Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
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06-08-2011, 02:51 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, BnW.

Quote:A bit overly simplistic, don't you think? Nothing is bad? What about murder? Is murder bad? Is flying an airplane into a building bad? What about forced female genital mutilation? That has been culturally selected as well, but is it simply adaptive? Or can if fall within the realm of good or bad?

You must feel that you've somehow caught me in something, but you must know by now that I say exactly what I mean.

I cannot imagine how a viewpoint that says all that acts cannot be boiled down to one of two simplistic binary positions but must instead be viewed on an individual basis and in full context can possibly be considered simplistic.

No. Nothing is bad. No. Murder is not bad. No. Flying an airplane into a building is not bad. No. Female genital mutilation is not bad. I can't answer your second to last question because I feel that it's gobbledygook and no, it does not fall into the realm of good or bad. If there is no bad and no good, then no, nothing is bad.

Quote:Secondly, comparing cultural development to Darwinian natural selection is, at best, disturbing and your animal comparisons are, at best, disingenuous.

If you don't believe in Universal Darwinism, that's your prerogative. I have people like Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett on my side. I'm quite comfortable with that. If Universal Darwinism disturbs you, well, I guess all I can muster is too bad, so sad. You can imagine what I think of your accusation of being disingenuous.

Quote:Human beings are not animals and cultures do not evolve through the process of natural selection...

I disagree 100%.

Quote:I agree with you that no culture has a monopoly on the concepts of "good" or "bad" and there is good and bad in all cultures. But, to claim that there can be nothing that is objectively "good" or "bad" is false.

According to you.

As for the rest, beh, whatevs. You disagree. What else is new? Cufflink asked a straightforward question and I gave him an honest and straightforward answer. If you don't like it, so be it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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06-08-2011, 04:26 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(06-08-2011 02:51 PM)Ghost Wrote:  No. Nothing is bad. No. Murder is not bad. No. Flying an airplane into a building is not bad. No. Female genital mutilation is not bad. . . . If there is no bad and no good, then no, nothing is bad.

Most of what I would say in response to this would be superfluous, since BnW has already articulated my position well. I would add, though, that this kind of radical relativism--a complete abdication of moral and ethical responsibility--plays into the hands of those who criticize atheism on the grounds that "without God, anything goes."

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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07-08-2011, 09:40 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, cufflink.

I find it curious that you call it a complete abdication of moral and ethical responsibility. Could you elaborate?

I don't care if people criticise Atheists. Just sayin.

You invoking, “Without God, anything goes,” is curious to me. Because what Theists are saying is that God provides us with an absolute morality. Things are objectively bad or objectively good. It would seem that I am the counterpoint to that view. Morality is neither universal nor a product of revelation, it is a selected culture-specific phenomenon and it is utterly contextual. You're telling me that that is an extreme position, which makes me believe that you feel that there is an objective list of what is good and what is bad. So my question is, where do you get your list of what is good and what is bad and why should I trust it? I do hope however that the answer isn't, "they just are."

In terms of anything goes, I have never said anything like that. Saying there's no such thing as good and bad does not mean I've called for a free for all. Saying nothing is bad (not female circumcision, not crashing planes into buildings, not murder, nothing) does not mean that everything is good. Cancer treatments, flush toilets, fluffy bunnies, blowjobs and Angelina Jolie's lips aren't good because nothing is good. That doesn't mean that those things are bad. It means that nothing should be defined using those terms because those terms are meaningless. I'm suggesting using another method of classification entirely. Act A in context X is either adaptive, exaptive or maladaptive. Act A can be adaptive in context X, exaptive in context Y and maladaptive in context Z. Context, or environment, changes from group to group and also changes over time; therefore, so does morality. Morality is not a product of what people think are the sum of some universal list of what is good and what is bad, which if good and bad are not revealed and not somehow determined scientifically are therefore utterly arbitrary, but instead is determined by the people in a particular context and can therefore not extend beyond that specific context. Christian morality cannot pass judgement on Muslim morality cannot pass judgement on secular morality from New Jersey. All it can do is understand it within its specific context. Within each specific moral code, it is certain that anything does not go. Morality is governed by that moral code.

This is why I do not consider Sharia bad. Do I want to be immersed in it? No. But I no more think it's bad than I think that any other ESS is bad.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-08-2011, 09:59 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
I bet half of those people are on benefits.
I dont understand if they want to live under the terms of Shira Law go back to where you came from where that religion is practised and preached, dont come over and start demanding your laws in a country that already has its own laws, it annoys me how we have to have this "Oh but its there culture, you must not offend them", Well i really dont give a crap it offends me how there trying to implement there laws in the country i live in. They will happly listen to some rules of ares that are benifitial to them but they just carry on trying to get it their way.

Seriously this needs to put to a end, theyre needs to be a once and for all, your in are country abid by the laws that we instated dont come over and then try to change them to what suits you.

I mean loads of people imigrate to England and im happy we get more and more mulitcultral, but i mean if every single one of them came over then started trying to change the laws it would be mess. I dont see why this should be treated any differently just because its there religous beliefs.

"In real life , as opposed to that happy, clappy, rainbow fantasy world that you see fit to fly through on your winged unicorn of delusion" - Mitchell and Webb
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07-08-2011, 02:50 PM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2011 02:56 PM by Observer.)
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
@ Ghost

Aren't you afraid that, should your type of well thought over middle ground reasoning be more widely accepted, it would make the ship un-steerable? Isn't there something to say for taking at least a clear position concerning Shaira?
Nevermind...
I re-read your previous post and found things that got lost in my translation...

Observer

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Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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07-08-2011, 06:22 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(07-08-2011 09:40 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I find it curious that you call it a complete abdication of moral and ethical responsibility. Could you elaborate?

I don't care if people criticise Atheists. Just sayin.

You invoking, “Without God, anything goes,” is curious to me. Because what Theists are saying is that God provides us with an absolute morality. Things are objectively bad or objectively good. It would seem that I am the counterpoint to that view. Morality is neither universal nor a product of revelation, it is a selected culture-specific phenomenon and it is utterly contextual. You're telling me that that is an extreme position, which makes me believe that you feel that there is an objective list of what is good and what is bad. So my question is, where do you get your list of what is good and what is bad and why should I trust it? I do hope however that the answer isn't, "they just are."

In terms of anything goes, I have never said anything like that. Saying there's no such thing as good and bad does not mean I've called for a free for all. Saying nothing is bad (not female circumcision, not crashing planes into buildings, not murder, nothing) does not mean that everything is good. Cancer treatments, flush toilets, fluffy bunnies, blowjobs and Angelina Jolie's lips aren't good because nothing is good. That doesn't mean that those things are bad. It means that nothing should be defined using those terms because those terms are meaningless. I'm suggesting using another method of classification entirely. Act A in context X is either adaptive, exaptive or maladaptive. Act A can be adaptive in context X, exaptive in context Y and maladaptive in context Z. Context, or environment, changes from group to group and also changes over time; therefore, so does morality. Morality is not a product of what people think are the sum of some universal list of what is good and what is bad, which if good and bad are not revealed and not somehow determined scientifically are therefore utterly arbitrary, but instead is determined by the people in a particular context and can therefore not extend beyond that specific context. Christian morality cannot pass judgement on Muslim morality cannot pass judgement on secular morality from New Jersey. All it can do is understand it within its specific context. Within each specific moral code, it is certain that anything does not go. Morality is governed by that moral code.

This is why I do not consider Sharia bad. Do I want to be immersed in it? No. But I no more think it's bad than I think that any other ESS is bad.

If you’re asking me to justify why I apply the word “bad” to things like rape and murder and female genital mutilation and torturing puppies, my initial reaction is a great big “HUH?” Or maybe it’s more in line with what Lord Keynes wrote about his experiences with the British philosopher G.E. Moore. (Indulge me—this is too good not to quote in full.)

"How did we know what states of mind were good? This was a matter of direct inspection, of direct unanalysable intuition about which it was useless and impossible to argue. In that case who was right when there was a difference of opinion? ... It might be that some people had an acuter sense of judgment, just as some people can judge a vintage port and others cannot. On the whole, so far as I remember, this explanation prevailed. In practice, victory was with those who could speak with the greatest appearance of clear, undoubting conviction and could best use the accents of infallibility. Moore at this time was a master of this method—greeting one's remarks with a gasp of incredulity—Do you really think that, an expression of face as if to hear such a thing said reduced him to a state of wonder verging on imbecility, with his mouth wide open and wagging his head in the negative so violently that his hair shook. Oh! he would say, goggling at you as if either you or he must be mad; and no reply was possible."

So yeah, I’m tempted to say that the badness of raping a little girl or torturing a puppy is “a matter of direct inspection, of direct unanalysable intuition about which it [i]s useless and impossible to argue.” Which is your “they just are.” Guilty as charged. Smile

Seriously, though, I don’t have to tell you it’s precisely this kind of question that scripture-believing theists smugly ask non-believers: “We get our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong from God’s Word. Where do you get yours?” Whether or not it holds up to scrutiny (needless to say, it doesn’t), it’s convenient to have a nice, concise formulation like that to trot out. Non-believers have to do a bit more explaining—if they can even articulate where their moral ideas come from. But you know as well as I that whole wings of libraries could be devoted to the subject. The best I can say right now is that if a moral system that incorporates ideas of good and bad does not classify child rape and puppy torture as incontrovertibly bad, it’s not worthy of consideration. And I get that from direct, unanalyzable intuition. Wink

As for your rejection of the whole notion of good and bad in favor of adaptive, exaptive, and maladaptive acts, well, you’ve left me in the dust. I only know of those terms in the context of evolutionary biology—never heard of ‘em applied to ethical systems. So some enlightenment, or at least a good reference, would be appreciated. Always eager to learn.

But tell me this: If I read you correctly, you’re saying that the moral values of all acts, without exception, are context-sensitive. Apparently I’m lacking in imagination, so could you provide an example of a context in which, say, child rape is acceptable?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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08-08-2011, 07:51 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, cufflink.

Let's talk in evolutionary terms. Tetrapoda. A lot of animals have four limbs. Humans, giraffes, manatees, frogs, snakes, crocodiles, parrots, ostriches, salamanders... There are thousands of species that have four limbs, that share that trait. Does that mean that having four limbs is universal? No. It means that a lot of different species derive benefit from having some configuration of four limbs. Does it mean not having four limbs is bad? Of course not. Having six works well too. Eight. A hundred. They all seem to work.

Same with individual aspects of morality. The things we believe are universals in morality are not universals. They just happen to be adaptive in many environments. Take frowning upon murder. It's advantageous if your people aren't killing each other all the time. Most of the time anyway. At the same time, just about every single culture has caveats to the whole murder thing. So even within that seeming universal, there is variation. Could a culture work that had absolutely no opinion about murder? I have no idea. But selection would know. Is it bad not to? No.

Quote:If you’re asking me to justify why I apply the word “bad” to things like rape and murder and female genital mutilation and torturing puppies, my initial reaction is a great big “HUH?”

I would surmise that your "huh" comes from the fact that you still believe that I believe in good and bad and am just not using them. They aren't not bad to me because I'm somehow callous or thoughtless or amoral. They're not bad because I don't like the term.

If the question is asked, are they immoral, then there's two ways of looking at it. Do I find them immoral acts and do others find them to be immoral acts? Those answers do not have to correspond.

What is silly to me is the assumption that EVERYONE'S ideas of morality should correspond to my own (and that goes for anyone). Because my morality is not revealed by God and I didn't get a graduate degree from MIT in determining universal morality because no such field exists, nor could it. So my morality is arbitrary (insofar as any trait that is selected is arbitrary). So why would I expect everyone's morality to correspond to my own? I don't expect their skin tone or penis size to correspond to my own, so why any other trait?

Quote:Seriously, though, I don’t have to tell you it’s precisely this kind of question that scripture-believing theists smugly ask non-believers: “We get our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong from God’s Word. Where do you get yours?”

Here's the thing though. That's a legitimate question.

I'm not saying that revealed morality is correct, but they have a clear source or morality. It's legitimate to ask people, anyone, where they get their moral code from. It's not rational to get indignant about it. It's a question that should be answerable. I can answer it.

Quote:…“a matter of direct inspection, of direct unanalysable intuition about which it [i]s useless and impossible to argue.”

My issue is that it's not an airtight method. What if a homophobe uses that methodology? It'd be useless to argue that homosexuality is immoral and any moral code that doesn't classify homosexuality as incontrovertibly bad isn't worthy of her consideration. So we're back to arbitrary because this methodology doesn't look at the context of the judger.

Quote:...a good reference, would be appreciated.

Universal Darwinism.

It doesn't seem difficult to me. Why is there variation in moral codes across cultures? It can't be stupidity. I doubt it's because some of them are wrong because they didn't get the memo from God. It's most likely simple variation. If you have variation, competition and transmission, you have evolution by selection. Pretty straightforward stuff.

Quote:But tell me this: If I read you correctly, you’re saying that the moral values of all acts, without exception, are context-sensitive. Apparently I’m lacking in imagination, so could you provide an example of a context in which, say, child rape is acceptable?

Context is everything. Including my own. I am from a system in which child rape is unacceptable. So I am just as biased as you. It's not for me to justify or condone other people's morality. It's for me to recognise that there is variation, that we share certain beliefs and not others, and that the reason that there is variation is selection.

So what you're doing, probably unintentionally, is demanding that I defend child rape to prove my point and if I can't, then it disproves my point. It's a remarkably unfair frame. I won't defend child rape. But that doesn't mean that some moral codes won't. What I can do and what I will do, is explain why that is.

Now if we look at the rightness or the wrongness of that moral code, what is the judging criteria? Well primarily it seems to be comparison with whatever we happen to believe at the moment, which to me, seems arbitrary. We can compare it to our holy book, which I don't care to do. We can compare it with our gut feeling, which has no scientific value whatsoever. But can we compare it to something empirical? Is there some way to demonstrate what is more moral? I don't know that there is. Therefore, all moral comparisons are arbitrary.

Also, if my moral code and your moral code contain the same trait that a third moral code intuitively believes is shockingly immoral, you and I will never call it immoral because we're using comparison to determine morality. If moral codes are compatible, then nothing is immoral, even if it is. It's only when moral codes are incompatible that our unassailable intuition kicks in.

So do I want someone to impose a moral code on me that condones child rape? Of course not. Do I think that a moral code that includes it is objectively bad? No, I do not. There is no meaningful criteria to make such a determination outside of what my gut tells me. If I'm going to condemn an entire people, I better have better justification than my gut.

So back to the original point, is Sharia bad? No, I don't think so. It is employed with great success in many countries in the world and has functioned adequately for centuries. Do I want to live under Sharia? Not particularly. I don't believe in capitol punishment. Incidentally, that's also why I don't want to live in Texas and California. I also don't want to live under revealed rules because I have little to no redress. That's not to say that I can always redress my grievances under man-made laws, but at least there is a systemic avenue. To change Sharia, I have to have near absolute power. To change Canadian criminal law, I need to hire the right lawyers, lobbyists and PR people, pay for them, and have a legitimate claim under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Sharia doesn't WORK for me, but it works just fine for other people. I can accept that difference without condemning it. Anal sex doesn't work for me either, but it works just fine for other people. I can accept that difference without condemning it. Do I want to live under a law that permits it? Sure, why not. It doesn't affect me. Do I want to live under a law that demands it? Not so much.

I think the biggest issue people have with a philosophy like mine has to do with intervention. People want to stop encroachment and destroy the source of whatever they think is evil. If you don’t take an incontrovertible stand, then you’re not standing against evil. Because I won’t call things evil, people assume that I will never intervene. Well like I said, I don’t want to live under Sharia, not because it’s bad and because no one should, but because I have agency and I can decide what’s best for myself. So I won’t allow myself to get steamrollered by something I don’t agree with. Then there’s cooperation. If I cooperate with a culture that does things that I consider immoral, is it immoral? Some would say yes. Most countries stopped dealing directly with South Africa because they disagreed with apartheid. They said, hey, do your thing. Just don’t consider me a friend if you do. Other people might say, hey, it’s just business and it’s no business of mine what they believe. I have my own moral compass and will deal with that in the same manner that anyone else would. Then there’s destroying the source. To some people, Sharia is so abhorrent, that they want to go after the source, to eradicate it entirely. That I disagree with entirely. I feel that I have no more right to eradicate a culture than I have the right to eradicate a species. Furthermore, eradicating anything from an ecosystem harms the ecosystem. Ecosystems thrive on diversity, not homogeneity. What if someone suffering under something I consider immoral asks for my help? Should I help them? Should I leave them to their fate? Should I invade their country for “regime change”? Here’s a video of some wise people grappling with the idea of intervention.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-08-2011, 09:21 AM
 
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Ghost, are you only saying that nothing is inherently good or bad? If that's all you're saying, I don't see how anyone could disagree with that statement unless they are arguing some sort of inherent, objective good and inherent objective bad in the universe.

Good and Bad are entirely dependent upon what we as individuals value. So it's accurate to say there is no inherent good or bad, and still be consistent in determining that, based on your value system, rape is bad.
(08-08-2011 07:51 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Now if we look at the rightness or the wrongness of that moral code, what is the judging criteria? Well primarily it seems to be comparison with whatever we happen to believe at the moment, which to me, seems arbitrary. We can compare it to our holy book, which I don't care to do. We can compare it with our gut feeling, which has no scientific value whatsoever. But can we compare it to something empirical? Is there some way to demonstrate what is more moral? I don't know that there is. Therefore, all moral comparisons are arbitrary.

This is probably where I'd disagree with you. I'm not sure how determining that I want to live, and understanding through empathy that others probably want to live too, is an arbitrary means to determine that acts that inhibit our ability to live may not be in our best interest. I can also determine which acts are likely to inhibit our ability to live through my observations of reality and human well being. They may not be clearly defined, but that doesn't mean they are arbitrary.
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08-08-2011, 02:08 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, Sus.

I'm saying what I said. Good and bad are meaningless concepts. Nothing is good and nothing is bad.

The sense I get from what you mean when you say "inherently" bad or good, is that something could be made bad or good in a particular context or in a particular application. That's not what I'm saying.

Rape, to most, is immoral. Ie, within the context of that culture's morality, it is not to be done. That's different than saying it's bad.

Those things you speak of are arbitrary in the sense that they do nothing but satisfy your situation. It could be anything. It just happens that within your culture's historical context, those things were selected.

Being able to identify the other as an individual has nothing to do with morality. It is an ability that we all develop in early childhood. Those who do not have mental disorders like psychopathy, sociopathy and schizophrenia.

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08-08-2011, 06:29 PM
 
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(08-08-2011 02:08 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Sus.

I'm saying what I said. Good and bad are meaningless concepts. Nothing is good and nothing is bad.

I'm not sure I understand how you are concluding "good and bad" are meaningless concepts. They are meant to communicate behavior that we dislike and like, correct?

As for "nothing is good or bad", please see below *

Quote:The sense I get from what you mean when you say "inherently" bad or good, is that something could be made bad or good in a particular context or in a particular application. That's not what I'm saying.

That's not what I'm saying. What I mean by "inherent" is properties of the universe, or properties that objects in the universe possess inherently, as opposed to prescriptive statements made by sentient beings.

In this sense, "good" and "bad" are not actual properties. Thus in this context, I would agree with the statement that "nothing is good or bad".

Quote:Rape, to most, is immoral. Ie, within the context of that culture's morality, it is not to be done. That's different than saying it's bad.

*This would probably help clear up my misunderstanding of what you're saying when you say "nothing is good or bad". How is, "Rape is immoral", different than saying "rape is bad"?

Quote:Being able to identify the other as an individual has nothing to do with morality. It is an ability that we all develop in early childhood. Those who do not have mental disorders like psychopathy, sociopathy and schizophrenia.

Yes, it is that last word (aside from your name), of all your posts. Empathy. This is a very real basis for morality as it pertains to others, (those who are not you). I don't want someone to steal from you because I can empathize and realize that it is not something I would want done to me.
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