Discussion on the basis of ethical values

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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#61  Postby nunnington » Sep 19, 2013 11:40 am

jamest wrote:
nunnington wrote:But hell isn't punishment; it's training.

Finally made it! Post and sig meet in holy congress!

Training to be/do what?


To find out what is the most important thing.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#62  Postby mindhack » Sep 19, 2013 11:46 am

I don't get it. Hell is training?
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#63  Postby nunnington » Sep 19, 2013 1:08 pm

It's a guess.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#64  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 19, 2013 1:42 pm

nunnington wrote:It's a guess.


I'd hoped we could distinguish guessing from just letting your imagination run wild.

it just strikes me that all views of reality are guesses


faith doesn't preclude thinking that God might not exist, or that faith is absurd, or that humans are evolved social animals, and so on.


Do 'spiritual' pronouncements formally reject precision in communicating, or just find it too much bother? If that kind of poetry exposed any technique, I'd salute it, but it doesn't. You know that better than I do.

nunnington wrote:To find out what is the most important thing.


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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#65  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 19, 2013 2:23 pm

nunnington wrote:
Quaker wrote:Hi DBD,

With respect, by suggesting that because I have faith I cannot or do not think about ethics and morals you are just constructing a straw man that I don't think advances us any. Do atheists really think that people of faith don't think about ethics?


Yes, I was pondering that. It seems odd to argue that faith precludes thinking about ethics, or indeed thinking about anything. For example, faith doesn't preclude thinking that God might not exist, or that faith is absurd, or that humans are evolved social animals, and so on. It's not as if faith is a kind of watertight membrane, which seals off other modes of thought, or doesn't permit them. This would be a caricature, as if faith were a kind of Index Librorum Prohibitorum.


If you think that god does not exist, then why subscribe to religious morality? If you think about ethics, then why do you need god or preists to guide you?
The only possible answer is that the religious person cherry-picks.
Yes, many religious people accept evolution, but it is only about the meat. You claim god injects the soul. otherwise, there is utterly NO point to believe. God is the deux-ex machina that injects souls. Disembodied souls. It is bollocks. What provides the meat is evolution. What provides the soul is evolution, and when the meat rots, the soul dies. There is no evidence whatsoever for anything else.

EVERY RELIGIOUS person believes in something in their religion's dogma. Sure, there are Catholics who use birth control, Protestants who are OK with gays, even Muslims who are enlightened about women. How do these people decide this? WITH THEIR BRAINS, not their faith. In other words, reason and evidence. And Kudos to those more enlightened believers, but realise it is cherry-picking.
So what is the fucking point? If a religious person can use reason to work out ethical problems, there is no need for god or faith, and it is just silly to claim thus.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#66  Postby nunnington » Sep 19, 2013 3:00 pm

It's true that everybody cherry-picks; in fact, I think that it's impossible not to, as then one would have to give equal consideration to thousands of different ideas, texts, symbols, which any religion will probably contain. There are some of those which interest me, and some which don't. I suppose I could wilfully pay attention to those that don't interest me, but that seems rather odd!

Some of your other assertions seem a bit hanging in the wind. For example, you say, 'you claim that god injects the soul'. Do I? Where have I said that?

Now you are the one cherry-picking.

You also say, 'what is the fucking point?' Now that is a good question, and one that I often ask, not just about religion, but about football, gardening, double yellow lines, and so on.

Using reason to work out ethical problems - don't we also use emotion? In fact, I went to a week-end course on ethics, and I kept jumping up and saying, 'but surely this is an emotional dilemma?', and they looked kind of askance at me.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#67  Postby Shrunk » Sep 19, 2013 3:54 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
nunnington wrote: It's not as if faith is a kind of watertight membrane, which seals off other modes of thought, or doesn't permit them. This would be a caricature, as if faith were a kind of Index Librorum Prohibitorum.


It's not as if 'faith' is anything, nunnington. 'Faith' is anecdotes of having faith.


Yes, and some things just seem to lend themselves to more elaborate anecdotes than others. Mostly the nice stuff: Faith, morality, love, like that. Many folks seem to need to imagine these as somehow existing in some transcendent, objective realm, outside of the messy realm which comprises nothing more than evolved nervous systems interacting with other evolved nervous systems and inanimate objects in their surroundings. There is less tendency to erect such stories about other things that arise from that realm, like hunger, horniness, physical pain, etc. The reason for the distinction escapes me.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#68  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 19, 2013 4:02 pm

nunnington wrote:It's true that everybody cherry-picks; in fact, I think that it's impossible not to, as then one would have to give equal consideration to thousands of different ideas, texts, symbols, which any religion will probably contain. There are some of those which interest me, and some which don't. I suppose I could wilfully pay attention to those that don't interest me, but that seems rather odd!

