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Old 24th February 2019, 01:18 PM   #441
MRC_Hans
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Not being obtuse at all. Perhaps you see your own fault in another?

If you're born with red hair and you retain that colour naturally all your life, then red is exclusively the default colour of your hair. If you dye your hair another colour then you have chosen for your hair to be another colour. A chosen colour is not a default colour. If you can't keep dying your hair for some reason it will grow back to the default red colour even though your preferred choice might be the dyed colour.

Atheism is exclusively a position you are born with. Default positions are neither adopted nor re-adopted they are only reverted/returned to if they have been replaced by choice for a time.
I seem to miss what you are arguing here. My claim was that atheism can be a deliberate choice. I must assume that you are challenging that claim, in which case you are failing on several levels.

Obviously, the fellow dying his hair has deliberately chosen a new color. If he stops dying his hair, he has deliberately chosen the revert to his natural color.

That some may, for whatever reason, have to revert without choosing so is irrelevant for the argument.

But it gets worse. While hair colour is something you are born with, atheism is different things. The young infant is atheist because it knows nothing of theism (and probably doesn't care). It is atheist by circumstance.

The person who has at some time adopted a belief, but later, upon reflection, abandons it and becomes atheist does know of theism, but has rejected it. They are atheist by deliberation. Thus they have not reverted to their infantile atheism.

Hans
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Old 24th February 2019, 01:28 PM   #442
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Again here, I have to wonder what it is you are really arguing.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Of course, no one is 100% moral. The problem is with those who are one percent moral and have the power to harm others (Critias). I suspect that the number of these people among the global leaders of politics and economy is quite high. On the other hand this is also a problem when in our daily lives we meet - or depend upon - such a person. And it is a problem for us when we are faced with a situation in which morality demands some small sacrifice on our part. Even then, not as strong as the others, we wonder why we should sacrifice. Why to be moral?
We may disagree on how many profoundly immoral people exist, but they do exist. Some even succeed. So? What is your point?

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Morality is supposed to be a brake on society not becoming the law of the jungle.
And we see that despite glitches, law of the jungle does not prevail. The world is far from perfect, but we have national and international laws that are largely enforced and respected. So what is your point?

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Hans says there are rules that every society imposes. Social norms. This is called conventional norms because they depend on social pressure, more or less contractual or imposed. But social norms are not moral norms.
They are not? Can you define the difference?

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I may not comply with a social norm in the name of morality. I can risk facing legal or social sanctions because I believe they are unjust. That happens every day.
You may not agree with all social norms, but you can choose to obey them anyway or you can be a norm-breaker (and perhaps suffer the consequences). Fine, but what is your point?

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In addition, I may not comply with a social norm thinking that it harms me personally and that I can make a profit by not complying with it. To violate a social norm because my act goes unnoticed, because I deceive those around me or because I have the strength to impose myself on the rest, is something quite common, unfortunately.
Which seems to confirm that morality is relative and ruled by social norms.

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So you cannot invoke the existence of social norms to explain the imperative nature of moral norms. They are two different and often conflicting things.
I don't think Hans (and Hans) are trying to explain "the imperative of moral norms". Rather, at least I am arguing that such an imperative does not exist.

Hans
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:02 PM   #443
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
The OP is searching for a reason to believe yet I see a constant discussion of religion. Religion is made by man, a flawed creature, so religion is likewise flawed. Everyone has a different belief and who's right? Who knows. Maybe nobody.

If I were looking for a reason to consider a higher power at work I'd take a look at Nature. Man has such a need to proclaim himself God, yet with all his knowledge he still cannot create the spark of life. Oh certainly he can work with existing life, add a few genes here and there, fertilize an egg, map DNA, clone things and many other wonders, yet the creation of life is beyond man's reach.

He increases his knowledge, which is a good thing. Searching for answers to the unexplainable is an admittedly noble cause. Yet I think it can be also be noble to realize and admit there are mysteries and processes that cannot and may never be explained. Life exists and it was not created by man. Is it too much to ponder that the creation of life is above man, so something above man has accomplished this creation?

I guess you could call it what you will. A higher power, God, Nature, aliens, luck etc. But life suggests there is something that has done something greater than man can accomplish.

Chris B.
Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
At last check, man HAS already become able to create a viable cell from scratch, DNA and all. Not complicated life, yet, sure, but plenty to count as a "spark" of life. And, of course, progress is continuing.

Good reply Aridas.

The wording of ChrisBFRPKY's post is puzzling where he sets up the case of man not being able to accomplish something a god has. It is not an argument about this at all - well for non theists anyway. It is an argument about something being created without a guiding hand.

And what is this "Man has such a need to proclaim himself God" crap.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:14 PM   #444
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Are you objecting... that it's not being assembled from the atomic level (despite the distinct inefficiency of that when there's obviously better options for what they were doing) and thus it doesn't count? Or is your objection more along the line of that standardized parts being able to be used in multiple similar things disqualifies them from being used to make something new?
Yes it doesn't count as they are using ready made parts taken from real examples of life and building from those. This is simply tweaking something that already exists into something else, not creation of life.

Chris B.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:43 PM   #445
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I would rather say that, sure, it's normal to feel awe at great things. In any of the meanings of the word great. We're all awed by the pyramid of Cheops or by a gothic cathedral, I would think. Well, most of us, at least.

The potential problem is not there, but really in what one does with that new information.

E.g., I go to the Seville cathedral, THE largest gothic cathedral in the world, and it impresses the pants off me. Well, that's what I told the cops, anyway. Being impressed and/or in awe is normal.

But from there I could:
- conclude that it was probably built by people, same as any other cathedral in the world, or
- insist that only magic could have made it possible, or
- start believing that only aliens with tractor beams could have done it, or
- attribute it to divine intervention,
or a few others.

Thing is, only one of those beliefs is reasonable. For the others, the existence of the cathedral or the awe are not really a reasonable reason to believe.

Even if I don't know exactly how the architects calculated those buttresses in an age before vectors were even a notion, or how the workers lifted those huge stone blocks, and all, then saying "I don't know" is really the most honest and intellectually valid option. Going for an extrapolation from what we know from other cathedrals, even if it's just "they were made by people" is the next best thing. Just taking it as an invitation to invent gods or aliens or mighty sorcerers floating the stones is really the... least smart option.

Edit: actually, no, that's not true. One can go one notch dumber, and invent or buy a whole narrative of what those gods or aliens wanted, and how to appease them. E.g., god must have built that cathedral, therefore don't be gay.

And while it may seem obvious even to the most devout believers when it's about a cathedral, replace "cathedral" with "cell" and you get exactly that kind of 'god did it, therefore here's rules X, Y and Z'.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:52 PM   #446
Aridas
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
Yes it doesn't count as they are using ready made parts taken from real examples of life and building from those. This is simply tweaking something that already exists into something else, not creation of life.

Chris B.
Mmm. The biggest single counterargument to this position is that it's inconsistent with... the standards placed on just about anything that can reasonably be called similar.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:55 PM   #447
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, I accept that that is a valid interpretation of the OP question. I don't really challenge your answer; such could indeed be the reasons for many to believe.
Thanks.

Quote:
The way I see it is that people adopt a belief if they feel they have a need to believe. There exists no rational or evidence-based grounds for belief in a god, so it must be based on personal need, or cultural pressure.

Hans
Yes, I agree. From what I've experienced and seen, either a need or a desire to believe is the primary driver.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:57 PM   #448
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Well, that even makes sense.
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:06 PM   #449
MRC_Hans
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
Yes it doesn't count as they are using ready made parts taken from real examples of life and building from those. This is simply tweaking something that already exists into something else, not creation of life.

Chris B.
Well, this might well be the way life actually happened: Various building blocks came together.

But, I don't understand the argument. Why is man somehow the gold standard? Sure, man can't do ... a lot of stuff. So what? Does this prove anything except that ... man can't do just anything?

Hans
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:28 PM   #450
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Right. I have seen this a little and heard of it a fair bit and (referring back to the OP) I agree , it seems counter-intuitive to me as well that this would be an effective way to convince people to believe.
Yes it seems a dodgy strategy and is probably not the opening gambit played when Christianity moves into new territory. I assume promise of life after death will always be big winner, to get the foot in the door, and some of the unsavoury stuff can be introduced later. I would really like to know what the spiel of missionaries sounds like, when they make their opening pitch.


Quote:
That does sound interesting, though from the title, I'm surmising that his and my experience would have been pretty different. I don't think it will help me to try to justify my decision to reconsider my faith based on someone else's discontent. Maybe some of his frustrations would resonate with me as well though.
Your "experience" is often in your own hands. I would suggest the bulk of the faithful just sing the songs and say the prayers, confident that the guy in the pulpit has everything in hand. Reading about the dubious history of the church and sacred text, is not even thought of.

The author of the book was one that did delve into the detail with dramatic consequence. The similar consequence Dan Dennett found among his "disbelieving clergy". Many of whom lost their faith in seminary when studying the history of scripture.

Quote:
I'm not a historian by any stretch, but it seems to me that the history of Christianity is similarly bloody to the history of about any other group. I think that's pretty strong evidence that Christianity, like most religions, has been largely coopted for political purposes since inception. I think that may be a big part of why my experience has been different than the examples you have seen. It sounds like the people and places where you have experienced Christianity are very politically-charged. Politics are a little less divisive here in Canada than a lot of other places I think, and there was about an even mix of "liberals" and "conservatives" (and "NDP", which will only make sense if you know Canadian politics), in the church I was a part of. Faith and the church was very separate from "the state" in that setting and I think that made a big difference.
Oh, no doubt there are other causes for bloodletting in man's history other than religion and religions other than Christianity being culpable. Christianity must claim a large chunk of it though I think you would agree. Not just war bloodshed either when you consider the executions because of heresy and such.

--------

You are an interesting, unusual, and I might even say inspirational case attempt. Oh sure there are heaps of folk leaving churches in the West now, but I think in the main, they just sort of slip out, without thinking about it much. I meet these people all the time and it frustrates me to talk to them. They left the religion they were brought up with, without good reasons, and the door is ajar.
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:28 PM   #451
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
...Well, I have two grandpas which fought in a war supposed to end "judeo-bolshevism", and one was crippled too. I hope I can be excused if I don't see Xianity as that big happy peaceful family that doesn't do any divisive stuff

I'm not trying to goodwin it, btw. It's just where they happened to be involved in a war that was justified by ancient religious hatred. Wrong time, wrong place, maybe, but that's the time and place I happen to have as the example that's close to home.
Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful response. I've read through the whole reply a few times and have just snipped so I could respond to the last bit; and then only to say of course, I agree. It would be silly to suggest that christianity is, or ever was, a big happy family. My own example was only meant to note that when separated from politics, it seems possible for it to also be separated from the violence and anger and cruelty that have been such a part of its history.
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:45 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I seem to miss what you are arguing here. My claim was that atheism can be a deliberate choice. I must assume that you are challenging that claim, in which case you are failing on several levels.
Not true. Your claim was not "can be", it was "is". They don't mean the same thing.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I originally challenged the declarative assertion that atheism IS a choice and IS a rejection of god.

I might have accepted “can be”.
I'm done with this sub-debate.
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:47 PM   #453
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
The OP asked why people believe
Reading comprehension fail. That is not the OP question. At all.
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Old 24th February 2019, 03:57 PM   #454
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Good reply Aridas.

The wording of ChrisBFRPKY's post is puzzling where he sets up the case of man not being able to accomplish something a god has. It is not an argument about this at all - well for non theists anyway. It is an argument about something being created without a guiding hand.

And what is this "Man has such a need to proclaim himself God" crap.
Well...

According to the theists god created DNA which as we know is constructed from the four bases ACGT.

Science has synthetically created an additional four bases (SBPZ) creating a far more complex DNA structure than god came up with. (ACGTSBPZ)

This may seem like a scientific curiousity, but it is a death blow to ID.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:04 PM   #455
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, this might well be the way life actually happened: Various building blocks came together.



But, I don't understand the argument. Why is man somehow the gold standard? Sure, man can't do ... a lot of stuff. So what? Does this prove anything except that ... man can't do just anything?



Hans
We can't make stars, which on most levels are a lot simpler than cells, so God must have made them. I can't make a violin so God must make them.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:18 PM   #456
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
OP: I can't conceive of any reason anyone would ever believe. Can anyone supply one? I'm very interested.

Me: Ok. Here's a way I've heard and seen people explain it, first hand.

Other: I don't believe that's true or likely

Me: Okay, that's understandable, given your experience, but there's my experience nonetheless.

Other: Well, it's not about you.

Me: Okay, I guess I bow out so you can enjoy your echo chamber.
Hi - I admit I often take your posts more as being positive propaganda for your particular god beliefs and community rather than examples of why I or anyone should believe in a god. I also admit I’m possibly wrong to do this and I apologise for doing so if I’m totally wrong. We all believe what we believe is correct, many times we’re all wrong.

I’ve been debating with theists on this forum since early 2006 and outside the forum for my entire adult life. My experience has been that the theists have always been more interested in supporting and promoting their god beliefs rather than honestly and openly evaluating and debating them. Perhaps I’m unfairly taring you with their brush?

I’ve never responded to any of your posts with anything like “I don't believe that's true or likely “. I appreciate and enjoy your posts and accept them as being as genuine and honest as your biases allow. Which also applies to myself .
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:30 PM   #457
Aridas
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
This may seem like a scientific curiousity, but it is a death blow to ID.
For better or worse... no, it's not. ID doesn't rest on the premise that said Creator made the most complex things possible to make at all, which means that that doesn't actually create any dilemma at all, not even a false one.
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Old 24th February 2019, 11:02 PM   #458
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I would have to agree. ID really IS religion through the back door (which, come to think of it, sounds like a porno I once saw) but that's kinda it: it's trying to be sneaky about it. Well, the kind of sneaky it can be when it's by dumbasses for dumbasses, so not very. You don't want to confuse the semi-literate rednecks in the audience into thinking you're NOT all about God, just have them think it totally fools everyone else. As such, it tries to pretend that oh, noes, it's totally not making the argument that it has to be God, it just says it's too complex to be natural. They're just saying SOMEONE had to design it. They're not saying it absolutely had to be a god. (Except when they get to how it totally had.)

As such, TECHNICALLY even if if it's designed by aliens or humans, it still fits ID. It's still DESIGNED by some INTELLIGENT entity. So showing that you can do ID on a cell is not really contradicting it.

However, I'll return to it being quite transparently an argument for religion, and more specifically a monotheistic religion. You know, the kind that is the theological equivalent of kindergarten kids arguing whose dad could beat whose dad, and inevitably one goes "well, my dad is INFINITY times stronger than your dad." So showing that man can do a better job than God, kinda IS weakening that part when they try to handwave that it was God all along.
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Old 25th February 2019, 12:31 AM   #459
Aridas
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So showing that man can do a better job than God, kinda IS weakening that part when they try to handwave that it was God all along.
Sure. That would weaken it. It's just that we're not yet to the point where man's work has actually has been shown to be better, more optimal, or pretty much anything else of relevance via that route yet. If I were to try to make an argument about man doing a better job/improving upon "Abrahamic god's work", I'd be much more likely to cite GMO's, honestly. That still might not get past the "everything's been deteriorating since Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden" claim, but that obviously has its own issues.
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Old 25th February 2019, 12:56 AM   #460
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Additionally, you'll note that I allowed plenty of room to rank existing norms as better or worse. The idea that whatever is the current system is automatically the best possible, is just your own strawman. I even EXPLICITLY mentioned before using sociology, psychology or neuroscience to see if we can find out what worked better for other societies. If you can show that you have something that works better, I'm all for it. But the operative word is: works.
You say that there are some criteria that allow you to compare "existing" standards and say which is better and which is worse: “To rank existing norms as better or worse”. I suppose the same criterion will also be able to tell me which norm not yet in existence would make it possible to "work better". Perhaps, if we are able to say how to carry it out, that norm could be better than an existing one. Isn't that so? At least, that's what happens in all political systems (utopian or not). Politicians or civil society propose rules to improve existing ones. Do we agree? I hope you won't deny this.

Those criteria to know what norm "works better" must be above existing social norms because you cannot value an existing norm baśandose in itself. There will be an extrinsic tool, over the existent norms, to know if standard A is better than standard B. I hope we agree with that too.

You say that these criteria are provided by the human sciences (psychology, neuroscience and sociology). I would like you to give an example so that I know what you are talking about. An example of how these sciences give a standard of action, what is good or bad for us. When we have it, I will explain my position better.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:02 AM   #461
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Well...

According to the theists god created DNA which as we know is constructed from the four bases ACGT.

Science has synthetically created an additional four bases (SBPZ) creating a far more complex DNA structure than god came up with. (ACGTSBPZ)

This may seem like a scientific curiousity, but it is a death blow to ID.
That is interesting. So how long can this new 8 base DNA structure survive on its own?

Chris B.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:06 AM   #462
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I don't think Hans (and Hans) are trying to explain "the imperative of moral norms". Rather, at least I am arguing that such an imperative does not exist.
Then you can't say someone's good or bad. The terrorist or his victim is the same, and everything that blame the killers in the name of the victims of the Twin Towers attack is hypocrisy or stupidity.

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Old 25th February 2019, 01:17 AM   #463
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Yes, there actually are quite trivial examples where science gave us better ground for coming up with rules than wise men (holy or not) gazing at their navel. Off the top of my head:


1. in the European middle ages trying to stay clean was filed under vanity. After all Jesus himself said you don't have to wash your dishes or hands, because only what comes OUT of your mouth can make you unclean, not what goes INTO it. So they actually levied punitive taxes on soap, same as we today levy on tobacco and alcohol.

Well, microbiology nixed that idea quite thoroughly.


2. Raising prices during a famine was seen as profiting from the misfortune of your fellow man. The local authorities and especially the church quite routinely tried to fix prices to prevent that kinda profiteering.

Nowadays we know from economics and sociology that that just makes it worse. If merchants can't charge more for their taking longer routes to bring more food there, and paying all the tolls and robber barons in between, they're not gonna bother.

Effectively the rules pulled out of the butt by the wise theologians just transformed some shortages into outright starvation, and caused unnecessary extra suffering instead of preventing it.


3. In the Xian middle ages, and even nowadays by some Muslims, lending with interest was seen as a sin. Because it means you're profiting from your fellow man's being in need. I.e., surely it's something immoral and forbidden to good, moral Xians or Muslims.

Economics says that that just limits the availability of capital, and stunts economic growth. Again, a rule that was supposed to be protecting people actually turned out to cause more unnecessary poverty. And we learned from an actual science, economics, that that rule was bad.


4. Consuming anything above your supposed station was, again, filed under vanity and considered immoral. Hell, there were actual sumptuary LAWS against it. This not only included merchants wearing a little fur trim, which only the nobles should have, but even stuff like making the shoes a little longer and more comfortable was blasted by the church as wasteful vanity.

Nowadays, well, people wanting better stuff is how our economy works. Telling people to sit on their money, if they have extra, instead of buying vanity stuff, doesn't really help the economy at all. Turns out that we were better served by listening to the economists than to wise men in funny robes.


Etc.

So, yes, we can use science to make more informed choices about what rules serve us best.

And yes, not all rules are automatically the best because they happen to be the current ones. I just gave the above examples of morality rules that were the current rules at some point, but it turned out that they're not necessarily the best.

And yes, that does mean that there probably are even better sets of rules that we haven't figured out yet.

But we all know that, really. If anyone thought that the current laws and rules are the final best set, we'd just disband the parliaments and forbid judges from making any new interpretations. After all, there'd be nothing they can do to improve the perfect optimum, if what we have is the perfect optimum. But we know it's most likely not there yet.

But, again, someone must make a good argument that the new rules actually work better. And, again, the operative word is: work. Just that some smart cookie in an ivory tower thought up an utopia, doesn't mean we'll just throw out everything that works and go for something that doesn't.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:24 AM   #464
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Then you can't say someone's good or bad. The terrorist or his victim is the same, and everything that breaks the clothes of the victims of the Twin Towers attack is hypocrisy or stupidity.
I'm not sure what kind of confusion of mind can make one interpret it like that.

The whole point of having rules is that we can apply them. We just don't need them to be this magical divine set of absolute rules, totally above and disconnected from the humans that made them. We can apply what we have.

I mean, in economics or medicine or anything else we can say that doing X is good and doing Y is bad. E.g., in medicine, that brushing your teeth and washing your hands is good, whereas wiping your ass with your hand and making yourself a sandwich without washing in between is bad. E.g., in law that asking stuff that the witness didn't personally see or hear is bad, whereas making sure you get everything relevant in a deposition and making sure to get all relevant objections on record is good. E.g., in economics, that lowering interest rates in a recession is good, whereas raising them in the name of austerity can turn it into an outright depression. Etc.

But none of that depends on having some imaginary absolute economic or law manual in the sky, that trumps what we mere mortals can come up with. It just involves applying what we have. And that, yes, a bunch of humans came up with.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:34 AM   #465
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, this might well be the way life actually happened: Various building blocks came together.

But, I don't understand the argument. Why is man somehow the gold standard? Sure, man can't do ... a lot of stuff. So what? Does this prove anything except that ... man can't do just anything?

Hans
Absolutely, life could be attributed to luck and I mentioned that in my prior post. Of course that would assume one would have to accept there is such a thing as luck. I guess that would lead to another question though, how one could prove the existence of luck.

Man is the highest form of life that we know of. I guess that would kinda place us as the gold standard. There are many things man can and cannot do. Things that are beyond our current ability seed questions for the curious.

To have so much life in so many different forms all on one planet is an awful lot of luck. Can man rule out an explanation for something he doesn't understand and further cannot duplicate? It's beyond our understanding. So we are left with the fact that something beyond our understanding is responsible for the creation of life. Whatever term may apply, there it is.

Chris B.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:45 AM   #466
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not sure what kind of confusion of mind can make one interpret it like that.

The whole point of having rules is that we can apply them. We just don't need them to be this magical divine set of absolute rules, totally above and disconnected from the humans that made them. We can apply what we have.

I mean, in economics or medicine or anything else we can say that doing X is good and doing Y is bad. E.g., in medicine, that brushing your teeth and washing your hands is good, whereas wiping your ass with your hand and making yourself a sandwich without washing in between is bad. E.g., in law that asking stuff that the witness didn't personally see or hear is bad, whereas making sure you get everything relevant in a deposition and making sure to get all relevant objections on record is good. E.g., in economics, that lowering interest rates in a recession is good, whereas raising them in the name of austerity can turn it into an outright depression. Etc.

But none of that depends on having some imaginary absolute economic or law manual in the sky, that trumps what we mere mortals can come up with. It just involves applying what we have. And that, yes, a bunch of humans came up with.
Yeah but... Unless we have a big sky daddy to tell us what is good or for the best we don't know what is good for the best so anything can be good or the best! We have no way to determine for ourselves what is good or for the best!

Seriously that is what you are going to get back HansMustermann.

It of course fails as an argument if the objection to humans coming up with what is considered good or the best is "unproveable“ because it is subjective. A sky daddy giving rules does not make those rules objective, just moves the subjective criticism back a step. For one to have a valid argument for the sky daddy being objective you have to be able to prove he is in fact being objective. And good luck with that.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:50 AM   #467
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
Absolutely, life could be attributed to luck and I mentioned that in my prior post. Of course that would assume one would have to accept there is such a thing as luck. I guess that would lead to another question though, how one could prove the existence of luck.

Man is the highest form of life that we know of. I guess that would kinda place us as the gold standard. There are many things man can and cannot do. Things that are beyond our current ability seed questions for the curious.

To have so much life in so many different forms all on one planet is an awful lot of luck. Can man rule out an explanation for something he doesn't understand and further cannot duplicate? It's beyond our understanding. So we are left with the fact that something beyond our understanding is responsible for the creation of life. Whatever term may apply, there it is.

Chris B.
It being impossible to rule out doesn't make it automatically a reasonable belief, though.

E.g., I might not understand how the light in the fridge turns off when I close the door. And it may not be possible to fully disprove that there's a race of invisible elves living in my fridge that turn it on and off. But even the most devout godbotherers would think I'm crazy if I started proselytizing the religion of the fridge elves and telling people how the fridge elves want us to behave.

E.g., on a more serious note, for most of human history we didn't really understand how fire works. And sure enough, there were plenty of fire gods and fire spirits and such. E.g., the original idea of Vesta for the Romans wasn't just a goddess of the fire, she was THE flame itself. But if you look back at it, you know, it kinda wasn't all that reasonable a belief after all.
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Old 25th February 2019, 01:56 AM   #468
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yeah but... Unless we have a big sky daddy to tell us what is good or for the best we don't know what is good for the best so anything can be good or the best! We have no way to determine for ourselves what is good or for the best!

Seriously that is what you are going to get back HansMustermann.
I'm not even sure of that.

He seems to have dropped the idea that religion deals any better with it -- and in fact refuses to even deal with religion by now -- but strangely not the previous claim that we have to abandon atheism to deal with it. (Which makes it a pretty nonsensical proposition: switch from !X to X, because... it makes no difference whatsoever. Well, then why?)

It's by now just harping on why atheism and secular morality have a "problem", although religion has the same "problem", but somehow he only wants to discuss it as an atheism problem and we're not to compare it with religion. And on why it's a real, fundamental and unsurmountable problem, even though everyone else can deal with it just fine. But they're apparently just not smart and/or honest enough to know that they have an unsurmountable problem. Yeah, verily, they're so dumb that they dealt with it just fine

So really that's what I'm expecting to get more of.

I'm willing to be surprised, though.
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Old 25th February 2019, 05:32 AM   #469
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It being impossible to rule out doesn't make it automatically a reasonable belief, though.

E.g., I might not understand how the light in the fridge turns off when I close the door. And it may not be possible to fully disprove that there's a race of invisible elves living in my fridge that turn it on and off. But even the most devout godbotherers would think I'm crazy if I started proselytizing the religion of the fridge elves and telling people how the fridge elves want us to behave.

E.g., on a more serious note, for most of human history we didn't really understand how fire works. And sure enough, there were plenty of fire gods and fire spirits and such. E.g., the original idea of Vesta for the Romans wasn't just a goddess of the fire, she was THE flame itself. But if you look back at it, you know, it kinda wasn't all that reasonable a belief after all.
That's very true. Hence why I suggest that the origin/creation of life is unknown and has happened by something we do not yet understand. Whatever that may be. It's up to the individual to form his or her own hypothesis.

I personally don't think religion has anything to do with it and is not required. Man created religion, he did not create life on planet Earth.

I checked my fridge for elves, none in mine either.

Chris B.
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Old 25th February 2019, 06:29 AM   #470
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Well, sure, it's up to the individual to form their own hypothesis. But for some of those hypotheses, it's up to the rest of us to hypothesize how someone can be that daft
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Old 25th February 2019, 07:40 AM   #471
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Then you can't say someone's good or bad. The terrorist or his victim is the same, and everything that blame the killers in the name of the victims of the Twin Towers attack is hypocrisy or stupidity.
Classical excluded middle ground fallacy. That there is no universal imperative moral does not imply that there is no moral at all.

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Old 25th February 2019, 07:53 AM   #472
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
Absolutely, life could be attributed to luck and I mentioned that in my prior post. Of course that would assume one would have to accept there is such a thing as luck. I guess that would lead to another question though, how one could prove the existence of luck.
Luck? What exactly is 'luck'? Isn't it just a random incident that happens to go your way?

