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#121 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not in the habit of defining concepts, so stating a definition feels like a trap to me (like you are locking in my words so that you can use them against me ). At core, morality is a sense of right and wrong.
LOL. Unfortunately a large part of philosophical discourse is about defining concepts--looking at words we happily use every day and saying 'Yes, but what does it MEAN?'. It's scary how often I find I have no idea.

Morality being 'a sense of right and wrong' is a fine definition, but my question is 'on what is it based'? You say that protecting and caring could be the absolute standard of goodness, but I'm wanting to dig a little deeper. Why is it good to protect and care? Why is it good that the species continue? Heck, why is it good that the universe continue?

Does that make sense? I'm not trying to be deliberately obscure.

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#122 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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Morality being 'a sense of right and wrong' is a fine definition, but my question is 'on what is it based'? You say that protecting and caring could be the absolute standard of goodness, but I'm wanting to dig a little deeper. Why is it good to protect and care? Why is it good that the species continue? Heck, why is it good that the universe continue?

Does that make sense? I'm not trying to be deliberately obscure.
I don't understand. It seems obvious, from an evolutionary POV, that it is "good to protect and care" or, "good that the species continue"....etc. What would be the point of living and reproducing if we didn't find value in doing so?

It seems to me, that the fact that we (as a species) make efforts to that end, a proof that there is an evolutionary basis to morality. Otherwise, why bother. Right? LOL.

To the question of "on what is morality based"-- really, what does it matter? You can claim that morality is a divine attribute, given by god. But, that is clearly an opinion, because you cannot prove it to be True.
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#123 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't understand. It seems obvious, from an evolutionary POV, that it is "good to protect and care" or, "good that the species continue"....etc. What would be the point of living and reproducing if we didn't find value in doing so?
It does seem obvious, but again, that's what philosophy's all about. It seems obvious to one person that it's 'good to smack one's children', and equally obvious to another that it's good not to smack them; so clearly, obviousness is not proof of correctness. Viruses manage to live and reproduce without, so far as we know, having to have a 'point' to it; the fact that humans do, on the whole, seem to require a point to living is a philosophical question, not an answer.

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It seems to me, that the fact that we (as a species) make efforts to that end, a proof that there is an evolutionary basis to morality. Otherwise, why bother. Right? LOL.
I don't quite get what you're saying here, sorry? Make efforts to what end?

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To the question of "on what is morality based"-- really, what does it matter? You can claim that morality is a divine attribute, given by god. But, that is clearly an opinion, because you cannot prove it to be True.
Well, I can prove it must be true if it is valid and all the alternatives are proven to be false. Which obviously, I haven't done so far, and it would take a good many more pages in this thread to do. But I still have yet to be shown on what morality is based, if not an external standard of morality. We seem to be getting down to 'it just is'.

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#124 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 10:18 AM
 
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It does seem obvious, but again, that's what philosophy's all about. It seems obvious to one person that it's 'good to smack one's children', and equally obvious to another that it's good not to smack them; so clearly, obviousness is not proof of correctness. Viruses manage to live and reproduce without, so far as we know, having to have a 'point' to it; the fact that humans do, on the whole, seem to require a point to living is a philosophical question, not an answer.
'.

I'm thinking the will to survive is innate, biological, and evolutionary.

But I am off with the children for a long weekend in the big city :, so I'll have to try to figure all this out next week.
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#125 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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I haven't abandoned this thread but I've been busy at work and exhausted at night. I have been thinking about it quite a bit. Hopefully I'll have some time to catch up with it this weekend and maybe post something useful.

Take care. I really : this thread.
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#126 of 288 Old 06-27-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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It does seem obvious, but again, that's what philosophy's all about. It seems obvious to one person that it's 'good to smack one's children', and equally obvious to another that it's good not to smack them; so clearly, obviousness is not proof of correctness. Viruses manage to live and reproduce without, so far as we know, having to have a 'point' to it; the fact that humans do, on the whole, seem to require a point to living is a philosophical question, not an answer.


I don't quite get what you're saying here, sorry? Make efforts to what end?

Well, I can prove it must be true if it is valid and all the alternatives are proven to be false. Which obviously, I haven't done so far, and it would take a good many more pages in this thread to do. But I still have yet to be shown on what morality is based, if not an external standard of morality. We seem to be getting down to 'it just is'.
I am still thinking on all of this...just lacking the necessary solitude to reflect. LOL

To the bolded- What I'm thinking is, the fact that we even make efforts to find value in living, reproducing...to indicate that 'morality' has an evolutionary basis. I dunno, that probably doesn't make sense. I'm still grappling with the questions raised by this thread (thanks, btw!)

I will give it more consideration, and try to justify.
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#127 of 288 Old 06-28-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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Well, that's nice to know, but on what philosophical basis?
This part of your quote does not follow as written:
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reducing the mind to physical phenomena necessitates that we reduce logical inference, reasons, intentions, and decisions to physical phenomena as well—and thus remove their causal role as inference, reasons, intentions, and decisions from events which are clearly caused by these things.
Explain to me why reinterpreting inference/reasons/etc as a physical model changes their causal role.

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It seems odd to have a scientific theory which is not based on solid scientific evidence--it seems more to be based on presuppositions, ie. 'Morality cannot have come from God, so it must have evolved'.
That is not my theory. Also let's please get our scientific terms straight. My hypothesis is that morality may have evolved via natural selection rather than being god-given. A testable model of how selection pressure led to the evolution of morality would be a theory.

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But very well; you have yet to prove that it is philosophically possible for morality to have evolved.
This is not necessary. It would be helpful to show (not prove, mind you) that it is theoretically (not "philosphically") possible for morality to have evolved, but that is basically the formulation of a testable theory, which is beyond the scope of this thread.

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I have asked the posters on this thread to explain what morality actually means in an evolutionary worldview, and the only responses I have gotten beg the question, by saying that morality is 'good', things that are 'good' for the group, things that make people 'feel good'... which obviously doesn't address the issue at all! Unless somebody presents me with a definition which does not ultimately come back to an absolute standard of morality which is recognised, however dimly, by all humans, I can only conclude that the evolution of morality is philosophically impossible, ie. nonsensical.
I believe the standard definition of morality is sufficient:
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morality means a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

Morality is, by definition, the way in which people classify actions as "right" or "wrong". It is not necessary to know how each culture defines "right" and "wrong" nor is it necessary to judge whether any individual culture is classifying things "correctly" in some absolute sense (since that presupposes the existence of an absolute morality). All that matters for the purpose of the evolutionary argument is 1) people have a sense of "right" and "wrong" and 2) we define this sense to be morality.
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#128 of 288 Old 06-28-2008, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Explain to me why reinterpreting inference/reasons/etc as a physical model changes their causal role.
Because, as I said, it removes the property of intentionality ('aboutness') from the propositions. You could say it removes the propositionality from propositions. A physical thing cannot have intentionality. A can of Coke cannot be 'about' something; a river cannot be 'about' something; an electrical charge through a neuron cannot be 'about' something. And if the propositional content is removed from a syllogism, then one cannot call it 'reason' or 'logic'.

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That is not my theory. Also let's please get our scientific terms straight. My hypothesis is that morality may have evolved via natural selection rather than being god-given. A testable model of how selection pressure led to the evolution of morality would be a theory.
Fair enough. Sorry, I was breaking my own rule of not using colloquial terms for technical ones.
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This is not necessary. It would be helpful to show (not prove, mind you) that it is theoretically (not "philosphically") possible for morality to have evolved, but that is basically the formulation of a testable theory, which is beyond the scope of this thread.
Erm... say what? Philosophy, whether recognised and formulated or not, is foundational to any other study, including (one might almost say especially) science. It is imperative to prove that the hypothesis you're proposing is logically possible! Otherwise you could just as well say 'Well, my theory is based on the assumption that all matter is but a fragment of the Great Tomato'. Which I guess you could, but nobody in his right mind would accept your evidence (unless it happened to fit with their prior assumptions, ie. PHILOSOPHY, of the way the universe works, in which case they'd just ignore the tomato bit).
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morality means a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong
Which still doesn't explain on what that sense of right and wrong is based. It is in fact philosophically necessary for the question at hand to know what people mean and have meant by 'right and wrong', and once again you are avoiding the question. In essence you're saying it's OK to formulate a hypothesis a) without defining the terms and b) without making sure it's logically (philosophically) possible. That frankly staggers me.

