Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Outlawing religion (Page 3)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7   
Author Topic: Outlawing religion
JWatts
Member
Member # 6523

 - posted      Profile for JWatts   Email JWatts   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
First, you don't seem to have a good grasp of what the word mitigated means.
Mitigate means reduced the effect of.

The Federal government only spends around $120 million per year on embryonic stem cell research. So California's promise of $300 million per year for 10 years on it's own would have completely replaced any restrictions on funds. So yes the effect on fund restriction was clearly mitigated.

NIH budget

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Many facilities are privately owned or owned by state governments
Ownership isn't the question. Those facilities still generally depend on federal grants for much of their operational budgets and equipment costs.

And there were numerous other sources for money to buy equipment and fund research.

quote:
The creation of California's stem cell agency in 2004 was greeted by scientists and patients as a turning point in a field mired in debates about the destruction of embryos and hampered by federal research restrictions.

The taxpayer-funded institute wielded the extraordinary power to dole out $3 billion in bond proceeds to fund embryonic stem cell work with an eye toward treatments for a host of crippling diseases. Midway through its mission, with several high-tech labs constructed,
...
So far, CIRM has spent some $1.3 billion on infrastructure and research. At the current pace, it will earmark the last grants in 2016 or 2017.
...
The most visible investment is the opening of sleek buildings and gleaming labs at a dozen private and public universities built with matching funds. Two years ago, Stanford University unveiled the nation's largest space dedicated to stem cell research — 200,000 square feet that can hold 550 researchers.

Link

Clearly the US was and is engaged in stem cell research. Furthermore, we were and are engaged in embryonic stem cell research. Claims that it was 'banned' were never true.

Posts: 4700 | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Pyrtolin: No- an ethical argument can be made against allowing murder because of the effects that it has on societies that allow it. The argument can be divorced from the religious sphere and be made on an entirely secular ethical basis without having to resort to religious morality.
Sure. When has that been in dispute?


You have moral beliefs based on unproven postulates. You want them some of them codified into law.

I have moral beliefs based on unproven postulates. I want some of my beliefs codified into law.

I generally don't find non-spiritual moral systems compelling (i.e. they do not seem to match this universe as well as moral systems derived from spiritually), but I've invited Tom, and others, multiple times to show me the moral system that they have faith in (it's postulates and it's conclusions) and I'd be glad to give it an honest reading. The invitation is open to you, as well.

The Catholics have laid out their moral beliefs in great detail, and I find that system very satisfying. I have some things that don't sit well with me, but I've found it to be very informative, and it certainly contains a great deal of truth, in my opinion. I've also explored Buddhist morality through my practice, and I find it to track very close with Catholicism, and I've found I gain a deeper understanding of morality by looking to see where my intuitions do not match these two moral systems, and how the two do not match each other.

Where is the Non-spiritual analog to the vast writings and teachings of the Catholic Church that you personally have faith in? Can you summarize its core tenants (i.e. postulates) and outline some of its more relevant conclusions in a succinct way? Is there a website that outlines it's beliefs that I could peruse? Is there a book I could read?

[ April 12, 2012, 11:15 AM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
Mathematics (and all of its various disciplines) have postulates which deal primarily with numbers and shapes. Accordingly, Mathematics cannot ever conclude the Theory of Gravity. Mathematics alone just doesn't have the material to come to those sorts of logical conclusions.


Mathematics is science applied to quantifiable relationships. To say that it can't figure out gravity is like saying that a ruler can't figure out a football field.

quote:
Science's postulates deal with experience, objectivity, and observability.

Science is not it's postulates. Science the the process used to reach those postulates.

quote:

Accordingly, Physics cannot ever conclude that PI is irrational. It does not have the raw materials to draw that sort of logical conclusion.

Physics is science applied to physical dynamics and relationships. The issue isn't that physics can't assess pi, it's that the nature of pi is not what physics is attempting to study.

quote:
Science, informed by Mathematics, can discover the theory of Gravity.
Tools developed in one discipline can be used in another; you're drawing a false distinction. Physics could observe and understand gravity without mathematics. Mathematics just provides a scientifically derived language to quantify the results

quote:
The scenario is similar with Morality. Mathematics cannot tell me what a moral action is. It just doesn't have "what is moral" defined in it's postulates, so it does not have the raw materials. Morality cannot be logically derived from postulates that do not contain a moral statement.
That's because morality is defined based on construction up from pure assertions. On the other hand, ethics can be scientifically analyzed through sociology and evaluated based on the outcomes of holding certain positions.

quote:
Catholicism, informed by science and mathematics (and other branches of knowledge), can answer the question of what is moral and what isn't. (And it could be wrong when it does.)
It can assert an answer, to which scientific process can be applied to evaluate how desirable the outcomes of that answer are.

quote:
My meditation practice has given me the firm belief that morality can be explored experientially. But, just like with science, there must first be postulates put in place before I can do any reasoning.
If you start from postulates then you are acting in the exact opposite manner of science. Science would be the process of testing said postulates against the real world to see if they hold true, and only building them into theories if they stand up objectively

quote:
But science cannot tell me that God does not exist. It cannot tell me, by itself, what is moral and what isn't. (To be sure, it can help a moral system quantify different scenarios, i.e. it can inform a moral system)
Indeed, but that's exactly why such moral beliefs should should not cross into civil law, which, as a tool of the physical world that must cross multiple belief systems, should be guided by more scientifically derived ethical principles that objectively contribute to the society that employs them.
Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pyr: You have a fundamentally flawed understanding of Epistimology. You are displaying a fundamental failure to understand how knowledge works. Myself, Tom, and Adam have all properly explained how it works in this thread. I can't debate the issue further with you. You are just making simple mistakes in structuring your thoughts, and you don't seem to be interested in correcting them. Please take the time to review the posts made in this thread, the links provided by some users, and please try to understand these basic issues before posting again. Otherwise, I can't really discuss these matters with you.
Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Where is the Non-spiritual analog to the vast writings and teachings of the Catholic Church that you personally have faith in? Can you summarize its core tenants (i.e. postulates) and outline some of its more relevant conclusions in a succinct way? Is there a website that outlines it's beliefs that I could peruse? Is there a book I could read?
You want a reflection parts of my _moral_ compass?
You could look to
http://www.mpl.org
For a start.

If you want secular Ethics, then you're begging the question by fronting the assertion that it derives from moral assumptions rather than works based on evaluation of human behaviors and trying to assess what the outcomes of any given assertion are:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_ethics

Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
<Post deleted by user.>

[ April 12, 2012, 11:54 AM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
You have a fundamentally flawed understanding of Epistimology.
No, the issue is that you have a flawed understanding of what science is, and constantly try to cast it as the the body of knowledge that it has produced when it is actually the process by which that body was derived. What knowledge is is completely irrelevant so long as you keep misrepresenting what science is and its relationships to the the process of generating knowledge.
Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pyr, I really don't know where else to go with you. You are wrong. I have shown you that you are wrong. Others have provided links showing that you are wrong. I cannot keep beating on the point where you are wrong, trying to make you see it. I don't have the time or the energy. It's such a simple point, and you are just refusing to understand it. I can't help you with that.

I'll leave the discussion between you and I in this thread for the readers to evaluate for themselves. I do not have the ability or energy to convince you. So I am ending my side of the debate between you and I in this thread. I will not respond to you further in this thread.

[ April 12, 2012, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
<Post deleted by user.>

Societies that allow unrestrained killing (that poorly or outright do not define a concept of murder) will tend to be less socially stable and break down quickly.
Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pyr, what Joshua was trying to say is that the scientific method also relies on certain axiomatic assumptions in order to work. Where he and I differ in opinion, it is because he believes there are other epistemologies which work more reliably than the scientific method when trying to ascertain the truth of certain claims. I disagree with this; I don't think there are. That said, I certainly agree that there are some claims which are simply untestable -- but then I would say that the truth value of such claims is ultimately unknowable, and not that other methods are better able to verify them.
Posts: 21388 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom: The basic thrust of your statement properly summarizes what I've been saying. Thank you. That being said, there are some smaller issues which you have mistaken slightly.

quote:
Tom: Where he and I differ in opinion, it is because he believes there are other epistemologies which work more reliably than the scientific method when trying to ascertain the truth of certain claims. I disagree with this
That's not quite an accurate summary of what I believe. If a religious belief tells me the world must be flat, and science tells me the world is round, I go with science. The details about this physical nature of this world, and it's relation to the surrounding bodies of matter, fall pretty clearly under the purvue of the postulates of science.

I agree (and have always agreed) with the sentiment that scientific conclusions are more reliable. I think the philosophies of religion can be very precarious, since it is very difficult to say they describe our reality, rather than just a made up reality.

I just recognize that science has limits. Within those limits, science pretty much reigns king. It is that good and that powerful. But there are things science can't do alone. It can't tell me whether an action is moral or not. In order to do that, I need some moral basis (some moral postulates). Morality cannot be derived simply from the postulates of science. Somewhere, "Good" has to be assumed and defined.

I haven't found a system of morality that makes sense to me that doesn't find root in the spiritual world. As always Tom, the invitation is open for you to show me specifically where your morality is rooted, and the school of thought that has arisen because of that.

[ April 12, 2012, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(To be clear, my beliefs about morality, which are rooted in the spiritual world, are certainly informed by science.)
Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
. It can't tell me whether an action is moral or not. In order to do that, I need some moral basis (some moral postulates). Morality cannot be derived simply from the postulates of science. Somewhere, "Good" has to be assumed and defined.
Right- that's why morality is an actively non-scientific area, and also why it's not appropriate to force ones own personal beliefs in that regard onto others.

Ethics, on the other hand, includes scientific analysis of moralities, both in terms of trying to understand the cause and effects of certain stances and a better understanding of what the moral concepts of "good" and "bad" are. Which, in turn, provides better guidance for a society that needs to make rules to stably accommodate multiple moral frameworks and promote the overall welfare of its citizens.

Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pyr, as I have already indicated, I'm not going to respond to you further in this thread. I ask that you please do not quote or respond to me unless you are doing so for the benefit, or discussion with, another poster.
Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheRallanator
Member
Member # 6624

 - posted      Profile for TheRallanator   Email TheRallanator       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Hannibal it is quite possible to justify religion with science. Praying to God does not kill brain cells. Some religious people ignore logic. That is different from saying all who are religious are illogical. Your point I agree with. Your statements are as ignorant as you are claiming religious people are.

Define "justify". Because if it means anything other than "show that people who hold beliefs that they know to be irrational and untestable can still be nice people" then I may have to wade into the debate [Smile]
Posts: 503 | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Believing abortion is murder is not implicitly a religious belief, because there are plenty of religions that do not believe that abortion is murder (Judaism, for example).

Some of the horrible examples of extremist behavior characterized as religious have been seen in similar form among atheistic entities (Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China)

quote:
Christian Sharia is literally a contradiction in terms. That's one of the striking distinctions of the New Testament as opposed to the sacred texts of other faiths. It's explicit too, in "doing away" with "the law."

Nominally Christian groups have constructed their various Sharia-like codes, but it's a definitional error to refer to them as Christian Sharia, since the creation of such codes, and their imposition on the state, inherently rejects a key doctrine of Christianity.

While it's true to say that the cartoon evil depiction of Sharia Law is inconsistent with Christianity, it also misrepresents Sharia, which can be seen as a wide range of non-binding rulings that sometimes are taken to extremist lengths (as, on occasion, has been Christianity - was it Calvin in Geneva..?)
Posts: 3695 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just because a Christian does something, doesn't make the practice "Christianity," Greg.

I think that Calvinism is about as alien from most mainstream Christian churches today, than some brands of atheism. Frankly I think that an atheist who believes in Free Will has more in common with a typical Catholic or Mormon than either has in common with a Calvinist.

Posts: 42012 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Just because a Christian does something, doesn't make the practice "Christianity," Greg.
What decision rules do you use to determine which actions performed by a subset of a group characterize that group?
Posts: 3695 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fizz
Member
Member # 1706

 - posted      Profile for fizz   Email fizz       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The scientific method main assumptions is that there's an objective reality outside us, that this reality have some sort of underlying order understandable with the instrument of logic, and that we're really interacting somewhat with this reality (see the classical philosophical argument about "brains in a vat", or the cinematographic equivalent "the matrix"...).

If you deny any of these assumptions, thing that apart from religions some philosophies do, like solipsism, anything goes, but the resulting frame of mind is not historically very conductive to useful behaviors.

If you accept those assumptions, logic start to be your guideline, and from that moment not *all* postulates are equal.
For example, self-contradicting ones, both immediately evident and that leads to a later contradiction. This for example is the reason in geometry by postulating alternates to the fifth Euclid postulate we create alternative geometries, while touching the first four leads to nothing.

This is more or less the reason many rational people see some fundamental problem with religions: while it's true that you can't scientifically disprove the existence of a god or other supernatural entity ouside the real of experimentable reality, most religions make a lot of assumptions on the properties, intentions and actions of this god, and more often than not it's really quite easy to see the inherent contradictions on some of these postulates. The most frequent and galling thing is the presence of a lot of circular reasoning in these kind of arguments.

Said that, the original point is the fact that while only some (the most obnoxious, I recognize) atheists do clamor for actually taking religious people and make them renounce their religion, in all history nearly all religious people always pretended that their specific measure of ethics was the only unequivocally true for everybody everywhere, and everybody where possible must be forced to follow it.
This means that where, just to make a paradoxical I hope not too controversial, example, a muslim would be justified in protesting against car that burns pig fat releasing burned pig particulate for everybody (s/he included) to breath it, s/he would be quite less justified in pretending to ban my own ham sandwich.
I would moreover start to be quite perplexed, while still insisting to be able to eat my damned ham sandwich, when he would strenuously oppose (always stretching paradoxical metaphors) my attempts to substitute ham sandwiches with vat-cultured ham-flavored sandwiches too...

Posts: 148 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The scientific method main assumptions is that there's an objective reality outside us, that this reality have some sort of underlying order understandable with the instrument of logic, and that we're really interacting somewhat with this reality (see the classical philosophical argument about "brains in a vat", or the cinematographic equivalent "the matrix"...).

If you deny any of these assumptions, thing that apart from religions some philosophies do, like solipsism, anything goes, but the resulting frame of mind is not historically very conductive to useful behaviors.

Of course we don't deny those assumptions.

The assumption that many scientists make, and which isn't necessary to perform science, is that science can discover every truth, or that objective reality ends at the bounds of scientific inquiry.

Religionists simply deny this obviously false assumption that many secular atheists make.

Reality is out there. Science has done a good job of translating some of it into knowledge, and I have confidence that there's a great deal more science can do. But science cannot map all of reality. There are things science can't see. Just because science can't map those parts of reality doesn't mean they don't exist. (To be sure, just because a religion asserts that God exists, it doesn't mean He exists.)

[ April 13, 2012, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
JoshuaD,

pretty much everything worth codifying in law can be based on reciprocity. Do/Don't do unto others that which you would have/not have done unto you. That covers murder, theft, etc. And applying it recursively and abstractly can give exceptions (kill in self defense; steal to prevent starvation); and behaviour at the group level (don't engage in wars of aggression).

Doesn't require any moral postulates or grounding.

[ April 13, 2012, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8053 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree that that's a pretty good basis for a lot of laws, but it certainly doesn't cover them all. In particular, it doesn't talk about justice. The idea of reciprocity is present in the two moral systems I have faith in (Buddhism and Catholicism).

Putting that aside, since that's not the debate of the thread, you are certainly making postulates there. Taking what you've stated fully at face value, what you've written postulates that reciprocity is good. I'm sure that that's not your core postulate (i.e that statement is logically derived), but you do have a postulate back there somewhere.

You simply can't perform logic without a starting point. What is the process of logic? You take what you "know", and you draw conclusions. "Based on A, B, and C, I conclude D." You can't draw conclusions from nothing. If you could, then, of course, anything could be true.

Adam's link provides for three undeniable axioms of our universe. If you can derive morality directly from those three, then you can tell me you effectively don't have any postulates(I can't imagine how one could do so). Otherwise, you're assuming at least one. It's probably one that I, and most people, would agree with, but it's a postulate nonetheless.

[ April 13, 2012, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
JoshuaD,

quote:
Taking what you've stated fully at face value, what you've written postulates that reciprocity is good.
Nope. Reciprocity is a strategy that maximizes ones return/minimizes loss in a competitive game if you don't know where your starting position will be in terms of skill/resources/power relative to the other players nor the distribution of such among other players.

Ie a group of Strong, Medium and Weak players. If Weak is large their optimum strategy is often force equal redistribution of resources (communism). (A superior strategy is actually to tax the stronger players but allow a return that makes meritorious progress worthwhile - but that is a bit complicated for game theory [Smile] .)

Strongs best strategy is usually to conspire with Medium to maintain their relative advantage against weak (fuedalism, slavery, capitalism).

Mediums best strategy depends on the size of weak. If weak is large enough that it could force communism then it prefers reciprocity, otherwise it will best profit from conspiring with strong against weak.

So each of the strategies rests on where ones starting position in the game is, but with a randomized starting position reciprocity will pretty much always be the preferred rule.

Posts: 8053 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Nope. Reciprocity is a strategy that maximizes ones return/minimizes loss in a competitive game if you don't know where your starting position will be in terms of skill/resources/power relative to the other players nor the distribution of such among other players.
And what exactly are we maximizing? Why should I care to maximize that? Please show me, without depending upon any postulates, how maximization of some dimension or another is "good".
Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is 'living is superior to dying' and 'living well is superior to living badly'. Those can be derived observationally and experientially.
Posts: 8053 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How could I possibly observe that without first giving some definition to "good" and "bad"? You're making an assumption when you use the word "superior", "well", and "badly". Superior in what way? Badly in what regard?

Certainly, once I've defined good and bad, I use my power of observation to say "that is good, that is bad." This is what I said before "Religion, informed by science, can tell me what a moral action is."

[ April 13, 2012, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I may be making this harder than it is. You just said: "Assume the general well being of the individual is good. Based on that and this pile of logic, reciprocity appears to be a good basis for law."

Not many people will disagree with that postulate (although, I think it is a little simplistic to stand alone, and because of that it'll run into some trouble.)

Christians (smart christians) say something like: "Assume: 1) There is a being who created us and loves all of us equally and that love is without bounds. 2) He wants us to act a certain way, but gave us free will to make our own decisions because he loves us. 3) Doing what he want us to do is good. Doing what he doesn't want us to do is evil."

Then they also assume stuff about Jesus, about the Bible, and a bunch of stuff I can't outline because I'm not familiar enough with it to say it correctly. (and it varies from sect to sect).

Primarily from that first statement (and I think sometimes with the assistance of the Bible, but it may be that their morality is derived entirely from that first belief, and the bible is just a trusted source of conclusions), they derive morality.

I've found that postulate to be the most intellectually satisfying. That is, it seems to me to draw conclusions which most closely mirror my intuition, experience, and philosophical exploration of what good and evil are.

[ April 13, 2012, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
How could I possibly observe that without first giving some definition to "good" and "bad"?
Those are definitions, it's worth pointing out. They're not even axioms.

It does not take religion -- or science -- to define "good." It simply requires that we define "good" in some way, and then remember how we've defined it for the purposes of the conversation.

For my part, I start by defining "bad" as "harm," and "good" as the minimization of "harm." There's no need to bring any sort of religion into this process.

Posts: 21388 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sure, I'll agree with that quibble. But by defining those terms, one has to show his postulates (just like you did here). It's a single step away from the postulate itself, but I think the way I worded the question helps make the point more clear for LR.

For the sake of the others reading (since I know you know this), Your statement is a postulate, just like the one I put forward.

I do disagree that your postulate is more simple than the postulate of God. On the surface, yours appears to be more simple, but I don't believe it actually is. Defining "Harm" is really hard, and you're effectively just wrapping up a bunch of postulates into one word to make it appear simple.

What are you defining Harm as? Bernard Gert includes in it's definition "the loss of pleasure". My experience in Buddhist meditation tells me that pleasure itself is suffering (and I believe that anyone who practices can experience this truth for themselves), and I'm sure that you'll concede that suffering is a form of harm. That makes the definition put forward by Mr. Gert as contradictory. (It appears to me to assert that suffering is harm AND the loss of suffering is harm, which appears to be a contradiction to me).

Anyway, I'd love to debate this with you more, Tom, but I don't think this thread is the place. In so far as the discussion of this thread goes, you and I are in a basic agreement. Certainly, from that starting point we divert quickly. But we both agree on the starting point. I've been trying to establish to the original poster and others that that starting point is the only correct starting point, and I'm trying to keep this thread limited to that (as that is the core misunderstanding in the original post). If you'd like to talk by email, or start another thread on morality, I'd be glad to continue the conversation. (If you respond here, I'll probably just continue posting, as well.)

[ April 13, 2012, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As an aside, the postulate of God that Christians make (see above) invites reasoning more so than any thing else I can imagine. God's reasoning is perfect, and it is the Christian's job to try to approach that reasoning.

By asserting God, it asserts nothing else. It does not need to assert that harm is bad, it invites you to reason that out on your own, through experience. And you can. This is why I find it intellectually satisfying.

To some, the postulate of God appears to reach too far and invoke unnecessary complexity. My analysis shows the exact opposite: it appears to be the most simple way to express the full complexity of the rule of Morality, and it does so with less restriction on reason than any other postulates I've seen.

It's elegant.

[ April 13, 2012, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JWatts
Member
Member # 6523

 - posted      Profile for JWatts   Email JWatts   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
There is 'living is superior to dying' and 'living well is superior to living badly'. Those can be derived observationally and experientially.

No, not really or at least the use of the word superior may create ambiguity.

But an economist would probably phrase it more like: Humans express a preference for living over dying.

The second phrase is too vague and/or ambiguous to reach a conclusion about.

Posts: 4700 | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JWatts
Member
Member # 6523

 - posted      Profile for JWatts   Email JWatts   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
For my part, I start by defining "bad" as "harm," and "good" as the minimization of "harm." There's no need to bring any sort of religion into this process.

Which doesn't really help. All you've done is moved the argument from defining good/bad to defining harm/'no harm'.
Posts: 4700 | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The second phrase [Humans express a preference for living over dying] is too vague and/or ambiguous to reach a conclusion about.
It's not that the statement too vague, it just doesn't make a moral statement at all. It is a scientific observation (well, if you add the word "tend to").

Not really disagreeing with your posts, they're pretty much spot-on.

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I thought that this was cleared up by Socrates - if you are to assert that anyone ought to do anything, you have to define good/bad (and harm/no harm are just different words for the same thing). Once you use language with the meaning of "ought" or "should" you are stuck with a requirement of defining the good.

And once we slip away from "ought" to attempts to assert fact ("Humans express a preference for living over dying") we also need to get more precise: Most humans express a preference for living over dying; most humans take actions that increase their chances for living, etc.)

Posts: 3695 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
JWatts and JoshuaD,

first morality is either a description of a code of conduct, or a code of conduct that would emerge under a given set of constraints. Note that there isn't anything suggesting that only one morality can arise.

We can relax the constraint of a preference of living, and a constraint of a preference for living well, then you can derive a number of divergent moralities. However, the divergent moralities are often pathological - ie with the relaxed constraint for living suicide tends to limit the likelihood of the morality being propagated.

The moralities will tend to cluster also. You will also end up with moralities that are parasitic and symbiotic.

Posts: 8053 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshuaD
Member
Member # 1420

 - posted      Profile for JoshuaD   Email JoshuaD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Is that supposed to be a defense of your assertion that you can have morality with postulates? If so, I don't see how it is. Please try to make it more clear, and if you could, please quote particular excerpts of my rebuttals, which outline how what I stated is incorrect.

Of course from different postulates, different moral systems will arise. I can create a billion different systems of physics that all are logically consistent. Similarly, I can create a billion different systems of morality that are all logically consistent.

However, just as I believe there is only one actual physical reality, I believe there is only one actual moral reality. You can make up all the moral systems you'd like. Some are going to be talking about this universe, others aren't. Some are right, some are not.

[ April 13, 2012, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

Posts: 3490 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
JoshuaD,

you need constraints to choose which morality to follow, not to construct the moralities. There is no 'actual moral reality', just moralities that are objectively superior for specific outcomes given specified constraints. If you limit yourself to choosing constraints that are compatible with constraints adopted by all living organisms, then you end up with a subset of moralities that are essentially those adopted commonly by societies.

Posts: 8053 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
There is 'living is superior to dying' and 'living well is superior to living badly'. Those can be derived observationally and experientially.

It's not a matter of what is superior and what is inferior, it is a matter of what people want to accomplish. Once you arrive at a consensus about what goals everyone wishes to accomplish, that consensus provides the framework for evaluation of any given ethical standard.

In the case of the US, the Preamble to the Constitution provides a substantial portion of the baseline that we use; the rest of the document is built on trying to accomplish those stated goals, and the rest of our legal structure is evaluated in terms of how well it accomplishes that charge. You don't need any objective standard of "good" or "bad" tow work with, instead you have an explicitly subjective statement of purpose and, from there, incorporate whatever rules are useful in accomplishing that end.

Posts: 10183 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
By asserting God, it asserts nothing else. It does not need to assert that harm is bad, it invites you to reason that out on your own...
How so? Explain the way in which asserting a God invites the rational conclusion that harm is bad with no intervening requirements.

--------

quote:
you have to define good/bad (and harm/no harm are just different words for the same thing)
I disagree with you on this point, Greg. Harm is bad, where here "bad" means "undesirable" or "thing that should be avoided," but the words are not synonymous.

But, yes, the definition of "harm" becomes problematic, and indeed might need to be examined on a case-by-case basis. I do not see this as a weakness, however; it is, in fact, a significant strength of this approach.

Posts: 21388 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For Socrates, that which brought you farther away from "good" was always harm, and that which brought you closer to "good" was better
Posts: 3695 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1