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Author Topic:   Morals without God or Darwin, just Empathy
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 25 of 184 (380876)
01-29-2007 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by anastasia
01-28-2007 2:11 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
quote:
You may give me a detailed explanation of brain functions which tell us to feel selfish or emphatic. Sounds good, but you forgot one thing; we don't do what our brain tells us.

Sure we do.

We do what our brain tells us all the time.

Just because the incredibly complex interaction of the biological, social, and individual basis for human behavior cannot be easily reduced to the pat sound-bites you seem to require doesn't mean you are right and science is wrong.

"God gave us morals" is certainly easier to deal with, but it explains nothing.

It is an intellectual dead end.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by anastasia, posted 01-28-2007 2:11 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 26 of 184 (380877)
01-29-2007 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Jon
01-29-2007 9:29 AM


Re: Some more agreement
quote:
Personally, I'd push the button. Personally, I'd push the button.

You know what happens to the people who push the button?

They get to be the next person hooked up to the killing machine for somebody else to kill.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Jon, posted 01-29-2007 9:29 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by Jon, posted 01-29-2007 10:58 AM nator has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 31 of 184 (380899)
01-29-2007 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Stile
01-29-2007 10:01 AM


Re: Survival is not part of the thought-process
quote:
Anything regarding "survival-chances" does not affect my morality decisions.

Are you sure? "anything" is a mighty all-inclusive word.

In my experience, individual morality is extremely situation-dependent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Stile, posted 01-29-2007 10:01 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 42 of 184 (381037)
01-29-2007 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by anastasia
01-29-2007 1:03 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
quote:
It is a system which believes in Good as something which is more than a human brain function which chnages willy-nilly from day to day.

It does?

Please explain.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 1:03 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 10:46 PM nator has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 43 of 184 (381044)
01-29-2007 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by anastasia
01-29-2007 2:55 PM


Re: The same but different?
quote:
Making it all survival instinct is making us back into natural animals, and even if I believe in evolution, I believe we have evolved to realize that there is more to life than our body or the visible universe.

We have also evolved the ability to realize that we are going to die someday.

Thus, religion was born in order to explain what happens after we die.

quote:
We have evolved detectors; emotions, spiritual awareness, etc.

No kidding?

Where is the "spiritual awareness detector" in humans?

quote:
If there is no God, most of these evolved skills have gained us nothing in terms of survival that animals without emotion or free-will, intelligence or awareness have not gained.

Most higher animals do, indeed, have emotions. Some of the most complex animal emotional lives can be seen, not surprisingly, in our closest relatives, the great apes.

Chimps, not surprisingly as they are our very closest relatives, are also self-aware, just as humans are.

Remember, ana, that the ability to imagine a God may easily be an artifact of having such large, complex brains.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 2:55 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 59 of 184 (381207)
01-30-2007 8:11 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by anastasia
01-29-2007 10:23 PM


Re: The same but different?
quote:
If morality was so gosh darn easy to explain, why do we even have a seperate word for it? Why not a simple answer that anyone can grasp, like the way we see a rainbow? Put it in a science book already; Where We Get Morality 101.

Nobody is saying that morality is easy to explain.

On the other hand, you don't try to explain it at all.

You just say, "Godidit", which is the most unsatisfying explanation of all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 10:23 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 60 of 184 (381208)
01-30-2007 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by anastasia
01-29-2007 10:46 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
quote:
Sure, any relative 'good' changes from day to day. Moment to moment.

But you said that our brain function changes willy-nilly from day to day.

Can you please explain how the function of the brain changes willy-milly from day to day?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 10:46 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 61 of 184 (381211)
01-30-2007 8:31 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by anastasia
01-29-2007 10:55 PM


Re: The same but different?
We have also evolved the ability to realize that we are going to die someday.

quote:
How is that different from;

ana writes:
We have evolved to realize that there is more to life than our body or the visible universe.


quote:
In both cases, we wonder what happens when we die.

The difference is that you are making a claim that there is more to life than our body and the physical universe.

I make no such claim.

Where is the "spiritual awareness detector" in humans?

quote:
The spiritual awareness is the detector.

Huh? This makes no sense.

You said that we 'evolved' a 'spiritual awareness detector', just like we evolved emotions. I can point to the brain structures that produce and regulate emotion. Where on the body is the part that detects the spiritual?

Most higher animals do, indeed, have emotions. Some of the most complex animal emotional lives can be seen, not surprisingly, in our closest relatives, the great apes

quote:
I have animals. I see sympathy-type behaviors. I do not see choices, or guilt over lack of sympathy.

But you do see emotions in those animals, which contradicts what you claimed in your previous post:

quote:
If there is no God, most of these evolved skills have gained us nothing in terms of survival that animals without emotion or free-will, intelligence or awareness have not gained.

Now it seems that you are moving the goalposts.

Remember, ana, that the ability to imagine a God may easily be an artifact of having such large, complex brains

quote:
What does the in-ability to imagine God mean? Small, simple brains?

Pretty much, yes.

Self-awareness and the cognitive ability to plan far into the future is probably neccessary, as well.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by anastasia, posted 01-29-2007 10:55 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 85 of 184 (381439)
01-30-2007 11:34 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by anastasia
01-30-2007 4:05 PM


Re: We've relied on our survival drive all this time, is it still used?
quote:
And yes, 'love thy neighbor' is preached in many ancient religious texts, way before any behavior science tried to claim it was survival instinct. No one has to preach survival as if they were driving a mule. We already have plenty of natural selfishness driving our survival, and plenty of intelligence to make it work.

For the umpteenth time, ana, "Love thy neighbor" IS A PART OF SURVIVAL BEHABIOR, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!.

Groups are far safer in a dangerous existence than individuals.

"Love thy neighbor" is a way for groups to remain cohesive by facilitating cooperation. "Do unto others", in other words.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by anastasia, posted 01-30-2007 4:05 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by anastasia, posted 01-31-2007 6:48 PM nator has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 86 of 184 (381441)
01-30-2007 11:37 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by anastasia
01-30-2007 6:23 PM


Re: Mundane? Yes. Survival-driven? Not convinced.
quote:
Sure, you have said that we have things which tell us right from wrong. You have scientifically proved this. The Bible also said we have these things, and the writers did not have to go to behvioral science class to find out.

Yeah, and the answer the writers of the Bible give us is "Godidit."

What now?

How does that increase our understanding of anything at all?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by anastasia, posted 01-30-2007 6:23 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 135 of 184 (382577)
02-05-2007 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 91 by anastasia
01-31-2007 6:48 PM


Re: We've relied on our survival drive all this time, is it still used?
quote:
For the umpteenth time, why are those promoting 'survival' here, so full of 'hate thy neighbor', make fun of thy neighbor, talk down to thy neighbor, mock thy neighbor, ridicule, get revenge on, accuse of ignorance, and feel superior to thy God-fearing neighbor?

Because social interactions are incredibly complex, ana, despite you wanting it to be easy and simple to look at and understand.

It isn't an either-or equation. Power is part of our survival phychology as well, as is in-group/out-group xenophobia type feelings.

quote:
I thought love was a 'natural' instinctual and/or learned behavior?

It is both, that is correct. But so are lots and lots of other feelings and behaviors.

quote:
Please do not continue to ignore the fact that we have the ability to HATE, and please do not make HATRED out to be another acceptable survival tactic.

It certainly can be.

But all of this reply of yours is another attempt to avoid the issue.

You wrote:

And yes, 'love thy neighbor' is preached in many ancient religious texts, way before any behavior science tried to claim it was survival instinct. No one has to preach survival as if they were driving a mule. We already have plenty of natural selfishness driving our survival, and plenty of intelligence to make it work.

You seems to me to be claiming that it is only selfishness that "drives survival", but that is not true. Empathy and cooperation also drive survival.

Now, I do wish you would answer this question I keep asking:

You wrote:

quote:
Sure, you have said that we have things which tell us right from wrong. You have scientifically proved this. The Bible also said we have these things, and the writers did not have to go to behvioral science class to find out.

