Monday, January 09, 2006

Andrea Yates Claims Christianity Insanity

From CNN.com:

Andrea Yates pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the drowning deaths of her children Monday as she made her first court appearance since her 2002 capital murder convictions were overturned.


Chairwoman of the Offspring Murder Club, Andrea Yates, is trying once again to avoid jail time by pleading insanity. She was already convicted for the drowning deaths of 3 of her 5 children (She actually drowned all 5, but for some reason they convicted her on only 3), but the conviction was overturned when a doctor testified that a Law and Order episode recently aired that portrayed a drowning children/insanity plot, when in fact no such episode existed.

Yates was suffering from two mental problems that, when combined, caused her to kill her children. One of those mental problems was an extreme case of postpartum depression. The other mental problem was an extreme case of Christianity. The Christianity served as a catalyst for her postpartum depression, and sent Yates into an underwater-breathing-lesson frenzy with all 5 of her children, ages 6 months to 7 years.

According to the Wikipedia article on Andrea Yates, she told her jail shrink in regards to her children:

It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren't righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.


Doomed to perish in the fires of Hell, huh? Andrea Yates obviously thought that some imaginary afterlife dimension made her children's existence in this reality pointless. Her afterlife belief served as justification for her to methodically drown each of her 5 children.

As a hardcore anti-afterlifist (I know that's a made up term but it sounds funny so I'm keeping it), I cannot help but wonder: Would Andrea Yates have killed any of her children if she were a materialist who was free from the chains of afterlife superstition and Christianity? Probably not, and there are two reasons.

The first reason that Andrea Yates would most likely not have killed her children without afterlife belief is because that even with her postpartum depression, her lack of an afterlife belief would have provided her with no catalyst or justification for the taking of her own children’s' lives. The quote from Wikipedia above explains it all too well. She believed her children were doomed to eternal torment in Hell. As I have argued time and time again, the afterlife takes primacy over this life for pro-afterlifers, and Andrea predictably believed that her children’s' existences in this reality were able to be sacrificed for something more important. Imagine assigning values so incorrectly that you think that your child's best interests don't necessarily involve actually being alive! It's hard to give life on this Earth the number 1 primary slot when you don't think that death is the actual end of one's existence.

The second reason that Andrea Yates would most likely not have killed her children is because that without subscribing to the flavor of Christianity provided by preacher Michael Peter Woroniecki, Andrea Yates would likely not have had 5 children and would not have suffered from postpartum depression to the degree that she did. You see, Andrea Yates suffered from postpartum depression before her 5th child, and Andrea's psychiatrist told her not to have another baby because of the certainty of future postpartum depression issues. But Andrea's preacher had a very pro-procreation (another funny made-up phrase) brand of Christianity, and Andrea, with all her confusion over primacy assignment, took the advice of her preacher rather than her psychiatrist. So baby number 5 comes along and Andrea acts out on her postpartum depression just as her psychiatrist predicted. Whoops!

Andrea Yates was most definitely insane when she drowned her children. She had a faith-based insanity, and she is probably still insane now. She assigned primacy to her faith and her belief in an afterlife, and it caused the deaths of her 5 children, not to mention that her own life is effectively over and her husband's life is a shambles. Personally I think insanity defenses are irrelevant and that she should be punished severely for her actions, regardless of how crazy she was or is. However, I do think it would be a pleasant irony if she won the insanity conviction, got admitted to a mental hospital, and then had her rehabilitation progress measured on how well she managed to shed her afterlife and Christianity superstitions.

Andrea Yates made the wrong choice: superstitious immaterialism. Instead of killing her children, she should have Killed The Afterlife.

129 comments:

Johan said...

True, this is a bad case.
But think of all the poor bastards in the world that don't really have a life worth living, and find strength only in the thought of an afterlife...
Why not let them have their dream?

lola said...

Aaron, Maybe you need to look a little deeper into post-partum depression. There are PLENTY of children who have been killed by mothers suffering from it who have not cited the afterlife as a cause. Can you say for certainty that every mother who has killed her child believes in the afterlife? If you can't (and I KNOW that you can't say that for sure) then your whole argument has a tough time standing up for itself. You accuse people of "counting the hits, but ignoring the misses," but that is EXACTLY what you are doing here-choosing specific, EXTREME cases, and forgetting about the MAJORITY of child abuse, violence and death caused by people who do it for reasons OTHER than religion. Yes, religion pushes some people over the edge, but so does anger, hatred, fear, jealousy, love-anything EXTREME.
Using your line of reasoning-the children NOT killed in the name of the afterlife do not count? (even if they are NOT killed in the name of Godlessness) Or because "85%" (is that an actual statistic-or did you just guess at it to suit your purpose?) of people believe in the afterlife, they must be the ones killing their children (assumption is not fact-it is a possibility). Have you bothered to find out for sure? There are not even as many cases covered on your WHOLE site as happen in one day in just this country. For you to surmise that these represent even a fraction of the whole, shows me that you have some homework to do before you can convince anyone else that you might be right. Meanwhile there are a WHOLE bunch of people without extremist viewpoints like yours, who are able to convince people that the afterlife is a possibility. A large percentage of the people who believe that there is an afterlife, are open to the possibility that they are wrong. You believe that you (and your core group of Atheist friends) are so right that you do not have to have a concrete base for your stand. How do you expect to grow your numbers? I can accept that you do not believe in the afterlife, I have no problem with that. If you look at what I am saying, you will see that I am actually trying to HELP YOU MAKE YOUR CASE!!! For you to say that your's is the ONLY right way is just plain boarish. (and BORING!!!) The minute you can give me HARD EVIDENCE that there is NO afterlife (Drop the apple on my head, NEWTON) I will close my mind to the rest of the possibilities (like you) and we can hang out and talk about how the rest of the people are wrong. (and start educating them with fact-not opinion) SO far religion, quantum physics, string theory, and chaos theory are ahead in the polls. If you want to UP the number of Atheists, you are going to need more than "because me and my friends who believe like me say so." (RELIGION!!!) If you do not care to convert anyone else because you want to remain an exclusive "15%", then you are doing a great job. Keep patting each other on the backs and remain the minority until you become worm food.
Quickly-I'd like to add that John Frank's comment about letting them have their dream is right on...just accept that everyone is different, that doesn't make them wrong! You have "blogshares"-DREAM ON!!!

Anonymous said...

I heard a quote once that I think sums up why the vast majority of people believe in the afterlife:

"When a man's hope dies, the man dies."

If there is no afterlife, our existence as a human race is meaningless, and everything we have ever done will eventually be lost in the pit of death. Of course people believe in the afterlife. It's because meaningless and happiness are NOT close friends.

This blogger insists on rendering the afterlife nonsense, but then doesn't realize the meaningless universe his world-view leaves us all in.

As Peggy Lee once said in obvious despair,

"Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is"

Not a bad comment by the way, Lola.

-jonathan

spaces.msn.com/members/thebenefit

Francois Tremblay said...

Where does all this bullshit come from ? Aaron, it's time to moderate your blog. The crazies are taking over.


"If there is no afterlife, our existence as a human race is meaningless"

You don't exist as a race, you exist as a PERSON. Your life is not meaningless, you already have values and purpose. Stop looking to the bullshit of religion to try to fill something that's already filled !

What the hell is it with you fanatics and the rage against the material world ? Unless you're a little starving child walking barefoot in the streets of Calcutta, you have NO reason to be enraged at reality like that ! LIVE for Rand's sake ! What the fuck is wrong with you ?

Anonymous said...

Wow, gotta love the brilliance set forth by francois. He has such a way with words... kind of reminds me of 7th grade.

"You don't exist as a race, you exist as a PERSON." Wow, thanks for the insight. Good thing you told me that. I wouldn't have known it otherwise. Too bad I didn't actually claim that "I", an individual, existed as a "race".

"Your life is not meaningless, you already have values and purpose." You really seem to know me pretty good. You know all about my values and purpose?

Let me tell you something, Francois. One day you and every one you care about will be dead. And guess what will matter then? NOTHING! When you are in your grave, it won't matter ONE BIT what you did in your lifetime.

Go be the kindest person you can be. Help everyone out and get some pleasure along the way. or what the heck! Why don't you go out and constantly pursue pleasure as much as you want. But whatever you do, don't forget that the day is coming that will render you and your existence completely meaningless.

"Unless you're a little starving child walking barefoot in the streets of Calcutta, you have NO reason to be enraged at reality like that !" It's this funny thing called "purpose" and "meaning". But you know, Francois, you're probably right. The vast majority of the population is stupid for wanting to know that the human existence is not an accident.

-jonathan

spaces.msn.com/members/thebenefit

BlackSun said...

Jonathan--

It's the afterlife that takes away the hope.

Religion at its core feeds on this type of sentimentality and denial of human nature. That is why it so desperately needs to be replaced by empiricism.

We all know existence is ultimately meaningless. This earth and everyone on it will eventually be gone. We provide whatever meaning and purpose we have in our lives every day. That meaning is for us--to us--only, and maybe our descendants. If we invent something great, or write a memorable song, maybe a few more people. Eventually they will be dead too.

Kindness? It's a nice thought. But ultimately, kindness is not a value, it's a hypocrisy. The world operates on competition and all attempts to change this will fail. How about "go out and be the most real person you can be." Being real is about fair exchange, and cooperation to gain advantage. This is something a lot of do-good religious people don't seem to understand. (Or they talk out of both sides of their mouths.)

Nature is not kind. How can you be kind when your very survival depends on taking life for food? It's all about where you are on the food chain. Sorry, vegans don't get a break on this. Someone had to grow, pick, and prepare your food, giving up a little of their life in the process. Anyone who lives a middle class existence in the western world buys products, many of which are made with third world slave labor (often by children).

To quote the tool song, "This is necessary...Life feeds on life..."

Talk about 7th grade. GROW UP and recognize that the harsh realities of the universe can still be true without stripping life of its meaning. Take some responsibility for your own happiness and spiritual (psychological) fulfillment. Recognize that we are all descended from killers. (Those who were not killers were killed by our ancestors.) But we can still create beauty and live moral lives. Because it is more fulfilling and satisfying to do so.

Johan said...

Hey, we're having a really interesting conversation here, with François firing us up a bit, and Lola and Anonymous providing somewhat more nuanced returns.

Now me, I'm a 100% pure Atheïst, and yet, I think Lola's and Anonymous' points of view are indeed very valuable.
Kicking religious people in the gut isn't going to help your cause.

I would really appreciate if you would visit my blog "Thinking inside the Box - How to find meaning, purpose, and truth from the perspective of a little droid in the big indifferent universe."

Especially the oldest post "What am I, and how should I lead my life?"

It's zero % hocus pocus, and based on rational thought and science. And yet I seem to come to certain conclusions, such as that the Individualistic (materialistic) lifestyle is not the "best", and that it may actually prove (Darwin) a pretty good idea to be a Religious Believer.
(I couldn't believe it my self at first, that this would be the logic conclusion...)

Nonetheless, I would really appreciate your non-emotional, rational comments on my post at
http://meaning-fromwithin-illusion.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

Aaron Kinney said...

Wow, alot happened since I last visited my blog. Cool!

Lola,

True, there are some parents who kill children without religion cited as a cause. However, an unusually high percentage of them ARE religious in nature and the last few times in recent memory that a mother killed her children, it was for religious reasons. Did you click on the 5 links to past posts of mine that I provided? Included in some of those past posts is a link to a UNIVERSITY STUDY where they concluded that religiosity is a common factor among mothers that kill their children.

Lola, I didnt come to these conclusions about religion and psychosis on my own. I am no psychologist or research professor. All I am doing is repeating the conclusions of trained doctors, researchers, and psychologists who have very meticulously studied these kinds of cases and they have found that religion serves as a catalyst for people to act out on their freaky but otherwise harmless mental issues.

Lola, let me tell you something else. While there are still parents that kill for non-religious reasons, NO PARENT EVER KILLS WITH "ATHEISM" AS THE REASON. If Andrea Yates were an atheist, her 5 children would still be alive. If Dena Schlosser were an atheist, her baby wouldnt have had its arms cut off and bled to death. If those 8 Mexican family members were atheists, then their daughters wouldnt have been beaten to death in a field.

Lola, no matter how you cut it, religion serves as a catalyst for acting out on mental illnesses, and many lives would be saved even today if these people didnt believe in the afterlife. If these people UNDERSTOOD that death = no more existence, and that there is no heaven or hell afterwards, they wouldnt have killed their children.

Materialism saves lives.

There are not even as many cases covered on your WHOLE site as happen in one day in just this country. For you to surmise that these represent even a fraction of the whole, shows me that you have some homework to do before you can convince anyone else that you might be right.

And before you go off on me again like this, go check out this University Study that I linked.

How do you expect to grow your numbers?

The same way that round-earthers grew their numbers. Keep repeating the truth and provide hard evidence to support ones assertion. As far as converting people, yes I have converted a handful of people, and I will continue to do so. I spend more time talking with Christians than I do talking with atheists, so dont worry about me knowing how to talk to religious people.

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous/Jonathan,

I heard a quote once that I think sums up why the vast majority of people believe in the afterlife:

"When a man's hope dies, the man dies."


I assume you are referring to the hope that one will never have to cease existing as a conscious entity? Fear of the brutal truth that death = non-existence, yes?

If there is no afterlife, our existence as a human race is meaningless, and everything we have ever done will eventually be lost in the pit of death.

I could not disagree more. Please support your assertion.

Of course people believe in the afterlife. It's because meaningless and happiness are NOT close friends.

People believe in the afterlife because its difficult to conceive of non-existence, because its also SCARY To think of non-existence, and because of social peer pressure/influence.

This blogger insists on rendering the afterlife nonsense, but then doesn't realize the meaningless universe his world-view leaves us all in.

I dont like unsupported assertions like this one. My worldview is not meaningless. Only an eternal afterlife makes existence meaningless. I have already written about this, and you can click here to read it.

Let me put it to you this way anon: if you have an eternal amount of something, it becomes worthless. What if everyone in the world had an UNLIMITED bank account? Money would be worthless. The same thing goes for time. An eternity of existence makes existence meaningless and worthless by logical necessity. Only by having a FINITE amount of time can time be valuable. Therefore, ONLY with a finite existence can existence have meaning.

Your unsupported assertion has been refuted. The ball is in your court ;)

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous/Jonathan,

"You don't exist as a race, you exist as a PERSON." Wow, thanks for the insight. Good thing you told me that. I wouldn't have known it otherwise. Too bad I didn't actually claim that "I", an individual, existed as a "race".

That line of Franc's simply went right over your head.

"Your life is not meaningless, you already have values and purpose." You really seem to know me pretty good. You know all about my values and purpose?

He doesnt need to know all about your values and purpose to know that you have them. You are a human being that is obviously trying to aqccomplish something, after all. Franc is just trying to make you see the obvious: that you have purpose and value even if your life is a finite material one.

Let me tell you something, Francois. One day you and every one you care about will be dead. And guess what will matter then? NOTHING! When you are in your grave, it won't matter ONE BIT what you did in your lifetime.

Anon/Jonathan, if you are right about what you did in life not mattering when youre dead, then it will be so regardless of whether or not an afterlife exists or not. Having an afterlife existing wont change whether or not what you did in life matters.

In fact, what you do in life WILL matter when you are dead. That is because you will have undoubtedly left a mark on existence somewhere. The ripples you make during life will always echo on forever, just like the energy rippling through the universe from way back when the big bang happened. Furthermore, the things you do while youre alive will affect future generations. Do you not care about your chilren, or the future generations? Your actions now will affect their lives in the future. The future is not predetermined, if you believe what people like Carl Sagan have to say about it. We can in fact control our own destinies and the fate of the universe as well, as long as people like you and me keep putting forth effort now. Someday, it will make all the difference in the universe.

Go be the kindest person you can be. Help everyone out and get some pleasure along the way. or what the heck! Why don't you go out and constantly pursue pleasure as much as you want. But whatever you do, don't forget that the day is coming that will render you and your existence completely meaningless.

And what day is that? I dare you to support your assertion. So far all you are doing is CLAIMING meaninglessness but you havent explained or actually argued about why you think this is so. Maybe everyhtings just meaningless to YOU. In that case, you have a perception problem.

...The vast majority of the population is stupid for wanting to know that the human existence is not an accident.

Nothing in the universe is an "accident." Unless of course the Christian God exists, since his little Bible is full of accidents. But there are no accidents in a materialistic universe.

lola said...

Francois, You are not displaying rational thought processes-you are displaying OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANCE. My whole point in a nutshell is walk your walk-talk your talk, but don't expect that everyone who doesn't believe (or not believe) as you do are 100% wrong. They are merely wrong for you. Your reality is based on your perspective. It is not your place to tell me what my perspective is or to try to negate MY beliefs based on YOUR experience. I appreciate Aaron's efforts to educate based on his findings. I can read them and draw my own conclusions based upon the information he has provided me. I can engage in discussion and question his logic in order that I might understand. In his last post, when he got back from the weekend, he was able to answer my question-without making me defensive. THIS, my Dear, is the nature of rational thought and figuring it out. I have no respect for people who are just here to kiss his ass and agree with him. I believe this is a forum for discussion-not an Atheist club, or Aaron would have made it a "yahoo group" instead of a blog.
Black Sun, I appreciate you as well-you are educating people with your point of view and posting things that make you go hmmmmmm. You make people think, and show people why you believe what you do and I applaud it. I just get frustrated when someone says "it's my way or the highway." I have a belief system (as do you all) and I am not afraid to talk about it. I do not need anyone to validate it for me, I also do not need anyone to deny that I have the right to it. WHAT I do to and for the people around me is what matters-that is what you should base your opinion of me on. And remember, it is your OPINION-whether you are right or wrong depends on perspective.
I do not believe religon DENIES human nature as much as is used to attempt to CONTROL it-this is what is dangerous. Until people can respect themselves enough to not need to be controlled, we will continue to need religion, police, armies, support groups, etc. Look at what happened to the USSR when they tried to impose their will on their populace.
I spend a large portion of my time working with people who are in difficult, even desperate situations due to abuse, mental illness and just plain depression. I can't just say "snap out of it!" It doesn't work like that. I can educate myself, and lead by example. I can better myself and show others the way, but I cannot make them do what I say. For many people belief in something bigger than they are is what makes them functional in our society. Freedom of religion is a right recognized by our forefathers as a RIGHT. If we did not have religion, human nature would find plenty of other ways to destroy and control, as well as find ways to uplift and create. It is, after all nature.
John Frank-I am looking forward to checking out your site. I love to explore the possibilities-which is why I am not 100% Atheist-it seems so absolute, and from my perspective, there are no absolutes.
Thank you all for the lively and passionate discussions-THIS is one of the things I live for! We can ALL learn from this (and many other sources)

Jonathan said...

In response to the comments made, let me first this point (which I think is of most importance).

Aaron said, ""Nothing in the universe is an "accident." Unless of course the Christian God exists, since his little Bible is full of accidents. But there are no accidents in a materialistic universe."

Ignoring the issue of the Christian God for now, let's define exactly what an "accident" is. Let's go to the dictionary and see why I use that term. It says that an accident is something that happens "without volition or intent". So if I crash my car, chances are it was an accident, something I didn't MEAN to do, in other words, there was NO intention behind the accident.

Well guess what guys? Our existence itself is an ACCIDENT. You see billions of years ago an accident happened: a big bang. No one MEANT for it to happen, it just happened. So let's think logically. You and I are the offspring of an accident. No one meant for the big bang to happen. It just did.

Now tell me something. What is the value of an accident? Well, there is no OBJECTIVE value (because logically speaking, objective value that is more than just a matter of opinion cannot exist without intention behind the existence of the being in question), but the value is really a matter of opinion.

You guys are quick to say there is no God, but here is your predicament: You have now reduced human worth to a matter of opinion (the person with the biggest gun decides). I say "life is meaningless" (referring to the human race in general). What do I mean when I say this? There is no meaning behind the existence of our race (and everything else for that matter). At least blacksun has the courage to admit it.

You are right that I can create "meaning" to a point in my day to day life. But guess what? There is something that is in the VAST MAJORITY of humans that wants to know that the human race is not an accident. There is something in us that wants to know that humans are OBJECTIVELY valuable (and not just because Aaron or "swearing like a 12-year-old helps me look smarter" Francois, says so).

You say, "humans are valuable". Where do you get that idea from? I know you want to believe that. But unless our existence is not an accident, that is just a baseless opinion.

"NO PARENT EVER KILLS WITH "ATHEISM" AS THE REASON."

Maybe not. But perhaps a quick visit to an atheistic communistic country might open your eyes to the fact that, it's the human species that is morally corrupt. Yes, some religions fuel the fire of evil that already exist in our hearts. But don't let that blind you. It's the humans themselves that are the problem. Humans ALREADY hate, religion sometimes just serves to bring out that hate more (but not all religions are created equal).

Aaron Kinney said...

Jonathan,

Ignoring the issue of the Christian God for now, let's define exactly what an "accident" is. Let's go to the dictionary and see why I use that term. It says that an accident is something that happens "without volition or intent". So if I crash my car, chances are it was an accident, something I didn't MEAN to do, in other words, there was NO intention behind the accident.

First let me say that my dictionary has a different definition, one that implies unintended results from an action through conscious intent. Allow me to further explain what I said earlier. What I meant was that no accidents occur naturally between unconscious forces. The word "accident" has a context to it that applies only to conscious beings, such as humans. An accident is when entity X tries to acheive goal Y, but without intent causes action Z to happen instead. With unconscious forces like universal laws and physics and stuff, the term "accident" doesnt apply to them. In other words, everything naturally happening in the universe is happening exactly how its supposed to be. But in an accident, things are happening aside from how they are supposed to be happening.

Accidents only happen within the minds of conscious beings.

Well guess what guys? Our existence itself is an ACCIDENT. You see billions of years ago an accident happened: a big bang. No one MEANT for it to happen, it just happened. So let's think logically. You and I are the offspring of an accident. No one meant for the big bang to happen. It just did.

No, you dont understand the big bang at all. The big bang was supposed to happen according to the laws of the universe at the time. Nothing was accidental with the big bang. The energy of the universe exploded exactly how it was supposed to. No unintended results or "accidents" came from the big bang. Jonathan, you are being silly. You have to stop getting your information on astrophysics from your preacher. Jonathan, I dont go to Stephen Hawking when I need a sermon, and you shouldnt go to the good Reverend every time you need an astronomy lesson. Deal?

Now tell me something. What is the value of an accident? Well, there is no OBJECTIVE value (because logically speaking, objective value that is more than just a matter of opinion cannot exist without intention behind the existence of the being in question), but the value is really a matter of opinion.

The value of an accident depends on the accident and the values of the people involved.

You guys are quick to say there is no God, but here is your predicament: You have now reduced human worth to a matter of opinion (the person with the biggest gun decides).

Not true. First I would like to say that even with your imaginary God, humans dont gain any worth. If anything, they lose worth. See, in a godless universe, humans may be the greatest things in existence. But with God, humans are worthless. In fact, in Christianity, all humans are unworthy of God due to original sin and the only way to save yourself is to admit your worthlessness and submit to Gods will. Therefore, in your Godly universe, humans are MUCH WORSE OFF and WORTH MUCH LESS than they would be in an atheist universe.

I say "life is meaningless" (referring to the human race in general). What do I mean when I say this? There is no meaning behind the existence of our race (and everything else for that matter). At least blacksun has the courage to admit it.

I disagree with you and Blacksun. Instead, I will take the side of Carl Sagan and say that life is only as worthless as you want it to be. EVERYTHING matters, nothing is unimportant. In a godless universe, humans are in control of their own desitny and it is up to them to do what they want with it. How much more important can a conscious being get than to have complete control over its own destiny and its own happiness? I say that in my godless material universe, I am one with my universe and I, like my universe, am of prime importance. Eventually the Earth will be gone, yes. But that doesnt mean that humans, or even the universe, has to be gone. OF course we can predict from current knowledge that the universe may either end in a big crunch or big rip, but of course thats assuming that humans stand by and let it happen. Who says we cant do anything about the fate of the universe? If you read the book Contact, you will see what I mean when I say I take Carl Sagans side and that humans, indeed any life form, is of prime importance and that we have complete control over our fate.

You are right that I can create "meaning" to a point in my day to day life. But guess what? There is something that is in the VAST MAJORITY of humans that wants to know that the human race is not an accident. There is something in us that wants to know that humans are OBJECTIVELY valuable (and not just because Aaron or "swearing like a 12-year-old helps me look smarter" Francois, says so).

I already know that nothing is an accident. I am not an accident anymore than you or the universe itself is. You are only setting up strawmen with your accident crap. Besides, I already pointed out that accidents can only exist universally if the whole universe is created and controlled by a God as described in Abrahamic religions like the Bible and such.

I am curious Jonathan, why do you go raving about accidents in an atheistic universe? Dont you know that the Christian worldview, in accordance with the Bible, openly admits Gods universe being full of accidents and "unintended results"?


You say, "humans are valuable". Where do you get that idea from? I know you want to believe that. But unless our existence is not an accident, that is just a baseless opinion.

You have to have context my friend. Humans are valuable to humans. Unconscious things dont hold anything in value, only conscious beings assign value to things. And of course, humans assign value to themselves.

We could ask the same question about God, if he existed. Would God be valuable? To who would he be valuable to other than humans and himself? Wouldnt he be MORE valuable than humans, and therefore make humans worth less in the universe?

You see Jonathan, without God, by pure logical necessity, humans are worth more. But if God exists, the value of humans is infinitely reduced.

Maybe not. But perhaps a quick visit to an atheistic communistic country might open your eyes to the fact that, it's the human species that is morally corrupt.

What do you mean "atheistic communistic country?" No such thing exists. All communist countries today are full of religion. Cuba is Christian, China is confucian and buddist, and North Korea worships the Kims as gods (ever hear of Juche?). Communist dictatorships pronounce atheism only because they need to replace the church with the state to try to get people to blindly submit to the government. But the bottom line is that no atheistic communist country exists today. You will find atheist-claiming governments in those countries, but the people dont follow atheism. They are all full of religion and superstition. If you name a communist country, I will be happy to provide examples of that countries devout religious beliefs.

If you want to see an atheistic country where the PEOPLE are mostly atheist, then you need to go to Western Europe. Over there, they have pretty much everything better than Americans except for per capita income. They are healther, live longer, abuse less substances, hurt less people, commit less crime, have better education, and are generally happier and accordingly they receive higher quality of life ratings than their American counterparts.

Yes, some religions fuel the fire of evil that already exist in our hearts. But don't let that blind you. It's the humans themselves that are the problem. Humans ALREADY hate, religion sometimes just serves to bring out that hate more (but not all religions are created equal).

Talk about which worldview considers humans worth less! Look at what you just said! I reject your last paragraph totally and would like to point out that it is evidence that the one who is morally bankrupt and the one who devalues humanity is your worldview, not mine. I would never say that "humans are the problem"!!! How disgusting. Honestly, I am re-reading what you just said now and it makes me wonder why YOU would ever care to live or accomplish any goals at all! Atheistic existence and self-worth make much more sense and feel much better than this bullshit you just said. Gross!

Humans are the problem my ass. No! Religion is the problem. Ignorance is the problem. Ignorance is what created religion in the first place. The popular religions of today were created by sheep herders who were so ignorant of the world that they thought it was flat, that the sun revolved around us, and that females determined the gender of offspring.

Ignorance is the problem my friend. Education is the cure. And the more educated a society is, the less religious it is. Its a proven fact. Ignorance is the greatest enemy of mankind. Education is the solution to mans problems, and is also the mortal enemy of religion. Religion promotes ignorance, and fears education. It is therefore beneficial to humanity to fight religion and pave the way for unhindered educational progress.

Jonathan said...

Ok, you are obviously using different defintions than mine.

When I say "accident", I mean "without intent". And guess what? Only intelligence can "intend" something. There is NO intelligence behind our existence, therefore our existence is an accident. When I use the word accident, that is what I mean. At www.dictionary.com, you will find "an unexpected usually sudden event that occurs without intent or volition". So be logical Aaron, and admit that the universe (and everything in it) is an accident.

"Nothing was accidental with the big bang." Listen, it happened without any intelligence "intending" it, therefore it is an ACCIDENT.

"Jonathan, you are being silly. You have to stop getting your information on astrophysics from your preacher." And you should stop redefining simple words.

"EVERYTHING matters, nothing is unimportant." Says you? Well, if I have the bigger gun and disagree, what does your viewpoint matter? How you could, with any sort of logical integrity, say your "viewpoint" is right while mine is wrong. You say humans are valuable. If I disagree and if I want to kill everyone including myself, who are you stop me, and what possible "ethical" reason could you give?

I'll play the devil's advocate. You say "humans are valuable". I say "no, we are not." Who's right, Aaron?

"How much more important can a conscious being get than to have complete control over its own destiny and its own happiness?" Complete control? Now that is laughable! That's hilarious! My friend, death will surprise you someday, and suddenly. Death is the one thing that will render your "glory" useless. All hail Aaron the great, who has completely control over EVERYTHING that to happens to him...

Wow man, you are not only nutty... you are completely arrogant. No wonder you don't like the idea of God... you obviously despise accountability.

"You are only setting up strawmen with your accident crap." No, you are redefining a very simple word that we should have all learned in primary school.

"Dont you know that the Christian worldview, in accordance with the Bible, openly admits Gods universe being full of accidents and "unintended results"?" Not into red herrings right now, Aaron.

"And of course, humans assign value to themselves." And that is EXACTLY my point. Humans have no OBJECTIVE worth. Our worth is a matter of opinion (human opinion).

"Talk about which worldview considers humans worth less!" Now you are attacking a straw man. I NEVER said that humans are worthless. I said that humans are MORALLY CORRUPT. (there's a difference)

"I would never say that "humans are the problem"!!!" Of course not, because you are full of pride. Have you ever lied before, Aaron? Have you ever stolen anything? Ever violated someone in your mind? Have you ever hated anyone?

Do you live in a bubble? I don't know about you, but I live around people who hate everyday. And you know what? Religion is OFTEN NOT the reason for their hate. I see both atheists and supposed "christian", "muslims", whatever doing bad things to each other EVERY DAY. Atheists are "more moral" than "theists" or "religionists"? Atheists still lie, Aaron. Atheists still murder. Atheists still hate and steal.

You might say, "yes but theists do it more." Well guess what my friend... HATE is the ROOT of murder! Hate is the SEED! Have you ever hated anyone? Probably not. You're morally perfect, and because of that, we should all be atheists... Nice...

"Humans are the problem my ass." It's called the "human condition" Aaron. It's human nature to lie, steal, and hate. I'll tell you what. You prove to me that throughout all your life you never do any of those things.

Yes, it is true that religion fuels the fire of hate in men's hearts. But you are blindly arrogant to assume that hate wasn't there to begin with.

You go and find your "greatness" as a "favored species", Aaron. You discover your "potential", Aaron. But when the heavy hand of death knocks your pride to pieces, don't get mad if I said, "I told you so."

Francois Tremblay said...

I'm not going to waste my time replying to the fanatics, but I'll only say that, since I don't believe in death, their rantings are total fear-propaganda bullshit to me. And that is what they are.

But the fact remains that Christianity has NOTHING to give to a happy individual who already has values and purpose. Christianity inculcates fear and rejection of the material world, and then teaches you that it is the only way to happiness. It is a FANTASY SOLUTION for a MADE-UP NEED ! You do NOT need to reject the material universe just because it's impermanent ! In fact, impermanence is value. If someone knows their life would end in a matter of weeks or months, they would value their life a hell of a lot more ! So what are you ranting on about, stupid Christian ?

Like I said, unless you are a barefoot child in the streets of Calcutta, you have NO GOOD REASON to reject the material world. Go out there and live ! Don't you guys have any friends, hobbies, little pleasures in life ? What the fuck is wrong with you ?

Aaron Kinney said...

Jonathan,

Ok, you are obviously using different defintions than mine.

Yes, clearly.

When I say "accident", I mean "without intent". And guess what? Only intelligence can "intend" something. There is NO intelligence behind our existence, therefore our existence is an accident. When I use the word accident, that is what I mean. At www.dictionary.com, you will find "an unexpected usually sudden event that occurs without intent or volition". So be logical Aaron, and admit that the universe (and everything in it) is an accident.

You have it exactly backwards. I am a materialist, and I believe that entities such as matter and energy have properties ascribed to them that cause them to behave in a definite way. Science holds to this view and uses what it knows about properties of things to make predictions about their behavior. Therefore, all of these material things like matter and energy have predictable ways of operating and will behave according to their nature. That means that everything that happens in the universe happens in a definite way and nothing is an accident.

An accident in a material universe would be if gravity suddenly went up instead of down, or if a combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom no longer made water. Since crap like that doesnt happen, nothing in the universe is an accident.

"Nothing was accidental with the big bang." Listen, it happened without any intelligence "intending" it, therefore it is an ACCIDENT.

So to you, anything and everything that isnt caused by an intelligent agent is an accident? That definition is not found in any dictionary my friend. Quite the contrary! Look, if we see an asteroid coming toward Earth, and it hits the Earth and causes all this damage (as wold be predicted given our knowledge of asteroids hitting planets) it would NOT be an accident. It would be the intended effect from a known cause. Just because something happens without a conscious agent causing it, doesnt make it an accident. If a star explodes after it uses up its fuel, that is NOT an accident. What it is is the expected and predictable result of the using up of fusionable hydrogen within the star. Its deliberate in that it is a proper effect in accordance with the nature and properties of the entity in question.

I think you need to read a bit about determinism.

And you should stop redefining simple words.

I didnt redefine a simple word. You did. You said that anything that ever happens that isnt caused by a conscious entity is an accident. Ridiculous. I didnt CHANGE the definition of the word. What I did was define the CONTEXT, thats all. And you dont like restricting the context of "accident" only to actions of conscious entities for obvious reasons. I will say that an unconscious entity, like a star or a rock, cannot perform any accidental actions any more than it can decide what its favorite flavor of ice cream is. Its nonsensical.

Jonathan, when you deal with concepts like "intent" or "unintended," these things only apply to conscious beings who can HAVE an intent. An accident presumes intent because it describes an unintended result of an intended action. Only conscious beings can do that, hence my earlier charge that only a God-created universe can have accidents of the type you claim.

A rock will always behave according to the laws of nature, and will always be pulled by gravity, etc... only a violation of a law of nature could be described as an "accident" when you are dealing with unconscious entities.

"EVERYTHING matters, nothing is unimportant." Says you? Well, if I have the bigger gun and disagree, what does your viewpoint matter?

My viewpoint will still matter. Violence does not define right and wrong, it only defines who will win a conflict. Unlike Chrisitans, I do not subscribe to a "might = right" mentality. Lets imagine that the Nazis succeeded in taking over the world and killing all the Jews. That would not make them right. You cannot point a gun at someone to make your morality right any more than you can point a gun at someone to make gravity stop working. Jonathan, you may be able to use violence against me, but you will never be able to shoot or beat or fight your way into a violation of objective reality. No amount of violence will stop you from needing food to live; no amount of violence will stop gravity from pulling you to the Earth; no amount of violence will make violence morally right.

How you could, with any sort of logical integrity, say your "viewpoint" is right while mine is wrong.

Easily, my friend. Because the only knowledge we ever obtain is through the scientific methods of observation, experimentation, repetition, prediction-making, and acceptance of the results of such tests. You can use these tools to find out truths about the physical universe or social interactions or moral principles or whatever else you want to find out about.

You say humans are valuable.

Yes I do. But from earlier comments it seems that you dont agree with me. This is evidence that you subscribe to an immoral and inhumane worldview, while I do not.

If I disagree and if I want to kill everyone including myself, who are you stop me, and what possible "ethical" reason could you give?

I will have to answer you in two parts: #1) who am I to stop you? I am Aaron Kinney, owner of my own person, and I am morally correct to defend myself with violence against your initiation of violence. I guess the guy with the best gun or the best aim will win. But lets assume you outgun me and I die. Just because you won the gun fight doesnt make you morally correct. You are the initiator of violence in this case and therefore you are objectively morally wrong. And for #2) The ethical reason I can give you against killing everyone including yourself is that it is anthetical to your own existence. To want to die is to embrace a contradiction, for you have to be alive to even THINK about dying, and you have to be alive to even WANT to kill yourself. You see, you have to automatically assume the value of life to even come to the conclusion that life isnt valuable. You have to accept defeat before you can plan for victory when it comes to justifying suicide. And as far as killing everyone else goes, the law of universality comes into play. For you to want to kill everyone else, you have to accept that its ok for someone to want to kill you. And I doubt you want someone to kill you, but if you did, again you run into the problem where you have to assume the value of life before you can argue for its devaluation.

But I think the more important question, Jonathan, is not what ethical reason I can give to you to stop you from causing violence, but instead what ethical reason can you give to justify violence in the first place? So far you have provided nothing for it.

I'll play the devil's advocate. You say "humans are valuable". I say "no, we are not." Who's right, Aaron?

I am, and you admitted it in your reply to me when you said "no, we are not." Because you see, you are a human yourself, and you have to assume the value of yourself before you can even begin to use your human functions of cognition and thought and all that stuff. Without the existence of humans (including you), you cannot even get to the point to where you can judge the value of humans! So again, you have to assume the value of humans, and admit defeat, before you can pass your judgement of worthlessness on humanity.

But Jonathan, according to what you said in the previous comment post, you ALREADY think that humans are worthless in accordance with your Christian religion. What kind of immoral, inhumane, evil religious worldview are you trapped in right now? Your Christianity is honestly quite scary to me with all its talk about the evil of humanity. It seems like projection to me; it seems more like its the religion and the Christian God concept thats immoral and evil.

Complete control? Now that is laughable! That's hilarious! My friend, death will surprise you someday, and suddenly. Death is the one thing that will render your "glory" useless. All hail Aaron the great, who has completely control over EVERYTHING that to happens to him...

You obviously didnt understand what I was trying to say. Let me clear it up: Firstly, yes I will encounter death and it will suck for me. But what I said earlier still stands. The funny thing here is that your statement about death is correct, but it has no bearing on the correctness of my earlier statement. See, as humans move through time, their ability to control their desitiny increases. At this point in time, we are still mortal and I of course will die within 50 or 60 years more or less. But what about 1000 years from now? Humans will live much longer. 2000 years from now, we may not have to die. We are already finding out things about aging and the genetic code, and it is only a matter of time before we master it. Jonathan, what value will the afterlife have when death is no longer a necessary part of life? I wrote about materialistic immortality here, you should check it out.

Wow man, you are not only nutty... you are completely arrogant. No wonder you don't like the idea of God... you obviously despise accountability.

Quite projecting. You are nutty for you believe in an invisible sky fairy, not I. You are arrogant because you believe in the infallible truth of an ancient book of fairy tales, while I believe in the always self-correcting and self-criticizing scientific method. You despise accountability, not I. I am a libertarian and a moral objectivist who, if you knew anything about either of those positions, holds the truest form of accountability possible. Jonathan, you believe in a twisted form of accountability where sacrifice of the innocent is praised, and guilt is passed down from parent to child even when the child didnt commit the sinful act. What kind of accountability is original sin and the scarifice of the innocent Jesus? What kind of accountability is possible with an omnipotent God who is accountable to nobody?

You dont know the first thing about accountability, and if you want to charge me as despising it, you better support your assertion, but I warn you not to take that road, for I can, and just did, run loops around your worldview in the "accountability" department. Christianity is inherently at an extreme disadvantage in concepts of accountability due to its central tenets of sacrifice of the innocent and inhereted guilt.

Not into red herrings right now, Aaron.

Was it an accident when Adam and Eve broke Gods law, or did God intend that to happen? Was Satan an accident of God, or was it on purpose? Either your God makes lots of accidents, or he is more evil than Satan himself. It is a logical necessity.

And that is EXACTLY my point. Humans have no OBJECTIVE worth. Our worth is a matter of opinion (human opinion).

Jonathan, to whom will humans have objective value to? There is no "objective value" for non conscious entities. Things only hold value in the eyes of a conscious entity, like a human. What does "value" mean to a rock or a star? The phrases "value" and "accident" only exist in the minds of conscious entities. If the universe had no life and no conciousnesses in it, then nothing would have value anywhere. Value is ONLY assigned BY conscious entites. Youre talking nonsense. Next will you ask about an objective "love" without humans assigning it?

Now you are attacking a straw man. I NEVER said that humans are worthless. I said that humans are MORALLY CORRUPT. (there's a difference)

Okay fine, Ill concede that. But it changes little. I can still conclude that I assign much more value to humans through my worldview than you do through your worldview. The problem still stands in that, so far, I have provided MORE reason for moral behavior and value and meaning through a Godless worldview than you have provided through your Christian worldview.

Of course not, because you are full of pride.

Fuck yea! Huamns RULE, baby! ;)

Have you ever lied before, Aaron? Have you ever stolen anything? Ever violated someone in your mind? Have you ever hated anyone?

Yes to all of the above.

Do you live in a bubble? I don't know about you, but I live around people who hate everyday. And you know what? Religion is OFTEN NOT the reason for their hate. I see both atheists and supposed "christian", "muslims", whatever doing bad things to each other EVERY DAY. Atheists are "more moral" than "theists" or "religionists"? Atheists still lie, Aaron. Atheists still murder. Atheists still hate and steal.

Again, I concede. No human behaves morally correct all the time.

You might say, "yes but theists do it more." Well guess what my friend... HATE is the ROOT of murder! Hate is the SEED! Have you ever hated anyone? Probably not. You're morally perfect, and because of that, we should all be atheists... Nice...

Yes I have hated people. Rarely, but yes. Everyone hates at least once in their life, I think we can agree on that.

"Humans are the problem my ass." It's called the "human condition" Aaron. It's human nature to lie, steal, and hate. I'll tell you what. You prove to me that throughout all your life you never do any of those things.

No, I will simply concede your point here. Yes, all humans lie cheat steal hate or otherwise do immoral things sometimes in their life.

Yes, it is true that religion fuels the fire of hate in men's hearts. But you are blindly arrogant to assume that hate wasn't there to begin with.

Ill concede this point too. Hate has existed since before religion. Indeed, hate may have even been the cause of some religions.

You go and find your "greatness" as a "favored species", Aaron. You discover your "potential", Aaron. But when the heavy hand of death knocks your pride to pieces, don't get mad if I said, "I told you so."

Favored by whom, Jonathan? Favored by ourselves, yes. I am a human, and I favor the human species accordingly. And when death comes to me, as it surely will, I will judge myself with my own objective moral standards. I will look back at my life and feel whatever emotions that come to me when I look at the whole of my actions, successes, failures, loves, and other memories. So far I have been extremely satisfied with my adult life, and I think I will continue to do so, since I plan on always having my superior moral code and skills at goal accomplishment. I doubt that I will regret much when I am about to die.

Jonathan, I can see youre a good guy, and youre not an idiot either. You were raised in a culture that spoon fed you a certain belief system, just as I was. But I found something better. Something that didnt come from cultural superstitions and emotional imaginitive stories. I found something that came straight from reality. Something direct, something real, something that fills me up and satisfies my soul. It is a healthy combination of materialistic atheism and moral objectivity. No God required. Indeed, it is a superior system to some handed-down-by-God carrot/stick approach.

Jonathan, Christianity is just as wrong as Islam, Witchcraft, Santaclaus-ism, the Tooth Fairy, and all those other wacky make believe stories. They are all things that simply arent real. They are made up stories that are meant to satisfy questions in our minds, but they are still made up. You should recognize religion and afterlife belief for what it is: control devices that hurt humanity.

You didnt exist before you were born, and you will not exist after you die, its as simple as that. There is no afterlife, and there is no God. There is only this existence, and you will only be around for as long as your physical body continues to pump blood and breathe. Allright I wrote way too much. Sorry about that :)

Jonathan said...

"So to you, anything and everything that isnt caused by an intelligent agent is an accident?" Yes, do I need to go over the dictionary definition again?

"I didnt redefine a simple word. You did. You said that anything that ever happens that isnt caused by a conscious entity is an accident." I think I may need to go over that definition again. I REPEAT, an "accident" is something that happens "without volition or intent". Only intelligent beings can "intend" or have "volition". If there is no intelligence behind our existence, we are accidents (according to the dictionary and how everyday people use the word).

"A rock will always behave according to the laws of nature, and will always be pulled by gravity, etc... only a violation of a law of nature could be described as an "accident" when you are dealing with unconscious entities." In your world-view, the laws of nature are themselves accidents (they just came into being without a reason).

"Violence does not define right and wrong, it only defines who will win a conflict." So you subscribe to moral absolutes? Where the heck do you get those absolutes from? Maybe you get your ethics from the idea of "whatever best proliferates the human genes"... but even then you would have to be arrogant to actually assume that you know what BEST proliferates our genes...

"Unlike Chrisitans, I do not subscribe to a "might = right" mentality." Nice... very nice... I was playing the devil's advocate, aaron, and speaking from a hypothetical perspective of someone who has no particular belief sytem. Obviously, you have had very negative run-ins with many "bad" people who claim to follow Christ. Maybe you ought to think about the fact that not everyone who claims to be a Christian, actually is...

"Because the only knowledge we ever obtain is through the scientific methods of observation, experimentation, repetition, prediction-making, and acceptance of the results of such tests." Tell me, Aaron, how do you empirically test how we "ought" to establish ethics? Science has to do with how things ARE, not how they OUGHT to be. Ethics has to do with how things OUGHT to be, and how to you empirically test what "ought" to be?

But here is your problem in a Godless universe: what "ought" to happen is only a matter of opinion. Ought humans survive and propogate? Well, that's a matter of opinion. I could look around at this world and conclude that, in light of all the suffering experienced by the masses, our existence ought to end. And if I had the ability to make it happen, you have no objective "moral" basis by which to stop me. Why? Because, in your universe, ethics are opinion, and NOTHING MORE.

"2000 years from now, we may not have to die." Ah yes, maybe... but why do you care? You won't be around to experience those benefits. "Jonathan, what value will the afterlife have when death is no longer a necessary part of life?" This is assuming that time will actually come. You don't know that it will. If you pick up a book called "Hurtling Toward Oblivion" you will find a very good "non-religious" case for the end of the world based solely on social trends. Add human nature and expontentially increasing technology and it becomes apparent that our world will not last indefinitely (purely from a non-religious point of view). I really recommend the book.

"You are nutty for you believe in an invisible sky fairy, not I." That's a misrepresentation, calling it a "sky fairy". I believe we are not accidents and that there is intelligence behind our existence, and I have a lot of good reasons why such a being must exist (but at present that is a seperate question).

"Christianity is inherently at an extreme disadvantage in concepts of accountability due to its central tenets of sacrifice of the innocent and inhereted guilt." This is a red herring, but I'll address it regardless. Whether or not it is at a disadvantage totally depends on your presuppositions (which can be shown to be merely baseless opinion).

" I am a libertarian and a moral objectivist who, if you knew anything about either of those positions, holds the truest form of accountability possible." The "truest" form? You mean, "the most ethical"? well, tell me where you get your standard of ethics from... When you say, "I hold to the most ethical views", where do you get your idea of how one thing is ethical and another is not? Be honest and admit that you cannot say, "you are more ethical", when you cannot even prove that "ethics" is no more than just a matter of opinion.

Let's say you think lying is wrong. Let's say I don't. You tell me that, by refraining from lying, you are being ethical. I say, that by lying, I am the one being ethical. How can you prove you are being more ethical than me?

"Value is ONLY assigned BY conscious entites." So let me ask you something... would it be "immoral" for me to kill myself? From your worldview, the only reason you "ought" to help someone else is because it will eventually, in some way, help you... But what if I don't care about the human race in general (including myself)? What possible ethical reason could you give to stop me from killing myself? Just come out and admit, that yes, ethics is only opinion, and how we best "propogate our genes" is a matter opinion.

"I can still conclude that I assign much more value to humans through my worldview than you do through your worldview." Only if you assume that "moral integrity" increases human worth, which is a baseless opinion in an atheistic universe, by the way.

"Fuck yea! Huamns RULE, baby! ;)" Yeah, humans rule. They also hate, rape, steal, murder, lust, and so on... And yes, I know that people do these things even more cheerfully in the name of religion, but it doesn't change the fact that they would do it anyway without the help of religion. Humans rule? I don't know man, you really need to get out of your bubble that you live in. Humans, although capable of doing "good" things (depending on how you define "good"), are infected with a selfish nature that is capable of awful things. Your pride is definitely misplaced.

"I will judge myself with my own objective moral standards." YOu mean you will judge yourself with an opinion that you concocted.

"since I plan on always having my superior moral code and skills at goal accomplishment." Superior moral code? You mean, your own opinion on what is "moral" or "ethical".

"You should recognize religion and afterlife belief for what it is: control devices that hurt humanity." And you should recognize your "moral code" for what it is, something you devised in your head to make you "feel good about yourself".

Francois Tremblay said...

Very clearly you are a Christian fuckwit. Natural law has NOTHING to do with accident. It's necessity. Got that ? Necessity. Something your belief in a completely subjective Creation event does NOT have !

Randomity and accident is YOUR side. NOT ours.

Johan said...

Bon François, maintenant ça suffit pour moi ;-)

I understand that your philosophy leads to bitterness, frustration and anger.
I think you have convinced me.

In fact, I - formerly known as an 100% pure atheïst - will plead for renewed Faith. And Kindness for one another. In pusuit of the Light.

How an atheïst became a defender of the Faith!
Learn more about my reasons on http://meaning-fromwithin-illusion.blogspot.com/

Francois Tremblay said...

"I understand that your philosophy leads to bitterness, frustration and anger."

More projecting, eh ? How many Christians go out there in the media with "bitterness, frustration and anger" ? Your silly childishness does not anger me.


"In fact, I - formerly known as an 100% pure atheïst - will plead for renewed Faith. And Kindness for one another. In pusuit of the Light."

That is a bald-faced lie. There is no such thing as an ex-atheist (and there is no such thing as a kind Christian, either).

Johan said...

François,

I was born and raised an Atheïst.
I was educated with Science and Math.
I'm not turning to Christianity now. I'm maturing. I am strong enough to plead for renewed Faith at this point (albeit not the Christian type).

You still have to live a bit more before you will understand. Don't worry, with age comes wisdom. You are not yet lost.
;-)

If only you'd loosen up a bit... and read anything that anyone else writes before insulting them for being crazy and liars.

Johan said...

Let's suppose there are different stages in Philosophical Life.

Let's compare Christianity to Childhood, and the Church as the Parents. Christian people do believe what the Church tells them, even if irrational, and as good children, they do not question their parents truths and values.

And then comes Puberty. That is where you are now, François. You are angry at your parents. Nothing they say or do can be considered any good. Parents! Ha, those dumb asses! They are stupid, old-fashioned and no good. You know the truth. You are you. You are becoming an individual, tearing away; becoming independent. Now that is good.

But then after puberty, after you have lived and known some sorrow and hardship, after you have fought and struggled and found out it isn't all that easy, comes the time that you find back the value of what your parents taught you. You do not take it up again without questioning as you did when you were a child; yet you become less rejectionate about it, and - having become strong and independent - no longer fear to look it in the eye and see what it has to say - Bad and Good - without prejudice.
This is where I believe I have come to. When I was 17, I assure you my "puberty" was worse than yours, and I thought it was against the fundamental human rights to indoctrinate people with religion.
With years, the hard edges gave way.

The hard rock that was my heart crumbled and tore a little bit; just enough so that in the little cracks the seed of Compassion could grow, and from it the bushes of Respect, Balance, and Optimism.

I hope you too will reach this stage in your lifetime.
Best wishes to you, my brother.

lola said...

Hey John f.-that was refreshing.
As for the rest of you-WOW-logical-rational? More like BORING! Like John says-you will soften-after the universe kicks you around a little bit, and you realize that you do not have as much control as you think you do. I like to think of it as the cosmic commedians playing with me to get me to LIGHTEN UP!!!
Thanks for the entertainment boys, it's been fun. I have no problem with Atheists, believe what you want, but I cannot embrace Atheism as an absolute truth just like I have not succombed to the blind faith of any other ISM either. I like to rattle your cage to see what your parrot says. I learned things from it, and it learned from me. (Whether you believe it or not.)
I will go on being an example for others to learn from. I will do what I believe is right until I am PROVEN wrong. Another one of the things we do not share is the need to be ABSOLUTELY RIGHT all of the time-that, my dear boys is insecurity. We learn from our mistakes-you WILL make them.
Help where you can, find help if you can't. Live your life to it's full potential, and DREAM about the possibilities as often as possible!!!
Francois, my parrot might be dead and buried, but when it was here it was taught more than one phrase. Your parrot is sitting on it's perch repeating itself as infinitum. Poor thing is going to go insane, or die of boredom at this rate. I know when to move on. I've got myself and Eagle. They take care of themselves, they only make noise when it's appropriate, and they know how to RISE ABOVE. Whenever you see one-think of me!
In the energy of the universe, this site, and your line of thought are a BLACK HOLE. Some people study them, some are sucked in by them, some are destroyed by their GRAVITY. Some of us have learned to travel through them and come out the other side richer for the experience. Thanks for adding to my value.
Remember as well, small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss the possibilities. I'm going to explore some more space. See you on the flip-side ??????????????????????
TA-TA, DARLINGS.

Delta said...

Woah, a lot of crazy-ass posts on here. Another good straight-forward assessment of the situation AK, and I love the tying back to your blog in the last line =)

Tanooki Joe said...

Man, that is some good fear-based God belief right there.

Nice to see new posts, Aaron! ;)

Francois Tremblay said...

You are a liar. There is no such thing as an ex-atheist.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi again Jonathan,

Lets settle this "accident" thing because I dont want to keep talking about it in the next round. We are using different definitions of the word obviously. You have included "accident" to mean anything that wasnt caused by a conscious agent. I reject your definition and I have contended that the dictionary definition applies in the context of conscious agents. Opposite of you, I contend that "accidents" can only be caused by conscious entities, as the concept of an accident is just that - a human concept like love or hate, and it only exists in the minds of conscious entities. So to me, an accident is only causable by conscious entities.

Your definition of the word "accident" is so broadly reaching as to mean that everything in existence that ever happens wasnt supposed to happen. To me, the word accident implies something happened that wasnt supposed to. But to scientists and materialists, everything in this universe happens the way its supposed to. Matter is supposed to follow natural laws and it does, etc...

So youre just going to have to accept that we are at an impasse with the definition of the word accident and you are doing nothing more than playing semantics games so that you can set up your materialism straw man and smack it down in front of me. No scientist, physicist, or astronomer will agree with your definition of the word and how you want it to relate to the universe, so dont sit in here and lie about how people popularly use this word and apply it to the Universe the way you do. They dont. Only Christians Fundamentalists think that materialism = accident, and its because of your projection issues.

In your world-view, the laws of nature are themselves accidents (they just came into being without a reason).

No, that is not true. The laws of nature, like matter and energy itself, never came into being without reason. In fact, they never "came into being" at all; they were always there - they are timeless. They exist with perfect reason, out of necessity as Franc said earlier. Alot of what Im saying would make more sense to you if you were familiar with the Hartle-Hawking Wave Function of the Universe theory, but if you looked that theory up you would see how the universe exists the way it does, timelessly, and with necessity.

In fact, Ive already demonstrated how "Accidents" happen in a Christian world. Again Jonathan I must ask you, is Satan an accident of God or not? Is original sin an accident of God or not?

So you subscribe to moral absolutes?

Yes.

Where the heck do you get those absolutes from?

The same place we get the law of gravity from: Natural reality.

Maybe you get your ethics from the idea of "whatever best proliferates the human genes"...

Not exactly, but it is based on humans.

but even then you would have to be arrogant to actually assume that you know what BEST proliferates our genes...

Just like Galileo and his arrogance of telling the Church that the world was round? Or that we revolve around the sun instead? Dont get started on which worldview promotes more arrogance. I will tell you what is alot more arrogant: assuming a book is true because it says it is, and using the books message to fight objective truths that are discovered by the scientific method. Theologians dictate truths from nothing but voices in their heads. Scientists, on the other hand, conform to truths they discover through observation and testing about the unconscious natural reality that we live in.

Maybe you ought to think about the fact that not everyone who claims to be a Christian, actually is...

Does this include you, or do you feel that you are exempt from this scrutiny?

Tell me, Aaron, how do you empirically test how we "ought" to establish ethics?

We dont. What we do, instead, is empirically test how we MUST IDENTIFY ethics, not "ought to establish" them.

Science has to do with how things ARE, not how they OUGHT to be.

And ethics OUGHT to be nothing, they just ARE. Just like gravity OUGHT to be nothing, it just IS.

Ethics has to do with how things OUGHT to be, and how to you empirically test what "ought" to be?

Please define "things" because I dont understand what these "things" are that youre talking about.

Ethics are rules for optimal survival and prosperity based on the way reality IS. Ethical rules simply ARE, but they tell you how you OUGHT to behave in the same way that gravity and sunlight tell plants how they ought to grow.

But here is your problem in a Godless universe: what "ought" to happen is only a matter of opinion.

Not true. You ought to eat food or else you will cease to exist. The ought I just declared is not an opinion, it is a fact, and it is based on a natural law. You ought not to hurt someone, because you are saying its ok for someone else to hurt you and then you will suffer or even cease to exist. This is not opinion, it is a fact.

Ought humans survive and propogate? Well, that's a matter of opinion.

Correction: People will have opinions on this issue, but some of those opinions will be wrong. Humans survive and propogate due to their axioms. You cannot choose to be dead or alive, you simply are one or the other (the best you can do is choose to kill yourself but thats not the same as choosing to be dead). What Im saying is that existence is axiomatic for conscious entities and its no suprise that its totally instinctive to pursue ones own survival and prosperity. Even the most basic life forms do this automatically.

I could look around at this world and conclude that, in light of all the suffering experienced by the masses, our existence ought to end.

And you would be wrong. You would be suffering from a perception problem. The correct answer to your problem here is that the "suffering experienced by the masses" ought to end, NOT the existence of the humans. Always remember to check your premises.

And if I had the ability to make it happen, you have no objective "moral" basis by which to stop me. Why? Because, in your universe, ethics are opinion, and NOTHING MORE.

You are wrong again. Your blatant strawmen are getting you nowhere. I would indeed have an objective moral basis by which to stop you, however, note that you would have no objective moral basis with which to pursue your twisted goal. You had to assume the value of life before you were ever able to condemn it, since only conscious life forms can make such choices or evaluations. So you would be acting contradictory to your very nature to even proclaim such a "final solution." You would be suffering from a perception problem as I stated above. Also, you would be violating the virtue of non-coercion: see, since you think everything is an opinion in a materialist world, you would have no basis to conclude that people were even suffering in the first place, much less deserving of death. When you initiate force against another, you give permission for another to initiate force against you. What if someone killed you before you could finish killing everyone else? You doom your own plan to failure because you are embracing a contradiction of anti-life while you are ironically a specimen of the very life forms you are trying to destroy. You are, through the very illogic of your act, giving others permission to stop you from carrying it out.

You understand nothing about my moral code. You are trying to staple the label of "moral relativist" on me, and it isnt working.

But you realize, Jonathan, that this can go both ways. Let me ask you this: how do you get an ought from the ten commandments? How do you get an "ought" from the threat of Hellfire? Why do you care if God tells you to do this or that, and why should you care if you burn in Hell forever? Please answer these questions.

I believe we are not accidents and that there is intelligence behind our existence, and I have a lot of good reasons why such a being must exist (but at present that is a seperate question).

Okay, well do you believe that accidents exist in your intelligently designed universe? In other words, do you believe the designer made accidents? Do you subscribe to the Christian worldview of Heaven, Hell, Jesus, Satan, Adam, Eve, Original Sin, and all that stuff?

The "truest" form? You mean, "the most ethical"? well, tell me where you get your standard of ethics from... When you say, "I hold to the most ethical views", where do you get your idea of how one thing is ethical and another is not?

Again, I get my ethics from natural reality. I get my ethical laws from the same place we get the law of gravity. I get my ethical laws from the same place we get the laws of thermodynamics or the laws of motion. Do you understand and accept this answer or do you not?

Be honest and admit that you cannot say, "you are more ethical", when you cannot even prove that "ethics" is no more than just a matter of opinion.

No. I can indeed say that I am more ethical. I stated that I got my ethics from reality just like we get the law of gravity from reality. Ethics are not a matter of opinion any more than the law of gravity is a matter of opinion. Do you concede this point or do you have an objection to it?

Let's say you think lying is wrong. Let's say I don't. You tell me that, by refraining from lying, you are being ethical. I say, that by lying, I am the one being ethical. How can you prove you are being more ethical than me?

Im happy to answer. Lying is wrong because lying is coercion and it is also an attempt at a contradiction, and contradictions cannot exist in reality. When you lie, you are giving misinformation in an attempt to control someone else coercively (i.e. without their consent). Coercion is wrong because universality dictates that when you coerce someone, you give permission for yourself to be coerced. And since coercion hurts the progress or even survival of yourself, coercion is not ethical. Again, ethics are laws that optimize the survival and progression of ones life, and they are objective an concrete because the things a human requires for survival are objective and concrete. Do you accept this answer to your question or do you have a problem with it?

So let me ask you something... would it be "immoral" for me to kill myself? From your worldview, the only reason you "ought" to help someone else is because it will eventually, in some way, help you... But what if I don't care about the human race in general (including myself)? What possible ethical reason could you give to stop me from killing myself?

Killing yourself is wrong for reasons I answered in the last comments post and have answered earlier in this one but I will repeat it anyway. You cannot choose to be alive, and you cannot choose to be dead. You can only choose to comit an action that will end your life. Now, since you are a living conscious being, and since only conscious entities can assign value to things, you have to PRESUPPOSE the value of your own life BEFORE you can conclude that your life has NO VALUE. So you have to admit defeat before you can even begin your campaign to win (against the anti-suicide argument). Its like spending money on a money-removal machine. You have to admit the value of money by spending it on a machine you want to use to remove all the money from the earth, since without the money you could never have bought the macine to destroy all the worlds money with. Do you agree and understand my anti-suicide answer or do you have a problem with it?

Just come out and admit, that yes, ethics is only opinion, and how we best "propogate our genes" is a matter opinion.

I cannot, because that would be lying. Look really closely at what you said, Jonathan: "and how we best "propogate our genes" is a matter opinion." Do you really believe that? You are not an idiot Jonathan and I am fairly sure that if you think about it you will realize that you said something ludicrous. How we best propogate our genes is NOT a matter of opinion!! Allow me to explain:

Lets say I agree with you that the best methods to "propgate genes" is a matter of opinion. Lets say that it was my opinion that drinking battery acid would be the best way for me to propogate my genes. Would my opinion be right just because its my opinion? No! My opinion would be WRONG because the best way to propogate our genes is NOT whatever we WANT it to be, but it is concrete things. For example, I need to eat food to survive and propogate my genes, regardless of my opinion! My opinion will not feed my body. If its my opinion that I dont need to breathe anymore to survive, will my opinion on breathing hold true as the "best way to propogate my genes"??? No way! I will totally die if I refuse to breathe, regardless of my opinion! Propogation of my genes requires that I breathe. In other words, ethics (ethics are rules that dictate the best ways to survive and prosper) are set in stone objectively by the objective reality that we live in, and it is our job to discover those rules (such as eating and breathing) and make our choices in life accordingly. Our opinions do not give us sustenance and prosperity, it is only our recognizance of the way our objecitve reality works that gives us sustenance and prosperity.

Ok Jonathan, so if you could answer the questions I asked you above I would appreciate it. Im curious to see if you will agree with me that the "best way to propogate our genes" is a matter of objective fact or subjective opinion.

Aaron Kinney said...

Jonathan F Reservist,

So in your system, when we grow up, do we become the church ourselves? Im down to be a God! I dont think in all honesty that your system translates into Christianity very well.

Lola,

Thats funny, you believe the burden of proof is on the one that does not assert. I suppose you have a guilty until proven innocent mentality, eh?

Delta,

Thanx. I like to try to bust out my blog name at the end of posts sometimes! :)

Tanookie Joe,

Thank you, and its good to see you hanging around! Holidays were very time consuming. Im going to try to up my post frequency to at least 2-3 times a week again. I really do love writing for this blog.

MoNoMo said...

Fucktard Tremblay said:

You are a liar. There is no such thing as an ex-atheist.

Oh, there's plenty of them roasting away right now in hell, buddy. Don't worry, you'll get all the proof you need for that in just a few years. Given the shape you're in, it might be even sooner than that. Fat frenchies who bust a blood vessel every time a they encounter a Christian don't have particularly long life-expectancies.

What is it about the name of Jesus that gives you a heart attack everytime you hear it? Maybe it's because some secret part of you, hidden beneath layers of blubber and bullshit, knows the truth -- that Christ is Lord...

Christian said...

While I must say that I disagree with Francois Tremblay about there being no things as ex-atheist (for example could a headinjury or an advanced age seriously impair your judgment in some cases), ex-christians are probably much more numerous. And also I would like to commend Aaron for having temper and gracing previous posters with retstrained and reasoning posts. I am much more for Francois Tremblays approach due lack of patience.

One of the previous posters said that Francois Tremblay was arguing like he was 12, not that I share this opinion but I would like to point out that having an imaginary friend is probably even more infatile. Though I don't suppose you'll listen but as for Aaron being arrogant I wonder if you actually stop for a moment and read your own post our that of people with similar superstious belifsystems.

As for some of the so-called "arguments" for there being an afterlife and a god, I give you this parabel:

Assume I am hungry and begin to speculate that there is food in my fridge.

"I am hungry" and "The non-existence of food in my fridge is as yet non-proven" would not make me conclude that there indeed is food in the freezer. The existence of food in my food fridge is not affected by these statments.

Now this is a bad example since there is a way to find out if there is food and since fridges also are known to contain food. But my point is that "an existence without god and an afterlife is useless" doesn't have ANY relation to the existence of those to things at all. While Aaron points out that life without these things indeed isn't useless to most of us, I didn't see him point out this quite obvious point. To sum up: The fact X is unaffected by opinion Y.

I find it funny to note the debate regarding "accident" since it quite mirrors parts of the ID debate.

"ID is sience"
"No, it's not. Look at the definition"
"Yes but for me science means X therefore I am correct in my assertion"

Where X is mundane drivel of the type I am sure you are all too familiar with.

Aaron, this objectional moral you are talking about, could you explain it to me or point out a place with a good explination. I'm kind of intrested since I obviously missed this concept in philosophy and ethics class.

John F - First Restrictivist you first talk about how you reasoned you're way out of atheism, then you don't give those reasons. Please explain. I'm ready to convert if you give a suffciently good argument, but judging from what I glanced from you own blog I doubt it. Also I wonder what that parabel did have to do with anything since: A) You stated that you reasoned. B) You say that you found out you'r parents were right wheras you previously stated that they were atheists. Though this is certainly no contradiction it seems to contradict your point.

Finally I ask all you out there beliving in some supernatural being: How are you reasoning?
Please spare me the emotional appeals let me recive the best arguments you can muster. I take great delight in being right and if you could give me a convince me that would be great since life certainly seems easier with an imaginary omnipotent friend. As for now I have this thing called intellectual integrity. Disregarding all religions and distilling it to the existence of an afterlife I have this to say.

1) The afterlife either exists or it doesn't
2) No proof for the existence or non-existence can be presented
3) Both being equal the simplest one wins

Therefore no afterlife. I assume that it is on point two where some pro-afterlifers have something to say about certain clouds making certain promises. Well I look forward to an intresting debate but I expect name-calling from the pro-afterlife side probably will start soon. But be my guest, prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

do you have to be pissed off in order to become an atheist, or does it come with your kit when you join?

Jonathan said...

ok... First of all, yes, we do define "accident" differently, and we are at an impasse. So let's leave it right there. But let me ask you a question... Why do you care about whether or not you are an accident? Is it because you associate "less value" with an "accident"?

"Again Jonathan I must ask you, is Satan an accident of God or not? Is original sin an accident of God or not?"

I have no problem answering this question, but for now, until we settle this other issue, it is a red herring, and I will not answer. (I am asserting theism in general and not a specific religion, and so therefore I won't argue the specifics of a certain faith).

"The same place we get the law of gravity from: Natural reality." You get your morals from "natural reality?"

Wow, could you be a little more vague? I am going to assume (correct me if I'm wrong), that when you say that, you mean "what makes something 'immoral' is that it somehow inhibits the survival of the species". So in other words, it's wrong to kill someone because it will in some way in the future harm my own survival or "propogation".

If this is what you mean, you still have a very major problem. Besides the fact that people the world over would disagree as to what "best ensures the happiness and survival of humanity", your problem is what you are assuming: that humans "ought" to survive. Where do you get this idea from? Please don't answer with a nebulous "from the laws of nature". Please actually give me a specific answer as to why humans "ought" to survive.

"Just like Galileo and his arrogance of telling the Church that the world was round? Or that we revolve around the sun instead? Dont get started on which worldview promotes more arrogance."

Woah Nessy, let's back up the cherry truck. Before you go assuming that I endorse various "churches" and councils throughout the dark ages (or any age for that matter), you should probably consider that I probably don't. I am blown away by how you think to yourself... ("christians everywhere think the same way as the Roman Church leaders in the dark ages"). Where do you get that idea from? Do you assume that about me? YOu are attacking a supposed position of mine that I don't actually puport?

"I will tell you what is alot more arrogant: assuming a book is true because it says it is, and using the books message to fight objective truths that are discovered by the scientific method."
Look, I know that your crusade against theism is largely rooted in bitterness at people you have met who are "supposed" Christians, but who really aren't... but for a moment, can you just leave the red herrings alone and discuss the topic at hand: theism and atheism.

"Does this include you, or do you feel that you are exempt from this scrutiny?"

Oh no, that doesn't include me. I'm perfect!......... OF COURSE that includes me. But right now, that's besides the point.

"And ethics OUGHT to be nothing, they just ARE. Just like gravity OUGHT to be nothing, it just IS." Ok, now you're confusing me... So you say "ethics just are"... Tell me... who "decides" that they have discovered what those ethics "are"? Show me specifically Aaron... how do I discern from the "laws of nature" that it's wrong to kill humans? In nature, some animals eat their young. Does that mean it's ok for me to eat mine? I'll go to nature, right? Do I go to the animals to discern what is "moral" and "immoral"?

"Please define "things" because I dont understand what these "things" are that youre talking about."

I'm making a major distinction between the field of science and ethics. Science explains HOW and WHY humans behave the way they do (and a multitude of other things in nature), but science does NOT explain how humans OUGHT to behave. Science just tells you how life IS. It does NOT tell you how life OUGHT to be. Ethics deals with how things OUGHT to be: how we OUGHT to behave, that we OUGHT to survive, that we OUGHT to help each other... Science never explains an "ought". It is a pursuit of the understanding of how things ARE. Now from this knowledge, we can then decide how things OUGHT to be, but even then what we decide is based on NON-scientific ETHICAL presuppositions.

"Ethics are rules for optimal survival and prosperity based on the way reality IS."

So there you have it. To sum up what you have said, the reason to help someone is that "what goes around comes around." I'll help the old lady cross the street, because in some way, I'll be better for it in the future.

But besides the already stated problem that you are assuming that humans OUGHT to survive, you have taken away any basis for the idea that I should be willing to lose my life to save someone else. What I mean is this: If the only reason for helping someone is that, in some way, it will eventually help me, why should I sacrific myself to save someone's life if I will not be around (I'll be dead) to experience the benefits?

When you blow away all the dust and feathers, your morality is based on the "what goes around comes around" principle. My ethics are based on a theistic principle: namely that I should help others regardless of what the outcome is to me (even if I don't live to experience the "enhancement of my proliferation", I "should" still help people).

"Not true. You ought to eat food or else you will cease to exist."

There you go again, assuming that we "ought" to exist... Where do you get this idea from? If someone grows up in a war torn country, probably that individual won't think terribly good of humanity in general... So what ethical reason could you give a depressed, suicidal, murderous person (who believes that all humans should die) that humans OUGHT to keep on living?

"Okay, well do you believe that accidents exist in your intelligently designed universe? In other words, do you believe the designer made accidents? Do you subscribe to the Christian worldview of Heaven, Hell, Jesus, Satan, Adam, Eve, Original Sin, and all that stuff? "

Don't really wanna follow red herrings right now... If you demand that I follow red herrings, I'll have to go elsewhere.

"No. I can indeed say that I am more ethical."

But you have admitted to lying, stealing, violating someone in your mind, and hate... How many times do you have to lie to be a liar, Aaron? Once? Twice? 3 times, and then "bing", the bell goes off and says you're a liar? You have admitted to harbouring the seed of murder (hate) in your heart. And you're a "good person"? You know where adultery starts? With violating someone in your mind... and you admit to doing that... so you have entertained the seed of adultery?

NOw you may say, "well I don't do it as much as others!" Well then, you have just made morality relative now haven't you? Look, you should recognize that, if you ever lie, you're a LIAR (just like me), and that if you ever steal (no matter how valuable the item), you're a thief (just like me).

You probably don't like it when people lie to you... But YOU YOURSELF have admitted to doing that vERY THING! (as have I). Where do you get off saying you're more "ethical" than others? Only blind arrogance can hold that position. Why don't you admit that you have done MANY things in your life that have HURT the "enhancement of our survival" (just as I have).

"Coercion is wrong because universality dictates that when you coerce someone, you give permission for yourself to be coerced. And since coercion hurts the progress or even survival of yourself, coercion is not ethical."

Right, it's that "what goes around comes around" basis for ethics. so in other words, "the reason that it is wrong for me to kill you is because it will hurt me in the end". Right... Anyone who holds that point of view has a serious disconnect with reality.

"Lets say that it was my opinion that drinking battery acid would be the best way for me to propogate my genes. Would my opinion be right just because its my opinion? No! My opinion would be WRONG because the best way to propogate our genes is NOT whatever we WANT it to be, but it is concrete things."

You picked a really convenient example... something that is so incredibly obvious. But tell me Aaron, what about when the line gets a little blurry...

Let me explain. In Canada and the US, abortion is legalized. We have concluded that ending the lives of fetus's is "ethical". Now I don't want to have a debate about abortion, but let me ask you a question... When exactly does the baby become a human? After the 1st trimester? maybe the second? or maybe the baby isn't actually a human with rights until it is out of the womb? What about HALF way out of the womb? If it is wrong for me to kill a baby once it is born, could I kill the baby right BEFORE it is born?

Or what about pornography? In Western Canada, we have agreed that it is ok (as long as those involved are consenting adults). We have picked the age of 18 for viewing and being involved in such media... But why not 17? Why not 16? (i know some smart 16 year olds...) What if a 15 year old wants to sleep with a 30 year old? Is that ok? or maybe a 17 year old? Why do we draw the line at 18? Who picked that? How do we know he/she was right in picking that age? And if he/she had good reasons, what about the teens who are exceptions to the reasons?

Also, we have decided that homosexuality is ok. What about sex with animals? It doesn't hurt anyone, right? If the animal doesn't mind it, why should you stop me? How about poligamy? If the wives like it, why not, right? It's all about "what goes around comes around", and therefore, if humans aren't "hurt" by it in some way, it must be moral, right?

Do I have to come up with more disgusting analogies to make my point? Ethics without God, is a matter of opinion, my friend, and what best "helps the human race" is a matter of opinion. Why? Because we all disagree on what is best!

Christian said...

Yes Jonathan we all know how morally superior christians are. Now I'm not too much into american history but pretty sure I know what religion the majority subscribed to during the slavery. Of course I'm assuming that you like most of finds it distasteful. Also we know how well the church handled witchtrials, they burned the witches since the bible wouldn't allow any blood. Also we have the crusades and such. Also I'm no authority on the bible but I remember while at "biblecamp" (don't know any good translation) reading about people doing alot of things I found objectionable: slavery, incest, killing children, sacrificing and such. One of the more memorable passages is where two female bears kill children for insulting a prophet. Since I don't think most christians today support those things I think you'll also have to say that "ethics with God, is a matter of opinion". Or perhaps I'm too quick to draw conclusions, perhaps you are in direct contact with your god where you recive pamphlets with instructions for ethical behavior.

It's intresting to note that where I come from everything except polygamy is allowed and no great majority is for a law against it. Of course you seem to think that what's legal is ethical and vice-versa.

As I said in my previous post I don't know what Aaron is really talking about since his objectional ethics isn't common knowledge where I am. As I grasped it there is only subjective ethics, so your "kill everyone and yourself" strawman would be as objectivly "correct" as a real "good" person. However I think the vast majority of people would dislike this kind of behaviour.
However I think most people unladen of superstious belifs would agree to a set of ethics that they are predisposed to. I think there is no mystery as why we like certain behaviour patterns which are beneficial for us as a species.
In your example about helping the lady over the road for example, you say that you won't recive anything for it, but I disagree, I think alot of people would feel some satisfaction for doing some good deed. Another example, this time from my daily life: When certain charities come to collect I give some money, not too much but on one hand I'm not too well of at the moment. However it's seems that you would never consider doing something like if there wasn't the eternal reward of the afterlife in sight.

Also I wonder how you can explain that more atheistic countries are more generous, now perhaps I'm being unfair since they usually have more to share of, but if you compare the much more religious and slightly higher GNP per capita than norhtern Europe you'll se that you have more donations per capita.

And you outright silly when you claim those assertions about hate and lies. How does lying work in the superstious world then? If a female friend asks you if you think she's pretty while you think the opposite do you tell the blunt truth or lie and run to the confession booth?

Regardless, I don't see the point you're trying to make. If Aaron can't give you a set of ethics that are selfevident and clear in every aspect would that some how prove that the bible is correct?

All Things Considered said...

Let me ask you this-
If 1=things that exist (things you can see,hear,smell touch and taste)i.e.:life, material objects, and CASH.
And 0=things that do not exist (things you can't see, hear, smell, touch, and taste) i.e.:after-life, concepts and ideas, CREDIT.
Then according to the rules of Materialistic Atheism, credit would be worthless, and your Material Society would cease to exist as you know it.

Would you still exist without your money?

all things considered said...

For further research on this conundrum visit Return to Socrates at http://saliu.tripod.com/ (if you can stand to pull yourself away from the Aaron and Francois show...it's pretty entertaining!)

Francois Tremblay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Francois Tremblay said...

"And 0=things that do not exist (things you can't see, hear, smell, touch, and taste) i.e.:after-life, concepts and ideas"

This is the point where we all sing "you are an idiot, ha-hahahaha". We can perceive our own concepts, they're in our mind you idiot ! How can you make such a basic mistake ?

Anonymous said...

all things considered: that's not a conundrum, but thanks for trying. Concepts and ideas are recorded and produced by the organized brain matter of sentient entities, who can in turn record them using various technologies. Also, credit is recorded in computers.

So tell me now, how is it that they do not exist?

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, but you said it more nicely.

Anonymous said...

Oops, didn't see your post francois.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, but you said it more nicely.

all things considered said...

It is true that your MIND exists, yet an IDEA is merely a thought-it cannot be seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted.
Acording to the rules of Aaron/Francoisism, I mean "Materialistic Athiesm" an idea DOES NOT EXIST-therefore it can rationally be deduced that we cannot "percieve our own concepts." Concepts, (according to your laws) DO NOT EXIST.
How does that make me an idiot? I am merely following your logic.

Anonymous said...

You are again wrong. We are becoming more able to deduce exactly the processes which make up our thoughts. Patterns of neurons located in a certain region of the brain fired in certain combinations have a lot to do with it. Here's an example:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/10/science/10mirr.html?pagewanted=all

Discoveries like this are being made rather consistantly, and are compounding evidence to the fact that consciousness is matter-based. Every phenomenon in the universe has some sort of testable (or material) manifestation, even thoughts. If it exists, the scientific method has proven it or will do so.

Johan said...

OK.
But how do you explain "logic statements"? They have no "time" or "place" aspect.
e.g. IF A>B and B>C THEN A>C.
How can you provide a material basis for that?
Or is the universe composed of a duality : matter and logic?

Anonymous said...

Dude, logic can be considered a concept/idea, and therefore can exist in the matter of the mind of an intelligent being. They don't need to have an aspect of "time" or "place," as you posit, to be capable of existing in the mind. Also, conscious minds create concepts and ideas by extracting them from reality (or having some concepts augmented through evolution; that is, humans that have a fight/flight response to large animals with sharp teeth are more likely to survive), which eliminates subjectivism, because consciousness arises from reality, and not the other way around (that's in a very dubiously argued nutshell, anyways).

Johan said...

OK, so when is a being "intelligent"?
Define in terms of laws of physics, please.
Do dogs qualify?
Ants?
Bacteria?
Draw the line.

Christian said...

All Things Considered, I wonder if you really thought your post through. I'm quite sure you agree with me that such things like radiowaves and radiation exists without you actually directly perciveing them. I can't see other peopoles thoughts but I can learn what they thought by listening to what they have to say or reading what they've written.

Christian said...

John - IIV it's obvious from your previous post that you have little understanding of physics.

Anonymous said...

Self-awareness. Consciousness. Whatever you want to call it. I'm not a physicist so I can't "define in terms of laws of physics." This is irrelevant and seems like argument for the sake of argument. We know that humans are intelligent in the manner that I meant, and that they store information/concepts/ideas/etc. and process information/concepts/ideas/etc. in their minds (illuminated most obviously by loss of memory/intelligence in victims of brain damage, and then there's that little thing called evidence).

Why don't you state your argument instead of constantly shifting it.

Draw the line.

Anonymous said...

The above was directed at john - iiv.

Anonymous said...

From Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: "phys.ics noun the scientific study of forces such as heat, light, sound, etc., of relationships between them, and how they affect objects".

What john - iiv asks for is not physics. If we for sake of argument would say that self-awareness would indicate intelligence and assuming the so-called "mirror-test" is a good indicator for that trait I would say that certain primates, dolphins and humans would qualify.

But somehow I sense that the john - iivs definition includes praising and fearing god.

all things considered said...

Dogs qualify ;) if you ask me-now ask someone who does not like dogs.

As for the "simple" math
IF A>B and B>C then A>C
You plug in a value for one of the numbers and you get a deduction-
A=1 then B=0 then C=(-1,....negative infinity...)
IF:
A= my idea and B=your idea then by the rules of this game, my idea>your idea.
HOWEVER: IF "I"is YOU then the answer becomes the opposite to me.

The answer is based on the perspective of the answerer. Neither is right or wrong, yet both are percieved as such by the viewer-no matter which one you are. PARADOX-the nature of all questions. (and a paradox IS a conundrum)

We are both right AND wrong.

What's the next question?

Anonymous said...

What the hell is this, some sort of juvenile attempt at using logic to validate subjectivism? Shut up.

Christian said...

all things considered you're not making any sense. If I put in -1 in A and 1 in C I am incorrect in asserting A>C. As for your argument being that no one is right or wrong, you've totally disregarded the fact there is an objective reality. Take my example with the fridge for example. If one asserts that it contains food and one that it does not, one have to be wrong since it can't be both.

Johan said...

Haha. Don't worry, I don't want to come to anything involving praising and fearing god.

I'm reading a book about the history of philosophy. NOT all Christian. In fact, if you look back at the Ancient Greeks, or any NON-Christian philosophy (e.g. Locke, Kant) these people end up with something they can't quite define in physical terms.

And FYI : I do know a lot about physics.

But you would be surprised how much our current scientific thinking has been influenced by certain (non-christian) schools of philosophy. Do you never wander whether we are really 100% sure to be richt?
Do you never doubt anything?
The ancient Greeks had a philosophical school called "scepticism". These guys questioned everything. Which is sane, in a way; since science also is about questioning any dogma's for example.

Johan said...

The point I'm trying to make is that all that physics does as a science is describe how MATTER behaves.
Matter moves in space and time.

A Logical Statement is not composed out of matter (of course, you know this); it does not follow laws of physics.
Then what IS logic? What is its essence and nature?
(this thought is meant somewhat "deeper")

Aaron Kinney said...

Christian,

Thanks for the compliments! If you want to learn about objective morality, a great place to start would be www.whatisobjectivism.com. Note that Im not an objectivist, but I subscribe to an objective morality as defined by objectivism. Of course, you can also always ask me questions about it and I will answer the best I can.

Ill get back to the other comments later. I have a short amount of time due to work and school.

:)

Aaron Kinney said...

BTW also you should check out Ayn Rands book "The Virtue of Selfishness" and also check out my other blog, The Radical Libertarian for links to Stefan Moleneux's podcasts. Stefan has podcasts that talk about objective morality and I think the one you wanna listen to is entitled "proving morality".

Hope that helps! Just remember, reality is objective, and therefore morality is objective. We must conform to the reality we exist in, not the other way around.

MichaelBains said...

They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them they could never be saved.

Even insane, if she'd had half a brain (a whole one wouldn't've done squat for the depression,) she'd simply have offed herself and left the kids with some of her cooky christian friends.

assuming she had any left by that point.

all things considered said...

If the fridge is closed it COULD be either empty or full. (possibility) If you open it, it WILL be either empty or full. (proof) If you do not know, and you place a bet when the door is closed, the chances are 50/50 that you will be right. (unless you cheated-but I am holding you to MY "superior standards") If you open the door, one of you becomes 100% right and the other 100% wrong. No one knows until the fridge is opened.
Now the fridge=your mind...

now go to http://saliu.tripod.com/ He's been at this for a while. (since Socrates!)

Francois Tremblay said...

"A Logical Statement is not composed out of matter (of course, you know this)"

Everything is material.

If you believe (religious belief) that it's not made of matter, then WHAT is it made of ?

Christian said...

Thanks for the info Aaron will check it out after this post.

Now I don't want to be rude but how more inane can your argument get John the Atheist? Logic exists within our minds and is true by virtue. Any other sentinent being would have to agree to such basic things like 1 + 1 = 2 and that if A->B and B->C then A->C since as I said, it's true by virtue.

Now I don't know where you learned physics but it seems it's much more up to task than my university. Could you please enlighten me of one occasion physics made a prediction about an animate object which wasn't equally true to an inanimate object. Or perhaps one of the occasions it was used to discuss intelligence.

As for the fridge I think you perhaps missed my point all things considered, my point was that the fridge either is or isn't filled and that the existence of food doesn't have anything at all to do with what persons outside think about it. Even without opening it one person is 100% correct and one person 100% incorrect although one can not know who without opening it. Also I would like to point out that a binary choice doesn't automatically mean that the probabilty of both events being equally likely, for example tommorrow you could be dead but you could also be alive, a binary outcome, but I guess that the latter is more probable in your case. But lets not get stuck up upon debating the probability, I just wanted to cover my bases in case somebody would argue that I am saying that the existence of an afterlife is equally likely to exists as not.

Also I would like to add that the universe also is made of energy (though not in lola's "hidden force that delivers you consciousness to a hidden reality" energy sense). And the two are connected through a formula which I'm sure you're all familiar with.

all things considered said...

If Aaron is the protagonist, and Lola is the antagonist...what does that make you?

Jonathan said...

In response to Christian:

"Yes Jonathan we all know how morally superior christians are."

I hate it when people do this... When people misrepresent my argument, put words in my mouth... What you're doing is a "straw man" argument, Christian. YOu're misrepresenting my argument and then attacking that misrepresentation. When did I ever say that everyone who claims to be a Christian is "morally superior" to others? I'm not talking about "who's more moral than you" (by whatever standard you use to establish ethics). I'm talking about theism and atheism.

"Now I'm not too much into american history but pretty sure I know what religion the majority subscribed to during the slavery."

Has it never occured to you, christian, that it's VERY possible that there have been countless numbers of people throughout history who have CLAIMED to be Christians, but really were NOT? There have been ALOT of awful things done throughout history in the name of Christ, but does that mean that Christ approves? You assume, that if someone says "I'm a Christian", that they are... There are fakes out there Christian, and PLENTY of them.

"Also we know how well the church handled witchtrials"

I don't care. I'm not defending any particular church or organization.

"perhaps you are in direct contact with your god where you recive pamphlets with instructions for ethical behavior."

Hey, how'd you know?

"Of course you seem to think that what's legal is ethical and vice-versa."

No clue where you got that idea from... Better read my last post again...

"I think there is no mystery as why we like certain behaviour patterns which are beneficial for us as a species."

That's nice, but I'm not talking what people "like" to do. I'm talking about how we decide what people "OUGHT" to do. There's a BIG difference.

"In your example about helping the lady over the road for example, you say that you won't recive anything for it"

NO I never said I won't receive anything. I said that I should help regardless of whether or not I ever receive any benefit from it.

"However it's seems that you would never consider doing something like if there wasn't the eternal reward of the afterlife in sight."

You're probably right. I'm a callous, cold individual who doesn't care about anybody unless I'm going to have a reward in heaven.

"but if you compare the much more religious and slightly higher GNP per capita than norhtern Europe you'll se that you have more donations per capita."

That's nice. But still besides the point. My main point is that, without God, ethics are a matter of opinion, and the reality of a "kind atheist" has no bearing on that point.

"If a female friend asks you if you think she's pretty while you think the opposite do you tell the blunt truth or lie and run to the confession booth?"

Hey, how'd you know I "run to confession booths"? Man, you seem to know a lot about me...

"If Aaron can't give you a set of ethics that are selfevident and clear in every aspect would that some how prove that the bible is correct?"

No, it would prove that, without God, ethics are a matter of opinion. Whether the Bible is true is another discussion for another time.

christian, obviously you too have had many bad encounters with supposed "christians" who may very well NOT be Christians, but don't believe that everyone who says they are a Christian, actually is.

useful idiot said...

jonathan:

"No, it would prove that, without God, ethics are a matter of opinion."

Um, but with God, it's a matter of God's opinion. So that makes it less subjective? Judging from what I know of the bible, God has an opinion, and it seems to exhibit a subjective quality. An objective consciousness is a contradiction (if you define objectivity as the world outside your mind and subjectivity as the world experienced by a conscious entity), therefore god must be either an unconscious robot, or he must be subjective (or you can posit the 3rd option, that God is something unkowable, and therefore ignosticism would be the rational choice, but this option is contradictory to the Christian diety, who by the bible clearly has an agenda and wants us to follow it). Therefore God as an arbiter of justice is just another subjective enforcer, a bit higher than society, culture, or the state, but a subjective enforcer nonetheless. SO, your argument seems to me to be entirely fallicious.

I await your response.

-

Christian said...

Jonathan I think it's fairly obvious from the context that I was being sarcastic rather than quoting you.
To make things clear: By christian I mean a person who belives in the teachings of Jesus, which I'm pretty sure is close to the dictionary definition. So, am I right in assuming that you're saying that the majority of christians are going together with murderers, thieves and atheists to hell? So what group of christians are correct then? And how do you know? Perhaps you were serious about the pamphlet thing. Also I wonder how big this group could be.

Also it seems to me that you didn't respond to my biggest question: Isn't ethics with god a matter of opinion too? Since depending on which verse you use for moral guaidence you can arrive at very diffrent conclusions. As i stated there are passages in which incest and murder of children a desribed as gods will. How do you as a christian which rely on the bible for guaidence comment on such passages?

I read your post again and it still seems that you are thinking that legal and ethical are the same thing when you discuss the age of consent and whethever legalizing polygamy and other things also would be OK.

As for what a person OUGHT to do I think that a person should pursue his own happiness in a constructive manner and engage in behaviour he finds meaningful and fullfilling. And don't sacrifice himself for others (unless he wants to) or expect sacrifice from others. The reason I commented on your example with lady was that good deeds without god seems incomprehensible without god for you christians.

You're quite correct that kind atheists have no bearing on that argument. But my point is that, assuming that charity is considerd good according to god, that the atheists outperforms. Of course if I remember correctly good deeds and such is quite secondary to belif in christ, since he is the sponge that washes away that "original sin".

Christian said...

Aaron, I don't see any "Proving morality" only "What is Libertarianism ?" on your other blog, link please.

I vistited www.whatisobjectivism.com and if I understood it correctly morality could be derived from having your indvidual happniess and existence as a base and understanding that all rights were derived from the right of ownership. But doesn't atleast number two run in to some trouble because certain persons such as chlidren can not be expected to make informed decisions about everything concerning their welfare.

While I felt that most things on site felt reasonable it didn't strike me as convincing as I had hoped for. Exactly what parts of objectivism do you reject?

Johan said...

François,

Now it gets interesting!
I said : "A Logical Statement is not composed out of matter (of course, you know this)"

You replied : "Everything is material. If you believe (religious belief) that it's not made of matter, then WHAT is it made of ?"

Well in fact, I believe (NON-religious belief) that it's NOT made of matter.

See, I'm sitting at a table. This would generally be considered a true statement. But if you look at the statement, it is in fact about something which I have come to know about reality, about matter, through observation. I'm sure it's true because I'm an adult and my knowledge of tables has matured. When I was 1 year old, I might have mistaken the table for a chair and made a wrong statement.

It can also be considered "true" through convention of the word "table" for which I and you, living in the same Western Civilisation, hold similar definitions in our brains.

Now if you look at a statement like "IF A>B and B>C, THEN A>C", what is peculiar about it, is that it is NOT about anything tangible. The statement itself is ALWAYS TRUE, no matter if we rightly observed any of the objects or numbers we will later insert into A, B or C.

If the statement "IF A>B and B>C, THEN A>C" itself is material, then "where" is it? "When" is it?
Does it fall through gravity upon the earth? Does it get squeezed to a smaller size when traveling at near-lightspeed?

Hmmmm.
For me, there does not have to be a "godfearing" reason to be amazed still by the universe.

Johan said...

Christian,

You said "Could you please enlighten me of one occasion physics made a prediction about an animate object which wasn't equally true to an inanimate object."

Indeed, I truely believe that physics doesn't know the meaning of "animate" or "inanimate".
Indeed, why should it, since both are made of the same matter.
I think you and I agree on that.

There are 2 funny things that follow from that.

Number 1 is that I almost fell over laughing when my physics professor told me that an "intelligent observer" has an effect on the object being observed. That makes no sense to me, and I'd rather either consider one of two options :

Option 1 : your fridge argument. Logical! (But apparently not true; we can come to that later)

Option 2 : the observed object is disturbed by the act of observation, but to attach a notion of "intelligent observer" to it is rediculous, since all beings are made of the same matter, so there can be no discrimination during experiments of physics. That was the point I was trying to make. Those physics professors that talk about an "intelligent observer" haven't figuered it all out deep enough yet, in my opinion.

Now number 2 conclusion about all things and beings indiscriminately being made of the same matter, and all matter being ruled by the same laws of physics through logical deduction leads to the conclusion that our life is mechanical.
There is no free will!
How can there be?
All your braincells behave according to mechanical laws of physics.
Anything else is religious superstition.
To paraphrase Descartes here : "I think I don't really think" ;-)

Then why do we feel we have a free will?
Well, when would you say something has a free will? Probably when it is so complex that you can't possibly foresecast what it is going to do next; how it will behave. At a certian point, when things become so complex our minds can't figure them out anymore, they get "a mind of their own".

I would claim that you cannot possibly foresee what YOU will do or think next, you are too complex, and because if you did wanted to forecast your own next behaviour or thought, having 100% understanding of yourself, would require your brain, which is a part of you, to contain everything about you as a whole, and some of your immediate surroundings which provide stimuli.

More than the whole is bigger than the brain part and therefore does not fit.

Ergo, no complex entity can model itself in a perfect way, can therefore not forecast its own next move, and therefore has an illusion of it's own free will.

(I don't think I mentioned God anywhere, did I?)
;-)

Johan said...

Christian,

About the "full or empty fridge".

Modern science has come to the conclusion that reality as we know it at our everyday speed and size, may not be equally try at lightspeed or at the size of a subatomic particle (say, for example, an electron).

If you would ever be able to accelerate anythin that has a mass up to light-speed, it's mass would become infite! Weird, huh? But that's what Einstein says.

Light ALWAYS travels at light speed. If you move in the same direction as the ray of light at 10 mph, and your buddy moves in the same direction at 100 mph, your relative speed between each other is 90 mph. But both will see the same light travel at LIGHT SPEED!!! Weird huh? But that's still what Einstein says. His conclusion is that TIME isn't the same for you and your buddy...

Same goes for the quantum-mechanical "Fridge".
By observing an electron, you can either let it become a "ray" or a "particle" depending on your observation.
Also, you may think that electrons have a place and speed at any time. Heisenbergs law would say that it is indetermined. If you exactly measure its place at a certain moment, its speed becomes indetermined, and vice versa. You can't know both at the same time.

This may seem like you can't look inside the fridge because this fridge has a light that is on when closed and off when openened, or something of that sort, but there's apparently more to it than that.

There's been experiments with particles that have an energy quantity of say 5, that actually cross a barrier that would in conventional terms require them to have an energy of 10!
It's called the "tunnel effect".

It's like someone on a bike without pedals at the foot of a hill.
You push him enough so that in Newtonian terms he could reach a position halfway up the hill (without extra pedalling).
Now you do the experiment and what happens? Your buddy ends up at the OTHER SIDE of the hill he could'n normally get across.
Modern physicists would scratch their head and say he "tunneled" under the hill...
(of course that only works at quantummechanical sizes, and not in the universe scale we see around us in our daily lives).

Don't think the universe is all simple and Newtonian!!

useful idiot said...

John, I believe that you're commiting the logical error of applying principles of quantum mechanics to macroscopic objects. Tunneling, afaik, only occurs with electrons. I doubt there's any validity to the claim that one can affect the state of particles by observing them with your macroscopic eyes. I believe that refers to the fact that you can't observe these particles unless you pelt them with other particles, which affects their state and path (in horribly ambiguous layman's that is). But as far as we can tell it has little or no bearing on macroscopicity (if that's a word).

Also you can say that reality is affected by space and time, and therefore an observer can have a different affect on an experiment depending on his relative distance...but, this does not make everything relative, because we are still able to predict what will happen at varying vantage points of an expirement.

Although I find these things very fascinating, as you do, I think that they are irrelevant to the full or empty fridge. A ham cannot tunnel out of a fridge.

useful idiot said...

"But as far as we can tell it has little or no bearing on macroscopicity (if that's a word)."

What I meant was, afaik, they cannot be affected or experimented with at at a macroscopic level, but their effects (and the effects of experiments done at these infinitessimally small scales) can be viewed and verified.

Johan said...

Hey all,

Sorry I'm posting so many entries one after the other, but I guess I'm in a different timezone.

For the scientifics out here (and I think that's most of the debaters, including me), it is interesting to know a bit about the subject of Philosophy, which is often considered "fluffy" or "poetic" by most of us scientifics.

I think a few things are important to know :

1. Philosophy means "love for knowledge". It is only in recent times that science and what we now call philosophy have broken away (that's not a bad thing, since it allowed science and technology to get away from the religious dogmatic thinking, which did not allow for evolution of thoughts).
But for the Ancient Greeks, science was part of philosophy. E.g., more than 2000 years ago, it was a philosopher who said that matter was made of "atoms"...

2.Our current scientific progress has its roots with the Ancient Greeks and the Age of Enlightenment (17-18th century), after which the age of industrialisation could get a "lift off".
There were many schools of philosophy, on of which was the Empirical one : Thruth is what we see and then derive from those observations.
True, this way of thinking has given us much insight into the working of the physical world.
But there are other basic philosophical questions that are not so easily answered by Empirical ways.
For example, moral issues.

If I look at the discussion threads, I see there are 2 main topics : topics about how the universe works, and topics about ethical behaviour of people.
This split-up is intuitive, and 2500 years ago the Ancient Greeks called them the "Physica" and the "Ethica".

Please notice that you guys making completely different argumentations for these two groups of questions.
- For the Physica, you guys are basing any conclusion on Observations and Logical Conclusions from that.
- For the Ethica, your starting point is the "freedom of the individual"...

But isn't it funny that if you consequently reason through with your model of Physica, you arrive at the conclusion which I made here above, that physically, all beings can be shown to be "inanimate" mechanisms, and therefore Free Will and "freedom of the individual" are illusions?

So I think that, without realising it, your "complete" understanding of the Universe (both Physica and Ethica) has a hidden contradiction in it...

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not moving towards "godfearing" concepts to get out of that problem.
If you care to have a look at my blog, I did struggle with it myself as well, starting from about where you guys are.

I tried to answer a couple of "classic" philosophical questions, such as :

- is there a Free Will?
- if there isn't, why should I still put effort in anything? The universe will happen as it will happen...
- what would be "ethical" behaviour, if you wanted to base it on Physics, rather than on "freedom of individuals"? And I think I can make use of Thermodynamics for that one...

It will be my privilege to discuss with you guys.

http://atheistfaith.blogspot.com/

Johan said...

Hey Useful Idiot,

I didn't mean any of the quantum physics can be used at macroscopic levels. If that's the way you interpreted my text, I did not make myself sufficiently clear somehow.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Well in fact, I believe (NON-religious belief) that it's NOT made of matter."

THEN WHAT IS IT MADE OF ?

Stop evading the million dollar question, anti-materialist peon.

Johan said...

My answer is that I believe I may not be able to know what it is made of, because of the material nature of my brain, which has its restrictions in the way it can actually grasp how all the aspects of the universe exactly works.

What do you think the exact answer is?

Johan said...

François,
Please also read my entry just above yours, about the Contradiction in your philosophy, between laws of physics that rule matter, and a belief in the "freedom of individuals".

(without calling me names please)

Johan said...

François,
One of the questions that Immanuel Kant, a famous (and rational) German philosopher asked himself, was "What can I know?"

I would argue that modern science is advancing the knowledge about phenomena and laws that rule matter, without touching that fundamental philosophical question.

I think it is still a valid thing we should ask ourselves.
Being 100% sure that you can "Know Truth" (whatever that may mean) through science is a Dogma!

Johan said...

I may not be as talented as Immanuel Kant here, but bear with me here for a sec. I'm trying to invent a mind game to show you what I mean.

Suppose there is an imaginary world where beings can Hear and Smell, but they cannot See or Touch the matter in the universe they are in.

They would understand the universe from the only input that is relevant to them : Sound and Smell.
Their Scientific Dogma is that the True Nature of the universe can be understood through use of their senses.
But they are incapable of Touch or Sight.
Because of their limitation, what for them is the Absolute True Nature of the universe, would be different from if they would have Sight and Touch.

(not sure if you see what I mean)

Christian said...

John the Atheist first of let me apologize for associating you with the christian crowd due the percived fuzziness and wishful thinking in your earlier posts. However even though I sense some fuzzy thinking from your previous posts, for example if you agree on quantum mechanics having no bearing on my "fridge" why did you bring it up? Thanks by the way useful idiot for pointing that out in your post. Also I would like you the expand on your moral behaviour from thermodynamics which sounds quite absurd, but please explain since even if it's wrong it probably is much more entertaining than the god talk which I've already heard ad naseum.

Another thing I am also quite tired of is the predetermenism vs freewill. I'm sure all like me feel that we're to a rather great extent in control of or life, for example I can prolong my life by looking before I cross the street and avoid other dangerous situations. If this is "free will" then that's what've have, even if some unknown entity were to know absolutly everything that would happen to me in my life that would not change my life in anyway unless that entity told me about it which would quite definatley change the outcome. To sum up: I don't see any rationale for this discussion. Regardless of what some super-entity might know you have to make your own desicions, and the information which would have to processed is to great for such an entity exist (unless of course one belongs to the god crowd since god can do anything).

As for your "contradiction" of ethics based on "the freedom of individuals". First of I don't think you should use the term "inanimate" for entites that by definition is animate, however we are composed of inanimate matter which only differ from the inanimate in terms of arrangment but this doesn't say that human worth is reduced that of coal and water (and some other materials). Secondly I don't really see where you argument is going, are you going to maintain that some kind of autocracy would be better for persons without "free will"? I think you should try to better express your ideas. I don't know how you percive your world but I assume that you like me percive that we have some choices to make in or life, we have a freedom to choose, or actually we are required to choose since not choosing is also a choice. So we aren't free from freedom. Of course we can be more or less free because of constraints of the outside world which could render some choices quite undesierable. Therefore one might maintain that great freedom for a person is good since that will allow him to a greater extent make good descions (assuming of course that you know what is in your own best intrest, but hardly anyone expect yourself know this better). Though we might relinquish certain freedoms to gain some advantage, for example we give things to the goverment since we trust them to make good use of it. But judging from Aaron and Francois other blog they don't seem to think so.

Reading gyour later posts i would like you to define "Absolute True Nature". We humans have five ways to directly percive the natural world and two of them is frankly to quite limited use. However we know that other animals have senses we do not, birds can percive the earths magnetic field, bats use echolocation, and some animals living in water use electricty to guide them. These creatures probably percive the world quite diffrently but nature itself does not change. Also I would like to point out that we humans have through our sensory organs together with reason discovered alot of nature not perciveable by normal means, for example radiation and radio waves.

Johan said...

Christian,
About Ethics and Entropy :

In order to be able to act responsibly, morally and ethically, we must understand (or rather "define") what good and bad are.

I may seem that there is no "absolute" ethic behaviour, in the sense that it is a law of physics. I'm sure many have felt this - not by coincedense has philosophy traditionally been split up in "Logica", "Physica" and "Ethica".
Indeed, if you consider a meteorite flying through space, and then hitting an uninhabited gas giant : was this a good or bad thing to do for the meteorite? It seems to me that the universe does not care. Even if we ignore the fact that the meteorite didn't seem to have a choice here, the event of two chunks of matter colliding, does not seem to have a good/bad aspect to it.

But there is an importance to "perspective".
Good and Bad exist only when seen from the prespective of the speaker/observer.
The universe did not care about the colision.
Now me - I'm a human being. I have a different perspecitive.

For me, this collision event was "bad" (see further), and I would argue that I can define Ethics (Good and Bad) based on Perspective and Physics; thus linking "Ethica" and "Physica" through Perspective (the nature of the speaker).

As for my point of view on Perspective : I am a being with the characteristics of wanting to keep existing, and further "prosper", in an increasing way.
A translation to Physics can probably be done using the concept of Thermodynamics : it seems that Chaos or Entropy is what I dislike, while the oposite - shall we call it "Structure" or "Value"? - is what I want.
Of course, the overall Entropy of the universe is ever increasing with time. Creating "Structuredness" requires Energy to degrade from one form to the other, the balance being more Entropy than Structuredness.
But it's the local increase in Structuredness we fancy.
And why do I fancy the Structuredness side? Because I am an expression of it. "Beings" are "born" out of it.
I would argue that this Structuredness is the "Good" part (from my Perspective), stuck back-to-back to the Entropy, which is the "Bad" part. The waste.
(I guess this may just be another way of expressing the "Yin and Yang" concepts.)

Of course, in the end the "waste" will win, and the universe will "die" (or "come to rest" if you will) when all energy will have degraded to create a state of evenness. (unless it would fall into a big black hole I guess).
It may seem that a more peaceful way of seeing it, is that we - as expressions of Structuredness - are catalysors in helping the Universe to come to rest faster. However, the Universe itself has in my opinion a Neutral Perspective on Good and Bad, so it doesn't care. However, for us, this will be the End, which from our Perspective is Bad.

On a more poetic note (I admit this is fuzzy ;-)), it sometimes seems to me that, while Structuredness builds, somehow the Universe is moving towards understanding itself; deploying itself. Will this "deployment" lead anywhere? Will there be a limit, a boundary? Will there be a point beyond which "higher consciousness" comes into existance? I don't know.

Johan said...

Christian,
Further refinement of Thermodynamical basis for Ethics.

So our Actions should be "Good" if creating Structuredness, and limiting Entropy (waste).However, there is the aspects of Space and Time to consider : - should we prefer very local, thus Individual Good, or rather the broader, Collective Good?- should we prefer growth of Structuredness to be concentrated in the Now, or rather in the Future?I think we should aim for the overall greatest amount of Good, and the minimum of Bad, but to find that, my gutt feel tells me that there should be a balance between Individual and Collective; between Now and Future.Personally, I think that this is exactly the one big challenge, or even Mission, in this Life : to find that Balance, and to live it.

The world is complex, and hence there are no easy answers; no silver bullets.You can't just define a couple of simple rules, with which you might program a robot.

Too much Collective has been proven unviable and uncomfortable, as demonstrated in several former communist countries.

Too much Individual is the track we're on right now. Pure capitalism. Each individual for himself. But does ot make us really happy? I think the pendulum is about to swing back. Wouldn't many people in the developed world rather spend more quality time with friends, than buy themselves another new electronic device?

Too much Now is what we're doing right now. All the natural energy resources that have taken millions of years to build up, are being blown into thin air (litterally) in a timespan of a mere hundred years or so. We're living above the sustainable life standard. Once it all runs out, the aftermath will be hard to deal with. There will be hunger, violence and anarchy with billions of people fighting for survival on an empoverished globe. Pretty apocalyptic.. Unless we act sensibly right now. I mean Right Now. There's probably only a couple of decades left.

Too much Future - it's unlikely to ever happen, since we are greedy little creatures by design; we want it now and for us. But imagin what would happen if all resources were saved "for later"? Back to the Dark Ages. Standing still; conserving what was built and thought up in the past. No more development. No more creation of Value (and therefore Good). An embalmed Mummy, in a Sarcophagus for eternity.History has proven that every theory and technique can be enhanced. There's things to discover and develop that we have never thougth of. Unsuspected new levels perhaps. We should venture and find out.

Johan said...

Christian,

How Culture and Religion fit in, in my point of view.

As stated before, I believe "Good" and "Bad" can be defined by combining "absolute" laws (Thermodynamics), and adding to that the Perspective of the "speaker", in this case, human beings. By concluding what we are, we can define what Good and Bad are for beings like us, in terms of positive and negative local changes in entropy. Add to that a little sauce that takes into account the local and time-dependent culture and level of advancement of science. This sauce needs an update every once in a while. A painful event, that leads to much resistance. But not changing the saus, leads to a gap between old beliefs and new realities and understandings, which is not sustainable either for society. With fast scientific and technological advance, we now face a painful time, where old footholds are crumbling and new ones not yet in place.

Johan said...

Christian,

About "absolute true nature" and the illusion of free thought :

I believe the following to be true as a consequence of the basic statements :

Thinking is modeling.
No philosophy describes "True" reality. Since our "thinking" is only the building of an effective model of reality, there is no sense in using the model and thought to understand the true nature of reality.

Understanding is forecasting.
No "automaton" such as ourselves can see itself as not having a free will. This follows from the statements below :
a. Statement : in our minds, we model beings as automatons. Assume that this way of modeling is an effective one, so that we can derive conclusions from using the model.
b. Statement : in our minds, we model things and beings as automatons, so as to forecast their reaction to certain stimuli, among which our own stimuli upon them.
c. Statement : the perfect forecast requires full information to build a perfect model.
d. Statement : things for which we believe a perfect model can be built (in our minds), can be thought of as "things", or "mechanical objects". Things for which we cannot imagine a perfect model being built, are perceived as "beings"; "having a mind of their own", a "conscience".
e. Statement : part of the automaton can be used to store information. (other parts are used to interact with the world, to support though processes, to write and read information, etc) From the above statement, it follows that : An automaton cannot contain all information about itself, and use it to model itself with. Therefore an automaton cannot model itself in a way that allows a perfect forecast of its own actions. As a consequence, an automaton sees itself as "having a mind of its own".

- I believe people can eventually be fully explained in rational terms, although human knowledge and science has not reached a final stage yet to this day (maybe it never will, but all chances equal today, I'm betting on the optimistic option).
- I believe that Free Will is an illusion in absolute terms, but due to the restriction of what we are and what we're capable of in terms of "thinking" itself, it is the "perfect illusion". It is an illusion you can't possibly shake off. So if we can't get out of the illusion, and within the illusion this "Free Will" exists; well, then I guess it does exist for us then.

We are perfectly locked up within our own restricted illusion of reality.

Hmm. Makes sense to you?

Johan said...

Christian,

The earlier post about the senses was meant allegorically.

I wanted to express the notion of "limitation".
Indeed, we have 5 senses.
But who says that our mind is not restricted in some way - because it is only made up of matter - to fundamentally grasp all aspects of the universe, especially those that may not be materialistic?

Johan said...

Stating that EVERYTHING in the universe is made up out of matter, and behaves according to the laws of physics, is, accordingto me, a DOGMA.
And as a matter op principle, I don't accept any dogma.

A non-spiritual example I can come up with is the weird phenomenon of "mathematics" and "logic".
These concepts do not move through space and time, and fall with gravity.

Francois Tremblay said...

"My answer is that I believe I may not be able to know what it is made of"

So your answer is that you made this anti-materialist bullshit up ? Concession accepted.

lola said...

The MACRO-CHASM is composed of the particles of the MICRO-CHASM-therefore, they must behave in the same way-The microchasm does it faster than the MACRO-because it's not dragging a bunch of blithering idiots around in it's wake!!!

Poor Parrots.

Just checking,BOYS
PLAY NICE

Johan said...

No François. Please read my text again. Try to understand it, before crawling back into your materialist-dogma cave, while shouting at people.

How do you explain the nature of logic in material terms?
At least articulate an alternative, please.

Lola, do you want to have a grown-up conversation over this?

Francois Tremblay said...

"No François. Please read my text again."

I read it. You gave no alternative. Just denial.

So I accepted your concession of ignorance.

Are you now saying you have an alternative ? Please present it.

Johan said...

I think I was asking you for an alternative. I don't think Materialism has an answer.
Me, I'm confortable with my point of view stated here before.

The ironic thing is that you are right : in a way it is a concession of ignorance. My point is that my ignorance might be fundamental, and a characteristic of me being a human, made of matter, and capable of limited thought by my very nature.

You are worse off : you are still in the denial phase of your ignorance.

Aaron Kinney said...

ok... First of all, yes, we do define "accident" differently, and we are at an impasse. So let's leave it right there. But let me ask you a question... Why do you care about whether or not you are an accident? Is it because you associate "less value" with an "accident"?

I do not associate less value to "accident" in terms of why the universe is here. The reason I argue with you against it is because you are trying to straw man the materialistic worldview to make it seem like things have no *reason* to be the way they are, while scientists, physicists, and astronomers (not to mention myself) recognize that the material universe has very good reason to be the way it is, and that nothing that occurs between unconscious entities is ever without reason.

But its all good, we have both agreed to leave it since we are applying the word "accident" differently. Thanks for agreeing with me on the impasse and moving on, by the way :)

I have no problem answering this question, but for now, until we settle this other issue, it is a red herring, and I will not answer. (I am asserting theism in general and not a specific religion, and so therefore I won't argue the specifics of a certain faith).

It is not a red herring since you were trying to argue earlier that my worldview is an accident while yours is not. If I am able to defend my worldview as not being accidental, I think its perfectly relevant to look at whether the Christian worldview contains "accidents" of a divine nature. I wont press you anymore for answers since you dont want to answer this question, but I will note that you refused to answer my questions while I have never refused to answer any of yours.

You get your morals from "natural reality?"

Yes. "natural reality" is where I get everything I know about the reality that we exist in. Where else would I get it, some mystic sheep-herders writings?

Wow, could you be a little more vague?

I suppose I could, but please understand that Im not trying to be vague in my answer.

I am going to assume (correct me if I'm wrong), that when you say that, you mean "what makes something 'immoral' is that it somehow inhibits the survival of the species". So in other words, it's wrong to kill someone because it will in some way in the future harm my own survival or "propogation".

Yes. Its based on self-centeredness. How else can one apply a morality unless it applies directly to the conscious entity in question? Christians assume this self-centeredness even in their arguments in favor of obeying Gods word. It is inescapable for everyone.

If this is what you mean, you still have a very major problem. Besides the fact that people the world over would disagree as to what "best ensures the happiness and survival of humanity", your problem is what you are assuming: that humans "ought" to survive. Where do you get this idea from? Please don't answer with a nebulous "from the laws of nature". Please actually give me a specific answer as to why humans "ought" to survive.

No problem. I have told you before, and I will tell you again. Humans get this "ought" from the axiom of their own existence. Humans "ought" to survive and prosper because for them to deny the value of survival, they have to assume the value of it first! Look, for a human to even be able to judge if survival is good or not, they have to be practicing survival tactics first. So a human has to presuppose the value of survival before he can condemn it, therefore if a human condemns his own survival, he is embracing a contradiction and is conceding the value of survival before he can reject it.

Do you understand what I am saying here? I think Ive repeated it a few times, so I want to make sure that you are clear on what I am saying so that you can either accept or criticize my answer, rather than to continue asking for it.

Woah Nessy, let's back up the cherry truck.

LOL thats a cool phrase.

Before you go assuming that I endorse various "churches" and councils throughout the dark ages (or any age for that matter), you should probably consider that I probably don't. I am blown away by how you think to yourself... ("christians everywhere think the same way as the Roman Church leaders in the dark ages"). Where do you get that idea from? Do you assume that about me? YOu are attacking a supposed position of mine that I don't actually puport?

I dont assume that you support any given church. But I do assume you support the BIBLE, and those other churches also support the BIBLE, so my claims of which worldview promotes more arrogance still stands. A great thinker once said that criticism in religion is blasphemy, but in science its required. That is a very true statement, and it speaks volumes on which worldview is INHERENTLY more arrogant. Your christian worldview, even if you dont support a single church, is inherently more arrogant than my materialistic and scientific worldview ever could be.

Look, I know that your crusade against theism is largely rooted in bitterness at people you have met who are "supposed" Christians, but who really aren't... but for a moment, can you just leave the red herrings alone and discuss the topic at hand: theism and atheism.

My crusade against theism is not largely rooted in bitterness at supposed Christians. Quite the contrary. In fact, my crusade against theism is largely rooted in love for myself, my family, my friends, and my affinity and identification with the rest of society in general. My crusade is also rooted in moral repulsion of the concept of God and the afterlife. So if there is any negative feelings in my crusade, those negative feelings come from my reaction to theistic and immaterialistic worldviews, NOT the humans that subscribe to those views.

In short, I dont believe in shooting the messenger. Instead, I attack the message.

Tell me... who "decides" that they have discovered what those ethics "are"?

Who "decided" that gravity exists, or that the Earth is round? Nobody "decided" these things, instead, they were discovered and slowly accepted. The same thing goes for objective morality. The truths are "discovered" and then slowly accepted. I am trying to help people accept these truths.

Show me specifically Aaron... how do I discern from the "laws of nature" that it's wrong to kill humans?

By the mere fact that you are a human and you exist, and that you have to presuppose the value of existence before you can condemn it, therefore making it logically impossible for you to judge your own life as to be without value. And from there, you use the law of universality to conclude that since your life is valuable to you, then all other humans lives are valuable to them, and that if you kill someone, you admit that its ok for someone else to kill you as well, which is also a logical impossibility. Therefore, your only logical recourse is to concede the universal value of life for yourself and all your fellow humans.

In nature, some animals eat their young. Does that mean it's ok for me to eat mine?

No.

I'll go to nature, right? Do I go to the animals to discern what is "moral" and "immoral"?

No. You dont look at other animals to find out what is moral and not moral. You look at axioms, and you look at logic, and you look at values. In other words, you look at concepts and logical processes for morality, not at what other animals do.

I'm making a major distinction between the field of science and ethics. Science explains HOW and WHY humans behave the way they do (and a multitude of other things in nature), but science does NOT explain how humans OUGHT to behave.

I disagree. Science most definitely tells humans how they should behave. Actually, I guess we could say that logic is what tells humans how to behave, and logic for the purposes of this discussion could be considered "science," right?

Science just tells you how life IS. It does NOT tell you how life OUGHT to be. Ethics deals with how things OUGHT to be: how we OUGHT to behave, that we OUGHT to survive, that we OUGHT to help each other... Science never explains an "ought". It is a pursuit of the understanding of how things ARE. Now from this knowledge, we can then decide how things OUGHT to be, but even then what we decide is based on NON-scientific ETHICAL presuppositions.

Why do you think science/logic provides no "oughts"? I think I have just demonstrated that science/logic DOES provide "oughts." I refer you to the part earlier in my comments post where I talk about how you have to presuppose the value of life before you can condemn it, etc... because its all based on scientific axioms and logical conclusions.

So there you have it. To sum up what you have said, the reason to help someone is that "what goes around comes around." I'll help the old lady cross the street, because in some way, I'll be better for it in the future.

Sort of, but theres more to it than that. Remember where I said that if you murder someone, then you admit that its ok for someone else to murder you? Thats logic and the law of universality right there.

Im curious Jonathan, because you seem to disagree with me over what ethics is. What do you think ethics is and how is your definition of ethics different from mine?

But besides the already stated problem that you are assuming that humans OUGHT to survive,

Actually I have repeatedly explained in detail the axiomatic/logical conclusion that humans ought to survive.

...you have taken away any basis for the idea that I should be willing to lose my life to save someone else. What I mean is this: If the only reason for helping someone is that, in some way, it will eventually help me, why should I sacrific myself to save someone's life if I will not be around (I'll be dead) to experience the benefits?

Yes, I have most definitely taken away any basis for the idea of sacrifice to help someone else. Thats because sacrifice is immoral. And no, I dont take away the basis of sacrifice on the "what goes around comes around" principle, but instead I take it away with the "law of universality" principle I described earlier. A sacrifice is a net loss of value. Now, if some random stranger is about to die due to some crazy circumstances, I would not give up my life to save that stranger because it would be a net loss of value to me. But if my mother or my sister or my significant other was about to die, I would be much more likely to give up my life to save them, because that person is very valuable to me and I wouldnt want to live with the knowledge that they died and I could have helped. Therefore, saving someone important to me would not be a net loss and would, by definition, not be a "sacrifice." So yes, I think sacrifice is totally wrong and immoral, period. But I will also note that to give up ones life to save another is not necessarily a sacrifice, it depends on the situation and the values involved.

When you blow away all the dust and feathers, your morality is based on the "what goes around comes around" principle.

No it isnt. While that principle does come into play in my worldview, it is not a foundational principle. The foundations are the axiom of existence, logic, and the law of universality.

My ethics are based on a theistic principle: namely that I should help others regardless of what the outcome is to me (even if I don't live to experience the "enhancement of my proliferation", I "should" still help people).

Eeeeeeew, thats pretty disgusting. So allow me to give you a scenario, and tell me how you would respond: A woman is stuck in a situation where she is at the danger of losing her arm. While she may lose her arm, her life is not in danger. Now, you Jonathan can prevent her from losing her arm, but you must give up your life to do so (This is a "sacrifice" scenario where a net loss is involved, but since you said the outcome to you is irrelevant, the net loss shouldnt matter). Would you chose to save her arm and end your life, or would you choose to keep your life and let the woman lose her arm? Would you adhere to your sacrificial principles and destroy yourself for the sake of her arm?

And by the way, I dont think your personal theistic ethics are in accordance with Christian ethics. Christian ethics are all about "do as God says and believe in Him as the one true God," correct?

There you go again, assuming that we "ought" to exist... Where do you get this idea from?

The axiom of existence, logic, and the law of universality as I explained earlier.

If someone grows up in a war torn country, probably that individual won't think terribly good of humanity in general... So what ethical reason could you give a depressed, suicidal, murderous person (who believes that all humans should die) that humans OUGHT to keep on living?

I would first explain to him the axiom of existence, and how logic and the law of universality applies to morality. Then I would tell him that he has a perception problem. I would tell him that the problem is not his existence, but the environment that he exists in. I would tell him that humans shouldnt be destroyed, but instead the evil institutions and ideas in his environment should be destroyed.

Think about it like this: suicidal people dont REALLY want to DIE, they just want the miserable situation they are in to stop, and they feel like they have no way out of the misery without taking their lives as well. They have a perception problem and they incorrectly conclude that the solution to the problem is to kill themselves.

But you have admitted to lying, stealing, violating someone in your mind, and hate... How many times do you have to lie to be a liar, Aaron? Once? Twice? 3 times, and then "bing", the bell goes off and says you're a liar?

I am not a "liar," I am a human. I have lied. I have also told the truth (in fact much more so than I have ever lied), so does that make me a "truther" as well? I cant be both a liar and a truther at once! Well, since I have told the truth more than lied, I will insist that your labelling me of "liar" is incorrect and that I am, in fact, a "truther." Does any of that sound silly? See, humans arent "liars" or "truthers," but they are merely humans that sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth. "Lie" is a verb, an action, not a kind of human. A human can tell a lie, but a human cannot be a lie. A human can be "lying," but cannot be a "liar."

Lots of people have confusion with labels they apply to others that describe actions they have done. That is because people try to change verbs into adjectives or even nouns. You can only commit verbs, you cannot be them.

You have admitted to harbouring the seed of murder (hate) in your heart. And you're a "good person"? You know where adultery starts? With violating someone in your mind... and you admit to doing that... so you have entertained the seed of adultery?

I disagree that adultery starts with having sexual fantasies about others. That is a theistic idea and it is absurd. Not only that, but the only people that can commit adultery are married people, and since Im not married its impossible for me to commit adultery. Remember what Dr. Dre said, "if your bitch on my shit, its your bitch you check."

NOw you may say, "well I don't do it as much as others!" Well then, you have just made morality relative now haven't you? Look, you should recognize that, if you ever lie, you're a LIAR (just like me), and that if you ever steal (no matter how valuable the item), you're a thief (just like me).

You are not a liar, nor a truther. You are a human being that has told lies and told truth. You are not a thief, nor are you a "payer" (someone that pays honestly for goods and services he receives; the opposite of thievery). You are a human that has thieved and paid. Remember, dont confuse actions with descriptors.

You probably don't like it when people lie to you...

Yes. I dont like it when anybody lies to anybody.

But YOU YOURSELF have admitted to doing that vERY THING! (as have I).

Yes. Pobodys Nerfect.

Where do you get off saying you're more "ethical" than others?

Well, for example, my ethical system is objectively far superior to yours, so therefore I can state that my code of ethics is superior to yours. What matters here is not what actions you or I have committed, but the fondations that each of our systems lays out, and my system lays out a superior foundation. But if you want to compare who did what, I must inform you that I spent most of my life as a Christian and performed my most heinous acts when I subscribed to the Christian worldview and ethical code.

And if you want to continue comparing peoples actions, I can also tell you that atheists are overrepresented in nobel prize winner groups, yet atheists are severely underrepresented in prisons and mental insitutions. So incarceration evidence and exemplory-status evidence suggests that atheists commit less immoral acts than Christians.

Only blind arrogance can hold that position.

Not true. Blind arrogance doesnt hold the position that gravity is superior to "intelligent falling"; logic and reason do.

Why don't you admit that you have done MANY things in your life that have HURT the "enhancement of our survival" (just as I have).

I already did admit so, and you acknowledged my admission (as well as referenced it), so please dont pretend that Im denying it. I admit openly that I have on many occasions not chosen the optimal moral choice, and my own well being and the well being of those around suffered accordingly.

Right, it's that "what goes around comes around" basis for ethics. so in other words, "the reason that it is wrong for me to kill you is because it will hurt me in the end".

No, that is not what is says. You are not understanding it. The law of universality doesnt say that if you kill someone its gong to hurt you in the long run. The law of universality is very distinct from the rule of "what goes around comes around."

The law of universality isnt based on actions that can happen to you in the future (as the "goes around comes around" idea states), but instead the law of universality is based on principle and brings up the problem of contradiction if you chose to hurt or kill someone. Let me give you a scenario: Person A correctly believes that it is immoral for someone to initiate force against him. Person A then decides he will kill person B. BOOM! We have a contradiction. The contradiction is that the law of universality demands that what is moral for person A (not being killed) is also moral for any other person, including person B. So if person A kills person B, then person A violated his own moral code! For you cannot have a moral code that applies to one person and not another person.

As you can see, the "what goes around comes around" concept does not come into play, yet we still have a sound moral code. The axiom of existence forces humans to concede the value of their own existence, and the law of universality (which comes from logic) demands that morality applies identically and equally to all humans. So, since its wrong for someone to coerce me, its wrong for me to coerce anyone else. No "what goes around comes around" is necessary for this moral code.

You picked a really convenient example... something that is so incredibly obvious.

It sounds to me like you are conceding...?

But tell me Aaron, what about when the line gets a little blurry...

Let me explain. In Canada and the US, abortion is legalized. We have concluded that ending the lives of fetus's is "ethical". Now I don't want to have a debate about abortion, but let me ask you a question... When exactly does the baby become a human? After the 1st trimester? maybe the second? or maybe the baby isn't actually a human with rights until it is out of the womb? What about HALF way out of the womb? If it is wrong for me to kill a baby once it is born, could I kill the baby right BEFORE it is born?


A womans uterus is hers, not anybody elses. I believe that a woman should be able to abort a baby up until the point where the baby is able to survive outside the womb. And at that point, the delivery can just be forced if the woman no longer wants to have another entity residing in her womb. But before the point where the baby is able to survive without the womb, it is not a seperate entity, but an extension of the woman, and she can do whatever she wants with her body.

Incidentally, what does your theistic moral code tell you about abortion? And can you back it up with relevant holy text passages?

Or what about pornography? In Western Canada, we have agreed that it is ok (as long as those involved are consenting adults). We have picked the age of 18 for viewing and being involved in such media... But why not 17? Why not 16? (i know some smart 16 year olds...) What if a 15 year old wants to sleep with a 30 year old? Is that ok? or maybe a 17 year old? Why do we draw the line at 18? Who picked that? How do we know he/she was right in picking that age? And if he/she had good reasons, what about the teens who are exceptions to the reasons?

Picking an arbitrary age for consent is not moral in my opinion. To me, sexual behavior should be allowed for anyone after puberty if they want to, the same way that chewing food should be allowed for any child that has had their teeth come in. Plenty of Christian societies in the past have married off children, without their consent, before they hit puberty, so I dont think my views are that radical there.

Also, we have decided that homosexuality is ok.

Sounds good.

What about sex with animals?

If the animal consents, sure.

It doesn't hurt anyone, right?

Not if all parties consent.

If the animal doesn't mind it, why should you stop me?

I wouldnt dare.

How about poligamy?

Im totally down with polygamy.

If the wives like it, why not, right?

As long as everyone involved likes it, sure!

It's all about "what goes around comes around", and therefore, if humans aren't "hurt" by it in some way, it must be moral, right?

These examples you provided have nothing to do with "what goes around comes around." Actually, the examples you provided deal with only one issue: consent. And since objective morality champions the virtue of non-coercion, a group of individuals that are all taking part in an activity with everyones consent is not immoral, no matter what the activity is. The issue here is not the specifics of an activity, but the principles behind it. The principle in these examples is consent. And consent is the opposite of coercion, so its perfectly moral.

Now I got a question for you: what in your holy theistic moral code says group sex is wrong? what in your holy moral code tells you how old a person has to be before they can have sexual relations? what in your holy moral code tells you that coercion is wrong? I daresay that, to the Bible, the virtue of non-coercion is a foreign concept that is totally violated throughout the book, and that alone is enough to make the Bible a wholly inferior source of morality.

Do I have to come up with more disgusting analogies to make my point?

Did you come up with any disgusting analogies in the first place? Since none of your analogies involved coercion or force, I see nothing disgusting. I guess to you, funky sex is disgusting, but forcing someone to do something against their will is OK. Well, to me its the exact opposite. And this is more evidence that my moral code is superior to yours, since mine involves universal principles and yours involves forcing ones opinions or tastes onto others.

The only thing that disgusts me here is the inhumane and immoral code of ethics that you subscribe to.

Ethics without God, is a matter of opinion, my friend, and what best "helps the human race" is a matter of opinion. Why? Because we all disagree on what is best!

LOL there are so many problems with what you just said that I dont know where to begin. Lets start with God:

What in your ethical code says that you should do what God tells you, Jonathan? What ethical principle can you point to that instructs you to listen to what your God says? His threat of eternal hellfire perhaps? But why should you care if you burn in hell forever or not? You see Jonathan, your foudnation of morality is NOT based on your God or his dictates, no matter how badly you want it to be. And this is true because of the undeniable fact that you will have to point to something outside of your Gods dictates to justify your obeying of them. You need axioms. I have axioms in my ehtical code, but your christian ethical code denies the axioms that I recognize. I am very eager to hear what you have to say about your theistic moral code that tells you that you should follow your Gods instructions or care if you end up in heaven or hell?

And ethics without God is not a matter of opinion. I have demonstrated it repeatedly and I have refuted your tired claims of "opinion." You keep repeating your refuted "opinion" charge without bringing anything new to the table regarding it.

You said "We all disagree on what is best." Now this is true, but, for example, there are people who still disagree whether the Earth is flat or sperical. In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia declared that the Earth is flat and anyone who disagrees is an atheist. Now, these disagreements dont change the TRUTH or REALITY of the situation. The Earth is in fact sperical, and will continue to be so, even if everyone on the planet thinks its flat or square or whatever.

The same thing applies to objective morality. The problem with you Jonathan is that you think morality can be "defined" by peoples opinions on the matter, but it cannot. The only thing that "defines" morality is morality itself. Human opinion can never define what is right or wrong. Humans can only perceive what is right and wrong, and do their best to recognize the objective truth of morality. Humans can only discover morality, they cant define it. In the same vein, humans can only discover gravity, they cannot make it true or false in accordance with their mere opinions.

This has to do with the primacy of existence over the primacy of consciousness. Jonathan, peoples thoughts on reality NEVER under any circumstances DEFINE or DETERMINE that reality. Reality remains constant regardless of what people think about it. This point is very important. Do you understand and agree with me when I say that peoples thoughts on reality never derfine or determine it? Do you understand and agree with me when I say that the only thing people CAN do about reality is perceive it, discover its truths, and then act accordingly?

Aaron Kinney said...

John The Atheist,

you said:

Stating that EVERYTHING in the universe is made up out of matter, and behaves according to the laws of physics, is, accordingto me, a DOGMA.

No, it is science, and science is not dogma. But according to what we know scientifically, YES everything in the universe is material, and until we have evidence otherwise, we will continue to defend materialism, the same way that we will defend gravityism.

John The Atheist, do you consider gravity to be DOGMA?

And as a matter op principle, I don't accept any dogma.

So you dont accept any DOGMA? Are you DOGMATIC about that principle of yours? I guess you dont accept any dogma except the very dogma itself that you dont accept any dogma, right?

A non-spiritual example I can come up with is the weird phenomenon of "mathematics" and "logic".
These concepts do not move through space and time, and fall with gravity.


Yes they do. Mathematics is a tool used by human minds, and so is logic. And as such, they are susceptible to all the things that humans are, including space and time and gravity. If space, time, and gravity (basically everything that exists) dissapeared, so would mathematics and logic.

How do you explain the nature of logic in material terms?

The same way I would describe the nature of Windows XP in material terms.

Mathematics and logic are conceptual tools that we use to process data. In a sense, mathematics and logic are meta-data, just like the operating system that is installed on my computer. All of these things are material.

Let me give you another example: morse code. Now, if I were to mose code someone a message via an electronic wire, the morse code is just a series of electonic impulses. But there is a message within the electronic impulses that is available to anyone or anything that has the capacity to detect and decode it. So a morse code signal is a series of electronic impulses, and the message within it is meta-data. Both the meta-data and teh electronic impulses are purely material.

Does that make sense to you at all?

Johan said...

To be honest, not yet quite.
The pulses may be material, but their "meaning" is something quite different.

Let me rephrase the dogma-dogma.
I think a dogma should always be scrutinized.

And although it is (by definition) very useful for science, I'm not convinced why the Dogma that "everything in the universe can be explained through observation and the subsequent use of logic" should be True.

useful idiot said...

"And although it is (by definition) very useful for science, I'm not convinced why the Dogma that "everything in the universe can be explained through observation and the subsequent use of logic" should be True."

john:

The universe cannot have contradictions. It might have things that are seemingly contradictory to our perceptions but when evaluated these things will have no objective discrepencies. Logic deals with eliminating contradictions and therefore can be seen as a valid method of analyzing the universe.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Me, I'm confortable with my point of view stated here before."

You DIDN'T express a point of view ! All you're doing is DENIAL.

Tell us what the alternative is OR SHUT UP !

Johan said...

The alternative is a realisation that, since we are made of matter, there is a large likelyhood that we are limited in our capacity to understand the universe.

Darn boy, how many times do I have to write this over and over again?
Are you a man or a parrot?

Jonathan said...

"It is not a red herring since you were trying to argue earlier that my worldview is an accident while yours is not."

Of course by implication my world view dictates we're not accidents, but I have been talking about your world-view. If you want to critique my world view, we can in another discussion, but for right now it is a red herring.

"but I will note that you refused to answer my questions while I have never refused to answer any of yours."

It takes long enough to simply debate about your world-view that I don't need to open up another whole discussion by discussing the veracity of my world-view. I don't "refuse" to answer those questions, just not in the midst of this particular discussion.

"Yes. Its based on self-centeredness. How else can one apply a morality unless it applies directly to the conscious entity in question? Christians assume this self-centeredness even in their arguments in favor of obeying Gods word. It is inescapable for everyone."

Ok then, let me be clear. This explanation would be all fine and dandy if it didn't ignore the practical reality of what exactly occurs in someone's conscience when that person "violates a moral code" or "their conscience".

This is one of my main points: When I do something wrong (and you as well), there is an intuition inside of me (and you) distinctly seperate from the "self-preservation" instinct that is offended something that gives NO REGARD for the OUTCOME of the "immoral" event.

Let me illustrate. When a forensics cop discovers a grizzly murder scene and discovers a little girl that has been raped and murdered, what kind of thoughts go through his/her head? Does he think to himself, "wow, I can't believe someone would do something like this. Don't they realize that, in hurting another person, they hurt themselves???"

No, NO ONE would say that. When most people discover a scene like that, one word comes to mind: EVIL. If one was to encounter a scene like that, it would offend something MUCH MORE than just the "self-preservation" instinct, an intuition inside of us that is distinctly seperate from "self-preservation".

So for someone to reduce morality to the "whatever best ensures the survival of the human species" idea, there is a GRAVE disconnect between how one discourses and practical experience.

"Look, for a human to even be able to judge if survival is good or not, they have to be practicing survival tactics first."

Correct.

"So a human has to presuppose the value of survival before he can condemn it"

Yes, but you are ASSUMING that he MUST KEEP ON presupposing it! What if he has a change of heart and then realizes that his initial presupposition was wrong? Of course he presupposes it! But if he challenges his presupposition and is considering that it was wrong, what possible concrete moral reason could you give that he has initial presupposition was indeed correct?

"therefore if a human condemns his own survival, he is embracing a contradiction and is conceding the value of survival before he can reject it."

NOT UNLESS he logically challenges his initial presupposition. If he alters his initial presupposition, he NO LONGER embraces a contradiction.

"But I do assume you support the BIBLE, and those other churches also support the BIBLE, so my claims of which worldview promotes more arrogance still stands."

Oh for goodness sakes, have you never considered that there MIGHT be MANY people all throughout history who have SAID that they supported the true message of the Bible, but really didn't?

"A great thinker once said that criticism in religion is blasphemy, but in science its required."

Yeah, maybe in some churches where religion is used to justify the natural evil human desire to unfairly dominate, but that is a SWEEPING GENERALIZATION that does NOT apply to MY FAITH and the faiths of MANY OTHERS. So before you assume that of me, be careful...

"By the mere fact that you are a human and you exist, and that you have to presuppose the value of existence before you can condemn it, therefore making it logically impossible for you to judge your own life as to be without value."

There you go again, assuming that it is impossible for someone to question their initial presupposition. It IS possible, VERY possible, for someone to question whether or not humans are valuable, and thereby conclude that their INITIAL PRESUPPOSITION WAS WRONG.

"You look at axioms, and you look at logic, and you look at values."

I think you need to reconsider your own logic for thinking that it is impossible for someone to "change their minds" about the value of their existence.

"I refer you to the part earlier in my comments post where I talk about how you have to presuppose the value of life before you can condemn it, etc... because its all based on scientific axioms and logical conclusions."

Not very "logical" when you assume that someone cannot change their initial pressuposition.

"Remember where I said that if you murder someone, then you admit that its ok for someone else to murder you?

Not unless you believe that you are a superior human (for whatever reason--be it inherent or circumstances).

"What do you think ethics is and how is your definition of ethics different from mine?"

Ethics are what humans "ought" to do. I don't think we differ terribly on what ethics are. My contention is that, because of your world-view, you have either unknowingly borrowed them from a theistic outlook without realizing it, or you have pulled them out of thin air.

"But if my mother or my sister or my significant other was about to die, I would be much more likely to give up my life to save them, because that person is very valuable to me and I wouldnt want to live with the knowledge that they died and I could have helped."

Right, you would save them to avoid "feeling bad about not saving them in the future." Great foundation for ethics, Aaron. We should sacrifice to avoid "feeling bad". Nice...

"The foundations are the axiom of existence, logic, and the law of universality. "

Right, and I have shown your "foundation" to be overlooking the simple fact that people can alter initial presuppositions and judge them to be wrong.

"Would you chose to save her arm and end your life, or would you choose to keep your life and let the woman lose her arm? Would you adhere to your sacrificial principles and destroy yourself for the sake of her arm?"

You're misrepresenting my argument again. By saying "your sacrifical principles", you're misapplying them. No, because my world-view stipulates that an individual is more important than just a "part" of an individual.

"since you said the outcome to you is irrelevant, the net loss shouldnt matter"

NO, you set up another straw man. My world-view dictates that I should be willing to sacrifice my life for another life, but not for a piece of someone's anatomy. That's a RULE Of ETHIC in my paradigm.

"Christian ethics are all about "do as God says and believe in Him as the one true God,""

Yeah, no wonder you don't like Christianity. You've set up a straw man of what it actually is. Wow, you've been hanging around too many arrogant fundamentalists. IF this is all Christianity is to you, you haven't even scratched the surface.

"I would tell him that the problem is not his existence, but the environment that he exists in."

Right, and when he tells you that his environment is the result of humans and their existence, then what do you say? Do you just keep going in circles? Which came first? Evil institutions or evil people? Think about it man, evil people developed the evil institutions. It's the people who are the problem, and HUMAN NATURE, how we TEND to bad things.

"Think about it like this: suicidal people dont REALLY want to DIE, they just want the miserable situation they are in to stop"

I agree.

I have a question for you. Do you understand that hate is the SEED of murder? That is where MURDER starts, and you have HARBOURED that seed in you! And you consider yourself to be a good person? Do you understand how serious hate is and what it results in if left unchecked?

And if you say, "yes I have, nobody's perfect" (like you already have stated), you are making morality RELATIVE, and there goes your so-called "absolute morality". When you say, "nobody's perfect", you are appealing to a NORM, that is, a societal norm, and thereby basing your ethics around that, and thereby contradicting your "absolute morality"!

"What matters here is not what actions you or I have committed, but the fondations that each of our systems lays out, and my system lays out a superior foundation."

I have already shown in this post how your "foundation" assumes a LUDICROUS idea that humans CANNOT change their presuppositions, therefore everything ON TOP Of your foundation crumbles.

"So incarceration evidence and exemplory-status evidence suggests that atheists commit less immoral acts than Christians." There you go again, assuming that everyone who says they're a Christian, actually is...

"The law of universality is very distinct from the rule of "what goes around comes around." Yes, the law that assumes something ridiculous (which I have already gone over).

"As you can see, the "what goes around comes around" concept does not come into play, yet we still have a sound moral code." yup, if you don't mind accepting unjustified assumptions (as I've already spelled out).

"It sounds to me like you are conceding...? "

It sounds to me like you are fishing...?

"I believe that a woman should be able to abort a baby up until the point where the baby is able to survive outside the womb. And at that point, the delivery can just be forced if the woman no longer wants to have another entity residing in her womb."

Nice ethic. Where'd you get that from? Oh yeah, that principle that assumes that people cannot change their initial pressupositions...

"To me, sexual behavior should be allowed for anyone after puberty if they want to"

Ok, Aaron thinks that it is ok for people to watch and endorse 13 year olds in porn films...

"Plenty of Christian societies in the past have married off children, without their consent, before they hit puberty, so I dont think my views are that radical there."

Right, Christian societies married off young children, so it's ok for kids of that age to get involved in pornography. Because we all know how children at that age are able to decide the right thing...

Wow, are you insane??? That is stupid! Suggesting that a 13 year old always has the capacity to choose the "right thing" when confronted with the offer of appearing in a porn film, is absolutely stupid... Ever think that that child might regret making that decision later in life???

Yeah, Aaron, you've got GREAT ethics... FAR SUPERIOR INDEED...

"If the animal consents, sure."

You heard it hear first people. Aaron endorses sex with animals.

"As long as everyone involved likes it, sure!"

Right, because it's inconceivable that the what "feels good" would ever be wrong.

"And since objective morality champions the virtue of non-coercion, a group of individuals that are all taking part in an activity with everyones consent is not immoral, no matter what the activity is."

Right, if it feels good, do it! Wow, Aaron, you've sure got my morals beat...

"Did you come up with any disgusting analogies in the first place?" Uh... 13 year olds in porn films? uh... sex with animals...

Aaron, you are a pervert. You're not an ethical person. You're a PERVERT.

"The only thing that disgusts me here is the inhumane and immoral code of ethics that you subscribe to."

Of course, how disgusting of me to abhor SEx WITH ANIMALS. How SUPPRESSIVE of me!

"I have axioms in my ehtical code"

Right, the one based on a ridiculous assumption.

"Now this is true, but, for example, there are people who still disagree whether the Earth is flat or sperical."

What the heck does that have to do with the notion that "we all disagree on what is best"?? Saudi Arabia made an inaccurate statement about a scientific field... so what??

the flat earth idea is about science. "what is best" is an issue of ethics... That you even brought that up shows a severe logical disconnect.

"The problem with you Jonathan is that you think morality can be "defined" by peoples opinions on the matter, but it cannot."

Better re-read my posts Aaron... NEVER said that.

"Humans can only perceive what is right and wrong, and do their best to recognize the objective truth of morality."

Right, the truth based on that unjustified assumption...

"Reality remains constant regardless of what people think about it."

Thanks for the lesson... learned that in high school.

Francois Tremblay said...

"The alternative is a realisation that, since we are made of matter, there is a large likelyhood that we are limited in our capacity to understand the universe."

So you admit that you are a materialist and that all that you said before was blustering ?

Johan said...

OK François. Let me try again.

I still see "reasonable doubt" for modern science to fully understand "the whole truth".

Currently, my philosophy sees three things in the universe :
1. Reality itself (and I do assume that it exists)
2. The Reflection in our mind of reality, as filtered through the senses. This Reflection is composed of Concepts (or Ideas, Words, Symbols,... pick a word).
3. Logical Statements which help us to "reason" about the Reflection of reality in our minds.

My "reasonable doubt" is currently situated in the following areas :

1. If we admit that the only thing our mind manipulates, is the Reflection of Reality; not Reality itself; then how can we "Know" Reality? How well CAN the Reflection reflect Reality? Maybe there is a limit somewhere, which cannot be crossed by mere continuous and elaborate observations. Because each observation has "dirtied" itself in the way that it has merely converted Reality into Reflection of Reality.

2. If we admit that "understanding" is the manipulation of the Reflection of Reality in our mind, with the help of Logic, then why would we assume that our mind would also be capable of "understanding" for instance the "Logic" itself? I mean that maybe the "understanding-function" only applies to "Reflections of Reality" and does not apply to "Logic".

It strikes me that Logic itself does not seem to obey laws of physics, and is very different from our mind's Reflection of Reality.

E.g., the statement "IF A>B AND B>C THEN A>C" is "TRUE"!!!
Appreciate for a minute how powerful this is. There is no Reflection of Reality that we know in our mind, which can be sure to be "True". All of these Reflections are "assumed" to be True, until a new observation proves otherwise.

Yet the logical statement
- is TRUE and remains TRUE
- does not have a speed or mass, or fall with gravity
- it "is" not in the time-space continuum, since it has no physical location, or time.

With these characteristics, how can we understand how it fits into "Reality" through the scientific empirical method Observation? We can't. We don't have to. The logic statement IS TRUE in an absolute way.

GraemeAnfinson said...

Nice post

Francois Tremblay said...

"Logic itself does not seem to obey laws of physics"

Proof, please. Which law of physics does logic not obey ?

Johan said...

Hi François,

I put the answer to your question in the text above already.
Let's not keep going over and over again.

The message I'm trying to get across, is NOT that we should believe in hocus-pocus.
It is just that, as a scientifically educated person, I am trained to subject the world around me to critical observation and reasoning.
The critical question I am raising here, is HOW RELIABLE the "tools" are that I have been given, in this case "science through observation".

I think it is sain to ask myself this question.
I think you should investigate also, rather than being "certain", and rather than trying to prove me right.
On the contrary, why don't you - as an experiment of the mind - try to contribute to my statements and help prove me RIGHT.
Now THEN we would have interesting food for further rational thought.

Johan said...

Thank you Graeme!

Johan said...

François,

Maybe one of the most important fundamentals of the whole "Age of Enlightenment" in which Rational Thought and Reason have re-appeared on the philosophical stage, after 1000 years of Christian Bible-based dogmatism, was the idea that "everybody has a rational mind - and they should use it!!"

That is what I believe I am doing.
You "believe" that EVERYTHING in the universe can be understood through observation, while I see it as an assumption, which might be good, but then again, which might later in history prove wrong.
Scientific development has been made possible because people accept that assumptions are assumptions, and not an "absolute truth" such as is defended by religious people.

The way in which you "believe" science to be "true" is an example of how NOT to think when practicing science.
This "belief" of yours is therefore in contradiction to the scientific mentality you proclaim.

How ironic...

The Age of Enlightenment has directly caused the birth of scientific evolvement, the industrial revolution and the subsequent information-technological lift-off, which has put you and me here - in the Blogosphere.
Rationalism brought us the Ideals of the French Revolution ("Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" - Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood), which are the direct roots of today's Free Western Societies, based on a division of the Three Powers of the State.

useful idiot said...

John, I think that you have brought up some good points. However, I think that logic can be said to exist in successful application. That is: if we apply logic and the scientific method to the world with a prediction of what such an application will yield, and it's yeild conforms to our prediction, then we can assume that our tools are capable within the scope of our predictions. And if such application when successful expands that scope, then the capability also expands (because the application leads to discovery leads to innovation). Thus, we can almost always be confident that our tools are suitable for analyzing deeper questions of the universe because the universe is consistant, and our methods allow us to understand the universe more consistantly.

I think it can be said that logic exists the feedback that it incites from the world. It may not directly exist in the abstract, but because it was born of consciousness which was born of space-time (and the laws of physics and what-not), and because it's application results indirectly in the alteration of space-time, then I think that calling it an 'existance of feedback' is reasonable.

So I concede your point to a certain extent. Maybe you can offer some insight into this 'feedback' concept, which I doubt is new.

useful idiot said...

'I think it can be said that logic exists [in] the feedback that it incites from the world.'

is what I meant.

Johan said...

Hello Useful Idiot.

Thanks for the comment.
It's a very deep one - I'm not sure if I'm with you all the way, but I think I follow the headlines.
I think in any case you and I appreciate the sophistication of Reality.
:-)
I'm not sure if I can offer you much further insight though.
I do know that the stuff we are struggling with, is the very stuff philosophers have banged their head against the wall for, during several millennia.
So at least we're not dumber than they are. :-)

To come back to some of your comments : I guess most people would intuitively agree that logic is born out of the conscient mind. But then again, if we scrutinize that thesis, why wouldn't the conscious mind be born out of a non-material aspect of the universe, generally refered to as "logic"? I'm not saying it is that way; I just don't know (yet).

And also, what IS "conscience"? I "feel" it, as a being, but have difficulty in "understanding" exactly what it is.
In fact, in my opinion, the conscience and free mind that we "feel", may very well be a "perfect illusion" in absolute terms (see some of my previous posts).

The first part of your comment is about how through observation, the behaviour of the physical universe, which is consistent, can be better understood. I couldn't agree more. This is the demonstrated advance of science.

But has "logic" itself ever advanced? I think not; once true, it remains true. So has it always been there, and have we discovered it, or has it been invented in our conscious mind?
And maybe the words "invent" or "discover" cannot really help to grasp the true nature of Logic...

Damian, the Left-Hand Player said...

I'm not about to comment on most of this.

Still, would it be all right idf I start using the comments here as proof that online discussions, like real-life discussions, tend to wander from their original topic and that there's nothing wrong with that? I have a few forum moderators who need to learn that.

Francois Tremblay said...

So the main strategy here is that you're going to throw a lot of anti-materialist bullshit at us to evade the fact that you don't like the scientific handling of the human brain ?

The Atheist Messiah said...

christian,

You write an awful lot like a fellow I knew from the Raving Atheist. simbol was his name. Although your english is a little more polished.

Would you indulge me if I'm right?

Christian said...

The Atheist Messiah

No, sorry. I'm not simbol though I'll take the polished part as a compliment, thank you.

John

First of your "Thermodynamical basis for Ethics" doesn't seem to make sense. In fact sincerly doubt you did give too much thought. Instead I want you to comment on this: "I throw live five children into a freezer", now what happens inside the freezer is that they get colder and colder and much probably die from hypothermia. From your reasoning what happens inside is good wheras the only bad thing that happens is on the outside where the fridge heats the air. Also would you judge persons making fires to keep them warm and such as immoral.

Secondly I think you and Francois Tremblay should give the "existence of a non-material reality" argument a rest since, you, yourself admit that the existence or non-existence of a non-material existance cannot be proven since we are material beings interacting with material objects which in turn only can interact with other material objects. And I think you have to agree with me that the burden of proof lies on the one making the assertion. Also I think you have to agree with me that we then have to take the stance that the material reality is the only one since it's the easiest explination. If you don't agree with me on this I ask you, would you find my assertion that there is non-material invisible prancing ponies in my garden as likely or more likely as that is no such thing?

The only meaningful argument is with those like Jonathan who think that there is an immaterialplane which influences this material existance, and when they said something about influences in this existance they've almost alsways been wrong or far of, i. e the world being created in six says and that it's only about 6000 years old.

Thirdly I sincerly hope you aren't suggesting that logic implies a non-material existance? Logic is a concept born in human minds as much as language. You might argue that logic can be observed at work in nature, but again that is the material world obeying physical laws. It's true that we can't "truly" know the universe but science will ALWAYS be the best explination for observed phenomenon availble.

Jonathan

Again you're equating legal and ethical, Aaron does probably find animal sex as disgusting as you and me but thinks that since it doesn't hurt anyone it should be allowed. I however I disagree since how could you ever possibly prove that a "consent" exists. As I said it's legal where I come from and occasionaly vets make urges about a ban since they have to treat "too many" animals for sexually induced injuries. I hope you Aaron share this viewpoint. In the case of homosexuals and such however, consent can be known so no law should be against it.

Tanooki Joe said...

This thread sure has gotten crazy since I last checked!

Johan said...

Christian,

Good points, but I still think the point about Thermodynamics is still valid.
People, I suppose, are local high concentrations of Structuredness, the opposite of chaotic and randomly moving molecules.
So if you put those kids in the freezer, of don't warm people that are cold, they might die.
Then their body will decay, and this will be a massive increase in entropy, in chaos, that is way higher than the "win" you made on cooling those kids down.

The "negative entropy/chaos" isn't just in the temperature of those people; it's in the structure of their bodies too (and a lot more).

So I think this one still holds.


The one about matter only being impacted by matter; I guess you have a point.
But how do you explain then that certain things (like words or logical statements) exist, without being a physical object, or related to one?

Jonathan said...

Christian,

"Again you're equating legal and ethical"

No, I am not even referencing "legality". I am only referencing ONE THING, how things OUGHT to be (which is what morality deals with), and I am showing that, in Aaron's universe, what "ought to be" is ONLY a matter of opinion, and NOTHING more.

"Aaron does probably find animal sex as disgusting as you and me"

I doubt that. You should read what he wrote.

Aaron Kinney said...


This is one of my main points: When I do something wrong (and you as well), there is an intuition inside of me (and you) distinctly seperate from the "self-preservation" instinct that is offended something that gives NO REGARD for the OUTCOME of the "immoral" event.


Not true. I totally disagree. Can you prove this claim?

Let me illustrate. When a forensics cop discovers a grizzly murder scene and discovers a little girl that has been raped and murdered, what kind of thoughts go through his/her head? Does he think to himself, "wow, I can't believe someone would do something like this. Don't they realize that, in hurting another person, they hurt themselves???"

No, not consciously. But its essentially the role that projection and relating to others plays in our social behavior. We instinctively understand the severity of the situation they are in because it can happen to another human we value (ourselves or a loved one) too.

No, NO ONE would say that. When most people discover a scene like that, one word comes to mind: EVIL. If one was to encounter a scene like that, it would offend something MUCH MORE than just the "self-preservation" instinct, an intuition inside of us that is distinctly seperate from "self-preservation".

You just beg the question. What makes something evil? I contend that it is in large part for the reasons I have already provided.

So for someone to reduce morality to the "whatever best ensures the survival of the human species" idea, there is a GRAVE disconnect between how one discourses and practical experience.

More empty claims. Youve provided nothing about what your "evil" is comprised of, while I have detailed it repeatedly.

Yes, but you are ASSUMING that he MUST KEEP ON presupposing it!

Only if he plans to continue to survive and prosper, know what I mean?

What if he has a change of heart and then realizes that his initial presupposition was wrong? Of course he presupposes it! But if he challenges his presupposition and is considering that it was wrong, what possible concrete moral reason could you give that he has initial presupposition was indeed correct?

If he changes his presupposition, which is very hard to do considering evolutionary programming, then he wont survive long in this existence, because contradictions cannot exist. He will destroy himself either directly or indirectly.

NOT UNLESS he logically challenges his initial presupposition. If he alters his initial presupposition, he NO LONGER embraces a contradiction.

Im talking about a contradiction in reality, not in ones head. In this case, his presuppositions would be faulty. A contradiction in reality exists whether you agree or not; whether you recognize it or not. I gotta stress that existence has primacy over consciousness and you need to start recognizing that fact.

Oh for goodness sakes, have you never considered that there MIGHT be MANY people all throughout history who have SAID that they supported the true message of the Bible, but really didn't?

Yes, but how do we determine which is which? By your say so? No. Besides, the Christian sects positions on things arent significant enough for my arguments to have to change: they are all still theists.

Yeah, maybe in some churches where religion is used to justify the natural evil human desire to unfairly dominate, but that is a SWEEPING GENERALIZATION that does NOT apply to MY FAITH and the faiths of MANY OTHERS. So before you assume that of me, be careful...

Ok, fine. But my previous arguments about morality and atheism still stand relevant to your theistic position. I can use these basic argument frameworks for all theism, including the Abrahamic ones.

There you go again, assuming that it is impossible for someone to question their initial presupposition. It IS possible, VERY possible, for someone to question whether or not humans are valuable, and thereby conclude that their INITIAL PRESUPPOSITION WAS WRONG.

Its of course possible to question their initial presuppostion, but its not possible for them to have their presupposition still correspond with reality if they do so. Reality beats perception my friend, and when you go against the presupposition of the value of your existence, you dont exist long! Do you understand?

I think you need to reconsider your own logic for thinking that it is impossible for someone to "change their minds" about the value of their existence.

I never said it wasnt possible. What I said was impossible was for them to deny the value of their existence and still be RIGHT and corresponding with objective reality.

Ethics are what humans "ought" to do. I don't think we differ terribly on what ethics are. My contention is that, because of your world-view, you have either unknowingly borrowed them from a theistic outlook without realizing it, or you have pulled them out of thin air.

May I ask you to explain how you think I pulled my ethics from theism? You should support your assertion.

I contend that theism borrows ethics from my worldview because (here comes the part where I support my assertion) a theist has no way to connect the commands of God to an "ought" in the form or "you ought to follow Gods commands" unless he BORROWS FROM MY POSITION the axiomatic value of ones own life, because the only reason to follow Gods commands is through ones own self-interest. Hence the threats of hell and the promises of heaven: a personal self interested stake in following religious commands. All of religious morality steals from my worldview which acknowledges the moral foundation of the axiomatic value of ones own existence.

Yeah, no wonder you don't like Christianity. You've set up a straw man of what it actually is. Wow, you've been hanging around too many arrogant fundamentalists. IF this is all Christianity is to you, you haven't even scratched the surface.

Yea right! Ok then tell me how Im making a straw man and what Christian morality is based on if it ISNT based on a threat on ones personal being? Support your assertion.

Right, and when he tells you that his environment is the result of humans and their existence, then what do you say? Do you just keep going in circles? Which came first? Evil institutions or evil people? Think about it man, evil people developed the evil institutions. It's the people who are the problem, and HUMAN NATURE, how we TEND to bad things.

You think humans are inherently evil. You subscribe to an immoral and defeateist worldview that is incredibly damaging to ones self esteem.

I have a question for you. Do you understand that hate is the SEED of murder? That is where MURDER starts, and you have HARBOURED that seed in you! And you consider yourself to be a good person? Do you understand how serious hate is and what it results in if left unchecked?

I understand that hate can lead to murder, yes. I also contend that what you just said has no relevance to any of my arguments. I think you like to call this a red herring, right?

And if you say, "yes I have, nobody's perfect" (like you already have stated), you are making morality RELATIVE, and there goes your so-called "absolute morality".

No Im not. By saying nobodys perfect, I stated that everyone fails morally sometimes. You see, you have it backwards, for if morality was relative, then to be honest I would have had to say that EVERYONE is perfect. My statement of nobodys perfect implies an objective morality within it.

When you say, "nobody's perfect", you are appealing to a NORM, that is, a societal norm, and thereby basing your ethics around that, and thereby contradicting your "absolute morality"!

You almost got it. I am expressing an objective "norm" of reality, and I am stating that everyone fails morally sometimes. Theres nothing relative about it.

I have already shown in this post how your "foundation" assumes a LUDICROUS idea that humans CANNOT change their presuppositions, therefore everything ON TOP Of your foundation crumbles.

No that was a total strawman and I cleared up your confusion for you when I agreed with you that people can have whatever presupposition they want to but they wont always be correct and correspond with reality.

Im getting bored. You should start offering more support for the claims you make, and when you criticize my moral outlines, you should offer more of your own and give their justifications.

Aaron Kinney said...

Aaron, you are a pervert. You're not an ethical person. You're a PERVERT.

What are you talking about?
I expressed no interest in anything "perverse." You brought those issues up, not me. If anyone is expressing interest in perverse things, its you, not me.

The fact that you attacked me like that in all caps is pretty offensive. You came off half-cocked, especially since its your Bible that describes scenes of father-daughter incest, infanticide, and a whole lot of other age-based immoral tales that it wholly condones.

I would like to contend that you dont even have anything in YOUR moral code from which to judge at which age a person should be acknowledged self-ownership?

What bible verse can you possibly provide to support any age-based self-ownership rule?

Aethlos said...

117 COMMENTS? Holy God... oh wait, i'm agnostic... HOLY SHIT!
I LOVE YOUR BLOG... but i don't have time to read comments...pish. i thought i'd comment on that.

Anonymous said...

Aaron, just curious, when according to your moral code is a person acknowledged self-ownership? Since I suppose you agree that one should not acknowledge self-ownership to the full extent to persons who is not in possession, what to call it, "sufficent mental capability"? Because I assume that you would not find it immoral to prevent a child from drinking toxic liquids and such.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Because I assume that you would not find it immoral to prevent a child from drinking toxic liquids and such."

Are you a pocket nazi or something ? What the fuck is your problem ? Child-slaver !

John P said...

I'm not going to read 120 comments to see if I'm repeating anyhting, so if I do, sorry.

But Aaron, you're spot on. Insanity is a legal term, but clearly Andrea Yates is mentally disturbed. Distubed way beyond the standards established for humanity.

Christianity exacerbates mental illness, because the mentally ill are not solidly grounded in reality, and neither is Christianity (or most other religions, for that matter.) Christianity provides no beacon that the mentally disturbed can home in on when trying to re-establish contact with reality. So it offers nothing to the mentally ill.

My $.02

John

Aaron Kinney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aaron Kinney said...

Aaron, just curious, when according to your moral code is a person acknowledged self-ownership? Since I suppose you agree that one should not acknowledge self-ownership to the full extent to persons who is not in possession, what to call it, "sufficent mental capability"? Because I assume that you would not find it immoral to prevent a child from drinking toxic liquids and such.

This is a good question, and one that I am not completely decided on yet.

I dont think that arbitrary age limits are appropriate. But Im not sure that Im sold on the concept of full self-ownership at birth either.

I actually don't know yet where I stand on when a person gets full self-ownership, but right now Im considering three options: 1) full self ownership at conception, 2) full self ownership at birth, and 3) progressively increased self ownership as age climbs (but this would be still close to the arbitrary age limit problem).

At this very second, I am leaning towards full self ownership at conception (but this could change tomorrow).

Anyone else wanna chime in on this one?

BTW everybody I just posted a new post so for convenience, lets continue our comments discussions in the comments section of the most recent post, please. :)

Anonymous said...

Why is that when it comes to Christians, killing the innocent is always justified. I have never run across a Christian who is consistent on this. Pro-war Christians are anti-choice,pro-death penalty, anti-euthanasia. What kind of religion teaches this kind of shit......

Anonymous said...

Killing the innocent? I think you need to define "innocent". Death penalty and "innocent" doesn't really work together.

(Mean, intolerant Christians! Stop picking on the lil' atheists!! heheheee...)

Anonymous said...

Ok folks its not about atheism or theism this women was clearly out of her mind and needed the right medication. Yes a lot of religious people breed weirdness with their strange thinking. This woman needed help and no one helped before the problem got out of hand she needed more than a bible to confuse her poor soul she needed a shrink and loving people ready to give her more than a scripture verse. Instead to actually be like Christ by helping, and when we see someone that is mentally ill we need to help them if no one else will.

Anonymous said...

If my mother's stupidity was the cause of all my prolems, plus I get early leave from an earthly existance... What word do you have to describe this.. Beyond perfect. Sounds kind of trite. Like I'm grading a crossword puzzel. The home improvement guy's huaa comes closer but not as retarded. I'm not alowed to make you believe in god. But shut up about the kids and help the mother. What is worse being hurt and or used. Or watching someone you care about go threw hell and or to hell. You have a brain you can be perfect. Do you want to learn a trade. What good is all the money job fame bla with out being truly happy. go buy some drugs or happy pills your miserable existance is pitiful. A fake joy is better than no joy at all.

Anonymous said...

Why not be against the war between family and neighbors first. There is no such thing as anti war. Anti war is just pro everything else.. pro war is just a simple stupid solution that possibly could of been avoided. No real perfect christain would be anti war or pro war. They would be looking for another solution. It's difficult for a everyday christain to be anti war its pro so much else like hate and submission and violence. Give peace a chance was to lovey dovey for a gen xe'er growing up. Who am I to judge my neighbor on suspicion. Who am I as an individual to judge a country either mine or theirs on suspicion.

Aaron Kinney said...

Wow anonymous, that was so incoherent I dont even know how to respond. Perhaps I can suggest to stay away from all that theism since it seems to be degrading your ability to think or talk coherently.