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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Tangle
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Posts: 7920
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 256 of 306 (874508)
04-04-2020 11:07 AM


These are a couple of chunks of text from the introduction and the conclusion of quite a decent paper about current neuroscience and morality.

It has a very large number of references to the actual research if you've any interest in following it up. I draw your attention to the second paragraph in particular - though the whole paper is interesting.

quote:
Decades of research across multiple disciplines, including behavioral economics, developmental psychology, and social neuroscience, indicate that moral reasoning arises from complex social decision-making and involves both unconscious and deliberate processes which rely on several partially distinct dimensions, including intention understanding, harm aversion, reward and value coding, executive functioning, and rule learning (Decety & Cowell, 2017; Gray, Young, & Waytz, 2012; Krueger & Hoffman, 2016; Ruff & Fehr, 2014). Human moral decisions are governed by both statistical expectations (based on observed frequencies) about what others will do and normative beliefs about what others should do. These vary across different cultures and historical contexts, forming a continuum from social conventions to moral norms which typically concern harm to others.

[…]

Decades of research demonstrate that neurocognitive systems for stimulus valuation, mental state attribution, saliency processing, and goal-related response selection provide the necessary mechanisms for moral reasoning.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...372234/pdf/nihms-1500620.pdf

ie no god whispering necessary


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.


Replies to this message:
 Message 257 by GDR, posted 04-04-2020 3:04 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 257 of 306 (874510)
04-04-2020 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 256 by Tangle
04-04-2020 11:07 AM


Morality and Empathy
Tangle writes:

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.

I quoted the part I found ambiguous and that wasn’t it.

I’ll go on to the article you quoted. That article is very interesting and I certainly can’t disagree with any of it. It does talk about how moral and empathetic thoughts can be traced to different parts of the brain. However nothing in the article measures the input and changes in the brain marked by cultural memes, which might or might not include a god meme.
I’ll go over some specific parts of the article.

quote:
It is important to note that while empathy is a powerful motivation for prosocial behavior, it should not be equated with morality. The two concepts refer to distinct abilities with partially non-overlapping proximate mechanisms (Decety & Cowell, 2014a). Whereas morality deals with social norms prohibiting and prescribing specific behaviors, empathy is a complex multi-faceted construct that involves perspective-taking, affect sharing, and a motivated concern for other’s well-being (Decety & Jackson, 2004). Each of these components are implemented in specific brain systems, and have important implications for moral decision-making and behavior (Decety & Cowell, 2014b). For instance, perspectivetaking can be used to adopt the subjective viewpoint of others, and this can facilitate understanding the extent of harm or distress that might be experienced by a victim. Conversely, affective reactions to the plight of another may be foundational for motivating prosocial behaviors as well as moral condemnation (Decety & Cowell, 2017; Patil, Calò, Fornasier, Cushman, & Silani, 2017). But affective sharing may also lead to personal distress, the aversive affect arising in response to others’ suffering, and does not necessarily Yoder and Decety Page 5 Psychol Crime Law. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2019 February 12. Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript lead to prosocial behavior (Decety & Lamm, 2009). Furthermore, the degree of these empathic responses are known to be modulated (enhanced or suppressed) by social and contextual factors. For instance, stronger reactions and associated neural responses are elicited when observing the pain of people from the same ethnic group compared with people of another group (Contreras-Huerta, Baker, Reynolds, Batalha, & Cunnington, 2013). Many individuals experience schadenfreude when outgroup members experience misfortune (Cikara, Bruneau, & Saxe, 2011).

I found it interesting, and I see it as being correct when they say that, “It is important to note that while empathy is a powerful motivation for prosocial behavior, it should not be equated with morality.”

I think that we,{at least I), have been seeing them as being essentially the same. I think the point is that morality is about the social norms that we use to relate to our society and make it function. This goes back to the idea that essentially my life will be better if I behave cooperatively and in harmony within my own social group which can include my next door neighbour, any social group I’m part of, my work place etc.

Their thoughts on empathy ring so true. I can only relate to the world through my own consciousness. It is unique to me. Everyone one is “I”. This article is so right. The further away we get from that “I’ the less effect it has on my empathetic feelings. My best friend lost his wife recently. This continues to cause me distress a month later. If I read about someone else I don’t know in even more tragic circumstances, it bothers briefly but usually is gone from mind fairly quickly.

It seems to me that people can learn about the plight of others where it is possible to help, and the their sense of empathy is pushed to go beyond the the more local sense and be prepared to sacrifice for those outside and even well outside their own social networks.

We would both agree that our relationships with parents and others have an impact on our response to our empathetic feelings. The question is whether or not “the still small voice of God’ is one of the others.

The fact that we can see different parts of the brain being energized by our conclusions does not tell us about the social interactions that formed the conclusions.

quote:
Behavioral investigations into the influence of psychopathy on moral decision-making have yielded contradictory results, possibly because early studies focused either on judgment (abstract evaluation) or on choices between hypothetical actions; two processes that may rely on different mechanisms. For instance, it was argued that psychopathy was characterized by a failure to distinguish between right and wrong when tested on the classic moral/conventional transgressions task (Blair, Jones, Clark, & Smith, 1995) 2. However, further investigations with forensic populations found no effect of psychopathy on moral classification accuracy, and even individuals with very high psychopathy scores do understand moral rules and can appropriately identify actions as right and wrong (Aharoni, Sinnott-Armstrong, & Kiehl, 2014). These patterns of results support the view that psychopathic individuals know right from wrong but don’t care. One study explored the influence of psychopathic traits on judgment and choice in response to hypothetical scenarios in a non-forensic sample (Tassy, Deruelle, Mancini, Leistedt, & Wicker, 2013). Psychopathy did not predict utilitarian judgments during the evaluation of moral dilemmas, but was positively correlated with utilitarian predictions of future behavior.

This does indicate that we start off in this life with a basic sense of right and wrong which would agree with C S Lewis, as well as your quote, as I mentioned earlier. Why this exists as part of our conscious nature is of course the question. To say that it simply evolved does not answer the question of why it evolved or whether there was an intelligent agent responsible or whether it evolved simply as a result of other non-intelligent processes.

quote:
Social decision-making capacities in humans have allowed them to achieve unprecedented evolutionary success. Decades of research demonstrate that neurocognitive systems for stimulus valuation, mental state attribution, saliency processing, and goal-related response selection provide the necessary mechanisms for moral reasoning. Disruptions in any of these systems can have devastating consequences for individual and collective welfare, which are often dealt with by the legal system. Moreover, atypical changes in the social aspects of Yoder and Decety Page 11 Psychol Crime Law. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2019 February 12. Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript decision-making are pervasive in many neurological and psychiatric disorders (Ruff & Fehr, 2014). A better understanding of the psychological and neural mechanisms of social decision-making and moral behavior is thus an important goal across social and biological sciences with implications for the law and the criminal justice system. The law regards antisocial acts as arising from the same forces which produce all acts of those whose reason is sufficiently intact to ascribe free will, namely, a conscious decision to violate social norms for which, once apprehended, they must be held responsible (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2014). Current neuroscience work demonstrates that social decision-making and moral reasoning rely on multiple partially overlapping neural networks which support domain-general processes, such as executive control, saliency processing, perspective-taking, reasoning, and valuation. Neuroscience investigations have contributed to a growing understanding of the role of these process in moral cognition and judgments of blame and culpability, exactly the sorts of judgments required of judges and juries. Dysfunction of these networks can lead to dysfunctional social behavior and a propensity to immoral behavior as in the case of psychopathy. Significant progress has been made in clarifying which aspects of social decision-making network functioning are most predictive of future recidivism. Psychopathy, in particular, constitutes a complex type of moral disorder and a challenge to the criminal justice system. Indeed, despite atypical neural processing in specific brain circuits, these individuals are considered sufficiently rational and presumed to have free will to allow moral choice (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2011). Thus psychopaths cannot be excused for their illegal and immoral actions. While future research could identify biomarkers of sufficiently abnormal moral reasoning or reduced capacity to support a mens rea defense, there is currently no neuroscience evidence that would be diagnostically exculpatory in the case of psychopathy. It seems more likely that the neuroscience of decision-making could be applied to identifying individuals for targeted interventions that might prove to be even more effective at reducing future antisocial behavior than incarceration.
Once again it does demonstrate that a psychopath has knowledge that what he/she is doing is wrong and is responsible for their actions.
quote:
Finally, while most of the evidence discussed in our paper supports the notion that social decision-making and moral reasoning are implemented by domain-general reward, valuation, motivation and reasoning mechanisms, it is not totally clear whether social and non-social valuation are implemented in similar or distinct neuronal populations, or how areas that are specialized for either social and non-social cognitive functions interact across contexts. Knowing if there is an overlap in neural representations of motivational relevance for social and non-social decision-making is important for both conceptual clarity and for improving interventions aims at rehabilitation. In this way, future investigations into the neural networks underpinning social decisionmaking can help to characterize specific constellations of biomarkers indicating responsiveness to treatment or reduced capacity, which will increase the effectiveness of the legal judgments and lead to better-informed sentencing decisions

