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Pervasiveness of Religion
#11
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
(December 19, 2012 at 1:56 am)clemdog14 Wrote:
Quote:A by product of evolution? Species that care more for each other survive better.

That makes sense, however, if this is true, why do we have so many wars and killings? Isn't this counterproductive?

Never said everybody on earth did it with the intent of trying insure the survival of everybody else on the earth.
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-- George Yorgo Veenhuyzen quoted by John W. Loftus in The End of Christianity (p. 103).
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#12
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
Quote:Never said everybody on earth did it with the intent of trying insure the survival of everybody else on the earth.

Seems fair enough.
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#13
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
(December 19, 2012 at 2:10 am)clemdog14 Wrote:
Quote:Never said everybody on earth did it with the intent of trying insure the survival of everybody else on the earth.

Seems fair enough.

The violence, or lack of it, doesn't stem from an instinct for specie preservation. If specie preservation was an instinct, then all would err in favor of life. Since it isn't an instinct, it must be a conscious decision of one individual to inflict harm on another.

If it's a conscious decision, then there is a value judgment being committed - one where the violence perpetrator holds his own preservation worth more than that of the victim. It is as easily reversed - indicating that the motivation is subjective. And, the motive is selfishness. If selfishness were removed, and replaced with altruism, then more people would survive to die of natural causes (e.g. old age).

Looking at history, and around at the progress of which mankind is capable, we note that building and progress are best served by cooperation (where the end product, and/or knowledge, is at the very least the sum of the individual contributions).

If building and progress are superior (to further the greater benefit), then can we say the "greater benefit" is a "moral" foundation? And, if this "moral" foundation is agreed to by all, then can we say it is an "absolute morality"?
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#14
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: The violence, or lack of it, doesn't stem from an instinct for specie preservation. If specie preservation was an instinct, then all would err in favor of life. Since it isn't an instinct, it must be a conscious decision of one individual to inflict harm on another.

Incorrect reasoning. If you assume that they are "erring", then there is no way to establish that it is not in favor of life. In fact, outside the human society, most of violence is in fact perpetrated by instinct and in favor of life.

(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: If it's a conscious decision, then there is a value judgment being committed - one where the violence perpetrator holds his own preservation worth more than that of the victim. It is as easily reversed - indicating that the motivation is subjective. And, the motive is selfishness. If selfishness were removed, and replaced with altruism, then more people would survive to die of natural causes (e.g. old age).

Wrong once more. If it is a subjective value judgment that is being made then you cannot say that the perpetrator holds his own preservation to be worth more than the victims. That may or may not be the case. Further, if selfishness is removed and replaced with altruism, then a lot more people would die not only of violence, but also hunger, poverty and disease. Some of the worst instances of violence are committed by those who believe themselves to be acting altruistically or for the greater good.

(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Looking at history, and around at the progress of which mankind is capable, we note that building and progress are best served by cooperation (where the end product, and/or knowledge, is at the very least the sum of the individual contributions).

Thus making cooperation a very selfish endeavor.

(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: If building and progress are superior to further the greater benefit, then can we say the "greater benefit" is a "moral" foundation?

Nope. That's just your subjective value judgment.

(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Noting that the universality (collective acknowledgement and adherence) to this "moral" point is agreed to by all, then can we say it is an "absolute morality"?

Nope. Since there is no collective acknowledgement and adherence to the principle and universality does not equal absoluteness.
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#15
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
(February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm)genkaus Wrote:
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: The violence, or lack of it, doesn't stem from an instinct for specie preservation. If specie preservation was an instinct, then all would err in favor of life. Since it isn't an instinct, it must be a conscious decision of one individual to inflict harm on another.

Incorrect reasoning. If you assume that they are "erring", then there is no way to establish that it is not in favor of life. In fact, outside the human society, most of violence is in fact perpetrated by instinct and in favor of life.

Conceded that “err” was a mistake in phrasing the statement. If you noticed to whom I was responding, then you might have caught onto the implicit tie between my phrase “specie preservation” and the reply-to-quote topping my post (that referred to human purposed fatalities). [Note: Other intra-specie violence rarely manifests as fatality, but rather establishes superiority between any two contestants to access mates or food. The losing contestant misses the chance to breed, or to access a limited food supply, and expires having not perpetuated his DNA qualities. But, the fatality resulting from this missed opportunity is not the overt act of the winner upon the loser – it’s a consequence of the missed opportunity.]

