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Author Topic:   Religion or Science - How do they compare?
GDR
Member
Posts: 4452
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 541 of 731 (834494)
06-06-2018 7:50 PM
Reply to: Message 540 by Tangle
06-06-2018 5:47 PM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
Tangle writes:

Do you disagree?

I don't disagree that it is immoral but I say it is immoral because I believe that there does exist a moral code that would exist whether or not humanity exists. If we are simply a collection of mindless particles then we are free to come to our own conclusions about morality. Sure we can base those conclusions on what seems to work but still it is our individual and collective conclusions.

Tangle writes:

NO! There are oviously no absolutes - that's why morality has changed over time. My opinion is pretty much the same as yours in matters of murder, rape, theft, slavery etc and the same as the society's and the times we live in - roughly. We all look back now at the horrors of the past and declare them immoral.


In one sense I would say that there are no absolutes. When we talk about morality we generally refer to specific behaviours and actions that are wrong such as what you mentioned. I would say that those actions are the symptoms of a lack of morality. I would say that when our actions are the result of being self centred or selfish, to the detriment of others, then that would be immoral. If our actions are the result of being other focused, even at our own expense, then then that would be moral. Maybe there could be an example where murder could be moral.

TangleIf you accept that empathy evolved - as you appear to do - then you also know how it came to exist 'in the first place'. Ie it evolved, just like all our other traits.
I disagree. If we look at an automobile assembly line we can see exactly how a car is built. It doesn't tell us anything about who or what was the cause of it being there in the first place.

It is my belief, and yes it is belief and faith, that we are here because God wanted a society of creatures that are capable and ultimately successful in evolving into a society where the primary characteristic is unselfish love. The sciences have done a great job in helping us to understand how things are the way they are. It doesn't answer why. If the universe was created in a way that it did not require intervention in any evolutionary process then it seems to me that is a pretty clever design, more so than if it required physical intervention along the way.

Tangle writes:

So what's special about empathy not's not special about, say, jealously, rage, love, hate, fear, smell, upright stance, hairlessness etc etc etc?

Nothing if we are simply the result of a mindless creation.

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 540 by Tangle, posted 06-06-2018 5:47 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 542 by Tangle, posted 06-07-2018 4:20 AM GDR has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 542 of 731 (834504)
06-07-2018 4:20 AM
Reply to: Message 541 by GDR
06-06-2018 7:50 PM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
GDR writes:

I believe that there does exist a moral code that would exist whether or not humanity exists

Now that's a weird but interesting statement.

Homo sapiens have only existed for around 300,000 years. The term sapiens comes from sapient meaning wisdom. We are the only known species that has the capacity to think about the future which enables us to understand the consequences of our actions and not act merely instinctively.

Empathy is a brain function. It exists to lessor extents in other 'higher' mammals. It provides the feelings of compassion for others that our species has and allows us to get on with each other. As a result we are who we are. And as a result a daffodil is what it is.

I'm struggling to understand how there can be a free-floating morailty out there somewhere. It has to live inside a sentient being with the ability to choose its actions. Where is it and what is it?

Maybe there could be an example where murder could be moral.

We say that state murder is moral. War, capital punishment, abortion. I often disagree. Others don't. And these positions change over time. Not too long ago the only punishment for a 'crime' was death. No absolutes even with murder then.

It is my belief, and yes it is belief and faith, that we are here because God wanted a society of creatures that are capable and ultimately successful in evolving into a society where the primary characteristic is unselfish love.

A statement of personal belief is not an argument.

The sciences have done a great job in helping us to understand how things are the way they are. It doesn't answer why.

We are talking here specifically about morality and science has identified it's origins and even pinned it down to the specific area of the brain it operates from.

It has also derived the overall driver of how organism behave the way they do. The why of our behaviour is also known - it's so that we can live together.

Don't confuse all those specifics with the why of everything.

If the universe was created in a way that it did not require intervention in any evolutionary process then it seems to me that is a pretty clever design, more so than if it required physical intervention along the way.

Yeh, well, you've begged the question yet again.

What science has done is push the 'design' further and further back so that now it doesn't even look like design. Back to just a tiny hot point in nothing which expands into a universe so big that we can't fathom it. And on one small planet amongst trillions, billions of years ago something looking a bit like life popped up which later developed a conscience. And it was all planned?

And from there you leap to a Christian god that answers prayer? Come on, it's bonkers. On the one hand he's totally absent for billions of years letting things develop from first principles, the next he's a Christian god demanding worship and performing miracles.

This same god, presumably deliberately, also leaves out of some the of the people he created the very component that makes them moral creatures at all. Why??

And of course you also have to answer why you think there has to be a why anyway....


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 541 by GDR, posted 06-06-2018 7:50 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 543 by GDR, posted 06-09-2018 8:40 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4452
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 543 of 731 (834670)
06-09-2018 8:40 PM
Reply to: Message 542 by Tangle
06-07-2018 4:20 AM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
Tangle writes:

I'm struggling to understand how there can be a free-floating morailty out there somewhere. It has to live inside a sentient being with the ability to choose its actions. Where is it and what is it?

God
Tangle writes:

We say that state murder is moral. War, capital punishment, abortion. I often disagree. Others don't. And these positions change over time. Not too long ago the only punishment for a 'crime' was death. No absolutes even with murder then.

If we are going to have the freedom to choose right and wrong then certainly human laws will vary from culture to culture. And yes, our laws have evolved over time and they have continuously progressed in many cultures, but significantly in our western culture to be more compassionate. If there is a universal morality then that is what we should expect.

Tangle writes:

A statement of personal belief is not an argument.

That is why I specified that it was belief. i have explained numerous times why I believe as I do.

Tangle writes:

We are talking here specifically about morality and science has identified it's origins and even pinned it down to the specific area of the brain it operates from.

It has also derived the overall driver of how organism behave the way they do. The why of our behaviour is also known - it's so that we can live together.

Don't confuse all those specifics with the why of everything.

This is what you do all the time. You confuse process with agency. It again, is like saying that an assembly line is the total explanation of why a car exists.

Tangle writes:

Yeh, well, you've begged the question yet again.

What science has done is push the 'design' further and further back so that now it doesn't even look like design. Back to just a tiny hot point in nothing which expands into a universe so big that we can't fathom it. And on one small planet amongst trillions, billions of years ago something looking a bit like life popped up which later developed a conscience. And it was all planned?


And you are suggesting that from this tiny dot came mindless particles
atoms, molecules, cells, and finally conscious beings with an understanding of morality. That takes more belief or faith than I can muster.
Tangle writes:

And from there you leap to a Christian god that answers prayer? Come on, it's bonkers. On the one hand he's totally absent for billions of years letting things develop from first principles, the next he's a Christian god demanding worship and performing miracles.

This same god, presumably deliberately, also leaves out of some the of the people he created the very component that makes them moral creatures at all. Why??

If one accepts that the theistic position then the next question is what is the nature and desires of this external intelligence. From a Christian perspective I see the next question is whether or not Jesus was resurrected by this intelligence usually called God. I believe it to be historically true and so I go from there. In addition I have had experiences that I believe are the result of being nudged by God. That obviously can't be proved but it has been the conclusion I have come to.
Tangle writes:

This same god, presumably deliberately, also leaves out of some the of the people he created the very component that makes them moral creatures at all. Why??

And of course you also have to answer why you think there has to be a why anyway....

It's the free will argument that you've heard many times before. There always is a question of why. You answer by claiming that all of the whys are simply natural processes on their own.

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 542 by Tangle, posted 06-07-2018 4:20 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 544 by Tangle, posted 06-10-2018 4:31 AM GDR has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


(2)
Message 544 of 731 (834693)
06-10-2018 4:31 AM
Reply to: Message 543 by GDR
06-09-2018 8:40 PM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
GDR writes:

God

I asked where is it and what is it?

Unless you have at least some kind of working hypothesis, I'm just going to say it's a total fabrication invented by primitive peoples.

If we are going to have the freedom to choose right and wrong then certainly human laws will vary from culture to culture. And yes, our laws have evolved over time and they have continuously progressed in many cultures, but significantly in our western culture to be more compassionate.

Ok so you've abandonned your position of a free-floating, absolute morality and you accept that cultures create their own moralities. You also accept that our societies have become more compassionate over time.

It's also clear that it's the development of progressive secular institutions that have made Western societies more compassionate. In those countries where those institutions are less developed and/or where religions or other dogmas are in power, compassion for the individual is less developed. The 2,000 years of religious totalitarianisn was something that had to be overcome before human rights could evolve to the extent that they have.

If there is a universal morality then that is what we should expect.

Eh? If there is a universal morality it would be expected to be universal and constant. Like gravity. Not totally flexible and developmental.

That is why I specified that it was belief. i have explained numerous times why I believe as I do

Yes we know. It's still not an argument. You present it as if if is. My mother believes that it's bad luck to put new shoes on a table. So what? Without any supporting evidence we can move on without comment.

This is what you do all the time. You confuse process with agency.

This is what you do all the time, assume agency. To claim agency you have to observe an agent. Present your agent.

It again, is like saying that an assembly line is the total explanation of why a car exists.

If it was a simple as this, you would by now have pointed to the maker of god’s assembly line. You can't; you impose your understanding of human processes onto the universe. We make stuff, so there must be something bigger than us that made us. Well no, that's a total non-sequitur.