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#129 of 288 Old 06-29-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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Are ya'll talking about tribal morality (doing things for the greater good of the tribe, herd, flock, etc.) or altruism? Those are two very different concepts.
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#130 of 288 Old 06-29-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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I'm assuming altruism?
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#131 of 288 Old 06-29-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Are ya'll talking about tribal morality (doing things for the greater good of the tribe, herd, flock, etc.) or altruism? Those are two very different concepts.
And, could one have evolved into the other?
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#132 of 288 Old 06-30-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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Because, as I said, it removes the property of intentionality ('aboutness') from the propositions. You could say it removes the propositionality from propositions. A physical thing cannot have intentionality. A can of Coke cannot be 'about' something; a river cannot be 'about' something; an electrical charge through a neuron cannot be 'about' something. And if the propositional content is removed from a syllogism, then one cannot call it 'reason' or 'logic'.
I am not a biologist, but I disagree with this.

A physical thing, like a brain, lung, liver...etc, may not have "intentionality", but they certainly have a function--a logical one.
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#133 of 288 Old 06-30-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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I've been out of this thread for a while as I was off camping, but I've read through it now and think I understand where Smokering is coming from. The thing is, we will never agree because we hold different presuppositions. Smokering is coming at it from the point of view of the Transcendental argument (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transce...istence_of_God); if one holds this argument to be true i.e. holds it as their axiom then one cannot possibly accept the axiom that underlies the argument for the evolution of morality which is that things can evolve out of chaos. Truth be told, when I asked the original question I was interested in finding out if the evolution of morality was internally illogical i.e. given the axiom of no God, is it illogical to say that morality might have evolved. That is not what the discussion has turned out to be; instead Smokering is basically arguing against the axiom itself, saying that it is not possible to say that humans could have concepts of right and wrong etc unless there is some sort of universal template for it. This is a discussion I am much less interested in because I don't think there is any use in it; one cannot prove or disprove axioms.

That said, there are criticisms of the Transcendental argument, which I am certain Smokering is familiar with. The criticism that best describes my thinking is this (from the link above):
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Another objection claims that the TAG moves from conceptual necessity to necessary existence. This criticism argues that proving the conceptual necessity of a worldview doesn't establish its ontological reality. In other words: one may need to think about the world in a certain way in order to make sense of one's experience and knowledge, but that doesn't prove that the world actually is that way.
The world is what it is; we just try to make sense of it with our human brains. We can't imagine something evolving out of nothing because we have never seen it happen, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. If we lived at a quantum level where particles are constantly popping in and out of existence we probably wouldn't have a problem with the concept. In other words, human reason does not define what is possible and what is not. I'm guessing that Smokering will say that this renders human reason absurd, so I will disagree in advance . I don't think it is absurd, just limited. Human reason is terribly necessary and useful when it comes to ordering our human society and trying to understand the world around us. Just as Newtonian physics is terribly necessary to understand the physical forces we deal with every day. But just as Newtonian physics breaks down and doesn't apply at very small or very large scales, neither can we assume our reason applies in very transcendental issues. Ultimately our reason is subordinate to reality, not the other way around.

I remember when I was going to a Christian college a long time ago, and feeling so excited when I read Mere Christianity and first came across these arguments. I really thought it nailed down the existence of God and wrote a paper about it. It was my Christian philosophy professor who took me down a notch and gently told me that the subject was really more complicated than that. This is not to say that Smokering is wrong and I am right. It is to say that we don't know who is right or wrong and it can't be proven. We can argue internal consistency of arguments but we can't argue axioms.
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#134 of 288 Old 06-30-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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I have been gone from this thread a while too.

