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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 #: 1,484
(Continued from previous post)


”On his own” I suspect implies that you are taking the “free will” stand with regard to the “free will vs. determinism” problem. I think each of those “positions” is a model that is useful under some circumstances. If a person believes that people should be punished, he or she is likely to espouse the “free will” model. If a person wishes to understand human behavior and why we do certain things, the “determinism” model works better. But this does raise the issue as to whether punishment is a good thing. Almost everyone believes it is--almost everyone except me, that is.
Free will isnt a position taken because its useful under some circumstance. Either we have it or we dont.
But see, this is exactly what I am disagreeing with. And if we either have it or don't, and it is an answerable question, what has been found to be the answer? The fact that there is not a known answer ought to tell you something.
Either we are shaped by our society, subconcious, childhood or were not.
The answer to that seems fairly obvious. Have you ever noticed how you can tell what culture a person belongs to by his or her manner of dress and ways of doing things? And have you noticed how language and religion seem dependent upon the group that you grow up in?
THe truth of the mattter isnt something that is pick and choose. I do however think that determinism is very "useful" for gaining control over others and taking away responsibilities and its really cute how it cant be disproven.
It cannot be disproven because it is neither true nor false. It is simply a model, a frame of reference. Determinism makes the assumption that what happens in the universe happens according to certain rules, and that is why we can predict what is going to happen, to some extent. The more accurately we understand those rules, the better we are at predicting, and the more able we are to accomplish things. Accurate understanding of rules means accurate beliefs about them.
Everyone espousing it has something to gain. The person stating it on one end is able to get control over molding someone else into what they think they should be, and the person on the other end is completely elleviated of any responsibility for their actions.
I believe you are talking about some extremes. Understanding others, meaning having accurate beliefs about how they react to things, makes it possible for you to be a good person and an effective participant in society.

Society exerts much control over behavior. This is through formal means, such as “laws,” or informal means, such as “non-verbal communication,” persuasion, threat, etc.
Society doesnt do not one of these things. Laws are strictly done by governments.
Governments are sets of procedures that societies use.
Non-verbal communication, persuasion, and threats are carried out by individuals. How in the world would a whole society get together to engage in non-verbal communication?
Again, this appears to be a linguistic breakdown. By "society" I mean a group of people. The members of that group interact with each other and are highly interdependent. Much interaction involves nonverbal communication. Some of it is quite formal, such as salutes. Much of it is very informal, such as frowns and smiles, movements of the eyes, shrugs, etc.

But using skills they have acquired how?
On their own or from other individuals.
My point would be that other individuals have almost always been involved in one's development of skills. Perhaps you can think of an example to the contrary.

Out of the people who participate in them.
Who for instance? How are they given more credit then anyone else?
Context missing.

Are you not going to advocate for a healthier way of living?
No. I'm going to personally partake in a healthier way of living.
Well I also advocate for healthy living.

Each of us has a sphere of influence. For some of us it is large, for others, small.
Absolutely no one has a sphere of influence so large that it could puposively guide the survival of everyone or the species.
Nor do I think that I said that.

Okay, this is where some of the discomfort comes from, namely, a misinterpretation. I think we agree much more than is apparent from our discussion.
We need quotes of sentences that cause that discomfort. I think the discomfort is coming from things you are adding in.id not misunderstand the words species or everyone.
Not clear what this is about. Context missing.

I need for you to specifiy what you mean by help. I am refering here to a quote that you just wrote where you were talking about helping others. Helping how?
We can help others by doing our part and doing it well, and by comforting and encouraging others, and by making them feel good rather than bad, and by giving them information they don’t have, and by using our skills to help them out.

All we can do is play the odds and do the best we can to make the world a better place. And whatever has led to your not being the kind of person who would consider attacking and killing me is something I am very grateful for.
Your not being specific. How do you know whats best for someone else?
There are so many ways in which we know how to do what is best for others. Covering our mouths when we cough is just one example.

We can rear children to be ethical or unethical.
Based off of whos ethics? Based off of your ethics? Why should your ethics be placed above anothers ethics.
We can raise children so that they have an idea as to what is good and bad, or not. And we can raise them so that they care, or not. There will be disagreement about the ethics involved in doing certain things, but we tend to believe that we should not do things that cause increased PSDED. We can do a much better job than we have ever done, however.

You make the assumption that these adults were not formed by their child rearing environment in addition to their temperament. I agree that how they have become as adults presents a monumental task to help them to change. That does not mean that their childhood experiences had nothing to do with what they became.
Not the assumption, the stringent assertion. There is absolutely no evidence to show for certain that the childhood experiences of narcissists lead to their narcissism.
Again, life is a matter of playing the odds. We are better off trying to make accurate predictions then just not caring and not trying.

You are making certain assumptions that I believe are not above questioning.
Nothing is above questioning.
Ah! Good! I agree with you.

”Works” needs definition.
Provides the desired outcome sought by the individual.
Context missing.

Alright. I need to get to class. I will finish this up in a couple of hours.


(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,485
(Continued from previous post)

I did not say that there was no “selfish” motivation in art. Actually, the word “selfish” is highly problematic. We do things in order to accomplish things that we want to happen, so that could be considered “selfish,” namely doing something to get something that we want.
Selfish is not selfish if actions are done whereby the results of other people take predominance for the results of yourself.
This needs clarification. "Selfish is not selfish"? And how do you measure what you are talking about?

Linguistics again. I think your use of “progress” is atypical. According to it, there could be no progress, because as soon as something is accomplished it cannot be considered progress, if I am understanding you correctly.
You are, but you arent correct that according to that definition there could be no progress. I dont understand a link there at all. Progress is the movement forward into new territory. What is your definition of progress if it isnt this?
This is metaphorical, and difficult to understand. "Progress" depends on the concept of goal-oriented behavior.
I couldnt see it conforming to how the vast majority of other people are using this word.
I don't understand.

Linguistics.
Circumvention
Linguistics.
Circumvention. Describe how groups create progress or explain how my definition of groups is wrong.
[Some context missing.] Groups of individuals create progress by working cooperatively together.

I would like to prevent the early death of our species, that is, to do whatever I can to help.
Like I tried to explain earlier, there is nothing your capable of doing which will help or ensure the survival of the species because you dont know in what ways future advancements are going to be used. The species will either survive or it will not.
I believe that what we do will have a lot to do with whether we survive, and the Humanianity website clarifies, I believe, what it is that each of us can do.

By promoting the survival of the species I mean keeping it alive as long as possible.
That isnt possible. There is no human alive capable of making an impact in this area.
But all of us individuals working together as a cooperative group can make a difference.

What this part is referring to is that we do not want to benefit some people at the expense of causing suffering of others.
Thats a nice thing to want, but I see no way in which anyone is going to stop that from happening. Like I said earlier, I dont think that your neighbors success keeps you from having any of your own. I dont neccessarily think that both things are related, but there will always be situations wereby some people will benefit by causing suffering in others.
But working together to find ways to reduce this to a minimum will be a benefit.

This is covered by the concept of the “sphere of influence.”
The concept sphere of influence talks about the amount of a difference a person can make on the people around them. That is not very large at all.
There is a very wide range of difference with regard to the size of our spheres of influence. Some individuals sphere’s of influence are very tiny, whereas people like Obama have extremely large spheres of influence.
People could hold some pull over material things, but you cant control another persons decision making.
But you can influence it.
That is why words like species and everyone are used all out of context. My illustration does deal with what your calling a sphere of influence but it is saying that our sphere of influence is very very small. I think that its arguable that we dont hold any certain influence over any living thing except ourselves.
What about drunk drivers and robbers? You don't think you have any influence over your pet dog? I think that we are not understanding each other with regard to how we use our words.

Our founding fathers were trying to help those to come in the future.
Yes they were, and I'm grateful that they did.
Ah! We agree! And we can carry on the work.
However, what exactly do you have in mind? The prinicipals of the founders will hopefully still be around in the future if we follow even a little bit the constitution. They already provided for future generations in the largest way possible by advocating rights and freedoms. So what is it that you are specifically advocating providing people in the future with?
Increased depth and accuracy of understanding and a stronger ethical sense, and therefore any behavior that tends to promote that.

Yes, but some judgment should be made regarding the implications for the future, I believe, as a Humanian.
I understand what you mean, but I dont specifically know what it is your talking about preparing for people in the future. Is this the environment were looking after? Is it the repercussions of our laws. I would think that if good, rational principals were laid down now and if they worked they would work as well in the future.
Agreed.

Criminals and suicide bombers, for example.
Criminals could be criminals for different reasons. What if they are criminals for doing drugs? That isnt promoting any of those things. Or what if they are illegal immigrants? They arent promoting discontent, depression or rudeness. A lot of criminals are criminals because the laws are unjust in the first place. As far as suicide bombers, they arent promoting any of these things as overall concepts. They are promoting them for a certain group of people, but not their own people, not everyone overall. They have goals behind their actions which dont revolve around simply promoting depression or discontent. I personally feel they probably want us out of their areas of the world.
I agree that these problems are all complex.

Lord no! Watch the news.
I do. Who in the news are you referring to?
Context missing.

Humanians should, according to the REUEP, take care of themselves and use good physical and mental hygiene.
I understand that, but then it goes on to say that other people should be the further focus of all good intent. The concept I'm critisizing is this concept, that it is even possible to do this. I think that if someone asks for help then perhaps yes, but I'm highly skeptical of cases where we are supposed to just make everyone happy because I dont see how anyone would do that.
I believe you are oversimplifying and misinterpreting what I say.

Embezzlement, stealing, rape, murder, unhealthy eating, etc., etc. Many ways. Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped?
But people have always done these things.
So should we continue to accept these things and not try to find ways to drastically reduce the incidence of them?
How is this religion going to get them to stop? Isnt almost every religion against almost all of the above?
Our religions have not been very effective so far. They need to improve. Humanianity would be the direction to go in.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,486
(Continued from previous post)


If you get killed by a drunk driver, that is your responsibility?
No of course not. Your right, there are instances where people die through no fault of their own. I was not careful in what I typed, I should have been. In cases where people die from causes other then unfortunate accidents, or rare diseases, when they die from "natural causes" as people call them, that is due to unhealthy living.
Heard of second-hand smoke?
I dont consider it to be much of a health hazard at all. Dont hang around people that smoke.
My body can put a bullet in someone else’s.
What has that got to do with what I'm saying? I'm not advocating shooting people. I'm saying you control your actions. What are you talking about here?
Context missing.

Who talked of certainty? I certainly have not. Life is always a matter of playing the odds.
I know you didnt, I did. I'm talking about certainty. Your actions have nothing to do with playing the odds.
We play the odds in all that we do.
Your actions dont involve what your environment tells you you ought to do. They involve your free will and your thoughts. What actions lead to, those are the odds.
What I am talking about is that we try to make predictions as to the outcomes of our behavior, and choose our behaviors according to those predictions, which are always probabilistic.
Actions in and of themselves are not about playing odds. It has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. I really think that you arent getting my point.
We probably have different languages, even though we speak English.

