Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:33 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Ch. 5: The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 4832
Location: California
Thanks: 545
Thanked: 1203 times in 926 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Grim: "There is nothing metaphysical about writing your findings or observing nature."

Right, that's my point.

Grim: "You seem to be suggesting an absolutist notion of morality that is misplaced, realistically."

I'm not suggesting an absolutist notion of reality. How could it be if we are the authority? The source we have is subjective.

Grim: "Evolution as an argument for the content of moral development is exactly what is illogical."

Why? Evolution has given us the mechanism by which we're moral. Some of that mechanism is pertinent to everyday relationships. The ossified morals we've developed are influenced in this way, but are primarily created using reason.



Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:30 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brilliant

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 674
Thanks: 17
Thanked: 20 times in 15 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Canada (ca)

Post 
Interbane wrote:
Right, that's my point.


So what.

Interbane wrote:
I'm not suggesting an absolutist notion of reality. How could it be if we are the authority? The source we have is subjective.


By talking in terms of codes and authorities you are implying absolutes. Subjectivity matters little when you are being compared to a code by an authority. Believe me I understand your contradiction. It is difficult subject matter and the distinctions are subtle. The fact is that even if subjectivity is inevitable, and it is, we cannot rely on evolutionary theory or a biological explanation for external objectification of right and wrong, even though highly determinate, evolutionary morality is inherently contradictory when compared to the expectations of modern society. The implication is that since our biology cannot be used to form objectivity we must appeal to higher faculties. However, since we use our biological structure to create thoughts and reason we can never be truly objective (the dilemma of the participant observer). The best we can hope for is a state of enlightened metaphysical awareness that is often rejected by popular physical theories, some of which I have probably argued for as rational. Since we can not completely dismiss the metaphysical effect we all feel it must be within our understanding as a real and functional expression, while no one can deny the reality of physical impulses. This is the source of moral subjectivity. On one hand we are all naturally metaphysically idealists on the other we are tethered to physical impulses. The true nature of either is anything but definable in terms of relationships. It would be prohibitively difficult to make a determinate assumption regarding the degree to which someone is more metaphysical than physical or vice versa. However, since society as a notion is more metaphysical than deterministic (evolutionary) it is much more useful in moral terms to speak of our abstract developments rather than our physical ones. Continually however the development of codes and authorities fallaciously ignores the implications of physicality causing moral conflict. It is no good to say that evolution gave us the impulses and capacity for moral behavior because nature as evolution no longer exists within us. In the same way that it is no good to claim that an appeal to reason will create compromise to our evolutionary biological capacities for impulse as reason its self is physical and what we understand is only an interpretation.

"The man who speaks of the “State of Nature” speaks of a state which no longer exists, which may never have existed, and which probably never will exist. It is a state of which we must, nevertheless, have an adequate idea in order to judge correctly our present condition." --Preface to Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality

Also by Rousseau in The Social Contract:
"The passage from the state of nature to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man, by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked. Then only, when the voice of duty takes the place of physical impulses and right of appetite, does man, who so far had considered only himself, find that he is forced to act on different principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations. Although, in this state, he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature, he gains in return others so great, his faculties are so stimulated and developed, his ideas so extended, his feelings so ennobled, and his whole soul so uplifted, that, did not the abuses of this new condition often degrade him below that which he left, he would be bound to bless continually the happy moment which took him from it for ever, and, instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man."

Interbane wrote:
Why? Evolution has given us the mechanism by which we're moral. Some of that mechanism is pertinent to everyday relationships. The ossified morals we've developed are influenced in this way, but are primarily created using reason.


Yes but no. I cannot deny that we have evolved to be as we are today, but I can deny that we are solely the products of evolution rather than each individually the result of it.

:book:



Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:45 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 4832
Location: California
Thanks: 545
Thanked: 1203 times in 926 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Interbane wrote:
Right, that's my point.

Grim: "So what."

:razz2:

Grim: "By talking in terms of codes and authorities you are implying absolutes."

No, I'm not implying absolutes. Codes can be flexible and account for relative interpretations. Authority can be of the qualitative type, subjective and not absolute.

Grim: "Subjectivity matters little when you are being compared to a code by an authority."

If the authority is a group of your peers(a very large group), which is the only option concerning morality, they base the codes on subjective grounds and constructed with reason. The inherent flaws of subjectivity aside, it's the only option.

Grim: "The fact is that even if subjectivity is inevitable, and it is, we cannot rely on evolutionary theory or a biological explanation for external objectification of right and wrong, even though highly determinate, evolutionary morality is inherently contradictory when compared to the expectations of modern society."

That's why I disagreed with Robert about evolution being an external authority. If anything, it's internal. Even then I'm not sure I'd call it an authority. I said more or less the exact same thing above. Are you confusing my position with Roberts? When you mention evolutionary morality being at odds with society's expectations, I agree. We've evolved the mechanism by which to follow morale standards(if you don't like the word codes). Society's expectations are those standards. The in-group and out-group comparison is a great example of this disjunction.

Grim: "Since we can not completely dismiss the metaphysical effect we all feel it must be within our understanding as a real and functional expression, while no one can deny the reality of physical impulses."

My opinion is that the metaphysical effects we feel are higher order manifestations of neuronal activity. We call these effects metaphysical due to our inability to understand how the brain works in a higher level complexity. What precisely do you consider metaphysical? Are the thoughts that flow through my head while typing this response metaphysical? There's no reason to think this is anything other than neuronal activity, albeit structured in an extremely organized way similar to computer processors, so that information is deliberated.

Grim: "However, since society as a notion is more metaphysical than deterministic (evolutionary) it is much more useful in moral terms to speak of our abstract developments rather than our physical ones."

Read this in full if you haven't run across it yet, it's interesting:
http://www.marxists.org/reference/subje ... popper.htm

Grim: "It is no good to say that evolution gave us the impulses and capacity for moral behavior because nature as evolution no longer exists within us."

Nature as evolution no longer exists within us? I'm not sure I follow. I stated before that I didn't really agree with evolution being the authority, since it's a process. What evolution has produced, us humans, are vessels with moral capacity due to the processes of evolution that created us.

Here's an overview of "The Science of Good and Evil" by Michael Shermer. His 'provisional morality' framework is very compelling and I think has more truth to it than other explanations of morality. It mentions how evolution has given us moral impulses and capacity.

http://www.michaelshermer.com/science-good-evil/

Grim: "In the same way that it is no good to claim that an appeal to reason will create compromise to our evolutionary biological capacities for impulse as reason its self is physical and what we understand is only an interpretation."

Are you saying we can't use reason to overcome our evolved impulses? What of contraceptives? Our desire for sex is in order to reproduce, but using our brains we've derailed the objective of this impulse. That there are exceptions doesn't make a case against it.

Grim: "I cannot deny that we have evolved to be as we are today, but I can deny that we are solely the products of evolution rather than each individually the result of it."

That's why I say moral standards are primarily developed using reason. Reasoning people have done in the past, if popularized, is part of our collective knowledge. I'm not saying that our knowledge is a product of evolution, if that's what you're inferring. I'm saying our capacity for and tendency to abide by moral standards is what has evolved, not the moral standards themselves. Yet both are necessary for a full accounting of morality.



Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:01 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brilliant

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 674
Thanks: 17
Thanked: 20 times in 15 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Canada (ca)

Post 
Interbane wrote:
No, I'm not implying absolutes. Codes can be flexible and account for relative interpretations. Authority can be of the qualitative type, subjective and not absolute.


A Code is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted. In government, authority is often used interchangeably with the term "power". However, their meanings differ: while "power" refers to the ability to achieve certain ends, "authority" refers to a claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power.

If your reasoning for the use these two definable terms, borrowed from Wikipedia, as relative were valid when faced with accusation for breach of code by an authority on the subject it would be a logically valid argument for the guilty part to say that at some future time the law will be changed and the authority will no longer hold claim to power and so the individual is innocent. In evolutionary terms this is the equivalent of basing biological research on a time when humans have developed currently non-existent physical features. Not a funding hot spot. We don't suddenly change the requirement for a person to be considered authoritative without good reason, if we did there would be a shifting of roles rather than a complete cessation of function. If the code changes it is replaced but its successor, a new authority or one revised to fulfill the updated function emerges.

Interbane wrote:
If the authority is a group of your peers(a very large group), which is the only option concerning morality, they base the codes on subjective grounds and constructed with reason. The inherent flaws of subjectivity aside, it's the only option.


A subjective notion of right and wrong hardly fulfills the requirements for the use of a code by an authority.

Interbane wrote:
We've evolved the mechanism by which to follow morale standards(if you don't like the word codes). Society's expectations are those standards. The in-group and out-group comparison is a great example of this disjunction.


But the mechanism is not dependent on evolution it is a result of it. Reread the quotes of Rousseau. The argument from evolution is comparable to an argument from design, it says something but not very much. It seems beyond obvious that we have evolved a plethora of capacities distinctly human, but moral society is not a product of the evolution rather a result of it. Imagine an independent human, born outside of society, it would take a contemporary observer to distinguish current notions of morality and social normality, no such notions or distinction arise of evolutionary origin alone and would have to be taught to the independent entity. A human has the capacity to learn English no doubt evolved over time, that does not mean that because of evolution he does not have to learn. Master and slave morality you refer to perhaps? of course proximity causes one to influence the other so there can never be perfect comparison or disjunction for that matter. The question becomes a social observation concerning the effect of social Spencerism.

Interbane wrote:
My opinion is that the metaphysical effects we feel are higher order manifestations of neuronal activity.


But of course I agree.

Interbane wrote:
What precisely do you consider metaphysical? Are the thoughts that flow through my head while typing this response metaphysical?


Well...metaphysics is defined as the investigation into what types of things there are in the world and what relations these things bear to one another.

Interbane wrote:
Read this in full if you haven't run across it yet, it's interesting:
http://www.marxists.org/reference/subje ... popper.htm


Care for a quick summary? Perhaps a key quote or two?

Interbane wrote:
Nature as evolution no longer exists within us? I'm not sure I follow.


Reread Rousseau. Now that you are born evolution is only an amusement. You are as evolved as you will ever be. Morally evolution can offer ideas about relativism and give some perspective to why we are here debating the subject. To say that evolution is what has created or striving is to evade the question of what it is we are now and why we are currently striving. As I mentioned evolution is amusing, little more. The only evolution we experience is of the social kind.


Interbane wrote:
Here's an overview of "The Science of Good and Evil" by Michael Shermer. His 'provisional morality' framework is very compelling and I think has more truth to it than other explanations of morality. It mentions how evolution has given us moral impulses and capacity.


But of course. He agrees perfectly with what I have been saying. Provisional is just another way of expressing perspective. Evolutionary moral perspective is much different from the social moral perspective as we know it none-the-less similarities or overlap will inevitably remain.

Interbane wrote:
Are you saying we can't use reason to overcome our evolved impulses? What of contraceptives? Our desire for sex is in order to reproduce, but using our brains we've derailed the objective of this impulse. That there are exceptions doesn't make a case against it.


There are limits to reason, there are limits to human comprehension and capabilities, we can never fully overcome our impulses. What of them? Reread Rousseau. Within the terms you have set how can you separate the desire for sex from anything else. The frames of reference are much too interchangeable to hopefully or realistically produce anything productive. Our laughter makes us feel better, using our brains we watch movie that synthesize the objects of our laughter. Now, how is there any difference between my question and yours? There isn't, so the particular are meaningless and the question needs to be reworded to better reflect the true factors. Reread those quotes from Rousseau.

Interbane wrote:
Yet both are necessary for a full accounting of morality.


Naturally.

:book:



Last edited by Grim on Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:31 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 4832
Location: California
Thanks: 545
Thanked: 1203 times in 926 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Grim: "Care for a quick summary? Perhaps a key quote or two?"

Lazy... :razz2:

I'll browse through and pick a quote while at work. Unless you've already read it and are offering me a summary!

Going to work now...



Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:46 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 4832
Location: California
Thanks: 545
Thanked: 1203 times in 926 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Grim: "But the mechanism is not dependent on evolution it is a result of it. Reread the quotes of Rousseau."

Have you read the quotes? What I’m saying is very simple and is in line with both Rousseau and Shermer. Tell me what you think my position is, in detail. Perhaps that will clarify where you’re misunderstanding me. If you are stuck on the word like "code" and "authority", they aren't critical and can be changed, as I've said. This quibbling ignores the core idea.



Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:56 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books






BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Science Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2011. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank