Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Life,Liberty and the Purist of What?

 photo sightseeing-rome-rome-tours-sightseeing-rome-things-to-do-rome-la-dolce-vita_zps534dbad5.jpg
Filini';s famous fountian Scene La Dulce Vita
(My review}




Victor Reppert brings up a piece he wrote on evolutionary theory undermining liberal humanist values. He reflects upon the work of  Dr. Yuval Noah Harari in discussing problems raised for humanism. Reppert's point is that liberal humanism cannot be militiaman by a Godless Society. I am not concerned  here with bashing atheism, but with meeting a problem head on  and weather through belief in God or belief in humanity, or whatever,  confronting the problem. There is a problem even an atheist could agree. 

Reppert Writes:

Perhaps some of the best-known words from our American heritage are the words from the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
But, if you are an atheist, there is no Creator, so we couldn't be created equal. Advanced thinker that he was for his time,TJ seems to have imbibed some creationist nonsense. Hence to reflect what an atheist really believes, it would have to be rewritten as follows.[1]


He Introduces Harari:


Interestingly enough, this issue has been taken  up by atheist Yuval Noah Harari. Vincent Torley takes up the issue in this discussion. Harari says that the statement form the Preamble must be revised in favor of this revision:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and that among these are life and the pursuit of pleasure.
Hardly the basis of liberal humanism. 
Torley then goes on to quote the following passage: 
At the same time, a huge gulf is opening between the tentes of liberal humanism and the latest findings of the life sciences, a pull we cannot ignore much longer. Our liberal political and judicial systems are founded on the belief that every individual has a sacred inner nature, indivisible and immutable, which gives meaning to the world, and which is the source of all ethical and political authority. This is a reincarnation of the traditional Christian belief in a free and eternal soul that resides within each individual. Yet over the last 200 years, the life sciences have thoroughly undermined this belief. Scientists studying the inner workings of the human organism have found no soul there. They increasingly argue that human behavior is determined by hormones, genes and synapses, rather than by free will – the same forces that determine the behavior of chimpanzees, wolves, and ants. Our judicial and political systems largely try to sweep such inconvenient discoveries under the carpet. But in all frankness, how long can we maintain the wall separating the department of biology from the departments of law and political science?[2]

The problem here really is an ethical one. Upon what do we hang our values? We cannot find them in science or in a literal application of scientific view of nature. Consider the declaration of independence supposed a bulwark of liberalism."Is there any objective reality, outside the human imagination, in which we are truly equal? Are all humans equal to one another biologically? Let us try to translate the most famous line of the American Declaration of Independence into biological terms:

According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal’. The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation and souls, what does it mean that all people are ‘equal’? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently’.[3]
Of course he understands "objective reality: to the hard and fast surface of existnece but the faciticity of existing nothing beyond that. This is what Tillich means when he says by saying existence is not merely the surface of existing and that being has depth. He bases the concept  of equality upon a literal sense of how we turnout, of what nature gives us. He asserts that nature does not make us equal but only regards difference. Yet in so doing he has transposed the meaning of equality from a legal right to ability. He thinks the Declaration ascribes legal right to ability when it fact there's is no reason to think this. Probably Jefferson was not thinking of ability but of  titles. Nature does not bestow titles man does. We are all born equal in the sense of Algeria  accorded, and at first that privilege was not accorded, now it is. Now we see as a society that we need to expand our view. That still leaves us with a need of something to hang the vale on.[4]
Harari is quick to assert the alleged Godless nature of modern society, This is something people hiave been countering since Harvy Cox in 1965.[5] The Secular city is overdone, we don't live in a secular city we still live in a society whose basic values are coasting on Christian memories. Harari is quick to insist there is no God and that the only source we have to seek from is the natural world"There are no rights in biology," So Haraari;s declaration has no equality clause. But e also never says why biology is our only recourse? He has no basis or ruling out other avenues of knowledge he has no real way of determining that the desire for equality the value of it does not spring from some thing transcendent. Notice he has to change the form of equality under discussion, from legal rights to ability,

He asserts that our only recourse is the "blind evolutionary process" He finds  "But ‘liberty’? There is no such thing in biology. Just like equality, rights and limited liability companies, liberty is something that people invented and that exists only in their imagination. From a biological standpoint, it is meaningless to say that humans in democratic societies are free, whereas humans in dictatorships are unfree. And what about ‘happiness’ "[6] So then democracy is just done away if we assert that biology is the only basis for ideas, or ethics. Why should we so assert? Of we values that counter such assertions, and that view point leads to excusing dictator ship and rationalizing away freedom, we Harari has done. 
Then he attacks happiness. He points to social research showing that people are still happy even at lower  income are not necessarily any happier at higher income level. "Most biological studies acknowledge only the existence of pleasure, which is more easily defined and measured. So ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ should be translated into ‘life and the pursuit of pleasure.’"[7]He has reduced the grandeur of American democracy to meaningless Hedonism. I can't think why anyone would want to say these things  having taken away rights and freedom it's not a declaration of independence anymore just a statement of fact,So needs it? Another problem worth reducing happiness to pleasure he rules out the reality of happiness on the flimsily excuse that one can  always be happy apartment financial interests, But that admits that happiness is a reality so there is no reason to rule it out. I don't know if Harari is actually  trying to establish biology as the standard or just demonstrating the insufficiency, It certainly does do that. 

It seems clear we need a higher source to ground the axioms, The best version I've see apart from God,was actually proposed by a Christian, all be it a 19th century style theological liberal. This was Albert Schweitzer who tried to ground ethical axioms in the survival instinct but turning it outward connecting it through empathy to others.[8]That has the advantage of being rooted in biology and yet he wasn't able to attach an ought without assuming God. God is still the strongest basis for ethical axioms and for values but that doesn't necessarily narrow  it to a particular tradition, One could connect my moral argument at this point, [9]


Filini;s La Dulce Vita is the perfect image because it illustrates the emptiness of a sensitivities life style. There is a lot more to the concept of snappishness than just feeling good. Why this guy  would put it on a level of economics any way is ridiculous,.



[1] Victor Reppert, "Why Evolutionary Naturalism undermines Liberal humanism," Dangerous Idea, blog. (Monday, June 04, 2018)
http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2018/06/in-one-of-my-first-posts-on-this-blog-i.html(all sources accessed 6/4/2018)
[2] Ibid [3] Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens, A brief History of Human Kind. New Uork NY:Harper Collins Books , repriomt 2018 (original 2005), 8-10


[4] Matt Brundage, "what  did Jefferson mean by all men are create equal?" Matt Brundage Publications. BLOG, 2018
 https://www.mattbrundage.com/publications/jefferson-equality/ (all sources accessed 6/4/2018)

[5] Harvey Cox, The Secular City, Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (September 8, 2013)
[6] Harari, op cit, 10.

[7] Obid

[8] J.:.Hinman, "Albert Schweitzer and the Death of Civilization", Negations" Negations An Interdisciplinary Journalism of Social Criticism, winter 1998
http://www.datawranglers.com/negations/
accessed 6/4/2018)


[9] Joseph Hinman, "the counter apologist attacks the moral argument," Metacrock's .blog (MAY 29, 2016)
http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-counter-apologiost-attacks-moral.html
accessed 6/4/2018)

31 comments:

Susan Humphreys said...

From the Atheist perspective there is a creator, it is those subatomic particles the physicists have identified that are the building blocks of all matter. There isn't a Creator, as in an anthropomorphic type Being, with will and intelligence.

There is intent on the part of those particles, to do the only things they can do, join up with other particles and form matter.

And so there is no problem with the position that "all are created equal". The quarks in the nuclei of my cells are no different from the quarks in the nuclei of your cells!

im-skeptical said...

There are no rights in biology.
- That's quite true. But on the other hand, there are human values. To deny that humans have values is to deny reality. Secular humanism is merely a reflection of that recognition. We believe that people have rights, and so we codify those rights in law or in a manifesto. Please note that the Declaration of Independence didn't recognize the rights of slaves. Or women. Or Indians. It was only a reflection of what its authors believed. Rights are not granted by God. They are granted by society, in accordance with the values of the people in that society. And those values may change over time. Our current understanding of what is meant by "all men" (who are accorded the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) is not the same as it was then.

I urge you to pay careful attention to the comment of Hugo Pelland at Victor's post.

7th Stooge said...

