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V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God" 
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 V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"

Please use this thread for talking about the section entitled "Natural Morality" in "Sense and Goodness Without God."



Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:48 am
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Section 5.5 - Reductionism.

Carrier states something here which caught attention: (emphasis mine)

Quote:
Second, reduction does not necessarily correspond to a unique correlation of phenomena. For instance, mental and biological phenomena are the outcome of patterns of activity that could be manifested by several different materials. They only happen to have one in common, here on earth, but many others are possible and on other worlds may even be a reality. Psychology would apply equally to a mind produced by a biological or an electrical brain, if the patterns of activity were sufficiently the same. If an alien arrived whose brain used entirely different chemicals and structures to perform what are otherwise the same aggregate functions as our brains, our science of psychology would describe both minds, even though their underlying biology was different.


Really?

Are the patterns of brain activity for Terran subject "A" the same as Terran subject "B" when they are both experiencing an emotion like love?
Patterns of bio/chemical brain activity are never identical to someone else's.
If I'm wrong about this, someone point me to a study that clarifies this.

How would human psychology apply to an alien with a totally different chemical structure than ours if it is essentially chemicals that cause our psychological states? Plus, human and alien would lack the underlying commonality - EARTH - as a fostering environment.
A totally different alien chemical state would produce different "aggregate functions"

This seems like grandiose presumptuousness on Carrier's part.
He's allowing himself way too much leash here.



Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:41 am
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
Patterns of bio/chemical brain activity are never identical to someone else's.
If I'm wrong about this, someone point me to a study that clarifies this.


Of course you're not wrong about this. But this isn't what Carrier is saying.

ant wrote:
How would human psychology apply to an alien with a totally different chemical structure than ours if it is essentially chemicals that cause our psychological states?


It would apply if the aliens brains "perform what are otherwise the same aggregate functions as our brains."

In other words, if the end on effect behavioral result were the same. Vastly different core computer programs can achieve the same result. Computer chips can also be cast into materials other than silicone. Information can be cast on many different mediums, and still retain the same meaning. Our chemicals cause our psychological states, but that doesn't mean other chemicals can't approximate them to a sufficient degree.

ant wrote:
Plus, human and alien would lack the underlying commonality - EARTH - as a fostering environment.
A totally different alien chemical state would produce different "aggregate functions"


Maybe, but maybe not. How can you claim to know what's impossible? Besides, that's tangential to Carrier's point. The "if" statement is merely that. It doesn't need to be fulfilled for the logic to apply.


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Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:53 am
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
. Vastly different core computer programs can achieve the same result. Computer chips can also be cast into materials other than silicone. Information can be cast on many different mediums, and still retain the same meaning. Our chemicals cause our psychological states, but that doesn't mean other chemicals can't approximate them to a sufficient degree.


False analogy

Also,

What evidence is there for this, particularly chemicals that would be alien to us:

Quote:
Our chemicals cause our psychological states, but that doesn't mean other chemicals can't approximate them to a sufficient degree



Quote:
Maybe, but maybe not. How can you claim to know what's impossible? Besides, that's tangential to Carrier's point. The "if" statement is merely that. It doesn't need to be fulfilled for the logic to apply.


No, of course not.

'if" is the magical word here.


EDITED ABOVE: (SORRY - I AM MULTITASKING YOU)



Last edited by ant on Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:10 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
See above



Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:35 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
False analogy


No it's not. The intended correlation is that different substrates and mechanisms can lead to the same output.

Quote:
'if" is the magical word here.


Yep, it sure is. The logic holds true even if aliens don't exist; "reduction does not necessarily correspond to a unique correlation of phenomena."


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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
Maybe, but maybe not. How can you claim to know what's impossible? Besides, that's tangential to Carrier's point. The "if" statement is merely that. It doesn't need to be fulfilled for the logic to apply.


I may be repeating myself here, but...,

if alien chemicals were producing the same aggregate functions as humans within our earthly environment, then psychological analysis of alien mental states (ie various degrees of psychoses) would result in identical findings?

What's the point here beyond what may be something of fantasy but yet relatively obvious, as stated?

Also, Carrier stated himself that the one thing that is common is Earth, despite phenomena manifesting itself by a complex variety of materials.
That is key here.
If planet X is the environment, then reducing alien mental states by human psychological methodology would be ineffectual.


Am I clear here?

(fun stuff. of course we could never verify this until we are able to examine Marvin the Martian)



Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:14 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
if alien chemicals were producing the same aggregate functions as humans within our earthly environment, then psychological analysis of alien mental states (ie various degrees of psychoses) would result in identical findings?


What's the point here beyond what may be something of fantasy but yet relatively obvious, as stated?
Carrier is using the analogy to explain something that’s already known, not to prove something that’s unknown. If you like, consider the computer analogy instead. The point is that reduction can lead to different substrates from very similar higher order phenomenon. We know this to be true in many areas. I’m not sure why he chose the alien analogy to make the point, although I also don’t see the same issues with it that you do.


Quote:
If planet X is the environment, then reducing alien mental states by human psychological methodology would be ineffectual.

Unless the aggregate functions of behavior were the same. This might mean the environment also had to be quite similar, with the aliens having been tribal, competing for food and mates, reproducing sexually, etc.

My favorite part of this chapter is explaining how the sciences reduce from one to the next. Everything can be reduced to physics in theory, but not in practice.


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Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:41 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
if alien chemicals were producing the same aggregate functions as humans within our earthly environment, then psychological analysis of alien mental states (ie various degrees of psychoses) would result in identical findings?


What's the point here beyond what may be something of fantasy but yet relatively obvious, as stated?
Carrier is using the analogy to explain something that’s already known, not to prove something that’s unknown. If you like, consider the computer analogy instead. The point is that reduction can lead to different substrates from very similar higher order phenomenon. We know this to be true in many areas. I’m not sure why he chose the alien analogy to make the point, although I also don’t see the same issues with it that you do.


Quote:
If planet X is the environment, then reducing alien mental states by human psychological methodology would be ineffectual.

Unless the aggregate functions of behavior were the same. This might mean the environment also had to be quite similar, with the aliens having been tribal, competing for food and mates, reproducing sexually, etc.

My favorite part of this chapter is explaining how the sciences reduce from one to the next. Everything can be reduced to physics in theory, but not in practice.


He's stated that an alien removed from its environment would still be able to be understood s a reducible material. by our understanding. That presupposes alien life develops along the same evolutionary processes as life on earth.
What evidence is there for that?
Too many presuppositions.
We can "if" stuff like this all day and say it all "logically follows" despite ZERO evidence.


Science reducing from one to the next is something I was already familiar with.



Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:20 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
He's stated that an alien removed from its environment would still be able to be understood s a reducible material. by our understanding. That presupposes alien life develops along the same evolutionary processes as life on earth.
What evidence is there for that?


It is assumed that the alien has the same aggregate function, not because they actually would in reality, but because it's an analogy, intended to show that reduction does not necessarily correspond to a unique correlation of phenomena.

It is assumed, for the purposes of analogy alone, that some arbitrary alien species has a mind with patterns of activity that are very close to our own.

I think you're reading way too far into this. He's not making a statement regarding aliens. He's using an analogy(that just so happens to have aliens in it) to make a statement about reduction. As I said, there are other analogies that serve the same purpose. I personally prefer the example of a computer that operates with different substrates. But this doesn't allow an easy path to segue into reduction of scientific fields.


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Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:42 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
He's stated that an alien removed from its environment would still be able to be understood s a reducible material. by our understanding. That presupposes alien life develops along the same evolutionary processes as life on earth.
What evidence is there for that?


It is assumed that the alien has the same aggregate function, not because they actually would in reality, but because it's an analogy, intended to show that reduction does not necessarily correspond to a unique correlation of phenomena.

It is assumed, for the purposes of analogy alone, that some arbitrary alien species has a mind with patterns of activity that are very close to our own.

I think you're reading way too far into this. He's not making a statement regarding aliens. He's using an analogy(that just so happens to have aliens in it) to make a statement about reduction. As I said, there are other analogies that serve the same purpose. I personally prefer the example of a computer that operates with different substrates. But this doesn't allow an easy path to segue into reduction of scientific fields.


It's an overzealous speculative false analogy that implicitly states our scientific reductionism governs universally, provided things are nearly equal universally (which there clearly is NO evidence for)

You metaphysical naturalists get away with far too much. Not only that, but you're also schizophrenic - one minute you're metaphysical speculators, the next you are antiquated logical positivists (when convenient, of course) .

I'm sick of it and am holding you all accountable as of today. :razz2:



Last edited by ant on Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:14 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
It's an overzealous speculative false analogy that implicitly states our scientific reductionism governs universally, provided things are nearly equal universally (which there clearly is NO evidence for)


That is not what the analogy states. The analogy is for one of many points concerning reductionism in the book, and a specific point at that. It is to show that grossly different substrata can lead to similar higher order characteristics and functioning. Or in Carrier's words, "reduction does not necessarily correspond to a unique correlation of phenomena." A higher order phenomenon does not necessarily correspond to a lower order phenomenon, since multiple lower order phenomena can lead to a similar(and sometimes identical) higher order one. The truth of this understanding does not rely on Carrier's analogy. We know it to be true through observation of how the world works, and there are plenty of examples. The one that helped me to understand it was the computer chip analogy - computer chips can be manufactured from materials other than silicone, but the computational results are the same.

Not to say it's simple to understand, this stuff is all fuzzy. Fuzzy stuff is fun to think and talk about.


Quote:
You metaphysical naturalists get away with far too much. Not only that, but you're also schizophrenic - one minute you're metaphysical speculators, the next you are antiquated logical positivists (when convenient, of course) .


Should we use only a single method to sort through our knowledge? What should we use? Science? Then what of logic? And what of the areas where science does not apply? We use different methods depending on the target of analysis, and that is something everyone else on the planet does as well, whether it's realized or not.


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Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:45 pm
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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
I think it is very difficult for ordinary people to make good judgements on the science Carrier appeals to, which cover very specialized areas of study.We can try to judge the arguments but it's hard to get into the science itself.
In trying to get into the whole multiverse thing in relation to Carrier. I came across some articles by Dr Luke Barnes who is a researcher at Sydney University.
He gets into a spat with Carrier, in relation to one of Carrier's essays where Carrier says that based on probability, intelligent design is impossible. In his blog Barnes has a couple of articles under; Probably Not-A fine tuned critique of Richard Carrier.
This touches on the multiverse and fine tuning. For anyone interested here's the link ,and people can try see for themselves whether Barnes criticisms are valid or not. Bad link. Google; A fine tuned critique of Richard Carrier, if you are interested.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
He gets into a spat with Carrier, in relation to one of Carrier's essays where Carrier says that based on probability, intelligent design is impossible. In his blog Barnes has a couple of articles under; Probably Not-A fine tuned critique of Richard Carrier.


Carrier is known for saying some ridiculous things, which is why I haven't read his book until now. It's been published for nearly a decade. There is much on the internet from Carrier that is disagreeable. I don't know enough about Bayesian statistics to tell where errors might lay on either side of this spat, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that Carrier is wrong.

The position he takes in his book is much more reasonable - he doesn't make absolute claims, and uses soft wording around every claim. Perhaps it was his editor or a colleague that tempered his normal arrogance in the book, I'm not sure.


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Post Re: V. Natural Morality - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Hi Interbane, Barnes critiques Carrier on his probabilistic claims and methods and some in relation to fine tuning etc.
I find it quite technical and haven't personally studied probability theory. In the blog all sorts of readers respond and that's usually science stuff. Carrier understandably doesn't like the criticisms and exchanges ensue.
I'm just making people aware of another point of view in relation to some of his ideas.
Could laws arise from chaotic lawlessness in the beginning for instance? The science is technical,so it's hard sometimes to evaluate these things.



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