The REUEP is an ethical principle that applies to individuals and groups. It is what I should do, what you should do, what we should do, and what they should do. It is a principle with which to legitimate lower level ethical principles, such as “I should not steal” or “you should not steal.” But remember that such ethical rules of conduct are just guidelines, and in a particular case following that rule might actually be inconsistent with the REUEP. The ideas are complex, but not real complex, and are understandable. I hope that you will continue to try to understand. And thank you very much for this dialogue. I hope it will be of help also to others.
The REUEP is an ethical principle that applies to individuals and GROUPS!! That is what I'm saying. The end result is to focus actions onto other groups.
And our own group, and ourselves, and myself.
You have avoided the questions.
I certainly have tried not to.
What exactly do you mean when you say promote? What ACTIONS are the right actions in achieving everyones fulfillment? What about my statements about being unable to change a persons level of happieness? How do you avoid the appearance of pain or the results of disabilities in someone else? These statements are vague to me, it seems they are painting with a very broad stroke. It talks about species and everyone which is as unspecific as it could possibly be and then it talks about emotions which no one is working against anyway. I am trying to understand, but I dont see exactly what you are advocating people to do.
I am talking about a basic philosophical or religious orientation. That is indeed general. I have also given many examples of more specific behaviors that would be desirable or undesirable.
There are already many many religions which want people to do exactly what your advising.
Yes, but those same religions have aspects to them that promote PSDED. I believe there is room for improvement in all the religions. There is room for improvement for us as individuals and as a species.
The vast majority of people arent promoting early death or disabilities, and the others who are promoting happiness and contentment do so because they simply are happy and content. In what ways do you suggest people promote these things? Answering that question would clear up a lot for me. How does one promote such things, and how does one take people away from PSDED? Remember the words species and everyone are used. How does one promote such things for the species and how does one take away PSDED for the species and for everyone. What about just another person close to you in your sphere of influence?
I do believe that you are interpreting some of my comments inaccurately. There are things that we do as individuals and groups that are good for us as individuals and groups, and also things that are harmful. I am talking about the whole range of things that we do as individuals and as groups.
What if it is a situation whereby the only way to promote JCA in someone else is to cause PSDED in yourself? What happens then? Who is the priority?
There will always be some ethical dilemmas or situations in which it will be very difficult to come to a conclusion. However, there are lots of situations in which arriving at a conclusion would be relatively simple. I believe we have a long way to go to live by principles that are accurate and helpful. The chapter on Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention would be an example.
What if the opposite is the case. What if the only way to promote JCA in yourself is to violate a part of PSDED? Who wins out? Who is the higher priority? Is it the self or is it the other person or persons?
There will indeed be very difficult decisions to make at times. Those decisions will be made on the basis of examination of all the specifics of the situation, so there is no general answer that would be satisfactory. And there will be times when we have an uncomfortable feeling that we may not have done the very best thing, even though we have tried to do so. I know that many of my answers seem unsatisfactory to you, but I think that is because you are imagining that I am saying some things that I am not actually saying. I am not sure how we could have better communication. We do seem to have a difference of opinion about the role that others play in one's life, but I can't help but believe that this is more a linguistic problem. Maybe with more discussion, we will be able to figure out why we seem to see things so differently.

