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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 217 of 472 (873953)
03-21-2020 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by GDR
03-21-2020 6:49 PM


Re: Morality Evolved
GDR writes:
Let’s go away from the meme thing for now and refer to it as an influence as maybe it is easier to think of it that way.
But, but, but, that's exactly what it is! Our upbringing and the society influence our moral behaviour directly. We know this, we both accept this.
For example if someone accidentally cuts us off in traffic and we give them a friendly wave instead of the finger then we increase the likelihood that they will respond to someone else the same way in the future.
Bad example, from my experience that would be interpreted in the opposite way, but never mind, I understand the point you are making. Our behaviour can change other's behaviour.
As I said previously loving parents influence their kids to be loving parents.
And no-one disagrees.
I am simply saying that there is a god influence in all of us, calling us to love and treat others as we would have them love and treat us.
I know what you're simply saying, but what you're saying has no connection to anything. This is a non-sequitur isn't it? You see 'good', you claim Jesus. In fact 'good' and 'bad' are both natural.
That is the same question as why does God allow cancer.
It is not. I've asked why the 'still voice of god' can't be heard by those with brain damage if the brain is not the source of our morality. If morality is not a brain function but an external supernatural influence, why does brain damage affect it?
As I have said before it is the toughest issue that Christians have to deal with. Also as I have said before, I have to assume that it is a necessary aspect of an existence subject to entropy and decay, but that ultimately God is a god of perfect fairness and justice.
Religious waffle.
The physical pathway is necessary for all that we do. External memes or influences of any sort aren’t physical. A loving or an abusive parent has indirectly effects the physical process, not directly.
Look, we all agree that our physical environment influences our moral behaviour. But god is not supposed to be dependent on the purely physical. In fact, the metaphysical is exactly his domain, why are you arguing that god can not overcome the purely physical?
I suppose so, in the same way that we can see it [the Holy Spirit] processing any other influence in our lives.
The point is that we *can't* see that! What we see are purely natural processes influenced by a purely natural environment.

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 216 by GDR, posted 03-21-2020 6:49 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 218 by GDR, posted 03-22-2020 8:39 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 219 of 472 (873983)
03-23-2020 4:20 AM
Reply to: Message 218 by GDR
03-22-2020 8:39 PM


Re: Morality Evolved
GDR writes:
Yes, we can't see it. It is a matter of faith that it is there.
Can you not see that those two sentences contradict each other? Surely you can? If it's there we can measure it and you can actually show this external influence to me. You can't. All you're saying again is that's it's what you be believe. You are not answering my arguments, you're just ignoring them.
Please at least try to answer these questions. If you can't, just say so but also then stop making claims you can't support.
Tangle writes:
It is not. I've asked why the 'still voice of god' can't be heard by those with brain damage if the brain is not the source of our morality. If morality is not a brain function but an external supernatural influence, why does brain damage affect it? god is not supposed to be dependent on the purely physical. In fact, the metaphysical is exactly his domain, why are you arguing that god can not overcome the purely physical?

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 218 by GDR, posted 03-22-2020 8:39 PM GDR has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 222 of 472 (874020)
03-23-2020 4:20 PM
Reply to: Message 221 by GDR
03-23-2020 3:52 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
I’ll answer this instead of Tangle’s post as I feel I did what I could to answer his question, although he contends that I haven’t.
You really haven't answered my question at all.
You're continually obfuscating the adoption of moral traits from our environment - society family etc which we all accept as an obvious fact, with a direct, personal, external influence - the intervention in real time by your 'Holy Spirit'.
The natural answer to the question of morality is that it's an emotion, a brain function that has evolved like all others. The evidence is that we can see and measure it. We can see that brain damage affects it and we can see various forms of morality in other social animals. It all hangs together.
What I'm still confused about is what your actual supernatural claim is. Are or are you not saying that god is intervening directly, in real time with people's moral decision making?