As I see this it is going back again to separating morality and empathy. This is saying that morality is more governed by the “domain-general reward”. I think then that the implication is that empathy is motivated in a different way.

With this in mind I’ll amend my thinking to agree that morality is something that has socially evolved naturally, (without addressing the question of “why” which can only produce a subjective conclusion), but I would still subjectively maintain that the God meme still nudges us in the direction of empathy.

Right off subject, but one of my musical heroes lives in Sussex. (Ditchling) That would be Vera Lynn who turned 103 on Mar 20.


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 256 by Tangle, posted 04-04-2020 11:07 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 258 by Tangle, posted 04-04-2020 5:44 PM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7920
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 258 of 306 (874517)
04-04-2020 5:44 PM
Reply to: Message 257 by GDR
04-04-2020 3:04 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

I quoted the part I found ambiguous and that wasn’t it.

But you ignored the important point which was that the neuroscientist you quoted as being a Christian and therefore on your side, turned out to reject the Christian version of morality. But hey ho.

I found it interesting, and I see it as being correct

I'll be sure to let the guys that have spent their lives trying to understand the workings of tiny portions of the brain know that you and CS bleeding Lewis agree with them...

when they say that, “It is important to note that while empathy is a powerful motivation for prosocial behavior, it should not be equated with morality.” ... I think that we,{at least I), have been seeing them as being essentially the same.

Right, that's probably my fault, not really understanding that you're coming at this stuff for the first time.

Morality is the *behaviour* that results from a complex set of interactions in the brain - one of which is the emotion of empathy. Empathy makes us cry when we see someone else cry and makes us want to help; it's a physical reaction, unless we're psychopaths we can't stop the feeling. But reflex reactions aren't what we'd normally call moral behaviours. Moral behaviour is what we do after we've felt the emotion. That's moderated by our calculating brain. Amongst other things.

People watching starving babies in Africa will feel empathy for them. Some - a very few - will get on a plane and try to do something to help, others will send $10 to a charity, some - probably most - will think 'how sad' and get on with their day.
Psychopaths will wonder what all the fuss is about because they don't feel anything. But they will intellectually understand that others feel it's a bad thing.

We would both agree that our relationships with parents and others have an impact on our response to our empathetic feelings.

That's not in any doubt at all and never has been. Although we're born with the evolved tools that allow us to work together and feel compassion with each other and require fair dealings, our environment tunes our sense of morality too. That's why basic moral behaviour is universal - don't kill, don't steal - but also why it differs between cultures and over times. It's developmental in both uses of the term.

The question is whether or not “the still small voice of God’ is one of the others.

That's not in doubt either. There's no necessity for it; it's totally explicable naturally. It's like still insisting that Thor is behind lightening - yet we have a natural explanation.

This does indicate that we start off in this life with a basic sense of right and wrong which would agree with C S Lewis, as well as your quote, as I mentioned earlier. Why this exists as part of our conscious nature is of course the question. To say that it simply evolved does not answer the question of why it evolved or whether there was an intelligent agent responsible or whether it evolved simply as a result of other non-intelligent processes.

Where would we be without Lewis? Science is eternally grateful. He is the wind beneath the neurologists' wings.

If you could start distinguishing between a god that intervened at creation then stood by and watched and a god that's intervening with all of us in real time it would be helpful. The first is quite, quite different to the second.

Once again it does demonstrate that a psychopath has knowledge that what he/she is doing is wrong and is responsible for their actions.

Of course! Don't confuse empathy with morality. Psychopaths also are usually of higher than average intelligence, that's why so many of them end up running big companies. The intellect moderates our behaviour. Psychopaths can learn what moral behaviour is, just like they can learn algebra, but they don't *feel* it. It's not a compulsion. Not a drive.

With this in mind I’ll amend my thinking to agree that morality is something that has socially evolved naturally

Finally...

but I would still subjectively maintain that the God meme still nudges us in the direction of empathy.

Of course you do. Nevertheless, god is not a necessary component of the process.

Right off subject, but one of my musical heroes lives in Sussex. (Ditchling) That would be Vera Lynn who turned 103 on Mar 20.

Ditchling is pretty, and about 10 miles away. Has a great pub too.

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 257 by GDR, posted 04-04-2020 3:04 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 259 by GDR, posted 04-05-2020 5:56 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 259 of 306 (874550)
04-05-2020 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 258 by Tangle
04-04-2020 5:44 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

The question is whether or not “the still small voice of God’ is one of the others.

Tangle writes:

That's not in doubt either. There's no necessity for it; it's totally explicable naturally. It's like still insisting that Thor is behind lightening - yet we have a natural explanation.

I would agree that it can be explained naturally, but that doesn't explain "why" it can be explained naturally. The articles that you linked earlier do suggest that a sense of morality is universal. Is there a universal morality built into the evolutionary process that is there as the result of intelligence? The answer is subjective and flows from belief.

Just because you don't deem it as necessary does not mean that it isn't there.

Tangle writes:

If you could start distinguishing between a god that intervened at creation then stood by and watched and a god that's intervening with all of us in real time it would be helpful. The first is quite, quite different to the second.

Sure, deism vs theism.

Tangle writes:

Of course you do. Nevertheless, god is not a necessary component of the process.

The windshield wipers aren't a necessity for me to drive my car but they sure can be a big help.

Tangle writes:

Ditchling is pretty, and about 10 miles away. Has a great pub too.

I met Vera Lynn once a long time ago. She is and was a great woman. It was inspiring that at 103 she was still able to give an inspiring message for the times.

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 258 by Tangle, posted 04-04-2020 5:44 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 260 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 3:37 AM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7920
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 260 of 306 (874558)
04-06-2020 3:37 AM
Reply to: Message 259 by GDR
04-05-2020 5:56 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

I would agree that it can be explained naturally, but that doesn't explain "why" it can be explained naturally.

The 'why' is the same as it is for all other naturally evolved traits - it has a survival advantage. We evolved emotions like empathy and calculating brains because they helped us to become the most successful critter on the planet.

This is a different 'why' to why is there something rather than nothing.

But it seems that you have shifted your position from your god being an interventionist one whispering in our ears moment to moment, to one that created a process that achieved the same effect without his direct involvement. That is very welcome and very rare and you're to be congratulated on it.

The articles that you linked earlier do suggest that a sense of morality is universal.

We don't need scientific articles to tell us that do we? Even CS bleedin' Lewis could tell you that. Even my old mum could tell you that!

Is there a universal morality built into the evolutionary process that is there as the result of intelligence? The answer is subjective and flows from belief. Just because you don't deem it as necessary does not mean that it isn't there.

All that can be said is that evolution is a natural process and supernatural intervention in it is neither evidenced nor necessary.

Your (new) belief that it is, or was, directed to produce the effect it has is not an answer, it's a belief.

We will never have an answer to whether a god exists because it's evidentially impossible if he prefers to hide and all his 'effects' are made to look totally natural. Rationally we are left with shrugging our shoulders and saying that if it looks like a duck etc, it is a duck. Or more formally, “ Entities should not be multiplied without necessity."


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 259 by GDR, posted 04-05-2020 5:56 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 261 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 12:06 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 261 of 306 (874584)
04-06-2020 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 260 by Tangle
04-06-2020 3:37 AM


Re: Morality and Empathy
Tangle writes:

The 'why' is the same as it is for all other naturally evolved traits - it has a survival advantage. We evolved emotions like empathy and calculating brains because they helped us to become the most successful critter on the planet.

I find those two sentences contradictory. We have evolved natural traits that have given us a survival advantage and one of them is that we survive better as individuals when we work cooperatively in groups than we do on our own. Incidentally even the Bible tells us that.

However, when we make personal sacrifices which will also weaken the group I contend that we are going against natural evolution. For example our church raises a fair bit of money to send to non-related groups including to having it go to the third world, and then we struggle to raise the money for the new furnaces we had to put in recently.