To me, it makes no sense using logic and god/jesus in the same argument.

100% god and 100% man at the same time?

Even though man, by definition, =/= god.

So?

What's the point?
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#135 of 288 Old 06-30-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Viruses manage to live and reproduce without, so far as we know, having to have a 'point' to it; the fact that humans do, on the whole, seem to require a point to living is a philosophical question, not an answer.

Ok, I thought about this a bit during our 14+ hours on the train round trip (in the moments when I wasn't entertaining my kiddos).

From an evolutionary standpoint, the parts of the brain that sustain life (the brain stem for heart rate and breathing, and the limbic system for motivation, emotions, fight/flight, etc for two examples) are far more "primal" than the prefrontal cortex that controls reasoning and judgment. That, to me, seems to be evidence that humans managed to live and reproduce before they evolved to seek a "point" to it.
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#136 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A physical thing, like a brain, lung, liver...etc, may not have "intentionality", but they certainly have a function--a logical one.
By 'a logical function' don't you mean 'a function which appears logical to our minds'? Having a function which makes sense isn't at all the same thing as having intentionality.

To me, it makes no sense using logic and god/jesus in the same argument.

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100% god and 100% man at the same time?
Even though man, by definition, =/= god.
So?
What's the point?
I could ask you the same question. Are you implying that the deity of Christ violates the law of noncontradiction? But that only states and thing cannot be both A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense.

Thao: So, are you saying you do not believe logic is absolute?

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#137 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 09:18 AM
 
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Are you saying that unless we can come up with an explanation of why early humans considered certain decisions moral territory or not moral territory (feed the child vs method of hunting or whatever) and why certain answers to the decisions that are in moral territory are the correct answers, then the only other explanation is that God decided which questions are moral ones and which answers are correct?

(Just want to clarify before I argue.)

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#138 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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By 'a logical function' don't you mean 'a function which appears logical to our minds'? Having a function which makes sense isn't at all the same thing as having intentionality.

To me, it makes no sense using logic and god/jesus in the same argument.


I could ask you the same question. Are you implying that the deity of Christ violates the law of noncontradiction? But that only states and thing cannot be both A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense.

Thao: So, are you saying you do not believe logic is absolute?
So he wasn't god when he was man? Interesting. I always hear that is part of what makes him so amazing. So if you don't believe that, then in that case, I'll take that question off your table.

I still think it is nonsense.
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#139 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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Thao: So, are you saying you do not believe logic is absolute?
I am saying the same thing I said earlier in the thread. If by "logic" you mean the ultimate order underlying reality, then yes, I think it is absolute. But if by "logic" you mean the rules made up by Aristotle et al then no, I do not think those are absolute. They do work absolutely when applied to our immediate experiences, which is why it is absurd to say that something can be a tomato and a chicken at the same time. However it does not necessarily follow that they will then work absolutely when applied to issues far removed from our immediate experiences of tomatoes and chickens. Just as Newtonian physics works absolutely when applied to physical phenomenon at our scale, but does not work when applied to very large or very small scales.

I also think it is a kind of hubris to say that human reason can in any way define what God is or is not. Like the idea that God cannot be illogical because logic eminates from God's nature. As far as I can see, if there is a God, S/he can be anything S/he damn well pleases, you know? That's pretty much the definition of being omnipotent. Maybe God's logic is totally different from the logic reflected in creation, and S/he just created our world as a lark to see how different rules would play themselves out.
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#140 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 01:51 PM
 
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It does seem obvious, but again, that's what philosophy's all about. It seems obvious to one person that it's 'good to smack one's children', and equally obvious to another that it's good not to smack them; so clearly, obviousness is not proof of correctness. .
"Caring for others or not caring for others" is not analogous to "smack children or not smack children". Ultimately, both smacking and not smacking are attempts to care for children.

From an evolutionary standpoint, caring for offspring is obviously good because it directly affects survival of the species. Similarly, having an appetite and eating are obviously good for survival. Whether a society believes that bugs, meat, or seeds are "good" to eat does not alter the fact that eating is vital for survival. I believe that caring for offspring is similarly vital, and is similarly biologically hardwired.
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#141 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you saying that unless we can come up with an explanation of why early humans considered certain decisions moral territory or not moral territory (feed the child vs method of hunting or whatever) and why certain answers to the decisions that are in moral territory are the correct answers, then the only other explanation is that God decided which questions are moral ones and which answers are correct?
Not necessarily; certainly not the specific, triune Christian God necessarily.

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So he wasn't god when he was man? Interesting. I always hear that is part of what makes him so amazing. So if you don't believe that, then in that case, I'll take that question off your table.
He was God and man, but not both in the same sense.
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I still think it is nonsense.
Swell, but you'll have to show me what logical law it violates and how if you want to use the term 'nonsense' in the technical sense.
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I am saying the same thing I said earlier in the thread. If by "logic" you mean the ultimate order underlying reality, then yes, I think it is absolute. But if by "logic" you mean the rules made up by Aristotle et al then no, I do not think those are absolute. They do work absolutely when applied to our immediate experiences, which is why it is absurd to say that something can be a tomato and a chicken at the same time. However it does not necessarily follow that they will then work absolutely when applied to issues far removed from our immediate experiences of tomatoes and chickens. Just as Newtonian physics works absolutely when applied to physical phenomenon at our scale, but does not work when applied to very large or very small scales.
And how do you decide to which areas of knowledge logic cannot be applied? Through science? Which is based on logic? Your position is self-refuting.

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I also think it is a kind of hubris to say that human reason can in any way define what God is or is not. Like the idea that God cannot be illogical because logic eminates from God's nature. As far as I can see, if there is a God, S/he can be anything S/he damn well pleases, you know? That's pretty much the definition of being omnipotent. Maybe God's logic is totally different from the logic reflected in creation, and S/he just created our world as a lark to see how different rules would play themselves out.
The definition of omnipotence does not include being able to perform illogical, nonsensical actions or have those attributes.

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From an evolutionary standpoint, caring for offspring is obviously good because it directly affects survival of the species. Similarly, having an appetite and eating are obviously good for survival. Whether a society believes that bugs, meat, or seeds are "good" to eat does not alter the fact that eating is vital for survival. I believe that caring for offspring is similarly vital, and is similarly biologically hardwired.
Again, begging the question--on what basis did humans believe the survival of the species was 'good'? You're equating a moral attribute (caring) with a physical action (eating) by calling them both 'good', but 'morally good' and 'good for me' are entirely different things. I don't think my oats are morally good because they contain fiber! Why do humans distinguish between 'good as in healthy' and 'morally good'? Where does the distinction lie, and on what is it based?

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#142 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 11:11 PM
 
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SR:
He was God and man, but not both in the same sense.

OB:
I still think it is nonsense.

SR:
Swell, but you'll have to show me what logical law it violates and how if you want to use the term 'nonsense' in the technical sense.
Didn't I already concede, if you aren't of that school of thought we have nothing more to argue about on that subject? It's all good.

But I have no idea what logical law this might violate anyway, as I have no idea what you are refering to now that 100% man and 100% god are off the table. What are we talking about. Describe this potential problem and I can try to work it out, but I have no idea how you are describing this person. I have no idea what your ideas are, your proposed facts, premises, whatever. I have nothing to work with (remember, I am not a Christian and have not learned all the different things about him, the menagerie of possible Jesus/Gods- as I have learned different denominations teach so many different things), I only pointed out the one most common theme I hear 100% god 100% man. So if not that, then what?

I am only toying with the idea of supernatural to try to understand how rational ( I have no doubt you are intelligent) people can wrap their heads around all of the majikal woo woo. And I can play with assigning letters to your "facts" and try to see what and if they are irrational in the contemporary way of logic.

But like I said back there, just because you can construct a sound argument, doesn't mean your conclusion is true- we are assuming your propositions are true to play the logic game. But take the As,Bs,and Cs out and replace them with your original statements and we might have a cute little syllogism, or even a more sophisticated proof with cute un-empirical statements. But it's fine, it's fun to play the game.


Thao- Incompleteness theorm, undecidability



Simple first-order logic

A theory is complete if everything true can be proven by it's axioms, iow, it is decidable. But then is it consistent?

Consistency or completeness?

Let's drop evolution, quit wasting all the time end effort on attacking biology, take up a new target. Maybe God (the god of the gaps) can find a nice comfy warm spot in (outside) Godel's Theorem? Mmmm truths that can and can not be proved within the system. You've converted me. Let him rest there, and then we can all be happy. Leave biology alone. :

Cut me some slack, I'm always on my nth beer by this time of night And I am not meaning to be snarky in any way. I just found a perfect gap for god (IMO) and it seems, we can all eat our cake and have it too, yes? I just wish my SL prof had pointed out these practical applications!
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#143 of 288 Old 07-01-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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(BY STACY)

Again, begging the question--on what basis did humans believe the survival of the species was 'good'? You're equating a moral attribute (caring) with a physical action (eating) by calling them both 'good', but 'morally good' and 'good for me' are entirely different things. I don't think my oats are morally good because they contain fiber! Why do humans distinguish between 'good as in healthy' and 'morally good'? Where does the distinction lie, and on what is it based?
Now you are just being silly."on what basis did humans believe the survival of the specias was good"? Not "good" in your moral sense, not my moral sense, good like if they worked the animal (human in this case) survived to reproduce. Maybe I need to go back and read old threads, because this seems so obvious.


this is what you were reacting to:
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From an evolutionary standpoint, caring for offspring is obviously good because it directly affects survival of the species. Similarly, having an appetite and eating are obviously good for survival. Whether a society believes that bugs, meat, or seeds are "good" to eat does not alter the fact that eating is vital for survival. I believe that caring for offspring is similarly vital, and is similarly biologically hardwired.
Can you redefine the question Stacy? I know this isn't my post you were responding to but I am feeling like there is a big disconnect, or else I need the queston worded a different way. I am not even seeing where the disagreement is here.
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#144 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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Now you are just being silly."on what basis did humans believe the survival of the specias was good"? Not "good" in your moral sense, not my moral sense, good like if they worked the animal (human in this case) survived to reproduce. Maybe I need to go back and read old threads, because this seems so obvious.
Right. The morality would have come later, and been based on the biological drive to care (although not experienced, or acted upon, equally because we are individuals--and hence the room for judgment).
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#145 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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orangebird: Okay, I get the 'lots of beer' thing, but my name's not Stacy.

And I think you're misreading things. I do believe Jesus was fully man and fully God, but not in the same sense ('same relationship' is another way of putting it, which is probably clearer for this purpose).

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But like I said back there, just because you can construct a sound argument, doesn't mean your conclusion is true- we are assuming your propositions are true to play the logic game. But take the As,Bs,and Cs out and replace them with your original statements and we might have a cute little syllogism, or even a more sophisticated proof with cute un-empirical statements. But it's fine, it's fun to play the game.
When have I ever said that logical validity = truth? Never. Reread the thread. I have been very clear to assert that first principles cannot be proven, that it is very difficult to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that something is true, and that validity is not the same thing and soundness. You're arguing against a position I have never taken!

However, if you reread the thread you will also notice I have asserted that worldviews can be compared, despite these epistemic limitations, by examining their logic and internal validity. This is what I am now trying to do. The question for the last few pages has been whether or not morality could evolve, and I am still waiting for someone to tell me on what morality was based, in a way that makes the slightest bit of sense. No-one has yet defined morality in a way that differentiates it from any other species-helping attribute or activity such as having dextrous fingers or braiding vines. To put it another way, no-one has proposed a decent, non-question-begging definition of morality which is purely naturalistic in origin (ie. doesn't rest on an obhective, external standard of morality of which all humans are more or less aware). It's not about 'attacking biology'; it's about recognising its limitations and the logical flaws of naturalism.

As for your second post: I'm not sure how to say this politely, but I think you do need to read the thread again. You really aren't engaging at all with my point, and I've tried about eight times now to state it yet more clearly.

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#146 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 08:56 AM
 
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The question for the last few pages has been whether or not morality could evolve, and I am still waiting for someone to tell me on what morality was based, in a way that makes the slightest bit of sense. No-one has yet defined morality in a way that differentiates it from any other species-helping attribute or activity such as having dextrous fingers or braiding vines.
I don't understand why that's necessary. If moral behaviours evolved, and other species-helping behaviours evolved, then they exist whether or not someone decides to sort them into categories.

Several people on this thread have proposed a hypothesis of working together and a strong tribe being beneficial to the species, leading to some selfless behaviours that benefit the group as opposed to the individual, leading directly to some moral behaviours and indirectly to others*. Later, some groups of humans could adopt this as "rules for living in our group" which could have "evolved" (lol) into the modern concept of morality.

Obviously that little scenario is missing details which we'll likely never know, but what we're going for here is a plausible (logical, possible) idea, right? I don't understand how the lack of an exact definition of morality stops the idea from being plausible.



* By "indirectly" I was thinking of the way that sometimes a mutation will cause more than one change to the individual, not all of them beneficial, but the mutation may still survive because the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. This could explain the existence of any moral behaviours that may not confer a direct benefit to the individual or the group. Perhaps it came as a package, so to speak, with one of the more obviously beneficial ones, like sharing food or caring for young.

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#147 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 09:13 AM
 
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The question for the last few pages has been whether or not morality could evolve, and I am still waiting for someone to tell me on what morality was based, in a way that makes the slightest bit of sense. No-one has yet defined morality in a way that differentiates it from any other species-helping attribute or activity such as having dextrous fingers or braiding vines. .
That isn't true! We've said that morality is a sense of right and wrong. Therefore, it is about behavioral choices. Dextrous fingers are not a choice. The ability to braid vines is not a choice, but the act of braiding vines is a choice, and can be a moral one.

As for explaining things in a way that "makes the slightest bit of sense"--I often feel that way about the Christianity (fully Man and fully God, but not in the same sense )
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#148 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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And how do you decide to which areas of knowledge logic cannot be applied? Through science? Which is based on logic? Your position is self-refuting.
I do not decide which areas it CANNOT be applied, I decide based on empirical evidence which areas it CAN be applied. The distinction is important because the former assumes that the laws of logic are all-embracing but do not apply in certain situations, which is absurd; whereas what I am saying is that the laws of logic specifically apply in one situation (i.e. our immediate surroundings) but we can't prove or know if they apply in more transcendental situations. I know that our laws of logic apply in everyday life because I can see that a tomato is not a chicken. However I do not then extrapolate that certainty to say that they apply to subjects very far removed from our everyday experience such as God. There is no necessary causal connection there. And as quantum mechanics demonstrates, manmade rules which are hard and fast at our level of experience may not apply at other levels.

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The definition of omnipotence does not include being able to perform illogical, nonsensical actions or have those attributes.
No, that is the definition of omnipotence given by the transcendental argument. The actual definition of omnipotence is simply "all power" or unlimited power. To make the transcendental argument work, men had to place limits on the concept of omnipotence. And that is what I see as hubris. The idea that human reason can put limits on God's nature.

And Smokering, as others have pointed out, we have repeatedly given definitions and explanations for morality but you have rejected them not because they are internally illogical but because they do not fit your presuppositions. Just as you rejected my comment about God's omnipotence because it does not fit with your definition of omnipotence. The only way this argument can be productive is if you accept our presuppositions and then try to show that the argument is internally inconsistent as opposed to inconsistent with you presuppositions.

My explanation is simply that humans created morality -- based on nothing but their own instincts (such as the instinct for self-preservation, propagation of the species, etc), feelings, and social needs. To you that is absurd because you don't believe that something can be created out of nothing. However one must accept the presupposition that something can be created out of nothing in order to believe in evolution. If one accepts that presupposition, then the argument is logical.
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#149 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That isn't true! We've said that morality is a sense of right and wrong.
Uh. Yeah. But you haven't defined right and wrong! Defining something by using synonyms is not helping in this instance! You're still presupposing that we all know what right and wrong mean, when the very point of this discussion is that we don't. This whole discussion has gone round and round in circles, because no-one is willing to engage with the problem on a presuppositional level. Does 'right and wrong' simply mean 'what helps the group to survive'? We've rejected that already--I was assured in no uncertain terms that PPs were not advocating a utilitarian point of view. So what does 'right and wrong' mean? Without begging the question, without reducing morality to the same level as vine-braiding, without trying to describe morality with words that mean 'morality', what does it mean?

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As for explaining things in a way that "makes the slightest bit of sense"--I often feel that way about the Christianity (fully Man and fully God, but not in the same sens
I'm fully a wife and fully a daughter at the same time, but not in the same sense. Being two things at once is not necessarily contradictory. As Jesus exhibited the traits of both humans and God (law of identity: a thing is defined by its attributes), He was both fully human and fully Divine. What's the problem here?
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I know that our laws of logic apply in everyday life because I can see that a tomato is not a chicken. However I do not then extrapolate that certainty to say that they apply to subjects very far removed from our everyday experience such as God.
But I do not believe that the laws of logic are absolute because I extrapolate them from everyday existence. I believe the laws of logic are absolute based on the nature of the laws themselves; what is called their necessary truth.

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No, that is the definition of omnipotence given by the transcendental argument. The actual definition of omnipotence is simply "all power" or unlimited power.
That's not the 'actual definition', that's the literal translation. There's a difference. I have never met a Christian theologian who believed the TAG defines omnipotence as the ability to commit or entail the logically impossible. Your argument smacks of people who giggle at pro-life death penalty advocates, because they think 'pro-life' must mean 'pro-every life in all circumstances', rather than the specific meaning the term has. 'Omnipotence' is a technical, theological term, not just a combination of omni (all) and potence (power). And the technical, theological term does not mean that God can commit or entail the logically impossible.

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And Smokering, as others have pointed out, we have repeatedly given definitions and explanations for morality but you have rejected them not because they are internally illogical but because they do not fit your presuppositions.
No, the arguments you have given are all logically inconsistent thus far. They constitute question-begging--petitio principii.

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humans created morality -- based on nothing but their own instincts (such as the instinct for self-preservation, propagation of the species, etc), feelings, and social needs.
So what is your comprehensive definition of morality, then? 'Based on' implies that there was more than the listed components--as indeed there must have been, because instincts include the instinct to do immoral things (kill and rape, protect self ahead of others etc); as do feelings and social needs. What made humans decide to rank, say, social needs above feelings (or vice versa in certain instances)? What was the bottom line? Why would they choose to put certain considerations over others? If morality 'evolved' from an earlier form to a later (and it obviously has, even during our lifetimes), what prompted those changes? Don't you see how your answer hasn't answered my question at all?

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#150 of 288 Old 07-02-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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I'm fully a wife and fully a daughter at the same time, but not in the same sense. Being two things at once is not necessarily contradictory. As Jesus exhibited the traits of both humans and God (law of identity: a thing is defined by its attributes), He was both fully human and fully Divine. What's the problem here?
Wife and daughter are both subsets of Woman. God and human are, in my understanding, mutually exclusive. It doesn't "make sense" for Jesus to be both a God and a man to me.

At some points, doesn't he refer to God? And also talk directly to God? ("Why hath thou forsaken me?") That doesn't make sense, if he is God.
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