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 221 by GDR, posted 03-23-2020 3:52 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 224 by GDR, posted 03-23-2020 5:32 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


(1)
Message 225 of 472 (874031)
03-23-2020 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by GDR
03-23-2020 5:32 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
You seem to be claiming that as you can see moral impulses acting on the brain that it explains everything.
What I'm claiming is that because we can identify brain activity caused by people performing moral choices, that morality is therefore a brain function like many others. This is verified by those people whose brains are injured in specific ways show lack of moral decision making.
Tell me how on reading those impulses on the brain you can tell which impulse is influenced by a parent’s love and which is influenced by some friend influencing him/her to go shoplifting.
That is not necessary, the effect is seen as a brain function regardless of the external causation. We know that the basic empathetic reactions are intrinsic just like our other emotional responses.
In the same way how can you tell the difference between a god influence, if it exists, or any other influence. I’m saying that I don’t believe you can.
We don't need a god influence anywhere near this, it works without intervention. It works in many other animals. It stops working when the brain is damaged, that tells us that it is physical because if it was supernatural it wouldn't stop your god would it?
Parental influence is with us for life and it is my contention that the same is true for divine influence. I suppose in either case it is not intervening directly but indirectly.
Ok, maybe we're getting close, are you now saying that god is *not* intervening directly in real time? Maybe his influence is through directed evolution which inbuilt a moral function?
If so I'm going to say that that is indistinguishable from a purely natural process so I'm slicing this god out of the picture with Occam's stiletto.

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 224 by GDR, posted 03-23-2020 5:32 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 229 by GDR, posted 03-29-2020 1:51 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 231 of 472 (874355)
03-29-2020 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 229 by GDR
03-29-2020 1:51 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
But it is those external causations that we are talking about. Good old Dad may in early life told young Tangle that stealing is wrong. That meme has been there ever since, and now you are years later out with a group that is encouraging you to shop lift. You have a decision to make. What dad said years before is still influencing you but you now have this new influence. What do you do.
You do whatever is driving you at the time, balanced by your upbringing, your immediate need - and, very important this - whether anyone is watching. Bad behaviour is as natural as good.
You can look at your brain functions all you want but that isn't going to tell you which choice you made. It is only your subsequent actions that give the answer.
That isn't, of course, the point of trying to explain what neuroscience knows about how the brain processes moral choices. It's the fact that the brain *does* process moral choices that is point I'm trying to make. It's a brain function, part learnt, part instinct and part intellect.
Also of course, if I am correct, then there is a god meme in there as well that is influencing you not to shoplift.
Uh, how, where? If the choice is made to steal, what has happened to the god 'meme'? Does it become a devil meme?
None of this god stuff is necessary.
Once again that influence along with dad's influence can be overridden, and again you aren't going to be able to ascertain your decision but observing a brain scan.
And once again, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the brain is making the choice.
That is one way of putting it. The "still small voice of God" is an influencer not a director, just as is parental guidance.
So we're back to direct interference. I have no idea how you think that works. Can you explain how this voice is heard by people and how - and even why - he speaks to some people and not others?
I'm not sure what you mean though by directed evolution. I don't see it as being a part of physical evolution but actually much closer to Dawkin's ideas of social evolution.
Directed evolution would be that this god of yours makes sure that evolution eventually creates creatures that are required to work together to survive. In order to do that they have to evolve instinctual mechanisms that allows them to live with each other rather than kill and eat each other. And then a brain that can override instinct.
For example somewhere along the line a parent has learned that honesty is a positive attribute that we should adhere to.
Sure, Somewhere along the very long line of primate ancestors co-operative behaviour had a competitive advantage.
That parent influences his/her children with that gene and maybe passes it on to others as well. Hopefully that gene is then passed on exponentially through others around them. I am saying that it is the same for a god meme. None of this can be determined by a brain scan.
You're obsessed with brain scans; all brain scans tell us is that moral choices are made there in different parts of the brain than other things.
The different conclusions that we have come to actually are simply the fact that you hold atheistic beliefs as opposed to my theistic beliefs.
It's got sod all to do with atheism, it's bloody neurology.
If your atheistic world view is accurate then obviously no deity is needed for morality. If however my theistic views are correct then a deity is required for morality to exist, and even for us to exist at all.
You have yet to produce a single reason why a god is necessary and you can not tell us why, if a god is involved, he can’t overcome physical damage to the parts of the brain responsible for processing moral choice.
You can't even explain where bad moral choices originate.
You can't tell us how this intervention happens.
As I said earlier, it all goes back to our basic beliefs.
It really doesn't. If the facts weren't the way they are, I wouldn't be saying this. You however, would believe what you believe come what may. Take refuge in this atheism business if you must, but you need to know that you're hiding.

