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Old 07-14-2006, 09:46 PM   #91
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Originally posted by AEON


Wanderer, may I ask - where in an atheistic viewpoint does the idea of an "individual right" come from? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a materialist believes, in essence, we are simple comprised of energy and matter, part of the "furniture" of the universe.

If this is true, what individual rights, or moral value, do I have as a human being over that of a hamster? Or the planet Jupiter?
We are animals with self-awareness, capable of interacting with other people and our environment. The sum of our interactions is a society, societies can have many forms but the one that we are living in is distinguished in the recognition it grants towards the individual. The individual can be quantified, recognition of self would be one key factor here. We take self-awareness to be a defining human characteristic (that may be very anthropocentric but we are talking about human societies). Our defining characteristic as a species and as individuals is self-recognition and if only because it is the most adventageous system the protection of that characteristic should be a factor in our society - it is a characteristic lacking in most other animals and for that reason they should not enjoy the same rights as humans.

I think that the free society is the best form of society because it is not in itself an imposition upon any individuals rights, it grants all people their rights and at the same time allows people to live their own lives without coercion. It is a system of interaction that has proven the most condusive to new ideas and innovations - the advantages it has over other societies as well as a few brilliant quirks of history has led it to dominance (but it is not destined for anything - it can just keep going or fail)

You example of Jupiter is a planet, a Gas Giant - it lacks self-awareness and conciousness, for that reason just like an earthworm or a computer it is not entitled to enjoy rights or excercise liberties.

You cite a hamster as an animal example, but given the history of life on this planet you are looking at two very close examples. Humans and hamsters are each advanced life forms, the hamster however never had the evolutionary advantage of investing the resources into higher brain power. We did and because we are today sentient creatures who are at least capable of forseeing concequences in our interactions. When we interact it is in the knowledge that violations of the law - something that should be derived from logically consistent positions and not an appeal to divine authority - will be punished and that the freedoms we enjoy are enjoyed by others. Other animals do not do this, they are biologically incapable of doing this. I would put the rights of a sentient artificial intelligence above those of a hamster or a goldfish.

We are just vehicles of information replication - genes that propogate effectively need good shells, which is what multicellular life is - an effective means of replicating and protecting biological genetic information, a concequence of natural selection acting upon the innumerable permutations of nucleotides on the early Earth and possibly elsewhere (either extraterrestrial life of panspermia). We are individuals whose interactions are society, the best way to protect the individual is in the confines of the free society as a concequence thats why I think individual rights and liberties and the protection of those freedoms to action are the primary considerations in the laws governing a society.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:52 PM   #92
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You almost make it sound as if right and wrong is decided by science.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:58 PM   #93
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No, science is a system of accumulating knowledge it is removed from morality and society.

Right and wrong are derived from emotion. In an ideal world our laws should be determined from logic and be applied consistently.

My freedom to think the way I do is the same freedom that allows the creationist to do so, it is the same freedom that allows us to criticise heads of state and religious figures. I think that it all very good and it is something that is not present when the law is built from religion.
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:14 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer


We are just vehicles of information replication - genes that propogate effectively need good shells, which is what multicellular life is - an effective means of replicating and protecting biological genetic information, a concequence of natural selection acting upon the innumerable permutations of nucleotides on the early Earth and possibly elsewhere (either extraterrestrial life of panspermia). We are individuals whose interactions are society, the best way to protect the individual is in the confines of the free society as a concequence thats why I think individual rights and liberties and the protection of those freedoms to action are the primary considerations in the laws governing a society.
Eloquent response - I'll give you that.

Just for arguments sake – what if science discovers that macro-evolution is impossible, that the law irreducible complexity nullifies it - and that life was actually created. Would that change your opinion on this? I am not arguing this point here – I just want to know if such a finding would change your position.

Also, what if it can be proven scientifically that free societies are in fact a danger to the survival of our genes - would it then be morally right to say...wipe out 80 % of our population and go back to hunting and gathering? If it was considered best for our genes?

It also seems like we in our free society spend quite a bit of resources protecting “bad” genes – we no longer kill off deformed and mentally disabled children, our strongest quite often die to save the weakest.

Not to mention that Hitler killed off 6 million people in order to rid the world of “bad genes.”

Using “natural selection” to define our morality will place in the lap of the next Hitler a great excuse to convenient destroy what he considered “other than the best” genes. After all, isn’t that what “Of Blood and Soil” was all about? We are simply a product of genes and environment.
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:22 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON



It also seems like we in our free society spend quite a bit of resources protecting “bad” genes – we no longer kill off deformed and mentally disabled children, our strongest quite often die to save the weakest.

What the hell do you mean by this???
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:25 AM   #96
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


What the hell do you mean by this???
That we obviously DO NOT use the "law" of Natural Selection to determine our morality.
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:28 AM   #97
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Originally posted by AEON


That we obviously DO NOT use the "law" of Natural Selection to determine our morality.
No, I mean give me an example of how we do this today...
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:44 AM   #98
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
In an ideal world our laws should be determined from logic and be applied consistently.
I ABSOLUTELY agree with you on this Wanderer! Albeit we have different conclusions at this time.

"Love and logic keep us clear
Reason is on our side, love..."

- Da Boyz
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:45 AM   #99
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


No, I mean give me an example of how we do this today...
Ummm...we no longer take deformed and babies and through them off a cliff...

What are you looking for?

AEON confused...
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:49 AM   #100
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


I ABSOLUTELY agree with you on this Wanderer! Albeit we have different conclusions at this time.

"Love and logic keep us clear
Reason is on our side, love..."

- Da Boyz
"Love and logic keep us clear
Reason is on our side, love..."

I think I'm going to use this as my sig...reading it again reminds me of how much I love this song...I know, a bit off topic.
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:50 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON

Ummm...we no longer take deformed and babies and through them off a cliff...

What are you looking for?

AEON confused...
Well the lines:
Quote:
spend quite a bit of resources protecting “bad” genes
Really?

Quote:
our strongest quite often die to save the weakest.
This one really needs explaining...
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:03 AM   #102
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^
^
We spend money and time on people that Natural Selection would "select against" (this a good thing, btw, just in case you are trying to trap me)

The other point is that parents would die before they would allow their paralyzed kid burn in a fire, soldiers risk their lives to save nearly dead soldiers...there are many examples where love takes precedence over "protecting the genes."

Again, the whole point here is that Natural Selection is NOT the reason human beings have moral value. There obviously must be another reason.
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:07 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


We spend money and time on people that Natural Selection would "select against" (this a good thing, btw, just in case you are trying to trap me)

The other point is that parents would die before they would allow their paralyzed kid burn in a fire, soldiers risk their lives to save nearly dead soldiers...there are many examples where love takes precedence over "protecting the genes."

Again, the whole point here is that Natural Selection is NOT the reason human beings have moral value. There obviously must be another reason.
These examples are few and far between, so I find it somewhat moot.

But I'm not really sure anyone ever really stated that Natural Selection WAS the reason for moral value.

So I'm missing your point.
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:18 AM   #104
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This is a damn good thread, FWIW.
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Old 07-15-2006, 03:16 AM   #105
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Quote:
[i]Originally posted by AEON

Eloquent response - I'll give you that.

Just for arguments sake – what if science discovers that macro-evolution is impossible, that the law irreducible complexity nullifies it - and that life was actually created. Would that change your opinion on this? I am not arguing this point here – I just want to know if such a finding would change your position.
Of course it would, if it was discovered that macro-evolution was false then it raises a lot of questions - for instance the entire fossil record (my field to be), if new species didn't arise naturally then they would have had to be emplaced for the last several hundred million years for animals and billion years for more basic forms. Or our dating mechanisms are completely wrong as would be our understandings of radioactivity and geology - it would completely overturn what we know.

Quote:
Also, what if it can be proven scientifically that free societies are in fact a danger to the survival of our genes - would it then be morally right to say...wipe out 80 % of our population and go back to hunting and gathering? If it was considered best for our genes?
No, that would be a gross violation of rights, the information in our genes is not a marker for life and death by a state - by virtue of being alive and sentient we are afforded those non-negotiable rights. Even if we were sitting before a collapse (and I do not take catastrophism very seriously) I don't think it would justify pre-emptive slaughter.

Quote:
It also seems like we in our free society spend quite a bit of resources protecting “bad” genes – we no longer kill off deformed and mentally disabled children, our strongest quite often die to save the weakest.
Evolution is not always nature red in tooth and claw, human beings evolved to be social creatures, in fact having basic social networks wihin families where grandparents are alive and assisting with child rearing is an example where the protection of less "fit" individuals (the elderly who have already passed on their genetic information) has benefits for the group as a whole. The resources taken to aid the severely mentally disabled reflects the compassion that humans are capable of.

I think that genetic screening and abortion are valid options to be pursued, until birth a foetus is not an individual, it could be argued that until a child is 2 or 3 that they are also not an individual but still they are human and deserve those riights.

Quote:
Not to mention that Hitler killed off 6 million people in order to rid the world of “bad genes.”
The obligatory Hitler point may be a neccessary evil to justify your position. the Nazi style eugenics were practiced on the basis of race nationalism, it was cultivated on a continent with a longer history of religious percecution of the Jews.

There is no inherent superiority within the different races of humanity and every mix in between, there are certainly differences which can be quantified but in terms of individual potential greatness is never limited to a single population and human individualism is shared by all.

Quote:
Using “natural selection” to define our morality will place in the lap of the next Hitler a great excuse to convenient destroy what he considered “other than the best” genes. After all, isn’t that what “Of Blood and Soil” was all about? We are simply a product of genes and environment.
No, you are raising the issue of social Darwinism, which is as much more a representation of the Victorian aristocracy than genuine evolutionary biology. I am not saying that peoples lot in life is strictly the product of their genes, I am not making a case that negative genes must be weeded out - of course I do think that in the future the benefits of genetic engineering should be exploited.

I would argue that having a population who knows and embraces their freedoms are much better placed to resist the populist and as Popper would call the historicist, I think that you are making a mistake in linking Nazi genocide to a scientific basis over the inherently racially driven nature of National Socialism.

A secular free state is condusive to protecting freedoms, your Nazi example is one of totalitarianism and racial percecution ~ no state that practices genocide can claim to be free and a state that neither endorses or persecutes any religion allows freedom of concience, quite simply the model of the secular free state is the best thing for most individuals - if you want to start making your laws moral and implimenting them from the claim of divine right you will end up percecuting those who do not abide to your religious tenents, if that toxic element is kept away from the government but practiced as much and as madly by individuals then there is no problem (America has had a great place in history for enshrining a free and secular state and today it has probably the highest ammounts of belief, continental Europe suffered centuries of theocracy and war and it ends up with the highest rates of non-belief).
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