Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 231
What religion can everyone agree with?

What religion does not require you to believe that which is inconsistent with the findings of science?

What religion promotes unity with and concern for everyone on this planet?

What religion has no objection to your participating in other religions?

Would not that religion be the most important religion?
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 287
Humanianity is my name for what I have concluded will be the religion of "Homo rationalis," my label for my prediction as to how we as a species will come to be some time in the future, if we are lucky and if we come to enough agreement about certain basic things that we will be able to work together to bring that future about.

The only defining criterion for Humanianity is the commitment to live, not by the authoritarian-ethical principle (that we should do whatever X wants us to, X being whoever or whatever is most powerful--parent, leader, group, culture or subculture, deity, etc.), but by the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle (REUEP), namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future, the "good life" being defined as "as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible, and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible (PSDED)."

Life will be drastically different in the time of "Homo rationalis," different than we have ever known it to be. Thus, we now are just a toddler in the development of our species, having little awareness of what it will be like to have "grown up." But if we are willing to face the possibility that we ourselves have much room for improvement, and that much of what we now take for granted is not necessarily the only possibility, then we can use our imagination and grasp what we can become and what we, you and I, need to do as our part in promoting this exciting development on our planet.

(This exciting development will have been our third exponential change making us drastically different from all other species and from how we were before the change occurred. The first was the development of the essentially infinite ability to use symbols and the rules of syntax. The second was the development of the ability to use the rules of logic and the rules of evidence, giving us science and technology and thus the powerful effects of having accurate beliefs. The third exponential change will have been the replacement of authoritarian ethics by rational ethics, such that we use the tools acquired through the first two exponential changes in the service of the REUEP.)

I have certain opinions about what follows from the REUEP, but any of my opinions are open for debate. Some of what I believe will follow from the global shift to the REUEP includes:

. We will recognize the nonoptimal effects of anger and will utilize an anger-prevention paradigm.
. We will recognize the awful consequences of our naturally occurring belief in punishment and revenge, and will globally value avoiding such tendencies.
. We will rear our children according to the rational-ethical model of childrearing, rather than the authoritarian-ethical model that comes naturally and causes so much PSDED.
. We will have as one of our highest values accuracy of belief, and therefore, friendly debate, belief management, and the maintenance of the open mind (open to the possibility of being incorrect).

You and I have certain choices:

. We can poh-pooh the idea that things can be different than they ever have been (calling it a "utopia").
. We can say that maybe things can be that way, and watch "them" working to bring it about.
. We can (as Humanians) study and change ourselves in that direction, and advocate that others do so also.

What is your decision? Why?
A former member
Post #: 39
What religion can everyone agree with?

None.

What religion does not require you to believe that which is inconsistent with the findings of science?

None.

What religion promotes unity with and concern for everyone on this planet?

None.

What religion has no objection to your participating in other religions?

None.

Would not that religion be the most important religion?

Important? By what standard?

The only relevant consideration is the truth or falsity of the ideas. It's quite likely that all religions espouse a few ideas that are valid (even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while) but since all religions are based on the non-rational no religion is worth bothering with. One's time is better spent elsewhere.
A former member
Post #: 40
We should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future, the "good life" being defined as "as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible, and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible (PSDED)."

"Survival of our species" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

"Good life for everyone" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

"Now and in the future" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

What is joy? How does it come about?

Why is contentment desirable? If one is content then he has no motivation to change, ergo, no progress, no learning.

Appreciation of what? Anything? Everything?

No pain, no gain. Is that what you want?

What's the difference between suffering and pain?

No disability? Everyone should be equally able?

When is an early death? Early? By what standard?
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 288
Rick, your questions (below in bold) are great! I will try to answer them all.

First, however, there is a general answer to give to some of your questions. You are responding to the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle (REUEP), asking why you should indeed live by it. As I pointed out clearly in the chapter on "Basic Concepts: Ethics" in the "textbook," an ultimate ethical principle will be arbitrary. This means that it cannot be legitimated by appeal to an even higher level principle, because then it would no longer be ultimate. You ask me why I should do A, and I say doing A would be doing B and I should do B. But then you can ask why I should do B. So that question can be asked of any ethical proposition (proposition about what should be done), including what one designates as the ultimate, or highest level ethical principle. When that question cannot be answered, then that (ultimate) principle must be arbitrary, that is, not legitimated by anything. That does not mean that one cannot advocate it as a better way for us all to live, as judged by all of us. What I have presented here as the REUEP is what my ultimate ethical principle is. I advocate that others adopt it. I believe that there is an increasing tendency for people to adopt it, though this development is still very early. It will have been the third exponential change when finally we accept it globally, if that ever happens. I am doing my part in trying to promote it.

So when I give you some answers to your questions, I will not be legitimating the REUEP. I will be telling you what is associated with it in my mind.


"Survival of our species" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

I am very, very appreciative of having had this life, that has only been possible by virtue of the cooperative effort of billions of us. There is not a single thing that I can have or that I can do that has not required others to have done their part. We are highly interdependent. I love our species. It is so absolutely wonderful, what has happened on this little planet! I want for us to go on for as long as we can.

"Good life for everyone" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

My good life has been by virtue of the effort of others, and I simply want everyone to share in what I have had. It distresses me to see so much pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED). It makes me feel good to see others having good lives. I feel good when I have made a contribution to the welfare of others.

"Now and in the future" -- Why should I be concerned about that?

It would bother me enormously to think that I was having a good life only by causing others to have a bad life. I want us to think about future generations as well as our own. Global warming is an example. Short-range pleasure leading to long-term tragedy is something we humans can learn to avoid. Freud called it the reality principle, as opposed to the pleasure principle. Most people know how important it is to think about the future consequences of currently pleasurable activities. We have the ability to do better than chimps.

What is joy? How does it come about?

As I am meaning it, it is the good part of any good feeling. It is probably associated with the release of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. It is to be found in eating, sunsets, orgasms, backrubs, and participation in positive group efforts. It can be produced by cocaine (though I don't recommend that method.)

Why is contentment desirable? If one is content then he has no motivation to change, ergo, no progress, no learning.

You are right if you mean contentment all by itself. It must not be at the expense of the other parts of the REUEP. However, there are times when we can feel content with the outcome of something or with the current situation. Not all situations need changing. Hopefully we will be content about some things that are good the way they already are or the way we have made them. There are some things that are good and right, and I feel content with regard to them. I certainly am not content with everything. For contentment, there needs to be things to feel it about. I am in favor of working toward those outcomes that we can feel contented with. I want to be able to say "Good job!"

Appreciation of what? Anything? Everything?

I appreciate this opportunity for life. I appreciate your dialoguing with me. I appreciate what science has been able to accomplish. Different people will appreciate different things. But it is important to be able to appreciate things. People with severe depression cannot appreciate anything. Those parts of the brain are not working properly. Such people often kill themselves. And it is important to have things that we do appreciate, and therefore to work together cooperatively in order to bring those things about.

No pain, no gain. Is that what you want?

No, I want gain. But I don't want unnecessary pain. I don't want arthritis. I don't want torture. I don't want grief. I don't want war. Also, the phrase "no pain, no gain" comes specifically from the situation of resistance training, if I am not mistaken, and does not necessarily refer to all processes everywhere. I am not convinced that pain is involved in accomplishing every good thing. For a more general phrase, I might say, "no effort, no gain." But even that may not be universally true.

What's the difference between suffering and pain?

I point out in the book on Humanianity that these concepts are overlapping. Pain is indeed a kind of suffering, but it is not the only kind. Nevertheless, it stands out so strongly that I felt it important to name it. I also felt that it was important to designate the other kinds of suffering that do not involve physical pain. I believe I have heard people use the phrase "pain and suffering." So although I could have said "pain and other kinds of suffering," convention had already provided "pain and suffering" with sufficient meaning for my purposes.

No disability? Everyone should be equally able?

I don't want anyone to have arthritis, congenital deformities, cardiovascular disease, blindness. There will always be inequalities, but most of us can see much around us that we freely consider disability, not just differences on the bell shaped curve. There is no precise dividing line between the concept of "disability" and that of lack of proficiency, but that does not mean that the word has no utility.

When is an early death? Early? By what standard?

When a child dies, or when a young person dies, most of us regard it as early. Death by accident, war, terrorism, bad lifestyle, and illness, especially when at a substantially younger age than the average life span, is what most of us would mean, including myself. There is no clear dividing line between early death and death at an appropriate age, but the concept is not without enough meaning to be clear to most people in many, many situations.

**************
(Continued in next post.)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 279
(Continued from previous post)

There will always be some gray areas, some ethical decision-making that will be uncertain as to how optimal it is. But there is currently much that we do that would clearly be against the REUEP. If we just no longer did the things that everyone agreed were obviously against the REUEP, this world would be far, far, far better off.

Rick, I have said what I believe we should do. Are you saying that we should do differently? Are you saying that you have no concern for our species, that you don't care how much people suffer, that you don't care about global warming, that you don't care about people born without legs or sight, that you don't care how young your children (or anyone's children) are when they die? Are you saying that you don't feel any wish to help others or to take care of yourself well so that you are more able to do your part to make this world as good a place as it can be made, for everyone? Are you saying that you don't care about anyone other than yourself, and that it doesn't matter to you what happens to others? I cannot believe that you find the REUEP to be a bad ultimate ethical principle.

Even if it turns out that you don't care about me at all, I still care about you. Hey, Man, you are one of us!
Jane W.
user 8301148
Houston, TX
Post #: 1
I have to say that I agree with Rick on this. We were all given free agency, to choose whether we want to follow the path of good or evil in every choice we make in our lives. What is humanity, ethics, or morality without the choice of good or evil? Our basic priniciples of ethics are based upon whether we choose good or evil. A world without either is a world of zombies, following the oders of the powers that be. Let's face it, we need both sides in order for our world to survive. Just because you may always make the choice for good, doesn't mean that you don't need those who choose evil in the world. By what would we have to measure one without having the other to compare it to? Yes, it sounds as though you are speaking of a utopian world...it didn't work in Huxley's novel, and I can't see it surving in the real world, either. When you take away one's free agency, you take away their humanity...how can that be right? And, let's not forget that science hasn't always been right. As a chemist, I have to say that it takes science to long to prove something to be good and effective. And even in the scientific world, a theory cannot be proven to be correct, it can only be proven wrong. And let's face it, it takes ethics in the scientific world as well.....anyone can report their findings to be true and absolute, but that doesn't mean that they performed the experiments accurately and without biases. A good scientist wants to know all possible outcomes of her/his experiments, without being confined to biased beliefs and systems. A good scientitist will explore all possible outcomes, the good and the bad; and report both findings. That's not always done, and how efficient is that, if your world is relying on the results of scientific research? And, here again, it takes the basic priciples of ethics and thus humanity, to get the most proper, efficient results.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 290
Thanks, Jane, for your reply.

I can't figure out what opinion of mine you are disagreeing with. Could you quote a statement of mine that you think is not correct? That would help me to understand and to reply.
A former member
Post #: 42
...an ultimate ethical principle will be arbitrary. This means that it cannot be legitimated by appeal to an even higher level principle, because then it would no longer be ultimate.

If your thinking leads to an infinite regress then there is obviously something wrong with your thinking. Somewhere you have made an error.

The solution: Check your premises.

So when I give you some answers to your questions, I will not be legitimating the REUEP.

You have not answered any of my questions. If your system cannot be legitimated, why should I bother with it?

I will be telling you what is associated with it in my mind.

That is not what I asked for.

I asked "Why should I be concerned about that?"

and

I asked "Why should I be concerned about that?"

What is joy? How does it come about?

As I am meaning it, it is the good part of any good feeling. It is probably associated with the release of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. It is to be found in eating, sunsets, orgasms, backrubs, and participation in positive group efforts. It can be produced by cocaine (though I don't recommend that method.)

Good? By what standard? What are the non-good (bad?) parts of a "good feeling? Are there "good feelings" that do not have a good part? Is that why you don't recommend cocaine even though it produces a "good feeling?"

Why is contentment desirable? If one is content then he has no motivation to change, ergo, no progress, no learning.

You are right if you mean contentment all by itself. It must not be at the expense of the other parts of the REUEP.

Then you evidently don't want "as much contentment as possible." You want only some kinds of contentment.

...snipping more hedging...

There will always be some gray areas, some ethical decision-making that will be uncertain as to how optimal it is.

So your system is essentially utilitarian (greatest good for the greatest number)?

Rick, I have said what I believe we should do. Are you saying that we should do differently?

I have merely asked questions. I find your system to be seriously flawed and my hope is that my questions will help you see that.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 289
Rick,

...an ultimate ethical principle will be arbitrary. This means that it cannot be legitimated by appeal to an even higher level principle, because then it would no longer be ultimate.
If your thinking leads to an infinite regress then there is obviously something wrong with your thinking. Somewhere you have made an error.

The solution: Check your premises.
Rick, you seem not to be understanding what I am saying. My thinking doesn't lead to an infinite regress; the infinite regress that I point out would occur only if one disagreed with my idea that an ultimate ethical principle will be arbitrary. An infinite regress would only occur if you were to maintain that all ethical principles could be legitimated by demonstrating that they were consistent with an even higher level ethical principle. I am demonstrating that the ultimate ethical principle will indeed be arbitrary.
So when I give you some answers to your questions, I will not be legitimating the REUEP.
You have not answered any of my questions. If your system cannot be legitimated, why should I bother with it?
Rick, you are misstating what I am saying. I am not saying that my "system" cannot be legitimated. I am saying that the ultimate ethical principle cannot be legitimated, whether mine, yours, or someone else's. I advocate for the REUEP. If you want us all to have a better life, then I would predict that you would advocate for the REUEP also.
I will be telling you what is associated with it in my mind.
That is not what I asked for.

I asked "Why should I be concerned about that?"

and

I asked "Why should I be concerned about that?"
I cannot tell you why you should be concerned about the REUEP, because the REUEP cannot be legitimated, any more than any other ultimate ethical principle.
­What is joy? How does it come about?
As I am meaning it, it is the good part of any good feeling. It is probably associated with the release of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. It is to be found in eating, sunsets, orgasms, backrubs, and participation in positive group efforts. It can be produced by cocaine (though I don't recommend that method.)
Good? By what standard? What are the non-good (bad?) parts of a "good feeling? Are there "good feelings" that do not have a good part? Is that why you don't recommend cocaine even though it produces a "good feeling?"
I don't recommend cocaine because its use is not consistent with the REUEP. Yes, it can produce joy, but it also produces pain, suffering, disability, and early death.
Why is contentment desirable? If one is content then he has no motivation to change, ergo, no progress, no learning.
You are right if you mean contentment all by itself. It must not be at the expense of the other parts of the REUEP.
Then you evidently don't want "as much contentment as possible." You want only some kinds of contentment.

...snipping more hedging...
Again, Rick, you are misquoting me. You surely would object if I took a short fragment of one of your complex sentences and represented it as a complete sentence, so as to make it something easy to disagree with. I never said that I wanted as much contentment as possible. I said that I advocate for the REUEP, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future, the "good life" being defined as "as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible, and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible."
T­here will always be some gray areas, some ethical decision-making that will be uncertain as to how optimal it is.
So your system is essentially utilitarian (greatest good for the greatest number)?
No. I never say that.
Rick, I have said what I believe we should do. Are you saying that we should do differently?
I have merely asked questions. I find your system to be seriously flawed and my hope is that my questions will help you see that.
But Rick, if you disagree with me, surely you can tell me what your alternative belief is. If you don't advocate that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future, the "good life" being defined as "as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible, and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible," then can't you tell me what it is that you advocate for? Maybe our pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED) doesn't bother you like it does me. Do you think that things are fine the way they are? Are you against joy, contentment, and appreciation (assuming that they are not accompanied by PSDED)?
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