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 229 by GDR, posted 03-29-2020 1:51 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 233 by GDR, posted 03-29-2020 6:24 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


(1)
Message 234 of 472 (874368)
03-30-2020 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 233 by GDR
03-29-2020 6:24 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
Maybe one of the things that is driving you at the time is the god meme. You wouldn't know.
We wouldn't know if it was a pink pixie either would we? Sure, you can make up any kind of supernatural interference that you like but it's not only not evidenced, it's not even necessary. The entire thing we call morality works by itself in perfectly natural and explicable ways.
It's a choice and for some good behaviour is more natural than bad and the opposite for others. Whether anyone is watching or not is just another influence.
In your model why would that be so? You're back to your god discriminating about who he communicates with. In particular he seems to communicate least with the most vulnerable - those with poor or no parents, the socially deprived and the addicted. And he can't communicate at all with those people that lack the physical capacity - ie brain function - to 'hear' him. Why?
If bad behaviour is a meme like good, your god must have created it else where does it originate? If not god who?
It is heard in the same way that you hear parental advice years after it has been given. It becomes part of who you are.
Sure, we call it normative behaviour. But it only works in a prosocial way if parents are good at their job.
IMHO it speaks to everyone.
But we know it doesn't! We know this! We know the circumstances where people are incapable of of hearing it and we know where they don't because they have never had the upbringing to learn it.
People don't have to work co-cooperatively with those in far flung societies. There would actually be more resources for me if those far flung societies ceased to exist. IMHO this god of mine created a process that evolved people capable of loving others even to their own detriment. You have never been able to objectively show why it is that someone in the western world will spend their whole life ministering to someone in the third world. I have a friend who is a doctor and his wife a lawyer, and they have spent the bulk of their adult lives in the third world serving others. He works at healing disease and teaching others to do the same, while she is involved in improving the lot of women in the third world.
There are many reasons why people do these things. In the religious world it is mainly an attempt to save souls for the Lord, and therefore their own. It's an instruction from their institution. In my opinion that is corrupt, self-serving, patronising and evil. Ie immoral.
If you remove the religious motive and, for the sake of argument we say your two friends have no beliefs of that kind, why do they do it? Let's even remove the fact that they're paid to do it. Why would Bill Gates give away his fortune attempting to cure (god made) disease in foreign countries?
The answer is because they are human! We have these evolved instincts within us, all of us, but because these emotions are developed in individuals along a spectrum depending on capacity and upbringing and resource you find extremes of behaviour at both ends of it. In percentage terms there is virtually no-one doing what your friends do. Why aren't we all doing it?
It's all natural. There's nothing supernatural anywhere near this situation. The only supernatural position that makes any sort of sense is a creation god that is no longer involved in the process.
There's an easily understood essay in Psychology Today that explains the evolution of altruism. Here's a bit of the article that talks about what is physically happening in the brain when it's choosing actions that are selfish and selfless
quote:
So for the past few million years we’ve been evolving in two ways at once. Group natural selection gave us some pro-social genes that help us work well in groups. At the same time individual natural selection gave us selfish genes that try to get us to the top of the social ladder.
We even see this in the brain networks that control our ability to understand other people (see my last post). In my last post I discussed how we can understand people’s intentions using the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC). The DMPFC is closely tied with the emotional limbic system and helps mediate empathy and other pro-social behaviors. However, there’s another part of the prefrontal cortex, just a little to the side, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The DLPFC is unemotional and calculating. It allows us to understand and predict other people actions, without getting wrapped up in all the emotion.
One cool experiment that demonstrates this used magnetic pulses to disrupt the DLPFC (Kalbe 2010). The results showed that disrupting the DLPFC messed up thinking but not feeling about other people. That’s because the DLPFC was disrupted, but the DMPFC wasn’t affected. While the DMPFC helps create empathy and understanding and brings people together, the DLPFC allows for scheming and manipulating your way to the top. These distinct brain systems are the product of the opposing evolutionary forces that shaped us.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/...01307/the-origin-altruism
We just don't need your supernatural explanations anymore, they're anachronistic and primitive.
Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.

