Science, reason and moral questions
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25-04-2017, 04:49 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 02:02 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Welcome to TTA.

(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  ...
Do you agree/ disagree ?
What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ?
And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?

I agree.

... using the 'philosophy' of Information modeling.

Morality is about biochemical baselines, thresholds and alerts that facilitate decision-making... ideally wise decisions.

Wisdom exists at the Social World Layer.

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Thank you for your reply. That's a very interesting way of framing the problem. I was wondering how perhaps Bayesian thinking might get incorporated to the above framework .....
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25-04-2017, 05:08 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 02:07 PM)Vera Wrote:  "Some people claim" - can we have an example of some such people?

"that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions" - can we have an example of a "moral" question?

Also, can we have an example of science answering a "moral" question and "philosophies" (frankly, just one philosophy is more than enough, must we have more? Dodgy ) answering them better?

Thank you for your participation.

Also, science is a method, not something that exists outside of our "understanding". That'd be the universe, actually. Which we use science to gain understanding of. See, not so difficult to grasp, is it?

Individuals in the camps of people like Sam Harris and Patricia Churchland seem more predisposed to making this type of arguments. Some people from these camps seem to me to have developed a form of "scientism", where scientific truths are somehow going to solve all problems. That was the purpose of what I had said.

An example of such moral question can be "In what situation is suicide justifiable ?" I understand that it is up to the individual (and I agree with that notion), but there are some instances where the person contemplating suicide might not be able to see how he is trapped within his own thinking patterns.

From my experience, applying different "philosophies" or schools of thought can give you a more comprehensive view on how things work. But everyone has different tastes I presume ...
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25-04-2017, 05:20 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 02:12 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions. I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet. Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions. Do you agree/ disagree ? What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ? And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?

Science proved cigarettes cause cancer, so it's no longer considered good behavior to smoke in crowded rooms.

(24-04-2017 02:42 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions.

Sufficient enough to know that "moral" questions are just so much horseshit. That's pre-ubermenchian thinking there.

(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet.

Yes, they do. Not sure why you think that's an objection to your first point. "Morality" is just another cognitive heuristic.

(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions.

Science dares not speak of such things.

Agreed. There are many questions that science can answer. But it's not sufficient to solve abstract problems (at least for now). Also, I'm not referring to "traditional morality". It's true that "traditional morality" is another cognitive heuristic. However, thinking that (morality is a cognitive heuristic and is , therefore, easily dismissable) is another cognitive heuristic. Cognitive heuristics help us remain functional human beings. One would probably become so dysfunctional that he would get institutionalized if he devoided himself from cognitive heuristics. The trick is to attempt to "balance" these cognitive heuristics and realize that their existence imposes limitations on one's perceptions.
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25-04-2017, 05:33 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(25-04-2017 05:08 AM)Primordial Wrote:  Individuals in the camps of people like Sam Harris and Patricia Churchland seem more predisposed to making this type of arguments.

Citations.

(25-04-2017 05:08 AM)Primordial Wrote:  Some people from these camps seem to me to have developed a form of "scientism", where scientific truths are somehow going to solve all problems. That was the purpose of what I had said.

"some people"? Names and citations.

There is no "scientism".

Scientific truths, as you are using the term, do not exist. There are things that science holds to be true. However those "truths" are always open to revision in accordance with the current state of knowledge.

What problems has religion solved?

What cured small pox, prayer or science?
What created penicillin, religion or science?
What areas do prayer and religion help? Engineering? Mathematics? Medicine? Geology? Astrophysics?

Has religion helped Africa?
Did religion help the indigenous peoples of North and South America?

(25-04-2017 05:08 AM)Primordial Wrote:  From my experience, applying different "philosophies" or schools of thought can give you a more comprehensive view on how things work. But everyone has different tastes I presume ...

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25-04-2017, 07:39 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Greetings friends,
Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions. I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet. Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions. Do you agree/ disagree ? What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ? And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?

The scientific fields of evolutionary biology, psychology, psychiatry and anthropology explain our species behaviors, both good and bad.

Scientific method is a tool, not a moral code. Just like a hammer is not a moral code but a tool. A hammer can be used to build a house, but also used to bash someone's scull in.

Even scientific method can lead scientists to use it to harm others, such as making weapons, nuclear weapons, and products that pollute such as lead in gas or even fossil fuels still being used today.

To answer issues of morality with scientific method, you should first accept that our species behaviors both good and bad are evolutionary. Our species ability to be cruel or compassionate, to seek cooperation or use force, we also see in other species.

A female lion will protect cubs, even those that are not hers. But a male lion will seek out cubs not of his genes and kill it. So here we have evolution proving acts of empathy and acts of cruelty. Male Zebras will also kill the fawn that does not belong to them too.

The human ethics has to start with accepting we are capable of both. Then it can be applied to what we CHOOSE to use scientific method to do. I think it amounts to the ethics of the scientist to problem solve and reduce the potential harm to other humans as well as our environment.

So a scientist's morality, not to be confused with the hammer itself, but only the human using the tool, to me is do we chose to pick up the hammer(scientific method) to build houses, or do we use it for greed, or to smash someone's scull in? We can use scientific method to do both. I'd say most humans don't like getting hurt so we should be able to figure this out.

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25-04-2017, 09:32 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
"scientism"

/thread and any semblance of meaningful discussion.

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01-05-2017, 04:17 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Greetings friends,
Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions. I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet. Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions. Do you agree/ disagree ? What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ? And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?
I am not aware that we have any methodologies other than science and philosophical inquiry to answer existential or moral questions.

In saying that, I am not suggesting that these methodologies provide complete answers to all such questions, I am simply suggesting that this isn't a practical problem that they don't. "We don't know at present" is a valid answer to any question, and provides guidance about how best to proceed (generally, defer conclusions or the formation of beliefs unless and until better information is available; also, try to determine the most fruitful likely avenues of inquiry by delineating what is not known and what foundations of knowledge might be lacking).

Sitting with uncertainty or lack of full understanding is an acquired skill, but an important one.
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01-05-2017, 04:29 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
Empathy gives us all the morals we need. We don't need science or religion for morals.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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02-05-2017, 10:43 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Greetings friends,
Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions. I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet. Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions. Do you agree/ disagree ? What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ? And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?

Science can't answer moral questions, but it can inform a moral inquiry, like for those morally concerned with climate change. But it can't tell you that an action is morally right or morally wrong. It can't tell me that sleeping with your wife is a morally wrong thing. Perhaps it could indicate what the effect it would have on you if you found out, or on your family. But the moral judgment here is not one for science to make but requires one's moral epistemologies, which can differ considerably among different groups of people.

Science when it comes to morality at best is a tool, nor an arbiter.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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02-05-2017, 10:53 AM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2017 10:56 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(01-05-2017 04:29 PM)Dom Wrote:  Empathy gives us all the morals we need. We don't need science or religion for morals.

Empathy is just a biological sensation, produced by relating to someone particular experience, pain, etc.. It does not dictate how one ought to respond to it. A man may feel bad about sleeping with his best friends wife, as a result of empathizing with his friend, while continuing to sleep with his wife. Just like a man might out of empathy feel bad about masterbating to porn, considering the objectification of the performers, but still continue on with it. Not to mention empathy is also quite partial.

In fact it's not very clear, as to why not just say human nature is sufficient in and of itself, with no need of moral beliefs, or philosophies, religious or otherwise, as we might say of the condition of pretty much every other animal.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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