My argument with you and Beany is simply an argument of values, that's what you two don't seem to understand.
Anytime we're having an intellectual conversation, we're assigning values to different ideas, and trying to make the other person see the value in those ideas as well.
You and Beany are putting value into Science and Secular Morality, but in order to do so you, you're only appealing to prior values that not everybody holds.
For example, Sam Harris in his book, The Moral Landscape, argues that "The worst suffering possible for all life" (paraphrasing) is the worst case scenario for the Universe. He calls the worst suffering for everybody "philosophical bedrock", basically implying that this value of disliking suffering is intrinsic, and that philosophically, you can't regress any further than that.
The fundamental problem with his argument, is that while he may not realize it, he's simply appealing to another value, which is human compassion. Human compassion is a natural value that most humans have (because of our instincts), but it is not uniform. Different people have different levels of it, and according to you Beany, some humans have no compassion at all (you called them the outliers). Human compassion as a value is not universally agreed upon intellectually, even if it is in some of our natures to value it. Human compassion has some intrinsic value naturally, but intellectually, it has no intrinsic value. As I mentioned in my last post, something can not have intrinsic value unless every person understands and agrees that it has value.
In a materialistic, subjective world view, nothing has intrinsic value intellectually. By this I mean, every value is simply an appeal to another value, on and on ad infinitum. Any appeal to value turns into an infinite regress, because there is no universally agreed-upon value that we can all share. You can't force people to have a certain value, Secular Morality is simply appealing to a person's natural values (values giving by nature) and hoping that it works. Clearly we've seen that it doesn't always work.
You, realizing in your minds that the Universe is materialistic, and that there is no objective purpose, have no problem with all values being subjective. You've chosen values that you think are important. Of course to illustrate their importance, you're simply appealing to other values that not everybody agrees upon, so your argument becomes rather moot.
You can say, "Science is the best way of gathering evidence". I can say, "Human testimony is the best way of gathering evidence". And according to your world view, neither of us are wrong. To prove me wrong, you're simply appealing to more values. And if I were to try to prove you wrong, I'd simply be appealing to more values. By simply having different values than you guys, using your own world view, I can come to a completely different conclusion than you do. I can come to the conclusion that "Genocide is fine", and there would be no argument you could make against me that would have any intellectual value.
Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao, can come to the conclusion that in the absence of intrinsic moral values, it doesn't matter whether human beings live or die. That is the same conclusion I would come to as well. You guys come to a different conclusion using the same world view, but it doesn't have any more value intellectually than the mass murderers' conclusion.
So, in closing, I'm happy you can come to the conclusion that life still has meaning in a Materialistic Universe, but don't expect everybody to (expect the opposite often).
However, Ironically, using your world view, this is exactly what you're forced to do.'ll preface this with the fact that science does not assume that what has the most evidence is true or is the default position, that's just not true (and I don't know where that came from). And a lot of people believing something doesn't constitute evidence. Anyway.
If I say: "I don't value Science", the only answer you could give me is "But lots of people value Science."
If I say "Majority testimony is evidence", you can't make an argument against me, because your values are no more important than mine.
Finally, I think I probably oversimplified Science a little bit. What I should have said is, "In Science, when something gain enough evidence for it, it becomes the default position". For example, in the 20th Century, there were two major theories about the origin of the Universe: Steady State Theory, and the Big Bang Theory. Both Theories had some evidence for them, but neither had enough evidence to become the default position. Eventually, enough evidence was found to make the Big Bang Theory the default position, and the burden of proof is now on the naysayers to prove otherwise.
This is how I view existence. I put value into the idea that existence (of humans and the Universe) is the Scientific Theory that we have the MOST evidence for (everything else branches out from there), so it becomes the default position. Anybody seeking to disprove it must present evidence otherwise.
I disagree with you, and I disagree with you by pointing out that most atheists are still very spiritual people, they just don't believe in god. According to this study, atheists often have even stronger beliefs and convictions than do theists. You don't have to believe in god or religion to be spiritual, only that human life has some intrinsic value. And I think, whether you agree or not, that most atheists do believe this.Point? People can live just fine without a belief in the spiritual or ethereal or whatever. We don't need things larger than ourselves to keep ourselves from just recklessly murdering everyone around us.
Once again, it's not evidence you would accept, but that doesn't mean it's not evidence. You're simply putting value into different evidence than I am. The only thing you can appeal to, using your world view, is that "lots of people put their value into Science". That's the exact same value I'm appealing to when positing Spirituality. We are on equal ground here, you just don't realize it.I don't dismiss religion because I hate it, I dismiss it because it doesn't hold any truth - it has no evidence - it's not an understanding of reality. I don't dismiss god because I hate him, I dismiss god because I've never seen the guy.
I believe that there's a fundamental knowledge using Spirituality, that all life has value. That has nothing to do with magic.If you believe that humans or any other thing have intrinsic value that makes them of more worth than other things, then you must believe in some form of irrational magic. Magic.
We make choices that contradict our environment all the time. You're basically saying that your environment and your genes completely controls all your decisions. This is where I disagree. I think people who come from bad environments often break out of those environments and become successful, and people who come from good environments often make bad choices and become criminals etc. You say there's a Natural explanation for all of these things; I disagree. That's what we're arguing about. You're assuming the argument is already won, which is begging the question.It is blatantly obvious that this sort of freedom does not exist in the world. We do not choose to be conceived, by whom, or in what country, or on what planet. We do not choose what will happen to us in our lives. We do not choose when we will die. We do not choose if other people will let us be successful. Essentially every important part of our existence is dictated by the chain of events which is outside of our control. Why then would the little things, like what clothes you should wear today, be any different?
That's fine, you can refuse it if you like.Once again, I refuse to accept the idea that there might be some magical part of me that exists for some reason that lets me make uninfluenced choices.
You can also refuse the Spiritual experiences you've had, where you've known things that are impossible to know in the current Scientific understanding of a Naturalistic World. I won't be rejecting those, because I don't reject evidence simply because it doesn't fit into my world view. Experiences like yours are extremely common. Science rejects them because they can't be repeated in a lab. I don't find that to be intellectually honest. Many aspects of the human experience can't be repeated in a lab, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
Well that's nice, but I was raised by two parents who were horrible parents, and often treated me like sh*t. By 12, I was already suicidal, I had to call the cops on my own mother for beating me. By 17, I was already in the mental hospital because I had an overwhelming urge to kill myself. By 19, I was in the mental hospital again with the same urges.It would be dishonest for me to believe this, and cruel. The reason I am a loving and intelligent person is because I was raised by two devoted parents, who paid much of their earnings to give me a good education. They created me, so to speak. If I were to claim that there is some supernatural part of me that makes choices,
However, I rejected Christianity and became in-tune with a very Spiritual part of myself, and since then I have become one of the kindest and most loving people I know. So who do I thank for this? What explanation do I give for it?
I'm not convinced that Nature can fully explain my situation. I'm glad you are convinced that it can, but it hasn't convinced me.
I never claimed that the subjective influences of nature and the environment don't have a HUGE impact on our actions and morality (in fact I've said that they do many times). I just believe that we also have an objective value, accessible by all of us, that can influence our decisions if we let it. It's interesting that you use the example of the boy that was beaten and grew up in a life of murder and violence, because there's plenty examples of people who escape this life. How would you explain that?If I were to claim that there is some supernatural part of me that makes choices, then I would have to say that I am better than a poor immigrant boy who had no parents, was beaten, and grew up to live a hateful life of murder and gang violence. Why did he do those things? He had a magic will which gave him the ability to say no. I must just be better than he is. I vehemently deny this. The ONLY reason that I am a better person than anyone else is because I was gifted with an environment saturated perfectly to grow me into who I am.
You call the claim of Spirituality arrogant, but I've said this entire world view is just my opinion. I think you and Beany are being arrogant, because you seem to be claiming, with ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE, that the entire Universe is Materialistic (and callling people who believe otherwise superstitious and cruel). That makes you much more arrogant than me, who just has a very fragile theory.The acceptance of the idea of "free choice" relies on believing in superstitious magic, and ultimately arrogantly claims that some humans are better than others because of their own actions. It denies the beautiful truth that our fates are fully interrelated.
Morality based on Science is just an appeal to values, just like every moral system is an appeal to values based on your world views. You say it's a betterment of self and society; I disagree with you using your own world view - the argument ends because we're simply applying to different values.Morality is the science of determining what human behaviors lead to the betterment of self and society.
You're making the assumption that everybody likes total prosperity and perpetual states of joy etc. However, you can't prove this using your own Naturalistic Explanation of the Universe. Some people don't enjoy prosperity and we've seen this, some people like to hurt others and kill people by the billions. Your assumption here has no intellectual value, because not everybody has agreed to it.Let's say that we decide on the absolute best society you could have. Everyone lives in total prosperity and lives in a perpetual state of joy, etc. We give this a 100 rating.
Now if I were to make the claim that everybody wants to live in total prosperity and a perpetual state of joy because of the knowledge of Spirituality, I would have an argument. I'm not claiming this however.
Okay, then explain the beginning of the Universe. What caused The Big Bang? What caused space and time to begin? If the natural Universe, according to you, is simply an amalgamation of cause and effects, then by definition, a supernatural even must have occurred to create nature. Space and time can't have caused itself, because something had to cause the cause, on and on ad infinitum. This is a fundamental problem with your theory of the Materialistic Universe.I do believe that we live in a Determined universe. Cause and effect has dictated everything that will happen, just like dominos.
Finally Apostate, I don't think you fully understand my position, and it's something I'd like to talk to you more about over Private Messaging. It seems that you think that belief in Spirituality, or that we can change our "destinies" by an inner, guiding force is an insult to humanity and to people who have been raised in a good environment. You also think it's an insult to the people who were raised in a terrible environment, as it's a way of putting blame on them for the life that they were born with. You're completely oversimplifying my position, but my reasons for why are not relevant to this argument. Suffice it to say that human Spirituality only gives hope to the people who were not raised in a good environment, it does not hold people responsible or pin blame on those who fail to use it. You're thinking of religion, which makes verbal claims of right and wrong.
My final question to Beany is this: You say that Evolution can completely explain human behavior. I've given examples before of good things that humans do like donating blood, or jumping on a grenade to save a squad, and you say this can be explained naturally (I don't agree but whatever).
However, what about "terrible" things human beings do? How do you explain serial killers or people who genocide entire races? In nature, animals don't kill for fun, they kill to survive. I haven't heard of a single documented cause of an animal killing other animals just for fun. Give a Naturalistic explanation for this phenomenon.
Originally Posted by senzation54