7 of 7
7
My problem with Sam and his books
Posted: 09 December 2007 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  159
Joined  2007-12-07
arildno - 08 December 2007 07:15 PM

We do, however, have “space machines” (a boat, say, or a plane):
It is very well attested that adopted infants, from completely different backgrounds and cultures are easily raised within the culture of their adopted parents.

As for the time machine issue, the times involved are orders of magnitude less than what is required for significant evolution in a biological sense.

Hence, we have no reason to believe that the time machine example would provide us with a human infant distinctly different from our own.

From what I can see, your use of the word “evolve” can only be given meaningful content as “culturally evolved”.

Culturally evolved… I can accept that.  “Evolve” has a biological connotation, so maybe we should just not use the word.  I think that in certain areas, humanity (but not religion) has gained a lot of knowledge about the world that we did not have in biblical times.  Thus, humans born today are better equipped to examine those concepts.  However, organized religion claims to already have the answer to questions such as “What happens when we die?” and “What is our place in the world?”.  Their answers, of course, are based on ancient texts which have no foundation other than their own existence.  To paraphrase Sam, many believe that the Bible is the word of God “merely because it says so in the Bible”.

Your example of adopted infants hits home for me.  My 6-year-old cousin was adopted from Ukraine. As far as I can tell, he is perfectly well-adjusted to the American way of life, speaks the language and suffers no ill effects because he was born in a different, less developed country. Incidentally, he will probably grow up believing in Catholicism because that is what he will be told is true.

I assume that if my cousin could somehow have been plucked from the 1st century and raised today, he would be similarly well-adjusted.  It doesn’t seem plausible to think that a child from the 1st century would be unable to understand 21st century science, math, etc. if he or she learned it at a young age.  On the other hand, many older people today are unable (or more likely unwilling) to easily learn how to use modern technology.  I think that these examples show that it is human thought - not human beings themselves - that has improved with time.  If we were able to have an honest discussion about the nature of the world, unburdened by the arbitrary claims that religions make, I think we would be far better off.

 Signature 

- Jeff

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gLt73xSJlAM

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2007 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  30
Joined  2007-12-09

As Dawkins notes, one should not automatically call children by any religious name.
  Sam could still write more on religion,even on eastern religion.He could note that it is a replaceable placebo.
  Indeed .

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 December 2007 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2007-12-06
Carstonio - 08 December 2007 11:15 AM
MorseCode80 - 08 December 2007 03:42 AM

The idea that the morality taught by religions needs to be summarily disposed of is not a good starting point. I believe that a lot of the values inherent in religion are useful. As Sam points out, the Golden Rule is a perfect example of this. Clearly the “Do unto others” edict did not originate with Jesus or the Bible, and is seen at least as far back as the teachings of Confucius and Buddha. Even still, most religions at least began with this principle in mind.  Dogma, though, gets in the way of rational discussion.

Good point. I doubt that any of us here would reject the moral teachings offered by religions simply because they come from religions.

The issue I have with this is that if you look at all of the ‘morality’ that is taught by the worlds religions, other than ‘worship the god de jour’, there are none that were religion-specific. 

Can anyone provide an example of a moral which does not come from anything more than the ever changing dynamic of human organisms working out how to balance ‘individual advancement’ (me) with ‘benefits of social cooperation’(we)?

The only benefit to filtering human morals through religion would be in dealing with those who would rape, plunder and steal in the absence of their god… but very often, the only reason those people would rape, plunder and steal in the first place is due to the very tribalism, selfishness and bigotry that their religion teaches them in the first place.

The fact that there are many people with no god belief who live perfectly moral and socially responsible lives shows that religion is not necessary to morals.  The fact that many atheists I know are more ‘christian’ regarding to the positive teachings of christianity than most christians I know shows us even more.

[ Edited: 24 December 2007 10:50 AM by Sib]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 December 2007 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  30
Joined  2007-12-09

Wonderful! Yes, our covenant morality for humanity works for theists.Now, one can certainly question Christian morality.It can be impractical and wrong-headed[ See Jim Walker’s “Should we admrire Jesus?” to see why. See also his other essay on Yeshua at nobeliefs.com/Jesus.htm
We start with using reason and facts,using our empathy,ever refining it.We use our common experience. We already have the covenant, in effect,so, we have already replaced the Christian ethic.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 December 2007 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

Sib, my post addressed the straw-man argument used by many believers, which is that atheists are allegedly so prejudiced against religion that they would reject all religious teachings regardless of merit.

Your general point seems to be the same as mine. I would phrase it a different way - when one looks at the morality taught by religions, the teachings that have merit are the ones that address the balance between individual and society, that address questions of suffering in some way. This helps demonstrate that morality is not exclusive to religion and does not require religion.

Many other teachings have no such merits, such as Western religions’ prohibitions on non-procreative sex (masturbation, homosexuality, contraception). I might understand the logic of such prohibitions if there was some massive crisis of infertility in humanity’s distant past. Some of the prohibitions’ defenders do in fact insist that there is some universal obligation to reproduce, but such a claim in modern society would be doubtful at best. Others argue that the prohibitions ensure personal happiness for individuals and couples, and while that’s an interesting topic, it’s largely irrelevant to the individual/society balance.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 December 2007 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  30
Joined  2007-12-09

Sib and Castornio,so right!Those prohibitions show that mere men just used their whims and fancies for moral input.They used empathy,our moral sense, and reason to prohibit such as killing but then thought nothng of genocide! Yeshua said he came not to break that law,so, he was for the genocide.
Now we do not need a shepherd to guide us,but our developed consciences.
Morality is objective and subjective! More anon.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 December 2007 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  30
Joined  2007-12-09

Sib and Castornio,so right!Those prohibitions show that mere men just used their whims and fancies for moral input.They used empathy,our moral sense, and reason to prohibit such as killing but then thought nothng of genocide! Yeshua said he came not to break that law,so, he was for the genocide.
Now we do not need a shepherd to guide us,but our developed consciences.
Morality is objective and subjective! More anon.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2007 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  734
Joined  2007-03-10

I can’t believe this thread is still active.  Lots of great stuff here!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2007 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]  
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2007-12-09
arildno - 08 December 2007 07:15 PM
MorseCode80 - 08 December 2007 07:05 PM

I meant that our thinking has evolved. I don’t know enough biology to answer the time machine question, so I don’t want to debate evolution in the scientific sense.  I don’t think that time machines are something we’re going to see anytime soon, so I’d rather focus on what we can affect - our thinking.

We do, however, have “space machines” (a boat, say, or a plane):
It is very well attested that adopted infants, from completely different backgrounds and cultures are easily raised within the culture of their adopted parents.

As for the time machine issue, the times involved are orders of magnitude less than what is required for significant evolution in a biological sense.

Hence, we have no reason to believe that the time machine example would provide us with a human infant distinctly different from our own.


From what I can see, your use of the word “evolve” can only be given meaningful content as “culturally evolved”.

I was very surprised to see a comment like this. The latest research in genetics very strongly indicates an enormous acceleration in human evolution over the past 40,000 years. This acceleration is showing no sign of abating. For further information see:

Human Evolution is Speeding Up

Accelerated Human Evolution

Why Human Evolution Accelerated.

New York Times

I’m not saying evolution is now noticeable on a daily basis, but there are obvious changes occurring over shorter time spans.

 Signature 

“In darkness and light, no superstitious blight, shall rule my day nor rule my night.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2007 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2007-12-06

And we need to keep in mind that our own ‘advances’ are as much a mechanism of evolution as any other.

The simple advent of optical correction was an evolutionary driver within certain niches.  A child wearing glasses might be more apt to survive to procreative age, compared to his cohort without glasses who did not see the tiger before walking into his jaws (or in front of the bus).

In other niches, poor eye sight might not be as much a detriment to survival, so the advent of optics might not have had the same impact on the shift in genetic frequencies of those specific genes.  Evolution.

Consider the child of my colleague who was born without her esophagus being connected to her stomach.  The bulk of the fluids she took in the first 24 hours ended up in her lungs.  20 years ago, a likely death sentence.  Before antibiotics, near certain death within 2-weeks, even if they had been able to do the surgery needed.  Now, she is perfectly healthy child with every chance that she will pass that genetic birth defect along to her children.  Evolution.

We have the technology to allow females to breed well into a zone where DS rates go up… and it is considered unethical now to not allow a DS effected person to breed should that be their wish.  Evolution.

More and more, we become one world community as transportation and communication engender more and more contact between previously (relatively) isolated gene pools… Evolution.

It is interesting to me when people try to separate out changes in gene frequencies brought on by our own ‘advancements’ as somehow separate from ‘evolution’... since evolution is nothing more than changes in gene frequencies (over time) that is not possible.  It is simply that our advancements allow those frequencies to shift faster than if we were living in caves waiting for natural disasters to come be our accelerators.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2007 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1891
Joined  2007-12-19
Sib - 31 December 2007 09:04 PM

And we need to keep in mind that our own ‘advances’ are as much a mechanism of evolution as any other.

Especially in regards to advances in the knowledge of brain function through better imaging technology, etc. There is research being conducted that actually stimulates reported religious or spiritual experiences in the brain, I believe by using electromagnetic waves, in the laboratory. More and more, scientists are gaining information about functional areas of control in the brain that were undetectable before.

I think the real battlefield for the moral and ethical dilemma is in the political arena. As I’ve stated before, Atheists should not be timid in their obligation as a political force to protect the integrity of the Constitution in maintaining freedom from religion, and separation of church and state. That’s the most important thing, or else we won’t get to talk about it. Especially at a time when Atheists as a group, and the label, appear to have gained
its most legitimacy, I think, probably in history, as evidenced by what I see in the media. I guess on that level, I disagree with Sam H.

Perhaps on a personal level with regards to interacting with many Theists, it doesn’t matter what you call yourself, if you disagree on anything, you’re wrong, a sinner, evil and you’re going to hell. How do we determine moral principles? In part, through our families, our culture, through education, intellectual reasoning, empathic deliberation, and personal responsibility. And the only thing to do, is try to communicate the idea that we have values and morals in common, as good people and good Americans. You can’t look at an Atheist and tell, now can you?

 Signature 

“This is it. You are it.”


- Jos. Campbell

Profile
 
 
   
7 of 7
7
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed