The science of morality
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18-12-2011, 07:52 PM
RE: The science of morality
(18-12-2011 07:38 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  
(18-12-2011 07:26 PM)Chas Wrote:  Please tell me what constitutes evidence that is not scientific evidence. I think this is close to the heart of the difference.

Evidence is basically anything which can be used to support a proposition. 'Scientific evidence', on the other hand, is specifically the kind of evidence which is empirical (and usually used to support scientific theories).

Since the topic is morality, let's bring it right back to the original topic. What kind of evidence do you think ethicists use to support different moral systems? Do they do empirical tests, employ falsificationism, etc? Of course not, because morals are not something which can be determined scientifically*. But this doesn't mean that we can just accept any old assertion, or that we can reject the entire field as a whole because it doesn't have any "(scientific) evidence" to support it. Instead, we collect evidence in the form of logic, rational arguments, consistency, etc, in the same way mathematicians find evidence for their work (i.e. mathematicians obviously don't collect scientific evidence).
We agree on the existence of morality, so we are not talking about evidence of its existence, so the above is not applicable to the evidence discussion.
Quote:Metaphysics (materialism, dualism, etc) is something, like ethics, which is outside of the scope of science.
Again I say that if you are making the claim that something (in this case, a non-material basis for consciousness, I think) then the burden of proof is on you making the claim. What constitutes proof of existence?
Quote:This is because, as I mentioned above, science is predicated on the assumption of methodological naturalism. This means that it can only ever find evidence in 'favour' of naturalism and can never find evidence of supernaturalism, or dualism, etc.
If these things exist, they are by definition part of the natural world.
Quote: This isn't a problem with science, it's actually one of its strengths in that it limits its scope to only that which can be studied, that which is useful and meaningful to us. The problem is only when people try to misuse the tool to try to support their own agenda. So to say that science finds evidence "for" naturalism and finds no evidence for dualism is a circular argument - of course it doesn't find any evidence for dualism because, by its very nature, it cannot ever find evidence for dualism.
Your argument separates reality into natural and supernatural - a false dichotomy.
If these things exist, they are natural. If they are natural, they are within the purview of science.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-12-2011, 11:48 AM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 12:01 PM by AbdelZ.)
RE: The science of morality
(18-12-2011 01:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(18-12-2011 01:08 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  
(17-12-2011 04:21 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(17-12-2011 12:32 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  We know that both spirit & body have mutual constant influences with each other , so, no wonder that if some ereas of the brain are damaged whose normal function is x , the correspondent erea in the mind gets "blocked " because it loses its material vehicle :

If regions of the brain are damaged whose function is language for example , to make it simple , one cannot talk , but that does not mean that language is only a matter of the material brain or biology
The evidence quite strongly indicates that the processes are brain-based, and give no evidence in favor of 'spirit'.
Quote:Besides : the intellect or mind or consciousness or whatever you wanna call it cannot be the product of evolution, it can evolve but it cannot be the product of evolution, the latter that's just an abstract apprehending of reality by the first = consciousness cannot be the product of its own abstract apprehending of reality
This is your opinion, since you don't provide any support. Science has found no evidence of a spirit, no dualism. If you would like a cogent theory of mind as an emergent property of the brain, please read The Mind's I, by Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel C. Dennett.
Quote:You, guys , gotta learn to make the difference between materialism as an Euro-centric prescriptive speculative interpretative ideology & between the material nature of science +scientific facts

I can tell you more about the matter from the neo-darwinists ' optics such as those of Dennet , Dawkins & co than you probably can ever imagine , so

Thanks, appreciate indeed
And you, sir, need to reduce the confrontational tone and wording.

That's no confrontational tone , sir : that's just outrage at the fact that materialism presents & imposes its ideological speculative interpretative prescriptive unnuanced non-sense as ......descriptive scientific facts

I will freely admit that I have no idea what that statement means; it just sounds like pretentious nonsense.


Take a look at the following interesting video, to some extent at least : Sam Harris & Richard Dawkins :

A lecture by the first discussed with the second & with the audience :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/who-says-...-morality/




http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla...m2Jrr0tRXk

The split between values & facts does not really exist , Harris just gave it an atheistic materialistic U turn :

science ethics easthetics epistemology philosophy ...are inseparable , even though their natures are different

values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose

In islam , everything is connected ,including truth morality easthetics, not to mention politics , economics , social & other aspects of life = matter & spirit or object & subject , material & spiritual life , life & after-life are inseparable :