IMHO opinion this is evidence that there is more going on than simply the evolutionary process which would lead us to work collectively in a group.

Tangle writes:

But it seems that you have shifted your position from your god being an interventionist one whispering in our ears moment to moment, to one that created a process that achieved the same effect without his direct involvement.

I think what I have changed is that I separated morality from empathy. I see that designed in the evolutionary process a sense of morality involved in how we work collectively in our groups. However, I do contend that we have a "God meme" that nudges us to empathy and then act upon that empathy when we are able to do so.

Tangle writes:

We don't need scientific articles to tell us that do we? Even CS bleedin' Lewis could tell you that. Even my old mum could tell you that!

OK we agree that there is a universal sense of morality. Would you agree that is represented by "The Golden Rule"?

Tangle writes:

We will never have an answer to whether a god exists because it's evidentially impossible if he prefers to hide and all his 'effects' are made to look totally natural. Rationally we are left with shrugging our shoulders and saying that if it looks like a duck etc, it is a duck.

You know I actually agree with that. In accessing the ducks this sure looks to me like a world designed by intelligence, and that being the case then it looks to me like a world designed with a purpose. Hopefully I have all my ducks in a row.

Tangle writes:

Or more formally, “ Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.

I would contend that "processes" should not be multiplied without necessity.

For many years I worked as a volunteer with a political party. I believed that by getting my representative elected and the party in government that Canadians would collectively be better off. I see my Christianity in very much the same light. Yes I believe it intellectually, but that isn't the point. I believe that hopefully, by becoming a volunteer for the Christian God that I can in a minuscule way make this a better world.


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 260 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 3:37 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 262 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 1:12 PM GDR has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7920
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 262 of 306 (874588)
04-06-2020 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 261 by GDR
04-06-2020 12:06 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

I find those two sentences contradictory. We have evolved natural traits that have given us a survival advantage and one of them is that we survive better as individuals when we work cooperatively in groups than we do on our own.

That's the entire basis of society (and group selection in biology) - individuals do better as part of a group acting together than individually. Surely you understand that basic idea?

Incidentally even the Bible tells us that.

And CS bleedin' Lewis too no doubt. So as we're all in agreement that individuals can thrive better in groups let's move on.

However, when we make personal sacrifices which will also weaken the group I contend that we are going against natural evolution.

Contend away; you're just failing to understand how it works. If all of us made suicidal acts, we would not survive. But we rarely do, we have a balanced set of emotions that allows us to do compassionate acts but prevents us risking everything all the time.

You can see this at work just in watching Phat here. He desperately wants to follow Jesus's requirement to give everything away to the poor and follow him, but in reality he knows that would be stupid.

example our church raises a fair bit of money to send to non-related groups including to having it go to the third world, and then we struggle to raise the money for the new furnaces we had to put in recently.

But you didn't give it all did you? Nor did you sell your church and donate the proceeds. You also worked as a group, not as individuals.

IMHO opinion this is evidence that there is more going on than simply the evolutionary process which would lead us to work collectively in a group.

I keep having to remind you that we are more than an evolutionary end point. Darwinism only gets you so far. H. Sapiens is no longer dependent totally on evolutionary pressures, we create our own environment - we have an executive mind. We plan and organise. There is indeed much more going on and it's all natural. We have yet to find anything that isn't or even looks like it might be.

I think what I have changed is that I separated morality from empathy. I see that designed in the evolutionary process a sense of morality involved in how we work collectively in our groups. However, I do contend that we have a "God meme" that nudges us to empathy and then act upon that empathy when we are able to do so.

Do'h. You have to jemmy this god of yours in somewhere don't you? So is this now a generalised idea and no longer a still small voice whispering in our ear? What is this meme?

OK we agree that there is a universal sense of morality. Would you agree that is represented by "The Golden Rule"?

Everybody - including neuroscience and atheists - accept that a sense of morality is universal in people (with the exceptions of psychopathy etc). It varies between races and over time but some parts seem to be truly universal - theft and murder for example, but other facets seem quite flexible - eg sexual morality.

You know I actually agree with that. In accessing the ducks this sure looks to me like a world designed by intelligence, and that being the case then it looks to me like a world designed with a purpose. Hopefully I have all my ducks in a row.

I wish you'd stop doing this. We're discussing our sense of morality, not life the universe and everything. Just as I think we’ve agreed something you move the bloody goal posts again.

I would contend that "processes" should not be multiplied without necessity.

That is also true, have you identified any? (Please stick to morality).


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 261 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 12:06 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 263 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 3:02 PM Tangle has responded
 Message 264 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 4:45 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 263 of 306 (874594)
04-06-2020 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Tangle
04-06-2020 1:12 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

You know I actually agree with that. In accessing the ducks this sure looks to me like a world designed by intelligence, and that being the case then it looks to me like a world designed with a purpose. Hopefully I have all my ducks in a row.

Tangle writes:

I wish you'd stop doing this. We're discussing our sense of morality, not life the universe and everything. Just as I think we’ve agreed something you move the bloody goal posts again.

I'm going to just focus on this as I think it is the basis of where we disagree, but first off I agree that physical evolution is not the same thing as cultural evolution. However I don't see it as moving the goal posts at all.

The problem in dealing with that is that we are starting with a very different core belief about our world. We are miles apart on why things are the way they are. If we aren't here as a result of intelligence then there is no reason in the world to consider a divine interaction, (which is not the same as intervention), with our lives.

I believe that there is a god and you believe that there isn't. Neither of us can prove our beliefs. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that you would say that the limit to what we can know, or even believe, is going to be based on science and reason.

As someone who believes in God I could believe, as I assume RAZD does that it is simply a deistic god and then I am back essentially in the same position as you as to what we can know or believe.

However I do go further than that and I'm interested in the how it is that God interacts in my life. I'm a Christian so now I attempt to form my subjective beliefs based on that. I believe that God resurrected Jesus. How does that fit in?

So yes, I can learn from you and others and my views are pretty much in a constant state of flux as when I'm presented with new idea they will often change my views, such as seeing as distinct emotions morality and empathy, although there obviously is a connection as well.

So, if I were to reject my theism and accept atheism I would agree with everything that you have said. You have laid out what it is that we can observe about human behaviour. There wouldn't be much if anything to disagree about.

However, if you were to reject atheism and accept theism you still might disagree as I doubt you can find 2 theists anywhere that will agree on everything. There is much in life that is a mystery and our individual theistic views are subjective, and we all muddle on as best we can.

The point is that we will never agree on any of this as our starting points are so far removed from each other. However, what helps me is that your views are helpful in helping me form my subjective theistic beliefs. Thanks for that.


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 262 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 1:12 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 265 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 5:33 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 264 of 306 (874604)
04-06-2020 4:45 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Tangle
04-06-2020 1:12 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
I came across this quote by Nietzche I think is kind applicable.
quote:
“If you know the why, you can live any how.”

We have opposing views on the "why" we are here. I find it interesting to learn how but no matter what conclusion that we come to in the "how" it doesn't affect the "why".

I won't presume to suggest as to how you would answer about why you are here except that it appears to me that the "how" in your case has a significant impact on the "why" you are here.


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 262 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 1:12 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7920
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 265 of 306 (874606)
04-06-2020 5:33 PM
Reply to: Message 263 by GDR
04-06-2020 3:02 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
GDR writes:

I'm going to just focus on this as I think it is the basis of where we disagree […] So, if I were to reject my theism and accept atheism I would agree with everything that you have said. […] However, if you were to reject atheism and accept theism you still might disagree.

This indicates a fundamental misunderstanding and a common error that non-scientific/non-critical thinking believers routinely make. And it seems almost impossible to dislodge.

I happen to be an atheist. That has absolutely nothing to do with what science is saying about what it knows about morality and neuroscience.

If neuroscience was saying that there's an area of the brain that's made of stuff never seen before on this planet and is observed to be interacting with our consciousness in an impossible way to make only positive influences on human behaviour and that it works regardless of physical brain state, that's what I'd be saying too. I'd be fascinated.

To put it in more personal perspective, years ago I heard about what I thought was a new scientific discovery called Intelligent Design. I was excited. Something had been discovered that pointed to a god of creation. I read everything I could about it and found that it was a pile of bollox. Not science at all; another religious scam. I was disappointed for two reasons, firstly because it wasn't true and secondly because the religious community had created another scam. If it had been good science it would have been great.

As a believer you attempt - not just you, every believer I've ever met - to make an equivalence between belief and atheism. You want them to be equal and opposite and you consistently refuse to accept that atheism in not in itself a belief.

You think/believe that an atheist will force everything they learn into an atheistic world view just as you feel forced to jemmy everything I point you at into your belief. That's simply not the case. Science is objective - or as much as it possibly can be. Its findings are independent of belief. That's why believers can be, and usually are, good scientists. And so can atheists.

It's only when science's findings conflict with a belief that there's a problem. You can accept science's findings without question when science tells you the genetic make up of Corvid 19 but if it suggests that the earth orbits the sun it's immediately dismissed as a conflict.

You say it yourself “ So, if I were to reject my theism and accept atheism I would agree with everything that you have said.” Like I said before, you're a version of Faith. A nice liberal one but you're fighting facts to save your belief and that's ultimately disastrous for your faith. Someone capable of real critical thinking would not allow a belief to overcome a fact. A real fact will last while belief will change.

That's the history of both magisterial, your faith will adapt to encompass the new knowledge science produces or it will die. You'll call it an increasing understanding of god and you'll argue increasingly for a kind of cosmic background sort of god if you're sensible.

Try to get beyond this atheism problem you have, it's colouring your thinking. If I was a Muslim neuroscientist the facts would be the same. There is no evidence for a god or anything else intervening with how moral problems are dealt with in the brain.

I doubt you can find 2 theists anywhere that will agree on everything.

Why doesn't that force you to think that maybe the beliefs are all wrong? Or at best, only one is right and it might as well be a buddhist in Nepal as you.


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 263 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 3:02 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 9:06 PM Tangle has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 266 of 306 (874612)
04-06-2020 9:06 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by Tangle
04-06-2020 5:33 PM


Re: Morality and Empathy
Tangle writes:

I happen to be an atheist. That has absolutely nothing to do with what science is saying about what it knows about morality and neuroscience.

Of course it doesn't. However, looking at brain scans is science. Observing that moral traits are transmitted within a culture is simply an observation and not science.

Tangle writes:

To put it in more personal perspective, years ago I heard about what I thought was a new scientific discovery called Intelligent Design. I was excited. Something had been discovered that pointed to a god of creation. I read everything I could about it and found that it was a pile of bollox. Not science at all; another religious scam. I was disappointed for two reasons, firstly because it wasn't true and secondly because the religious community had created another scam. If it had been good science it would have been great.

They utilized clever marketing. When I first heard about it of course I thought great news. Then when I read up on it I found that although it sounded like they held objective scientific views. Yes, I believe in intelligent design but the ID movement as understood by the Discovery Institute is simply a pseudo-scientific argument against evolution, and something altogether different that what the term implies.

Tangle writes:

As a believer you attempt - not just you, every believer I've ever met - to make an equivalence between belief and atheism. You want them to be equal and opposite and you consistently refuse to accept that atheism in not in itself a belief.

I don't see them as equal and opposite. It is a belief at least to the extent that you consider my theistic beliefs to be wrong. Also I don't see atheism as being opposite to my beliefs. I am closer to seeing them as simply different. I've watched debates between Chris Hitchens and various Christians. Quite often I would agree that Hitchens presented a stronger case than his opponents on some issues, and on those points I agreed with Hitchens.

Tangle writes:

You think/believe that an atheist will force everything they learn into an atheistic world view just as you feel forced to jemmy everything I point you at into your belief. That's simply not the case. Science is objective - or as much as it possibly can be. Its findings are independent of belief. That's why believers can be, and usually are, good scientists. And so can atheists.

Essentially I agree but I might just nit pick and say that from what I have read, scientists will often have a theory and will sideline evidence that doesn't support their theory. However I certainly agree that philosophical and theological beliefs should not effect an objective view of scientists.

Tangle writes:

It's only when science's findings conflict with a belief that there's a problem. You can accept science's findings without question when science tells you the genetic make up of Corvid 19 but if it suggests that the earth orbits the sun it's immediately dismissed as a conflict.

You say it yourself “ So, if I were to reject my theism and accept atheism I would agree with everything that you have said.” Like I said before, you're a version of Faith. A nice liberal one but you're fighting facts to save your belief and that's ultimately disastrous for your faith. Someone capable of real critical thinking would not allow a belief to overcome a fact. A real fact will last while belief will change.