Yeah, and the answer the writers of the Bible give us is "Godidit."

What now?

How does that increase our understanding of anything at all?


'Explanations like "God won't be tested by scientific studies" but local yokels can figure it out just by staying aware of what's going on have no rational basis whatsoever.' -Percy

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."- Richard Feynman

"Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends! Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!"
- Ned Flanders


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by anastasia, posted 01-31-2007 6:48 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 137 of 184 (382580)
02-05-2007 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by anastasia
02-01-2007 3:52 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
quote:
People don't write books reminding us to survive by stealing, lying, or murdering when we have to.

Er, yes they do.

One of the most famous is Machiavelli's, The Prince.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by anastasia, posted 02-01-2007 3:52 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 138 of 184 (382581)
02-05-2007 10:15 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by anastasia
02-02-2007 4:45 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
quote:
Btw, I did not mean to say that the threads were boring, but that the thought of morality without God is so empty. It sorta makes all of our sacrifice and all of our heroism just another possible outcome of biological stimulus; a learned behaviour, both replicable and mechanical.

Why is that an empty thought?

I think it makes us humans all the more incredible that we have such capacity for amazingly complex interactions and behaviors.

What you are describing is really a form of vanity or pride. It sounds as though you want God to be at the source of morality just so that you can avoid feeling ordinary.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by anastasia, posted 02-02-2007 4:45 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by anastasia, posted 02-05-2007 4:05 PM nator has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 144 of 184 (382682)
02-05-2007 7:20 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by anastasia
02-05-2007 4:05 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
quote:
Human beings are incredible. No prob. Now, why are some human beings so much more incredible than others?

The particular circumstances of their lives allowed and influenced them to be incredible.

Like I've repeatedly said, human social behavior is an extremely complex thing and cannot be described in dichotomies or simple sound bites.

quote:
I am telling you, again, that a person you consider to be a hero, is a hero because he is just like you, and he did something better than you did. Not more complex or biological or 'natural'. Better.

"Better" is subjective and relative.

And, nobody is "just like me". I am not "just like" anybody else.

And this is getting past the point of my post, which was to respond to your statement:

quote:
but that the thought of morality without God is so empty. It sorta makes all of our sacrifice and all of our heroism just another possible outcome of biological stimulus; a learned behaviour, both replicable and mechanical.

I ask again; Why is that thought so empty?

quote:
Now tell me, if most of us are naturally inferior to the saints, heroes, geniuses, poets, etc. of the world, how can we even recognize them for what they are? Our admiration leads us to desire emulation, not to cold acceptance of our inferior genetics.

I really don't even know why you are talking about saints instead of answering the question.

quote:
P.P.S. Belief in God is not vanity. It is the great equalizer amoung men, the realization that whatever you are, you are not better than anyone else by nature or by education.

Well, let's look again at what you wrote:

quote:
but that the thought of morality without God is so empty. It sorta makes all of our sacrifice and all of our heroism just another possible outcome of biological stimulus; a learned behaviour, both replicable and mechanical.

It certainly looks very much to me as though you simply do not like the idea of morality being natural because to you, it is "empty" without God being the origin of morality.

I never said that belief in God, per se, was a kind of vanity, but specifically that being disappointed with and resistant to the prospect that God did not magically imbue us with a special moral sense most certainly is vain.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by anastasia, posted 02-05-2007 4:05 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by anastasia, posted 02-06-2007 3:18 PM nator has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 145 of 184 (382684)
02-05-2007 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by anastasia
02-05-2007 4:28 PM


quote:
There is not one single shred of evidence that tells me why people do good things.

That is not true.

You have a whole thread of evidences for why people do good things, but you have handwaved away all of it without giving any logical or factual reasons for doing so.

This is poor debate.


'Explanations like "God won't be tested by scientific studies" but local yokels can figure it out just by staying aware of what's going on have no rational basis whatsoever.' -Percy

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."- Richard Feynman

"Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends! Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!"
- Ned Flanders


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by anastasia, posted 02-05-2007 4:28 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 151 by anastasia, posted 02-06-2007 1:52 PM nator has not yet responded

  
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