For us the process IS the why. You accept the process of evolution, there is absolutely no sense of purpose or design in the long and random course that has taken. It's absolutely nothing like an assembly line - it's a total fluke that frogs exist let alone people. If we ran the process again, it's highly unlikely that we'd recognise any living organism. It's a fluke that H. sapiens exist - if the meteor hadn't hit the earth the dinasaurs wouldn't have died out and the tiny shrew-like creature that gave rise to modern mammals and us probably wouldn't have developed further. Did god send the meteor?

And you are suggesting that from this tiny dot came mindless particles atoms, molecules, cells, and finally conscious beings with an understanding of morality.

I'm not suggesting it, I'm telling you that it's so. We have mountains of evidence for it and you accept all of it. You just have a bit of magical thinking left where some unknown moral entity pulled a string 13 billion years ago and disappeared without trace.

That takes more belief or faith than I can muster.

You have a magical belief that comforts you, I have evidence, science and rational conclusions.

If one accepts that the theistic position then the next question is what is the nature and desires of this external intelligence. From a Christian perspective I see the next question is whether or not Jesus was resurrected by this intelligence usually called God. I believe it to be historically true and so I go from there.

You have built your house on sand haven't you? Adding unproveable and unevidenced assumptions on top of each other.

In addition I have had experiences that I believe are the result of being nudged by God. That obviously can't be proved but it has been the conclusion I have come to.

I've spoken to several people who say these things. Every time they reluctantly tell me what these experiences are they turn out to be the most ordinary things you can imagine. Maybe yours was different?

It's the free will argument that you've heard many times before. There always is a question of why. You answer by claiming that all of the whys are simply natural processes on their own.

We know that life developed from a very simple organism into the diversity and complexity we see today. There is no why there. You're asking a human question, there's no reason at all why there needs to be a why. The physicists tell us that the universe itself doesn't need a why. This is something ordinary people can't/won't understand, they need purpose and create a supreme being to provide one. But not happy with that, they then create tens of thousands of religions to go with it.

You are only a Christian because you were born in a Christian culture, almost certainly to Christian parents. Just another accident. No why involved.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 543 by GDR, posted 06-09-2018 8:40 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 545 by Phat, posted 06-10-2018 8:45 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 548 by GDR, posted 06-10-2018 7:38 PM Tangle has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10805
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 545 of 731 (834698)
06-10-2018 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 544 by Tangle
06-10-2018 4:31 AM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
tangle writes:

If there is a universal morality it would be expected to be universal and constant. Like gravity. Not totally flexible and developmental.

Gravity is a force. A uniform force. Humans, in contrast, are somewhat flexible and developmental. (which can be observed in sociological interactions between cultures)
tangle, to GDR writes:

...you impose your understanding of human processes onto the universe. We make stuff, so there must be something bigger than us that made us. Well no, that's a total non-sequitur.

Are you thus suggesting that there is nothing (or no one)yet detectable that is bigger than humans?
tangle writes:

You have a magical belief that comforts you, I have evidence, science and rational conclusions.

Well, I can't argue with you there. Define magical, however.
The physicists tell us that the universe itself doesn't need a why. This is something ordinary people can't/won't understand,
Evidence, science, and rational conclusions seem to be a form of "because". Such maturity in the human race! We stopped asking why..... What actually happened, however, is that we took the responsibility ourselves rather than allowing a "magical Being" to have it.
You are only a Christian because you were born in a Christian culture, almost certainly to Christian parents. Just another accident. No why involved.
I have one. Define accident.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 544 by Tangle, posted 06-10-2018 4:31 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 546 by Tangle, posted 06-10-2018 9:02 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 547 by ringo, posted 06-10-2018 2:18 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 546 of 731 (834699)
06-10-2018 9:02 AM
Reply to: Message 545 by Phat
06-10-2018 8:45 AM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
Phat writes:

Gravity is a force. A uniform force. Humans, in contrast, are somewhat flexible and developmental. (which can be observed in sociological interactions between cultures)

Yes Phat human values change. However, GDP is referring to a absolute, universal, freeform morality free from human failings - the source of which is his god. He claims it's the source of our morality. I claim that it's a brain function (and a hormone called oxytocin) - both of which evolved.

Are you thus suggesting that there is nothing (or no one)yet detectable that is bigger than humans?

Elephants?

There's no evidence for anything 'bigger' than us. Or do you know something I don't?

Well, I can't argue with you there. Define magical, however.

Something that defies natural laws. ie super-natural. But we've done this.....

Evidence, science, and rational conclusions seem to be a form of "because". Such maturity in the human race! We stopped asking why..... What actually happened, however, is that we took the responsibility ourselves rather than allowing a "magical Being" to have it.

We didn't take any responsibilty, we just noticed that all the myths and campfire stories of supreme beings and people being formed from ribs and dust and floods and loafs and fishes and and and.... are just that, made up stories to satisfy our dumb questions. Stuff we made up before we knew how anything at all worked.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 545 by Phat, posted 06-10-2018 8:45 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14630
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 547 of 731 (834707)
06-10-2018 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 545 by Phat
06-10-2018 8:45 AM


Re: Moral problems in the Bible?
Phat writes:

Define accident.


quote:
Well, an accident is something that you wouldn't do over again if you had the chance. A surprise is something you didn't even know you wanted until you got it.
-- Roseanne

An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 545 by Phat, posted 06-10-2018 8:45 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4452
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 548 of 731 (834755)
06-10-2018 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 544 by Tangle
06-10-2018 4:31 AM


Is there purpose?
Tangle writes:

I asked where is it and what is it
Unless you have at least some kind of working hypothesis, I'm just going to say it's a total fabrication invented by primitive peoples.

I believe that we exist because there is an intelligence that is responsible for our existence. I call that intelligence God. It may well be a mistaken belief but it isn’t a total fabrication. People have always asked the question “why do I exist”. One answer is because of intelligence and another answer is the materialistic belief that you hold.
Tangle writes:

Ok so you've abandonned your position of a free-floating, absolute morality and you accept that cultures create their own moralities. You also accept that our societies have become more compassionate over time.

I accept that cultures create their own moralities and that many societies have become more compassionate over time. (I would point out that where this has been most true is in cultures with a Judeo-Christian heritage.) However that has nothing to do with whether there exists a universal morality that exists apart from any cultural conclusions.
It's also clear that it's the development of progressive secular institutions that have made Western societies more compassionate. In those countries where those institutions are less developed and/or where religions or other dogmas are in power, compassion for the individual is less developed.
I agree with all of that. I would add though that in the western world it was the church, as imperfect as it has always been, that was largely responsible for institutions such as hospitals and schools. I also agree that where religion has been the path to political power it is a disaster for both church and state.
Tangle writes:

Eh? If there is a universal morality it would be expected to be universal and constant. Like gravity. Not totally flexible and developmental.

Absolutely not. If morality is imposed on our consciousness then morality as such ceases to exist. It is just what is and we wouldn’t have any understanding of it. It would be like telling a fish that it is wet.
Tangle writes:

Yes we know. It's still not an argument. You present it as if if is. My mother believes that it's bad luck to put new shoes on a table. So what? Without any supporting evidence we can move on without comment.

We exist, we have consciousness, we have an understanding of morality, there is the anthropic principle etc. It is evidence of something and we have come to different conclusions. I say it is evidence that we are the result of intelligence and you don’t agree.
GDR writes:

This is what you do all the time. You confuse process with agency.

Tangle writes:

This is what you do all the time, assume agency. To claim agency you have to observe an agent. Present your agent.

Let’s go back to the assembly line. I look at my car and wonder how it came to be. I research it and find that it was built on an assembly line. I have no conclusive evidence beyond that but I come to the conclusion that intelligence brought that assembly line into existence. Metaphorically, you would conclude that the assembly line just happened naturally without any intelligent input.
Tangle writes:

If it was a simple as this, you would by now have pointed to the maker of god’s assembly line. You can't; you impose your understanding of human processes onto the universe. We make stuff, so there must be something bigger than us that made us. Well no, that's a total non-sequitur. For us the process IS the why. You accept the process of evolution, there is absolutely no sense of purpose or design in the long and random course that has taken. It's absolutely nothing like an assembly line - it's a total fluke that frogs exist let alone people. If we ran the process again, it's highly unlikely that we'd recognise any living organism. It's a fluke that H. sapiens exist - if the meteor hadn't hit the earth the dinasaurs wouldn't have died out and the tiny shrew-like creature that gave rise to modern mammals and us probably wouldn't have developed further. Did god send the meteor?

Certainly there is considerable randomness to the evolutionary process. You accept the materialist position that there is nothing but the material. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) I am agnostic on whether or not God knew that we would wind up with humans with 10 toes and walk on 2 legs. I believe that the universe was created to allow for the evolution of creatures that would freely choose to love unselfishly and even sacrificially.
However the fact is that there are a virtually infinite number of things that had to be exactly as they are in order for life as we know it to exist. ( A lot like an assembly line.  ) It is either the result of chance or intelligence.
Tangle writes:

I'm not suggesting it, I'm telling you that it's so. We have mountains of evidence for it and you accept all of it. You just have a bit of magical thinking left where some unknown moral entity pulled a string 13 billion years ago and disappeared without trace.

