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Author Topic:   Original Sin - Scripture and Reason
nwr
Member
Posts: 5544
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 121 of 203 (668812)
07-24-2012 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Stile
07-24-2012 3:44 PM


Re: Trying to summarize
Fact 2 -> People have unconscious motivations that they are unaware of and may not be able to become aware of.
...
Am I missing something? Do people seem to think that "Fact 2" is not a fact?

Yes, I do.

I see it as implicit in the meaning of "motive", that motives are conscious. I suggest other terms (such as "psychological drive") for what is not conscious. And I am inclined to think that the non-metaphoric use of "selfish" applies to conscious motives, not to psychological drives.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by Stile, posted 07-24-2012 3:44 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 126 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 4:49 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply
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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11840
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 122 of 203 (668814)
07-24-2012 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Stile
07-24-2012 3:44 PM


Re: Trying to summarize
I don't really see how anyone can be arguing with what Modulous is saying here. He seems to just be stating that possibilities exist and we don't seem to know which are affecting us at any given time.

Am I missing something?

To me, Mod didn't seem to be saying this:

Mod -> It is possible for someone to have a noble conscious motivation, while also having a bad unconscious motivation.

It looked like he was saying this instead:

Mod -> It is impossible for someone to have a noble conscious motivation without also having a bad unconscious motivation.

I don't think that's true but his further explanation only confused me and made less sense.


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 Message 120 by Stile, posted 07-24-2012 3:44 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 4:20 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 138 by Stile, posted 07-25-2012 8:24 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4365
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 123 of 203 (668815)
07-24-2012 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by PaulK
07-23-2012 12:38 PM


Re: Selfish Genes and Original Sin
PaulK writes:

In the second quote he does NOT say that memes let us "rise above" the programming of our genes - he indicates that he thinks of memes, too, as "selfish replicators" and that we can rise above their programming, too.

Actually that isn't correct. A meme may be selfish but it may also be unselfish. Here is the definition from wiki:

quote:
A meme ( /ˈmiːm/; meem)[1]) is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.

PaulK writes:

No, Original Sin is NOT in the Genesis story. It is an elaboration of Pauline theology which takes a rather different view of the Fall from that in the original myth. In the original myth humans, built to be God's servants, rebel, stealing the "knowledge of good and evil" and are cast out and cursed for doing so.

I have agreed earlier that the concept comes after Paul, and that the term has several understandings. My understanding of the term isn't unique and comes from my understanding of the entire scripture and from basic reason apart from the scriptures as we see from Dawkins.

PaulK writes:

So if we we were looking at a parallel between Genesis and Dawkins views, God would be the "selfish genes", who create humanity, and the "knowledge of good and evil" would be the understanding we have gained which allows us to defeat this unthinking "god" which seeks to use us for it's own end. Perhaps an interesting parallel (although it runs into trouble in the details) but hardly one that I think a Christian - even one so liberal as you - would like.

I'm not looking at a parallel of Genesis and Dawkins. I am looking at the Scriptures and understand from them that we are born as essentially selfish beings but with the hope that we can rise above that. When I overlay Dawkins concepts of selfish genes which we can rise above, we can gain a clearer picture and understanding than we would have from Scripture alone.

The Scriptural view and Dawkins' views aren't necessarily parallel but it is my contention that they are complimentary.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by PaulK, posted 07-23-2012 12:38 PM PaulK has not yet responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 29758
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


(2)
Message 124 of 203 (668816)
07-24-2012 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Stile
07-24-2012 3:44 PM


Re: Trying to summarize
I disagree with asserted Fact two.

There are things that are influenced by unconscious acts, by upbringing, by factors out of someone's control, even by genetics, but motives are a conscious act and under someones control. The behaviors I mentioned are conscious acts and under my control. I can determine what the motives for those acts are.

That is particularly true when the act requires some personal sacrifice, taking the time to gather shopping carts when it's 100+ outside or raining or when I'm tired and hurting.

And I can also determine motive when I fail to do such things, I hurt too much, I'm too tired, it's raining too hard, it's just TOO hot.

I do not always respond the same way in all circumstances, but I can reflect on my behavior and determine why I behaved as I did.

Is that applicable to everything I do? No, of course not. And I never claimed that it was applicable to everything I do, but my point is that as a human I am charged to at least try to do what is right and not simply fall back on "memes" or "depraved on account of I'm deprived" or "The Fall" or "Original Sin" or any other label.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by Stile, posted 07-24-2012 3:44 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by Stile, posted 07-25-2012 1:55 PM jar has responded
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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 125 of 203 (668819)
07-24-2012 4:20 PM
Reply to: Message 122 by New Cat's Eye
07-24-2012 3:56 PM


single sentence summary
To me, Mod didn't seem to be saying this

Well it was one of the things I was saying, in my original discussion with jar that's all I was saying. With jar I was making the mere claim that unconscious motivations can exist (from the motivations of the individual through to genes) and that jar had neglected to rule them out in his claims that they didn't exist.

I did also voice my opinion that lead you to think this:

CS' impression of Mod's position writes:

It is impossible for someone to have a noble conscious motivation without also having a bad unconscious motivation.

While I suppose that might be true, it's not what I'm saying. A closer single sentence summary might be:

quote:
Cooperative behaviour is made possible only by entities that are acting in their own self interests - primarily that genes, acting in their own self interests - build brains that engage in cooperative behaviour.

There's more to it than that, but I think you should be able to see the distinction between the view of my position you have gained and the position I am trying to put forward from that. Of course there may be other self interests that are being served in selfless behaviour - including the individual itself and the memes that they possess. I am not saying that the individuals self interest must be being (or attempting to being) served in some way when they are engaging in selfless acts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 122 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-24-2012 3:56 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 127 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-24-2012 4:55 PM Modulous has responded

    
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 126 of 203 (668822)
07-24-2012 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by nwr
07-24-2012 3:53 PM


Re: Trying to summarize
I see it as implicit in the meaning of "motive", that motives are conscious.

You can always replace 'motive' with 'driving force' or something better if you'd prefer. I thought it was clear that I wasn't describing conscious preplanning coupled with intentions to act towards some desired goal. I mean its pretty obvious that genes don't have 'motives' or 'intentions', but its still perfectly standard to talk about them as if they were. It happens in physics and chemistry too - 'The electricity wants to take the path of least resistance', or 'Carbon and Oxygen want to be together, but it takes some encouragement'. I pasted a rather decent bit from the wiki article on The Selfish Gene a few posts back which sums this up:

quote:
In describing genes as being "selfish", the author does not intend (as he states unequivocally in the work) to imply that they are driven by any motives or willmerely that their effects can be accurately described as if they were. The contention is that the genes that get passed on are the ones whose consequences serve their own implicit interests (to continue being replicated), not necessarily those of the organism, much less any larger level.

I suggest other terms (such as "psychological drive") for what is not conscious.

My argument with jar was largely that your unconscious 'psychological drives' may be selfish, and that 'I wasn't conscious of them' is not sufficient grounds to dismiss them. And even when they're not, your brain is causing you to behave nice, and it was built by genes to be nice (in certain circumstances) which were 'acting in their own self interest', or rather, they were doing what their ancestral copies did that had resulted in the next copies that would be made. But that's kind of clumsy, and its difficult to word it without making it wrong in some way.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by nwr, posted 07-24-2012 3:53 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

    
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11840
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 127 of 203 (668823)
07-24-2012 4:55 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by Modulous
07-24-2012 4:20 PM


Re: single sentence summary
Cooperative behaviour is made possible only by entities that are acting in their own self interests - primarily that genes, acting in their own self interests - build brains that engage in cooperative behaviour.

I don't see why there couldn't be entities that don't act in their own self interets but make cooperative behavior possible. Too, people can do cooperative things for totally retarded reasons that don't stem from anything that make any sense at all. Or, they could do something cooperative for no reason at all. I don't think its true that cooperative behaviour is made possible only by entities that are acting in their own self interests.

My argument with jar was largely that your unconscious 'psychological drives' may be selfish,

See, I was seeing you as saying that your unconscious 'psychological drives' may have to be selfish.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 4:20 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 128 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 5:04 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 128 of 203 (668825)
07-24-2012 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 127 by New Cat's Eye
07-24-2012 4:55 PM


Re: single sentence summary
I don't see why there couldn't be entities that don't act in their own self interets but make cooperative behavior possible.

That may be so. But that doesn't change that things acting in their own self interests are necessary for cooperative behaviour in animals. Because acting cooperatively is an evolved behavioural trait. So it has to be explained in terms of promoting in its own replication.

So sure, there could be a gene that is not acting in its own self interest. But all things being equal, it'll probably get selected out.

And of course, there could be a meme that is not acting in its own self interest (a well kept secret, might qualify), but it'll likewise struggle to get replicated.

And naturally, a person could have completely selfless motives for doing an act of cooperative behaviour.

But selfless genes don't tend to be explanation behind complex structures, usually the genes are doing things in a certain way because doing it has tended to result in bodies that promote the replication of the genes in question, which is how they are now so common within the gene pool that almost all humans have them.


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 Message 127 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-24-2012 4:55 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 129 by GDR, posted 07-24-2012 5:23 PM Modulous has responded
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-25-2012 12:50 PM Modulous has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4365
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 129 of 203 (668828)
07-24-2012 5:23 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by Modulous
07-24-2012 5:04 PM


Re: single sentence summary
Modulous writes:

That may be so. But that doesn't change that things acting in their own self interests are necessary for cooperative behaviour in animals. Because acting cooperatively is an evolved behavioural trait. So it has to be explained in terms of promoting in its own replication.

Circular reasoning at its finest.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 5:04 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 130 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 5:41 PM GDR has responded

    
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 130 of 203 (668830)
07-24-2012 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 129 by GDR
07-24-2012 5:23 PM


Re: single sentence summary
Circular reasoning at its finest.

I'm not sure what's circular reasoning about suggesting that evolved traits have to be explainable in terms of evolutionary forces. I mean it might be tautological, I suppose - but that just implies that its true.

I'm saying that we have a behavioural trait in humans (various aspects of cooperative behaviour). And we need to explain that. Memes aren't enough, because there needs to be a reason that brains find those memes attractive enough to replicate them. So at its core, we need to look at how genes, interacting with the environment create brains that engage in those behaviours, possible under the influence of memes. One explanation is that the trait is an evolved one, just like all the other prevalent biological traits we have discovered (not for example including freak phenotypic mutations unrelated to genetics). If a trait is common to many members of a species, it is reasonable to conclude that its an inherited trait and is thus probably genetic at its origins, and has thus been subjected to evolution.

So, when we find a gene (or gene complex) that is involved in fostering cooperation, it is natural to conclude that as it is evolved and has become very frequent, it must have promoted its own replication in the environment to which it was adapted.

I don't see what's circular there.


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 Message 129 by GDR, posted 07-24-2012 5:23 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
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GDR
Member
Posts: 4365
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 131 of 203 (668833)
07-24-2012 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 130 by Modulous
07-24-2012 5:41 PM


Re: single sentence summary
Modulous writes:

I don't see what's circular there.

I agree that acting co-operatively can be the result of acting out of self interest. However, it is only your personal view, (as I understand you), that all co-operative, or apparently altruistic behaviour, is a result of our basic selfish nature. Your conclusion is based on your opinion.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


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 Message 130 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 5:41 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 7:01 PM GDR has responded

    
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 132 of 203 (668834)
07-24-2012 6:38 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by Modulous
07-23-2012 2:52 PM


Re: the genetic basis of behaviour
Okay. So what genes make jar push the carts back?

Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 07-23-2012 2:52 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 134 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 7:05 PM Jon has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 133 of 203 (668836)
07-24-2012 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 131 by GDR
07-24-2012 6:01 PM


we are in part, by nature, selfless beings.
However, it is only your personal view, (as I understand you), that all co-operative, or apparently altruistic behaviour, is a result of our basic selfish nature.

That's not my view. We could be acting according to our selfless nature. We do have a selfless nature. It was built by 'selfish' genes. It is 'shaped' by memes (many of which have a 'selfish' nature). And if you want to insert faith related memes as being useful in this regard, I'll not argue the point. Since we're in Faith and Belief I can accept the position that we are partly, by divine will, selfless beings. Just as long as we can agree that we are, by nature, selfless beings too.

Your conclusion is based on your opinion.

It's the same opinion that leads me to conclude that wings are built by selfish genes, that bees engage in kamikaze attacks as a result of their selfish genes. And that opinion is that traits that are commonly found throughout a species, irrelevant of local 'customs', are likely to be inherited traits.

We could do a thing that it is possible to do in any attempt to understand a behavioural trait. We could say 'its magic', and adopt some sort of dualistic stance

But if we're interested in combining reason with faith to find some kind of harmony I think we can do better. I mean, I'm willing to grant that miracles do occur (divine memes or what have you), but just so long as we agree that the natural stuff occurs as well and we're good. So what's the most powerful tool for analysing the details of a biological thing, such as a genetically influenced behaviour? Evolution, of course. The Selfish Gene idea is a way of looking at evolutionary analysis.

What I'm saying is that selfish genes can create selfless beings. I am not saying that selfish genes create selfish beings, who in acting selfishly appear to be acting selflessly. Though that may well happen, too - it's one of the justifications for punishing transgressors (make it in our self interest to not transgress).

Take the kamikaze bee again: When it kills itself to protect the hive, that is the most selfless thing it can possibly do. It literally disregards itself. So to whose benefit? The genes that create kamikaze bees, of course. Those same genes are in the Queen, the reproducer for the colony. So by sacrificing themselves to protect the Queen, they are protecting the best chances of those same genes getting replicated by the Queen.

The bees aren't secretly acting selfishly, because they have nothing to gain as individuals by being dead. Their genes have replication to gain from the sacrifice though. Time has proven that the system does indeed lead to the replication of the genes that cause that behaviour. There may be better ways, but the bees' evolutionary path simply did not lead them there if they exist.

Bees don't need divine memes to behave the way they do, even if we can agree to not argue over whether or not humans benefit from them.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 131 by GDR, posted 07-24-2012 6:01 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by GDR, posted 07-24-2012 8:28 PM Modulous has responded

    
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 134 of 203 (668837)
07-24-2012 7:05 PM
Reply to: Message 132 by Jon
07-24-2012 6:38 PM


Re: the genetic basis of behaviour
Okay. So what genes make jar push the carts back?

I don't know, as I've explained. Nor do I need to, as I've also explained. What you are failing to do is to explain why it is necessary to know this information. Maybe I'll agree with your explanation, and I'll change my view - but I can't if you're not willing to bring it forward.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 132 by Jon, posted 07-24-2012 6:38 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 136 by Jon, posted 07-25-2012 12:37 AM Modulous has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4365
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 135 of 203 (668844)
07-24-2012 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by Modulous
07-24-2012 7:01 PM


Re: we are in part, by nature, selfless beings.
OK I accept that. I would just query this statement.

Modulous writes:

What I'm saying is that selfish genes can create selfless beings.

Would you agree if it was phrased this way? Out of the selfish genes of our birth we can come become beings that have the potential to act selflessly or altruistically.

Edited by GDR, : typo


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Modulous, posted 07-24-2012 7:01 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by Modulous, posted 07-25-2012 8:52 AM GDR has responded
 Message 147 by Stile, posted 07-25-2012 2:06 PM GDR has responded

    
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