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Old 02-15-2009, 08:10 PM   #46
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How do any of those things validate free will?

If the human brain operates like an immensely complicated clock with deterministic causal relationships then all of our greatest words and deeds are beyond our control, it excludes a particular type of free will. That is entirely compatible with the

As far as living in perfect harmony with nature I'm going to burst a bubble of naivete and point out the high infant mortality, low life expectancy, environmental degradation, and mass extinctions which accompany stone age humanity. Nature is always in a state of flux, its never in perfect harmony, and the record of extinction testifies to this fact.

The prism of Darwinism undercuts natural theology by explaining the uncomfortable facts about biology as well as the beautiful ones.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:13 AM   #47
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The Judeo-Christian moral philosophy, however, declares that human rights are universal and unalienable. All are created equal in the eyes of the Lord, all have incalculable moral worth, regardless of cognitive or physical capacities, age, social status, health, pigmentation, or residence (including which side of the birth canal you happen to be on).
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I don't think that other apes have the capacity to engage in society with recognition of rights and responsibilities, I do think that they are close enough to make some forms of exploitation morally wrong. Your hostility to the idea that apes are quite close on the family tree and might deserve some protections is quite closed minded.
It seems to me that neither of you have identified what exactly the qualities that entitle a being to legal rights are, nor which legal rights specifically follow from possessing said qualities. "The Judeo-Christian moral philosophy declares..." merely appeals to a source; it doesn't explain the reasoning behind it. (Nor is 'Judeo-Christian moral philosophy' remotely specific enough to be helpful; the teleological doctrine of 'rights' in Aquinas, for instance, is surely as authentically 'Christian' as the deontological doctrine of 'rights' in Locke, yet the two are incompatible--whence even contemporary Thomists, like the Catholic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, ridicule belief in Lockean 'inalienable' natural rights as "one with belief in witches and in unicorns." And frankly, you could make a better case for tracing either doctrine to the ius naturale of the pagan Stoics than to the Bible.) It's not clear to me that A_W is actually advocating legal rights for apes (as opposed to, say, expanded prevention-of-cruelty laws), but if he is, I'm not clear on which qualities he believes warrant the awarding of rights (and which rights).
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:16 AM   #48
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As far as living in perfect harmony with nature I'm going to burst a bubble of naivete and point out the high infant mortality, low life expectancy, environmental degradation, and mass extinctions which accompany stone age humanity. Nature is always in a state of flux, its never in perfect harmony, and the record of extinction testifies to this fact.
Given INDY500's arguments my interpretation of the "perfect harmony" comment was some reference to eden.


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self-sacrifice, care-giving, compassion, healing, charity and saving species from extinction, building great cities and freeing whole populations from tyranny.
Are you suggesting that these traits cannot be observed in other species beyond humans?
Self-sacrifice, as a parent for a child is not uncommon. Ex. Certain species of birds will feign injury to draw a predator away from young.
Care-giving: Again, this can be witnessed outside our species. Numerous species care for their young, or even share the work of raising young. Male lions will play with their cubs.
Compassion: Many apes have been shown to mourn their lost young, and to be comforted by the group. A number of species show interesting acts of what one may call compassion towards the ill or dying.
As for great cities - check out the insect world?

I realize much of this in anecdotal and to some extent there is a level of anthropomorphism regarding interpreting such behaviors, but your arguments regarding the exceptional-ism of humans as a species that somehow inherently gives us alone rights rings hollow to me. Especially given the aspects of humans that you keep highlighting as making us special.
I'm not saying animals have the same mental and reasoning capabilities as us, I highly doubt they wax philosophical about what freedom or rights are...but you should take a closer look at the animal kingdom. There's some exceptional stuff out there.


On a somewhat related note, wasn't there some ruling about rights for apes in France or something this past year?
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:03 AM   #49
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Is there an antonym for anthropomorphism? I suspect that is what upsets some people.

Looking at humans as marvelous animals makes our achievements more impressive than having them handed to us by God.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:32 PM   #50
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It proves that we must constantly remind ourselves that all humans are exceptional. When we allow ourselves to see others as less than us it justifies in the mind actions that otherwise would be unthinkable (slavery, racism, torture as defined before GWB, genocide, pressured euthanasia, forced sterilization, organ harvesting and in my mind late-term abortion).


fascinating. and no death penalty either. nor do you point out sexism or homophobia.

you realize, INDY, that GWB used established torturing techniques used from the Spanish Inquisition all the way through Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot.

so, really, you have no overarching, timeless, eternal sense of morality.

you just have a political agenda.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:08 PM   #51
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I never knew that Time magazine read interland...

What uncanny timing.

Monkeys have a sense of morality, say scientists - Times Online




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Is there an antonym for anthropomorphism? I suspect that is what upsets some people.

Looking at humans as marvelous animals makes our achievements more impressive than having them handed to us by God.
Wow, I just learned a new word: theriomorphism.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:19 PM   #52
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Consider it a thought experiment, I realize the fallacies in this proposition

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It proves that we must constantly remind ourselves that all humans are exceptional. When we allow ourselves to see others as less than us it justifies in the mind actions that otherwise would be unthinkable (slavery, racism, torture as defined before GWB, genocide, pressured euthanasia, forced sterilization, organ harvesting and in my mind late-term abortion).
You also forgot such things as rape, murder and abuse.


Sooooo........does that mean animals never view other animals as less than equal to themselves, and thus never fall into our human justifications that let us carry out such atrocities on one another?

Cause I mean, in that case, if animals rarely disrespect the lives of other creatures, but we tend to constantly fall into that trap - maybe they are better than us?
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:41 PM   #53
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Protesting against slavery and racism as being anti-religious is quite funny, everybody knows the negro bears the curse of Canaan.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:07 PM   #54
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Given INDY500's arguments my interpretation of the "perfect harmony" comment was some reference to eden.
Or so the story goes.
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Are you suggesting that these traits cannot be observed in other species beyond humans?
Self-sacrifice, as a parent for a child is not uncommon. Ex. Certain species of birds will feign injury to draw a predator away from young.
Care-giving: Again, this can be witnessed outside our species. Numerous species care for their young, or even share the work of raising young. Male lions will play with their cubs.
Compassion: Many apes have been shown to mourn their lost young, and to be comforted by the group. A number of species show interesting acts of what one may call compassion towards the ill or dying.
As for great cities - check out the insect world?
I think we're back to anthropomorphism. Hey, I have pets and I love Animal Planet and Disney movies too but I also recognize the clear difference between animals and man.
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I realize much of this in anecdotal and to some extent there is a level of anthropomorphism regarding interpreting such behaviors, but your arguments regarding the exceptional-ism of humans as a species that somehow inherently gives us alone rights rings hollow to me. Especially given the aspects of humans that you keep highlighting as making us special.
I'm not saying animals have the same mental and reasoning capabilities as us, I highly doubt they wax philosophical about what freedom or rights are...but you should take a closer look at the animal kingdom. There's some exceptional stuff out there.
You're very right, nature is fascinating but what can I say other than to say that some of us this take this figuratively and quite literally.



And we think man, given his dichotomous nature, should be striving to raise himself to be more godlike rather than lowering himself to blend in with the animal kingdom.

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On a somewhat related note, wasn't there some ruling about rights for apes in France or something this past year?
Spain is batting leadoff in this bit of lunacy.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:19 PM   #55
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How does acknowledging our origins lower ourselves?

You're placing an insurmountable barrier between human beings and other animals, but the evidence that shows rudimentary morality and sociality in other primates undercuts that case.

There is a gap between human beings and other animals, but it is bridged by 6 million years of incremental divergence which produced our well developed faculties.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:32 PM   #56
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And we think man, given his dichotomous nature, should be striving to raise himself to be more godlike rather than lowering himself to blend in with the animal kingdom.


and you do this by torturing Muslims.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:36 PM   #57
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We can be more godlike by aspiring to be like Shiva (according to a caricatured western interpretation).
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #58
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I think we're back to anthropomorphism. Hey, I have pets and I love Animal Planet and Disney movies too but I also recognize the clear difference between animals and man.
What are the differences?

I see a few.
- An advanced language which uses symbols; much greater information content than other forms of animal communication.
- An advanced level of culture; much greater than taught behaviours in animals, it is cumulative because we record our culture in writing.
- Advanced use of technology; much further along the scale than using sticks to get termites.
- A very large brain; made of the same parts as other ape brains.

Our moral intuitions do exist, I don't think they are as immutable and eternal as your theology makes you believe, however developed they may be the existence of moral intuition in other animals demonstrates that this is an evolved trait and not one handed down from God.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:35 PM   #59
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How does acknowledging our origins lower ourselves?
When you fail to acknowledge the part that makes us truly unique.

Without that you get PETA claptrap like "Meat is Murder." No, no it isn't. Not unless you're a cannibal.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #60
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What part makes us unique, and why isn't meat murder?
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