Harris was on the right path in his above mentioned lecture when he presented that revolutionary brilliant analysis of his concerning the fact that some values are facts in fact = are more true facts than others = more good or more bad than others
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19-12-2011, 11:58 AM
RE: The science of morality
(18-12-2011 07:38 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Since the topic is morality, let's bring it right back to the original topic. What kind of evidence do you think ethicists use to support different moral systems? Do they do empirical tests, employ falsificationism, etc? Of course not, because morals are not something which can be determined scientifically*.
Interestingly, that's part of why I started this thread in the Science section rather than the Philosophy section even though morality is usually considered a philosophical matter. Part of my objective with the thread was in fact to show that science CAN and SHOULD have a saying in moral matters and the saying is, in the argument I am presenting, that morality as is usually conceived is a form of special pleading, and is baseless given the scientific knowledge we currently have. I am trying to suggest we look not at what is "morally right or wrong" as it has been done until now, but at what is advantageous for the species. This is NOT what Harris does. Harris doesn't do away with the concept of morality altogether as I am suggesting. His argument "morality is that which maximizes happiness and well being" is a form of begging the question, because all one has to ask is "why is maximizing happiness and well being morally good?" and the argument comes crashing down. The argument I am presenting is that since the very reason we evolved the capacity for "morality" is survival advantage, then the only possible non arbitrary definition of "morally good" must be "that which gives survival advantage". Basically, to make an example, we don't refrain from killing random members of society because it is morally wrong, but because a society in which its members randomly kill each other off will, obviously enough, extinguish itself off.

Quote:This is because, as I mentioned above, science is predicated on the assumption of methodological naturalism. This means that it can only ever find evidence in 'favour' of naturalism and can never find evidence of supernaturalism, or dualism, etc.
I beg to disagree. Anything that interacts with the physical can be observed and studied. You should be able to observe the supernatural through its interaction with the natural. In the case of dualism, if a supernatural component can affect the electro-chemistry of the brain, then we should be able to study it through those effects. Moreover, if we can formulate a satisfactory explanation of the processes in the brain without need to resort to external influence, then that should be enough to discount such external influence. In other words, yes I do believe science can have a say in the matter.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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19-12-2011, 12:01 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 12:11 PM by Chas.)
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 11:48 AM)AbdelZ Wrote:  values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose

Does this mean that Islamic water is different than Jewish water? That liberal water serves a different purpose than conservative water?

Water is water, it has no values.
(19-12-2011 11:58 AM)sy2502 Wrote:  ... The argument I am presenting is that since the very reason we evolved the capacity for "morality" is survival advantage, then the only possible non arbitrary definition of "morally good" must be "that which gives survival advantage". Basically, to make an example, we don't refrain from killing random members of society because it is morally wrong, but because a society in which its members randomly kill each other off will, obviously enough, extinguish itself off.

I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.

Quote:I beg to disagree. Anything that interacts with the physical can be observed and studied. You should be able to observe the supernatural through its interaction with the natural. In the case of dualism, if a supernatural component can affect the electro-chemistry of the brain, then we should be able to study it through those effects. Moreover, if we can formulate a satisfactory explanation of the processes in the brain without need to resort to external influence, then that should be enough to discount such external influence. In other words, yes I do believe science can have a say in the matter.

I would go (and have gone) farther that that. If a phenomenon or thing we term 'supernatural' can be shown to exist, it is, ipso facto, natural. This has been the history of science - rolling back the supernatural, magical, and unknown to show the natural explanation.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-12-2011, 12:17 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 11:48 AM)AbdelZ Wrote:  values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose

Does this mean that Islamic water is different than Jewish water? That liberal water serves a different purpose than conservative water?

Water is water, it has no values.
(19-12-2011 11:58 AM)sy2502 Wrote:  ... The argument I am presenting is that since the very reason we evolved the capacity for "morality" is survival advantage, then the only possible non arbitrary definition of "morally good" must be "that which gives survival advantage". Basically, to make an example, we don't refrain from killing random members of society because it is morally wrong, but because a society in which its members randomly kill each other off will, obviously enough, extinguish itself off.

I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.

Quote:I beg to disagree. Anything that interacts with the physical can be observed and studied. You should be able to observe the supernatural through its interaction with the natural. In the case of dualism, if a supernatural component can affect the electro-chemistry of the brain, then we should be able to study it through those effects. Moreover, if we can formulate a satisfactory explanation of the processes in the brain without need to resort to external influence, then that should be enough to discount such external influence. In other words, yes I do believe science can have a say in the matter.

I would go (and have gone) farther that that. If a phenomenon or thing we term 'supernatural' can be shown to exist, it is, ipso facto, natural. This has been the history of science - rolling back the supernatural, magical, and unknown to show the natural explanation.