The creation of life may well be due to random instances that happened in the right environment. Since we are life forms, we call it luck.

Quote:
Man is the highest form of life that we know of. I guess that would kinda place us as the gold standard. There are many things man can and cannot do. Things that are beyond our current ability seed questions for the curious.
Actually I think it's the opposite: Because we are man, we regard ourselves as the gold standard. There are quite a few very successful life-forms on Earth that might reasonably regard themselves as the apex of evolution, were they so inclined.

Quote:
To have so much life in so many different forms all on one planet is an awful lot of luck.
Well, it's an awfully big lottery and it has run for an awfully long time. It it were a common weekly Lotto, all of the numbers would have been out at least once by now.


Quote:
Can man rule out an explanation for something he doesn't understand and further cannot duplicate? It's beyond our understanding. So we are left with the fact that something beyond our understanding is responsible for the creation of life. Whatever term may apply, there it is.
No, that is not a valid conclusion. We may be quite capable of understanding it, we just haven't found out yet. A century ago (and a bit), the basic character of electricity was not understood by man. ... And so on.

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Old 25th February 2019, 08:09 AM   #473
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yes, there actually are quite trivial examples where science gave us better ground for coming up with rules than wise men (holy or not) gazing at their navel. Off the top of my head:


1. in the European middle ages trying to stay clean was filed under vanity. After all Jesus himself said you don't have to wash your dishes or hands, because only what comes OUT of your mouth can make you unclean, not what goes INTO it. So they actually levied punitive taxes on soap, same as we today levy on tobacco and alcohol.

Well, microbiology nixed that idea quite thoroughly.

(...)Etc.

So, yes, we can use science to make more informed choices about what rules serve us best.

And yes, not all rules are automatically the best because they happen to be the current ones. I just gave the above examples of morality rules that were the current rules at some point, but it turned out that they're not necessarily the best.

(...)

But, again, someone must make a good argument that the new rules actually work better. And, again, the operative word is: work. Just that some smart cookie in an ivory tower thought up an utopia, doesn't mean we'll just throw out everything that works and go for something that doesn't.
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not sure what kind of confusion of mind can make one interpret it like that.

The whole point of having rules is that we can apply them. We just don't need them to be this magical divine set of absolute rules, totally above and disconnected from the humans that made them. We can apply what we have.
.
No one denies that science helps to make more informed choices. This is not the problem. What we are discussing is whether science can demonstrate that our ends are better than those of our opponent.

Put another way: Science tells us that A is a factual situation and that x is the best means to move on to another factual situation B, if we want to move on to B.
.

I am going to assume that in the examples you have given everyone agrees that B is better than A, irrespective of additional considerations that could complicate the assessment. Let us assume that there are goals that everyone seeks and that science has found a way to achieve them without all contradiction.

So let us suppose that the means by which situations B can be maintained, that is to say hygiene, economic laissez-faire, bank loans and the extreme consumption of the rich, are means that science shows are suitable for moving from A to B.

So the examples you have proposed have a flaw: they are not examples of moral dilemmas. If everyone agrees that the correct purposes are B, what we have is a technical scientific problem: how to move from a situation of facts A to B. This will be discussed by scientists from the point of view of science. There is no moral problem.

For there to be a moral problem there must be two alternatives that are not discussed in terms of how to get to B, but question whether B is actually an end in itself.

I'll give you an example: My friend B has been accused of a non-existent crime. But the neighbors come to my house and ask me to sign a petition for B to be convicted. I think it's unfair, but I'm afraid my neighbors will mess with me. B asks me not to sign. What does science have to say about my decision?

A different one: The pacifists hold demonstrations to condemn the war my nation is waging against a small country because they say it is unjust. The President accuses them of lack of patriotism and sends a few to prison. A friend asks me to sign a manifesto in their support. What does the science say about this?

In addition, your approach has another problem: it presupposes that "working" is one criterion for deciding whether one morality system is better than another. It is the criterion that allows you to reject relativism or subjectivism. But I don't understand what "working" is. Does something work by the mere fact that it exists? I don't think that's what you're saying, because you would have to recognize that North Korea exists as much as Sweden does today,Then the two "work" and are equally morally valid. On a personal level, too, things are ambiguous, because for many individuals it "works" being scoundrels and for others it "works" being honest. That is relativism.

If "to work" is simply a matter of discarding utopian systems, it has nothing to do with the principle of morality. It is simply an addition to the concept of good. Let it not be illusory. Okay. North Korea is not illusory. Is it a good political system morally speaking? Can we compare it with Sweden? I don't think your criterion of "working" is very clear. Could you clarify this?
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Old 25th February 2019, 08:12 AM   #474
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Classical excluded middle ground fallacy. That there is no universal imperative moral does not imply that there is no moral at all.

Hans
So what is the criterion for deciding whether the 9/11 terrorists were scoundrels or heroes?
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Old 25th February 2019, 08:23 AM   #475
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yeah but... Unless we have a big sky daddy to tell us what is good or for the best we don't know what is good for the best so anything can be good or the best! We have no way to determine for ourselves what is good or for the best!

Seriously that is what you are going to get back HansMustermann.

It of course fails as an argument if the objection to humans coming up with what is considered good or the best is "unproveable“ because it is subjective. A sky daddy giving rules does not make those rules objective, just moves the subjective criticism back a step. For one to have a valid argument for the sky daddy being objective you have to be able to prove he is in fact being objective. And good luck with that.
I absolutely agree.

A crazy woman said she talks to God on the phone every night.
"How do you know that it is really God," the doctor asks.
"He says he's God," she replies.

How does Abraham know that the voices that command him to kill his son are from Yahweh? What if he is crazy? What if it is the devil tempting him?
Nothing and nobody can stop Abraham from deciding himself which voices to believe. He is always alone no matter how much a heavenly father pretends to have.

Being an atheist has an advantage. We know that we are alone in the world and we don't invent weird voices. The lucidity.

And the anguish of freedom.

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Old 25th February 2019, 10:05 AM   #476
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So what is the criterion for deciding whether the 9/11 terrorists were scoundrels or heroes?
Norms and morals of our society.

Same as the ones that, in the middle of last century deemed allied bomber crews to be heroes, although they wreaked far more destruction on innocent people.

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Old 25th February 2019, 10:08 AM   #477
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
No one denies that science helps to make more informed choices. This is not the problem. What we are discussing is whether science can demonstrate that our ends are better than those of our opponent.

Put another way: Science tells us that A is a factual situation and that x is the best means to move on to another factual situation B, if we want to move on to B.
Basically, yes, any science can only tell you how to get to B if you want to get to B. Medicine also totally can only tell you how to get healthy, IF you want to get healthy. Economics can totally only tell you not to invest in Ponzy schemes, IF you don't want to become poorer. Etc.

I mean, if hypothetically you misunderstood taxation and actually believe that you'd end up with more money if you lost about a hundred thousand and moved in a lower tax bracket, then obviously it it can't tell you NOT to invest a hundred thousand in Ponzi schemes, now can it?

LUCKILY, though, most members of society are fairly predictable in that aspect. If situation B is better for them than situation A, they tend to want to move from A to B.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am going to assume that in the examples you have given everyone agrees that B is better than A, irrespective of additional considerations that could complicate the assessment. Let us assume that there are goals that everyone seeks and that science has found a way to achieve them without all contradiction.
I don't think it's a matter of EVERYONE agreeing. A majority is enough.

Plus, I think we already agreed a couple of threads ago that in philosophy there is no difference between saying "B is better than A" and saying "you should go for B." So at the very least we can say that, for example, given a choice between being hungry because the prices went up, and outright starving to death because some moralizing soul fixed prices and now nobody brings more food into town, yea, I think it's pretty safe to say that the former is better the latter, which is to say, we can say "you shouldn't do price-fixing".

But, anyway, I think it's a fair assumption at least for those examples, don't you? I mean, for example the one about washing hands is hardly controversial, I would think. I don't think many people would go "well, I WANT to get a food poisoning, and you can't stop me"

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So let us suppose that the means by which situations B can be maintained, that is to say hygiene, economic laissez-faire, bank loans and the extreme consumption of the rich, are means that science shows are suitable for moving from A to B.

So the examples you have proposed have a flaw: they are not examples of moral dilemmas. If everyone agrees that the correct purposes are B, what we have is a technical scientific problem: how to move from a situation of facts A to B. This will be discussed by scientists from the point of view of science. There is no moral problem.
I'm pretty sure that a few people managed to find a moral and/or religious dilemma in just about anything imaginable.

I mean, even something as uncontroversial as "put a flippin' lightning rod on your house, so you don't risk it burning down in the next thunderstorm" was FIERCELY opposed by the church as sinful (i.e., immoral) because man presumes to think he can dodge God's wrath. Like, what if you're an immoral villain, and now you don't have to fear God smiting you down any more, hmm? They changed their mind when it started to look like God's only angry at churches any more, but they did raise a stink before that.

And I'm pretty sure that Vanity is still at the top of the list of deadly vices according to Catholic doctrine, no matter what economics say.

But ok, let's go with your observation as, at the very least, close enough. Eventually most of us did agree that that those are the better solution. Operative words: "eventually" and "most".

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
For there to be a moral problem there must be two alternatives that are not discussed in terms of how to get to B, but question whether B is actually an end in itself.
OK, I can go with that too. How do you answer that question, then? Because if there is no evidence-based way (which is really all that science is, really) to show that B is better than A, and you don't trust people to make that decision, well, what do you base that on, then?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'll give you an example: My friend B has been accused of a non-existent crime. But the neighbors come to my house and ask me to sign a petition for B to be convicted. I think it's unfair, but I'm afraid my neighbors will mess with me. B asks me not to sign. What does science have to say about my decision?
I'd say leave it to the courts? We already have many hundreds of years of figuring out what kind of a legal system works better. The whole "dilemma" (and imagine me doing conspicuous air quotes around "dilemma") seems to be whether to apply a system that works well enough, or short-circuit it in a way that's known to work worse. In light of what you wrote before that paragraph, why would that even qualify as a "dilemma" to you?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
A different one: The pacifists hold demonstrations to condemn the war my nation is waging against a small country because they say it is unjust. The President accuses them of lack of patriotism and sends a few to prison. A friend asks me to sign a manifesto in their support. What does the science say about this?
Again, it seems like the choice is between (A) democracy and rule of the law, and (B) an autocratic arbitrary decision. I'm pretty sure we already know that A works better than B. The evidence is already in that corner. I don't need any extra science there. So I'm not sure why you think that's a dilemma?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
In addition, your approach has another problem: it presupposes that "working" is one criterion for deciding whether one morality system is better than another. It is the criterion that allows you to reject relativism or subjectivism. But I don't understand what "working" is. Does something work by the mere fact that it exists? I don't think that's what you're saying, because you would have to recognize that North Korea exists as much as Sweden does today,Then the two "work" and are equally morally valid. On a personal level, too, things are ambiguous, because for many individuals it "works" being scoundrels and for others it "works" being honest. That is relativism.
Look, it's really quite simple:

1. even in the darkest hour for freedom under Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or yes, Critias's tyranny or Kim of North Korea fame, their systems still had systems in place to deter someone from, say, mugging you for your cash on your way home from work. It's a system that works (to various extents) in the real world, with real people.

2. the same can't be said about sitting on your ass fantasizing about how perfect it would be if the bad guys all believed in the same absolute morals and the love of Jesus (or tits or anything else) convinced them to never want to do anything bad. As long as you can't actually get to that state B, that fantasy doesn't work because it doesn't DO anything to solve anything in the real world.

#1 may not be the best system. It may even be one of the worst, among the systems that work. But it's still better than #2, which doesn't work at all. At the end of the day, the worst case #1 is still better than the most ideal #2.

I wouldn't have thought it's that complicated a concept, but I'm always happy to clarify.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If "to work" is simply a matter of discarding utopian systems, it has nothing to do with the principle of morality.
Actually, it kinda does. For better or worse, the only systems that work are not those who fantasize about convincing every single Critias wannabe that they should love Jesus and believe in the same absolute morality. They work by dealing with real people who don't. They present a real deterrent to someone who would want to mug you for your money on your way home, whereas just wishing that those guys just wouldn't come to that idea doesn't.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
It is simply an addition to the concept of good. Let it not be illusory.
You know, I can work with that.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Okay. North Korea is not illusory. Is it a good political system morally speaking? Can we compare it with Sweden? I don't think your criterion of "working" is very clear. Could you clarify this?
Well, see, one thing I don't do is the Nirvana Fallacy. I don't just have two states: good and evil. I have better or worse.

Is NK real? Sure. Is it good? No, but it's still better than a utopian system that never worked and can't work. Is it worse than Sweden's system? Well, a pretty darn good case can be made for that.

How would I go about that?

Well, I could go utilitarian for example. (Utilitarianism is another method I mentioned on the previous page, right next to science, so I'm not pulling it out of the ass on the spot.) I'd say clearly it doesn't make most of its people nearly as happy as other systems.

I could go other sciences, such as economics. If you think that wanting prosperity isn't even controversial or a moral dilemma, as you seem to say in the beginning of the message I'm quoting, then clearly the NK system is not just worse. It's an outright epic fail. Their politically imposed autarky has outright tanked the economy.

Etc.

See, it's not that hard to compare real systems. And nowhere did I need an absolute point of where they should be. There are enough criteria for comparing them, that aren't the distance from some absolute morality point.
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Old 25th February 2019, 12:07 PM   #478
attempt5001
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Reading comprehension fail. That is not the OP question. At all.
The Original Poster has explicitly stated this throughout the thread to clarify the intent of the Original Post.
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Old 25th February 2019, 12:09 PM   #479
IanS
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
The OP is searching for a reason to believe yet I see a constant discussion of religion. Religion is made by man, a flawed creature, so religion is likewise flawed. Everyone has a different belief and who's right? Who knows. Maybe nobody.

If you believe that the major discoveries & explanations of science are right, then you can support that "belief" by producing a huge mountain of evidence to show why you should believe those scientific answers are correct.

That is not the case with religious belief. In the religious case the claims are not merely without genuine evidence to support such things as belief in an intelligent creator or belief in miracles or the power of prayer etc., but in fact the evidence we have discovered from science is all (all of it) in direct contradiction to the religious beliefs.

Afaik, claims of miracles and the efficacy of prayer have also been tested many, many, times, and wherever such claims were open to genuine objective testing, those claims have always turned out to be false. In fact a rather larger number of them have turned out to be a deliberate attempted fraud by the religious claimants themselves.

If you (ie anyone, eg a theist) then attempt to extend a defence of religion to the ultimate extent of suggesting that we cannot know for sure if anything at all is really true (as presuppositionalist Christians do), i.e. a direct claim of so-called "hard solipsism", then the scientific/rational/honest answer to that is that (a) we are all forced to live every aspect of our lives on the basis of accepting that what we detect as "reality" in the world around us, is indeed "real", and (b) if a theist is going to claim that we might be just a single disembodied Brain-in-a Vat, then that is his/her claim and as such the burden of proof evidence is entirely upon them to show the details of how any such B-in-V could be possible.
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Old 25th February 2019, 12:39 PM   #480
HansMustermann
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Actually, let me throw in another random thought about deducing some perfect and absolute morality from just the love of Jesus.

Has anyone seen how big, say, the US model penal code is? Yeah, it's several TOMES. Because real humans in a real society have to deal with THAT many issues. And that's just the penal code. Then comes the commercial stuff and such. Etc.

And then there are the legal precedents, because it turns out that even having thousands of legislators across 200 years (not to mention the English code that it's based on, which in turn borrows from other previous codes), you still can't think up every single situation.

I find the notion rather ludicrous that every layman would come up with not just an answer to every single of those issues by just loving Jesus, or being into philosophy, or whatever, but would come up with the perfect, absolute morality answer to them. Basically every semi-literate redneck would do as good a job or better (since apparently what we have is inferior to that absolute morality) than literally thousands of highly educated attorneys and lawyers who dedicated their life to that topic alone.

The kind of people who think that you can get all your answers from the ten commandments, or like Dostoevsky out of just really loving Jesus, haven't thought it through. They can figure the elementary stuff, like "don't kill" or "don't steal" and think that that's the job done. Yeah, no, you're still several thousand pages short of the answer at that point.

Or to be less nice, basically it's a case of Dunning-Kruger. It's like the guys who just learned high-school level mechanics, and think they now know most of physics. It's the same impression I'm getting from those who think that about the legal system.
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