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 233 by GDR, posted 03-29-2020 6:24 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 236 by GDR, posted 03-30-2020 10:44 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 237 of 472 (874385)
03-31-2020 4:58 AM
Reply to: Message 236 by GDR
03-30-2020 10:44 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
Once again, you confuse process with agency.
And once again you claim agency where agency is unnecessary for the process. Do you claim agency for feeling angry or embarrassed or happy? Or scratching your bum because it itches?
The only place I could feasibly put agency anywhere in this is the moment of creation. Otherwise you are claiming real-time, discriminating, supernatural interference in our lives. Is that your position?
Maybe it does all happen naturally but what is the agency for that natural process to exist at all.
And we've done this too. The processes are all natural. The only point that you can have an even semi-legitimate argument about agency is at the point of creation. If you say that it becomes a quite different discussion from inferring that your god is still intervening in individual's decisions about right and wrong through his 'still small voice'.
It can also work in an anti-social way.
Exactly.
There are many that are brought up in loving homes who are essentially selfish and those that are brought up in abusive homes that are essentially altruistic. Just because people don't respond positively to a god meme does not mean that it isn't there.
You're making my argument for me. Our behaviour is a combination of our genes, our upbringing, our personality, our environment and immediate circumstances.
That is a stereotypical view that was at least somewhat true decades ago and is only true within certain religious communities today.
You can't sweep the disgusting missionary movement under the carpet with a wave of your hand by calling it history. It's still widespread amongst several very large Christian faiths - Catholics and evangelicals are still very big on it for example.
But I went on to say that people can and do help people we don't know and never meet for purely altruistic reasons and I explain why we do it.
But As I have said before our church along with others have sponsored numerous Islamic refugee families without trying to convert them, and none have to the best of my knowledge. We are just trying to give them a better life in Canada.
I'm not doubting your personal motives. I'm just trying to explain that a god is not necessary for you to feel the need to do these things.
But as you're now making it personal, tell me, when you do these things, does it make you feel good? It certainly makes me feel good when I do the odd charitable thing for someone. It doesn't feel 'sacrificial' to me. Charity is its own reward.
Of course we could get into the extremes of this behaviour, of real sacrifice - running into a burning building to save a baby ... or a dog. But they are all driven by the same instincts and emotions.
So we are saying that when we started living in groups that it was to our mutual benefit to work cooperatively and behave empathetically for the betterment of the group. If the group does better then so do I. The motive is ultimately selfish.
The motivation is survival. The tools we evolved to survive as a group of individuals rather than single organisms helped us survive together. But this was over millions of years. We also evolved a brain capable of future thought and understanding others needs. If we have basic emotions such empathy and compassion plus the knowledge and understanding of what others are suffering, of course we help. This is not a surprising or supernatural thing.
However humans can and do go much further. They can display empathy and ultimately display sacrificial love for members of other groups including those they haven't met and maybe live on the other side of the world. We also see some sacrificing their own life to save the life of others.
Yes, and? We are complex beings; we are not driven simply by our emotions we also have a calculating brain. We are capable of creating both immense suffering and incredible compassion. But somehow only the compassion part was created by god. The nasty part comes from where?
I am not saying that this proves my views, but it is IMHO a very good indication that there is more going on that what is obvious.
There's certainly more going on than is obvious, we've only just begun to understand how our brains work but already we know there is no necessity for supernatural influence.
But after all this time I still don't understand your basic claim.
You seem to accept the biological source for empathy and the affect our upbringing and environment has on us. But somehow you have a god meme floating around doing the nice stuff. You don't want to talk about an equal and opposite devil meme doing all the bad stuff - but why not?
And I can't pin you down on how and when the interventions occur. You seem to have this free floating niceness that some people can hear and some people can't. And bizarrely, the most needy are the least likely to be able to hear it - the exact opposite of what you'd expect given the supposed source.
Is this god acting supernaturally today to directly influence people or was it something he built into our evolutionary development?