The place that I attempt to present in as clear a manner as possible, with great attention spent on linguistic consistency and simplicity, the totality of my ideas is in that free book, For Everyone: Rational-Ethical Living and the Emergence of "Homo Rationalis".
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 61
Before getting started answering questions I would like to say that this so far has been the most specific I think that you've been and I think that I see clearer then I've been able to so far where our differences surely lie. Now I understand what you mean by determinism and you answered that question directly. I dont agree, and its a good thing I think that we dont necessarily agree. You may be right and I may be wrong, but I feel much better about knowing more concerning where your coming from.
*The point is, what ways work that do not involve in some way the contributions (cooperation, service, creativity, productivity, etc.) of other people?
Getting in shape does not have to invovle the cooperation of other people. Doing small exercises to improve coordination and attention does not have to involve other people. You could grow your own food, and that wouldnt involve other people. Just like before, this knowledge might come from others, just like thoughts arise from neurons, but the people arent the products of that knowledge just like individuals arent a slave to the whims of their neurons. It works in both directions, but in my view if a person can opt to choose what knowledge they are going to be influenced by then that is their decision. What has happened in the past to create the makeup of a persons brain is not the issue. The issue that I am raising is that what matters is what the person does with past knowledge and how they mold themselves from it. If they acknowledge it or if they dont. Outcomes are what I care about, and people as individuals decide outcomes, their childhoods dont.
*Decisions are made by the brain. The brain is programmed by experience. The most important experience is that provided by other people.
We'll first of all I dont neccessarily think that the most important experience is necessarily provided by other people. I think that is case by case. The brain is not programmed either, the brain is self changing. Computers are programmed, they are programmed because whatever programs you set up within them is the programs they are "determined" to run. Humans are not computers and they arent programmed. I would use the word influenced. Decisions are indeed made solely in the brain, but the brain is adaptive. Its not like sculptng a statue, you have what you sculpt. Human beings have the power to sculpt themselves.
*Temperament is greatly determined by genes, that you got from other people. Much illness is contagious or due to lifestyle highly influenced by culture.
Yes temperament is due to genes that we got from other people. However, we cant credit other people, or hold them what I call responsible, for the genes that were given. Yes our genes came from those people, but its not like the people who gave us the genes that we have were picking and choosing which genes would turn on and off to make us the unique individuals that we are. That is totally out of human hands. Illness might be due to lifestyle, and it might not. Therefore in both instances I think that if we start going towards ascribing to people causes outside of their own intentions we get to a point of absurdity. I only care about causes that are the result of peoples intentions, not events or circumstances cause by a persons existence.
*Where did he get the clothes? Who made them? Out of what? Where did that come from? How. Where does soap come from?
And why does it matter? Are we talking about survival or the attainment of "stuff". None of that matters because none of it is essential to survival. You must have clothes to survive? He got stuff that didnt matter from people, he was self sufficient in all that really mattered, which means all that led to his survival.
*But how does he do that without making use of the ideas that he has obtained from others?
You arent seeing my point. It doesnt matter to me where he gets his knowledge. It doesnt matter if he gets knowledge from observing phenomenon (which is perfectly possible, not all knowledge is given to a person from other people) or if he gets it from others. Outcomes are what matter. The outcome of an adult persons life is in their hands.
*Then I don’t know what you mean by “critical thinking.”
The application of logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and careful reasoning to the analysis of claims, beliefs, and issues.
-What does it mean to own something. It means that you decide the usage of the product. You are your own product. You decide how your body will be used.-
*You can decide how to use your rental car.
In this case someone has allowed you to have control over their property. You could also allow someone to have complete control of your body. Such as when someone goes into the military, or during some masochistic sexual practices. You still own your own body and you still decide its destiny and the same goes for the rental car. No one can use such things unless you allow it.
*I don’t recall having said that people can be relegated down to nothing but influences. I don’t even know what that means.
It seems pretty simplistic to me. You have said that people are products of their environments. They are what their environments have made them.
*I think it is rather obvious that we are influenced by others. There are very, very few people who would say otherwise, you apparently being a noteworthy exception. But I am having trouble understanding how you can believe as you do. Perhaps that will become clearer with time.
This time it is my turn to say that I never said that. I completely and wholeheartedly agree that individuals are influenced by others. I never said that people didnt influence other people, but have reiterated that they do. I am saying they are not slaves to their influences. They decide to focus and act on certain influences and ignore and reject others.
*Right. That’s not saying the same thing. I don’t know what it would mean to talk of applying laws to child rearing, other than requiring training and certification.
I'm not talking about applying laws to child rearing. I wasnt accusing you of saying that we should. I was saying that it sounds to me based off of that excerpt that you believe that people should be treated by their governments the way that children should be treated by their parents. If that is true it means literally that people should be treated like children. If in your view that means that children are not punished then this would mean a radically different thing then if the statement were applied to things currently.
*I understand that you believe that, as does probably almost everyone else. But that is because we still are rather primitive in our child rearing. For instance, we believe that no training is needed for this enormously complex and extremely important activity. So very simplistic ideas persist, and we suffer enormously because of it. You might want to read the chapter on Rational-Ethical Child Rearing to get a beginning idea about non-punitive child rearing.
(Were talking about children doing what they want when they arent punished.) I think that punishment revolves around showing the child that there are negative consequenes that come from certain actions. How do you define punishment. Punishment seems to be a very key word we are using differently.
*This totally ignores that the screaming is indicative of a problem that is already developing and needs to be worked on, on a daily basis, within the home.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 62
Screaming children are rarely screaming because of a problem that is happening on a daily basis in the home. Often times it is damn near impossible to figure out what a child is screaming about. Often times a child screams not because of some specific out and out emergency, but because they cant have their way about something very trivial. Children are very narcissistic and dont even understand that other people have needs. Punishment (as I define it) needs to be used to illustrate the errors of children when they dont think about outcomes of actions. It is often what starts the critical thinking process in children.
*Forcing the child into submission by making the child feel overwhelmingly bad does not foster critical thinking. It fosters fear, anger, rebellion, low self-esteem, demoralization, etc., and teaches that human relationship is basically about domination/submission, rather than cooperation and benevolence.
I dont agree. Punishing a child can foster critical thinking skills by showing that certain actions lead to unfavoable outcomes. When the child knows that if it behaves in such and such an action and it gets a negative consequence from doing it, it learns not to act. This is not the only way to go about this, but for very small children it should be the predominate way. Punishing children in my opinion does not in any way neccessarily lead to any of the things you credit it with. The children who are punished the least are the ones who have absolutely no consideration for the boundaries of others and seem to show the most out and out narcissistic and psychopatic behavior. Until one of us provides evidence (and I myself admittedly dont have any) I think we will just have to call this part of the discussion a disagreement. I assess evidence, I dont become persuaded by assertions and I dont expect you to either. We should probably agree to disagree about this one.
*If the child is wanting to break things, there is already a severe problem that has developed, and making the child even angrier will not be the answer.
I do know for a fact that neuroimaging studies illustrate that psychopaths have brains that are naturally and genetically predispossed toward violence. If a child breaks things it could be due to their temperament which is a result of their genes and not the way they are raised. Unless the way their are raised has taught them that to break things and walk over others will get them the results they desire.
*So “held responsible for” does usually mean “punishable.” But it can at times mean “praiseworthy.”
That is correct. The outcomes of a persons actions are placed on them, whether good or bad.
*Not possible. The influence would have taken place over the individual’s whole past life.
Thank you for finally stating this. It is what I thought you were saying. I competely and very strongly disagree. We DO NOT see eye to eye on this issue.
*Do you mean “punishable”? But it is true that scientific models are deterministic. That is the only way they can be. Science tries to determine how things work. That means determining what rules they go by. The free will model is one that does not use determinism. Both models are useful, but under different circumstances.
You are absolutely right about the first have of this statement. Scientific models are always deterministic. However, you arent correct when you say that free will is incompatible with determinism. Free will in my opinion fits into the determinism model. All of our actions are determined by the layout of our neurons. I agree with the view of compatiblism and the opinions of Daniel Dennet. I just read about this in a Sam Harris book where he was advocating mainstream determinism and I very much disagree with his views. Free will is the idea that we decide the actions we take and that we are not just the results of our neuronal mappings or a force of nature. When I say we, I mean the mental contruct of "I', or the self. The self decides on actions it will take. Sam Harris himself espouses the view that our thoughts have us and we dont have our thoughts. I dont agree with that at all. I think that a person can control the types of thoughts that he will have and that he can shape himself to mold the outcome of his actions. I dont think that we are events. The self is a mental construct that is created by our genes (determinism), however, this doesnt mean that a person isnt responsible for actions or in control of their lives. The person is their genes. The self is still the self. The point isnt the cause but the outcome. The agent themselves are who is in charge if there is ever a situation whereby they can be the ones behind the wheel, and I most certainly think it can be demonstarated that they can. Our thoughts can have us, but we can also have our thoughts. Its a two way street, and the way you go is up to you.
*Those who cause unnecessary PSDED, especially to the extent that the government would intervene.
I think in certain ways this would include just about everyone. Sometimes its very hard to predict the outcomes of our actions.
*This is a metaphoric use of “punishment.” Not all PSDED is punishment or revenge, as the words are usually used. Of course you can indeed speak as if existence is an entity that has gotten mad at you and is punishing you or trying to correct you, but that is just a metaphor.
I understand. Thank you for clarifying.
*Some people need to be quarantined because of being a danger. That is not the same thing as punishment. When people are quarantined because of highly dangerous communicable disease, they are not being punished, even though being quarantined causes them some degree of suffering. This is an important distinction.
I feel that locking up violent criminals is a form of punishment and is not really the same as locking up a person for quarintin reasons. The violent criminals is locked up for actions taken (which is punishment), the quarinined person is locked up for something which is not his fault and which is most certainly not permanent. Once and if the quarintined person is fixed they are let loose, the same does not apply to a violent criminial.
-Or in your mind are people criminals in the first place because they were raised with punishment?*
*To a very great extent--a very, very great extent!
That is what I figured. I have read a lot of literature on violent criminals and I havent seen anything which would lead me to personally believe this. I dont think that your convictions in this area mirror reality.
*The point was that you can’t have a single thing, or do a single thing other than the very trivial, without others having done their part.
-You can survive.-
I don’t agree.
Once again I dont think that your assertions mirror reality. The people I have illustrated lived outside of society. I dont meant where they got their resources. They lived outside of society and didnt depend upon it for their essentials. We cant pick theories because we want to believe them. Good theories cant go against evidence if were going to apply any rational principals.
*But my point is that we cannot survive without some degree of coordinated, cooperative behavior.
That is not the case. We can survive without cooperative behavior. You arent giving the naturally critically thinking individual his due credit in my opinion
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 63
*Not actually so, but I understand how it seems that way. This has to do with the "mind-body problem" and the "free will versus determinism problem". I believe that we are simply dealing with different models, that have different degrees of usefulness in different situations. Science is based upon the deterministic model. But everything that you do from moment to moment is based upon the free will model. The problem is that there is still the question as to how we should treat someone who has done something inappropriate. This is tied together with the question as to whether one should be judgmental or understanding.
I dont believe they are incompatible. I am a compatibilist.
*We get into the question as to what "causation" means, and especially the question as to what "a primary cause" is.
The self is the primary cause. If a person acts outside of the willful control of the self then they are not a primary cause and the primary cause can be attributed to something else.
*Then what do you mean by "being held liable."
Being given credit or criticism. I dont mean something strictly negative.
*But see, this is exactly what I am disagreeing with. And if we either have it or don't, and it is an answerable question, what has been found to be the answer? The fact that there is not a known answer ought to tell you something.
I think that there is. There is a difference between an answer and people refusel to accept it. Individuals and their selves are always the causes of actions, if we say all actions are due to neurons and try to take away responsibilties using determinism we ignore that nothing has changed. Individuals are still responsible for their actions, it doesnt matter how the individual is formed by their neural networks. They are their neural networks.
*The answer to that seems fairly obvious. Have you ever noticed how you can tell what culture a person belongs to by his or her manner of dress and ways of doing things? And have you noticed how language and religion seem dependent upon the group that you grow up in?
They are not and that isnt true. I have met people from Britain and been unable to tell just by their dress if they were from there or America. I have grown up in the bible belt and am a staunch atheist. If we were just the products of our backgrounds then there would be no exceptions. We are shaped by genes to a large extent, but even then it isnt complete. I really dont think that we are what our backgrounds make us. People can change their own characterists by reshaping their brains through new influences.
*I believe you are talking about some extremes. Understanding others, meaning having accurate beliefs about how they react to things, makes it possible for you to be a good person and an effective participant in society.
And claiming that people are influences and results of their upbringings has led to all sorts of psychiatric abuse, such as leucotomies and electroshock therapy.
*My point would be that other individuals have almost always been involved in one's development of skills. Perhaps you can think of an example to the contrary.
When you shape your body, you shape your body. When you practice meditation you shape your mind. When you persue projects to increase your brainpower you solve the problems. You shape yourself, you are a being of self made soul.
*Well I also advocate for healthy living.
Well I have no problem with you doing that.
*We can help others by doing our part and doing it well, and by comforting and encouraging others, and by making them feel good rather than bad, and by giving them information they don’t have, and by using our skills to help them out.
What part? You dont have a part. You make your own position in life. You dont have a part. Encouraging others to do what? Comforting them for anything? Comforting them when they feel guilt for stabbing a person? Feel good about something for which they should feel bad? Information can be given to terrorists. All of these things dont necessarily equal out to anything good, the good comes from what the person acquiring these things does for them. And that goes for the bad as well.
*There are so many ways in which we know how to do what is best for others. Covering our mouths when we cough is just one example.
For how a person should live their lives. Covering your mouth when you cough has nothing to do with others. You can learn that information by seeking it out. I am not concerned here with knowledge I was given as a child, when I might have been more like a product of my surroundings. We dont know whats best for other people, and even if we do, they arent our responsibility.
*We can raise children so that they have an idea as to what is good and bad, or not. And we can raise them so that they care, or not. There will be disagreement about the ethics involved in doing certain things, but we tend to believe that we should not do things that cause increased PSDED. We can do a much better job than we have ever done, however.
In a psychopath these things would not matter. It is who they are. It is the way that their brains are wired. The most violent criminals such as Jefferey Dahmer and Ted Bundy had permissive loving parents. This is inconsistent with your contentions.
*This needs clarification. "Selfish is not selfish"? And how do you measure what you are talking about?
Just because actions arise from you does not qualify you as selfish. We sometimes do what we do based off of what will make someone else satisfied, but not ourselves.
*This is metaphorical, and difficult to understand. "Progress" depends on the concept of goal-oriented behavior.
This is not metaphorical and it is easy to understand. You are speaking of progress on an individual scale. I'm talking about progress as pertains to society. The words are used differently in the two contexts.
*But working together to find ways to reduce this to a minimum will be a benefit.
People working together dont make a difference concerning the individual decisions of a person. The person makes the decision on their own. We can influence that, but not in predicatble ways.
*There is a very wide range of difference with regard to the size of our spheres of influence. Some individuals sphere’s of influence are very tiny, whereas people like Obama have extremely large spheres of influence.
Obama is no exception. He cannot create well being for people, or increase their happiness. He has no greater sphere of influence then me or you. When he tells other individuals to do something, its not him himself that does these things. People can create their own well being, but Obama cannot aid this himself at all. He could cause a great deal of suffering, but that is always much easier then creating well being.
-People could hold some pull over material things, but you cant control another persons decision making.-
*But you can influence it.
Not in certain ways. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Influences are never able to be accurately predicted, and they are as often bad as good even when we dont intend it to be that way.
*What about drunk drivers and robbers? You don't think you have any influence over your pet dog? I think that we are not understanding each other with regard to how we use our words.
What about drunk drivers and robbers? You dont see the many many advertisments that have been available for years which tell people that they shouldnt drive drunk?
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 64
They still do. There is no way in which I personally am going to advocate people not rob each other, by putting up signs or speaking in the streets, and stop people from robbing each other. All such things are quite useless.
*Increased depth and accuracy of understanding and a stronger ethical sense, and therefore any behavior that tends to promote that.
Thats all vague. An increased depth of understanding if shown by your does not mean that it will be shown in the person that you are trying to understand. Just because I am here trying to understand your views doesnt mean that anyone else is bound to. A stronger ethical sense is vague as well. Suicide muslims have a strong ethical sense. The most closed minded and faith based individuals have the strongest ethical senses of all. By the way I also feel that it is kind of a contradiction to advocate a religion centered around a rational ethical principal. Religions are not rational. That is a contradiction in my eyes.
*I believe you are oversimplifying and misinterpreting what I say.
You will have to clarify your views. I see it in three different ways. Either you live life for yourself and seek self satisfaction. Or you live life for others, becoming a zero and living for their satisfaction. Or you pick and choose depending on the circumstance, holding neither to be a firm value and just conducting yourself based off of the whims you feel based off of the situation.
*Our religions have not been very effective so far. They need to improve. Humanianity would be the direction to go in.
Religion in my opinion has been inneffective in every single area other then charity for poor people. I think that religion is a falure and a disgrace.
*And our own group, and ourselves, and myself.
In the REUPE who is the priority? Is it the self or is it the group?
*Yes, but those same religions have aspects to them that promote PSDED. I believe there is room for improvement in all the religions. There is room for improvement for us as individuals and as a species.
Improvement comes from science. In cases where it does not, its by accident.
*There will indeed be very difficult decisions to make at times. Those decisions will be made on the basis of examination of all the specifics of the situation, so there is no general answer that would be satisfactory. And there will be times when we have an uncomfortable feeling that we may not have done the very best thing, even though we have tried to do so. I know that many of my answers seem unsatisfactory to you, but I think that is because you are imagining that I am saying some things that I am not actually saying. I am not sure how we could have better communication. We do seem to have a difference of opinion about the role that others play in one's life, but I can't help but believe that this is more a linguistic problem. Maybe with more discussion, we will be able to figure out why we seem to see things so differently.
I do think that we are standing with different positions on life. I think that it is a truth that I would not follow this religion. However, I dont have a problem with anyone else following it. I dont feel its immoral, I just dont think that I agree with it at all. I believe in me and am an rational egoist, that is not what this seems to espouse. I feel that I should come first in every situation. I feel empathy, it makes me happy to help others provided there is no loss, and that is what I personally feel that others would most benefit from. But I dont think that there is one incidence in my life where I have tried to convince people of this. You morality as far as I'm concerend is your business, and I support you following it as long as it doesnt cause any harm to others. I dont however feel that another religion would solve anything, and I dont feel that you can apply a rational ethical principal, or anything rational at the base of any religion. Religion isnt guided by reason. If you wanted to convince me of this, you would have to provide evidence and not contentions.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,495
Vincent,
Before getting started answering questions I would like to say that this so far has been the most specific I think that you've been and I think that I see clearer then I've been able to so far where our differences surely lie. Now I understand what you mean by determinism and you answered that question directly. I dont agree, and its a good thing I think that we dont necessarily agree. You may be right and I may be wrong, but I feel much better about knowing more concerning where your coming from.
Until you really understand regarding my approach to the mind-body problem, I will feel that you do not really understand. And I think that is the reason for some of the disagreement.

