Science can answer moral questions
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09-12-2013, 02:30 PM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(06-12-2013 08:53 PM)Youkay Wrote:  PleaseJesus and Childye, thank you for opening the discussion.

I disagree with you.

(06-12-2013 02:50 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  If we use Sam's rubric, and take all the high points and call them low and vice versa, we have created Islamic morality!

Obviously, you haven't understood how the landscape is generated. Let me explain again:
The definition of worst is the highest imaginable misery for everybody. That there is the lowest point in the moral landscape. Everything, that improves the well-being of conscious life forms is an improvement, a better, and occupies a higher point on the moral landscape. That is how the moral landscape is mapped.

Therefore, you can not simply invert a low point to a high point and bad to good. That would be deliberate, not reasonable.

(06-12-2013 02:50 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  You see, Mr. Harris has not explained how science came up with high and low and ascribed those values to the points on the diagram.

See explanation above. Now please note that the moral landscape is merely a representation and not a model set in stone. In each case, be it a simple case or a difficult case, we have to reason which is the more moral thing to do. Later, if you will, you can evaluate the outcome of the decision and determine its position on the moral landscape.

(06-12-2013 04:51 PM)childeye Wrote:  This is true, he never does answer the essential question.

Which essential question are you referring to?

(06-12-2013 04:51 PM)childeye Wrote:  Nor does he make any distinction between what are the differences between a carnal and spiritual view of morality so as to deal with the subsequent semantics.

Health comprises both physiological and mental health. And he is referring to mental health, specifically. Your statement is false.

(06-12-2013 04:51 PM)childeye Wrote:  He also seems to be conflating God with religion which of course is already a flawed foundation for any sound logical reasoning.

1) Sam doesn't even use the word "god" often.
2) Where is the mistake in conflating "god" and "religion"? If it is so obvious, please elaborate.

(06-12-2013 04:51 PM)childeye Wrote:  Moreover, this topic delves more into the metaphysical issue of identity, which science claims not to cross over into.

1) Why do you suggest identity is a metaphysical issue? Because I think it isn't.
2) This topic is about objective, not subjective morality.



It would be great if you could respond to my post the same way I did to yours: by quoting and addressing directly. Thanks.

But Islamic men AND Islamic women are on record that they like their patriarchial system of insanity. On what basis does Mr. Harris "objectively" judge them as causing misery? Muslims claim to like what they're doing...
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09-12-2013, 02:58 PM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(09-12-2013 12:50 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(09-12-2013 12:20 PM)Youkay Wrote:  No. By no stretch of imagination could be argued that reverting to the primitive and brute laws of selection contains any form of morality.
Not even if the premise was to produce "fit" genes?
Not even given the understanding that most mutations are destructive rather than beneficial? So keeping destructive gene mutations alive and replicating is detrimental to the fitness of the human race.

Anyway, I tried.
Couldn't one argue that it is "immoral" to make babies knowing that you are passing on defective genes and hence will have "miserable" offspring with certain genetic defects (potentially crippling).
If that were "immoral" and reduces human well being, then wouldn't it be "immoral" to use advances in medicine to allow these humans to survive and create more offspring thus propagating this issue and potentially multiplying it. Sooner or later genetic defects are going to be the norm rather than the exception, meaning that the per capita "well being" will decline from generation to generation.
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10-12-2013, 01:06 AM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2013 01:27 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  
(09-12-2013 12:16 PM)Youkay Wrote:  That is highly arguable, but not necessary for this discussion. Maybe private mails or another thread?`

lets finish this one first Wink

No need. I will abide with what you say. I mostly agree anyway, and I don't need a differentiation for my line of arguments.

Regarding the 2 postulates you previously said:

Quote:It is subjective because it's not derived from the objective reality, it may be very reasonable and the whole world could agree, but it would still be subjective.

Then you said
Quote:As you can see, he uses a normative premiss at first, and it's a subjective one, it could be any other and it will have the same result on the definition of the moral code, it would only change the core value.

Alright, it is a subjective premiss. But it is a subjective premiss that (I quote you here) the whole world could agree on, hence I use the term universal.

Your argument seems to be that because it is subjective, it is interchangable, therefore the basis of Harris' arguments is flawed or not solely based on science.

But I say it is not interchangable. Everyone would agree on these postulates.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  
Quote:The premiss is:
If you have a moral spectrum from absolutely bad to absolutely good, the worst possible misery for everyone is absolutely bad.

That part in bold is a normative premiss, it's not derived from anything in nature.

Yes. I just gave you an answer to your question. Didn't claim that is is factual.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  Instead of "worst misery" I'd use "least well-being". To keep things well organized.

I don't see a reason why not to abide by your rules. It doesn't seem to make any difference other than being fussy.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  Again, my issue is with the assertion that science can find moral rules by observing reality, making any moral agent unnecessary to make moral judgements.

We might again differ on little things when it comes to the definition of words. I think that philosophy is a science, as well, and that reasoning is a scientific approach to problems.

How about we say that his theory is solely based on reason. And that everything thereafter can be valued using scientific knowledge.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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10-12-2013, 02:35 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(09-12-2013 02:30 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  But Islamic men AND Islamic women are on record that they like their patriarchial system of insanity. On what basis does Mr. Harris "objectively" judge them as causing misery? Muslims claim to like what they're doing...

Informed consent. They've never seen or experienced better, they don't even know better is possible. But better is possible, as much as they choose not to see it or hide themselves (and their wives) from it.

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10-12-2013, 07:41 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(10-12-2013 01:06 AM)Youkay Wrote:  
(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  lets finish this one first Wink

No need. I will abide with what you say. I mostly agree anyway, and I don't need a differentiation for my line of arguments.

