The science of morality
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
19-12-2011, 08:28 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 07:58 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  You've done the exact same thing Harris has done. In other words, your argument comes crashing down when we simply ask, "Why is what is advantageous for the species morally good?".
No, not at all, sorry if that's how it came across. I am proposing doing away with morality altogether, and reframing questions from "is X morally good" to "is X advantageous to the species". I am arguing that the entire moral system is arbitrary and fallacious.

Quote:To address your argument more specifically, just assume for the moment that it was discovered or decided that rape would be advantageous to our survival. Would you accept rape as a common behavior in society?
No, because we have evolved to abhor such behavior. Why do we abhor it? Obviously there's something wrong with it, but not in the moral sense. If rape really was an advantage, every rich and powerful society would allow rape. Instead it seems that the more successful societies find it unacceptable. Are the 2 related? I would think they are, but the argument would be a bit long. See, again it seems I can't get my point across. Instead of trying to come up with new and inventive moral rules we need to think of what's already there and wonder why certain behaviors have stood the test of time.

Quote:I'm not sure if this is true. I agree with the first part, we don't avoid killing people because it's morally wrong, but I'd argue that we don't do it because the benefits of doing so are outweighed by the negative consequences of doing so. If someone pisses me off, and so I kill them, then I can get arrested, I could be disowned by my family, I could have friends avoid me in case I snap again, I could suffer from retaliation from their friends or family, etc.

However, imagine that the guy had killed my child. Suddenly the 'benefits' might outweigh the negatives, where I don't care what consequences I face because I don't think a person like that should exist in the world. The fact that killing another human might result in the population level reaching zero wouldn't affect my behavior at all.
I wasn't talking about individual cases, I was trying to make a generalized argument. Why is it that murder is pretty universally frowned upon by all societies throughout history? Of course the actual definition of murder vs justified killing has changed, but you have to admit there are no societies that say killing just everyone whenever you feel like it is just fine or even encouraged. Why? Because those that did aren't here any more maybe?

Quote:Untrue. Tell me how we'd observe and measure the invisible gremlins I mentioned earlier that control gravity.
Again the gremlins are interacting with physical objects. You can observe that interaction every time you drop something. That would tell you for example, that gremlins only let things fall but never let them go up. You can tell that gremlins seem to act more strongly on heavier objects. You can tell that gremlins are reliable. There's plenty you can tell about the gravity gremlins from watching gravity in action. In fact, seeing that gravity exhibits no conscious behavior, only a mechanistic one, you can start doubting that the gravity gremlins are actually conscious, since they show no autonomous thought and decision making. Etc etc.

Quote:With the dualism example, I'm not sure how you're imagining we could measure an immaterial force affecting the electro-chemistry of the brain? Dualists don't argue that the brain doesn't do anything, they argue that the brain is like a conduit for the 'mind'. No study of the brain could prove or disprove dualism because when it comes to brain processes they make the exact same predictions as materialism.
If the brain is a conduit or a receiver, you can show that some apparatus of the brain is a receiver. You can have a radio and know little or nothing of radio waves, but once you take it apart, and you identify all the various pieces, when you are left with the antenna and you can't figure out what the heck it does, and once you realize that all other parts can't possibly generate any kind of sound by themselves, you are left with the realization that the sound is generated somehow by this piece that doesn't seem to do anything useful. I realize my wording sucks but I trust you got the meaning?

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like sy2502's post
19-12-2011, 10:33 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 08:19 PM)Chas Wrote:  I guess you missed the part where I denied the existence of what you define as supernatural.
If it exists, it's natural. If it exists, you can't simply declare it off-limits by calling it beyond the ken of science.

No I got that, I'm just pointing out that your personal beliefs on the matter don't change the fact that these concepts exist.

Note that this does not mean that the supernatural does exist, or that we should believe that it exists, or even that I believe it exists, but the point is simply that science cuts out all the pointless metaphysical nonsense by assuming methodological naturalism. That is, science says, "I don't care what reality is really like, I'm just going to assume that everything is natural and work from there".

As such, if a non-natural entity happened to exist, science would have nothing to say on the matter. It's not a case of defining something as off-limits, it's just a case of understanding what science is, what it attempts to do, and what its limitations are. We can attack dualists for purposely defining their belief in unfalsifiable terms, and we can attack them for the ridiculousness of their claims, or the unnecessary nature of their claims, etc, but the point remains that a concept which is claimed to be supernatural cannot be studied by a tool which only studies the natural.

(19-12-2011 08:28 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 07:58 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  You've done the exact same thing Harris has done. In other words, your argument comes crashing down when we simply ask, "Why is what is advantageous for the species morally good?".
No, not at all, sorry if that's how it came across. I am proposing doing away with morality altogether, and reframing questions from "is X morally good" to "is X advantageous to the species". I am arguing that the entire moral system is arbitrary and fallacious.

Oh I see, then I agree with rejecting morality as it is arbitrary and fallacious, in my opinion. If you were interested, this probably places you in the position of moral skepticism or moral nihilism, and you might be interested in reading some of Mackie's work.

(19-12-2011 08:28 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
Quote:To address your argument more specifically, just assume for the moment that it was discovered or decided that rape would be advantageous to our survival. Would you accept rape as a common behavior in society?
No, because we have evolved to abhor such behavior. Why do we abhor it? Obviously there's something wrong with it, but not in the moral sense. If rape really was an advantage, every rich and powerful society would allow rape. Instead it seems that the more successful societies find it unacceptable. Are the 2 related? I would think they are, but the argument would be a bit long. See, again it seems I can't get my point across. Instead of trying to come up with new and inventive moral rules we need to think of what's already there and wonder why certain behaviors have stood the test of time.

I don't think your argument follows there. Firstly, I'm not aware of any evidence that we have evolved to abhor rape, but even if we assume that to be true, it doesn't follow that a rich and powerful society would allow rape if we didn't have an evolved sense of disgust towards it. This is because our behavior is a combination of innate and environmental factors, and since we are essentially 'learning machines', we often develop behaviors or ways of acting that go completely against our innate intuitions. For example, most people suggest that there is an innate drive to have sex and reproduce, yet most "rich and powerful societies" discourage it - condoms, abortions, delaying having children to pursue a career, etc.

Most of our complex behaviors like morals are the result of environmental variables, rather than innate behaviors that have been passed down through generations. So to suggest that we should look at what behaviors have persisted in order to determine how to behave is hugely problematic.

(19-12-2011 08:28 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  I wasn't talking about individual cases, I was trying to make a generalized argument. Why is it that murder is pretty universally frowned upon by all societies throughout history? Of course the actual definition of murder vs justified killing has changed, but you have to admit there are no societies that say killing just everyone whenever you feel like it is just fine or even encouraged. Why? Because those that did aren't here any more maybe?

Why is murder frowned upon? It's certainly not an innate trait, it's something we've learnt. Altruism and cooperation are a result of our basic laws of learning - that is, if you want to acquire the most materials and remain safe, the best course of action is to share and help others. Altruism is just an extension of the laws which underpin self-control, where 'cooperating' is choosing the larger, delayed reward, and 'defecting' is choosing the smaller, sooner reward. This is what controls the behavior of humans (and animals) in the Prisoner's dilemma game.

Interestingly, in comparison to the 'innate theory', the learning perspective can explain why our behavior changes in different forms of the game; i.e. why people usually defect in one-shot games, but cooperate in the iterated game. If we had an innate sense of morality or altruism, then it should not be so heavily context-dependent.

(19-12-2011 08:28 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
Quote:Untrue. Tell me how we'd observe and measure the invisible gremlins I mentioned earlier that control gravity.
Again the gremlins are interacting with physical objects. You can observe that interaction every time you drop something. That would tell you for example, that gremlins only let things fall but never let them go up. You can tell that gremlins seem to act more strongly on heavier objects. You can tell that gremlins are reliable. There's plenty you can tell about the gravity gremlins from watching gravity in action. In fact, seeing that gravity exhibits no conscious behavior, only a mechanistic one, you can start doubting that the gravity gremlins are actually conscious, since they show no autonomous thought and decision making. Etc etc.