Some of your other assertions seem a bit hanging in the wind. For example, you say, 'you claim that god injects the soul'. Do I? Where have I said that?

Now you are the one cherry-picking.

You also say, 'what is the fucking point?' Now that is a good question, and one that I often ask, not just about religion, but about football, gardening, double yellow lines, and so on.

Using reason to work out ethical problems - don't we also use emotion? In fact, I went to a week-end course on ethics, and I kept jumping up and saying, 'but surely this is an emotional dilemma?', and they looked kind of askance at me.


Pope John Paul II claimed it in a document supporting evolution. He was quite happy to concede the meat to evolution, but god did the whole soul thing. This is common. I was not implying that you, as an individual, believed that particular thing.

No, I am not cherry-picking, but I remember what it was like when I was a Christian. Besides, your point is evasive. Cherry-picking means not evaluating things properly on their own merits, but on certain pre-conceived ideas or beliefs.

Ethics is about the hardest subject there is, because there is always conflict about competing ethical principles, and how to apply them to particular cases. One tries to find the one that does the most good and least harm. And I agree with you, ethical questions, and there answers, can be painful indeed. At the coal-face, an ethical dilemma can be very emotionally charged. There are no easy answers, and probably no perfect or sometimes even correct answers, we just do the very best we can.

And your point about gardening or sport? Religion is not like enjoying roses, although I agree both gardening and religion is about spreading manure. Religion becomes involved in public affairs and ethics. Unless gardening Nazis start running around tellging me what to believe and how to behave I can safely ignore them.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#69  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 19, 2013 4:10 pm

Darwinsbulldog wrote:At the coal-face, an ethical dilemma can be very emotionally charged.


Oh, you mean somebody thinks it's important. Maybe that's why we have shooting sprees. Just cleaning up the neighborhood.

You see what I did there. If it's important enough, you fight a war over it.

Just short of that is getting exercised over people who are apathetic about (or even opposed to) some position you hold. Consider how much of the traffic of this very forum is devoted to that.

nunnington wrote:Using reason to work out ethical problems - don't we also use emotion? In fact, I went to a week-end course on ethics, and I kept jumping up and saying, 'but surely this is an emotional dilemma?', and they looked kind of askance at me.


If it could be worked out reasonably, it wouldn't be half the problem it is. When people say that it's a product of our evolutionary history, well, what isn't? The observations, right?

nunnington wrote:But then it just strikes me that all views of reality are guesses.


This is what people do when it's too much trouble to make observations. Ethics? A fucking shortcut. We don't have time to take our time. We don't get 'ought' from 'is'? Ha! Where else do we get it? We look at what is, and say it ought to be otherwise. The name for that, of course, is 'wishful thinking'.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#70  Postby nunnington » Sep 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Darwinsbulldog

I thought that cherry-picking involves ignoring something which is detrimental to one's own position or argument. Presumably, it is universal, especially at an unconscious level. But it's a particular problem for Biblical literalists, who have to wriggle out of certain texts, which are awkward.

But this is a relatively modern position, in any case.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#71  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 19, 2013 10:39 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:At the coal-face, an ethical dilemma can be very emotionally charged.


Oh, you mean somebody thinks it's important. Maybe that's why we have shooting sprees. Just cleaning up the neighborhood.

You see what I did there. If it's important enough, you fight a war over it.

Just short of that is getting exercised over people who are apathetic about (or even opposed to) some position you hold. Consider how much of the traffic of this very forum is devoted to that.

nunnington wrote:Using reason to work out ethical problems - don't we also use emotion? In fact, I went to a week-end course on ethics, and I kept jumping up and saying, 'but surely this is an emotional dilemma?', and they looked kind of askance at me.


If it could be worked out reasonably, it wouldn't be half the problem it is. When people say that it's a product of our evolutionary history, well, what isn't? The observations, right?

nunnington wrote:But then it just strikes me that all views of reality are guesses.


This is what people do when it's too much trouble to make observations. Ethics? A fucking shortcut. We don't have time to take our time. We don't get 'ought' from 'is'? Ha! Where else do we get it? We look at what is, and say it ought to be otherwise. The name for that, of course, is 'wishful thinking'.