(February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm)genkaus Wrote:
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: If it's a conscious decision, then there is a value judgment being committed - one where the violence perpetrator holds his own preservation worth more than that of the victim. It is as easily reversed - indicating that the motivation is subjective. And, the motive is selfishness. If selfishness were removed, and replaced with altruism, then more people would survive to die of natural causes (e.g. old age).

Wrong once more. If it is a subjective value judgment that is being made then you cannot say that the perpetrator holds his own preservation to be worth more than the victims. That may or may not be the case. Further, if selfishness is removed and replaced with altruism, then a lot more people would die not only of violence, but also hunger, poverty and disease. Some of the worst instances of violence are committed by those who believe themselves to be acting altruistically or for the greater good.

I disagree. A human being is, by his very nature, selfish – observe the infant’s actions. His only concern is discomfort from hunger, personal hygiene, or physical exhaustion – qualities of survival. That self-primacy condition does not disappear with growth into adulthood. The violent perpetrator faces consideration of what happens if the roles of perpetrator and victim are reversed. The perpetrator asks, “Would I want to have happen to me that which I plan to do (extinction) to the victim?” If he asks it, and finds the postulated result repulsive, he is persuaded to consider the potential of life equality between the two of them – an ethical value judgment. If the judgment prevents his continued intent on violence, he succeeds in altruism (Merriam-Webster: ‘(An) unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others.’).

(February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm)genkaus Wrote:
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Looking at history, and around at the progress of which mankind is capable, we note that building and progress are best served by cooperation (where the end product, and/or knowledge, is at the very least the sum of the individual contributions).

Thus making cooperation a very selfish endeavor.

The predominant number of improvements in quality of life we have because of cooperation – building off of others’ ideas and accomplishments. You wouldn’t be participating on this forum if electricity wasn’t harnessed (however produced), transmission of electric power wasn’t invented, micro-design wasn’t possible, silicon computer chips weren’t manufactured (cheaply), circuits weren’t designed into computers, software applications weren’t hosted on computers, and you weren’t taught verbal and written language. All these are manifestation of cooperation. Each contributor added to the sum of the individual capabilities of contemporaries or predecessors… You’re also probably sitting in an air-conditioned house/apartment, sipping a delicious reconstituted freeze-dried or canned (preserved) drink which was heated in a microwave oven or in a percolator. Civilization isn’t built on individual selfishness. If all human beings were motivated by selfishness, then very few technical advances would have occurred. I would go so far as to predict advancement not much beyond subsistence farming with stone and bone implements…

(February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm)genkaus Wrote:
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: If building and progress are superior to further the greater benefit, then can we say the "greater benefit" is a "moral" foundation?

Nope. That's just your subjective value judgment.

I disagree – see the argument provided in the previous statement treatment. You must have a condition in mind where building and progress is not superior – what is that condition?

(February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm)genkaus Wrote:
(February 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Noting that the universality (collective acknowledgement and adherence) to this "moral" point is agreed to by all, then can we say it is an "absolute morality"?

Nope. Since there is no collective acknowledgement and adherence to the principle and universality does not equal absoluteness.

Here, you responded before my final revision was saved. The current form of my ending statement is different from this. But, to respond to this version of the ending – it should read:
“If the universality is collectively acknowledged by and adhered (i.e. agreed) to by all, then can we say it is an ‘absolute morality’?”
I disagree with your response, in context of my revised statement... When an individual holds a value, it is subjective (if only considered in the context of the individual). As the number of human beings agreeing with that value increases, then the subjectivity decreases. When the entire human population agrees with the value, then the very nature of the inclusiveness (all participants belonging to the group) makes the value absolute – for there is no other human being who disagrees.
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#16
RE: Pervasiveness of Religion
(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Conceded that “err” was a mistake in phrasing the statement. If you noticed to whom I was responding, then you might have caught onto the implicit tie between my phrase “specie preservation” and the reply-to-quote topping my post (that referred to human purposed fatalities). [Note: Other intra-specie violence rarely manifests as fatality, but rather establishes superiority between any two contestants to access mates or food. The losing contestant misses the chance to breed, or to access a limited food supply, and expires having not perpetuated his DNA qualities. But, the fatality resulting from this missed opportunity is not the overt act of the winner upon the loser – it’s a consequence of the missed opportunity.]

Incorrect. Intra-species violence resulting in fatalities is much more common than you think. From ants waging war against competing colonies to cannibalism in crocodiles to lions eating the young of their rivals to the aggressive social dynamics of primates.

(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: I disagree. A human being is, by his very nature, selfish – observe the infant’s actions. His only concern is discomfort from hunger, personal hygiene, or physical exhaustion – qualities of survival. That self-primacy condition does not disappear with growth into adulthood.

Nor should it - in my opinion. But clearly, in yours, it can and should be superseded by concern for others - thus making it a subjective value judgment.

(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: The violent perpetrator faces consideration of what happens if the roles of perpetrator and victim are reversed. The perpetrator asks, “Would I want to have happen to me that which I plan to do (extinction) to the victim?” If he asks it, and finds the postulated result repulsive, he is persuaded to consider the potential of life equality between the two of them – an ethical value judgment. If the judgment prevents his continued intent on violence, he succeeds in altruism (Merriam-Webster: ‘(An) unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others.’).

On the other hand, he might find the postulated result repulsive and continues with the violence in order to remove any possibility of the said reversal. Or he might be prevented by consideration of possible reprisal - a selfish consideration. Or he might continue because that one act of violence might - in his judgment - prevent multiple acts against others - an altruistic consideration. Or he might continue if he judges that act to be of benefit to many others - again, an altruistic consideration. Your assumption that any and all altruistic consideration would automatically result in non-violence is clearly false.


(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: The predominant number of improvements in quality of life we have because of cooperation – building off of others’ ideas and accomplishments. You wouldn’t be participating on this forum if electricity wasn’t harnessed (however produced), transmission of electric power wasn’t invented, micro-design wasn’t possible, silicon computer chips weren’t manufactured (cheaply), circuits weren’t designed into computers, software applications weren’t hosted on computers, and you weren’t taught verbal and written language. All these are manifestation of cooperation. Each contributor added to the sum of the individual capabilities of contemporaries or predecessors… You’re also probably sitting in an air-conditioned house/apartment, sipping a delicious reconstituted freeze-dried or canned (preserved) drink which was heated in a microwave oven or in a percolator. Civilization isn’t built on individual selfishness. If all human beings were motivated by selfishness, then very few technical advances would have occurred. I would go so far as to predict advancement not much beyond subsistence farming with stone and bone implements…

Did you even read what you just wrote? You just listed so many tangible, material advantages a person may gain as a result of cooperation. As an extremely selfish individual, how would the promise of all these advantages not motivate me to cooperate? I'd say that the civilization is built on individual selfishness. It is because everyone is selfish that they realize the great advantage to be had through cooperation.

(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: I disagree – see the argument provided in the previous statement treatment. You must have a condition in mind where building and progress is not superior – what is that condition?

Personally - my condition is that it is not superior if it costs me more than it benefits me.


(February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm)yoda55 Wrote: Here, you responded before my final revision was saved. The current form of my ending statement is different from this. But, to respond to this version of the ending – it should read:
“If the universality is collectively acknowledged by and adhered (i.e. agreed) to by all, then can we say it is an ‘absolute morality’?”
I disagree with your response, in context of my revised statement... When an individual holds a value, it is subjective (if only considered in the context of the individual). As the number of human beings agreeing with that value increases, then the subjectivity decreases. When the entire human population agrees with the value, then the very nature of the inclusiveness (all participants belonging to the group) makes the value absolute – for there is no other human being who disagrees.

Revise it once more - because even this argument is incorrect on many levels.

'Absolute morality' would not have any preconditions or qualifiers. You provide a pretty unlikely precondition of collective acknowledgement and adherence.

The subjectivity of a value remains unchanged by the number of people sharing it. If everyone in the world started liking chocolate, that would not make it an absolute taste, it would remain subjective. Subjectivity means dependence upon a person or persons' consciousness or will. Increasing the number does not affect it.

Further, absolute morality would be equally applicable to all times and places. Therefore, even if your precondition were to be met and everyone did agree upon a moral code, the very fact that everyone did not agree upon it in the past would make it non-absolute.
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