The trouble is that you are claiming that things are fact when they are just your subjective opinion. We can look at all the brain scans we like, and see what is going on when moral decisions are being made. That is science. However, it isn't science to understand the influences that went into that decision. By observation we can see that a person who grew up in a loving environment is more likely to become a loving adult. (Mind you it doesn't always work out the way.) However, that isn't science.

Tangle writes:

That's the history of both magisterial, your faith will adapt to encompass the new knowledge science produces or it will die. You'll call it an increasing understanding of god and you'll argue increasingly for a kind of cosmic background sort of god if you're sensible.

I agree, and I believe that is just what I do. I like to read books, like Greene that give me some level of knowledge of some of the concepts of science. Science has influenced my thinking on theological subjects and sometimes my views overlap but only really to the extent of thinking that maybe this is how it works. Often then I read something by someone else and modify my views.

Tangle writes:

Try to get beyond this atheism problem you have, it's colouring your thinking. If I was a Muslim neuroscientist the facts would be the same. There is no evidence for a god or anything else intervening with how moral problems are dealt with in the brain.

I agree that there is no scientific evidence. It is belief.

Tangle writes:

Why doesn't that force you to think that maybe the beliefs are all wrong? Or at best, only one is right and it might as well be a buddhist in Nepal as you.

I agree. I have no doubt that some of what I believe is wrong. I just don't what part of my beliefs they are. Cheers

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 265 by Tangle, posted 04-06-2020 5:33 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 267 by Faith, posted 04-07-2020 1:19 AM GDR has not yet responded
 Message 272 by Tangle, posted 04-07-2020 4:03 AM GDR has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 74 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 267 of 306 (874616)
04-07-2020 1:19 AM
Reply to: Message 266 by GDR
04-06-2020 9:06 PM


Denying a Fact to Save a Belief?
Since you are taking a potshot at me from another thread on which I am not posting, I would like you to explain it:

you're a version of Faith. A nice liberal one but you're fighting facts to save your belief and that's ultimately disastrous for your faith. Someone capable of real critical thinking would not allow a belief to overcome a fact.

Of course I deny this flatly, and I ask that you please supply ONE example of a fact that I'm fighting in order to save my belief.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by GDR, posted 04-06-2020 9:06 PM GDR has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by PaulK, posted 04-07-2020 1:36 AM Faith has responded
 Message 271 by Tangle, posted 04-07-2020 3:21 AM Faith has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16550
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 268 of 306 (874617)
04-07-2020 1:36 AM
Reply to: Message 267 by Faith
04-07-2020 1:19 AM


Re: Denying a Fact to Save a Belief?
quote:
Of course I deny this flatly, and I ask that you please supply ONE example of a fact that I'm fighting in order to save my belief.

The observed order of the fossil record is an easy one. The fact that the geological sequences associated with transgression and regression would not be produced by a year-long flood is another. The reliability of radiometric dating is another. The fact that a Genesis says nothing relevant to providing services to gay weddings is another. The fact that the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya only applies to avoiding persecution is another... We can go on and on.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 267 by Faith, posted 04-07-2020 1:19 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 269 by Faith, posted 04-07-2020 1:39 AM PaulK has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 74 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 269 of 306 (874618)
04-07-2020 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 268 by PaulK
04-07-2020 1:36 AM


Re: Denying a Fact to Save a Belief?
Those are all interpretations, or selective irrelevancies, not facts. And Tangle was talking about Christian belief. I'd like to hear what he meant.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by PaulK, posted 04-07-2020 1:36 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 270 by PaulK, posted 04-07-2020 1:48 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16550
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 270 of 306 (874619)
04-07-2020 1:48 AM
Reply to: Message 269 by Faith
04-07-2020 1:39 AM


Re: Denying a Fact to Save a Belief?
quote:
Those are all interpretations, or selective irrelevancies, not facts.

No. They are all facts - so that is another example.

quote:
And Tangle was talking about Christian belief

Your Young Earth beliefs and your belief in Noah’s Flood are clearly part of your religion. Your attempt to justify the refusal to provide services to gay weddings is also supposed to be (but it isn’t really). That leaves only your attempts to stir up suspicion and hate against Muslims and people you want to accuse of being secretly Muslim....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 269 by Faith, posted 04-07-2020 1:39 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
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