Except you aren't observing the behavior of the gremlins, you're observing the objects, which can be explained entirely without reference to the gremlins. At best, the gremlins would be hypothetical constructs which operate as a kind of "black box" where we observe the inputs and outputs, and just guess what's happening in the black box. Specifically, the box is considered to be 'black' because we can't observe or measure the contents (i.e. the gremlins).

(19-12-2011 08:28 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  
Quote:With the dualism example, I'm not sure how you're imagining we could measure an immaterial force affecting the electro-chemistry of the brain? Dualists don't argue that the brain doesn't do anything, they argue that the brain is like a conduit for the 'mind'. No study of the brain could prove or disprove dualism because when it comes to brain processes they make the exact same predictions as materialism.
If the brain is a conduit or a receiver, you can show that some apparatus of the brain is a receiver. You can have a radio and know little or nothing of radio waves, but once you take it apart, and you identify all the various pieces, when you are left with the antenna and you can't figure out what the heck it does, and once you realize that all other parts can't possibly generate any kind of sound by themselves, you are left with the realization that the sound is generated somehow by this piece that doesn't seem to do anything useful. I realize my wording sucks but I trust you got the meaning?

I get what you're saying but I think you're taking the analogy too far. In other words, the "antenna" may be the entire brain itself, as in it may not operate at all without the input from the mindstuff.

Importantly, we've never observed the immaterial interacting with the material, so even if dualism were true, we'd have absolutely no clue as to what to expect or what we were looking for. The problem with the idea of "looking for an antenna" is assuming that an interaction between (supposed) immaterial and material operates in the same way as an interaction between two material objects. It's no different from the mistake that William Lane Craig makes in his Kalam cosmological argument where he asserts that everything that begins to exist must have a cause therefore since the universe began to exist then it has a cause. Ignoring for now the other flaws in the argument, a main flaw is that he tries to translate his understanding of a property of the universe (causality) to a process that occurred outside of the universe (the beginning of the universe).

We have no way of knowing whether that's a valid inference to make as causality may only be a property of the universe, or it may behave differently before the creation of matter and time. The same applies to your "antenna" argument, as this makes sense when we're talking about two material objects interacting, but we have no way of knowing whether this makes sense when talking about the interaction between immaterial and material.

Of course, I find the idea of immaterial entities to be absurd and I think we can reject them on logical and philosophical grounds, I just don't think it's reasonable to try to reject non-scientific entities on the basis of scientific conclusions.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 12:36 AM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 10:33 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Importantly, we've never observed the immaterial interacting with the material, so even if dualism were true, we'd have absolutely no clue as to what to expect or what we were looking for.

Of course, I find the idea of immaterial entities to be absurd and I think we can reject them on logical and philosophical grounds, I just don't think it's reasonable to try to reject non-scientific entities on the basis of scientific conclusions.

So you agree that we can't interact with anything that is supernatural, that what we interact with is natural.

Therefor we can have no evidence of the existence of anything immaterial, so it is no different than the imaginary. The world is the same whether such things exist or not, so it is not at all clear what the existence of the immaterial even means.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 03:43 AM
RE: The science of morality
(20-12-2011 12:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 10:33 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Importantly, we've never observed the immaterial interacting with the material, so even if dualism were true, we'd have absolutely no clue as to what to expect or what we were looking for.

Of course, I find the idea of immaterial entities to be absurd and I think we can reject them on logical and philosophical grounds, I just don't think it's reasonable to try to reject non-scientific entities on the basis of scientific conclusions.

So you agree that we can't interact with anything that is supernatural, that what we interact with is natural.

I didn't say that we can't interact with anything that is supernatural. We just have no scientific evidence of something interacting with the supernatural, so we'd have no idea what such a thing would look like.

This is either because: a) the "supernatural" is a meaningless concept and all that exists is the natural world, or b) we currently have no tool or method for observing an interaction between natural and supernatural. I personally believe the former, based on numerous logical arguments and philosophies which have been proposed over the years, but the latter is not necessarily impossible and certainly isn't something which can be supported by scientific evidence.

(20-12-2011 12:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  Therefor we can have no evidence of the existence of anything immaterial, so it is no different than the imaginary. The world is the same whether such things exist or not, so it is not at all clear what the existence of the immaterial even means.

Of course we can have no evidence of the supernatural in terms of scientific evidence because, as I've mentioned, science only deals with the natural world and interactions between natural phenomena. However, like with ethics, we have other forms of evidence to support the existence of the supernatural and immaterial. Such concepts therefore are distinct from imaginary objects because they are supported by forms of evidence (e.g. logical arguments).
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 04:36 AM (This post was last modified: 20-12-2011 04:40 AM by morondog.)
RE: The science of morality
(20-12-2011 03:43 AM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Of course we can have no evidence of the supernatural in terms of scientific evidence because, as I've mentioned, science only deals with the natural world and interactions between natural phenomena. However, like with ethics, we have other forms of evidence to support the existence of the supernatural and immaterial. Such concepts therefore are distinct from imaginary objects because they are supported by forms of evidence (e.g. logical arguments).

Huh

If you systematically investigate the "supernatural" then you're doing science. There's no "this is unnatural" sign which says "no science allowed beyond this point".
Also if supernatural phenomena interact with natural, then they *can* be detected by watching their interactions with the natural...


Furthermore, inferring the existence of something from logic alone would have to be inherently dodgy? It's like the old philosophers who thought you didn't have to do experiments... truth and beauty may reside in logic but if they relate to the outside world they must at some point take it into account...?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 07:18 AM
RE: The science of morality
(20-12-2011 04:36 AM)morondog Wrote:  Huh

If you systematically investigate the "supernatural" then you're doing science.

Not necessarily. Science is not "systematic study" - for example, we systematically study numbers and the relationship between them (i.e. mathematics), but that isn't science.

(20-12-2011 04:36 AM)morondog Wrote:  There's no "this is unnatural" sign which says "no science allowed beyond this point".

Of course there is, as that's how science has defined itself. There are a number of assumptions that science makes, and axioms that it rests upon, which make it impossible to extend it beyond a certain point without making science meaningless. Specifically, science assumes things like methodological naturalism, falsificationism, parsimony etc., but none of these have to be true. Science assumes the world is natural, which means that anything that isn't natural is ignored. On top of that, it rejects any claims which aren't falsifiable, and reject unparsimonious claims, regardless of whether they are true or not.

These assumptions are made for pragmatic reasons. We can't systematically study things we cannot observe or measure, so we assume methodological naturalism. We can't systematically study something which can't be falsified, as we could never find evidence to support or refute it, so we reject unfalsifiable claims. And we reject unparsimonious claims because they unnecessarily complicate our equations, without caring whether the unparsimonious explanations are better representations of reality or not.

This is just basic intro to science that most science students learn in their first week of uni. Science ignores supernatural claims by necessity.

(20-12-2011 04:36 AM)morondog Wrote:  Also if supernatural phenomena interact with natural, then they *can* be detected by watching their interactions with the natural...

So you know of a test to discover my invisible gremlins?

(20-12-2011 04:36 AM)morondog Wrote:  Furthermore, inferring the existence of something from logic alone would have to be inherently dodgy? It's like the old philosophers who thought you didn't have to do experiments... truth and beauty may reside in logic but if they relate to the outside world they must at some point take it into account...?

Well you have to keep in mind that science isn't a study of reality. Yes, we do experiments, but these are to develop a coherent system of observations. Whether our observations are accurate representations of reality is a matter that science can never determine - e.g. science could never tell us whether atoms are 'real'. And the great thing about science is that it simply doesn't care about some nebulous metaphysical notion of "reality". It just cuts out that bullshit by studying observations, regardless of whether they are "true" or not, in the same way mathematics still functions whether numbers have an objective basis or not.

