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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 241 of 306 (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 responded

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

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 242 of 306 (874430)
04-01-2020 4:19 PM
Reply to: Message 241 by Tangle
04-01-2020 3:18 AM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle writes:

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 don’t think that I actually said that. 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.

Here is a Dawkins quote from “River Out of Eden”

quote:
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

In his book the “Selfish Gene” he then promotes the idea that out of this pitiless indifference we eventually found that cooperating in groups could improve the lives of the “self”. We can often see that in the animal kingdom as well.

However, it does not explain why we self sacrifice for other people, and even other species, at the detriment of the self and possibly even our own tribe.
So yes, I can see those things happening without any specific interference.

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.) 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.

I read an excellent book a couple of years ago by Christian Barrigar our of Montreal. It is call Freedom All the Way Up. It is an excellent book, that when I get through 4 other books I have on the go I want to read again.

Here is a pdf article on the book and quotes from it. Chris Barrigar
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.

quote:
First, randomness does not inherently defeat teleology. In fact, as we often see in our high-tech world today, randomness can actually serve teleology. A widely-found example is random number generators, which are used for lotteries, for encryption, for the shuffle option on a CD player, for non-character players in video games, and for numerous other applications. Or, to take a very different example, the random motion and multiplication of bacteria cultivated in a petri dish is likewise initiated purposefully by the scientist or technician engaged in a particular research project or medical test. Such applications are teleological, for they intentionally employ randomness as part of a process to achieve an intended, purposeful outcome, such as determining a lottery winner, ensuring secure communication, enhancing one’s enjoyment of video games or music, or producing a medical test—and these are just a few of the many commercial, consumer, and scientific applications of randomness that exist today. Moreover, the presence of randomness in each of these examples is essential to the purpose of the process. That is, without randomness teleology would not be possible in such cases.

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.

Tangle writes:

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 ei ther the voice doesn't exist or it is not supernatural.

Actually we don’t know that they don’t perceive it. We only know that if it exists they don’t respond to it.

Tangle writes:

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.

I’m not denying that there are natural processes, such as a parent influencing their children, that take place. I am only saying that the natural process requires an agency. I contend that it is rational to believe that to believe that the process is from a pre-existing intelligence.

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.


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 241 by Tangle, posted 04-01-2020 3:18 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 243 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 3:36 AM GDR has responded
 Message 244 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 12:59 PM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 243 of 306 (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 responded

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

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 244 of 306 (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 responded

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

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 245 of 306 (874451)
04-02-2020 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 243 by Tangle
04-02-2020 3:36 AM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle writes:

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.

“I believe” is the last ditch defence of a lost argument.

This is the problem in discussing things like this with fundamentalists be they Christian or atheist. It is like a discussion with Faith in the opposite end of things. If it says something in the Bible then it is from God and it has to be true. 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.

We both have our beliefs. I'm just not concerned about acknowledging that it is belief.


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 243 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 3:36 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 247 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 2:01 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 246 of 306 (874452)
04-02-2020 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Tangle
04-02-2020 12:59 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle writes:

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.

Unfortunately for me when I checked I found that they won't ship to Canada so as near as I can tell it is only you Brits that will be ok. How is it working so far BTW?

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 244 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 12:59 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(2)
Message 247 of 306 (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 responded

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

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 248 of 306 (874456)
04-02-2020 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 247 by Tangle
04-02-2020 2:01 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle writes:

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.

It is both. As an atheist there is no other position than to reject the whole idea. I'm not sure what you mean by a scientific Christian. Scientists like John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, Francis Collins etc would agree with my position.Scientists like Dawkins, Greene, Sagan etc would agree with you. We all have our beliefs.

I acknowledge that I can't evidence my beliefs scientifically. However, science only tells me that what I believe is outside the bounds of empirical evidence which is what science looks at. I enjoy reading people like Brian Greene and others like him in an attempt to gain a minimal grasp of scientific concepts. I don't use my religious beliefs to inform what I believe about science but I do use the little I do know about science on occasion to inform my religious beliefs.

Tangle writes:

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.

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.

You claim it doesn't need a god. Maybe you're right. That is your belief. However, if we exist because of a deity then a god is necessary from the outset. Beyond that ii is still about belief. An atheist has to reject the possibility whereas a theist would most likely be open to the possibility. Brain scans show us the brain in action but it doesn't show us parental, cultural or possible god influences on the decision.


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 247 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 2:01 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 249 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 4:31 PM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 249 of 306 (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 responded

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

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 250 of 306 (874465)
04-02-2020 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 249 by Tangle
04-02-2020 4:31 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle writes:

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 Christ ian 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.

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.

Here is a Christian neuroscientist named William Newsome as an example.
Tangle writes:

Yes they do. The experiments show the decision making process in action including the decision.

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.
Tangle writes:

I don't have a problem with that. A deistic god is impossible to disprove and is another argument altogether.

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.
Tangle writes:

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.

Theists have come to certain conclusions about what they believe just as atheists have.

I agree that Christian beliefs have changed quite a bit over the last few generations. I believe that there is a very good reason for that. There is obviously more to it but under Constantine and his successors Christianity essentially became a religion and specifically a state religion. With that the church became more that just followers of Jesus but an institution which quickly took on the Roman style of governance. Ultimately some Popes even became Emperors. Also Greek thought and particularly Platonism became part of Christian thinking. This carried on for centuries allowing for so called holy wars, and all sorts of abusive behavior.

