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#510824 - 07/16/03 09:53 PM Re: aliens and christianity.
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Edit - Charles addressed this already while I was typing my post, and probably better, but I already typed this up, so, blah:

Quote:
Originally posted by jeaoure:

How on earth is this circular logic?!


It's circular in the sense that all arguments stemming from it are centripical to the very presumption being challenged. You know, like asserting that Hell exists because the Bible says so. That's swell, but it means nothing at all since the Bible's authority and accuracy are the very thing being challenged. Ex:

CHRISTIAN: God exists.
ATHEIST: I don't think so.
CHRISTIAN: The Bible says so.
ATHEIST: What makes the Bible true?
CHRISTIAN: It's God's Word.
ATHEIST: But God's existence is what I'm challenging.
(loop)

That isn't meant as a sarcastic parody, mind you -- the arguments on both sides are of course far more multi-faceted than that -- but it is the underlying framework of the Christian logic at play, as Jesse strangely confirms. "My argument is correct because I believe in it" is not my idea of a responsible rationale. Getting you guys to agree that your belief in a Christian God is based on faith, not reason, would be good enough for me at this point, but I'm not holding my breath.

It's somewhat irritating to me the thread was resurrected at all, but only because -- like you, apparently -- I find it difficult to withstand its draw.


K

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#510825 - 07/16/03 10:10 PM Re: aliens and christianity.
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
I added some stuff, K. I think our posts complement each other, rather than simply reiterate the same point.
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#510826 - 07/16/03 10:58 PM Re: aliens and christianity.
Joe Zabel Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Did you know you had the 800th post, Madget? Good going, crew! smile
Quote:

Joe: The attribute of [atheism] says nothing about the candidate's actual views
regarding the relevant political issues. ... Knowing that someone is atheist doesn't tell you anything about what they believe-- it only tells you that they don't believe in god.

Jesse: By this reasoning, schools shouldn't refuse to hire an astronomy professor who disbelieves that the earth is round or that stars are larger than they appear. After all, his disbelief in something tells you nothing about what he believes.


Jesse, your analogy is faulty for several reasons. 1) believing in a diety is distinct from believing in a scientific fact. 2) a Supreme Court Justice is concerned with interpreting the law for a multicultural, multi-religious society. His or her personal belief in a god has no bearing. If the person in question was a candidate for a position as a theologian, your analogy to the astronomy professor might make some sense. 3) since you evidently feel it's irrational to hire an astronomy professor from the Flat Earth Society, I take it you agree that it would be irrational to hire a biology teacher who rejects the theory of evolution, since said theory is as well established as astronomical theory.


Quote:

Joe: I wasn't aware that devout practitioners of the Jewish faith had ambitions
of slaying witches.

Jesse: That was a hypothetical designed to remedy your flawed analogy. (Flawed, in that you used a theist -- the devout Jew -- to represent an atheist, which is just confusing in this context.)


Since followers of Judaism and atheists are both non-Christians, the analogy in this case is appropriate. And since your comment about witches 'remedies' nothing, it remains quite strange.


Quote:

Joe: I remember a couple of years ago talking to a [creationist] co-worker, and
hearing him state that the speed of light is constantly changing. ... Hence my concern about unleashing creationism in science courses. The end result wouldn't be a challenge to one theory, but to science as a whole.

Jesse: "I encountered some kooks who belong to Group X...all of Group X must therefore be kooky!" This is like saying NAMBLA is proof that homosexual schoolteachers will molest our boys.

Creationism isn't barred from schools for rational reasons, but because of illogical prejudices like these.


Why is it irrational to cite real-world examples? And what evidence do you have that my co-worker is a 'kook' and is unrepresentative of creationistic Christians? He is a member of a church of similar-minded individuals; he had at least one friend working in the same department (of about 30 programmers) who had similar views. We're not talking about members of Operation Rescue, here; we're talking about typical fundamentalists.

Also, you're dodging the question-- is it only evolution that mainstream Creationists reject, or is it a broader body of scientific knowledge? Jeaoure (no kook, I hope you'd agree) has pretty much said that scientific fact is just a matter of opinion and bias.
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#510827 - 07/16/03 11:12 PM Re: aliens and christianity.
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Another response:

Quote:
Elsewhere, Orr's example of the computer program is ludicrous in that even his example entails a designer. From this we're to conclude that a designer is unnecessary?


No, you're supposed to conclude that inessential changes at time t(1) might become essential at time t(n), independent of any intentional plan for essentiality, i.e., it can happen by accident. Really, Jesse, such a poor reading of Orr on such a simple point doesn't suggest I need to defend his article against you. You seem incapable of conceding anything, preferring to return to broad points that you're particularly invested in. What Orr does is demonstrate, using a current, very provable example, how a simple addition (a line of code)that wouldn't completely stop the current functioning of the design should it be removed can, with enough time and enough changes to other aspects of the design (the program), become essential to the functioning of the overall design, despite the best intentions of the designer and continuous (but variable) functioning of the design through all its history of incremental changes. The designer isn't really the point, rather it's how essential changes might unintentionally be brought about through minor changes. His analogy is all the better for the unguided forces of evolution, since even when a designer's intentions are evident, irreducible complexity is often the function of accident, not a plan. Which brings me back to my asking:

Quote:
Which stage of the evolution of the eye wasn't functional to demonstrate
that its complexity couldn't come about in the various forms of eyeness scientists have witnessed existing on the earth today.

To which you replied: Any stage prior to sight wouldn't be functional. Or perhaps you can cite functional eyes that don't see anything?


A reply, which completely ingores the possibility that sight isn't all or nothing (as my removal of the glasses on my nose demonstrates). To make any reasonable point about the "nonfunctioning" stage of the eye supposedly proposed by Darwinism, you'll have to explain how the proposed more primitive forms of vision don't belong to the category sight. Evolution doesn't claim 2 to 3 billion years of nonfunctioning protoeyes, but functioning protoeyes that eventually functioned better and better as they began to resemble the human eye (or bird eye, or squid eye, or what have you). As for how such a "complex irreducible" as the modern eye is logically feasible through gradual change, see Orr's argument.

Again, you'll need to make an empirical argument, not a logical one, against this possibility.
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#510828 - 07/17/03 01:05 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Finally, may this morality business be put to rest:

Quote:
To attribute morality to an event or circumstance is a misapplication of the word "morality." Morality, as the definitions Joe provided point out, pertains to intents, not results. Harmful events are not "immoral"; they're merely tragic. (Which isn't to deny that immoral choices are also tragic.)


Neither you nor Joe, evidently, knows what you're talking about. Can I get a witness? How about The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy:

Quote:
Ethics [...] is one of the main branches of philosophy. It corresponds, in the traditional division of the field into formal, natural and moral philosophy, to the last of these disciplines. It can in turn be divided into the general study of goodness, the general study of right action, applied ethics, metaethics, moral psychology and the metaphysics of moral responsibility. [...]

The first two, the general study of goodness and the general study of right action, constitute the main business of ethics. Correlatively, its principal substantive questions are what moral principles should govern our choices and pursuits. How these questions are related is the discipline's principal structural question, and structural differences among systems of ethics reflect different answers to this question. In contemporary ethics, the study of structure hsas come increasingly to the fore, especially as a preliminary to the general study of right action. [...]

Goodness and the question of ends. Philosophers have typically treated the questioin of the ends we ought to pursue in one of two ways: either as a question about the components of a good life or as a question about what sorts of things are good in themselves. On the first way of treating the question, it is assumed that we naturally seek a good life; hence, determining its components amounts to determining, relative to our desire for such a life, what ends we ought to pursue. On the second way, no such assumption about human nature is made; rather it is assumed that whatever is good in itself is worth choosing or pursuing. The first way of treating the question leads directly to the theory of human well-being. The second way leads directly to the theory of intrinsic value.

The first theory originated in ancient ethics, and eudaimonia was the Greek word for its subject, a word usually translated "happiness," but sometimes translated "flourishing" in order to make the question of human well-being seem more a matter of how well a person is doing than how good he is feeling. These alternatives reflect the different conceptions of human well-being that inform the two major views within the theory: the view that feeling good or pleasure is the essence of human well-being [hedonism] and the view that doing well or excelling at things worth doing is its essence [perfectionism]. [...]

The second theory, the theory of intrinsic value, also has roots in ancient ethics, specifically, Plato's theory of Forms. But unlike Plato's theory, the basic tenets of which include certain doctrines about the reality and transcendence of value, theory of intrinsic value neither contains nor presupposes any metaphysical theses. At issue in the theory is what things are good in themselves, and one can take a position on this issue without committing oneself to any thesis about the reality of unreality of goodness or about its transcendence or immanencel. A list of the different things philosophers have considered good in themselves would include life, happiness, pleasure, knowledge, virtue, friendship, beauty, and harmony. The list could easily be extended. [...]


Thus, my misapplication of "morality" to something other than intentionality goes back at least to Plato. Morality is simply not just about intentionality, nor is such a reductive simplicity commonly held among moral philosophers throughout history. That's what's called a "standing on the shoulders of giants" defense.
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#510829 - 07/17/03 02:57 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
jeaoure Offline
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Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 800
Loc: Long Beach, CA
Good grief, Charles, can you be bothered to read your own "evidence"? The pursuit of ends, friend, the PURSUIT. Not the ends themselves, and therein lies the morality.
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#510830 - 07/17/03 03:12 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
grendel824 Offline
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Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 2392
Loc: Mission Viejo, CA
I can't see why, at least in certain circumstances, morality cannot be attributed to an action's outcome.

If you have good intentions but act irresponsibly, meaning act without enough information and the end result of your actions is tragic, you can be said to have acted immorally, at least as far as I can see. Of course, I haven't participated much in this area, and doubt I'll have all that much to say.

Pip pip, and all that!

Ed

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#510831 - 07/17/03 07:00 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
Joe Zabel Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Charles-- It certainly fogs things up when, to dispute the definition of morality, you cite a passage from Cambridge that never uses the word 'moral.'

Quote:
Grendell: If you have good intentions but act irresponsibly, meaning act without enough information and the end result of your actions is tragic, you can be said to have acted immorally, at least as far as I can see. Of course, I haven't participated much in this area, and doubt I'll have all that much to say.


In this case, the immorality of the act would be the intention of acting without first collecting enough evidence, and/or considering possible consequences.

If I mixed some onions into Charles soup, not knowing that he was severely alergic to onions, and then he ended up in the hospital because of it, I would have acted immorally because of being so reckless. On the other hand, if Charles had said 'please add some onions to my soup,' I would not be morally to blame for the consequences.
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#510832 - 07/17/03 08:13 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
AAAAHHHH!

Joe and Jeaoure, I'll emphasize:

Quote:
Ethics [...] is one of the main branches of philosophy. It corresponds, in the traditional division of the field into formal, natural and MORAL philosophy, to the last of these disciplines [that would be moral philosophy]. It can in turn be divided into the general study of goodness, the general study of right action, applied ethics, metaethics, MORAL psychology and the metaphysics of MORAL responsibility. [...]

The first two, the general study of goodness and the general study of right action, constitute the main business of ethics. CORRRELATIVELY [as in "not the same thing, but going along with the general study of goodness and the general study of right action"], its principal substantive questions are what MORAL PRINCIPLES [as in "not intention, but the principle that determines whether an intention might be moral" -- a principle that is, as the rest of what I quoted shows, often based on what ends are considered good in and of themselves, e.g. life, happiness, pleasure, knowledge, virtue, friendship, beauty, and harmony] should govern our choices and pursuits.


Note, that a pursuit (not the intention to pursue, I might add, but the pursuit) will be good only insofar as it is for a good end/state/outcome. Intending to know is good only insofar as it increases the likelihood of bringing about the state of knowledge. There's nothing about our intending knowledge to be good that makes it good, it's GOOD IN ITSELF! If knowledge could come about through lethargic osmosis, sitting around not reading and not thinking and not intending to learn, then not intending to gain knowledge would be good. That Jeaoure suggests intentional pursuit is the main point of a section entitled "Goodness and the question of ends" can only be interpreted as willful casuistry, remedial reading skills, or a blinkered reactionary position, unwilling to concede the most minor of points (coming from a self-professed nonconservative and nonfundamentalist conservative fundamentalist? perish the thought). You can disagree with me and Plato that morality (or the philosophy of morality, ethics) is more than intention (or the study of intention), but you're clearly wrong to suggest that Plato and the majority of the tradition following him reduced it to such and that I'm just making stuff up. Yours is the minority opinion, not mine.

case closed.
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#510833 - 07/17/03 09:19 AM Re: aliens and christianity.
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
And kudos to Ed. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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