The important point, however, is that there are no experiments you can do for certain areas. After a long time of tossing ideas around, the philosophers/scientists discovered that for experiments to produce meaningful results, we could only apply the scientific method to natural phenomena. When we try to apply it to metaphysics, or ethics, or mathematics, the whole thing just falls apart.

The point you raise is an interesting one though, which is the question over whether logic and reason alone could give us valid enough results. Some people say 'no' and so they ignore the issue of trying to discover things about reality, or the concept of morality, but others try to misapply science (and in the process, make a mockery of science). But I think the interesting thing about philosophy that most people miss, is that finding a conclusive answer isn't necessarily the aim. When dealing with metaphysics, for example, the issue of whether we can determine what's real by logic and reason alone can be problematic, unless we take a step back and simply aim for reaching a position that is reasonable. That is, we determine what systems are consistent, produce meaningful results to us, can be supported by solid arguments, etc.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 07:47 AM
RE: The science of morality
(20-12-2011 03:43 AM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  
(20-12-2011 12:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 10:33 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Importantly, we've never observed the immaterial interacting with the material, so even if dualism were true, we'd have absolutely no clue as to what to expect or what we were looking for.

If there is interaction, then in principle we can detect it. Your not having a clue where or how is an argument from ignorance.


Quote:
Quote:
Quote:Of course, I find the idea of immaterial entities to be absurd and I think we can reject them on logical and philosophical grounds, I just don't think it's reasonable to try to reject non-scientific entities on the basis of scientific conclusions.

If an immaterial entity has no effect on nature, then it cannot be scientifically tested. That's a tautology.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:

So you agree that we can't interact with anything that is supernatural, that what we interact with is natural.

I didn't say that we can't interact with anything that is supernatural. We just have no scientific evidence of something interacting with the supernatural, so we'd have no idea what such a thing would look like.

See above - argument from ignorance.

Quote:This is either because: a) the "supernatural" is a meaningless concept and all that exists is the natural world, or b) we currently have no tool or method for observing an interaction between natural and supernatural. I personally believe the former, based on numerous logical arguments and philosophies which have been proposed over the years, but the latter is not necessarily impossible and certainly isn't something which can be supported by scientific evidence.

I agree with 'a' - the support for it is the complete lack of evidence, evidence which should be there if it exists.
Proposition 'b' is an argument from ignorance.

Quote:
(20-12-2011 12:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  Therefor we can have no evidence of the existence of anything immaterial, so it is no different than the imaginary. The world is the same whether such things exist or not, so it is not at all clear what the existence of the immaterial even means.

Of course we can have no evidence of the supernatural in terms of scientific evidence because, as I've mentioned, science only deals with the natural world and interactions between natural phenomena.

True if and only if you define the supernatural as having no interaction with the natural. Science deals with any interaction with the natural.

Quote:However, like with ethics, we have other forms of evidence to support the existence of the supernatural and immaterial. Such concepts therefore are distinct from imaginary objects because they are supported by forms of evidence (e.g. logical arguments).

Logical arguments are not evidence. Logical argument is a tool. Evidence is facts or information that support the truth value of a proposition.
What else do you offer as 'other forms' of evidence?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 08:23 AM
RE: The science of morality
@ Mr Samsa: I do beg your pardon, I haven't read the whole thread Smile I merely thought that your one statement which I quoted seemed a bit over the top. To answer your points:

1. I do agree I guess, systematic study != science in general. You can systematically study the bible. What I meant though is that... there's no great mystery to the scientific method. All it is, is do an experiment, see what the result is. Maybe modify the experiment. Theorise. You can apply that to virtually any field of study, *including* ghosts and whatnot.

2. I agree, science has a high chance of converging on truth, but theories are always more or less just simplified models of what we think of as reality. So maybe an unparsimonious theory which included fairy dust is closer to the truth, but rejected because we can make a perfectly good theory without.

