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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:57 am 
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Ironman wrote:
As for abortion, I'm a left libertarian and a bit of a feminist as well. So from the libertarian side, my position is that it is not something government has any say in. Then I also hold the left wing position that it's a right that must be protected.


Can I drill into this a bit, as I smell a contradiction. The contradiction is in how Americans think about government. My question is, how can a right be protected if the government has no say in it? Wouldn't a true libertarian hands-off government have no opinion either way?

Ironman wrote:
I'm also a secularist and an atheist, so religious arguments do nothing but make me roll my eyes.


This generally understood to be a statement of contempt. Is your contempt based on things like the Catholic Priest sex scandal, or is it more an intellectual issue with believing in an invisible man in the sky, or is it a rejection of the ethics of the worlds' religions?

Since very human society ever know has been religious, we have the curious reality that almost every atrocity committed by a king or government in history has been done in the name of a religion (except for Stalin and others in that vein), but at the same time all of the worlds thinking on ethics, morality, mysticism, society and so forth has been kept by the world's religions (Yes even secular humanism, we can debate that). That seems like a lot of history to throw away with a rolling of the eyes.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:16 am 
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Ironman wrote:
The demands aren't irrational. They may be nebulous and lack specificity, but they are not irrational. It also depends on who you ask. Some people have better answers than others.

Keep in mind, it's not a free market if there are no rules in place to prevent people from cheating. If the market is rigged to favor big business, then nobody else can compete, and the market is not free.


It seems pretty irrational to me to demand 20$ minimum wage. I doubt they thought that one through, Im not saying everything they're asking for is irrational. Your right about the unfair structure for business but I never said it was a free market, just market based. And people still choose with their dollar, although I recognize you have less voting power or w/e when your dirt poor.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:19 am 
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Maybe I'm missing something on this occupying Wallstreet thing. I just can't figure out why the major republican cheerleaders (Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox news) are bad mouthing this thing. The way I see it, it is starting out like the tea party did (and being misinterpreted like they did). I see it as a bunch of really pissed off people pissed off at the corporate oliogarchy, and not necessarily against either the Demos or the Repubs, but definately PO'd at the federal Govt for NOT reigning them in.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:28 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Ironman wrote:
As for abortion, I'm a left libertarian and a bit of a feminist as well. So from the libertarian side, my position is that it is not something government has any say in. Then I also hold the left wing position that it's a right that must be protected.


Can I drill into this a bit, as I smell a contradiction. The contradiction is in how Americans think about government. My question is, how can a right be protected if the government has no say in it? Wouldn't a true libertarian hands-off government have no opinion either way?

Ironman wrote:
I'm also a secularist and an atheist, so religious arguments do nothing but make me roll my eyes.


This generally understood to be a statement of contempt. Is your contempt based on things like the Catholic Priest sex scandal, or is it more an intellectual issue with believing in an invisible man in the sky, or is it a rejection of the ethics of the worlds' religions?

Since very human society ever know has been religious, we have the curious reality that almost every atrocity committed by a king or government in history has been done in the name of a religion (except for Stalin and others in that vein), but at the same time all of the worlds thinking on ethics, morality, mysticism, society and so forth has been kept by the world's religions (Yes even secular humanism, we can debate that). That seems like a lot of history to throw away with a rolling of the eyes.


The distinction is subtle. The government has no say in it, meaning not even the laws where they seek to create red tape. However when someone makes a choice the government has to protect that as a right, since people get to make choices except in certain specific areas laid out by law. So the federal government would need to protect against a state making laws against it, or a cult that seeks to take over a town and control what the citizens do. So they are not having a say in abortion itself, but the liberty of the people to do so. It's kind of a philosophical thing.

I do have contempt for people who use religion as a justification for the things they do like terrorist, and pedophile priests. However I do not have contempt for religious people based solely on their belief. It is mainly an intellectual issue though. They put forth no cogent arguments, rather it's some form of presupposition, and usually has other fallacies as well. With no logical reasoning or empirical evidence, they have no epistemic basis for it. There is no way to even know the god concept without it being made up, due to the lack of epistemic basis. Therefore any gods that happened to exist would have to be in coincidence to any concepts we know of, as well as be actively hiding their existence. So I claim no absolute knowledge, but I find the proposition highly unlikely, bordering on a virtual impossibility. I regard the concept the same way people regard unicorns or dragons. They can't be disproved absolutely, but there's no reason to think they exist.

I do also object to the objective morality written in stone by religions. I will try to keep this lengthy explanation brief, and not dig too deeply into meta-etheics or normative values. Basically, there is no objective source anyone can point to for morality. However as a social species we evolved instincts which give us feelings, kind of like a conscience. The allows us to come up with a good consensus, and make normative moral statements, bridging the is/aught gap. So it's subjective but we can use shared feelings and logic to come up with a pretty good set of ethics.

Yes religion is a cause of so much violence, and I hate religion for this reason. However, I do not hate religious people. You can't say that they are all the same, or follow their religion the same, or behave any certain way. It's a fallacy to generalize any group of people in this way. What a religious person thinks their deity wants, will be exactly what I find to be moral, except for the parts where indoctrination has corrupted such feelings. So a moderate religious person may have a perfectly good set of ethics, despite certain things they are taught, which might be considered bad.

Keep in mind Stalin was a Communist, so he followed a belief system with no more basis in reason or reality than a religion. He had plenty of beliefs from that way of thinking that allowed him to justify all sorts of terrible things.

Humans did evolve to have those sorts of beliefs. It's because of the evolved ability to see patterns, to be able to understand another persons mind and intentions, as well as imagine what they might think about something. It also involves a false negative being much more costly than a false positive. So if you hear the grass rustling and assume it's a lion, no big deal if it's the wind. However if you assume it's the wind, but turns out to be a lion, you become lunch, and do not survive to pass on your genes. So humans evolved to think in that manner.

These are very complicated subjects, so I am being extremely brief here.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:31 am 
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Jebus wrote:
Ironman wrote:
The demands aren't irrational. They may be nebulous and lack specificity, but they are not irrational. It also depends on who you ask. Some people have better answers than others.

Keep in mind, it's not a free market if there are no rules in place to prevent people from cheating. If the market is rigged to favor big business, then nobody else can compete, and the market is not free.


It seems pretty irrational to me to demand 20$ minimum wage. I doubt they thought that one through, Im not saying everything they're asking for is irrational. Your right about the unfair structure for business but I never said it was a free market, just market based. And people still choose with their dollar, although I recognize you have less voting power or w/e when your dirt poor.


It would only be irrational if they wanted it instituted right now, all at once, rather than a long gradual increase. People can't choose with their dollar if they don't have a dollar. The kind of income disparity we have is so great, it translates into power.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:36 am 
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TimD wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something on this occupying Wallstreet thing. I just can't figure out why the major republican cheerleaders (Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox news) are bad mouthing this thing. The way I see it, it is starting out like the tea party did (and being misinterpreted like they did). I see it as a bunch of really pissed off people pissed off at the corporate oliogarchy, and not necessarily against either the Demos or the Repubs, but definately PO'd at the federal Govt for NOT reigning them in.


I agree, that's exactly what this is. It's a bunch of really pissed off people. They have been getting screwed over and over again, and they are just sick of it. The tea party tended to be more right leaning, although diverse in other political views, while the occupy Wallstreet people tend to be more left leaning, but also pretty diverse in other political views.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Interesting how the American Nazi & Communist parties are both endorsing the OWS lol. I guess they both hate corporations so much their willing to set a side differences and work together.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Ironman wrote:
...However as a social species we evolved instincts which give us feelings, kind of like a conscience. The allows us to come up with a good consensus, and make normative moral statements, bridging the is/ought gap. So it's subjective but we can use shared feelings and logic to come up with a pretty good set of ethics.


I'm very intrigued by this attempt to bridge the is/ought gap, I have not heard that one before.

But I wonder myself if the entire is/ought gap is itself a distraction of modern thought. In my own religion we do not concern ourselves overmuch with painting pictures of how the world ought to be, not because we do not care but because it has very limited practical value. Worse, it runs the risk of focusing my thoughts on what "they are doing wrong over there" instead of what I should be doing right over here. In the end I tend toward Aristotelian methods (habits, imitation) of Christian principles (love, kindness, humility (..and I'm not claiming to be good at it)), and find myself delightfully unconcerned with the is/ought gap.

Ironman wrote:
Yes religion is a cause of so much violence, and I hate religion for this reason. However, I do not hate religious people.


But there is a problem here. Religion is pre-historic, and therefore is part of our evolution. I'm not saying you -- Ironman -- are doing this, but it does seem to me that we love to play the game of "guess the evolutionary advantage" when discussing things like upright posture, large brains, permanently swelled female breasts, and so on, but when it comes to religion we suddenly switch to trying to figure out how this "delusion" overcame the entire human race. Seems a bit inconsistent to me. What is the evolutionary advantage in a near universal belief in things unseen? Did we really need that to invent agriculture, display affection toward our children, or learn to fear a rustling in the grass?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:53 am 
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In what I described of morality, I am only sort of bridging the is/ought gap. This is done with normative statements or values. So the metaethics part of this, is very much subjective. After that, we can use the commonality of shared subjective values. The is/ought problem, is still a problem, but only in the context Hume was using. If someone states a fact, and then says that's how it ought to be, in regard to morality, that doesn't logically follow. So the wrongness of a crime, is not any sort of objective fact about the crime, rather it is from your expression of sentiment, your feeling. So in this case what is, is a feeling, which does tell you how you think things ought to be. You can't project your own attitudes onto the thing in question. Your view doesn't affect the act, it's the act that shapes your view. So it really just means that you can't get a moral truth from a nonmoral statement of fact. What is moral, is going to have more to do with preference than anything else. You prefer that people don't hurt you, and you know part of that is not hurting them. Now you may say that if it is preference, enjoying a crime makes it ok. However that ignores the preference of the victim. So moral duties come from people's mutual preferences, you observe those obligations, and expect them to do the same.

Keep in mind is/ought is a technical thing. I am unconcerned with it in the same way you are. It's the same way I am unconcerned about the physics involved in the combustion of fuel, and the reaction driving the cylinders in my engine. It happens without me thinking about it. However I can understand it, if I want to. Also keep in mind that Christianity does not have a monopoly on the values you mentioned, and neither are those the only values taught in the bible. In fact there are plenty of things in the bible that are morally reprehensible. However you cherry pick the parts that speak to your own, built-in moral compass.

Religion came well after our species had evolved, however what gave us religion is something that came from evolution. There is no inconsistency. Whether or not something came from evolution says nothing of the thing's value. We do actually know why we are hardwired to have spiritual feelings, and develop religions. First, people see agency and intent in things even when there is none. This comes from our ability to understand another person's mind, and imagine what they might intend to do, or what they think. You can even wonder what they think, about what you think, or about what you think about what someone else is going to do. This is a major advantage for a social species.

There is also a HUGE difference between a false positive, and a false negative (this evolved prior to humans by the way). If you think a rustle in the grass is a lion, but really it's the wind, it doesn't matter from a survival standpoint. However if you think it's the wind, but it's actually a lion, you don't survive to pass on your genes. So there is a natural selection against the false negative, where as the false positive has no impact.

Part of our ability to think creatively involves seeing patterns too, even when there are none there. So these things all combine to make us hardwired for some sort of spiritual belief, or belief in unseen agency. Religions evolved over time. It started out with someone positing an agency that caused a certain natural process to happen. These later become the gods of mythology that were responsible for particular things. Religion keeps evolving. It is what is called a "meme", which is an idea. Ideas are selected for in a similar way to genes. Most memes are just typical cultural things, like the pictures of something going wrong titled "fail" or "epic fail". LOL cats are another meme. It's really just any kind of mental information that gets passed on.

This is of course, the "short, short, SHORT" version. There are whole books written about these things. That should give you a good idea of what I am talking about though.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:49 pm 
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Ironman wrote:
This is of course, the "short, short, SHORT" version. There are whole books written about these things. That should give you a good idea of what I am talking about though.


Like 'The Believing Brain' by Michael Shermer. I haven't read it yet, but I am finally reading 'The Demon Haunted World' by Carl Sagan, (who's birthday just passed fyi) and his book is kind of an anecdote for our malfunctioning brains.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:05 am 
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Jebus wrote:
Ironman wrote:
This is of course, the "short, short, SHORT" version. There are whole books written about these things. That should give you a good idea of what I am talking about though.


Like 'The Believing Brain' by Michael Shermer. I haven't read it yet, but I am finally reading 'The Demon Haunted World' by Carl Sagan, (who's birthday just passed fyi) and his book is kind of an anecdote for our malfunctioning brains.


Two excellent books, I have read Sagan's book, but I have heard a lot about Shermer's. I also saw a TED talk Michael Shermer did, where he went over much of what was going to go into his book. Another book a long the same vein is "Why We Believe in Gods", by J. Anderson Thompson, who is a psychiatrist, so he focuses on the same psychological things Shermer does. It's a very short, quick read.

When you read "The Demon Haunted World", pay close attention to the chapter "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection". It is an amazing crash course in skepticism, and critical thinking.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:05 am 
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Ironman wrote:
When you read "The Demon Haunted World", pay close attention to the chapter "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection". It is an amazing crash course in skepticism, and critical thinking.


Yeah, I will! I think a course in critical thinking should be taught in high school or atleast, part of the science curriculum.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:50 am 
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Jebus wrote:
Ironman wrote:
When you read "The Demon Haunted World", pay close attention to the chapter "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection". It is an amazing crash course in skepticism, and critical thinking.


Yeah, I will! I think a course in critical thinking should be taught in high school or atleast, part of the science curriculum.


I agree. I think that would do a world of good for people.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:08 am 
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Ironman wrote:
However you cherry pick the parts that speak to your own, built-in moral compass.


You know me well enough to make that statement?

Ironman wrote:
Religion came well after our species had evolved...


This is balderdash. How do you know such a thing? What archaeological, genetic or historical evidence is there? None. This is an unfounded assertion.

Since the entire argument begins by asserting what it looks to prove, it's not worth bothering with, but let's have some fun debunking it.

Humorous-Sarcastic Method: The two candidates for "Patient Zero" of the "All Religion Bad" meme complex are Frederick Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Most agree the infection in its full contagious form began with Freud, as it replaced all atheistic thought that came before it and all current atheistic thought in the West is pure re-hashed Freud. There, you have a meme too! (Or should we just say "idea" and not try to sound smart by making up a new word?)

Humorous-Sarcastic Method 2: Assuming the standard argument that we were fully homo sapiens, living happily hunting woolly mammoths, when some sociopath cooked up religion and used it to knock over everybody else, so that in a form of social evolution only the believers survived, then religion is a positive survival trait. We the religious will destroy you and your offspring, as we have done before! Better join up or die!

Actual Logic: Ok, more seriously, it is not possible for humans to exhibit a trait, simple or complex, that did not arise from evolution. There is no other known mechanism for acquiring traits. Therefore, if all human societies ever encountered have been religious, it must be an evolved trait of homo sapiens to think this way, and that it is a positive survival trait.

So I'm done with this conversation, but in parting, you may enjoy "Evolution" by Stephen Baxter, who (I can't help pointing this out) puts this entire theme squarely where it belongs -- in a science fiction novel. Baxter's expansive imagination comes to full force in this book, where he begins with the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, and tells the story of a small squirrel-sized primate attempting to secure her eggs during the disaster. From there he traces the fossil tree and continues to tell stories of various animals as they gradually acquire the traits that make us human. About half-way through we meet the sociopath who invents religion.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:25 am 
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KenDowns wrote:

Ironman wrote:
Religion came well after our species had evolved...


This is balderdash. How do you know such a thing? What archaeological, genetic or historical evidence is there? None. This is an unfounded assertion.


Well actually theres lots of evidence to suggest that religion came, I'd say before a million years ago, atleast.
http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/media/On% ... cience.pdf

KenDowns wrote:
Humorous-Sarcastic Method: The two candidates for "Patient Zero" of the "All Religion Bad" meme complex are Frederick Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Most agree the infection in its full contagious form began with Freud, as it replaced all atheistic thought that came before it and all current atheistic thought in the West is pure re-hashed Freud. There, you have a meme too! (Or should we just say "idea" and not try to sound smart by making up a new word?)


'Meme' is a real word, and sometimes a meme may arise, by accident and stay in our culture, despite it having no positive impact on our society. for example, people only started wearing baseball hats backwards, I think in the last 40 or less years or so. It really has no specific function, it doesn't block the sun lol, atleast not as good as it would facing forward, but it spread from where ever and is still around.

KenDowns wrote:
Actual Logic: Ok, more seriously, it is not possible for humans to exhibit a trait, simple or complex, that did not arise from evolution. There is no other known mechanism for acquiring traits. Therefore, if all human societies ever encountered have been religious, it must be an evolved trait of homo sapiens to think this way, and that it is a positive survival trait.


Your right! Religion did arise through evolution, but only because our brains evolved to be able to develop such beliefs in the first place.


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