I don't think that rights are granted by society. I think that societies recognize rights. That's not to say that God is needed to account for rights. It's to say that there are realities about human nature and human interactions that ground rights in something more fundamental than whatever society deems to be right at the moment. Imagine that a fascistic autocracy takes over in the US (I know that's a stretch :) -- human rights wouldn't cease to be real; they'd be violated.

Susan Humphreys said...

Interesting thoughts. I have 2 areas to comment on.

I think some of the confusion comes from dualistic thinkers whether they are Theologians, Biologic Scientists or Sociologists.Right and wrong thinking and each believes they are right.

To say that evolution is based on differences is misleading and shows a failure to understand evolution. Evolution is based on beneficial adaptations.

Flower color is a difference. In most cases there is no evolutionary advantage to one color over another and we will see many colors of the same species growing side by side. White does seem to be the preferred color of night blooming flowers, an evolutionary advantage of standing out against the dark.

Leaf shapes, sizes and textures are a mix. The same species of tree, on growing in full sun will have smaller leaves than one growing in deep shade. Remove the trees blocking the sun from the tree in shade and next season those leaves will be smaller. This is an issue of environmental conditions not evolutionary adaptability. Sassafras trees have 3 different leaf shapes on the same tree, no evolutionary advantage here only differences.

Evolution is based on beneficial adaptations, not simply on differences. One of those beneficial adaptations for humans is our complex brain and all that enables us to do and think! However we now know that how it is wired (those synapses mentioned), its growth and development can change with early childhood training/stimulation, environmental
pollutants/poisoins, nutrition, etc. And that growth and development affects behavior.

The second point is this. To say that "God is still the strongest basis for ethical axioms and for values" ignores the reality that God has and still is a strong basis for wars, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities.

The fact that Christians, as one example, can and do have such different opinions about values, ethics, morals shows that something else besides God is at work here.

To say that Christianity is responsible for our American values, ethics, morals and concepts of equality is to ignore the impact other faith and cultural traditions have had on Christianity. Christianity did NOT develop in isolation. It absorbed the best and the worst from the world around it. You only have to learn about the history and teachings of the other world religions and philosophical traditions to know this is true.

We are the sum total of all our parts. Our genetic makeup and our biology are one part. We are affected by all that we are taught by parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, social media, TV and video games, all that we experience and all that we learn from watching/learning about what happens to other people, by environmental factors, social factors--the society and family and religion or no religion we are born into. ALL play a part in our growth and development.

There are two prime abilities that humans have (and some other animals) empathy and our ability to cooperate--play and work well together that have been and still remain the key to our survival as a species and help form the basis for our concepts of ethics, morals and equality.

Joe Hinman said...

Susan Humphreys said...
From the Atheist perspective there is a creator, it is those subatomic particles the physicists have identified that are the building blocks of all matter. There isn't a Creator, as in an anthropomorphic type Being, with will and intelligence.

the building blocks don't choose to create,and their existence too must be accounted for. So in my view that is no ta solution

There is intent on the part of those particles, to do the only things they can do, join up with other particles and form matter.


there is no intent,using literary devises does not solve he problem.


And so there is no problem with the position that "all are created equal". The quarks in the nuclei of my cells are no different from the quarks in the nuclei of your cells!


You are evading the point I made, there is no reason why biological fact has to be the answer to stoical reality,

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
I don't think that rights are granted by society. I think that societies recognize rights. That's not to say that God is needed to account for rights. It's to say that there are realities about human nature and human interactions that ground rights in something more fundamental than whatever society deems to be right at the moment. Imagine that a fascistic autocracy takes over in the US (I know that's a stretch :) -- human rights wouldn't cease to be real; they'd be violated.

you are using a from of ethical realism to answer social contract theory,very interesting. But how do you round the realism,?

Joe Hinman said...

7

"It's to say that there are realities about human nature and human interactions that ground rights in something more fundamental than whatever society deems to be right at the moment."

Ok I take it back that's not realism, I agree with your statement, I also agree that it doesn't have to be God, although God is the best answer.


Imagine that a fascistic autocracy takes over in the US (I know that's a stretch :) -- human rights wouldn't cease to be real; they'd be violated.

O wow you are a prophet. I guess that;s a lot more plausible now than it was four years ago,

I agree with your analysis

Joe Hinman said...

Susan Humphreys said...
Interesting thoughts. I have 2 areas to comment on.

I think some of the confusion comes from dualistic thinkers whether they are Theologians, Biologic Scientists or Sociologists.Right and wrong thinking and each believes they are right.

the alternative to dualism is reductionism. That merely ignores all aspects of reality that the reductionist can't control,

To say that evolution is based on differences is misleading and shows a failure to understand evolution. Evolution is based on beneficial adaptations.

True. I don;t think any of us said that. The Hararari article intruded difference as the counter to equality.As I intimated he mistook the term for the wrong concept the wrong kind of equality,



...


The second point is this. To say that "God is still the strongest basis for ethical axioms and for values" ignores the reality that God has and still is a strong basis for wars, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities.

You are confused God as a legitimating concept vs God as a logical internecine.To say God wants us to go to war requires that one violates the specific theological assumptions of a given faith depending upon which faith, but assuming that God is the only valid grounding for ethical axioms is not violation of any theological tennet in any faith,

The fact that Christians, as one example, can and do have such different opinions about values, ethics, morals shows that something else besides God is at work here.

you reasserting that diverse opinion means there is no right answer, Baht is only true if there's no real mind on the other end of it. If God is real and God has a will some answers are right and some are wrong,the existence of wrong answers does not negate truth.

To say that Christianity is responsible for our American values, ethics, morals and concepts of equality is to ignore the impact other faith and cultural traditions have had on Christianity. Christianity did NOT develop in isolation. It absorbed the best and the worst from the world around it. You only have to learn about the history and teachings of the other world religions and philosophical traditions to know this is true.

That's a good point but doesn't do anything in the dispute because it can be true and not disprove the fact that God is real and God is the strongest ground for ethical axioms, In fact that's just another version of your previous argument so the prefioius answer applies,

We are the sum total of all our parts. Our genetic makeup and our biology are one part. We are affected by all that we are taught by parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, social media, TV and video games, all that we experience and all that we learn from watching/learning about what happens to other people, by environmental factors, social factors--the society and family and religion or no religion we are born into. ALL play a part in our growth and development.

That makes it all the more imperative to have clearly spelled out axioms snugly grounded in reason.

There are two prime abilities that humans have (and some other animals) empathy and our ability to cooperate--play and work well together that have been and still remain the key to our survival as a species and help form the basis for our concepts of ethics, morals and equality.

that is not a disproof of moral axioms, but my essay was not merely about ethics,It was about ideals, such as democracy, are you really willing to sell out democracy just becausewe watch too much tv? Holy Marcuse Batman,

Joe Hinman said...

Skepie wants us to discuss Hugo pollard's post to Reppert on his blog. the original post I responded to Here is that post:


Blogger Hugo Pelland said...
The problem with posts like this one, and clearly it hasn't changed in over 10 years, is that there is an implied reasoning that goes like this
- Because of God, society works like ABC
- If there were no God, society wouldn't have ABC
- Our society does have ABC, hence there must he a God behind it all. Or, more mildly, Atheists cannot account for ABC without God, so God exists by default.

It's circular and shows an unfortunate lack of imagination I would say. It's a denial of so many other options as to how we got our society's ABCs, like the rights to Life, Libery and the Pursuit of Happiness. Just because some great men wrote that that these were given by a Creator doesn't make it so.

Skepie ignores my answer to pollard and since Pollard never responseded I assume he can't answer me,


Me:It's not circular its abductive,


HP:It's a denial of so many other options as to how we got our society's ABCs, like the rights to Life, Libery and the Pursuit of Happiness. Just because some great men wrote that that these were given by a Creator doesn't make it so.

me: It's basically Kant's moral argument




im-skeptical said...

Skepie ignores my answer to pollard and since Pollard never responseded I assume he can't answer me
- You are mistaken. I made my comment BEFORE you had responded to it. And by the way, his name isn't Pollard.

It's not circular its abductive
- I think it's difficult for believers to see just how circular their reasoning is. You ALWAYS assume God from the very beginning. As in God is the cause of all things that exist. God is the source of conscious activity. God is the ground of morality, etc. Working from that assumption, you then reject any other cause of being, rational basis, moral basis, etc. Finally, you conclude that God is not only the best, but the only possible explanation for these things. It all stems from the initial presumption of God. It is indeed circular reasoning.

It's basically Kant's moral argument
- Kan't's argument presumes God, too.

7th Stooge said...

Skepie, I agree with you that what you describe is circular reasoning. To always assume God going in without trying to justify that assumption is circular. But all kinds of 'believers' can be guilty of circular reasoning, not just theistic believers. TO believe that only what is material or physical is or can be real can also be the result of circular reasoning. You look only at the object of the belief, ie God, and not at how the belief is formed or maintained.

Susan Humphreys said...

Joe IF the Christian doesn't have to show where God came from, claiming that He has just always existed then the same claim can be made about those sub-atomic particles! They can't use that argument to support their claim against others that can make the same claim!

There is indeed intent to do the only thing they can do. It is connected to the survival instinct, in order to survive they must join up with others to form matter. In Genesis 1 the Bible tells us "In the Beginning the earth was an endless void." Void has two meanings, one is that what was there was useless and without effect until it took form. John 1 tells you what was there the Logos, which has been mistranslated as word BUT to the early Greek that coined the word it meant the principles and processes at work in the world.

In the Beginning the principles and processes were useless and without effect until they took form--formed matter!

That wasn't your question you stated that Atheists can't believe in equality because they don't believe in a Creator. I just pointed out we can believe in equality because we are all made of the same stuff!

Susan Humphreys said...

The alternative to dualism isn't reductionism it is multiplicity, many instead of just two.

You have too many IF's there Joe. If God is real. IF God is......

AND how do you or anyone determine what God thinks is right or wrong. He can ONLY be an arbiter (or identifier) of ethics, morals, and values when people can be assured that pronouncements are coming from God and NOT human Egos or from the Devil!

The fact that Christians can't agree shows the problem with trying to claim that God can tell us what is right or wrong.

Susan Humphreys said...

One final comment. Democracy isn't a Christian concept. The idea started with the Pagan Greeks. So not believing in God isn't in anyway connected with "selling out Democracy."

im-skeptical said...

TO believe that only what is material or physical is or can be real can also be the result of circular reasoning. You look only at the object of the belief, ie God, and not at how the belief is formed or maintained.

- Let's consider this. Do I believe that "only what is material or physical is or can be real"? No. I do not begin with any such presumption. I am perfectly willing to accept that there could be something other than material reality. But if you want me to believe that there actually IS something other than the material, I need evidence of it. And that evidence not apparent. When I look at what's in my world, I see material things. I don't see immaterial things. Sure, people SAY those things exist, but I don't see them. People make many arguments for them, but as I pointed out, those arguments typically include the unstated presumption of their existence.

You can't tell me that believing in the existence of material things is circular. It's what we see all the time. You can't tell me that the existence of immaterial tings is evident. We don't see them. Ever. Do I have reason to believe that the material is all that exists? Yes. It's based on the evidence. Do I presume that there could be no immaterial things? No. That's just what the evidence tells me. I do not begin my arguments by making that unstated presumption.

Joe Hinman said...

Blogger Susan Humphreys said...
Joe IF the Christian doesn't have to show where God came from, claiming that He has just always existed then the same claim can be made about those sub-atomic particles! They can't use that argument to support their claim against others that can make the same claim!

God is not a big man in the sky God is being itself which obviously would be eternal.subatomic particle are building blocks they themes would be creatures of a more basic reality. I've worked out a tie breaker argument that illustrates the fundamental difference.

Tie Breaker: God Cannot be a Brute fact

There is indeed intent to do the only thing they can do. It is connected to the survival instinct, in order to survive they must join up with others to form matter. In Genesis 1 the Bible tells us "In the Beginning the earth was an endless void." Void has two meanings, one is that what was there was useless and without effect until it took form. John 1 tells you what was there the Logos, which has been mistranslated as word BUT to the early Greek that coined the word it meant the principles and processes at work in the world.

I am sorry I must dispute your notion of the word Logos, I studied classic Greek for for years of college. Logos is the Greek etm form "word." Of course it means more than justa single word in relation to John 1:1 it's the way Jews translated memra when using Greek. Memra means the presence of God. This use is is born out by 1-2 peter where use is made of a euphemism for Memra in connection with Logos

In the Beginning the principles and processes were useless and without effect until they took form--formed matter!

you are trying to say the building blocks of matter were eternal but then you have to account for their existence, so you are just kicking the can down the road,

That wasn't your question you statred that Atheists can't believe in equality because they don't believe in a Creator. I just pointed out we can believe in equality because we are all made of the same stuff!

No it was the atheist Harari who said nature Knows no equality. He's a scientist so you have to accept his word, (joke) My point was he's talking about a different kind ofeualuty thanHefferson did, I said nothing about needing God,

Joe Hinman said...

Blogger Susan Humphreys said...
The alternative to dualism isn't reductionism it is multiplicity, many instead of just two.

First, you are assuming all theists have to be ritualistic in their ontology and metaphysics and they don't.Nor must all dualists be theistic, August Compt the "father" pf sociology was dualisitic he was an atheist.

Secondly, "multiplocity" is not a metaphysical principle it's merely a mathematical fact, So it;s not a counter to dualism. Most dualists admit there is multiplicity,


You have too many IF's there Joe. If God is real. IF God is......


Those are rhetorical ifs, I know God is real.


AND how do you or anyone determine what God thinks is right or wrong.

God is not a big man in the sky,God is the transcendentalist signified, he's the basis of reality and thus the basis of what is true and right,"he" can't be wrong,that's like saying how do you know white is not black or up is not down?


He can ONLY be an arbiter (or identifier) of ethics, morals, and values when people can be assured that pronouncements are coming from God and NOT human Egos or from the Devil!

the metaphysical grousing of ethics is love, God is the basis of love,evil is derivation from God, not a positive thing but the absence of good,

see "How do we know God is not evil?

The fact that Christians can't agree shows the problem with trying to claim that God can tell us what is right or wrong.

Christians agree with what I just said

1:18 PM Delete
Blogger Susan Humphreys said...
One final comment. Democracy isn't a Christian concept. The idea started with the Pagan Greeks. So not believing in God isn't in anyway connected with "selling out Democracy."

Susan I began my blog piece by saying this transcends the Christian/atheist squabble,

Joe Hinman said...

you want to post here so badly, but I am not the only one who voted to ban you.when you post other people stop it just becomes you trying trying to prove you are smart,I told you no post until you admit Negations was a journal.

We were so dedicated to that journal we actually bound the first hard copy ourselves, We did the physical act of binding, I am not going to let you run it down, you don't make hard copies of a regular blog,

I will answer this post if you don;t apologize for saying Negations was not a an academic journal then I will not post any of your answers. You don't to say it was good,say it was the crappiest journal ever that's ok. In some ways it was. All theissues we bound ourselves feel apartina year.

but it was a journal and you will admit it,




Joe Hinman said...

7thstooge was a copy editor on the Journal so it's not just me you are insulting,

Joe Hinman said...

you comments above about immaterial things, that is your concern it has noting to do with my post. In fact you are wrong about what I said was circular. you would take our discussion tally away from my topic and impose your concerns that you think you are good with (although you are not) I will not let that happen.

I am going to post that answer to your above diatribe on Monday, it will be the topic,

btw Ryan M, do see what he;s done he is still fighting the wary the enemy must be answered,

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...

the topic is that we can;t base ethical axioms (or humanism for that matter) upon biology. We have to find something more transcendent. I answered skeptic about Hugo Pollard's post on Reppert's blog saying his original argument was not circular, I made a side comment that physicalism could be sustained with circular reasoning,so of course that;s Skepie's excise to hi jack the discussion.


We are not going to do that.

im-skeptical said...

Joe, it is obvious that you are distressed about s remark I made a couple months ago regarding your journal. You have misconstrued what I said, and I am indeed sorry about that. For the record, I will not deny that it was an "academic journal". Now, if only I could get you to treat me with the same level of respect that you demand of me, perhaps we could move forward.

As for hikacking the discussion, I have done no such thing. As you can see, my comments have been sparing, and all in direct response to something that was said by you others here. I have not changed the topic, but you have. So let's get back to the issue at hand: the topic is that we can;t base ethical axioms (or humanism for that matter) upon biology. We have to find something more transcendent. (Which is what I addressed in the first place.)

You say: It seems clear we need a higher source to ground the axioms, The best version I've see apart from God,was actually proposed by a Christian, all be it a 19th century style theological liberal. This was Albert Schweitzer who tried to ground ethical axioms in the survival instinct but turning it outward connecting it through empathy to others.[8]That has the advantage of being rooted in biology and yet he wasn't able to attach an ought without assuming God.

Schweitzer was on to something. The problem with your assessment of it is the very thing that I objected to in the beginning. It is your presumption of God. Why do you think it is impossible to "attach an ought" without God? I don't think so, and there are many ethicists and philosophers who agree with me. Here is a discussion of the ought-from-is issue. Ethics is rooted in human evolution. The natural origin of human rights is also something I have addressed. Take a look. You will note that the presumption of God is not necessary.

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...
Joe, it is obvious that you are distressed about s remark I made a couple months ago regarding your journal. You have misconstrued what I said, and I am indeed sorry about that. For the record, I will not deny that it was an "academic journal". Now, if only I could get you to treat me with the same level of respect that you demand of me, perhaps we could move forward.

thanks

As for hikacking the discussion, I have done no such thing. As you can see, my comments have been sparing, and all in direct response to something that was said by you others here. I have not changed the topic, but you have. So let's get back to the issue at hand: the topic is that we can;t base ethical axioms (or humanism for that matter) upon biology. We have to find something more transcendent. (Which is what I addressed in the first place.)

commemts sparing? time after tie we have over 80 posts on a given section,

You say: It seems clear we need a higher source to ground the axioms, The best version I've see apart from God,was actually proposed by a Christian, all be it a 19th century style theological liberal. This was Albert Schweitzer who tried to ground ethical axioms in the survival instinct but turning it outward connecting it through empathy to others.[8]That has the advantage of being rooted in biology and yet he wasn't able to attach an ought without assuming God.

Schweitzer was on to something. The problem with your assessment of it is the very thing that I objected to in the beginning. It is your presumption of God. Why do you think it is impossible to "attach an ought" without God?


first Schweitzer was not trying to ditch God he was a Christian, Secondly he didn't succeed in finding a reason to turn survival instinct toward to others,he never found a way to make that move except by God


I don't think so, and there are many ethicists and philosophers who agree with me. Here is a discussion of the ought-from-is issue. Ethics is rooted in human evolution. The natural origin of human rights is also something I have addressed. Take a look. You will note that the presumption of God is not necessary.

ethics is not rooted in evolution no major ethologists think that. The ones that try to use biology as a base are not trying to make an ought,

teleologoical ethics by passes duty and obligation, they say as an out come is good but they are not trying to say one must do x.


9:04 AM

7th Stooge said...

- Let's consider this. Do I believe that "only what is material or physical is or can be real"? No. I do not begin with any such presumption. I am perfectly willing to accept that there could be something other than material reality. But if you want me to believe that there actually IS something other than the material, I need evidence of it. And that evidence not apparent. When I look at what's in my world, I see material things. I don't see immaterial things. Sure, people SAY those things exist, but I don't see them. People make many arguments for them, but as I pointed out, those arguments typically include the unstated presumption of their existence.

I wrote that believing that only material things are real CAN be the result of circular reasoning.

You may not begin with that presumption, but from what you've written here over the past few months, it seems that you assume that whatever is real must be verified in the same way, must meet the same criteria, as material things. IOW, if something is alleged to be real, you seem to think that it must be empirically verifiable in exactly the same way that material things are verifiable (at least on principle). That is your unstated presumption. You're starting out with that presumption, so that nothing that's not material can ever be considered real.

7th Stooge said...

You can't tell me that believing in the existence of material things is circular. It's what we see all the time. You can't tell me that the existence of immaterial tings is evident. We don't see them. Ever. Do I have reason to believe that the material is all that exists? Yes. It's based on the evidence. Do I presume that there could be no immaterial things? No. That's just what the evidence tells me. I do not begin my arguments by making that unstated presumption.

It all depends on what you allow to count as "evidence." You're rigging the game from the outset by assuming that the only type of legitimate evidence is the kind that verifies material things and only material things.

im-skeptical said...

you seem to think that it must be empirically verifiable in exactly the same way that material things are verifiable (at least on principle). That is your unstated presumption.
- I disagree. But I do presume that evidence must be objectively knowable. If something is subjective, it isn't knowable to anybody but yourself, and therefore, it isn't evidence to anybody but yourself. It is therefore unreliable. There can (in principle) be evidence of non-material things. That's the basis of Joe's book (Joe calls it the 'trace', but that is indistinguishable from what the rest of us call 'evidence'). So, for example, if you showed me an observable effect of some immaterial entity, I would take that as evidence that such a thing exists.


You're rigging the game from the outset by assuming that the only type of legitimate evidence is the kind that verifies material things and only material things.
- No, I'm not rigging the game. Please note that I don't insist on seeing the thing itself. I just need to see evidence that it exists. Show me something that nature can't do. Show me a fruit tree that produces fruits with the Lord's prayer written on the inside of the unopened peels. Show me someone who can reliably predict future events. It doesn't matter what it is - I just need to see evidence. You are rigging the game by insisting that something exists, but I can never see the evidence of it.

Joe Hinman said...

im-skeptical said...
you seem to think that it must be empirically verifiable in exactly the same way that material things are verifiable (at least on principle). That is your unstated presumption.
- I disagree. But I do presume that evidence must be objectively knowable. If something is subjective, it isn't knowable to anybody but yourself, and therefore, it isn't evidence to anybody but yourself. It is therefore unreliable. There can (in principle) be evidence of non-material things. That's the basis of Joe's book (Joe calls it the 'trace', but that is indistinguishable from what the rest of us call 'evidence'). So, for example, if you showed me an observable effect of some immaterial entity, I would take that as evidence that such a thing exists.


You're rigging the game from the outset by assuming that the only type of legitimate evidence is the kind that verifies material things and only material things.
- No, I'm not rigging the game. Please note that I don't insist on seeing the thing itself. I just need to see evidence that it exists. Show me something that nature can't do. Show me a fruit tree that produces fruits with the Lord's prayer written on the inside of the unopened peels. Show me someone who can reliably predict future events. It doesn't matter what it is - I just need to see evidence. You are rigging the game by insisting that something exists, but I can never see the evidence of it.
3:20 PM

Just can't wait for Monday can you?i told you how it had to e, wait until Monday,i will answer this one too,in the post on monday

7th Stooge said...

A few comments:

Some things can only be known subjectively. Things related to conscious experiences. There can be correlations made between these experiences and third person evidence, but we wouldn't know what to correlate this evidence to without the subjective evidence.

There is intersubjective evidence.

There's first person empirical evidence that can't be corroborated. If I have a clear view of something that no one else was in a position to see, there's a solid reason for me and others to believe that I saw something like what I describe. (assuming I'm trustworthy, not given to delusions or hallucinations, no motive to lie etc) Barring strong reasons to doubt them, my perceptions, even if not shared, have prima facie weight as evidence for myself and others.

im-skeptical said...

7th Stooge,

You raise some issues that are worthy of discussion.

Yes, we all have subjective experience. In a sense, that's ALL we have, because our experience is first person, which is inherently subjective. The experiences that we share are called intersubjective. Note that the word 'intersubjective' describes experiences, not the things that cause us to have the experience. Those are two very different things.

All experiences are caused by something in our world, whether it is something external to ourselves, or something within us. We can regard those things as evidence. For example, I may experience the visual sensation of a tree or the mental image of a memory. The tree is external to me, and the memory is internal. The tree can be examined by others, but the memory can't. If I say I saw a tree, the actual tree exists as objective evidence of my claim. Others can examine the tree, and thus be assured that I was telling the truth . If I say I experienced a memory of something in my past, I can't show objective evidence of it. But that doesn't mean I'm lying about my experience, but it can be subject to doubt.

And that brings up the issue of reliability of evidence. Obviously, objective evidence is the most reliable. Let's say you remember being born. You might consider your memory to be good evidence, but you can't demonstrate the truth of your claim. I might be suspicious of it, because I understand that this is something that people don't remember. It's possible, but not very likely, so I am within my rights to doubt what you say. If you tell me you remember your great-grandmother, I would have much less reason to doubt it.

Some experiences can be misinterpreted. They are caused by something real, but it may not be what we think it is. There are all kinds of illusions and false impressions. This is where evidence becomes crucial. With objective evidence, we can verify the true cause our experience. Without it, there is reason to doubt.

7th Stooge said...

I agree with everything you write. I was making a slightly different point. Some things can be known with absolute or at least a very high degree of confidence only by the subject of that experience. I know that I'm conscious with a degree of certainty unlike anything else that I know, but that immediacy of evidence and knowledge is accessible only to me.