Science can answer moral questions
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11-12-2013, 10:32 AM (This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 10:35 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
I made it explicitly clear that the survival and welfare of the human species depends on communal life. And that a behavior that is clearly detrimental to the communal life of humans is bad.

You are saying that valuing the survival and welfare of my own species is subjective?

The wish to conserve ones own species is an inherent characteristic to humans, which was selected for through evolution.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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11-12-2013, 10:44 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(11-12-2013 10:32 AM)Youkay Wrote:  I made it explicitly clear that the survival and welfare of the human species depends on communal life. And that a behavior that is clearly detrimental to the communal life of humans is bad.

You are saying that valuing the survival and welfare of my own species is subjective?

The wish to conserve ones own species is an inherent characteristic to humans, which was selected for through evolution.

So? doesn't make it objective, it's just an evolutionary bias.
Some people even advocate that we shouldn't only consider our own survival in our moral choices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism

At some point in history, if a master wanted to kill his slave for no good reason it wasn't considered wrong, but not wrong. So your point is not temporally universal, if it were objective it should be universal.

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11-12-2013, 11:41 AM (This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 11:48 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
At a point of history, it was objective to say that the world is flat or that the sun orbited the earth. Not so long ago it was objective to say that the electron is the smallest particle. Or picking from my field: only 50 years ago it was objective to say that endogenous proteins are not degraded but accumulate in cells from birth until death of any living organism.


What do you mean by evolutionary bias?

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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11-12-2013, 11:48 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(11-12-2013 11:41 AM)Youkay Wrote:  In history, holding slaves was endorsed by faith, not reason. Also white people did see black people as animals, and not as members of the same species. Science changed our understanding of the world and therefore changed the way we see things. Of course, by changing our perception, our evaluation would be altered too.

Can't get more subjective than that Drinking Beverage


Quote:What do you mean by evolutionary bias?

A bias favoured by evolution.

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11-12-2013, 08:37 PM (This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 08:41 PM by Youkay.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
Last night, I edited my post to make my point more clear, knowing that I didn't represent it well with what you quoted. Unfortunately it was too late and you already read it. Please, have a look again.

I was hoping you would NOT say evolutionary bias is a bias favoured by evolution.

Can you explain what you mean by that?

Here is my suggestion of what I understand. But I am not sure if you understand the same thing:

Evolutionary bias is a trait to prefer something over something else, which was selected through evolution because that trait contributed to the fitness and survival of the individual.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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11-12-2013, 09:32 PM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
Changing your words is disingenuous, just so you notice you're not being completely honest. It looks more like you want to win a debate rather than find some true or insight about morality.

You mentioned factual statements that turned out to be untrue, a factual statement is different than a normative statement, we left that clear before so I won't come back to it, those examples don't apply, so I'll insist in my previous post.

Your definition of evolutionary bias seems good enough, notice it doesn't imply objectivity. See religion as an example, it seems to be evolutionary beneficial to some extent to be religious, that doesn't make religious beliefs any less false.

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11-12-2013, 09:40 PM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(11-12-2013 02:45 AM)Youkay Wrote:  You need to take an anger management class

You need to take a class in not trying to bullshit people.


Quote:Saying that there are good and bad reasons to kill a person does not shoot the shit right out of my "objective morality".

Did I say that? Pointing out that I might think I have a good reason for killing a person, and that person might not thing my reason is all that good, points out the folly of your claiming that there is "objective morality" at all.




Quote: According to any morality, be it objective or subjective, there are a multitude of reasons for a certain behavior that can be evaluated on a spectrum stretching from good to bad.


Which makes it not "objective" at all.


Quote:I asked this simple question blah blah blah...

Repeating your loaded question over and over doesn't make it or your line of reasoning any less fallacious.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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12-12-2013, 02:21 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(11-12-2013 09:32 PM)nach_in Wrote:  Changing your words is disingenuous, just so you notice you're not being completely honest. It looks more like you want to win a debate rather than find some true or insight about morality.

You mentioned factual statements that turned out to be untrue, a factual statement is different than a normative statement, we left that clear before so I won't come back to it, those examples don't apply, so I'll insist in my previous post.

Your definition of evolutionary bias seems good enough, notice it doesn't imply objectivity. See religion as an example, it seems to be evolutionary beneficial to some extent to be religious, that doesn't make religious beliefs any less false.

I wasn't dishonest. I said that I corrected myself. It can not get more honest than saying "Oh, crap, what I said before was not very good, so let me give you another example". Also writing a letter, binning it and writing another letter is not being dishonest.

It is most doubtful that religion is beneficial in an evolutionary context.

You said to want to survive and to want that one's own species survives is evolutionary bias.
According to the definition and in analogy, an evolutionary bias would be to want to reproduce rather than not to reproduce. To want to survive rather than to die. Etc. Bringing in the argument with religion is very far fetched and very far away from the thing that you initially described as evolutionary bias. And on top it is doubtful.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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12-12-2013, 07:38 AM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2013 07:42 AM by nach_in.)
RE: Science can answer moral questions
it was an example, not an argument. But have it your way, the individual desire to survive can be detrimental to the community if that individual has some sort of defect. That bias that favours survival of the individual is subjective, and he'll do whatever he can to survive, even though he might be hurting the species in the long run.
Again, morality is never objective, there are no rules floating out there for us to observe http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Objective_morality

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12-12-2013, 08:28 AM
RE: Science can answer moral questions
(12-12-2013 07:38 AM)nach_in Wrote:  it was an example, not an argument. But have it your way, the individual desire to survive can be detrimental to the community if that individual has some sort of defect. That bias that favours survival of the individual is subjective, and he'll do whatever he can to survive, even though he might be hurting the species in the long run.
Again, morality is never objective, there are no rules floating out there for us to observe http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Objective_morality

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is an objective measure of price inflation. Humans created the CPI and the CPI wasn't "floating out there for us to observe" but it is still an objective measure of inflation. Objective means that it exists independently of the observing mind. Price inflation is also intangible, it can be caused by many things but the CPI remains an objective measure of it.

There are other indexes of inflation besides the CPI so the decision to use the CPI is subjective but the CPI itself is still an objective measure of inflation. Understand?

The central idea in Harris' book is that he believes there exists some objective mesaure of what is good for humans that neursoscience will discover. He calls this measure well-being. Assume for the sake of argument that neuroscience delivers and we can measure well-being as objectively as we can measure price inflation. Harris argues that once we have this we can produce an objective theory of value, i.e. we will be able to objectively rank things according to how the contribute to human well-being.

But this measure of well-being will be one of many possible measures of human value (just like there are many possible ways to measure price inflation) so the choice to use Harris' well-being scale will be subjective. But the subjectivity of the choice doesn't diminsh the objectivity of the measure.

Harris doesn't provide any detail (in his book) of how his subjectively chosen objective measure of value will connect with a system of ethics so we can't really talk about an objective morality in relation to Harris' proposal. All that Harris suggests is that ethical action would be related somehow to maximising this well-being which we will be able objectively measure. But again of course the choice of ethical system will be subjective.

Just because the choice is subjective doesn't mean the whole proposal is flawed. We can still objectively measure price inflation even though there might be disagreement about the composition of the CPI. Of course there can be disagreement about Harris' measure of value; that would be just the same as economists disagreeing about the best way to measure inflation. Just because economists can disagree about the best way to measure inflation it doesn't mean that measure such as the CPI aren't objective measures of inflation. Understand?

You appear to be confusing the subjective process of choosing amongst different means of measure and the objectivity of the actual measures. The choice of which tape measure I use is subjective but each tape measure objectively measures distance.

Also, rational wiki is awful. Much worse than Wikipedia.
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