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Belief in God

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Chris OConnor

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Re: Belief in God

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JeremyQuote:Value, like beauty, is created by sentients; nothing has intrinsic value. Value can only ever be TO someone or something.Jesus this is good! Sorry for all the quick posts I'm doing right now, but this thread took off today and I'm making posts as I read through the days activity. Awesome comments have been made by several people and I can't help but smile and share my appreciation.Chris
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Re: Nietzsche

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Mr. P: Dissident...can you add your thoughts?I thought Nietzsche would be a valuable addition to the discussion, at least as far as offering a perspective that took seriously the consequences of removing God from the cultural and moral equation.Nietzsche's point, as I see it, involves recognizing the amount of cultural significance and moral assumption built upon the idea of God...and preparing for dismay, disarray, and desolation that will follow when God is erased.Nietzsche identifies those who will be terrified and those will be exhuberant at God's funeral. But he cautions those who think the death of God will be bright sunshine...it will unleash dark terror of the worst sort: and the 20th Century was in no small way a confirmation of his uncanny prophecy. Still, for those "free spirits" able to endure the catastrophe and risk the danger...and for Nietzsche, it will be dangerous...there is a greater, richer, fuller, more terrific future ahead.What Nietzsche challenges the Humanist to face, especially the Secular Leftist, the rather terrifying notion that life is will to power: domination, exploitation, ravaging consumption and amoral expansion. How much of your/our reliance upon reason, science, justice is simply traces of a dead God? The hope for democracy and universal sufferage and human freedom: how much do these rely upon a trust in an impossible ideal that only a supernatural deity (uninhindered by nature's will to dominate, hierarchy, exploitate) can make possible?Nietzsche is not saying that without God there is no morality; but that a new attitude toward morality is needed: one more natural, thus more ferocious.
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Questions

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I'm laughing as I read this thread because it seems to me that in posting to suggest that the thread be locked, Mad seems to have brought the God thread back to life. I've enjoyed reading the last few pages and it is nice to see some new perspectives (and to hear from voices that seemed to have gone silent for a time). The conversation has drifted toward subjects that are of interest to me. Below are 15 questions that I'd like some of you to answer. Personally, I couldn't answer all of these questions because I haven't come to a decision on many of the matters just yet. Perhaps you lot can help me. Answer them all, answer only one or pick and mix. I am particularly interested to hear from those who believe that things can have no inherent value but can only be of value to someone. 1. What do you value above all else and why?2. Do you value truth? Why?3. When do you believe that the majority has a right to impose their will on a minority?4. If something you valued was shown to be scientifically untrue, then would you continue to hold that value? For example, if you valued the lives of Jewish people who you had met through personal contact, but it was scientifically proven that they intrinsically held values that were incompatible with and the opposite of your own, would you continue to value the lives of Jewish people?5. Given that all morals are simple accidents of history, can any set be objectively better than another?6. Given that certain moral conventions are unique to certain groups, how, in modern societies (which contain many groups and sub-groups) should we govern ourselves (assuming that our legal systems are based on the moral conventions of those who wrote them)? Should those who do not hold certain values be forced to act as though they do simply because the majority hold a certain value?7. If one man values hunting but another values the lives of animals, whose values should be privileged and why?8. Should a complete sadist be allowed to kill as he pleases, because he does not value life and values killing and causing pain? 9. If most people within a society believe that it is morally necessary to circumcise women in a dangerous and painful manner, do you object to the practice? 10. Why not? Baring self interest (itself a value that not all hold), why should one not rape/murder/steal if these acts have merely become taboo as a result of historical accidents?11. Do you believe that humanity can arrive at an objective set of morals?12. If things can only be of value to someone and have no inherent value, then where does value come from? Can something which has no value in itself confer value onto another worthless object? 13. If we believe that nothing is valuable in itself and that people only believe things to be valuable, then is that the same thing as saying that people are mistaken in imagining that objects are of value?14. Is there a difference between believing that something is valuable and believing that something is valuable to you? 15. Can what is immoral in one period be moral in another and similarly can and act that is moral for one person to commit, be immoral for another? Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene Descartes
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Re: Questions

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Quote:1. What do you value above all else and why?Creativity. I like new stuff over copied stuff 'cause it's shiny.Quote:2. Do you value truth? Why?No. I like facts. Facts can be objectively measured, skinned, nailed to a wall. 'Truth' is subjective. More of a philosophy matter. Different people's truths are different truths. People with different facts are either maintaining different lists or putting nonfactual things under their 'facts' heading.Quote:3. When do you believe that the majority has a right to impose their will on a minority?On matters of actual protection of the individual members of the society. Social standards of safety apply to all. Quote:4. If something you valued was shown to be scientifically untrue, then would you continue to hold that value? Depends on why i value it and how it's shown to be 'untrue.' Quote:For example, if you valued the lives of Jewish people who you had met through personal contact, but it was scientifically proven that they intrinsically held values that were incompatible with and the opposite of your own, would you continue to value the lives of Jewish people?Uh...how's that work? I hold the lives of human beings to be of value, by sake of their humanity. Their values, even if incompatible with me, my life, my values, my favorite hobbies, aren't reflected in that value i hold for human beings.But this is a good example of the world i see. Many people tell me that A is a fact, therefore i should conclude B, even if i feel that A and B are unconnected.Quote:5. Given that all morals are simple accidents of history, Accidents? What about the Code of Chivalry? Specifically designed to protect the powerless from the powerful by holding the landowning armorbearing bastards to a behavioral code to minimize bloodshed.Quote:can any set be objectively better than another?Sure. If the moral system is evaluated for the protection offered. The moral system that provides the greatest protection to the widest number of people would be a better system.Quote:6. Given that certain moral conventions are unique to certain groups, how, in modern societies (which contain many groups and sub-groups) should we govern ourselves (assuming that our legal systems are based on the moral conventions of those who wrote them)? Should those who do not hold certain values be forced to act as though they do simply because the majority hold a certain value?Morality is doing the right things for the right reasons. It's internal. Laws govern behavior. Moral codes lead us to write certain laws, but it is not possible to legislate morality.If i don't kill my coworkers, the laws are met.If i don't kill them because i feel that, morally, humans have value, then that's good morals.If i don't kill them because i'm just basically lazy and hate the effort of chasing them down and hiding the bodies, the law is still satisfied, even though i;m only pretending the morality my neighbors expect. My morals aren't even the same as my wife's morals. Can't expect all of society to adopt the same moral values. But we can legislate laws based on a majority decision of what is and isn't tolerable behavior.Quote:7. If one man values hunting but another values the lives of animals, whose values should be privileged and why?Extending our moral and ethical system to protect animals is a luxury that i feel must wait until after all human beings have the same moral and ethical protection. Quote:8. Should a complete sadist be allowed to kill as he pleases, because he does not value life and values killing and causing pain? Generally, we don't allow tigers to roam freely on our streets and kill people just because they don't value human life. Threats to the herd must be defended against, whether the threat is elemental, natural or sociopathal.Quote:9. If most people within a society believe that it is morally necessary to circumcise women in a dangerous and painful manner, do you object to the practice?Yes, i object. Quote:10. Why not? Baring self interest (itself a value that not all hold), why should one not rape/murder/steal if these acts have merely become taboo as a result of historical accidents?Are you buying into spam-boy's idea that morals are arbitrary? Morals developed so large groups of non-familial individuals can live together in a society. Murder can't be tolerated because it directly contributes to our own risk of being murdereded. Most morals center around a framework in which society can form, allowing infrastructure which allows specialists and the whole eventual development of society. Not a mere accident. It's as much an aspect of our development to what we are today as our evolution of an opposeable thumb.Quote:11. Do you believe that humanity can arrive at an objective set of morals?Can, yes. Likely? Not really.Quote:12. If things can only be of value to someone and have no inherent value, then where does value come from? Value comes from people holding something to be of value. Look at TV ratings. Stuff that has no artistic or historical value is of phenomenal importance for a week, then it fades when people find something else to value. In twenty years it'll have kitsch value again, because others will value it for what it is. Was. Wasn't. Quote:Can something which has no value in itself confer value onto another worthless object? Confer? Because we value it NOW it has some intrinsic value? Lacking an intrinsic value, the only place an object (or a reality show) finds value is in the opinion of someone. Saying something has value to me does not speak to whether or not it has intrinsic value, or if i do.Quote:13. If we believe that nothing is valuable in itself and that people only believe things to be valuable, then is that the same thing as saying that people are mistaken in imagining that objects are of value?no. If they imagine that an object has value to them, then it has value...to them. And they're correct, as far as that goes.People are mistaken in thinking that the things they value would have value without them. Quote:14. Is there a difference between believing that something is valuable and believing that something is valuable to you? Not essentially, except in the rather arrogant belief some have that what they value MUST be of value to everyone else.Quote:15. Can what is immoral in one period be moral in another and similarly can and act that is moral for one person to commit, be immoral for another? Of course. Being as there are no absolute morals, everything must be evaluated in context.Shooting my neighbor is bad. Unless he is shooting into my house, then self defense is good. Unless, in the next scene, we discover he was trying to shoot the evil bastard cyborg home invader sneaking up behind me, and would have saved my life if i hadn't exploded his head like an overripe melon. Then shooting him was not only bad, but counter-survival. But decisions made with partial information may be the best possible, most moral decision at the time, without being the best possible, most moral decision. Keith's Place
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Re: Questions

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Niall...I will answer the 15 when I get time. nice addition to the discussion!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Belief in God

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I've deleted all of wwwcounselorpublishingcom posts and have banned him from the community.
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Re: Belief in God

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Chris: " I've deleted all of wwwcounselorpublishingcom posts and have banned him from the community."Oh but I thought my last reply was SO witty! Now nobody will get it.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Questions

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It was witty. I seriously hate having to ban people, but I'm not going to sit back and allow senseless spamming anymore. BookTalk means much too much to me and many of you to be slack on moderating.
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Re: Questions

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JeremyAnd thank you very much for that financial contribution! It really helps out tremendously. HypatiaSM donated some cash last week too. You guys are some of the few that have dug into their pockets to help this community, so I really want to thank you.EveryoneIf you're an active member of BookTalk and find what we offer unique and valuable we sure could use a little help right now. It costs about $50 - 60 every 6-months to keep BookTalk free from pop-up ads. We still need another $30. If nobody else pitches in towards the remaining $30 I'll be paying it alone. I don't have a choice. But it sure would be nice if one or more of you expressed your appreciation for BookTalk by donating a few dollars. Even $1 helps.Over the next year I will be sinking at least $1000 into advertising BookTalk. Any help that can be offered towards this ad campaign will be gladly accepted and appreciated, but right now all we need is a simple $30 within the next few weeks. Think about it. All you have to do is click on the Community Chest icon at the top of the Forums page, OR go to our SUPPORT page and contribute through our PayPal account. You should skim over the SUPPORT page to see many different ways to help BookTalk.Chris
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Re: Questions

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Quote:1. What do you value above all else and why?My son's life. My feelings are consistent with my thoughts on this: I understand "Life" with a capital L as being about the genes. So I am intellectually comfortable with what my instincts tell meQuote:2. Do you value truth? Why?That which is actually true is all that we will ever be able to agree on. Therefore it is the most valuable of all commodities in human relationsQuote:3. When do you believe that the majority has a right to impose their will on a minority?Questions like this have to be answered on a case-by-case basis. There can be, and should be, underlying principles that guide the answers but one size does not fit all.Quote:4. If something you valued was shown to be scientifically untrue,We (booktalk, not you personally) just had a long conversation about this; values are not true or false.Quote: . . . if . . . it was scientifically proven that [Jews] intrinsically held values that were incompatible with and the opposite of your own, would you continue to value the lives of Jewish people?Values are not "intrinsic"; not in the details. Cultures have developed different values but human nature is the same for all human beings. So of course I value individuals. Sometimes, though, I still might have to kill them.Quote: 5. Given that all morals are simple accidents of historyTotally false and somewhat pernicious assumptionQuote:6. Given that certain moral conventions are unique to certain groups, how, in modern societies (which contain many groups and sub-groups) should we govern ourselves (assuming that our legal systems are based on the moral conventions of those who wrote them)? Should those who do not hold certain values be forced to act as though they do simply because the majority hold a certain value?Legal systems are, at their best, practical. Moral standards do and should have input but it is misleading to totally conflate the two. This is exactly where the false assumption of question 4 becomes pernicious. I think it is possible for us all to understand the underlying purpose of morality in human beings, which is for us to be able to get along, to cooperate. I think that for MOST issues, MOST of the time, people of good will should be able to come to agreements that work. An example is the Mormon's willingness to give up polygamy, a positive good in their sub-culture, because it was more important to fit into a society that otherwise accepted them. Clinton's "Don't ask, don't tell" rule about homosexuality was another example of incompatible ideals able to coexist. However, for those who are unwilling to accommodate and cooperate I don't know of an answer besides force.Quote:7. If one man values hunting but another values the lives of animals, whose values should be privileged and why?There's a real life situation very similar to this. Animal rights activists were causing considerable problems for McDonalds. McDonlald's negotiated a settlement of sorts, where they would insist that the animals used for their products be raised and slaughtered humanely. So nobody was totally happy.... McDonalds incurs additional cost, something no corporation wants to do; and cows still die. But, McDonald's gets the protestors away from their doors, the cows themselves suffer less, and the animal rights people know that the animals are suffering less; probably less suffering overall than they could have accomplished by shutting down a slaughterhouse or two.Quote:8. Should a complete sadist be allowed to kill as he pleases, because he does not value life and values killing and causing pain?noQuote:9. If most people within a society believe that it is morally necessary to circumcise women in a dangerous and painful manner, do you object to the practice?Yes.Quote:10. Why not? Baring self interest (itself a value that not all hold), why should one not rape/murder/steal if these acts have merely become taboo as a result of historical accidents?Why not? You assume we do not object to infibulation? But there's the pernicious, false assumption again. These acts have become taboo because (1) we innately desire a code of behaviour (2) societies have tested these codes of behaviour and found that they work. Infibulation is wrong because the party having her genitals chopped up cannot, and does not, give informed consent to the procedure. The "society agrees" only insofar as the opinions of certain members of the society are excludedQuote:11. Do you believe that humanity can arrive at an objective set of morals?I think we can reach a point where we understand why we differ, and know that we have to compromise. There will always be intractable disputes. But, as the world has become more secular, our ability to cooperate and resolve issues has improved dramatically.Quote:12. If things can only be of value to someone and have no inherent value, then where does value come from? Can something which has no value in itself confer value onto another worthless object?I think we've already covered this at some length as well. We create art. We recognize beauty. We create value. Because value is something we create does not mean it is not real, any more than a Georgia Okeefe is not beautiful because it was only paint until she applied it to a canvass. And... paint is valuable because it can make paintings.Quote:13. If we believe that nothing is valuable in itself and that people only believe things to be valuable, then is that the same thing as saying that people are mistaken in imagining that objects are of value?No. See above.Quote:14. Is there a difference between believing that something is valuable and believing that something is valuable to you?Sure. Your pet turtle is of no value to me, I certainly recognize that she's of value to youQuote:15. Can what is immoral in one period be moral in another and similarly can and act that is moral for one person to commit, be immoral for another?Morality is a system for defining right and wrong. So several factors come into play. For instance, knowledge. It is immoral today to discourage women from breastfeeding, because we know that breastfeeding is healthier for babies (and mothers). Before we knew that it feeding formula was morally neutral. Circumstances also change. I think a case could be made that contraception is immoral in a society that is desperately short of people. There were times in human history when producing sufficient progeny was essential for survival. On the other hand, the modern world is threatened by overpopulation. The circumstance is dramatically different and a good case could be made that denying contraception is immoral. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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