I disagree that science cannot be applied to the so called supernatural though. For example, ... hmm... ghost claims. If ghosts do interact with people and people are made of matter then ghosts are in principle detectable, if only by watching their interaction with people, right? Therefore it might be *hard* to do science concerning what ghosts can and can't do, but we can certainly study them using the scientific method. Ergo science does *not* automatically exclude the supernatural. We *don't* include supernatural in e.g. explanations simply because so far there has been no need for it. And all supernatural claims which have been investigated so far have turned out dud.

Yes we can't absolutely exclude the supernatural, in the same way we can't absolutely exclude God. But to argue for its existence is to argue for the existence of fairies and gnomes and sentient pianos and invisible gremlins... oh wait, those do exist.

Again, haven't read the thread, so unsure what your invisible gremlin's deal is, but unless he actively wants to stay hidden, if he interacts with matter then he can be observed. If he doesn't interact, then he might as well not exist, and if he actively wants to stay hidden, and successfully avoids detection, then to argue for his existence is illogical?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 11:59 AM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 10:33 PM)Mr.Samsa Wrote:  Oh I see, then I agree with rejecting morality as it is arbitrary and fallacious, in my opinion. If you were interested, this probably places you in the position of moral skepticism or moral nihilism, and you might be interested in reading some of Mackie's work.
I am not sure if the position is nihilistic. If you want to simply say "nothing is moral or immoral because we are part of nature, and nature is inherently amoral" then yes I guess that's precisely what I am saying. If you want to follow it up with "therefore it's a free for all" then no, I still believe a society is responsible for ensuring it works well, and that includes protecting itself from destructive behaviors, and encouraging constructive ones.

Quote:I don't think your argument follows there. Firstly, I'm not aware of any evidence that we have evolved to abhor rape, but even if we assume that to be true, it doesn't follow that a rich and powerful society would allow rape if we didn't have an evolved sense of disgust towards it.
I am not sure if we evolved to abhor rape or not, we certainly evolved to have empathy. If you see that woman as another human being that feels what you feel, then unless you have a personality disorder, you should feel at least uncomfortable at the thought of raping her.
Nevertheless if we want to consider "do not rape" as a meme and think of it in terms of a trait that some societies favored and passed on from generation to generation, then you have to wonder why the most successful societies are the ones that value the individuals, their dignity, their freedom, etc.

Quote:Most of our complex behaviors like morals are the result of environmental variables, rather than innate behaviors that have been passed down through generations. So to suggest that we should look at what behaviors have persisted in order to determine how to behave is hugely problematic.
I don't see it as particularly problematic. Just as environmental conditions change and organisms must adapt to them, historic contexts change and societies have to adapt to them. There was a time that life span was very short, communities were small and drew strength in numbers. At that time, having multiple wives and as many children as you could was advantageous. Now things are different and societies have to adapt to the new conditions.

Quote:Why is murder frowned upon? It's certainly not an innate trait, it's something we've learnt. Altruism and cooperation are a result of our basic laws of learning - that is, if you want to acquire the most materials and remain safe, the best course of action is to share and help others. Altruism is just an extension of the laws which underpin self-control, where 'cooperating' is choosing the larger, delayed reward, and 'defecting' is choosing the smaller, sooner reward. This is what controls the behavior of humans (and animals) in the Prisoner's dilemma game.
I respectfully disagree that altruism and cooperation are learned. Many animals exhibit instinctual cooperative behavior.

