes.

The premises that were shared with me about reality were the constant questioning of perception, ...self-perception, perception of the world around us, etc Everything she maintained was possibly a delusion and therefore no solid assertions about reality should be considered valid. We went 'round and 'round until finally I grew weary of the whole exercise.

My view of reality is quite pragmatic and more along the lines of Philip K. Dick..."Reality is that which when you stop believing in it doesn't go away."

Philosphy in general seems never to deal with obvious attributes but prefers to veer off onto to some undefinable tangent...and stay there forever.

I concede that the concept of "evil" is much harder to define than is "reality". Nevertheless the over-all concept of evil is easily understood and the fact that it may contain aspects that are variable doesn't change it's fundamental meaning.

If I gave an example of evil behaviour, ...such as skinning a live human being... why would anyone be compelled to question the harmful and malicious nature of that act ? If anyone were to literally question whether human vivisection was not evil then at the very least I would consider them to be a sociopath and incapable of moral judgment.

 

 

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wavefreak wrote:The rape

wavefreak wrote:
The rape of a child has measurable psycological affects. Are you saying those affects aredifferent in different cultures? You keep talking about how a culture perceives the act. What about how the victim is changed by the act? The physical and psychological damage counts for nothing? This damage is attenuted by culture.

I chose the rape of a child not for the emotional impact but for the clarity.

I think there is an important misconception here. The reason why the rape of a child seems (emphasise on seems) to be a clear case of evil, is simply that we don't know of a cultur, where rape is defined as something good. Well, there are undeniably cultures, where children are taught that it is good, to kill people for being different. Just think of radical muslims and their hate speeches against jews. So, if we think of radical jews who do basically the same thing just vice versa, the act of killing itself could not be defined as something evil by their standards. So, if there would be a culture, where children from the very first days are taught that being raped is good, this particular and "obviously" clear case, would indeed become a blurry one.

 

wavefreak wrote:
What I am hearing is that "real" things must be void of subjectivity or variable according to point of view. But pure objectivity is illusion. Already it has been shown witihin quantum mechnics you cannot separate the observer and the observed.
I want to go into some depth, about the last sentence. What is normally shown to students who attend a quantum mechanics course, is the following:

There is one basic question at the beginning. It is whether a quantum is a particle or a wave.

So experiment A is executed. This experiment is designed to show that a quantum behaves like a particle. The result of the experiment shows that a quantum has particle-characteristics.

At the same time experiment B is executed. This experiment is designed to show that a quantum behaves like a wave. The result of the experiment shows, that a quantum has wave-characteristics.

So in the end, the answer to the question depends on the observer (depending which experiment he does).

 

However, I want to point out, a major difference between the quantum experiment and the question about the existence of evil.


To say it with wavefreaks words, the result when a child is raped is a measurable damage to the child. But what if the child defines the very same process as something good or desirable? The result of the measurement would now be a completly different one. And that's the fundamental difference to the quantum mechanics. Even if I define a quantum as a wave, experiment A will still show the same result, as if I had defined it otherwise.

 

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:

I think this is a composition fallacy, dude. What happens at a subatomic level doesn't bear on moral standards any more than I can pour myself from pitcher for being 90% water.

I think that this is as of yet one of the open questions of science. How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background? The many worlds theory suggests that it doesn't, essentially stating that all possible futures exist and the one experienced by the observer is the collapse of a wave function into a specific one.

First, I want to quote Professor Harald Lesch (Professor for astro physics at the University Munich), who was asked if it is possible, that many worlds exist.

"With this question, I have to hold in, so I don't laugh out loudly. I mean, the question is great and warrantable. [...] But it is [nonesense]."

Second I want to correct a tiny error. The many worlds theory states, that a set of wave functions is collapsing into a specific one that is experienced by the observer. Professor Harald Lesch also gave an example. An electron is shot onto a screen. The many world theory states, that at the beginning the electron had many wave functions and when it hits the screen, all those wave functions collapse into a specific one, because there is one specific result on the screen. So, where did those other wave functions go? The many world theory says, that when the wave functions collaps, another world is created, where a different result occured. Professor Lesch pointed out the fallacy. The fact that in physics, the electron had a set of wave functions, is purely abstract. This is just an abstract description of the electron, we don't know if the electron actually had all those wave functions and we actually can't even find out. So the only real thing happening is an electron hitting a screen. Everything else is abstract. The same with schoedingers cat. The end of the experiment, yields either a dead cat or a living cat. The result is always a specific one. A winner of a lottery wins the jackpot, he doesn't win the jackpot multiplyed with the probability for winning it.

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.


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Kazuya wrote:

Kazuya wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
The rape of a child has measurable psycological affects. Are you saying those affects aredifferent in different cultures? You keep talking about how a culture perceives the act. What about how the victim is changed by the act? The physical and psychological damage counts for nothing? This damage is attenuted by culture.

I chose the rape of a child not for the emotional impact but for the clarity.

I think there is an important misconception here. The reason why the rape of a child seems (emphasise on seems) to be a clear case of evil, is simply that we don't know of a cultur, where rape is defined as something good. Well, there are undeniably cultures, where children are taught that it is good, to kill people for being different. Just think of radical muslims and their hate speeches against jews. So, if we think of radical jews who do basically the same thing just vice versa, the act of killing itself could not be defined as something evil by their standards. So, if there would be a culture, where children from the very first days are taught that being raped is good, this particular and "obviously" clear case, would indeed become a blurry one.

 

wavefreak wrote:
What I am hearing is that "real" things must be void of subjectivity or variable according to point of view. But pure objectivity is illusion. Already it has been shown witihin quantum mechnics you cannot separate the observer and the observed.
I want to go into some depth, about the last sentence. What is normally shown to students who attend a quantum mechanics course, is the following:

There is one basic question at the beginning. It is whether a quantum is a particle or a wave.

So experiment A is executed. This experiment is designed to show that a quantum behaves like a particle. The result of the experiment shows that a quantum has particle-characteristics.

At the same time experiment B is executed. This experiment is designed to show that a quantum behaves like a wave. The result of the experiment shows, that a quantum has wave-characteristics.

So in the end, the answer to the question depends on the observer (depending which experiment he does).

 

However, I want to point out, a major difference between the quantum experiment and the question about the existence of evil.

To say it with wavefreaks words, the result when a child is raped is a measurable damage to the child. But what if the child defines the very same process as something good or desirable? The result of the measurement would now be a completly different one. And that's the fundamental difference to the quantum mechanics. Even if I define a quantum as a wave, experiment A will still show the same result, as if I had defined it otherwise.

 

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:

I think this is a composition fallacy, dude. What happens at a subatomic level doesn't bear on moral standards any more than I can pour myself from pitcher for being 90% water.

I think that this is as of yet one of the open questions of science. How does the "randomness" of quantum mechanics disappear into the background? The many worlds theory suggests that it doesn't, essentially stating that all possible futures exist and the one experienced by the observer is the collapse of a wave function into a specific one.

First, I want to quote Professor Harald Lesch (Professor for astro physics at the University Munich), who was asked if it is possible, that many worlds exist.

"With this question, I have to hold in, so I don't laugh out loudly. I mean, the question is great and warrantable. [...] But it is [nonesense]."

Second I want to correct a tiny error. The many worlds theory states, that a set of wave functions is collapsing into a specific one that is experienced by the observer. Professor Harald Lesch also gave an example. An electron is shot onto a screen. The many world theory states, that at the beginning the electron had many wave functions and when it hits the screen, all those wave functions collapse into a specific one, because there is one specific result on the screen. So, where did those other wave functions go? The many world theory says, that when the wave functions collaps, another world is created, where a different result occured. Professor Lesch pointed out the fallacy. The fact that in physics, the electron had a set of wave functions, is purely abstract. This is just an abstract description of the electron, we don't know if the electron actually had all those wave functions and we actually can't even find out. So the only real thing happening is an electron hitting a screen. Everything else is abstract. The same with schoedingers cat. The end of the experiment, yields either a dead cat or a living cat. The result is always a specific one. A winner of a lottery wins the jackpot, he doesn't win the jackpot multiplyed with the probability for winning it.

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.

And your conclusion is ?

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kazuya wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.

And your conclusion is ?

That it isn't short sighted, because the scale is not small enough.


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Kazuya

Kazuya wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kazuya wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.

And your conclusion is ?

That it isn't short sighted, because the scale is not small enough.

 

Hmmm ... Are you guessing or can you site sources that have eliminated quantum mechanical effects in conciousness? AFAIK, this has not yet been shown. 


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Kazuya

Kazuya wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kazuya wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.

And your conclusion is ?

That it isn't short sighted, because the scale is not small enough.

My question was in reference to your entire post and not just that short statement.  You included the example of child rape, is such an act evil , etc.  How does the application of these scientific principles that you discuss have any bearing upon the subject of evil ? 

Where do they intersect ?

 

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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Let's call in an outside

Let's call in an outside observer, say an alien, and ask him to float above the earth in his invisible observation craft and observe human action and interaction. From his perspective, removed from the viewpoint of the affected entity, could he categorize human acts as evil or good? Would there be objective criteria by which he could assign specific acts to a moral category? What information would he have to possess to understand the categories of good and evil themselves in order to be able to assign specific acts to a particular category?

 It seems to me that from this removed perspective the observer would be able to categorize acts based only on what is beneficial or detrimental for the ability of the observed speices to continue to exist. This is where I think a case can be made that evil does have actual existence.  There is an effect for every action and the effect of any given action will be either beneficial or detrimental to humanity as a whole.

The problem is that from the human perspective, or that of the affected entity, effects are personalized and since we have no ability to consider the moral value of something from any perspective other than our own, our own personal views of what is and is not good or evil can never be trusted to accurately correspond with what is actually good or evil. This is not to say we can not attempt to move towards a more accurate moral code, just that we can never completely rid ourselves of our reliance on subjective interpretation. This is why I think science is beneficial in moral understanding. It is the best method we have for removing our perspective bias. 

I would say that evil exists in that there is an objective moral good and evil but that our perception of any given act's moral value is subjective. Or that evil has actual existence for humanity as a whole but not for the individual. It is, as most things, a matter of there being very different realities of the matter, or at least existences, dependent on the perspective from which a subject is viewed.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
Kazuya wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kazuya wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Also, "thinking" happens on a small enough scale that eliminating quantum mechanics from it's underlying mechanisims seems short sighted.
Thinking, is in its very basic functionality nothing else than biochemical and electric connections in your neuronal net (brain). This happens on a molecular scale. Way to large for quantum mechanics. Generally one could say that the whole quantum physics deal in a scale of atoms and smaller.

And your conclusion is ?

That it isn't short sighted, because the scale is not small enough.

My question was in reference to your entire post and not just that short statement. You included the example of child rape, is such an act evil , etc. How does the application of these scientific principles that you discuss have any bearing upon the subject of evil ?

Where do they intersect ?

 

 

An apple falling from a tree is evidence of gravity.

The rape of a 5 year old is evidence of what? I suggest that it is evidence of evil. Occam's Razor. Why do we need some convoluted explanation that uses biochemical imbalances and evolutionary pressure? The simplest explanation is that it is evil.


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wavefreak wrote:

wavefreak wrote:

 

An apple falling from a tree is evidence of gravity.

The rape of a 5 year old is evidence of what? I suggest that it is evidence of evil. Occam's Razor. Why do we need some convoluted explanation that uses biochemical imbalances and evolutionary pressure? The simplest explanation is that it is evil.

I agree with your assessment regarding "evil"

Personally,I would not even attempt to dispute the scientific principles that were provided on this thread.... I simply failed to see what legitimate bearing they had upon the topic of evil .

Sometimes it seems that those on the forum who are highly trained in scientific method tend to over-analyze a given topic which only serves to slow down the entire discourse and to steer it away from any practical benefits.

It's as if you had asked someone for the time of day and they ended up explaining to you how their wrist watch worked.. It's not that their information is inaccurate it's simply not relevant to the question being asked.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.