Do not be an idiot : try to understand what i & what Harris were saying first
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19-12-2011, 12:22 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 12:17 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  [quote='AbdelZ' pid='62935' dateline='1324316907']
values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose
Do not be an idiot : try to understand what i & what Harris were saying first

What, then, does your statement mean?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-12-2011, 12:25 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 12:26 PM by sy2502.)
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.
I don't want to misrepresent or misunderstand your argument here, but it seems to be along the lines of "we should set moral rules because we can". The fact we can think of moral rules isn't a good justification for doing so. We can also think of a god and an entire theology behind it, does that make god real?

Quote:I would go (and have gone) farther that that. If a phenomenon or thing we term 'supernatural' can be shown to exist, it is, ipso facto, natural. This has been the history of science - rolling back the supernatural, magical, and unknown to show the natural explanation.
Yes that would be my conclusion too, frankly, I find the distinction between natural and supernatural contrived. If it exists, it's part of nature. Maybe material and immaterial would be a better distinction, as long as we use "material" in the relativistic term in which matter and energy are equivalent.

(19-12-2011 12:22 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:17 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  [quote='AbdelZ' pid='62935' dateline='1324316907']
values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose
Do not be an idiot : try to understand what i & what Harris were saying first

What, then, does your statement mean?
That he's trolling.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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19-12-2011, 12:45 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2011 12:46 PM by AbdelZ.)
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 12:22 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:17 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 11:48 AM)AbdelZ Wrote:  values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose
Do not be an idiot : try to understand what i & what Harris were saying first

What, then, does your statement mean?

watch that video first then


(19-12-2011 12:25 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.
I don't want to misrepresent or misunderstand your argument here, but it seems to be along the lines of "we should set moral rules because we can". The fact we can think of moral rules isn't a good justification for doing so. We can also think of a god and an entire theology behind it, does that make god real?

Quote:I would go (and have gone) farther that that. If a phenomenon or thing we term 'supernatural' can be shown to exist, it is, ipso facto, natural. This has been the history of science - rolling back the supernatural, magical, and unknown to show the natural explanation.
Yes that would be my conclusion too, frankly, I find the distinction between natural and supernatural contrived. If it exists, it's part of nature. Maybe material and immaterial would be a better distinction, as long as we use "material" in the relativistic term in which matter and energy are equivalent.

(19-12-2011 12:22 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:17 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  [quote='Chas' pid='62938' dateline='1324317666']
[quote='AbdelZ' pid='62935' dateline='1324316907']
values & facts are inseparable , there exist no value- free knowledge or value -free information : even the fact that the molecule of water consisting of oxygen & hydrogen is not free of value : serves some purpose
Do not be an idiot : try to understand what i & what Harris were saying first

What, then, does your statement mean?
That he's trolling.

No i am not , i am serious , watch that video then first
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19-12-2011, 01:00 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 12:25 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.
I don't want to misrepresent or misunderstand your argument here, but it seems to be along the lines of "we should set moral rules because we can". The fact we can think of moral rules isn't a good justification for doing so. We can also think of a god and an entire theology behind it, does that make god real?

That's not quite what I meant. There is convincing evidence that a moral or ethical sense is a product of evolution. It is simply that consciousness allows us to reflect on it, analyze it, channel it, and rationalize it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-12-2011, 01:41 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 01:00 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:25 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 12:01 PM)Chas Wrote:  I would agree to a large extent, but not the exclusive conclusion. We have cognition and consciousness and free will. We can base our morality on anything we want, but the further that is from its evolutionary roots, the harder it is to justify it or adhere to it. That's a little fuzzy - I'll work on that.
I don't want to misrepresent or misunderstand your argument here, but it seems to be along the lines of "we should set moral rules because we can". The fact we can think of moral rules isn't a good justification for doing so. We can also think of a god and an entire theology behind it, does that make god real?

That's not quite what I meant. There is convincing evidence that a moral or ethical sense is a product of evolution. It is simply that consciousness allows us to reflect on it, analyze it, channel it, and rationalize it.


Can u then explain to me how we supposedly hypothetically have evolved from a-moral animals to moral ones ?

& how our consciousness was the product of evolution ? = that emergent property theory regarding human consciousness as something that was the product of the so-called evolutionary complexity of the brain ,does not convince me much

How can consciousness evolve from its own abstract apprehending of reality= evolution ? = a paradox

The brain or intellect can evolve but i do not see how the material brain could "give birth " to the immaterial consciousness ; explain it to me , make my day , even though i know very well what u are gonna say , repeating what neo-darwinists have been saying in that regard without being able to prove it , even thought they consider consciousness as just yet another evolved ...material process

To be more precise :

If consciousness was just a survival strategy that did not exist as such = just an illusion like love is that's just chemistry like materialists say , then all the rest is illusions = our knowledge , our perception of reality , of the truth , morality ethics , feelings , emotions, love , free will, freedom, values , justice ....including our own existence
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