The Great Hippo wrote:
Zcorp wrote:They are not questions that science is silent on, which is something I've stated numerous times.
You cannot derive moral axioms from science; scientific empiricism provides no way to get to the notion that human prosperity is good, or that humans are valuable creatures who should be respected and cherished. Science can tell us the best ways to fulfill
these moral truths, but the moral truths themselves are not in any way scientific.
I never claimed they were, I claimed that our ability to understand human well-being is. The Rational Axiom human well-being is morally good is just that, a reasonable starting position to build on top of. Unlike the unreasonable starting position that God exists and these are the laws he has given to us which we must follow so we can enter heaven.
morriswalters wrote:I don't rely on anything I don't understand. In some contexts, very limited ones, I think reason and rationality are very laudable. But people throw the ideas around as if they can be used for anything. You can reason logically and come to wrong conclusions. To get any use from it you have to be able to see and understand your bias's and overcome them. And currently I see no research that says you can do that reliably, assuming you can recognize them. Very intelligent people can and do make irrational decisions, without the benefit of Religion. So I'm not prepared to embrace the idea without reservations.
Which is why we are discussing Critical Thinking, one of aspect of which is reason. Reason alone is not enough we also need self-reflection. If we can't reflect on the axioms we are already granting we can not challenge those axioms. From there logic is a great tool to arrive at right conclusions.
Otherwise we get the Crusades, Hitler, the US invading Iraq. But this has been covered, many times. I hope you can understand that it is frustrating for this side of the argument to have to restate the same arguments over and over. While your side refuses to defend its own.
In addition, Religious Institutions are conservative and resistant to change. They act as a governor on society and keep us from moving to fast. Since we can't say what Society would have been like absent those structures, its quite easy to argue that things might have been worse had they not existed. There is also an argument that people need something like a God to supply a framework to a random existence.
Please examine your argument here, and try to understand how it is not within the bounds of reason.
"We can't say what Society would of been like absent those structure, it quite easy to argue that things might have been worse had they not existed."
If we can't say that society would of been like, THERE IS NO argument to say what would of been better or worse. By the very premise that we can not say what it would of been like. This is basic logic. You and others arguing on your side consistently make arguments with no logic. Which adds further evidence that people with reliance upon faith have less ability to engage in logic. You are acting the stereotype, right here.
guenther wrote:But people don't have to approach every query that way, and quite often they don't. And there's still value in discussing those sorts of ideas.
What is that value? I've asked this before, each time you have ignored it. What is that value?
As for reason, we have provided you with lots of material, I know its a lot it and it would take you a long while to get through. Please take some time and try and learn what is being argued. That you are resistant to learning this material but wish to argue the point before understanding is, much like Morris, fitting the stereotype. This is one type of behavior that I'm stating I don't find valuable and that I even find destructive. It is also what we are(or if that is overly presumptuous of other people in this thread, I am) accusing Christianity of creating.
First of all, I actually agree with Sam Harris that what he proposes is theoretically feasible, but it's far from being practical today or anytime in the foreseeable future. If people want to probe the science of morality, I'm all for it, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting on it to provide useful results.
So by holding your breath, you mean are you sticking to what you are using now; despite that you know it is flawed and just want other people to do the work for you. Then after years of research and trying to understand humanity and morality you expect them to be able to explain it to you over an forum, despite that you refuse to actually take the time to read and understand any of the material they have spent years (or in some instances people have spent lifetimes) researching and trying to understand?
And most of that is fine, I can't care significantly about quantum mechanics and my area of study, I haven't had the time and realistically probably won't ever have the time to be come an expert in that field. The problem is when you are teaching your children things that decrease potentially their own but certainly societal well-being compared to other options. Or help by contributing to the system you help perpetuate it on a massive scale.
A) While I agree that those are laudable goals, my calculus of value doesn't depend solely on them. I mentioned earlier that my highest value is our ability to care about one another.
B) I don't agree that religiosity hinders those goals. If you think it does, then prove it. People have cited things related to this, but I've seen nothing that demonstrates that something fundamental to religion actually gets in the way. I've made this challenge a number of times. This is how you show weakness in my argument because I'm claiming that religion (and specifically Christianity) doesn't inherently conflict with any of the tools that are measurably demonstrating success. And in the absence of this, I can promote both without contradiction.
The ability to care for one another, or to create better well-being is one of the tenants of Humanism. What else do you value, what do you value that is unique about Christianity? And why is it unique to Christianity? Because the only thing that you seem to be holding on to and refusing to say is a the irrational faith in God and that Jesus is our savior. Either you value those ideas more than Critical Thinking, or you don't. If you do that is certainly a unique value to Christianity, but I think you will have a hard time expressing its unique value beyond that it allows you to self-identify with the majority culture today.
From the data I've provided we can with reason understand that Christianity correlates to:
1) worse writing skills
2) worse reasoning skills
3) worse knowledge of their own religion and other religions (an aspect of this certainly comes from it being a majority culture and thus are exposed to other ideas less frequently and have to defend their own less frequency)
4) A desire to mandate that other people behave in what they perceive God's will to be rather than what is actually good for the individual or society (and thus often decrease the well-being of both).
5) A conviction in belief that prevents them from attaining humility about a given topic and a behavior that expresses little interest in bettering our macro culture; as it teaches duty to self, family and God should placed at a higher value than duty humanity.
The data I've provided does show these things, there isn't really any question about that. There is a question about where you understand that it shows these things. If you don't understand that it shows these things I'd be happy try to explain how it does. But to state you don't agree that religiosity hinders the goals that we've agreed upon, is just you ignoring the data.
Does Christianity have to create those effects? Maybe not for some of them, like writing skills and knowledge of their own doctrine and those of other religions, although some of them are it has to or else it can't reasonably be considered Christianity. Like irrationally putting God above all else, and if someone is doing that it is a rational assumption that they don't understand reasoning.
The problems with our inherent biases can't simply be hand waved away by claiming we'll have better training methods in the future.
Spending years teaching children how to understand themselves, how they behave and how to allow their actions and thinking to dictate their behavior rather than their feelings is not hand-waving it away. And I'm not claiming we will have better techniques in the future, I'm telling you about and pointing you to the techniques we have now for better creating the values we've discussed.
And I don't have to imagine how hard it is, I know how hard it is through experience. It is incredibly hard to change the behavior of someone who thinks they already know the best way to achieve this goals, as demonstrated by this discussion. Part of what these tools teach is humility, that we KNOW that we do not know the best ways, that we need to continually search to find better ways.
However, children do not have those patterns of behavior established and Christianity has to use quite a few very powerful techniques to squash the human capacity for reasoning and induction in children. We are very naturally inductive and curious and only when we are consistently met with social pressures or reward for compliance, as well as answers that continually stifle that progression do we start to decrease in that pattern of behavior (this is again broad, the desire and capacity change based on aspects of the self ( like temperament) and is not just limited to environment).