No, I was not thinking of a fucking war, but the responsabilities and ethical dilemmas of being a carer of a severely and chronically mentally ill person.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#72  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 19, 2013 10:43 pm

nunnington wrote:Darwinsbulldog

I thought that cherry-picking involves ignoring something which is detrimental to one's own position or argument. Presumably, it is universal, especially at an unconscious level. But it's a particular problem for Biblical literalists, who have to wriggle out of certain texts, which are awkward.

But this is a relatively modern position, in any case.


I was trying to be polite, but yes, cherry-picking is fucking dishonest. Cherry-picking modern? Confined to biblical literalists, but surely you jest. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

:doh: :doh: :doh:
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#73  Postby hackenslash » Sep 20, 2013 6:42 am

Quaker wrote: Do atheists really think that people of faith don't think about ethics?


Atheists? Dunno, but I really think that, not least because adhering to fuckwittery devised by ignorant, bronze age idiots hardly constitutes 'thinking about ethics'.

Rules and strictures are the very antithesis of ethics.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#74  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 20, 2013 7:03 am

hackenslash wrote:
Quaker wrote: Do atheists really think that people of faith don't think about ethics?


Atheists? Dunno, but I really think that, not least because adhering to fuckwittery devised by ignorant, bronze age idiots hardly constitutes 'thinking about ethics'.

Rules and strictures are the very antithesis of ethics.


moi aussi! :thumbup: :grin:
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#75  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 20, 2013 7:33 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:
hackenslash wrote:
Quaker wrote: Do atheists really think that people of faith don't think about ethics?


Atheists? Dunno, but I really think that, not least because adhering to fuckwittery devised by ignorant, bronze age idiots hardly constitutes 'thinking about ethics'.

Rules and strictures are the very antithesis of ethics.


moi aussi! :thumbup: :grin:


But your ethical thought is informed by the specific failures of historical renditions of ethics. Ethical thinking doesn't 'advance' by a decision to ponder the basis of ethics rationally, because it has no basis. It's a trial and error thing informed by failure. It is, if you will, an engineering project. Now, if you only knew who the customer was.

If you postulate the notion that ethics is about pissing off the smallest number of people, who knows what kind of ethics you will get? If you base your ethics on the maximum freedom for the greatest number, you have something rational, but entirely free of the necessity of showing how you would solve the problem. The fact that human beings do not necessarily celebrate other people's freedom should be well known to you by now.

If you don't get that liberty is crucial to an ethics of happiness, then you don't. Most people are like that. If you propose that ethics is about fairness, then it isn't about liberty. The sociobiologists tend to think that ethics is about fairness.

Rules and structure are the soul of fairness, but they play havoc with liberty.

Calilasseia wrote:
Quaker wrote:Thank you for your long reply Calilasseia,

I'm not sure I understand you when you say an evidential approach shows that reducing harm is good (I hope I have paraphrased you acceptably there). Does that not beg the question of what it is that is good? Would you mind developing that line of thought a little more so I can better see how you avoid question-begging.


Well first of all, in reply to this, I have to ask you what else would you substitute in the place of evidence?


Depends on what you want. It's not that atheism constitutes a world view, but there is a world view implicit behind a 2000-word manifesto in response to an inquiry into the basis of ethical values. The world view behind the manifesto is that ethics can be evidence-based without specifying what the desired outcome is.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#76  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 20, 2013 8:37 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:
hackenslash wrote:
Quaker wrote: Do atheists really think that people of faith don't think about ethics?


Atheists? Dunno, but I really think that, not least because adhering to fuckwittery devised by ignorant, bronze age idiots hardly constitutes 'thinking about ethics'.

Rules and strictures are the very antithesis of ethics.


moi aussi! :thumbup: :grin:


But your ethical thought is informed by the specific failures of historical renditions of ethics. Ethical thinking doesn't 'advance' by a decision to ponder the basis of ethics rationally, because it has no basis. It's a trial and error thing informed by failure. It is, if you will, an engineering project. Now, if you only knew who the customer was.

If you postulate the notion that ethics is about pissing off the smallest number of people, who knows what kind of ethics you will get? If you base your ethics on the maximum freedom for the greatest number, you have something rational, but entirely free of the necessity of showing how you would solve the problem. The fact that human beings do not necessarily celebrate other people's freedom should be well known to you by now.

If you don't get that liberty is crucial to an ethics of happiness, then you don't. Most people are like that. If you propose that ethics is about fairness, then it isn't about liberty. The sociobiologists tend to think that ethics is about fairness.

Rules and structure are the soul of fairness, but they play havoc with liberty.


Perfect freedom is impossible, because one person's freedom will always tend to infringe on another, even if no malice is intended. We are a social species, and thus part of ethics has to be the ability to compromise and live in peace, or at least peaceful co-existence.
Example. Say someone claims they want to shit in the river. That will impact on river use by others downstream. The more people there are, the less and less likely you can allow free shitting in the river, because the shitter's right is impacting on other people who want to wash and drink from the river. This is a classic Garratt Hardin's "Tragedy Of The Commons" scenario.
So you have a conflict straight away.
The question is, how do people respond, or how should they respond, to anti-social behaviour? Inevitably, things like fairness, freedom, equity, etc, etc make most scenarios very complex in terms of trying to work out a solution that tries to weigh and compromise a solution that everyone can live with. Few may be totally happy, but so long as noone gets a really shitty deal, then conflict can often be avoided.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#77  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 20, 2013 8:46 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:The question is, how do people respond, or how should they respond, to anti-social behaviour? Inevitably, things like fairness, freedom, equity, etc, etc make most scenarios very complex in terms of trying to work out a solution that tries to weigh and compromise a solution that everyone can live with. Few may be totally happy, but so long as noone gets a really shitty deal, then conflict can often be avoided.


News flash! Even in liberal democracies, lots of people get a really shitty deal. One reason for this is that the conversation on ethics consists largely of platitudes.
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Re: Hi all

#78  Postby archibald » Sep 20, 2013 8:48 am

Quaker wrote:Hi Bill

So you don't consider reason to be transcendental? Do you think there could be another species where, for example, the law of non-contradiction does not apply? It's an interesting thought. I have not come across a view that reason is not universal before


Transcendental and universal are two different things though, surely?

Hi, by the way. :)

I see your belief in god to be, unfortunately (because it's a lovely idea) superfluous. From my viewpoint, you've simply tagged it on to an explanation of the world because, well, for the same obvious reason that anyone ever did or does, it floats your boat, provides meaning and purpose etc. And we are all attracted to that. :)

One of several problems though, particularly with a notion of a loving god, such as the one in the Christian version, is that it has too many contradictions.

Whatever morals and ethics we hoomans may discuss, the christian god appears not to stick to them himself, or should I say the description of such a supposed god does not stick to them. I am not fond of 'do as I say, not as I do', parentally speaking.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#79  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 21, 2013 1:26 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:The question is, how do people respond, or how should they respond, to anti-social behaviour? Inevitably, things like fairness, freedom, equity, etc, etc make most scenarios very complex in terms of trying to work out a solution that tries to weigh and compromise a solution that everyone can live with. Few may be totally happy, but so long as noone gets a really shitty deal, then conflict can often be avoided.


News flash! Even in liberal democracies, lots of people get a really shitty deal. One reason for this is that the conversation on ethics consists largely of platitudes.

Yes, I am aware the liberal democracies are not perfect. Where did I say that? Most people don't bother discussing ethics or philosophy in any case. But there are obviously certain types of state that systematically erodes freedoms and rights, authoritarian regimes like theocracies, fascist, communist states.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#80  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 21, 2013 8:22 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:The question is, how do people respond, or how should they respond, to anti-social behaviour? Inevitably, things like fairness, freedom, equity, etc, etc make most scenarios very complex in terms of trying to work out a solution that tries to weigh and compromise a solution that everyone can live with. Few may be totally happy, but so long as noone gets a really shitty deal, then conflict can often be avoided.


News flash! Even in liberal democracies, lots of people get a really shitty deal. One reason for this is that the conversation on ethics consists largely of platitudes.

Yes, I am aware the liberal democracies are not perfect. Where did I say that? Most people don't bother discussing ethics or philosophy in any case. But there are obviously certain types of state that systematically erodes freedoms and rights, authoritarian regimes like theocracies, fascist, communist states.


That's swell, DB, and all, but how do people respond to anti-social behaviour, like that of the oligarchs in 'liberal democracies' who enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, with the complicity of those oligarchs who are nominally lawmakers? When you get right down to it, 'liberal democracies' erode freedoms and rights, too; they're just less obvious about it, and that has resulted in a few people enriched beyond the wildest dreams of anyone manipulating the public in 'authoritarian' societies.

Do you want to explain to us all (yet again) how people SHOULD respond to anti-social behaviour, or do you want to actually admit to knowing how people actually respond. Yes, they respond with complaint, and then go back to what they were doing.

Do we actually need the 'discourse on ethics' so that academics can engage in puffery, or can we think for ourselves?

That said, the system has resulted in private citizens like Richard Branson or Dennis Tito proposing to finance start-ups for trips to Mars (or just halfway around the planet). It's a neat trick, but hardly amenable to close ethical inspection.
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