Well, I wouldn’t say without a trace. Mankind has posited all sorts of ideas about a deity for longer than we have records. There seems to be something in us, that we are free to reject as you do, that we are teleological beings and that there is more than just what we observe. It appears that part of our nature is to try and sort that out. Also, as a Christian I contend that in the man Jesus He revealed everything about His nature. We also have other figures that have presented a similar message from Buddah to Moses to Mahatma Gandhi.

Tangle writes:

You have a magical belief that comforts you, I have evidence, science and rational conclusions.

You can patronizingly suggest that I believe as I do because it comforts me. I believe it because, although I have no doubt that I’m wrong on some points, I am convinced of the fundamental truth of what I believe, whether it be comforting or not. I can’t prove my form of Christianity just as you can’t prove your atheism. We both have come to our very different conclusions.
Tangle writes:

You have built your house on sand haven't you? Adding unproveable and unevidenced assumptions on top of each other.

Well, I would say the same about you which doesn’t advance the discussion very far.
Tangle writes:

I've spoken to several people who say these things. Every time they reluctantly tell me what these experiences are they turn out to be the most ordinary things you can imagine. Maybe yours was different?

Maybe, maybe not. I think that God in general works through the ordinary things.
Tangle writes:

We know that life developed from a very simple organism into the diversity and complexity we see today. There is no why there. You're asking a human question, there's no reason at all why there needs to be a why. The physicists tell us that the universe itself doesn't need a why. This is something ordinary people can't/won't understand, they need purpose and create a supreme being to provide one. But not happy with that, they then create tens of thousands of religions to go with it.

But there is a why, no matter what we think that why is. Sure we can observe natural processes where life has evolved from simple organisms and you believe that those natural processes are self generating and explain everything in and of themselves. The fact that there are so many religions is simply humans trying to make sense of our existence and usually those religions involve a considerable amount of self interest which causes one to be suspicious. I agree that the Christian religion is manmade which is evidenced by the fact that hardly any 2 Christians will agree on everything. The Christian religion has formed around the belief that God through a progressive revelation revealed His nature and desires to the Hebrew nation, (which is not to say that the Hebrews were the only ones touched by God), and that His nature was perfectly embodied by the man Jesus. God vindicated the teachings and belief of Jesus by resurrecting Him. Christianity has struggled, as Paul did, to form a religion based on that over the years, and I suggest that it is still a progressive revelation and that over the centuries it continues to become more focused.
Tangle writes:

You are only a Christian because you were born in a Christian culture, almost certainly to Christian parents. Just another accident. No why involved.

Quite probably if you had been born 150 years ago into an English society that was predominately Christian you’d be a Christian today. However you are part of a society that is predominately secular and so it is just an accident that you are atheistic.

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 544 by Tangle, posted 06-10-2018 4:31 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 549 by Tangle, posted 06-11-2018 3:40 AM GDR has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 549 of 731 (834762)
06-11-2018 3:40 AM
Reply to: Message 548 by GDR
06-10-2018 7:38 PM


Re: Is there purpose?
GDR writes:

I believe that we exist because there is an intelligence that is responsible for our existence.

Yes, we know, but repeating your belief tells us nothing except that you believe something.

I call that intelligence God. It may well be a mistaken belief but it isn’t a total fabrication.

There have been hundreds, thousands of gods. All fabricated. Why is yours different?

People have always asked the question “why do I exist”. One answer is because of intelligence and another answer is the materialistic belief that you hold.

You're still missing the point. I don't hold any belief about 'why'. I don't accept that there needs to be a 'why'. I claim that it's this insistence that there must be a why that had lead to the invention of all these totally unevidenced gods.

However that has nothing to do with whether there exists a universal morality that exists apart from any cultural conclusions.

Correct. We have evidence for how our own morality developed and works and none whatsoever for your freefloating, universal morality.

Absolutely not. If morality is imposed on our consciousness then morality as such ceases to exist.

But morality *IS* imposed on our consciousness. Unless we are afflicted with psychpathy or brain damage we can not avoid feeling compassion for others. Empathy - and thus morality - is part of our physical make-up, like having two hands.

It is just what is and we wouldn’t have any understanding of it. It would be like telling a fish that it is wet.

This is just fantasy.

We exist, we have consciousness, we have an understanding of morality, there is the anthropic principle etc. It is evidence of something and we have come to different conclusions. I say it is evidence that we are the result of intelligence and you don’t agree.

How could anybody agree? it's a non-sequitur. There is no logic in the statement 'I exist therefore god exists'.

Certainly there is considerable randomness to the evolutionary process.

'Certain' randomness? The evolutionary process requires randomness, it's one of it's core precepts. It's the 'mindlessness' that you are fond of pointing out.

I am agnostic on whether or not God knew that we would wind up with humans with 10 toes and walk on 2 legs. I believe that the universe was created to allow for the evolution of creatures that would freely choose to love unselfishly and even sacrificially.

I suppose it would be useless to remind you that what you believe is irrelevant. I'm only interested in what you can support with reasoned argument and evidence. If you're simply going to keep saying that you believe what you believe, we're not going to get anywhere.

However the fact is that there are a virtually infinite number of things that had to be exactly as they are in order for life as we know it to exist. ( A lot like an assembly line.  ) It is either the result of chance or intelligence.

Or it was inevitable given the amount of time and material in the universe.

Well, I wouldn’t say without a trace. Mankind has posited all sorts of ideas about a deity for longer than we have records. There seems to be something in us, that we are free to reject as you do, that we are teleological beings and that there is more than just what we observe. It appears that part of our nature is to try and sort that out.

Man needs to answer 'why’. Does that mean that there's an answer? Or that it's a valid question? So far there have been thousands of answers - all of them pure imagination. Pretty much every belief system has been disproven piece by piece so that now you're left trying to find god further and further way. Perhaps he's in dark matter? He's gone from being literally a man on a cloud to a quantum. As we learn more he retreats further.

Also, as a Christian I contend that in the man Jesus He revealed everything about His nature. We also have other figures that have presented a similar message from Buddah to Moses to Mahatma Gandhi.

And as noted, the ONLY reason you believe that is because you were born into a Christian society to Christian parents. Accident.

Quite probably if you had been born 150 years ago into an English society that was predominately Christian you’d be a Christian today.

I absolutely would be. It would be impossible not to be. A combination of ignorance, brain washing and threat meant everybody had to believe. I believed myself until I was 13. We believe what we are told in the absence of other data.

However you are part of a society that is predominately secular and so it is just an accident that you are atheistic.

Yes, it's an accident for me personally that I wasn't born into a theocracy but it's not an accident that society itself is becoming less theocratic as it learns more and allows its members to think rationally for themselves.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 548 by GDR, posted 06-10-2018 7:38 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 550 by GDR, posted 06-12-2018 9:53 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4452
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 550 of 731 (834816)
06-12-2018 9:53 PM
Reply to: Message 549 by Tangle
06-11-2018 3:40 AM


Empathy and epigentics
OK. We can have gone over the same arguments several times so I would like to try something else. Here is a link to an article on the scientific basis for empathy.
The Science Behind Psychopaths and Extreme Altruists
Like you say they have found portions of the brain which can be shown to affect our potential for good or evil. But it also shows that it isn’t the final answer. It can also be affected and even changed either way by environment. Here is a quote:
quote:
Our capacity to empathize and channel that into compassion may be innate, but it is not immutable. Neither is the tendency to develop psychopathic and antisocial personalities so fixed in childhood as to be unchangeable. In recent years researchers have shown the feasibility of nipping evil in the bud as well as strengthening our positive social instincts.

The possibility of preventing violent teenage boys from hardening into lifelong criminals has been put to the test at the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Wisconsin, a facility that houses serious offenders but is run more as a psychiatric unit than as a prison. The adolescents referred to the center come in with already long criminal histories—teenagers who are a threat to others.

“These are folks who essentially have dropped out of the human race—they don’t have any connection to anyone, and they are in a real antagonistic posture with everybody,” says Michael Caldwell, a senior staff psychologist.
The center attempts to build a connection with the kids despite their aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Even when an inmate hurls feces or sprays urine at staff members—a common occurrence at many correctional institutions—the staff members keep treating the offender humanely. The kids are scored on a set of behavior rating scales every day. If they do well, they earn certain privileges the following day, such as a chance to play video games. If they score badly, say, by getting into a fight, they lose privileges. The focus is not on punishing bad behavior but on rewarding good conduct. That’s different from most correctional institutions. Over time the kids start to behave better, says Greg Van Rybroek, the center’s director. Their callous-unemotional traits diminish. Their improved ability to manage their emotions and control their violent impulses seems to endure beyond the walls of Mendota. Adolescents treated in the program have committed far fewer and less violent offenses between two and six years after release than those treated elsewhere, the center’s studies have found. “We don’t have any magic,” Van Rybroek says, “but we’ve actually created a system that considers the world from the youth’s point of view and tries to break it down in a fair and consistent manner.”

During the past decade researchers have discovered that our social brain is plastic, even in adulthood, and that we can be trained to be more kind and generous. Tania Singer, a social neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, has pioneered studies demonstrating this.