Regarding the 2 postulates you previously said:

Quote:It is subjective because it's not derived from the objective reality, it may be very reasonable and the whole world could agree, but it would still be subjective.

Then you said
Quote:As you can see, he uses a normative premiss at first, and it's a subjective one, it could be any other and it will have the same result on the definition of the moral code, it would only change the core value.

Alright, it is a subjective premiss. But it is a subjective premiss that (I quote you here) the whole world could agree on, hence I use the term universal.

Your argument seems to be that because it is subjective, it is interchangable, therefore the basis of Harris' arguments is flawed or not solely based on science.

But I say it is not interchangable. Everyone would agree on these postulates.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  That part in bold is a normative premiss, it's not derived from anything in nature.

Yes. I just gave you an answer to your question. Didn't claim that is is factual.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  Instead of "worst misery" I'd use "least well-being". To keep things well organized.

I don't see a reason why not to abide by your rules. It doesn't seem to make any difference other than being fussy.

(09-12-2013 01:25 PM)nach_in Wrote:  Again, my issue is with the assertion that science can find moral rules by observing reality, making any moral agent unnecessary to make moral judgements.

We might again differ on little things when it comes to the definition of words. I think that philosophy is a science, as well, and that reasoning is a scientific approach to problems.

How about we say that his theory is solely based on reason. And that everything thereafter can be valued using scientific knowledge.

Yes, is based on reason as used in philosophy and it builds with scientific knowledge from there. I can agree with that.
I's say there's a difference between philosophy and science, but that would be a semantic argument.
One small point, I don't think this theory is universal, the core normative premiss is reasonable, but in the trillions of people that will live someone is bound to disagree on that premiss.
In my individual opinion is good enough though Tongue

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10-12-2013, 07:56 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
It's also just a semantic argument whether to call this sort of morality objective morality or reason derived morality. I don't think we need to argue about that. I don't see a problem with calling it objective morality, but you do, I suppose.

So let's just say it is a reason derived morality, which is absolutely disconnected from religious morality, proving the point that religion does not have any meaning when it comes to moral questions.

Intuitive morality I suppose has a meaning, becasue the postulates are based on intuitive morality after all.

Then one could say that intuitive morality emerged through evolution and that it could be analysed and understood scientifically.

Do you want to go there? Or ... Drinking Beverage

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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10-12-2013, 08:05 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(10-12-2013 07:56 AM)Youkay Wrote:  It's also just a semantic argument whether to call this sort of morality objective morality or reason derived morality. I don't think we need to argue about that. I don't see a problem with calling it objective morality, but you do, I suppose.

So let's just say it is a reason derived morality, which is absolutely disconnected from religious morality, proving the point that religion does not have any meaning when it comes to moral questions.

Intuitive morality I suppose has a meaning, becasue the postulates are based on intuitive morality after all.

Then one could say that intuitive morality emerged through evolution and that it could be analysed and understood scientifically.

Do you want to go there? Or ... Drinking Beverage

I have a problem with calling it objective morality because, first, there is no such thing, and second, because the label of objectivity can be used to impose a morality to others and that's dangerous.

I agree that intuitive morality as you call it can be analysed scientifically, but that doesn't mean is a good basis for a reason derived morality or that it is universal. There could be diversity in the biological "moral instinct" and they're always modulated by culture, so it's not a very solid basis for morality

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10-12-2013, 08:57 AM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2013 09:44 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
Back to square one then. But this time from a different angle.


Question: Is there no such thing as objective morality?


Dictionary definition:
Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Philosophical definition:
Objectivity: the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings.


Dictionary definition:
morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.


Using these two definitions::
Is/are there a behavior/s, that can be described as good/bad for a fact, without involving individual biases, interpretations, feeling and imaginings in the process of evaluation?

I will now give an example of such a behavior and corresponding moral evaluation. If you think that this behavior was not evaluated objectively, you will need to elucidate.

Killing a person for no good reason is bad.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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10-12-2013, 09:53 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(10-12-2013 08:57 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Back to square one then. But this time from a different angle.


Question: Is there no such thing as objective morality?


Dictionary definition:
Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Philosophical definition:
Objectivity: the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings.


Dictionary definition:
morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.


Using these two definitions::
Is/are there a behavior/s, that can be described as good/bad for a fact, without involving individual biases, interpretations, feeling and imaginings in the process of evaluation?

I will now give an example of such a behavior and corresponding moral evaluation. If you think that this behavior was not evaluated objectively, you will need to elucidate.

Killing a person for no good reason is bad.

As I've explained in a previous thread, many people agree that killing someone is bad based on empathy. We wouldn't want the same done to us; essentially, we can view the prospect of being killed from the other person's perspective (second order awareness out of the four that humans have). However, the idea that this is inherently moral falls apart when you add psychopaths to the picture. They have little to no empathy, so they may not view killing someone in the same light as you or I.
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10-12-2013, 10:12 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(10-12-2013 08:57 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Back to square one then. But this time from a different angle.


Question: Is there no such thing as objective morality?


Dictionary definition:
Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Philosophical definition:
Objectivity: the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings.


Dictionary definition:
morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.


Using these two definitions::
Is/are there a behavior/s, that can be described as good/bad for a fact, without involving individual biases, interpretations, feeling and imaginings in the process of evaluation?

I will now give an example of such a behavior and corresponding moral evaluation. If you think that this behavior was not evaluated objectively, you will need to elucidate.

Killing a person for no good reason is bad.

I think it's not evaluated at all, how did you reach that conclusion? why is it bad?

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