Quote:Except you aren't observing the behavior of the gremlins, you're observing the objects, which can be explained entirely without reference to the gremlins. At best, the gremlins would be hypothetical constructs which operate as a kind of "black box" where we observe the inputs and outputs, and just guess what's happening in the black box. Specifically, the box is considered to be 'black' because we can't observe or measure the contents (i.e. the gremlins).
Many things that are the domain of scientific inquiry are studied through the interaction of the subject of study with other things. Quarks have never been observed with the naked eye, we study them through their interactions. Same with forces, we don't see force, we see interactions and deduce they are due to force being applied.
As for your gremlin example, your gremlins are a hypothesis. How do you know your hypothesis is valid? Just saying gremlins exist is evidently not enough. What is your reason to propose the gremlins hypothesis? Usually a hypothesis is supposed to have explanatory power. We see objects falling, we don't know why they fall, let's theorize there are gremlins that make it fall. Very well, but for the hypothesis to be accepted it needs to be tested. So you test your hypothesis and realize that gremlins have no explanatory power because everything about gravity can already be explained through General Relativity. Well then, now what reason do you have to believe in the gremlins? Your initial reason was that objects fall and you don't know why. Now that you know why, and it has nothing to do with gremlins, why continue to insist on the existence of gremlins? Now I am sure that one can continue believing in the existence of those gremlins for no reason whatsoever, but it doesn't seem like a rational behavior to me.

Quote:I get what you're saying but I think you're taking the analogy too far. In other words, the "antenna" may be the entire brain itself, as in it may not operate at all without the input from the mindstuff.
Excellent, that's wonderful, and it tells much more than you think. Right now we are trying to find out how the mind works through fMRI, neuroscience, etc. If we ever get to the point we know everything there is to know about neurons, and at that point realize there is no way neurons can generate consciousness, that is neurons inherently are incapable of it, then we are left with no choice than postulate something else, the dualist mind for example.

Quote:Importantly, we've never observed the immaterial interacting with the material, so even if dualism were true, we'd have absolutely no clue as to what to expect or what we were looking for.
But that's not true. We know that neurons work electro chemically. Then at the end of the day, the effect of the dualist mind must result in electro chemical interactions. If we know through chemistry and physics, that neuron A should interact with neuron B through certain laws of physics, and instead the interaction is off from what's predicted, then something else intervened. You need to keep in mind that a brain boils down to cells, molecules, electrons, etc. Unless of course you don't think that's what a brain is. Sad

Quote:We have no way of knowing whether that's a valid inference to make as causality may only be a property of the universe, or it may behave differently before the creation of matter and time. The same applies to your "antenna" argument, as this makes sense when we're talking about two material objects interacting, but we have no way of knowing whether this makes sense when talking about the interaction between immaterial and material.
If causality doesn't apply to the supernatural then the supernatural has no influence on the natural, that is the supernatural is inconsequential. Then its existence is also inconsequential and becomes just an intellectual exercise.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes sy2502's post
20-12-2011, 01:36 PM
RE: The science of morality
(19-12-2011 05:44 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-12-2011 04:50 PM)AbdelZ Wrote:  Just know first that i do accept only the scientific descriptive facts no one can deny as such , not the prescriptive interpretative speculative materialistic matters

What does this mean? Those words do not make it at at all clear what you accept and what you reject.

You are using terms from post-modernism that you haven't defined for us.



Those were no post-modern terms if u were talking about the above mentioned ones at least


Besides :

Post-modernism is the logical conclusion of modernism , the first that does flirt with nihillism = western thought would only lead to nihillism at the end of line


Post-modernism that has sent all those "universalism, truth, objectivity " claims of modernism to Alice's wonderland , that's mainly why u do not like post-modernism, i guess : u will come by , do not worry :

u will get a choc first as a result , then denial , then probably acceptance & recovery at the end of the line , who knows


Further more :


Which part of materialism do u want me to criticize ?

The materialistic prescriptive interpretative speculative ideological "fact " that life is just a matter of "material processes " that has nothing to do with the material descriptive scientific facts or what exactly ? haha

Worse : that materialistic approach of life that goes all the way back to the 18th century at least as a result of the bloody conflict against the medieval church= Euro-centric , is imposed to science as a "scientific fact " = outrageous :


Outrageous as a judgement of value concerning those monistic ethics of materialism imposed to science that can be traced back to Spinoza's ethics or monism
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: