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Is it really possible for something like morality to be an evolved characteristic?


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 6:58:34 AM PDT
1Danny says:
Define avoidance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:01:19 AM PDT
1Danny says:
The "middle" is still a human opinion no matter how sophisticated, which means it is still subjective. Right? Right.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:03:07 AM PDT
1Danny says:
You appear stupid by calling others stupid.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:03:18 AM PDT
Allan says:
Thomas J. Smith says: Allan, altered states of consciousness is not a commensurate answer to the philosophical question I am presenting.

Allan: That, of course, depends entirely on the state of mind you happen to be in when you compose your question, and the state of mind you happen to be in when you received the commensurate answer.

''To reduce this philosophical question to material causes (altered states) is not intellectually satisfying, and to that extent, is a less reasonable answer. ''

QED

''You see, I asked a question which, if human reason can be trusted at all, demands an adequate answer. To say one cannot expect such an answer is to cut reason short, to give up on understanding.''

I was under the impression that YOU are the one who believes that one does not need to understand your deity, its reasons, its purpose, thus cutting short any reasoned attempt to answer such a question.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:05:54 AM PDT
Allan says:
''...but it will NEVER be able to answer the question how anything comes into being''

Never say never, Thomas.

Say YET.

'' There is a qualitative difference between these questions and the scientific methodology cannot possibly bridge the gap.''

That rather sounds as if you are flattering yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:10:31 AM PDT
Allan says:
''Put very succinctly, it explains how beings that cannot cause their own existence and which depend on something outside themselves (for their existence) came into being.''

I'm satisfied to give my Mum and Dad all the credit for my arrival on our Pale Blue Dot.

Mind you, Lister was his own father, which came as something as a surprise.

Had nothing to do with curry and lager, either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:12:50 AM PDT
Allan says:
1Danny says: I guess you are avoiding the challenge. I understand.

Allan: I need to understand how you define the words you use, 1Danny, so I asked you in the fond hope you could tell me.

Seems not.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 8:28:11 AM PDT
1Danny says:
OK. I used the word opinion as it is defined. A subjective interpretation of belief.
Now, are you going to answer my question or not?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 8:31:52 AM PDT
And yet, when one observes the behavior of *actual Christians*, one sees no sign whatsoever of this motivation being provided by the love of Christ. It is certainly not true that Christians are under-represented in our prisons, for example (unlike atheists, btw).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 8:47:28 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Stupid is as stupid does, Danny.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:01:06 AM PDT
mark says:
"...I reasoned to it (first principle) as a necessary precondition for the existence of anything...."

1.) What justifies your sequence of reasoning, to make the Universe more understandable;
2.) First principle for theism? Or, first principle for the belief in theism;
3.) How does understanding "reason" lead to a god;
4.) If attempts to rationally explain anything's existence is wishful thinking, what then, may we call irrational explanations;
5.) Deeper explanation of existing information IS new information;
6.) Without direct evidence, the reason for why anything, is as much ungrounded as why not anything;
7.) How inconsistent that the assumed intelligibility of a god is required, but the intelligibility of the reasons for it are merely understood by the very same intelligence used for both.

One should understand that using reason beyond its intrinsic limitations is counter-productive. So it's not a matter of understanding reason in and of itself, but at what point reason fails to make sense.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:21:26 AM PDT
1Danny says:
I agree.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:41:45 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Thomas J. Smith wrote: "To reduce this philosophical question to material causes (altered states) is not intellectually satisfying, and to that extent, is a less reasonable answer."
~~~~

How does "not intellectually satisfying" necessarily = "less reasonable"?

For some people, having to say 'I don't know' isn't 'satisfying' to them, but it still might be THE most reasonable reply to the question.

Opting for a speculative answer that has no empirical evidence to support it might _feel_ more satisfying, but that doesn't make it _more_ reasonable than 'i don't know'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:43:04 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Thomas J. Smith wrote: "science, because of its very methodology, can provide answers (or at least theories) to how things come into being, but it will NEVER be able to answer the question how anything comes into being."
~~~~

Never? that's quite the assertion. Can you justify/support it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:44:28 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Irish Lace wrote: "It's been my observation that, when one assumes something exists (in this case, a reason for the universe to exist) it is extremely likely that one is going to find it, especially if one abandons the need for actual evidence."
~~~~

This place really needs stickies....and I'd nominate your comment above to be one of them.

You nailed it, Irish.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 11:53:53 AM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Allan,

There always ends up being a "bedrock" to values, which the valuing person accepts. The fact that we can mindlessly pretend to be asking why does not change the fact that we already have values, and the person "explaining" reaches those eventually, at which point the question "Why?" is disingenuous.

The question is whether enlightenment rationalism has removed important bedrock for community values, and shifted the mode of discourse to one in which only personal values, and even, only personal pleasure and pain, are considered legitimate answers to "Why?" about values.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 11:56:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2012 12:24:40 PM PDT
Ashwood says:
Thomas J. Smith says: What you are overlooking is that "God" IS the answer to infinite regress. If there were a cause for "God," it wouldn't actually be God. That is the point, or at least one facet of the point.

Ash : Specious argument. You might as well define Hitler as the man who isn't immoral when he commits Genocide. Why isn't it immoral when Hitler commits Genocide? Well, if it were immoral for him to commit Genocide, he wouldn't be Hitler.

See how that doesn't actually solve anything logically? You still need to show us WHY Hitler isn't immoral or God doesn't need a cause, you can't just define the question away.

On the other hand, why not just define the Universe as the sum of all that has ever existed? Now you have a definition that precludes any creator God. If any creator God existed, he/she would already be part of the Universe, which would then not need creating to exist.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 12:47:54 PM PDT
It seems to me that morality has several levels (and I don't wish to give the impression that these levels are "higher" in the sense of value or superiority, but only to indicate that each level rests on those below it.

I. Biological Evolution

II. Primate Instincts

III. Cultural Evolution

IV. Reasoned Analysis

Enlightenment rationalism is on Level IV, and it rests on I, II, and III.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 12:53:37 PM PDT
"It's okay Irish Lace, I accept the fact that you don't believe in finding adequate explanations."

Reality is under no obligation to compose itself of phenomena whose explanation we happen to find personally satisfying.

I find accurate understanding to be satisfying... and if I don't know the answer, I prefer to be honest about that and say "I don't know" as I continue to seek my answers.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 1:17:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2012 7:39:43 PM PDT
mark says:
Yeah, funny how that is, huh?

Theists posit the existence of gods to cause the concept of infinite regress to be un-necessary, but the contradiction of infinite regress is the argument theists use that allows gods to exist to begin with. In effect, using an un-necessary proposition to rationalize the necessity of an existence.

(Cue the AFLAC duck trying to understand Yogi Berra's philosophy)

Peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 1:27:25 PM PDT
mark says:
Careful, Michael.

I suspect you're going to be asked....nay, challenged...to describe "understanding" and then queried on it's relativity to "accurate". Not to mention how "satisfying" comes into being regarding either one.

Lucky you.

Peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 1:58:07 PM PDT
Semantic quibbles... in the realm of intellectual battle, they're the cap guns.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 2:07:36 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Michael -

That view might be worth developing. Don't feel wedded to the particular choice of levels or the ordering, if your exposition suggests changes.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 3:27:34 PM PDT
Allan says:
''The fact that we can mindlessly pretend to be asking why does not change the fact that we already have values, and the person "explaining" reaches those eventually, at which point the question "Why?" is disingenuous (Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does).

That is where you have sidetracked the issue, Mark. Neither the 5yo you specified, nor this then-subteen, was pretending anything at all. Both are/were attempting to find that bedrock, and all questions were perfectly genuine.

''The question is whether enlightenment rationalism has removed important bedrock for community values...''

A far different issue, one I see as the pendulum in action. The switch from ''a place for everyone and everyone in their place'' to the rights of the individual was made more difficult because both established orthodox religion and the then clearly structured political system with royalty at the top of the ladder failed to come to terms with individual rights. As a result, the fight was on for those rights, and the acceptance of the attendant responsibilities was shunted aside. Had we been able to update our mythologies to suit, those responsibilities would never have been forgotten.

Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, forced in large part by the realisation that individual selfishness (and greed) are ruining our planet, threatening our well-being, and as a result we will have to take a long hard look at our responsibilities to the collective world, not just the human side but the entire ecological system.

The effect of our unbridled consumption of scarce resources, our pollution, and all the other attendant problems caused by our excessive population means we can no longer indulge our individual selves without a thought for the collective future.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 3:34:53 PM PDT
Allan says:
Under that definition, 1Danny, EVERYTHING is opinion, including the concept of ''a higher power or God that enacts universal standards''.

Some people obviously feel the need to believe in such a higher power or deity and accordingly have to create one for their own subjective purposes.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  73
Total posts:  2115
Initial post:  May 25, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 28, 2013

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