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 236 by GDR, posted 03-30-2020 10:44 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 238 by GDR, posted 03-31-2020 1:40 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 239 of 472 (874400)
03-31-2020 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 238 by GDR
03-31-2020 1:40 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
So you claim but you have no way of objectively knowing that.
I do know that. I can show that the system works naturally. I can show you the pathways and the physiology. I can show you the evolutionary development and the analogues in other related species. I can show you neuroscience and the way absence of physiological structures prevents normal moral behaviour.
And you have what? A belief? A belief which is based entirely on a 2,000 year old mythology. I'm sorry GDR, but you've got nothing but a faith that has no explanatory power.
As I have said before, the idea that the incredible process of the evolution of life could come from mindless chance stretches all credibility.
Sure, but that's just an argument from incredulity - a basic fallacy.
But even so, if you said that your god created all this with the intent that natural processes evolved that would eventually produce a moral behaviour, I'd just say ok, let's debate big physics and the necessity for a creator. But you won't be pushed that far back, you really need a present, active and personal god even though such a being is simply not necessary nor evidenced.
You see, you say this
No. I am claiming that agency is responsible for the natural processes that we experience. However, I also contend that this agency has given us as part of our consciousness an innate sense of empathy and the compulsion to act on that sense that we can either repress or respond to.
Which almost concedes the evolution of empathy. But then you say
That does not preclude in any way that within that mix is the still small voice of a deity nudging us to do the loving thing.
So you have to have it both ways despite the evidence. And then you want the bad stuff to be natural and the good stuff to be supernatural, which is simply irrational
They both come from God IMHO but in different ways. The nasty part is the part that is there because of the way the evolutionary process is driven towards looking after number one. The good part comes in the form of the still small voice of God that enables us to overcome the evolutionary forces.
Isn't it obvious that this is just pure wishful thinking? Just a fantasy?
The explanation is that it seemed to be better for us as individuals when we cooperatively worked together within a group.
Yes.
However the things you talk about such as risking one’s life to save a dog does not benefit either the individual or the group. It seems clear to me, though obviously not to you, that there is more than simple evolutionary forces behind such actions.
So why would a human run into a burning building to save a dog?
The first thing to say is that there is no religious reason is there? No Christian requirement. So why would god's 'still small voice' compell you to risk your life for dog, or a kid's hamster?
The answer is because we have two competing drives, empathy and self-preservation. Some individuals create emotional attachments to animals and even inanimate objects so strong that they would risk their life for them. This is a bi-product of evolution - an unintended consequence (not that evolution has intent). I certainly wouldn't run into a burning building for a dog, my rational brain is stronger than my emotional brain, but maybe yours is the other way. Either way, no god is telling me or you what to do.
How does your 'still small voice' explain putting life at risk for an animal. Or a photograph?
Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.

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 238 by GDR, posted 03-31-2020 1:40 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 240 by GDR, posted 03-31-2020 9:10 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


(1)
Message 241 of 472 (874413)
04-01-2020 3:18 AM
Reply to: Message 240 by GDR
03-31-2020 9:10 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
I agree that there is no Christian requirement to risk your life for a dog. I would go further and say that there is no such thing as a Christian requirement for anything in particular.
What I'm trying to unpick is your question about how could the behaviour of what you call 'sacrificial love' be natural. You claim that people are acting on the 'still small voice' when they run into a burning building to rescue a child. You say that this is against our natural survival interests.
I've shown you the natural processes that underpin these actions and with the examples of the dog I'm also showing that the behaviour can not be being directly influenced by this voice. Unless this voice tells us to do seemingly irrational and dangerous things for no good reason.
The Gospel message is just that we are to love others, presumably including dogs, as we love ourselves.
I understand why you need to say that, but it's not true is it? There's nothing biblical about sacrificing your life for a dog. People have been known to run into burning building for all sorts of things - including inanimate objects. There are biological/psychological explanations for these actions but, unless you're a Jain, religious explanations don't work.
But we are called, IMHO, to do the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt.
That's just a rationalisation of a serious problem with your position. If the most vulnerable people can't hear the voice, it strongly argues that either the voice doesn't exist or it is not supernatural.
This is the crux of it all though. You want me to show scientifically how it is that God works through our consciousness to influence us.
No, no no! I don't want you to do that; I know you can't do that and I know that it's impossible. If it was possible we'd all be believers. In fact it would not be a belief it would be a fact.
No, what I want you to do is seriously consider all the evidence showing the natural process that create our moral behaviours and not simply push it aside like you do with other major difficulties with your beliefs like the problem of suffering.
It doesn't mean that you'll lose a belief that's important to you, just that you're not hiding from reality.
It appears to me that you see the scientific method as the only means by which we can rationally believe something.
The scientific method as the only means by which we can rationally *know* something. We can believe anything we like and people do believe incredible nonsenses.
I realize that you view that as absolute nonsense,
It is nonsense; but at least it's poetic nonsense (which is why it resonates with a certain type of mind).

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 240 by GDR, posted 03-31-2020 9:10 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 242 by GDR, posted 04-01-2020 4:19 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


(1)
Message 243 of 472 (874432)
04-02-2020 3:36 AM
Reply to: Message 242 by GDR
04-01-2020 4:19 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
I did in reference to a risking your life for a dog, with the point being that the dog is not just from another human tribe but from a different species. It is more akin to medical people who risk their lives to go in and minister to people in far flung countries around the world.
Yes I know. That's why I raised the point. There is no difficulty explaining why some people are prepared to make sacrifices for others - even strangers and those far away and even non-humans. The fact that some people are prepared to make great person risks for their pets should tell you that it is fantasy to suggest that there's any intervention by god in this process. And of course, the fact that psychopaths, drugged and brain damaged individuals lack the capacity to hear this assumed supernatural voice is further evidence - physical capacity would not prevent a supernatural intervention.
You shouldn't get too hung up on pure Darwinian instinctual reactions. Evolution provided the basic tools for us to understand the suffering of others and also the intellect to do something about it if we choose to. Whether we do depends on our upbringing, ability, circumstances, personality and resource. That's all it is.
In an earlier post you did allow for the idea that the properties of self giving love could have been built into creation at the beginning and then allowing for, from your perspective, a deistic view of things. (This might be RAZD’s position.)
Ok. I don't believe that position, but I can at least understand that a reasonable argument can be made for it. Unlike this routine interference you speak of.
Yes I can accept that, but, it does not preclude that still small voice being ever present to be with us to overcome Dawkins view of the universe in the quote above. Yes, we can see it as a cultural meme in our society but it doesn’t explain why that cultural meme exists at all.
It completely explains it. That's the point of what I'm saying. There is no necessity for an intervening agent inside the natural processes that exist that produce the behaviours we see. It would be irrelevant and also a affront to free will.
Barrigar talks about the concept that randomness is not only an aspect of our universe but that it is essential to it. Here is a piece from the above pdf.
Oh god, here we go, more pseudo-philosophical word-bending disguised as science designed to attract the mystical thinking mind. Here's the error
Such applications are teleological, for they intentionally employ randomness as part of a process to achieve an intended, purposeful outcome,
Randomness has no intent, nor can it achieve a purposeful outcome. That's the entire point of randomness, the outcome can not be predicted; if it can, it's not random. In the lottery example the probability of someone winning is 100%, a certainty - the purpose of the lottery is not random; it's purpose is to produce a winner that can not be predicted.
But if you really want to get fanciful, you could employ the randomness idea to your god creating a universe where the probability of a world generating conscious human life was a certainty but where and what form it would take was unknown.
Barrigar’s position that that the universe exists the way it does as God brought it into existence with the very high probability that ultimately, through randomness, bring about creatures that could be capable of agape (essentially unconditional and sacrificial) love.
Well there you go...who knew? But nothing to do with an intervening god.
Actually we don’t know that they don’t perceive it. We only know that if it exists they don’t respond to it.
Of course we do! We know the parts of the brain that respond to empathy and we know that if those parts of the brain are damaged they don't respond with empathetic behaviour. I've given you the example of Fred whose brain was damaged by the tumour - twice, the fRMI scans of psychopaths and the deliberate experimental interference in the cortex with magnetic resonance to demonstrate that conclusively. It is a brain function, there's absolutely no doubt of it.
I am only saying that the natural process requires an agency.
But I've shown you that they do not! It couldn't be clearer, there is no necessity of real-time, discriminatory interference in this process. It's neither evidenced, nor necessary.
Yes, I go further and believe that that intelligence is still there as an influencer along with all the other influences in our lives. The former does not preclude the latter.
I believe is the last ditch defence of a lost argument.

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 242 by GDR, posted 04-01-2020 4:19 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 245 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 1:30 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 244 of 472 (874448)
04-02-2020 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 242 by GDR
04-01-2020 4:19 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
I go further and believe that that intelligence is still there as an influencer along with all the other influences in our lives
The problem with sincerely held beliefs that are not underpinned with even a modicum of supporting evidence is that it's almost always wrong and often dangerous. In this case not only have you no foundation for your belief of intervention, you've been given real evidence of how our morality operates through natural mechanism.
People are often not rational. Maybe this is a scam but the Bishop claims to believe it and that it has a basis in the bible and will argue at length that it is.
quote:
Camberwell church is cashing in with ‘exploitative’ 91 coronavirus plague protection kits — made of just oil and red string.
According to Bishop Climate Ministries, part of the Kingdom Church on Camberwell Station Road, the product protects buyers from coronavirus.
But a post on a ministry website claims: It is by faith that you can be saved from the Coronavirus pandemic by covering yourself with the Divine Plague Protection Oil and wearing the Scarlet Yarn on your body.
That is why I want to encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to get your Divine Plague Protection Kit today!
The post goes on to allege that the Lord has instructed the self-declared prophet of the ministry, Climate Irungu Wiseman, to make the special oil.

