7 of 52
7
Absurd Theologians and Atheists
Posted: 15 March 2007 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]  Can you read this quick article, especially towards the bottom?  Copan explains is quite well:

http://www.rzim.org/resources/essay_arttext.php?id=4


I barely graded any essay tests on WWI, thanks Watercat smile

Copan explains nothing well.  I read the article.  It is very bad.  But I am going to try to provide you with a detailed explanation of why his argument is so bad.  Lord knows why.  I guess I feel responsible somehow.

Just give me some time.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2007 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  89
Joined  2007-02-26

I was going to start with waltercat, but I suspect that the article he’s going to respond to might answer some statements I was going to raise so I’m going to hold off so Walter doesn’t have to respond to arguments twice.  I do want to ask him this based on the following quote . . .

My point is NOT to claim that science has all of the answers. It certainly does not. And explaining where the universe came from is pretty damn difficult. My point is that Theists believe that they have answers; but in actuality all that they have is a form of words to repeat. And they fool themselves into believing that these words are an answer. Saying, “God did it” is not an explanation for how the universe came into being. Why? Because it tells us nothing about how God did do it. (again, re-read my post on this topic)

Contrary to your previous post, the atheistic explanation for the existence of the universe is not “Matter did it.” It is ridiculous in the extreme to think that this is an atheist explanation. I have no idea how the universe came into existence. But unlike theists, I do not fool myself into thinking that I have an explanation. Furthermore, as I indicated previously, unlike theists, I recognize that there is not going to be an ultimate explanation.

So, are you an atheist or an agnostic? If you’re not sure about your metaphysics or the ground of ethics, how do you rule out God? It seems to me that one must have a firm metaphysical belief to be atheist.  If you can’t say you know the ground, how can you say you know what it isn’t?  I’m assuming you believe that there is no evidence, therefore, no reason to believe?

Now I’ll respond to some other posts, mostly to Joad’s.

You agree that the applications of moral principles change with time, place, and circumstance yet claim that the principles themselves are eternal and, in your view, rooted in the very nature of God. I was asking how you might come to know these principles and be able to apply them situationally. How do we attain to this “complete understanding” of the invariant moral principles? Is it by referring to a sacred text, by sincere prayer, by listening to what a priest or king tells

I would say that they come from nature, the moral consciousness, and divine revelation working in concert.  God communicates and does so in many different ways.  When I mentioned the prophet, priest, and king in the bible, I wasn’t mentioning a particular person, for these, in the bible, are typological functions that every human, man and women, are called to fulfill.  Not just a literal king.

We cannot observe without an observer.

Our disagreement lies in the word ‘rules’. You see rules as having a positive value. I see them as being negative.

For example: Thou shalt not kill.

For most people, that seems to be a good rule.

But what does it really mean?

It means, “We will NEVER address the reasons that people kill. We will IGNORE that completely, and just make a rule against it”.

That leaves us with an eternity of killing. Rules prevent problem solving. They are an open admission of failure.

You see rules as divine guidance. I see them as the failure of authority to solve problems.

Christianity is an ideology that requires us to be evil. It keeps us in eternal conflict. It requires that we forever maintain the desire to kill so that we can obey the command not to kill

I’m not sure I follow your underlying premise here so I’m going to try to talk through it.  Number one, just because we are all subjects doesn’t make our appraisal of an object invalid, especially from my metaphysical principles.  If you really believed that being a subject means that you can’t know the objects around us, why are you even discussing on this forum.  Doesn’t your belief in the inability of subjects to know objects make all rationality an illusion, and therefore, this discussion an exercise in futility.  Be assured, I don’t believe this, and, by your other comments, I don’t think you do either so I’m pretty sure I’m not understanding what you mean in your first statement.