This article, and I’d say that all of us through personal experience and observation would agree, claims that people can change for better or for worse. So, if people whose brain structure, (or however you want to phrase it) shows that they should have a tendency one way it isn’t immutable. It can be changed, and as you say it has changed as societies have evolved.

I have done a little reading on epigenetics recently and it seems that our genetic expression can be modified without change to the genetic code itself. Our behaviour patterns can be changed by our family, friend, society etc. It strikes me that this is very close to Dawkins’ memes in his book “The Selfish Gene”.
So if we as individual can transmit memes to one another that can change a person’s tendency away from or towards empathy the isn’t it also conceivable that there could be a God meme that could also impact our behaviours in the same way. And further, isn’t it reasonable to think that the same meme would also give us the impetus to attempt to encourage others to be more empathetic.

Maybe the “still small voice of God’ is just one of Dawkins’ memes.


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 549 by Tangle, posted 06-11-2018 3:40 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 551 by Tangle, posted 06-13-2018 4:22 AM GDR has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 551 of 731 (834822)
06-13-2018 4:22 AM
Reply to: Message 550 by GDR
06-12-2018 9:53 PM


Re: Empathy and epigentics
GDR writes:

Like you say they have found portions of the brain which can be shown to affect our potential for good or evil.

Finally!

But it also shows that it isn’t the final answer. It can also be affected and even changed either way by environment.

Of course it's not the final answer, we've known for a long time that nurture is at least as important as nature. The article you link to is pretty good in a popularist way and picks out most of the core point:

quote:
For centuries the question of how good and evil originate and manifest in us was a matter of philosophical or religious debate. But in recent decades researchers have made significant advances toward understanding the science of what drives good and evil. Both seem to be linked to a key emotional trait: empathy, which is an intrinsic ability of the brain to experience how another person is feeling. Researchers have found that empathy is the kindling that fires compassion in our hearts, impelling us to help others in distress. Studies also have traced violent, psychopathic, and antisocial behaviors to a lack of empathy, which appears to stem from impaired neural circuits.

This is what I've been trying to tell you for a long time. Empathy is an evolved trait like all others and is the source of what we call morality. It's a brain function. It's not a voice from god acting on our heart. So can we put all that magical thinking to one side?

Now, your quote about violent teenage criminals. There are many ways that people's behaviour becomes violent and anti-social. The main ones are not psychopathy, they're social. The environment if you like - poverty, drugs, homelessness, lack of parental control, violence in childhood, criminal upbringing etc etc. There's no claim in the article that the children suffer from psychopathy, it's far more likely that most don't.

But of course it's true that with enough time, resource and determination some children - and even adults - can be rehabilitated.

It's not even the case that all psychopaths are criminals. They simply lack the emotions that the rest of us have to empathise with others. They learn to fake empathy: intellect rather than emotion. This is why a disproportionate number of CEOs are psychopaths.

So if we as individual can transmit memes to one another that can change a person’s tendency away from or towards empathy the isn’t it also conceivable that there could be a God meme that could also impact our behaviours in the same way. And further, isn’t it reasonable to think that the same meme would also give us the impetus to attempt to encourage others to be more empathetic.

As your god retreats further and further away you desperately try to drag him back into your mystical territory.

The empathy trait dominates our society, it forces us to get along. Additionally our intelligence has developed structures in society that magnify its effect beyong family and friends to encompass complete strangers and to force compliance often against our own interests. These are our schools, hospitals, social services, criminal justice systems and other institutions. They shape our moral behaviour - normalising good behaviour and punishing bad. As a result of our development as pro-social beings violence and criminal behaviour has fallen through the centuries.

In other words your 'god memes' source is empathy and consciuosness - both evolved traits - which allows us to develop into the people we are.

I have no idea how you jemmy your god into that process but I'm sure you'll try. Whatever you imagine, a god is not necessary to produce the effect, nor is there any evidence that he has.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 550 by GDR, posted 06-12-2018 9:53 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 552 by Faith, posted 06-13-2018 9:06 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 597 by GDR, posted 06-15-2018 7:01 PM Tangle has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 28462
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


(1)
Message 552 of 731 (834825)
06-13-2018 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 551 by Tangle
06-13-2018 4:22 AM


Re: Empathy and epigentics
Doesn't it ever bother you that you are this amazing creature, meaning that human beings are amazing creatures, too amazing to have been thrown together by mindless particles, too amazing to live for a while with all our amazing thoughts and feelings that have nothing to do with the life of mere mindless particles, ideals that seem inconsistent with the life of mere particles, even the idea of eternal life which some have though maybe you don't let yourself have it, only to flare up for a few decades and then just get snuffed out forever? Doesn't it seem like a tremendous waste? Shouldn't you be shaking your fist at such a system that would create such an amazing being only to kill it forever? Instead so many here are shaking fists at the idea of a God who intended us to be amazing and offers us eternal life. I guess I get it, I spent most of my life believing some such thing but I also hated it and thought it ridiculous that such a creature could be created by mere chemistry. Sure, it proves nothing except that we are incredibly tragic beings out of place and hopeless. Just the way it is, just "reality." Get real, accept this ridiculous tragic fate.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 551 by Tangle, posted 06-13-2018 4:22 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 553 by Tangle, posted 06-13-2018 11:20 AM Faith has responded
 Message 586 by jar, posted 06-15-2018 8:05 AM Faith has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5758
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 553 of 731 (834827)
06-13-2018 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 552 by Faith
06-13-2018 9:06 AM


Re: Empathy and epigentics
Faith writes:

Doesn't it ever bother you that you are this amazing creature, meaning that human beings are amazing creatures,

No, why should it?

too amazing to have been thrown together by mindless particles, too amazing to live for a while with all our amazing thoughts and feelings that have nothing to do with the life of mere mindless particles,

This sort of thinking was, of course, what created all the gods that mankind has invented. But it’s now known to be false. People are made of the same stuff as cockroaches. I am special therefore god exists and he is Christian is terrible logic.

Doesn't it seem like a tremendous waste? Shouldn't you be shaking your fist at such a system that would create such an amazing being only to kill it forever?

Would shaking my fist make any difference? It is what it is, we both won the lottery of life, enjoy it.

instead so many here are shaking fists at the idea of a God who intended us to be amazing and offers us eternal life.

There’s no god offering anything. How can we shake a fist at someone else’s fantasy?

I guess I get it, I spent most of my life believing some such thing but I also hated it and thought it ridiculous that such a creature could be created by mere chemistry.

You hated the idea that this is all there is so chose to believe something that made you feel better. Fine, but it changes nothing about whether what you believe is true or not.

Sure, it proves nothing except that we are incredibly tragic beings out of place and hopeless. Just the way it is, just "reality." Get real, accept this ridiculous tragic fate.

I have accepted this ridiculous fate. It’s a hoot.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 552 by Faith, posted 06-13-2018 9:06 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 554 by Faith, posted 06-13-2018 12:09 PM Tangle has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 28462
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 554 of 731 (834832)
06-13-2018 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 553 by Tangle
06-13-2018 11:20 AM


Re: Empathy and epigentics
You hated the idea that this is all there is so chose to believe something that made you feel better.

I'm not going to argue with anything else you said, but this I want to correct: I'm sure there are lots of people, westerners anyway, who have had such feelings as I described and yet never came to believe in any God or gods, just went on in the sense of futility getting whatever pleasure they could find, as you seem to suggest is all we can expect anyway. I didn't become a believer until I was about 46 and I really think I could have gone on never becoming a believer because it isn't my choice. If I had chosen perhaps I would have chosen to believe....SOMETHING, though it might not have been Christianity because I had a struggle when it came to that choice even after I had become convinced of supernatural realities. Nobody can simply choose to be a Christian, scripture says that in a million ways, you are called by God or you are not His, it's His gift. And I know that in my own experience. I couldn't believe what I'd read about religion or Christianity, really couldn't, so when I finally did I know it was not my choice, I know God had mercy on me and gave me that gift and I am eternally grateful. I suppose some people become Christians in a sense for a while out of some idea it is comforting but I don't see how they could last long. This life is full of joy, but it is not full of fun and sometimes it is downright miserable from a human point of view.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 553 by Tangle, posted 06-13-2018 11:20 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 555 by NoNukes, posted 06-13-2018 12:38 PM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 556 by Tangle, posted 06-13-2018 1:25 PM Faith has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10695
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 555 of 731 (834833)
06-13-2018 12:38 PM
Reply to: Message 554 by Faith
06-13-2018 12:09 PM


Re: Empathy and epigentics
I couldn't believe what I'd read about religion or Christianity, really couldn't, so when I finally did I know it was not my choice, I know God had mercy on me and gave me that gift and I am eternally grateful. I suppose some people become Christians in a sense for a while out of some idea it is comforting but I don't see how they could last long. This life is full of joy, but it is not full of fun and sometimes it is downright miserable from a human point of view.

Your statement shows the lack of empathy for which you are quite famous. Not everyone's experience is the same as yours or the same as mine. But it is quite clear that you cannot entertain, let alone understand, how any "real Christian" could be different from you.

Small wonder that you think your way is the only correct way.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith

No it is based on math I studied in sixth grade, just plain old addition, substraction and multiplication. -- ICANT


This message is a reply to:
 Message 554 by Faith, posted 06-13-2018 12:09 PM Faith has not yet responded

    
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