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 242 by GDR, posted 04-01-2020 4:19 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 246 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 1:32 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


(2)
Message 247 of 472 (874453)
04-02-2020 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 245 by GDR
04-02-2020 1:30 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
This is the problem in discussing things like this with fundamentalists be they Christian or atheist.
You need to knock this off; this isn't an atheist argument, it's a scientific one. You could have this discussion with a scientific Christian - it's not about belief, it's about facts and knowledge.
With you it is because I can show you a natural process of how something can have happened then that becomes how it did happen.
After all this time ... We're talking about how moral decisions are made. Science can show you how. It doesn't need a god; it's fully explained. That's all. If you deny in your face evidence there's not much more that can be done. It must have felt like this in Darwin,s time.
We both have our beliefs.
My beliefs are irrelevant, try not to hide behind a fake equivalence.
I'm just not concerned about acknowledging that it is belief.
Well that at least is evidenced.

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 245 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 1:30 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 248 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 2:56 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 249 of 472 (874462)
04-02-2020 4:31 PM
Reply to: Message 248 by GDR
04-02-2020 2:56 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
Scientists like John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, Francis Collins etc would agree with my position. Scientists like Dawkins, Greene, Sagan etc would agree with you.
I can't stand Alistair McGrath, he's such a smug, slimy git and he hasn't been a scientist for 50 years. The the worst kind of theological apologist - a very clever and practiced one.
quote:
Alister Edgar McGrath FRSA (born 1953) is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, Christian apologist, and public intellectual. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford,[8] and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College.[9] He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture,[10] Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005. He is an Anglican priest.[11][12]
Aside from being a faculty member at Oxford, McGrath has also taught at Cambridge University and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College. McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford: a Doctor of Philosophy degree in molecular biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity degree in theology, and a Doctor of Letters degree in intellectual history.
But that's by-the-by, at least your other two are real scientists - if not in any field relevant to what we're discussing. And they're honest people, unlike that slimeball McGrath. Anyway, there are thousands of Christian scientists that would not take the extreme position you have on god's real-time intervention in moral choice. I doubt a single neuroscientist would. This has NOTHING to do with atheism.
Science shows us with brain scans that thought processes, including moral thought processes, can be observed. However, you cannot tell what the conclusions are. They don't tell you whether the decision was steal or not to steal or whether they chose coffee or tea.
Yes they do. The experiments show the decision making process in action including the decision.
That is your belief.
ffs, how many times? If none of this was demonstrable fact, I wouldn't and couldn't be saying it.
However, if we exist because of a deity then a god is necessary from the outset. Beyond that ii is still about belief.
I don't have a problem with that. A deistic god is impossible to disprove and is another argument altogether.
An atheist has to reject the possibility
Does he? Actually an atheist just has no clue what you're talking about, it make no sense at all to us. There is no 'belief' involved.
whereas a theist would most likely be open to the possibility.
A theist has already made up his mind by definition and no amount of facts will change their minds. Historically, it's not the generation that gets the new knowledge that changes their beliefs, it's the one after. It's not a coincidence that you believe something wildly differenct to Christians three or four generations ago.

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 248 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 2:56 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 250 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 7:09 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 251 of 472 (874475)
04-03-2020 3:44 AM
Reply to: Message 250 by GDR
04-02-2020 7:09 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:
The following quote is from the premise of BioLogos the organization that Francis Collins formed.
quote:
The Holy Spirit it is the living and active means through which God speaks to the church today, bearing witness to God’s Son, Jesus, as the divine Logos, or Word of God.
Francis Collins lost the plot when he saw a three part waterfall and decided that it was proof of the Trinity. Still, he's a world class geneticist but he probably knows less about neuroscience than you do.
As for Newsome, I know nothing about him and your link tells us nothing about how he thinks morality works. But my brief google of him suggests that he does not agree with you:
quote:
neuroscience will be the great debate of the future, according to William Newsome, a neuroscientist and National Academy of Sciences member from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Advances in neurobiology and psychology continue to challenge our conceptions of self, mind, and free will, he said, and these advances have important ethical implications. If we are nothing but a bag of genes and chemicals, as Steven Pinker, Francis Crick, and others have famously written, do we bear responsibility for our own actions?
"I'm on Pinker's side, there's no ghost in the machine," Newsome said, rejecting the Christian notion of a moral soul.
Science | AAAS
Neuroscience is the next evolution as far as religious belief is concerned. You ain't seen nothing yet.
So you are saying that you can, by reading a brain scan, read the thoughts of the individual. I realize that you can distinguish sad thoughts vs happy thoughts as different parts of the brain light up but I question the idea that you can tell me what it is that is making that person sad or happy by looking at the scan.
I'll see if I can find some actual experiments for you to disagree with and reject.
I agree that the concept of morality was inherent in human creatures, (and maybe others) right from the start. However, using Christian language, I also believe, based on the recorded words of Jesus in the NT, and some personal experience, that God does communicate with us through His Holy Spirit.
There are no recorded words of Jesus. There are some writings by unknown authors between 25 and 50 years after his alleged death. Most of them are copies of each other with inherent omissions and contradictions.
In my experience of discussing stuff like this with people like you, the real core of the belief originates in personal experience and is rationalised thereafter. A conviction that God has spoken to you. And btw, the god is almost always the one they were brought up with. Never one you'd never heard of.
Theists have come to certain conclusions about what they believe just as atheists have.
Atheists haven't formed conclusions, they're puzzled by those that have.
As a result I would agree that Christian faith has always been a progressive understanding
It's not an understanding, it's a belief system. Understanding requires knowledge and you have no new knowledge for 2,000 years. The entire source of 'information, about you belief is contained in your book.
which I don’t imagine we are through with yet.
You're not. The trend line is towards deism and atheism as most of the more primitive superstitions are superseded by increasing amounts of real knowledge.

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 250 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 7:09 PM GDR has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 252 of 472 (874477)
04-03-2020 6:16 AM
Reply to: Message 250 by GDR
04-02-2020 7:09 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
This is from a general essay for kids on morality and the brain which is a very easy read but does go through some of the points we've raised here.
quote:
CONCLUSION
Using evidence from evolutionary biology, developmental psychology, and neuroscience, we have come to realize that morality is not merely the result of cultural learning, handed to us from our families, peers, and environment. Morality was selected by evolution in our human ancestors in order to promote cooperation and smooth social interactions. Developmental psychologists have demonstrated that some building blocks of morality are in place very early in development [3]. Additionally, the parts of the brain and the brain chemicals involved in morality and decision-making are beginning to be identified.
Morality is a product of evolution but that does not mean that it is set in stone and totally unchangeable. The culture in which we live influences what we think is right and wrong. For instance, second-hand smoking was totally ignored some decades ago, while in Western Europe and North America, it is now considered morally (as well as medically) wrong. In a nutshell, we create our own definition of morality through our interactions the people around us. Ideas about what is and what is not moral are guided by our unique human reasoning and intelligence, and not just by our feelings or gut reactions. It is reason, and not emotion, that provides the push to widen the circle of empathy and concern for others beyond those related to us and our community.
Neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology will continue to help us gain a better understanding of how we think and make moral decisions [2]. Future research in neuroscience will help us to explain how we make decisions, weigh our options, reflect on our desires, and modify our behaviors on the basis of their moral consequences. Hopefully, Science will also help us to understand why some people, like psychopaths, are not able to act morally, and discover ways to help them.
Our Brains are Wired for Morality: Evolution, Development, and Neuroscience · Frontiers for Young Minds
Here's the first experiment I found taken from that essay. It's about the fact that children have inbuilt senses of morality almost from birth, good evidence that morality like other traits is evolved.
quote:
The present study examined the neural underpinnings of and precursors to moral sensitivity in infants and toddlers (n = 73, ages 12—24 mo) through a series of interwoven measures, combining multiple levels of analysis including electrophysiological, eye-tracking, behavioral, and socioenvironmental.
Continuous EEG and time-locked event-related potentials (ERPs) and gaze fixation were recorded while children watched characters engaging in prosocial and antisocial actions in two different tasks.
All children demonstrated a neural differentiation in both spectral EEG power density modulations and time-locked ERPs when perceiving prosocial or antisocial agents. Time-locked neural differences predicted children’s preference for prosocial characters and were influenced by parental values regarding justice and fairness.
Overall, this investigation casts light on the fundamental nature of moral cognition, including its underpinnings in general processes such as attention and approach—withdrawal, providing plausible mechanisms of early change and a foundation for forward movement in the field of developmental social neuroscience.
Just a moment...

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 250 by GDR, posted 04-02-2020 7:09 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 254 by GDR, posted 04-03-2020 2:26 PM Tangle has replied

  
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