The reformation of the 1500’s came along and reformed a number of the problems in the Roman church such as indulgences and Bibles being only available in Latin, but one thing that remained was the tendency to understand Scriptures in the context of the day.

More recently there has been a very strong movement by Christian scholars to study the Bible and particularly the NT in its historical setting and within the framework of the cultures, beliefs and the politics of the time.

As a result I would agree that Christian faith has always been a progressive understanding which I don’t imagine we are through with yet.


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 249 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2020 4:31 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 251 by Tangle, posted 04-03-2020 3:44 AM GDR has not yet responded
 Message 252 by Tangle, posted 04-03-2020 6:16 AM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 251 of 306 (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.


Can Science and Religion Get Along?

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 yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 252 of 306 (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

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.


Precursors to morality in development as a complex interplay between neural, socioenvironmental, and behavioral facets


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 responded

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

  
Dogmafood
Member
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 253 of 306 (874479)
04-03-2020 7:07 AM
Reply to: Message 235 by Stile
03-30-2020 9:21 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
But everyone's equation on what makes them feel the most good or the least bad is different.
Not everyone's equation always uses "survival" as a factor.

If you want to say it does - you have to show this.

The best I can say is that you don't reverse 3 billion yrs of evolution just because you evolved an intellect. Our intelligence is a progression of that evolution and no matter what your stated basis for evaluating good and bad is it is still trying to push the same buttons that it always has.

Again, what is it about being able to reason that would fundamentally change that 3 billion yr trend?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Stile, posted 03-30-2020 9:21 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 304 by Stile, posted 04-28-2020 8:39 AM Dogmafood has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5372
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 254 of 306 (874492)
04-03-2020 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 252 by Tangle
04-03-2020 6:16 AM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
Tangle quoted writes:

quoteIf 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.


I find that a little ambiguous. I see them saying that if we are only a bag of genes and chemicals then we shouldn't be held responsible for our actions.

Tangle writes:

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.

They are compilations from overlapping sources of the recollections of eyewitnesses and others.

Actually we know that isn’t true. We have people brought up Christian converting to Islam and vice versa. People change their religious beliefs all the time. I have even heard accounts of people being brought up Christian and converting to atheism.

Tangle writes:

t'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.

The Anglican church has since the time of Richard Hooker held to the belief that our theology is based on reason, tradition and scripture. In the past 2000 years we have had considerable time to reason as well as build up tradition. Christian theology is evolving and IMHO will continue to evolve. I would add that because of improved understanding of the early Greek language, partly because of the finding of the “Dead Sea Scrolls’ that we have a lot better understanding of the original texts, which is resulting in a lot better understanding of Jesus’ culture, Jesus was a 1st century Jew speaking primarily to 1st century Jews. He wasn’t a 21st century white westerner.

Tangle quote writes:

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.


I have no problem with any of that. It also doesn’t preclude external influences.

Tangle writes:

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.


Again I have no problem with that and actually it confirms what C S Lewis wrote about in Mere Christianity. He wrote about the law of human nature that we are born with and talks about infants having a sense of fairness. (If there are 2 cookies then there is one for you and one for me.)
I don’t question that there is built into our nature a basic sense of morality as well as a basic sense of self centeredness. Throughout our lives we are bombarded with cultural influences. There is no empirical evidence for the fact that I believe that within that there is God’s small still voice or His spirit that nudges us to do the loving thing.

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 252 by Tangle, posted 04-03-2020 6:16 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 255 by Tangle, posted 04-03-2020 3:50 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7618
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 255 of 306 (874496)
04-03-2020 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 254 by GDR
04-03-2020 2:26 PM


Re: Morality Evolved, Religion evolved to emphasize Morality
GDR writes:

I find that a little ambiguous.

Not sure what you find ambiguous about him rejecting the “Christian notion of a moral soul” but the believer's ability to ignore inconvenient evidence is bottomless.

Actually we know that isn’t true. We have people brought up Christian converting to Islam and vice versa. People change their religious beliefs all the time. I have even heard accounts of people being brought up Christian and converting to atheism.

I said “ And btw, the god is almost always the one they were brought up with. Never one you'd never heard of.” If you can provide evidence of people converting to religions they'd never heard of before its god spoke to them, I'd love to hear it.

The Anglican church has since the time of Richard Hooker held to the belief that our theology is based on reason, tradition and scripture. In the past 2000 years we have had considerable time to reason as well as build up tradition. Christian theology is evolving and IMHO will continue to evolve. I would add that because of improved understanding of the early Greek language, partly because of the finding of the “Dead Sea Scrolls’ that we have a lot better understanding of the original texts, which is resulting in a lot better understanding of Jesus’ culture, Jesus was a 1st century Jew speaking primarily to 1st century Jews. He wasn’t a 21st century white westerner.

I'm going to repeat this because you obviously do not get it. Of course 'traditions' have built up and Christianity has split into 38,000 sects with all manner of bizarre beliefs and practices but you've got nothing to go on but a single book. Nowt.

I have no problem with any of that. It also doesn’t preclude external influences.

It also doesn't rule out electrical interference from overhead power cables either. Or friggin' goblins. Or anything anyone wants to dream up. It just makes those dumb assertions totally irrelevant and redundant. We now *know*.

There is no empirical evidence for the fact that I believe that within that there is God’s small still voice or His spirit that nudges us to do the loving thing.

What you believe is irrelevant, the facts tell their own story. You're just ignoring facts because they don't reconcile with your beliefs. You're just a different flavour of Faith.


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 254 by GDR, posted 04-03-2020 2:26 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
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