Second, I disagree that a rule doesn’t seek to address the problem.  The rule sets a boundary but, if you look into the bible, the commandment is not the end of the matter.  After rules comes reasons for the rules, and after the reason, comes the diagnosis, and after the diagnosis, comes the remedy.  The golden rule is not a restriction but a positive command, and Jesus’ two statement summary of the law are both positive, not negative, statements.  Rules set boundaries, but God seeks us to be wise and doesn’t end with restrictions.  This is a major theme of the Jesus’ dealings with the Pharisees.  As far as “requiring us to be evil.”  It seems to indicate that you believe the existence of a law makes me want to break it.  If this is true, your premise asserts that people are the root of the problem.  That there is something inside of men that wishes to defy rules.  Just because there is a law against shoplifting doesn’t mean I ever wanted to shoplift.  Nor does this law suddenly make me want to.  And to be moral, means going into the positives aspects and not just being contented with not murdering.  True religion is to keep oneself unstained by the world and to help the people in their distress.  A quick paraphrase of James chapter one, and this theme is found throughout both the old and new testament. Leviticus doesn’t just tell us not to murder, but it extrapolates later to say that, if I have anger toward my brother, I should seek reconciliation.  And that is in Leviticus, not only the New Testament.  So, I’m not sure what you mean by a negative rule keeps evil in a heart.  Only an evil heart can be tempted by evil.  Furthermore, I disagree that objective morality implies group-think.

Finally, Joad, what is your belief about the role of social laws in the world.  If I understand your premise, aren’t the laws of government naturally oppressive or nonsensical.  What authority, other than might, does the government or society have to impose rules? 

Who is promoting a universal morality? I was asking Silenius how he got in touch with his claimed universal principles. My claim is that there is a universal morality but it cannot be captured in any set of principles or concepts dictating action. Rather, it can be approximated by an internal search—your suggestion to treat others according to your best understanding of ethics is actually in agreement with this, if you include being sufficiently self aware to recognize mistakes and learn from experience. I would certainly not want to dictate your moral behavior, if I found it objectionable I’d avoid you.

I intuitively love this statement.  It affirms that you are responsible to impact the world ethically through action.  But, what exactly is an approximation with an internal search.  What premise do you believe that allows you to consistently think that a internal search of consciousness or emotion will provide you insight into someone else’s feelings or emotions, let alone humanities as a whole.  Furthermore, what premise guides your internal search?  In a conflict between the passions and emotions and my conscious, who wins?  Which is primary?  Nietzsche taught Dionysus as primary over Apollo, but how do I know who gets the crown in this inner fist fight.  I have respect for Joad who is grasping his premise by the horns and riding it to its end, a subjective ethic, but I honestly don’t see how this last statement firmly establishes an objective ethic.  If morality isn’t principles or concepts, what is it?  Simply a firm intuition?  I don’t say this to be sarcastic, I want to understand how you define morality.

There really are genuine, objective moral claims. Such claims as, “It is wrong to boil babies” and “It is wrong to torture dogs” are examples. However, I do not have a completely compelling account of the ground of objective morality. The argument that since we lack an explanation of how objective morality is possible, thus we must reject objective morality, is a fallacy. Just because we don’t have an explanation for how some thing comes to be, this does NOT mean that we should conclude that it doesn’t exist.

Yes, but what is the basis of your assumption that there is a ground?  To use the argument that we don’t have to have an explanation for how something comes to be implies that the existence of the thing you are positing is observable.  For a long time, we didn’t have an explanation of how light can act as both particle and wave, but we could observe it.  Are you saying you observe the existence of an objective morality?  Are you arguing that, because we see a moral aspect in man, that there must be a moral ground for all men?  On what do you base the statement of an observable moral ground?
Finally, to miller

First of all even Stephen Hawking said that “To know what happened before the Big Bang is to be in the mind of God” and yet he’s an atheist.
Second of all Christian call that you talked about Yehova and muslims call it Allah.
Third of all chinese call this Tao.
So please stop using the word “God” when you talk about “Jehova” like your particular god is “THE GOD” and not just “A GOD”. Even if you believe that the Big Bang was the masterpiece of a god you still have no account about why is it the God of the Bible and not another one. You need to jump like a cangaroo and take hundreds of leaps of faith to arrive to this conclusion. Oh… yeah… and a little intelectual dishonesty on the side.

Actually, there is reason to believe in the Trinitarian God over other gods, but that is not the point of this discussion.  I am fine, for the purpose of this discussion, to say God meaning all monotheistic or impersonal deities or life forces believed throughout the world.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2007 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17

[quote author=“silenus”]
[quote author=“burt”] You agree that the applications of moral principles change with time, place, and circumstance yet claim that the principles themselves are eternal and, in your view, rooted in the very nature of God. I was asking how you might come to know these principles and be able to apply them situationally. How do we attain to this “complete understanding” of the invariant moral principles? Is it by referring to a sacred text, by sincere prayer, by listening to what a priest or king tells

I would say that they come from nature, the moral consciousness, and divine revelation working in concert.  God communicates and does so in many different ways.  When I mentioned the prophet, priest, and king in the bible, I wasn’t mentioning a particular person, for these, in the bible, are typological functions that every human, man and women, are called to fulfill.  Not just a literal king.

[quote author=“burt”] Who is promoting a universal morality? I was asking Silenius how he got in touch with his claimed universal principles. My claim is that there is a universal morality but it cannot be captured in any set of principles or concepts dictating action. Rather, it can be approximated by an internal search—your suggestion to treat others according to your best understanding of ethics is actually in agreement with this, if you include being sufficiently self aware to recognize mistakes and learn from experience. I would certainly not want to dictate your moral behavior, if I found it objectionable I’d avoid you.

I intuitively love this statement.  It affirms that you are responsible to impact the world ethically through action.  But, what exactly is an approximation with an internal search.  What premise do you believe that allows you to consistently think that a internal search of consciousness or emotion will provide you insight into someone else’s feelings or emotions, let alone humanities as a whole.  Furthermore, what premise guides your internal search?  In a conflict between the passions and emotions and my conscious, who wins?  Which is primary?  Nietzsche taught Dionysus as primary over Apollo, but how do I know who gets the crown in this inner fist fight.  I have respect for Joad who is grasping his premise by the horns and riding it to its end, a subjective ethic, but I honestly don’t see how this last statement firmly establishes an objective ethic.  If morality isn’t principles or concepts, what is it?  Simply a firm intuition?  I don’t say this to be sarcastic, I want to understand how you define morality.

 

Silinus, when I mention an internal search I’m talking about a path of self-knowledge rather than faith.  So the first step has to be the development of an impartial internal witness and this comes about by deconstruction of the personal ego so that one knows the source of feelings, emotions, passions, and so on.  In this process, one is getting closer to the real inner morality (approximating).  In this sense, everything that happens is gold because it is a learning experience, in observing how I respond to events, etc., I learn about myself and strip away more of the socially and experientially conditioned accretions.  But the inner morality itself is non-conceptual and non-linguistic.  It does not say, for example, follow this rule; rather in each particular situation it provides the impulse to act as best possible and the resulting action can only be seen as morally fitting in retrospect.  One approach to this was taken by the Stoics: they held that through various exercises a person could develop an “astral body” that could rise through the “planetary spheres.”  (This has to be taken in the sense of an internal process, modeled on the geocentric cosmology, not an actual external event.)  As it passes through each sphere the characteristics of that sphere become apparent and can be cleansed.  Eventually, it arrives at and unites with the universal Logos in the Empyrian.  After than, the person becomes the Stoic Sage, whose every action is correct because his will is now the will of the Logos.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02

[quote author=“silenus”]

There really are genuine, objective moral claims. Such claims as, “It is wrong to boil babies” and “It is wrong to torture dogs” are examples. However, I do not have a completely compelling account of the ground of objective morality. The argument that since we lack an explanation of how objective morality is possible, thus we must reject objective morality, is a fallacy. Just because we don’t have an explanation for how some thing comes to be, this does NOT mean that we should conclude that it doesn’t exist.

Yes, but what is the basis of your assumption that there is a ground?  To use the argument that we don’t have to have an explanation for how something comes to be implies that the existence of the thing you are positing is observable.  For a long time, we didn’t have an explanation of how light can act as both particle and wave, but we could observe it.  Are you saying you observe the existence of an objective morality?  Are you arguing that, because we see a moral aspect in man, that there must be a moral ground for all men?  On what do you base the statement of an observable moral ground?

What is my basis for the assumption that there is a ground?  Answer:  The fact that it is an objective and non-arbitrary fact that it is wrong to boil babies.

Am I saying that objective morality is observable?  Yes.  I think that any normal person can see that it is wrong to boil babies.

And here is where it gets good.  It is much more obvious that it is wrong to boil babies than it is that God exists.  Or, more generally,  it is much more obvious that objective moral principles exist than it is that God exists.

Now, if you are correct that God is the source of morality, it follows that if God does not exist, then there is no objective morality.  Right?  So, if you’re correct, then our level of certainty about whether there is objective morality cannot be higher than our level of certainty that God exists.  After all, if we are not certain that God exists, this must affect our certainty about objective morality, given that morality depends upon God.  If our level of certainty about the existence of God is, say 67%, then our level of certainty about the existence of objective morality cannot exceed this.

If morality depends upon God, then if we are uncertain whether God exists, we must be equally uncertain whether morality exists.  Got it?

So, are we more certain that God exists than we are that objective morality exists?  Are we even as certain of both?  Well, for my part, of course, I am much more certain of objective morality than I am of God.  But I am not the whole.  What does the world at large say?  What do you say, Silenus?

Isn’t it telling that the faithful say that they believe in God?  “We believe in one God, the Father and the Almighty . . ”  Why not “We Know”?
Do you know that God exists or do you just believe it?

I know that boiling babies is morally wrong.  And the rest of the world knows it too.  But there is dramatic disagreement about whether God exists.  And the fact that even the most ardent believers are known as ‘believers’ rather than ‘knowers’ I think is deeply significant.  Even the faithful only believe that God exists, whereas they know that morality exists and is objective.

You see, we are more certain that objective morality exists than we are that God exists.  I am not just talking about me here, I’m talk about you as well, Silenus.  You are more certain of the existence of objective moral laws than you are of the existence of God.  Don’t believe me?  Think about it:

Which of the following is more likely to be true:
(a) It is morally permissible to torture babies.
(b) God does not exist.

(b) is more likely to be true, by a long shot.

Why does this matter?  Well imagine that you, Silenus, go up to a stranger on the street and say, a la C.S. Lewis, “Do you believe in God?  Well, you ought to.  After all, morality depends upon God and you believe in morality don’t you.  You can’t have objective morality without God, you know.  So if you believe in morality, you’ve got to believe in God.”

What should this person, who you’ve accosted, say in response?  Shouldn’t they say something like the following: “Well, it’s true that I believe that morality is objective and non-arbitrary.  But I fail to see how this is an argument for the existence of God.  Maybe God does exist and maybe He is the source of morality.  I don’t know. But you’ve given me no reason to think that He exists and you’ve given me no argument that He is the source of morality.  You’re trying a little interlocutionary slight-of-hand here: you’re trying to smuggle God in on the back of morality.  You’ve found something whose existence I am deeply committed to (morality) and then you just assert, without argument, that God is the source of that which I am deeply committed to.  This is intellectually laziness of the highest order.”

This is what a normal, rational person should say.

Now maybe you’ve got an argument for why we ought to believe that only God can be the source of morality. If so, I’d like to hear it.  But to really establish this claim, you’d have to rule out, as impossible, any attempt to ground morality without God.  But, it is hard to see this task as anything but impossible. 

It is really hard to think of good arguments for substantive positions.  People much prefer the lazy ways, as did Lewis.  But, in this case, it is particularly hard (which, I suspect, is why Lewis took the easy way).  How can you go about demonstrating that only God can ground morality, that morality without God is impossible? 

Again, I can’t imagine how you would do it, given the fact that the existence of objective morality is much more obvious than the existence of God.  But, again, imagine that you have such an argument. If we are going to accept the conclusion of this hypothetical argument, then we would have to accept the fact that our confidence in the existence of objective morality can be no higher than our confidence in the existence of God.  And given that our confidence in the existence of God is currently lower than our confidence in the existence of objective morality, accepting this hypothetical argument implies that we must lower our confidence in the existence of objective morality.  And that is absurd.

Let me say this one more time, slightly differently, because it is important: 

We are (currently) more certain that morality exists than we are that God exists.
If morality depends upon God, then we can be no more certain that morality exists than that God exists.
Thus, if we accept that morality depends upon God, we must become less certain of the existence of objective morality. (in other words, our level of certainty in the existence of morality must drop to (at most) match our level of confidence in the existence of God)
But this is an absurd consequence.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  414
Joined  2006-02-01

My brain feels larger just from reading that, Waltercat. Bravo.

 Signature 

All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2005-11-14

[quote author=“waltercat”]
  You’re trying a little interlocutionary slight-of-hand here: you’re trying to smuggle God in on the back of morality.

I tried to think of something to add.  All I can write is, wow.  I add that I agree with this.  I hope that I remember this the next time MY family tries to warn me that without my religion, I am doomed to be a moral deprived slave to carnal lust.

Thanks waltercat

Noggin
...interlocutionary slight-of-hand… genius!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  734
Joined  2007-03-10

[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“silenus”]
[quote author=“burt”] You agree that the applications of moral principles change with time, place, and circumstance yet claim that the principles themselves are eternal and, in your view, rooted in the very nature of God. I was asking how you might come to know these principles and be able to apply them situationally. How do we attain to this “complete understanding” of the invariant moral principles? Is it by referring to a sacred text, by sincere prayer, by listening to what a priest or king tells

I would say that they come from nature, the moral consciousness, and divine revelation working in concert.  God communicates and does so in many different ways.  When I mentioned the prophet, priest, and king in the bible, I wasn’t mentioning a particular person, for these, in the bible, are typological functions that every human, man and women, are called to fulfill.  Not just a literal king.

[quote author=“burt”] Who is promoting a universal morality? I was asking Silenius how he got in touch with his claimed universal principles. My claim is that there is a universal morality but it cannot be captured in any set of principles or concepts dictating action. Rather, it can be approximated by an internal search—your suggestion to treat others according to your best understanding of ethics is actually in agreement with this, if you include being sufficiently self aware to recognize mistakes and learn from experience. I would certainly not want to dictate your moral behavior, if I found it objectionable I’d avoid you.

I intuitively love this statement.  It affirms that you are responsible to impact the world ethically through action.  But, what exactly is an approximation with an internal search.  What premise do you believe that allows you to consistently think that a internal search of consciousness or emotion will provide you insight into someone else’s feelings or emotions, let alone humanities as a whole.  Furthermore, what premise guides your internal search?  In a conflict between the passions and emotions and my conscious, who wins?  Which is primary?  Nietzsche taught Dionysus as primary over Apollo, but how do I know who gets the crown in this inner fist fight.  I have respect for Joad who is grasping his premise by the horns and riding it to its end, a subjective ethic, but I honestly don’t see how this last statement firmly establishes an objective ethic.  If morality isn’t principles or concepts, what is it?  Simply a firm intuition?  I don’t say this to be sarcastic, I want to understand how you define morality.

 

Silinus, when I mention an internal search I’m talking about a path of self-knowledge rather than faith.  So the first step has to be the development of an impartial internal witness and this comes about by deconstruction of the personal ego so that one knows the source of feelings, emotions, passions, and so on.  In this process, one is getting closer to the real inner morality (approximating).  In this sense, everything that happens is gold because it is a learning experience, in observing how I respond to events, etc., I learn about myself and strip away more of the socially and experientially conditioned accretions.  But the inner morality itself is non-conceptual and non-linguistic.  It does not say, for example, follow this rule; rather in each particular situation it provides the impulse to act as best possible and the resulting action can only be seen as morally fitting in retrospect.  One approach to this was taken by the Stoics: they held that through various exercises a person could develop an “astral body” that could rise through the “planetary spheres.”  (This has to be taken in the sense of an internal process, modeled on the geocentric cosmology, not an actual external event.)  As it passes through each sphere the characteristics of that sphere become apparent and can be cleansed.  Eventually, it arrives at and unites with the universal Logos in the Empyrian.  After than, the person becomes the Stoic Sage, whose every action is correct because his will is now the will of the Logos.

Burt:  One of the most profound passages I have read in a long time.  Nice work.  In this context, how do you view historical figures such as Ghandi, Jesus, Socrates, and Muhammed?  Could Jesus and Muhammed have reached this state of consciousness and used religion as the only tool available to help human kind?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  216
Joined  2007-02-25

Waltercat:

You tell me to read “Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates”, two of your discussions, and to research scientific views of the beginning of the universe; I give you one review that explains Selinus point clearly, and this is your response?

Waltercat says,

Copan explains nothing well. I read the article. It is very bad. But I am going to try to provide you with a detailed explanation of why his argument is so bad. Lord knows why. I guess I feel responsible somehow.

“Lord knows why?”  Maybe because learning more about another persons perspective and communicating your thoughts to another person on it is a good place to start.  You think?  Do you just want to shot your points off and not hear from another perspective?  That’s is totally fine if you do, I just want to know if I’m wasting my time.  I did finish Euthyphro and briefly went through the one discussion on Slavery.  Like I said it will take some time to get back to you on a more in depth response.  I realize you may be busy with other affairs so take your time to get back with me on the Copan article.  On a side note I feel you didn’t answer Selinus’ question.  Can you elaborate?

Waltercat said,

What is my basis for the assumption that there is a ground? Answer: The fact that it is an objective and non-arbitrary fact that it is wrong to boil babies.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]Waltercat:

You tell me to read “Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates”, two of your discussions, and to research scientific views of the beginning of the universe; I give you one review that explains Selinus point clearly, and this is your response?

Waltercat says,

Copan explains nothing well. I read the article. It is very bad. But I am going to try to provide you with a detailed explanation of why his argument is so bad. Lord knows why. I guess I feel responsible somehow.

“Lord knows why?”  Maybe because learning more about another persons perspective and communicating your thoughts to another person on it is a good place to start.  You think?  Do you just want to shot your points off and not hear from another perspective?

I don’t know fletch, I think that I have demonstrated a great deal of patience with you.  And I have devoted quite a bit of effort to explaining an important point to you, a point which you have only devoted effort toward not understanding. 

Copan is a bad philosopher.  I said I’ll get to it.  Please give me the time that you are requesting for yourself.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 March 2007 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17

[quote author=“MDBeach”][quote author=“burt”]
Silinus, when I mention an internal search I’m talking about a path of self-knowledge rather than faith.  So the first step has to be the development of an impartial internal witness and this comes about by deconstruction of the personal ego so that one knows the source of feelings, emotions, passions, and so on.  In this process, one is getting closer to the real inner morality (approximating).  In this sense, everything that happens is gold because it is a learning experience, in observing how I respond to events, etc., I learn about myself and strip away more of the socially and experientially conditioned accretions.  But the inner morality itself is non-conceptual and non-linguistic.  It does not say, for example, follow this rule; rather in each particular situation it provides the impulse to act as best possible and the resulting action can only be seen as morally fitting in retrospect.  One approach to this was taken by the Stoics: they held that through various exercises a person could develop an “astral body” that could rise through the “planetary spheres.”  (This has to be taken in the sense of an internal process, modeled on the geocentric cosmology, not an actual external event.)  As it passes through each sphere the characteristics of that sphere become apparent and can be cleansed.  Eventually, it arrives at and unites with the universal Logos in the Empyrian.  After than, the person becomes the Stoic Sage, whose every action is correct because his will is now the will of the Logos.

Burt:  One of the most profound passages I have read in a long time.  Nice work.  In this context, how do you view historical figures such as Ghandi, Jesus, Socrates, and Muhammed?  Could Jesus and Muhammed have reached this state of consciousness and used religion as the only tool available to help human kind?

Thanks for the compliment :D   I think that the figures you mention, as well as many others (Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Rumi all come to mine) either reached, or got very close to this state of consciousness and used the only vehicle readily available.  I like a quote from Attar (13th century sufi teacher) to the effect that “because of difficulties in maintaining the science of man, religion was chosen as the vehicle for human development.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 March 2007 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  734
Joined  2007-03-10

Burt:  I believe someone asked the question earlier about how we were to teach our children virtue.  I have at least a start to that sort of plan.  It’s rough, so please don’t attack.  I’d rather have some help working through this.  If I get some response, I promise to start a new thread.

I’ve been running around the board saying this, but no one seems to either agree or understand what I am saying.  I believe that it is time for the soft sciences, those sciences dealing with the human condition, to be combined into one larger subject.  By this, I don’t mean that classes should even necessarily be changed out of their current configuration in the upper levels.  What I am saying is that currently we are producing “experts” in given fields without the complete picture.  For example:  A child psychologist (who is not enlightened) that is attempting to diagnose a troubled child.  If the shrink is limited in his knowledge to just the “medical” hard science approach, he will invariably discount the philosophical, sociological, and political approach to the same problem. He might be able to diagnose one of the problems, but his lack of or failure to apply knowledge in other areas logically limits his ability to understand why the child is afflicted, and therefore unable to get to the root of the problem.  Symptoms are confused with causes. 

My view is that while virtue cannot be taught, it can be made much harder to achieve without the correct tools.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.  However, we still have to make the water available.  How I would address this problem:

Completely renovate elementary education.  We have been naive to believe that standardized testing would raise the level of knowledge in this country.  Hopefully we are starting to see now that this system doesn’t work.  Remove all subjects from early years that require a depth of understanding to internalize concepts.  For example, replace social studies with logic.  Logic is only a difficult subject to grasp if you have never been exposed to it at a young age.  A child will invent their own logic in an effort to understand the world.  If you wait until after the child has formed many of his beliefs that makes up his reality, logic WILL fly in the face of his beliefs.  By that time, it is too late.  Social studies on the other hand is an entirely useless subject for even a sixth grader, because they lack the tools to understand why things happen as they do.  (I’m not claiming Social Studies as a whole is useless, but I propose in it’s current configuration it has been renderer useless.)  Some people claim that they have noticed a lack of cultural anthropology among Americans.  Of course!  Cultural anthropology is a study of civilization using logic and analyzing why things happen!  We only teach our children what happened, and we do it at an age when they lack the ability to understand why!  “Social studies” including learning about other civilizations/countries, should not be taught until student has at least been provided the tools to internalize the concepts, and see how they fit within all other concepts from other disciplines. 

This is a start, I have more ideas, but I will withhold until I either have someone ask for more, or am able to gauge interest.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 March 2007 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17

[quote author=“MDBeach”]Burt:  I believe someone asked the question earlier about how we were to teach our children virtue.  I have at least a start to that sort of plan.  It’s rough, so please don’t attack.  I’d rather have some help working through this.  If I get some response, I promise to start a new thread.

I’ve been running around the board saying this, but no one seems to either agree or understand what I am saying.  I believe that it is time for the soft sciences, those sciences dealing with the human condition, to be combined into one larger subject.  By this, I don’t mean that classes should even necessarily be changed out of their current configuration in the upper levels.  What I am saying is that currently we are producing “experts” in given fields without the complete picture.  For example:  A child psychologist (who is not enlightened) that is attempting to diagnose a troubled child.  If the shrink is limited in his knowledge to just the “medical” hard science approach, he will invariably discount the philosophical, sociological, and political approach to the same problem. He might be able to diagnose one of the problems, but his lack of or failure to apply knowledge in other areas logically limits his ability to understand why the child is afflicted, and therefore unable to get to the root of the problem.  Symptoms are confused with causes. 

My view is that while virtue cannot be taught, it can be made much harder to achieve without the correct tools.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.  However, we still have to make the water available.  How I would address this problem:

Completely renovate elementary education.  We have been naive to believe that standardized testing would raise the level of knowledge in this country.  Hopefully we are starting to see now that this system doesn’t work.  Remove all subjects from early years that require a depth of understanding to internalize concepts.  For example, replace social studies with logic.  Logic is only a difficult subject to grasp if you have never been exposed to it at a young age.  A child will invent their own logic in an effort to understand the world.  If you wait until after the child has formed many of his beliefs that makes up his reality, logic WILL fly in the face of his beliefs.  By that time, it is too late.  Social studies on the other hand is an entirely useless subject for even a sixth grader, because they lack the tools to understand why things happen as they do.  (I’m not claiming Social Studies as a whole is useless, but I propose in it’s current configuration it has been renderer useless.)  Some people claim that they have noticed a lack of cultural anthropology among Americans.  Of course!  Cultural anthropology is a study of civilization using logic and analyzing why things happen!  We only teach our children what happened, and we do it at an age when they lack the ability to understand why!  “Social studies” including learning about other civilizations/countries, should not be taught until student has at least been provided the tools to internalize the concepts, and see how they fit within all other concepts from other disciplines. 

This is a start, I have more ideas, but I will withhold until I either have someone ask for more, or am able to gauge interest.

 

I’m in pretty good agreement with your diagnosis of the problem.  A book that looks at this in a very clear way is Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside (I’ve been pushing it for years, it is required reading for a course I teach in scientific reasoning).  I don’t know about combining all of the soft sciences into one science, but the idea has its merits.  On the other hand, I don’t know if teaching logic early on would be of benefit.  Children are not really ready for that sort of thinking until around 9 - 11 (at least of one accepts some of Piaget’s work on developmental stages).  What could be done is to teach things that would provide a basis for rational thought. Logic is a part of this, but I’m not sure what you mean by logic, the formal logic of Aristotle, or something more.  The proto-Indo-European root word for reason is ar, which meant something like “fitting together” while the root for logic is leg, with the meaning of “to collect, to speak.”  So as I see it, reason uses logic, in the general sense, as a way of collecting things into categories so that they can be spoken about in a way that fits.  So there are different logics for different domains.  For example, music composition uses a different logic than mathematical proof.  So for young children it could be that starting off with physical manipulations that involve fitting things into patterns, and going on from there.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 March 2007 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17

One more thought, it is also important to teach aesthetics (a sense of what is “fitting”), and also good taste.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 March 2007 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  734
Joined  2007-03-10

I agree with aesthetics.  It is a shame that only artists and architects worry with some of these type problems. 

Instead of replying on a sentence by sentence basis:  Logic to me is the tools necessary to achieve reason.  I don’t expect anyone to get this besides you.

Could the difference between music and math be broken down to core logical truths?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 March 2007 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2005-04-29

MD, if you, burt, Parable and CanZen were secluded away for a few weeks (being paid handsomely, of course), I strongly suspect that a curriculum approach could be squeezed out of you guys that would transform our sorry excuse for a species. I’m actually quite serious here.

First, however, you’d need permission from current keepers of moral authority. It seems unlikely that they’ll hand over the keys to morality/ethics/life meaning/aesthetics until they’ve tired of the chore themselves, unfortunately.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
   
7 of 52
7
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed