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Old Apr 24, 2012, 01:37 PM   #101
Don't panic
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Sorry, but I don't know what else to say that shows that your distinction of species is entirely arbitrary. Heck, the whole idea of "species" is a man-made classification system to help describe nature.
this is a patently false statement.

you keep accusing people of not 'knowing what they are talking about' regarding religion or the bible (which is often false, a large number of people who are not religious have a strong religious background, they just outgrew it), yet you keep making statement as the above that even my 6th grader son knows to be positively wrong.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 01:52 PM   #102
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this is a patently false statement.

you keep accusing people of not 'knowing what they are talking about' regarding religion or the bible (which is often false, a large number of people who are not religious have a strong religious background, they just outgrew it), yet you keep making statement as the above that even my 6th grader son knows to be positively wrong.
Species problem

I recommend the Philosophical aspects section.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 02:01 PM   #103
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I'm not going to do all the legwork for CalBoy. If he wants to argue from ignorance, it's not my job to educate him.
You've failed to support your own argument. The fact that you did not know the bible states how the land should be treated actually suggests you don't know your own religion as well as you claim.

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I didn't say that the idea of species was arbitrary. I said the idea is man-made. To claim that interbreeding is intrinsically sacrosanct makes no sense. The reason I should care about the person on the other side of the world is because I could breed with them? What if they're of the same sex as me or sterile?
A species is not man-made either. As I said before, it is a natural order of things. I never claimed it was sacrosanct... it is a natural division between different kinds of organisms. Nor did I claim that because there are species you should care about other people; just correcting your error.

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But being a social animal does not dictate that I need to care about all of humanity. I could have a society that sustains me quite well locally, and to hell with anyone else. There's no need to keep them happy or alive or, if push came to shove, to kill them.
Local or otherwise, how does any of what you stated do anything other than support the notion that morality was born out of the need for social groups? How can you not see that?!?

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Um, mine was also correct by definition. I earlier suggested that CalBoy look up what "the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe" means.
I tried but that isn't a word in the dictionary. I will continue to write it as god.

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There's a difference between not knowing what caused something and accepting the fact that something had to be not caused. The Big Bang may or may not be that thing. There could be a million other things before it. But it is a simple matter of logic that something had to exist merely because of itself. And as for a universe coming from nothing, if it did happen, that is impossible to prove empirically. So yes, you can choose to believe that it came from nothing, but there's nothing that dictates that it is the only possible answer.
I will concede that without a time machine, there is no way to verify with observation how the universe was born. Likewise, I cannot know for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. However there is a level of certainty that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow. In the same way, science makes observations to be reasonably certain that things work as theorized. Not once has a measure of supernatural been needed to explain how nature works.

You obviously are hung up on the idea that the universe arose from nothing (yet are not bothered that the god that created everything came from nothing). Indeed it is possible for something to come from nothing and this HAS been observed in labs. Essentially if you have absolutely nothing, things pop into existence to fill that void.

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Species problem

I recommend the Philosophical aspects section.
A wiki article with errors. Bacteria DO reproduce sexually.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 02:31 PM   #104
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Species problem

I recommend the Philosophical aspects section.
the philosophical aspects are mostly mental masturbations.
we have gone beyond Plato for quite a while.

A biological "species" is well characterized, and the core concepts have been established for decades. Whatever discussion remains is on technical aspects and semantics and derives directly from the continuous basis of the mechanisms of evolution (basically how sharp or blurry the line distinguishing species is, and where exactly should it be drawn).

it has no bearing on the discussion at hand here, and doesn't make your previous statement one iota less false.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 02:51 PM   #105
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the philosophical aspects are mostly mental masturbations.
we have gone beyond Plato for quite a while.
Sorry, but that's not an argument. As I've said before, merely making a statement does not make it true. I'm at least supporting my arguments, not merely calling CalBoy's or yours wrong for no reason than "mental masturbation."

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it has no bearing on the discussion at hand here, and doesn't make your previous statement one iota less false.
It has a huge bearing! If CalBoy is correct, than species is the basis for all morality. If empiricism is ruler of all, then species should be empirically defined and the value of that definition must be empirically proven. Not only that, but it has to be empirically proven that the distinction of species has value. And it does make my statement a heck of a lot "less false," actually it makes it "not false" or "true."

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You've failed to support your own argument. The fact that you did not know the bible states how the land should be treated actually suggests you don't know your own religion as well as you claim.
I've supported my argument hugely. I'm not defending my religion here. I'm defending the idea of religion. For CalBoy to claim that religion has nothing to do with environmental morality is a huge claim. He should back that up. He can't just deny it, and then go on as if it's true. I shouldn't have to educate someone about the thing they're arguing against.

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A species is not man-made either. As I said before, it is a natural order of things. I never claimed it was sacrosanct... it is a natural division between different kinds of organisms. Nor did I claim that because there are species you should care about other people; just correcting your error.
Sorry, but CalBoy did claim it was sacrosanct, and it was that sacrosanctness that I meant to say was man-made. I'll admit I wasn't clear. Sorry to confuse the arguments.

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Local or otherwise, how does any of what you stated do anything other than support the notion that morality was born out of the need for social groups? How can you not see that?!?
Of course I see it. Now that we know what it was borne out of, we can talk about it intelligently. Now we can see reflect on the actual value of such a thing. I'm not going to do something just because my biology tells me to. Biology has nothing to do with "right" or "wrong." "Right" and "wrong" are much bigger concepts. It's those concepts that I'm talking about.

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I will concede that without a time machine, there is no way to verify with observation how the universe was born. Likewise, I cannot know for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. However there is a level of certainty that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow. In the same way, science makes observations to be reasonably certain that things work as theorized. Not once has a measure of supernatural been needed to explain how nature works.
I agree...

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You obviously are hung up on the idea that the universe arose from nothing (yet are not bothered that the god that created everything came from nothing).
I'm not hung up on the idea that the universe arose from nothing. I see that as a possible option. That thing that came from nothing, though, is called God. Whatever other attributes that thing has, or whether that thing has any other attributes is a separate matter.

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Indeed it is possible for something to come from nothing and this HAS been observed in labs. Essentially if you have absolutely nothing, things pop into existence to fill that void.
I'm not sure how you can prove that something can come from nothing, when something already exists. The universe already exists, therefore there is no nothing from something to come from.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 04:54 PM   #106
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Sorry, but that's not an argument. As I've said before, merely making a statement does not make it true. I'm at least supporting my arguments, not merely calling CalBoy's or yours wrong for no reason than "mental masturbation."

It has a huge bearing! If CalBoy is correct, than species is the basis for all morality. If empiricism is ruler of all, then species should be empirically defined and the value of that definition must be empirically proven. Not only that, but it has to be empirically proven that the distinction of species has value. And it does make my statement a heck of a lot "less false," actually it makes it "not false" or "true."
you should re-read my post, and also the wiki entry you linked (including the "philosophy parts"), and the more general "species" entry, so you get the proper perspective.

you are thinking plato, but as i said, a few centuries have gone by.

Nowadays, biological species ARE well characterized, and they ARE empirically distinct form other species.
the distinction is NOT "entirely arbitrary", NOR "the whole idea of "species" is a man-made classification system to help describe nature".
These (your words) are indeed FALSE statements.
maybe it started that way , because there obviously is a correspondence between morphology and biology, but it is a very antiquated view

what is discussed (and mostly regarding bacteria and other prokaryots) is what account to quite minor technical distinctions on the best definition of 'species', whether some biological and natural barriers should count more or less, at what point during the mechanism of speciation two species become, in fact, distinct. Or whether the definition is primarily based on existing biological traits and ecosystems or on evolutionary relationships. and so on.
very interesting points to discuss, but they don't affect the operational view of what a biological species is.

groups of organisms that cannot viably interbreed belong to different species.

The distinction between a cat and a dog is NOT entirely or even partially arbitrary, they ARE different species. It's a FACT. their genomes are different.

when two sub-populations of the same species get isolated for long enough and start changing so that are mostly but not completely biologically distinct (during speciation), that is the fuzzy line that has scientists discuss, because depending on the problem addressed, some definitions work better then others.

THAT is what as no bearing in the discussion at hand, the minutiae of the various precise, technical definitions of what a biological "species" is.

but for the issue discussed in this thread, the common, operational definition of species is perfectly fine.
in particular when we come to human, all the definitions coincide because there is no other species that is close enough to even raise an eyebrow. maybe if Cro-magnons or Neanderthals were not extinct we would have more of a nuanced situation, but they are not.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 05:28 PM   #107
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Nowadays, biological species ARE well characterized, and they ARE empirically distinct form other species.
the distinction is NOT "entirely arbitrary", NOR "the whole idea of "species" is a man-made classification system to help describe nature".
These (your words) are indeed FALSE statements.
You are quite right, and I admitted as much. What I meant was more along the lines of, "The whole idea of the sacrosanctness of species is a man-made classification, using a descriptor of nature arbitrarily." I admit fault here.

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The distinction between a cat and a dog is NOT entirely or even partially arbitrary, they ARE different species. It's a FACT. their genomes are different.
But the ascribing of morals to those genomes is arbitrary. The very debate of exactly what the definition of the word "species" is shows that using it for morality is entirely arbitrary, and one could just as easily see basing morality on "genus" (another word that in a scientific context today has a very concrete meaning, but again, the word is a human construct).

We could also empirically describe all animals that have fins, and come up with a word to describe those animals (how about "finneous"). And yes, it would be very clear as to which animals are "finneous" and which aren't, and perhaps even genomes would be able to clearly distinguish between the two, but the group itself is arbitrary.

Perhaps I've made my point clearer, perhaps I've muddied it.

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but for the issue discussed in this thread, the common, operational definition of species is perfectly fine.
in particular when we come to human, all the definitions coincide because there is no other species that is close enough to even raise an eyebrow. maybe if Cro-magnons or Neanderthals were not extinct we would have more of a nuanced situation, but they are not.
Again, I completely agree. It's the basing of morality on species that is arbitrary.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 04:47 AM   #108
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But the whole point is that religion isn't solely Bible-based, and it isn't static. So if someone claims that religion says nothing about environmentalism because it's based on something static, and then you point out that no, religion isn't static, now it's manipulating religion to make it fit? So it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

What religion does, though, is provide a framework for moral choices. So no, the Bible isn't going to say anything about environmentalism, since that word didn't exist back then. But it's pretty easy to take religious ideas such as, "God created the world and it was good," and extrapolate out from that the need to protect the environment.

Logic is essential to religion, and personal choices are essential to religion.
What the bible states is static. The interpretations of it may not be. The problem is that there isn't a lot of wiggle room on what scripture has to say. It worked with what it had available at the time but as time goes on the flaws are more evident. Also, what it doesn't say is just as flawed. Such as the glaringly obvious omission of mentioning other planets, solar systems or galaxies. Surely god would need to take credit for all that too in order to remain convincing. Oh, but then conveniently God doesn't need to convince us because we should take it in faith. ...And you say logic is essential to religion. ಠ_ಠ The only thing essential to religion is obedience.

And I agree religion has tried to provide a framework for moral choices. I just don't believe that is necessary and is actually harmful in its application. As I said in my first post in this thread:

"I feel that religion perhaps had good intentions at one time but it has outlived its purpose. Because it doesn't change with the times, it stands stubbornly in the way of progress. Worse, it justifies horrible atrocities in the name of its deities.

I find it sad that someone should need to be told right from wrong based on ambiguous (at best) and ridiculous (at worst) statements from repeatedly translated books from ancient times. I don't need coercion through fear of punishment or promise of reward to make moral decisions. I aim to do good things in my life because I am a good person, or at least try to be most of the time. I am human. I might even argue I am more moral than someone of faith because my morality doesn't come through coercion. Aside from sociopaths, who doesn't feel an innate sense of achievement and conscience regarding matters of right and wrong? I think too many people give religion way too much credit for this. Have a little faith in yourselves!"
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 12:37 PM   #109
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What the bible states is static. The interpretations of it may not be.
Bible <> religion; as a former Catholic, you should know that some religions (such as Catholicism) are not solely scripture-based.

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Also, what it doesn't say is just as flawed. Such as the glaringly obvious omission of mentioning other planets, solar systems or galaxies.Surely god would need to take credit for all that too in order to remain convincing.
This makes no sense whatsoever for a number of reasons. First, as above, scripture is not the same thing as religion. To conflate the two is a huge logical flaw. Second, even if you're using scripture as the basis for "disproving" religion, it is a moral document, not a scientific one. What need would there be to specifically call out everything that God created? Why isn't is sufficient to say that God created "the heavens and the earth"? It's a little poetic in its language, but it's pretty clear that God is understood to have created everything. Third, if you started describing galaxies and solar systems and planet to people 7,000 - 8,000 years ago, they would have no idea what you're talking about, no comprehension, and it'd be a good way to make sure that everyone ignore what you say.


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Oh, but then conveniently God doesn't need to convince us because we should take it in faith. ...And you say logic is essential to religion. ಠ_ಠ
Again, as a former Catholic who knows all about Catholicism, you should know that it is taught that the existence of God "can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason" (First Vatican Council), i.e. belief in God's existence does not rely solely on faith and can be arrived at through logical reasoning.

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The only thing essential to religion is obedience.
Again, wrong. If this is what you were taught in the Catholic Church, you had a bad teacher.

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"Aside from sociopaths, who doesn't feel an innate sense of achievement and conscience regarding matters of right and wrong? I think too many people give religion way too much credit for this. Have a little faith in yourselves!"
And here is the crux of the problem with your argument. When you say, "Aside from sociopaths," you admit that not all people have "an innate sense of achievement and conscience regarding matters of right and wrong" and you can see examples throughout history where people (who weren't sociopaths) have thought thought they were doing the right thing, but now we look back and say it was wrong (Stalin, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Timur Lang; all people who are responsible for millions of deaths, yet thought they were doing what is best). If all we have to do is "have a little faith in [ourselves]", then we have no grounds to condemn another's actions as immoral. If there is no objective standard of morality, anything and everything I do that I believe in is moral.

Now you have developed a conscience in a world shaped by Western thought for thousands of years. As much as people on this board disparage him as something we've "moved passed", you, too, are influenced by Plato. As much as you disparage it, you are influenced by the Church. You are influenced by Nietzsche, Aristotle, Kant, etc. You can empirically look around the world and through history and find that not everyone has this innate morality that conforms at all with your morality. But all they have to do is believe in themselves, right? Then we'll have billions of different moral codes and no authority to say that any one is better than the other.

This is such a response to establishing moral framework that basically boils down to, "Well, I feel like X is moral and Y is immoral," and, since it is quite obvious that other people feel quite differently about things, provides no basis for a moral discussion whatsoever, no chance for dialogue, and no chance for agreement on difficult moral issues.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 11:17 PM   #110
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This makes no sense whatsoever for a number of reasons. First, as above, scripture is not the same thing as religion. To conflate the two is a huge logical flaw. Second, even if you're using scripture as the basis for "disproving" religion, it is a moral document, not a scientific one. What need would there be to specifically call out everything that God created? Why isn't is sufficient to say that God created "the heavens and the earth"? It's a little poetic in its language, but it's pretty clear that God is understood to have created everything. Third, if you started describing galaxies and solar systems and planet to people 7,000 - 8,000 years ago, they would have no idea what you're talking about, no comprehension, and it'd be a good way to make sure that everyone ignore what you say.
The bible was written by humans who had no knowledge of sciences and therefore they could not include explanations beyond their own understanding. If the bible lacks any evidence of divine knowledge, it could therefore be considered entirely man-made. Additionally, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the bible 7,000-8,000 years old. While you may be right that it is a document focused on moral directives, those morals were also an expression of innate morality... mixed with some blood and guts.

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Again, as a former Catholic who knows all about Catholicism, you should know that it is taught that the existence of God "can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason" (First Vatican Council), i.e. belief in God's existence does not rely solely on faith and can be arrived at through logical reasoning.
Quite the opposite really. It is an illogical conclusion that since we exist, it must have been by the hand of an infinite creator who did not itself have a creator.

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And here is the crux of the problem with your argument. When you say, "Aside from sociopaths," you admit that not all people have "an innate sense of achievement and conscience regarding matters of right and wrong" and you can see examples throughout history where people (who weren't sociopaths) have thought thought they were doing the right thing, but now we look back and say it was wrong (Stalin, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Timur Lang; all people who are responsible for millions of deaths, yet thought they were doing what is best). If all we have to do is "have a little faith in [ourselves]", then we have no grounds to condemn another's actions as immoral. If there is no objective standard of morality, anything and everything I do that I believe in is moral.
I think it is a dangerous assumption that devils of history did what they did because they honestly thought it was best. Fear and hatred have a part to play. Additionally, remember that many of these people were essentially governments and governments do not play by the same rules as people. The morality of people is what is in question.

The foundation of morality appears to be a part of human need for social grouping. Dictates from a made-made book and attendant religions are just an evolved manifestation of instincts that allow for social grouping.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:34 PM   #111
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The bible was written by humans who had no knowledge of sciences and therefore they could not include explanations beyond their own understanding. If the bible lacks any evidence of divine knowledge, it could therefore be considered entirely man-made. Additionally, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the bible 7,000-8,000 years old. While you may be right that it is a document focused on moral directives, those morals were also an expression of innate morality... mixed with some blood and guts.
First, it is generally accepted by scholars that Genesis was written 7,000-8,000 years ago, the part of the Bible I was talking about.

Second, yes of course the Bible was written by humans.

Third, this is not an examination of the value of the Bible. There are plenty of religions that do not solely base their beliefs on the Bible (Catholic and Orthodox Christianity for example). I'm not sure how many times I can say this fact, and still have people completely ignore it.

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Quite the opposite really. It is an illogical conclusion that since we exist, it must have been by the hand of an infinite creator who did not itself have a creator.
Again, just saying something doesn't make it true. Since we exist, there has to be something that doesn't have a creator. That is a very logical conclusion.

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I think it is a dangerous assumption that devils of history did what they did because they honestly thought it was best. Fear and hatred have a part to play.
Fear and hatred are part of the human experience, and influenced their decisions to do "what is best." No one (or practically no one) does something because they think it's not what's best.

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Additionally, remember that many of these people were essentially governments and governments do not play by the same rules as people. The morality of people is what is in question.
All of whom I mentioned were people who had virtually absolute control over their governments. You can't say that Timur Lang was pulled to order his soldiers to massacre entire cities because he was a "government." That is absurd.

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The foundation of morality appears to be a part of human need for social grouping. Dictates from a made-made book and attendant religions are just an evolved manifestation of instincts that allow for social grouping.
And so therefore there is no such thing as right and wrong in actuality, it is us just following our instincts. Therefore there is no such thing as morality. Got it.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:09 PM   #112
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First, it is generally accepted by scholars that Genesis was written 7,000-8,000 years ago, the part of the Bible I was talking about.
Writing has not been around for 8,000 years. The oldest writings were in China in around 3,000 b.c.

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Again, just saying something doesn't make it true. Since we exist, there has to be something that doesn't have a creator. That is a very logical conclusion.
No, it is a very illogical statement that leads to an infinite regression. This is a problem with "intelligent design" as a theory. If you wish to call the products of natural laws "god", then we can agree.

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Fear and hatred are part of the human experience, and influenced their decisions to do "what is best." No one (or practically no one) does something because they think it's not what's best.

All of whom I mentioned were people who had virtually absolute control over their governments. You can't say that Timur Lang was pulled to order his soldiers to massacre entire cities because he was a "government." That is absurd.
They were still acting as a government or institution and not as a person. There is a difference between personal and impersonal interaction. I would even suggest that is where the difference between morals and ethics arises.

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And so therefore there is no such thing as right and wrong in actuality, it is us just following our instincts. Therefore there is no such thing as morality. Got it.
Where did you get that conclusion? Morals were born out of crude instincts that allowed individuals to form social groups. Humans are not capable survivors when stripped of the trappings of society and technology. Humans thrive in groups and groups cannot form if there are not common "rules of conduct" that can be safely relied upon. That does not suggest that morality has not elaborated over time. The foundation of morality likely had humble beginnings that did not require religion. Instinctual impulse cannot be dismissed as uncontrolled in humans. In fact, it is the very act of managing instincts that is where morality lives.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:29 PM   #113
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Again, just saying something doesn't make it true. Since we exist, there has to be something that doesn't have a creator. That is a very logical conclusion.
Exactly! Something like the Universe . I don't think that you realize that you just argued against your point. If creators are not required, then how does it help our understanding of reality to posit one? This would be like saying "You know, the force of gravity makes the apple fall to the ground, but let's add a constant for faeries to the formula, because I really like the idea of them pulling them down from the trees while we're not watching, and you can't prove that they don't". It is forcing an extra cause to something that you've already explained.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:33 PM   #114
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First, it is generally accepted by scholars that Genesis was written 7,000-8,000 years ago, the part of the Bible I was talking about.
first time i hear this. i would be interested in a source if you have one.

i thought that, traditionally, Moses wrote it around 1500 bc, but in factuality it would actually be redacted from oral tradition a few centuries later
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:39 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
Writing has not been around for 8,000 years. The oldest writings were in China in around 3,000 b.c.
Sorry, I did bad math in my head. I meant 2,500 to 2,600 years old.

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No, it is a very illogical statement that leads to an infinite regression. This is a problem with "intelligent design" as a theory. If you wish to call the products of natural laws "god", then we can agree.
Um, no. It prevents an infinite regression.

Also, for the record, I'm not advocating the concept known in the US as "intelligent design."

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They were still acting as a government or institution and not as a person. There is a difference between personal and impersonal interaction. I would even suggest that is where the difference between morals and ethics arises.
So I can murder millions of people so long as I'm acting as a government or institution?

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Where did you get that conclusion? Morals were born out of crude instincts that allowed individuals to form social groups. Humans are not capable survivors when stripped of the trappings of society and technology. Humans thrive in groups and groups cannot form if there are not common "rules of conduct" that can be safely relied upon. That does not suggest that morality has not elaborated over time. The foundation of morality likely had humble beginnings that did not require religion. Instinctual impulse cannot be dismissed as uncontrolled in humans. In fact, it is the very act of managing instincts that is where morality lives.
Wait, I'm confused again. Humans can only thrive in groups, therefore "rules of conduct" evolved in order to survive. These "rules of conduct" are also "innate", i.e. instinctual. So the job of the morality instinct is to manage the other instincts?

It's only a logical conclusion of your statements that "morality" as you understand it does not exist in actuality. The concepts "good" and "evil" don't actually exist, but rather we act the way we do out of a survival instinct. Since "morality" has now been reduced to a mechanism by which human beings survive, ascribing larger truths to that mechanism would be flawed. Therefore there would be no such thing as "rights" or especially "unalienable rights" since any right can now be subverted to the larger goal of mere survival. As a crude example, I would have no moral obligation to keep you alive if your life doesn't help the survival of the species. In fact, I could start making moral arguments in favor of mass slaughter of humans in order to prevent destruction of the environment, which threaten humanity's survival.

As a more real example, you would have had no moral obligation to end slavery, since slavery did not impede the survival of the species, and in fact was economically beneficial to the society as a whole.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:52 PM   #116
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Exactly! Something like the Universe . I don't think that you realize that you just argued against your point.
Actually, I didn't... The problem with the universe popping into existence is that the universe is subject to the rules of the universe, mainly the big one that something comes from something else. It is only possible that the ultimate cause lie outside of the universe, either that or none of our laws to describe nature are even close to accurate, since something could pop into existence with no prompting. To take your example:

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If creators are not required, then how does it help our understanding of reality to posit one? This would be like saying "You know, the force of gravity makes the apple fall to the ground, but let's add a constant for faeries to the formula, because I really like the idea of them pulling them down from the trees while we're not watching, and you can't prove that they don't". It is forcing an extra cause to something that you've already explained.
If the universe is not subject to it's own laws, then it would be entirely possible for gravity to pop out of existence, or suddenly double in strength, or do who knows what else.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:09 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Um, no. It prevents an infinite regression.
No, it does not prevent an infinite regression. The fundamental argument you are making is that:
We exist because we must have had a creator;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;

existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;


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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Also, for the record, I'm not advocating the concept known in the US as "intelligent design."
Good, because it is rubbish.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
So I can murder millions of people so long as I'm acting as a government or institution?
What? I don't understand how you make these illogical progressions.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Wait, I'm confused again. Humans can only thrive in groups, therefore "rules of conduct" evolved in order to survive. These "rules of conduct" are also "innate", i.e. instinctual. So the job of the morality instinct is to manage the other instincts?
Yes. Morality is rooted in managing instincts. It is no more shocking than electronics that control other electronics.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
It's only a logical conclusion of your statements that "morality" as you understand it does not exist in actuality.
It seems to me I very much explicitly stated that morality exists.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
The concepts "good" and "evil" don't actually exist, but rather we act the way we do out of a survival instinct.
Yes, much of our instincts are driven by survival. But we have higher order thinking that runs on top of that survival. Morals moderate our instinctual impulse and ethics guides our societies.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Since "morality" has now been reduced to a mechanism by which human beings survive, ascribing larger truths to that mechanism would be flawed. Therefore there would be no such thing as "rights" or especially "unalienable rights" since any right can now be subverted to the larger goal of mere survival. As a crude example, I would have no moral obligation to keep you alive if your life doesn't help the survival of the species. In fact, I could start making moral arguments in favor of mass slaughter of humans in order to prevent destruction of the environment, which threaten humanity's survival. As a more real example, you would have had no moral obligation to end slavery, since slavery did not impede the survival of the species, and in fact was economically beneficial to the society as a whole.
Why would it be flawed? I clearly stated that morals have elaborated over time but had a humble beginning that did not require religion. That is the point of this thread is it not?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:13 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Actually, I didn't... The problem with the universe popping into existence is that the universe is subject to the rules of the universe, mainly the big one that something comes from something else. It is only possible that the ultimate cause lie outside of the universe, either that or none of our laws to describe nature are even close to accurate, since something could pop into existence with no prompting. To take your example:



If the universe is not subject to it's own laws, then it would be entirely possible for gravity to pop out of existence, or suddenly double in strength, or do who knows what else.
Wouldn't we also expect gods to pop in and out of existence? Notice that anything that you argue in favor of a non-created god can also be said about a non-created Universe, except that the latter would be more parsimonious. Also, anything said against a non-created Universe will likely be applicable to a non-created god as well.

I won't argue further about this since my grasp of physics is far from competent, but I will recommend that you read Hawking's The Grand Design, which explains the possibility of things coming out of nothing, and why this doesn't have the implications that you suggest.

The concepts discussed in the book are far from settled, of course, but it can still give you a good idea about what physicists are actually saying about these things (as opposed to what you think they are saying ).

Something else worth noting is that Laws, in the physical sense, are not like human laws. They're not imposed by someone, and they don't require to be enforced by anyone. They're just a description of how we have observed the Universe to behave.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:14 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Actually, I didn't... The problem with the universe popping into existence is that the universe is subject to the rules of the universe, mainly the big one that something comes from something else. It is only possible that the ultimate cause lie outside of the universe, either that or none of our laws to describe nature are even close to accurate, since something could pop into existence with no prompting. To take your example:

If the universe is not subject to it's own laws, then it would be entirely possible for gravity to pop out of existence, or suddenly double in strength, or do who knows what else.
I already pointed you in the direction of Lawrence Krauss who quite eloquently explains in terms any moderately educated person can understand how you can get a universe out of nothing. I also explained to you that something from nothing has been observed in labs. In fact, the bulk of the the "stuff" that glues atoms together fades in and out of existence.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 03:53 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Wait, I'm confused again. Humans can only thrive in groups, therefore "rules of conduct" evolved in order to survive. These "rules of conduct" are also "innate", i.e. instinctual. So the job of the morality instinct is to manage the other instincts?

It's only a logical conclusion of your statements that "morality" as you understand it does not exist in actuality. The concepts "good" and "evil" don't actually exist, but rather we act the way we do out of a survival instinct. Since "morality" has now been reduced to a mechanism by which human beings survive, ascribing larger truths to that mechanism would be flawed. Therefore there would be no such thing as "rights" or especially "unalienable rights" since any right can now be subverted to the larger goal of mere survival. As a crude example, I would have no moral obligation to keep you alive if your life doesn't help the survival of the species. In fact, I could start making moral arguments in favor of mass slaughter of humans in order to prevent destruction of the environment, which threaten humanity's survival.
Why would you not grant to the human species at least the socialising skills of other animal species? Many species have developed quite sophisticated "codes of conduct" to ensure the survival of the group. Why suddenly call it "morality" when applied to humans?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 04:14 PM   #121
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If I took my morality from the bible I'd be in prison, or a mental institute.

Id have to:
  • Burn a bull on the Altar, it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord. (Lev.1:9)
  • Sell my daughter into slavery. (Exodus 21:7)
  • Forbid any contact with any women during her period. (Lev.15:19-24)
  • Possess Male & Female Slaves, provided they are from neighbouring nations. (Lev.25:44)
  • Put my Neighbour to death, as he insists on working on the Sabbath. (Exodus 35:2)
  • Eating Shellfish is an abomination. (Lev. 11:10)
  • Sadly I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight, I don't have 20:20 Vision. (Lev. 21:20)
  • Kill my friends who insist on having their hair trimmed, including around their temples. (Lev. 19:27)
  • I can no longer play Football, as touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. (Lev. 11:6-8)
  • Kill any Farmer that plants 2 different crops in the same field. (Lev. 19:19)
  • Kill anyone who wears clothing made of two different kinds of thread. (Lev 19:19 Again)

This is inherently the issue I have with people taking their morality from the Bible, condemning Homosexuals and such because "The Bible says it's wrong". Well I have news, the Bible says a lot of things are wrong, yet you do them anyway. If you're going to pick and choose what you want to follow in the Bible, don't condemn and criticize others because they picked and chose different things.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 05:14 PM   #122
Macaddicttt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
No, it does not prevent an infinite regression. The fundamental argument you are making is that:
We exist because we must have had a creator;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;
existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;

existence is the evidence of a creator;
So too a creator must exist;
No, my argument is not that. My argument is that we live in a universe in which one thing must necessarily come from another. Therefore, there must be something that caused the universe, something that caused this universe in which a causal relationship is necessary, that exists merely because it exists.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
What? I don't understand how you make these illogical progressions.
Then by a little clearer with your meanings. I don't understand your response to my pointing out that there are plenty of people who have done horrible things that were doing what they thought was best. Your explanation for such was, "Oh, those aren't morals, those are ethics," as if that excused the possibility that people can do things that are wrong while trying to do what is right and that the concept of what is right and wrong can differ.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
Yes. Morality is rooted in managing instincts. It is no more shocking than electronics that control other electronics.
Except that you're calling one instinct intrinsically good and calling it "morals."

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
It seems to me I very much explicitly stated that morality exists.
Yet all your evidence against religion denies the ability for morality to exist. Morality is the ability to distinguish between good and evil, yet you seem to deny that such a thing even exists, that all that drives behavior that we call "morality" is just a survival instinct. If it is merely a survival instinct, then no action can be good or evil; it just either helps or hurts our survival. And then again, survival has no intrinsic value, unless you choose to believe it does.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
Why would it be flawed? I clearly stated that morals have elaborated over time but had a humble beginning that did not require religion. That is the point of this thread is it not?
Because you've denied the existence of good and evil, merely what helps you survive and not survive. Therefore slavery cannot be evil, and on top of that, it didn't hurt survival so it isn't contrary to our survival instinct. I'm curious as to what grounds you'd argue that our move from accepting slavery to not accepting slavery is an improvement.

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Originally Posted by floyde View Post
Wouldn't we also expect gods to pop in and out of existence?
Well, no. The universe exists because of the Unmoved Mover (I've called it God in this thread, but that seems to cause a hang up for people, since they confuse it with the concept of "gods"), so another Unmoved Mover I guess could appear, but it would be in no relation to this universe.

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Originally Posted by floyde View Post
Notice that anything that you argue in favor of a non-created god can also be said about a non-created Universe, except that the latter would be more parsimonious. Also, anything said against a non-created Universe will likely be applicable to a non-created god as well.
True, although with the non-created Universe, there is no longer any such thing as morals.

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Originally Posted by floyde View Post
I won't argue further about this since my grasp of physics is far from competent, but I will recommend that you read Hawking's The Grand Design, which explains the possibility of things coming out of nothing, and why this doesn't have the implications that you suggest.

The concepts discussed in the book are far from settled, of course, but it can still give you a good idea about what physicists are actually saying about these things (as opposed to what you think they are saying ).
I did read this article, which I found very interesting. So while I understand the concept of the Universe popping into existence (although such a thing might never be proven), it would necessitate that there be no such thing as morals, no such thing as good and evil, merely what is.

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Originally Posted by floyde View Post
Something else worth noting is that Laws, in the physical sense, are not like human laws. They're not imposed by someone, and they don't require to be enforced by anyone. They're just a description of how we have observed the Universe to behave.
Yes, and I do find the word "Laws" to be rather troublesome. Perhaps "forces" is a better way to describe what we mean?

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
I already pointed you in the direction of Lawrence Krauss who quite eloquently explains in terms any moderately educated person can understand how you can get a universe out of nothing. I also explained to you that something from nothing has been observed in labs. In fact, the bulk of the the "stuff" that glues atoms together fades in and out of existence.
See above. And also, what happens in a lab happens in the universe, a thing that exists. We have no idea where this "stuff" comes from, and to just throw up your hands and say, "Well, it must have come from nothing," is foolish, I think. I would imagine that it'd be quite possible that this "stuff" come from something that we merely cannot perceive (yet).

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Originally Posted by skunk View Post
Why would you not grant to the human species at least the socialising skills of other animal species? Many species have developed quite sophisticated "codes of conduct" to ensure the survival of the group. Why suddenly call it "morality" when applied to humans?
I do because I believe in God. Why others, such as the atheists on this forum, insist on calling it "morality" and distinguishing between good and evil is beyond me.

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Originally Posted by Benjy91 View Post
If I took my morality from the bible I'd be in prison, or a mental institute.

Id have to:
  • Burn a bull on the Altar, it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord. (Lev.1:9)
  • Sell my daughter into slavery. (Exodus 21:7)
  • Forbid any contact with any women during her period. (Lev.15:19-24)
  • Possess Male & Female Slaves, provided they are from neighbouring nations. (Lev.25:44)
  • Put my Neighbour to death, as he insists on working on the Sabbath. (Exodus 35:2)
  • Eating Shellfish is an abomination. (Lev. 11:10)
  • Sadly I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight, I don't have 20:20 Vision. (Lev. 21:20)
  • Kill my friends who insist on having their hair trimmed, including around their temples. (Lev. 19:27)
  • I can no longer play Football, as touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. (Lev. 11:6-8)
  • Kill any Farmer that plants 2 different crops in the same field. (Lev. 19:19)
  • Kill anyone who wears clothing made of two different kinds of thread. (Lev 19:19 Again)

This is inherently the issue I have with people taking their morality from the Bible, condemning Homosexuals and such because "The Bible says it's wrong". Well I have news, the Bible says a lot of things are wrong, yet you do them anyway. If you're going to pick and choose what you want to follow in the Bible, don't condemn and criticize others because they picked and chose different things.
Good thing this thread isn't about blindly basing one's morals on a literal reading of the Bible, or any scripture for that matter.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:26 PM   #123
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Good thing this thread isn't about blindly basing one's morals on a literal reading of the Bible, or any scripture for that matter.
Books are static (unless re-written by mere mortals) but Life is not.

Time for the Planet to grow the **** up.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:42 PM   #124
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Books are static (unless re-written by mere mortals) but Life is not.

Time for the Planet to grow the **** up.
I agree. People shouldn't blindly base one's morals on a literal reading of the Bible, or any scripture for that matter.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:54 PM   #125
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I do because I believe in God. Why others, such as the atheists on this forum, insist on calling it "morality" and distinguishing between good and evil is beyond me.
But what do you call the same kinds of behaviours when exhibited by other species?
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