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Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Jump to comment 129 by BloodywombatTSI

Shrodinger's Cat, what's your position? I'm kind of curious as to whether you think there is some kind of mind behind the universe. I'm getting the impression that you do as you keep referring to atheists as if you are not one, which is fine of course, although I would disagree. I'm just curious about where you're coming from on this.

Sat, 26 May 2012 05:37:31 UTC | #943619

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Jump to comment 125 by BloodywombatTSI

Yes, we are making our own meaning. We've already stated that most people make a few basic assumptions about what constitutes morality since humans are the creators of morality, and these traits are hardwired into us. Most people make these assumptions through the prism of false belief systems that are not based on evidence though. If however, we can all agree that science offers the most useful and realistic picture of the world, from there, we have a foundation on which we can make our assumptions based on how things really work. If for example, when debating the merits of homosexuality (sorry to bring that up again, but it's an easy example), If I don't have to argue about whether it's a sin that will send them to hell according to a demonstrateably false system of belief, and instead get to debate about the actual REAL results of the behavior, we can have a more consistent line of reasoning on which to start the conversation, according to the basic assumptions about freedom, empathy, emotion etc. that humans tend to make. Even when we don't make those same assumptions, using reality as our basis still gives us a more consistent framework to build our arguments on, whether someone is more nihilistic or optimistic, because we'd all be talking about actual consequences of actions rather than imagined ones. As long as all positions are subject to criticism, this works.

By the way, I also never said we should use evolution as a guide for a moral framework, just that understanding it helps us make more informed decisions about our preferred outcomes.

Comment 115 by Schrodinger's Cat :

'The facts' don't come with any pre-assigned moral attributes. What...for the morality of a lion chewing the hind leg off a live wildebeast ?

Never said they did. But understanding how and why things are the way they are gives us a place to start the conversation.

Society is as knee jerky as it ever was. The only difference is that these days the knee-jerkiness takes the form of accusations of things with 'phobe' at the end. I've seen people who were 'anti-' this or that phobe who've been every bit as virulent and nasty as the traits they oppose.

Of course we are, we're only human. I was just making the point that people get more comfortable with ideas as time passes, and since science is all about new ideas, and happens to also create a more accurate picture of the world, this is a good thing..

You are confusing and conflating two entirely seperate things.

With 'the common good' in mind, of course its arguable that one should alleviate those situations where irrational beliefs cause suffering.

Good, we have a starting point.

However, irrational beliefs do not automatically lead to suffering....some may even be beneficial......and pure rationality is no guarantor of a less suffering ourcome than a degree of irrationality may have caused. Love between couples, for example, is nototiously irrational......yet few would dispute it can be a good thing. It can equally cause pain and suffering. Ultimately, turning into Vulcans isn't going to help anyone.

Never said we should become vulcans. Our emotions are an asset and gives us an insight into the feelings of other. We just shouldn't put them in the drivers seat when deciding on evidence. When we have an accurate picture of real outcomes, then we can use our emotions to decide what we want those outcomes to be.

Fri, 25 May 2012 19:47:39 UTC | #943554

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Jump to comment 113 by BloodywombatTSI

Comment 111 by Sketchy :

Comment 108 by BloodywombatTSI

I haven't done any polls myself, but doesn't a scientific view of the world tend to inspire similar ideas about morality among people?

It sure looks that way. Better ideas. Why do Christians think homosexuality is immoral? It can only be because they think it will cause suffering, in the form of god’s wrath. They are wrong about this, so it follows they are wrong about morality. It’s not rocket science.

More than that, they make unfounded claims about how it harms children to be raised by them, and a whole host of other claims that are through the prism of their superstion. Another point where reality might help them make more accurately informed decisions. I hope I don't have to explain to someone why I'm not making an 'absolute' moral claim again because of this comment though. I don't believe in absolute truth either given our limited understanding of the universe. So why would I believe in absolute morality?

Fri, 25 May 2012 00:33:04 UTC | #943393

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by BloodywombatTSI

Comment 106 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 100 by BloodywombatTSI

That was me using science and reason to evolve my morality

Such talk is as if there is some sort of 'ought' about morality. But the 'ought' is precisely what one has rejected in rejecting any absolute religious authority. This is a point that a considerable number of atheists fail to grasp.

Moral relativism, which is what one is left with, is essentially subjective. There is no absolute sense in which one can say ' this is how people ought to behave '. Sam Harris seeks to provide morality with a firmer basis in The Moral Landscape, and he's to be commended for his application of logic and reason to the issue........but even he can only arrive at a rather general 'the common good' as the basis for a 'scientific morality'. And of course 'the common good' has elements of subjectivity to it as well.

I disagree. I'm not talking about an 'ought' or coming to a universal morality because it would be impossible as there are too many different brains with different thought patterns. I'm talking about making judgements based on irrational criteria as I was doing. By acknowledging that I was using irrational criteria (christianity) to judge others, when what I care about is freedom and well being of others, as I think most people agree on (or would if they knew how the universe really works), that criteria I was using was thrown out, and I made my judgements based on the facts. When looking at the factual evidence we've uncovered about reality, I'm confident that most people would make similar judgements because they tend to care about well being and freedom too, especially with time as society evolves because of education, as they become more comfortable with certain ideas, and become less knee jerk reactionary about certain things. I'm not saying they ought to come to certain conclusions such as mine on homosexuality, although I hope they would, but that they would come to those conclusions if they understood how the world really works because they care about similar things. We may disagree on the limits of our freedoms, but understanding reality, especially that of evolution with regard to homosexuality, allows you to make a more informed decision about what constitutes harmful behavior.

I haven't done any polls myself, but doesn't a scientific view of the world tend to inspire similar ideas about morality among people? Using science to understand reality helps you make a more informed decision which is always a good thing, even if we don't always agree on it. Our morality will never be perfect, but can we not agree that using scientific reasoning to help us and others live better lives works better than irrational superstition according to most of our sensibilities, including the sensibilities of society as a whole? I am just saying that it's a valuable tool, where as others seem to be saying it does little or nothing for our moral evolution.

Comment 107 by ccw95005 :

In my opinion, the closest we can come to a universal morality is the general principles of concern for others that most people with normal degrees of empathy agree on. We have to throw out those ideas that are based on rules (abortion and homosexuality are evil because the Bible told me so, etc.) rather than sympathy for our fellow creatures. That's arbitrary, too, but it feels right to me. Make up your own. That's what we have to do, regardless.

Yes, this is basically my opinion, and in addition, using science and reality as a basis is in my view our best tool. Most others I think, would reach the same conclusion if they had the same information. We just have to convince as much of our civilization of this as possible.

Thu, 24 May 2012 21:33:09 UTC | #943359

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Jump to comment 101 by BloodywombatTSI

I guess I actually have one more thing to add, and that is that I agree that our emotion, our empathy plays a large role. It's not just a stumbling block though. Although it does do that at times when our anger, jealousy or whatever gets out of control, it also provides a great insight that someone like a Jeffery Dahmer clearly lacked. The fact that I feel empathy for anything at all allows me to infer with the help of knowledge gleaned from science, that many animals, maybe even those I wouldn't have considered before, also feel these things. That makes our emotion a tool, not just a savage stumbling block, that compliments science and reason. When our emotions do get the best of us, society, argumentation, science, reason, can and often does pull us back. It plays a significant role in our moral evolution. But yes, it's definitely fragile just like everything else. I hope everything I just typed was coherent. It was definitely long.

Tue, 22 May 2012 20:22:30 UTC | #942953

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