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  1. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    Is there even one example of a value that transends all cultures for all times? A single constant that equally applies to all people at all times past, present and future?
    There are "values" that without which we would be extinct. Being indifferent toward our young or kin and indifferent regarding killing others of our own species. Evolution has binned the 99.9% of our species potential because, for other reasons too, they were not endowed with such attributes.

  2. #15
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    At one time, "traditional values" included owning slaves.
    That's one I'm glad has been left behind.
    As far as liberals being against traditional values, I think you've been watching Fox news for too long.
    I consider myself a liberal, and I believe in many of the things that are called traditional values.
    I don't quite understand your reasoning that liberals don't adhere to traditional values.
    Your question assumes I don't have traditional values. Whatever that means.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  3. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc O'Brien View Post
    Yeah, I would have to agree with Scrogdog. Adamste too actually.

    I have found my ethics assignments the most difficult. And it seems so too have all of histories philosophers. Meta-ethics, Normative Ethics and Practical Ethics.

    Firstly, on relativism. We need to keep in mind the difference between values and facts. Natural facts too. We cannot say that because the Vatican used to believe that the sun orbited the earth it used to be true that the sun orbited the earth. We know that this view was plain wrong and that the Vatican always were clearly very mistaken. Relativism doesn't work with these sorts of facts. Then neither can we argue the "what is" to "what ought to be" method either - the question remains open as there can never be a logical link between what is to what ought. Consider the good Samaritan - his action is likely to give rise to the most happiness for the greater number of people, but the question remains open, is it the morally right thing to do?

    Philosophers generally agree that there is in fact no such thing as "Human nature". Jean-Paul Sartre, for instance in his Existentialism and Humanism.

    Kids spend a lot of time calibrating their emotions and physical/logical understandings of the world around them. Kicking dogs and all stuff experimental. In the end they pretty much all choose to follow the right morals - really because they already were sufficiently empathetic to see what our right morals are. If they were not already innately empathetic then they would not have seen how obviously easy it is to adopt our existing moral system.

    Morals are not a factual things though. They are more of a common sense thing. Like it used to be common sense that the sun revolved around the earth. That is a good example of what we mean by the expression "common sense" which is very different from "true justified beliefs" established by logic and observation from a position of systematic doubt. Slavery used to be a common sense necessity. It was an acceptable belief and practice because it was common sense.

    A J Ayer 1910 - 1988 offered a system of explanation called EMOTIVISM.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Jules_Ayer

    And as far as I took my thinking of ethics I agree with Alfred Ayer, who concluded that ethical statements are literally meaningless. They do not express any facts at all. Instead they express the speakers emotion. Moral judgments have no literal meaning at all, they are just expressions of emotion like grunts, sighs or laughter. When we say torture is wrong or you ought to tell the truth you are doing little more than showing how you feel about torture or telling the truth. Like shouting Boo to torture and Hooray to telling the truth. Nick names the Boo/Hooray theory. Just as when someone shouts Boo or Hooray they are not simply showing how they feel but usually are also trying to encourage other people to share their feeling. So with moral statements the speaker is simply trying to persuade others to think likewise about one or another issue.

    Empathy - How can I expect you to live or be treated like that when I know I would not like to live or be teated like that. It is an aspect of the human condition that we have to work out our value judgments on our own and without any guidelines. Empathy - I wonder what it must be like to be you.
    Do you believe that our decisions, choices, personal values, emotions are simply the result of chemical-biological reactions then?

    I am trying to figure out how pure biology and the firing of synapses can possibly be the cause of our actions. If evolution is true then is who we are, how we behave, what we value, what we decide the result of some mechanical, chemical, biological response system?

    This is where are I am going with the question, are we just matter without an immaterial part making up who we really are. Can pure matter and molecules actually account for everything that makes us responsible human beings? Or is there more, something immaterial, spiritual?
    "No matter how thirsty your imagination, mirages contain no water"

  4. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    Do you believe that our decisions, choices, personal values, emotions are simply the result of chemical-biological reactions then?
    No, that is how they are communicated. Thinking takes place on another scale much smaller but in a purely energy based environement in which the randomness of quantum dynamics affords us free will. That is also pretty much how our Epicurus, the post Socratic Greek philosopher, put it back around 250BC.

    I am trying to figure out how pure biology and the firing of synapses can possibly be the cause of our actions. If evolution is true then is who we are, how we behave, what we value, what we decide the result of some mechanical, chemical, biological response system?
    Evolution is true. No doubt about that. The theory to explain the fact of evolution now also gives very reliable predictions easily varified. If there is a god, who designs us and all other living things, is that how he does his work, through evolution? Sort of a young not so experienced god who screws things up 99.9% of the time?

    This is where are I am going with the question, are we just matter without an immaterial part making up who we really are. Can pure matter and molecules actually account for everything that makes us responsible human beings? Or is there more, something immaterial, spiritual?
    Explanations offered to day are not really that much better than those offered by Socrates. But I think Epicurus got it right. Quantum Theory and the Plank Scale.

  5. #18
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  6. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc O'Brien View Post
    No, that is how they are communicated. Thinking takes place on another scale much smaller but in a purely energy based environement in which the randomness of quantum dynamics affords us free will. That is also pretty much how our Epicurus, the post Socratic Greek philosopher, put it back around 250BC.



    Evolution is true. No doubt about that. The theory to explain the fact of evolution now also gives very reliable predictions easily varified. If there is a god, who designs us and all other living things, is that how he does his work, through evolution? Sort of a young not so experienced god who screws things up 99.9% of the time?



    Explanations offered to day are not really that much better than those offered by Socrates. But I think Epicurus got it right. Quantum Theory and the Plank Scale.
    If our decisions and the resulting actions are due to purely mechanistic, chemical-biological activity controlled by some random chance Darwinistic evolutionary process then how can we hold anyone responsible for their actions?

    However, if I do have an immaterial part occupying this physical body then holding me personally responsible for my actions is most reasonable.

    The monistic theory of man just does not make sense to me when we consider that man's actions, decisions, choices, thoughts, values and the fact that we can be held responsible are considered.
    "No matter how thirsty your imagination, mirages contain no water"

  7. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    If our decisions and the resulting actions are due to purely mechanistic, chemical-biological activity controlled by some random chance Darwinistic evolutionary process then how can we hold anyone responsible for their actions?

    However, if I do have an immaterial part occupying this physical body then holding me personally responsible for my actions is most reasonable.

    The monistic theory of man just does not make sense to me when we consider that man's actions, decisions, choices, thoughts, values and the fact that we can be held responsible are considered.
    The Greeks grapled with this paradox. Epicurus was a quantum theorist - back in 250BC - that makes him the first on record to explain free will.

    Immanuel Kant resolved this puzzle but by merely asserting that man was self-commanding. That nature outside of mans mind was a world of cause and effect but mans mind iteslf was free of cause but caused itself. Modern quantum theories seem to agree with Epicurus and Kant.

    If God gave man free will to see what man would do then of course God is not omniscient. If God is omniscient then he always knew exactly what each man would do and needen't have hung around to see happen exactly what he always knew would happen.

    The Euthyphro Dilemma...
    Does god love what is good or is what is good only because god says it is good?
    In the first instance goodness is independent of god and can be explained without the mention of god. In the second instance morality becomes arbitrary, where god could have even declared murder good if he wished, and god itself would only be good because it thought itself to be good - again all too arbitrary. Both ways god loses. Both ways god makes no sense when it comes to morals. Socrates discovered this dilemma.
    Last edited by Marc O'Brien; 09-11-2009 at 11:28 PM.

  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    If our decisions and the resulting actions are due to purely mechanistic, chemical-biological activity controlled by some random chance Darwinistic evolutionary process then how can we hold anyone responsible for their actions?
    Why would you think that?
    Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.

    Chapman Cohen

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    The monistic theory of man just does not make sense to me when we consider that man's actions, decisions, choices, thoughts, values and the fact that we can be held responsible are considered.
    Arguments from incredulity are logical fallacies.
    Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.

    Chapman Cohen

  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh B View Post
    Do you believe that our decisions, choices, personal values, emotions are simply the result of chemical-biological reactions then?

    I am trying to figure out how pure biology and the firing of synapses can possibly be the cause of our actions. If evolution is true then is who we are, how we behave, what we value, what we decide the result of some mechanical, chemical, biological response system?

    This is where are I am going with the question, are we just matter without an immaterial part making up who we really are. Can pure matter and molecules actually account for everything that makes us responsible human beings? Or is there more, something immaterial, spiritual?
    We may never know. Different behaviors can be the result of chemical changes. I have known a woman that turns into an evil creature quite regularly depending on the cycle of the moon (one way of putting it in a non-male stereotype).

    One interesting study done was on people's willpower depending on their stress level. I can not remember the exact details but it basically boiled down to taking two groups of people and annoying one bunch but not the other. They sat each person down at a table with a plate of cookies on it and told them not to eat them. They found the group that was stressed were more likely to eat a cookie than the unstressed person.

    I have found similar behavior in myself. Under a lot of stress you make decisions that you might think twice about not under stress. It might account why poor people tend to have more vices than others. The stress breaks down willpower and the short term gain is preferable.

    Prescription drugs are known to change a person's perception of their life so how hard is it to accept the chemical nature of our existence? We barely know how the brain works as it is so anything is possible. We do know that new experiences change the structure of the brain, learning how to play music, for an example sets up different pathways in people that never played before.

    Our upbringing helps to wire our brains in a particular fashion. Maybe the values that we are taught sets the stage on what our values are.

  11. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by geerair View Post
    Arguments from incredulity are logical fallacies.
    http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Arg...om_Incredulity

    I can't imagine I will live my life never being a millionaire therefore I will be a millionaire.

  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc O'Brien View Post
    Things shouldn't change merely for the sake of change. True. But, for example, it once was tradition to trade in and own slaves. To answer your question you'd have to go back and look at all the older traditions now removed and with each one give an explanation. Then apply similar thinking to the more recent changes.

    The old ways may never have been proved correct - perhaps the old ways have recently been understood to be wrong. Circumstances may have changed requiring that the traditional ways be modified to bring the overall system back into balance.

    You'd have to show why each change is questionable - you cannot ask that traditions remain simply because they are traditions.
    Dang, I thought they banned you for life....lol

  13. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by corny View Post
    Dang, I thought they banned you for life....lol
    True they banned Marc for life but this is a new Marc. He morphed into a more bizarre being than he already was. Now he is back on the Internet trying to find some aliens to converse with. You have to realize that he is from the UK the same country that banned the great patriot Michael Savage from setting foot in their socialist state. Maybe we should ban socialist, commies and Muslims from coming over here also. Thank you very much.
    "I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle."
    "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them."
    Barry Goldwater

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