Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
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08-08-2011, 08:45 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, Sus.

I just wanted to inject something to honour the OP. Sharia is not bad because I reject the idea of bad. Also, Sharia is not bad because no system is all of any one thing. That's too simplistic a reduction to be of any use and does nothing to help diverse groups get along; which should be the goal over fighting.

All bad means is not good. It has no inherent qualities as a descriptor. All good means is excellently moral. If morality is entirely subjective then so is good. The issue is the word "is". X is good. Y is not good, therefore it is bad. Is denotes a state of being. It speaks objectively about something subjective.

Inherent. Seen. Agreed.

Rape is immoral. We come back to is. Rape is considered immoral by the Celts or the Celts consider rape immoral are fine statements because they describe a single culture's subjective viewpoint. When we say something is we run into the state of being problem again. You can just be lazy and say that the Celts think that X is good, but what we're really saying is they think it's, contextually, moral or pleasant or beneficial. Plus most of the time when we use good and bad, we use is.

There is nothing obliging a people to believe something is immoral. People just do or don't based entirely on what works well for that people.

When you discuss the role of empathy, all you're really describing is the Golden Rule. But people can just as easily base their morality on an eye for an eye which flouts the notion that people won't do things to others that they don't want done to themselves. Empathy is a human ability that is universal (provided there's no disorder) but it certainly isn't the basis of all morality.

In all honesty, I grew up using good and bad. I just saw The Tree of Life and I was like, that shit was just bad (implying a state of being). I saw Green Lantern and I was like, I can see why other people dislike it but I enjoyed it. I'm capable of that on my better days 8) But when I say Tree of Life is bad, it's a meaningless subjective opinion. It's not bad. Plenty of people think it's film of the year and that Terence Malick is the second coming. I disliked it because it was an impressionist piece and I prefer narrative. I thought it was too long and used its time inefficiently and I thought the soundtrack was too heavy handed. Is the film for me? No. And for those reasons, not some all-encompasing and nebulous "bad". Is it bad. No. That's without substance and without meaning.

When it comes to relationships between, say, London Muslims and English Londoners, your system is bad m'kay, gets nobody nowhere. Understanding one another's differences without condemnation is the road to peace.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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09-08-2011, 05:08 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey Ghost.

Sorry i misunderstood your post. I am quite horrible at English, compared to most people on this forum because its not my primary language.

I take your larger point (and i hope i don't misrepresent it now), that nothing is simply "good" or "bad". But i still think we can objectively measure if a certain moral idea has a positive/negative influence on the well-being of people who live in places where it is practiced. There is a excellent lecture by Sam Harris on this subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

Its only about 20 minutes long, and i recommend you check it out.

Oh and i never suggested that we eliminate Islamic culture. All i am saying is that our morality, which is based on science and reason, trumphs a morality that was "divinely revealed" to an illiterate pedophile who lived 1500 years ago. It concerns me that there are people in Europe who want Sharia to be implemented, and those are the people i think we should combat, in a non-violent way ofc.
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09-08-2011, 05:25 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(09-08-2011 05:08 AM)Andy Wrote:  
Hey Ghost.

Sorry i misunderstood your post. I am quite horrible at English, compared to most people on this forum because its not my primary language.

I take your larger point (and i hope i don't misrepresent it now), that nothing is simply "good" or "bad". But i still think we can objectively measure if a certain moral idea has a positive/negative influence on the well-being of people who live in places where it is practiced. There is a excellent lecture by Sam Harris on this subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

Its only about 20 minutes long, and i recommend you check it out.

Oh and i never suggested that we eliminate Islamic culture. All i am saying is that our morality, which is based on science and reason, trumphs a morality that was "divinely revealed" to an illiterate pedophile who lived 1500 years ago. It concerns me that there are people in Europe who want Sharia to be implemented, and those are the people i think we should combat, in a non-violent way ofc.

Tough luck, he hates Harris. [Image: os_lol.gif]

The God excuse: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument. "God did it." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. - George Carlin

Whenever I'm asked "What if you're wrong?", I always show the asker this video: http://youtu.be/iClejS8vWjo Screw Pascal's wager.
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09-08-2011, 10:33 AM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(09-08-2011 05:08 AM)Andy Wrote:  I am quite horrible at English, compared to most people on this forum because its not my primary language.

Andy,

Just a quick note of encouragement. Most native English speakers would be thrilled to be able to use any other language as "horribly" as you use English. You have nothing to apologize about. Smile

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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09-08-2011, 10:48 AM
 
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
(08-08-2011 08:45 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Sus.

I just wanted to inject something to honour the OP. Sharia is not bad because I reject the idea of bad. Also, Sharia is not bad because no system is all of any one thing. That's too simplistic a reduction to be of any use and does nothing to help diverse groups get along; which should be the goal over fighting.

All bad means is not good. It has no inherent qualities as a descriptor. All good means is excellently moral. If morality is entirely subjective then so is good. The issue is the word "is". X is good. Y is not good, therefore it is bad. Is denotes a state of being. It speaks objectively about something subjective.

Inherent. Seen. Agreed.

Rape is immoral. We come back to is. Rape is considered immoral by the Celts or the Celts consider rape immoral are fine statements because they describe a single culture's subjective viewpoint. When we say something is we run into the state of being problem again. You can just be lazy and say that the Celts think that X is good, but what we're really saying is they think it's, contextually, moral or pleasant or beneficial. Plus most of the time when we use good and bad, we use is.

I think this is a pointless semantics game, myself. Good and Bad are descriptive only so far as the value system that allows that conclusion to be arrived at, so of course they offer no inherent qualities as a descriptor. But it's the same for morality. All you have to do to really understand why someone thinks something is bad, is to ask them. If they were to say they believe it is immoral, you're still left with the same amount of information as if they said they believe it is bad. The most you could conclude is that their value system allows them to reason that X action is not copacetic to said values, therefore bad/immoral.

If you want to know more about how someone concluded "bad" "good" "moral" "immoral" it seems a whole lot easier to ask that question, as opposed to presuppose they don't understand that when they use "good" and "bad" they aren't describing inherent properties these objects posses. If that is actually the case, their answer should reveal that conclusively.

Quote:When you discuss the role of empathy, all you're really describing is the Golden Rule. But people can just as easily base their morality on an eye for an eye which flouts the notion that people won't do things to others that they don't want done to themselves. Empathy is a human ability that is universal (provided there's no disorder) but it certainly isn't the basis of all morality.

I never stated empathy was the basis for all morality. I am in agreement that morality is subjective and my morality, or my basis for it, is not necessarily going to align with the morality of anyone else. I'm only pointing out that your statement, "empathy has nothing to do with morality" is incorrect, and that I disagree that morality is completely arbitrary. But I was not going from one extreme, "empathy has nothing to do with morality" to the next "empathy is the basis for all morality".

Quote:In all honesty, I grew up using good and bad. I just saw The Tree of Life and I was like, that shit was just bad (implying a state of being). I saw Green Lantern and I was like, I can see why other people dislike it but I enjoyed it. I'm capable of that on my better days 8) But when I say Tree of Life is bad, it's a meaningless subjective opinion. It's not bad. Plenty of people think it's film of the year and that Terence Malick is the second coming. I disliked it because it was an impressionist piece and I prefer narrative. I thought it was too long and used its time inefficiently and I thought the soundtrack was too heavy handed. Is the film for me? No. And for those reasons, not some all-encompasing and nebulous "bad". Is it bad. No. That's without substance and without meaning.

I don't think people are usually wrestling with the term "bad" in the way you are when it is being used. And, again, I think asking someone a simple "Why?" would easily help one to understand whether they are speaking in a subjective manner, or whether they're applying an "all-encompassing, nebulous 'bad'".
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09-08-2011, 12:30 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, Efrx.

It's true. He sucks monkey balls.

Hey, Andy.

Not only do I hate Harris, I hate this video. I've watched it before. I've ripped it apart in this forum before. In short, he reframes everything to suit his purposes and he's a demagogue. Ok. No more brain juice for Harris.

Again. Not nothing is "simply" good or bad. Nothing is good or bad.

As terrible as Harris is, there is an argument that that which is adaptive and maladaptive and exaptive can be determined; however, it has nothing to do with being an analogue for well being. The two can dovetail, but there's no obligation for them to. What Harris is really talking about is what is the ideal. Which is crap. There is no ideal.

I disagree entirely that "our" morality is based on science and reason. It doesn't matter if you include me in "our" because no one has a scientifically based morality. No one. Even if someone did, it would not trump a revealed moral code because that would imply that it's better. Which is crap. There is no ideal.

If you want to stop the spread of Sharia to your country, more power to ya. Voice your opinion. Run for office. Do whatchya gotta do. But I get real nervous like whenever I hear the word "combat". Furthermore, those Muslim men in that video aren't going anywhere. It makes more sense to me to engage with them than to wish them away.

And just to second cufflink, you're English be gooder then alots peple Smile

Hey, Sus.

I agree.

(Except for the semantics part)

That's why, way back when, I said that it's near valueless to say, Sharia's bad m'kay. Because there's no substance to it. And yet, people often just accept it like it does mean something. "Sharia is bad? Great. Let's hate/fight/fear/mock/denounce/destroy it." But there's way more substance to be had. So begin with, "well, my people think that X is immoral and I dislike Y and I prefer Z." Ie, let's traffic in reasons and by extension, reason.

So when we see video's like the one in the OP, we can discuss, WITH those Muslim men, or with moderates with influence you'd rather deal with because they have less mouthal froth, WHY you/we don't want Sharia so we can figure out what we have to do to live together. Because that's the reality of the situation. We live together. To pretend otherwise is absolute delusion.

On empathy. I see your point. Sorry. Didn't mean to misrepresent you. I agree with what you said.

Asking why would help. But because people believe in bad, many don't ask. That being said, it would be better if we didn't have to ask. That, to me, is one of the great advantages of eliminating a "self-evident", received wisdom crutch like good and bad. We'd actually have to think and inform ourselves 8)

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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09-08-2011, 01:46 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
I just want to jump in and say, Ghost, you've gotten a lot of rusty cogs turning in my head. That's awesome. I'm glad we have someone like you on this forum.

I need some time to chew over some ideas that are forming in my head about evolutionary adaptive/maladaptive-based morality, but I just want to say thanks for getting the gears going.

Also, I have to agree with you that the terms "good" and "bad" are too subjective and simplistic, and I think I understand why you want to differentiate them from the terms "moral" and "immoral". There is a subtle difference between the terms that can determine what a discussion is actually about.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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09-08-2011, 02:46 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Responding to a few people saying murder(for example) is objectively bad.
If some deranged gunman mows down some people than is it bad?
If a soldier kills a terrorist is it bad?
The terrorist is just as alive as the people the gunman killed, he's probably fighting for a lot of the same reasons as the soldier, and he may have a family that can't survive without him.

Mind you I don't agree with Ghosts middle ground, I'm just stating my personal opinion.
From where I stand a soldier killing a terrorist is good, I would prefer the family not suffer because of his actions though, but if they were of the same rebellious nature as the terrorist than I may be able to look the other way when the execution squads roll by.
I'd probably be of the same opinion if the situation was reversed.

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

"This machine kills fascists..."

"Well this machine kills commies!"
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09-08-2011, 06:02 PM
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Great thread, everyone.

Sus Barbatus and Ghost/Matt: I think Sus has hit the nail on the head in discussing “good” and “bad.” When talking about ethics and morality, people don’t typically use those terms to imply inherent qualities of things, parallel to “This rose is red.” If I came across that way in anything I said previously, it wasn’t my intention. Obviously there’s no “good” or “bad” in the universe independent of human evaluation. The universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our values.

But that’s just it: In ethical discussions, “good/bad” language is used as just another ethical dichotomy alongside “right/wrong,” “moral/immoral,” etc. It’s not clear why it’s legitimate to say “Action X is immoral” or “Action X is wrong” but not “Action X is bad.” Seems to me people use all three expressions to mean pretty much the same thing.

Ghost/Matt: Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed responses. I second SecularStudent’s emotion: You’ve gotten my cogs turning. I’ve never before encountered such a thoroughgoing, unabashedly relativist position as yours, and it’s made me think more deeply about my own values and notions of morality.

Our common ground, I think, lies in your contention that “Where do you get your ideas about right and wrong?” deserves an answer. My joking about unanalyzable intuition notwithstanding, I agree completely. It does. “My gut tells me so” won’t cut it. An adequate answer is required--and I admit I don't have one. Do I think raping children is wrong and immoral? Yes, I do. Do I think its wrongness and immorality are context-free and absolute? Yes. Can I tell you why I think so? Well, I suppose it goes back to my values. I value freedom of agency, I value protecting children from unpleasant experiences, I devalue pain . . . Do I realize that other people may have different values? Yes. Can I prove that my values are the right ones? No. So yeah, I don’t have a satisfying answer to your legitimate question. And, to an extent, I envy people who feel, as I believe you feel, that they do.

That said, I don’t see how Universal Darwinism solves the problem. Thanks for the link to the Wikipedia article. It was interesting to see how a notion originating in biology can shed light on so many other areas. But here’s the thing: Not one of the 28 listed “Darwinian extensions” has to do with ethics—and for good reason.

Darwinian selection can show you how a system came to be in its present state and where it might be going. What it can’t show you is what the state of the system should be or ought to be. Darwinian analysis is descriptive, not prescriptive. But prescription is the essence of ethics and morality. There’s still an unbridgeable gap between “is” and “ought.”

You use the terms “work” and “function” a lot in talking about moral systems—X doesn’t “work” for me but “works” for others; Sharia has “functioned adequately” for centuries. It's not clear to me exactly what you mean. What are the criteria for working and functioning? Is it a question of creating a stable society? Of resulting in general happiness and satisfaction?

However you parse them, though, outcomes of “working” and “functioning” don’t determine morality. I’m sure you know the standard examples from Ethics 101. Imagine a stable society where the vast majority of people are happy as clams, and where every year a little child is arbitrarily chosen to be tortured, raped, and dismembered to propitiate some god. The moral system of that society “works” perfectly well—the society has functioned that way for centuries with complete stability. But do we want to say that what’s done to the kid in that society is moral? Is that really relative to whether or not the society “works”?

A Darwinian analysis might tell us why the society has evolved in that direction. It might tell us why the institution of yearly child rape and murder is adaptive. But it won’t tell us whether the society is moral or immoral. If I’m missing something here, though, please let me know.

As for your point about intervention . . . Well, I don’t countenance the destruction of whole societies any more than I do the destruction of species (although I might make an exception in the case of mosquitoes and the tuberculosis bacillus). But unlike with species, aspects of societies can be changed, and there are aspects of some societies I would very much like to see destroyed. It was right that foot binding was eliminated in China. If I had the power to eliminate female genital mutilation or the execution of homosexuals or the subjugation of women or child prostitution from the world by snapping my fingers, I wouldn’t spend a nanosecond asking myself whether those practices were adaptive in their societies or worrying I was altering someone else’s culture without their consent. I’d do it.

Wouldn’t you?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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09-08-2011, 11:30 PM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2011 11:37 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Radical Islams response to the tragedy in Norway
Hey, SecularStudent.

Thanks, brother.

Hey, cufflink.

You are most welcome and right back atchya!

As for immoral, wrong and bad, again, it's the IS that is problematic. With bad and good, there is no meaning of any value without IS.

You and I both consider raping children immoral. Just because there are no universals doesn't mean there cannot be widespread agreement. It means that there is no obligation for a moral code to rank child rape among immoral acts.

Quote:Darwinian selection can show you how a system came to be in its present state... What it can’t show you is what the state of the system should be or ought to be.

I agree.

Quote:... and where it might be going.

I could not possibly disagree more.

Quote:But prescription is the essence of ethics and morality. There’s still an unbridgeable gap between “is” and “ought.”

You lost me on that one.

Quote:You use the terms “work” and “function” a lot in talking about moral systems—X doesn’t “work” for me but “works” for others; Sharia has “functioned adequately” for centuries. It's not clear to me exactly what you mean. What are the criteria for working and functioning? Is it a question of creating a stable society? Of resulting in general happiness and satisfaction?

Evolutionarily Stable Strategy. An ESS is a strategy that is resistant to invasion because it works better in that context than anything else.

That which works flourishes. That which does not is self-eliminating.

Quote:However you parse them, though, outcomes of “working” and “functioning” don’t determine morality.

Correct. But they do determine which moral traits remain in a given system.

The morality of fucking up that kid is not determined externally, but internally, dependent on the host culture's moral code. It's for them to decide because morality is relative. It would be for us to decide if morality was universal. You might view it as immoral based on your moral code, which is fine, so long as we stay away from that pesky IS.

Quote:A Darwinian analysis might tell us why the society has evolved in that direction. It might tell us why the institution of yearly child rape and murder is adaptive. But it won’t tell us whether the society is moral or immoral. If I’m missing something here, though, please let me know.

Culture-specific moral codes are what they are because of selection. The traits that worked (that were adaptive) flourished and those that didn't (that were maladaptive) were self-eliminating (those with neutral effect, exaptive traits, stick around too until their effect value changes to either adaptive or maladaptive). What remains is an ESS, resistant to invasion: hence the resistance of English state law to the invasion of Sharia law.

The only indication of whether or not a society is moral or immoral is the measure of there adherence to their own moral code. If they follow it, they're moral. Not, not.

Morality is relativistic, not universal. So there is no universal moral template to compare a given society to. That is to say, the morality or immorality of a society CANNOT be determined by deviation from a universal code because there is no universal code.

Quote:But unlike with species, aspects of societies can be changed, and there are aspects of some societies I would very much like to see destroyed.

I've got a basket full of giant flavourless GMO strawberries that say otherwise Cool

The only reason you want to see those traits destroyed is because of difference. If they were the same as yours, you'd have no issue because they wouldn’t be competing with yours. But because yours are not based on anything universal, the only crime these traits are guilty of is diversity. Eliminating diversity of moral traits is beneficial to similar traits because it facilitates the ease of their propagation. And as in all systems, the elimination of diversity to try and create conditions beneficial to a single species, or in this case, culture, can only harm the health and stability of the system.

Quote:It was right that foot binding was eliminated in China.

Our moral systems, you and I, share traits. This is one of them. Neither of us have any use for or love of foot binding. But what were the effects and cascade effects of eliminating that trait? Maybe it wasn't right to eliminate it. Maybe it caused more problems than it solved. It's easy to eliminate from our systems because it never had a place. But as in all systems, we don't know what effect the removal of an articulated node will have on that system until we disarticulate it. It could be negligible, or, if it's a keystone, it could be catastrophic. Think Jenga. So to call for the removal of individual moral traits based on nothing but their being different from our relativistic non-universal ones with no regard for the effect of that disarticulation is simplistic, foolhardy and dangerous.

Quote:If I had the power to eliminate female genital mutilation or the execution of homosexuals or the subjugation of women or child prostitution from the world by snapping my fingers, I wouldn’t spend a nanosecond asking myself whether those practices were adaptive in their societies or worrying I was altering someone else’s culture without their consent. I’d do it.

Wouldn’t you?

If the magic stopped there, no. Because I have no idea what the effect of disarticulating those moral traits from every moral code in the world would have.

Westerners went into parts of Africa brining modern medicine and food to an impoverished people with high infant mortality because it was IMMORAL to turn a blind eye to their suffering. By reducing infant mortality and increasing the food supply WITHOUT addressing high birth rates born of generations of high infant mortality and impoverishment, that MORAL act led to runaway population explosions that have led to, among other things, widespread famines, political instability and wars. Soooooooooo, what good was accomplished by blindly asserting our moral preference on other systems with no regard for the consequences?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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