The point is, what ways work that do not involve in some way the contributions (cooperation, service, creativity, productivity, etc.) of other people?
Getting in shape does not have to invovle the cooperation of other people. Doing small exercises to improve coordination and attention does not have to involve other people. You could grow your own food, and that wouldnt involve other people. Just like before, this knowledge might come from others, just like thoughts arise from neurons, but the people arent the products of that knowledge just like individuals arent a slave to the whims of their neurons.
”Whims of their neurons” is a mixture of models.
It works in both directions, but in my view if a person can opt to choose what knowledge they are going to be influenced by then that is their decision. What has happened in the past to create the makeup of a persons brain is not the issue. The issue that I am raising is that what matters is what the person does with past knowledge and how they mold themselves from it. If they acknowledge it or if they dont. Outcomes are what I care about, and people as individuals decide outcomes, their childhoods dont.
Mixture of models.

Decisions are made by the brain. The brain is programmed by experience. The most important experience is that provided by other people.
We'll first of all I dont neccessarily think that the most important experience is necessarily provided by other people. I think that is case by case.
Example?
The brain is not programmed either, the brain is self changing.
Mixture of models.
Computers are programmed, they are programmed because whatever programs you set up within them is the programs they are "determined" to run. Humans are not computers and they arent programmed. I would use the word influenced. Decisions are indeed made solely in the brain, but the brain is adaptive. Its not like sculptng a statue, you have what you sculpt. Human beings have the power to sculpt themselves.
Mixture of models.

Temperament is greatly determined by genes, that you got from other people. Much illness is contagious or due to lifestyle highly influenced by culture.
Yes temperament is due to genes that we got from other people. However, we cant credit other people, or hold them what I call responsible, for the genes that were given. Yes our genes came from those people, but its not like the people who gave us the genes that we have were picking and choosing which genes would turn on and off to make us the unique individuals that we are. That is totally out of human hands.
Yes, I agree. And it was a bad choice on my part.
Illness might be due to lifestyle, and it might not. Therefore in both instances I think that if we start going towards ascribing to people causes outside of their own intentions we get to a point of absurdity. I only care about causes that are the result of peoples intentions, not events or circumstances cause by a persons existence.
This has to do with being judgmental vs. understanding.

Where did he get the clothes? Who made them? Out of what? Where did that come from? How. Where does soap come from?
And why does it matter? Are we talking about survival or the attainment of "stuff". None of that matters because none of it is essential to survival. You must have clothes to survive? He got stuff that didnt matter from people, he was self sufficient in all that really mattered, which means all that led to his survival.
Ultimately his food, clothing, and shelter required others having done their part.

But how does he do that without making use of the ideas that he has obtained from others?
You arent seeing my point.
Nor you mine.
It doesnt matter to me where he gets his knowledge. It doesnt matter if he gets knowledge from observing phenomenon (which is perfectly possible, not all knowledge is given to a person from other people) or if he gets it from others. Outcomes are what matter. The outcome of an adult persons life is in their hands.
We rest upon the shoulders of those who have gone before.

Then I don’t know what you mean by “critical thinking.”
The application of logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and careful reasoning to the analysis of claims, beliefs, and issues.
Accomplished by millennia of people working to learn how to do that.

-What does it mean to own something. It means that you decide the usage of the product. You are your own product. You decide how your body will be used.-
You can decide how to use your rental car.
In this case someone has allowed you to have control over their property. You could also allow someone to have complete control of your body. Such as when someone goes into the military, or during some masochistic sexual practices. You still own your own body and you still decide its destiny and the same goes for the rental car. No one can use such things unless you allow it.
I allow my parents and my school to have an effect on me?

I don’t recall having said that people can be relegated down to nothing but influences. I don’t even know what that means.
It seems pretty simplistic to me. You have said that people are products of their environments. They are what their environments have made them.
If one is studying people scientifically, one is studying the influences. I understand that it is important and healthy to utilize the free-will model within one’s own subjective experience. But that does not mean that other people are unimportant. We are all deeply interdependent, and simple observation shows that, if one does not discount the evidence.

I think it is rather obvious that we are influenced by others. There are very, very few people who would say otherwise, you apparently being a noteworthy exception. But I am having trouble understanding how you can believe as you do. Perhaps that will become clearer with time.
This time it is my turn to say that I never said that. I completely and wholeheartedly agree that individuals are influenced by others. I never said that people didnt influence other people, but have reiterated that they do. I am saying they are not slaves to their influences. They decide to focus and act on certain influences and ignore and reject others.
Mixing models. What determines whether they decide to focus and act on certain influences and ignore and reject others?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,496
(Continued from previous post)


Right. That’s not saying the same thing. I don’t know what it would mean to talk of applying laws to child rearing, other than requiring training and certification.
I'm not talking about applying laws to child rearing. I wasnt accusing you of saying that we should. I was saying that it sounds to me based off of that excerpt that you believe that people should be treated by their governments the way that children should be treated by their parents. If that is true it means literally that people should be treated like children.
Or children should be treated like adults. In certain ways, but only in certain ways, that would be true. But of course not entirely.
If in your view that means that children are not punished then this would mean a radically different thing then if the statement were applied to things currently.
I didn’t follow this.

I understand that you believe that, as does probably almost everyone else. But that is because we still are rather primitive in our child rearing. For instance, we believe that no training is needed for this enormously complex and extremely important activity. So very simplistic ideas persist, and we suffer enormously because of it. You might want to read the chapter on Rational-Ethical Child Rearing to get a beginning idea about non-punitive child rearing.
(Were talking about children doing what they want when they arent punished.) I think that punishment revolves around showing the child that there are negative consequenes that come from certain actions.
You can teach children about the consequences of mistakes without artificially doing things to them to make them suffer. Children want to learn.
How do you define punishment. Punishment seems to be a very key word we are using differently.
Anything the parenting figure does to the child to make the child suffer because the child has not done what the parenting figure wants.

This totally ignores that the screaming is indicative of a problem that is already developing and needs to be worked on, on a daily basis, within the home.
Screaming children are rarely screaming because of a problem that is happening on a daily basis in the home.
I disagree.
Often times it is damn near impossible to figure out what a child is screaming about.
Child rearing is difficult.
Often times a child screams not because of some specific out and out emergency, but because they cant have their way about something very trivial. Children are very narcissistic and dont even understand that other people have needs.
Punishment is a poor way to help them come to understand.
Punishment (as I define it) needs to be used to illustrate the errors of children when they dont think about outcomes of actions. It is often what starts the critical thinking process in children.
You haven’t defined it. And I disagree.

Forcing the child into submission by making the child feel overwhelmingly bad does not foster critical thinking. It fosters fear, anger, rebellion, low self-esteem, demoralization, etc., and teaches that human relationship is basically about domination/submission, rather than cooperation and benevolence.
I dont agree. Punishing a child can foster critical thinking skills by showing that certain actions lead to unfavoable outcomes.
This can be taught without punishing.
When the child knows that if it behaves in such and such an action and it gets a negative consequence from doing it, it learns not to act. This is not the only way to go about this, but for very small children it should be the predominate way.
I don’t agree.
Punishing children in my opinion does not in any way neccessarily lead to any of the things you credit it with.
I disagree. But a lot depends on how much punishment is used and how much other approaches are used.
The children who are punished the least are the ones who have absolutely no consideration for the boundaries of others and seem to show the most out and out narcissistic and psychopatic behavior.
Just not punishing would not be helpful or even feasible. It is what is done instead that is crucial.
Until one of us provides evidence (and I myself admittedly dont have any) I think we will just have to call this part of the discussion a disagreement. I assess evidence, I dont become persuaded by assertions and I dont expect you to either. We should probably agree to disagree about this one.
I don’t agree. I think the problem is that you do not yet know what I am talking about. After you read that chapter, you would. It is a very complex subject.

If the child is wanting to break things, there is already a severe problem that has developed, and making the child even angrier will not be the answer.
I do know for a fact that neuroimaging studies illustrate that psychopaths have brains that are naturally and genetically predispossed toward violence. If a child breaks things it could be due to their temperament which is a result of their genes and not the way they are raised. Unless the way their are raised has taught them that to break things and walk over others will get them the results they desire.
Some temperament does predispose toward problems, and can require unusual technical skill on the part of the parenting figures.

So “held responsible for” does usually mean “punishable.” But it can at times mean “praiseworthy.”
That is correct. The outcomes of a persons actions are placed on them, whether good or bad.
The problem is the negative side effects of punishment.

Not possible. The influence would have taken place over the individual’s whole past life.
Thank you for finally stating this. It is what I thought you were saying. I competely and very strongly disagree. We DO NOT see eye to eye on this issue.
Why?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,497
(Continued from previous post)


Do you mean “punishable”? But it is true that scientific models are deterministic. That is the only way they can be. Science tries to determine how things work. That means determining what rules they go by. The free will model is one that does not use determinism. Both models are useful, but under different circumstances.
You are absolutely right about the first have of this statement. Scientific models are always deterministic. However, you arent correct when you say that free will is incompatible with determinism. Free will in my opinion fits into the determinism model. All of our actions are determined by the layout of our neurons. I agree with the view of compatiblism and the opinions of Daniel Dennet. I just read about this in a Sam Harris book where he was advocating mainstream determinism and I very much disagree with his views. Free will is the idea that we decide the actions we take and that we are not just the results of our neuronal mappings or a force of nature. When I say we, I mean the mental contruct of "I', or the self. The self decides on actions it will take. Sam Harris himself espouses the view that our thoughts have us and we dont have our thoughts. I dont agree with that at all. I think that a person can control the types of thoughts that he will have and that he can shape himself to mold the outcome of his actions. I dont think that we are events. The self is a mental construct that is created by our genes (determinism), however, this doesnt mean that a person isnt responsible for actions or in control of their lives. The person is their genes. The self is still the self. The point isnt the cause but the outcome. The agent themselves are who is in charge if there is ever a situation whereby they can be the ones behind the wheel, and I most certainly think it can be demonstarated that they can. Our thoughts can have us, but we can also have our thoughts. Its a two way street, and the way you go is up to you.
Continuous mixing of incompatible models.

Those who cause unnecessary PSDED, especially to the extent that the government would intervene.
I think in certain ways this would include just about everyone. Sometimes its very hard to predict the outcomes of our actions.
Context missing.

This is a metaphoric use of “punishment.” Not all PSDED is punishment or revenge, as the words are usually used. Of course you can indeed speak as if existence is an entity that has gotten mad at you and is punishing you or trying to correct you, but that is just a metaphor.
I understand. Thank you for clarifying.
Some people need to be quarantined because of being a danger. That is not the same thing as punishment. When people are quarantined because of highly dangerous communicable disease, they are not being punished, even though being quarantined causes them some degree of suffering. This is an important distinction.
I feel that locking up violent criminals is a form of punishment and is not really the same as locking up a person for quarintin reasons.
Right. We hope they suffer.
The violent criminals is locked up for actions taken (which is punishment), the quarinined person is locked up for something which is not his fault and which is most certainly not permanent. Once and if the quarintined person is fixed they are let loose, the same does not apply to a violent criminial.
Right, because revenge is important to us.

-Or in your mind are people criminals in the first place because they were raised with punishment?-
To a very great extent--a very, very great extent!
That is what I figured. I have read a lot of literature on violent criminals and I havent seen anything which would lead me to personally believe this. I dont think that your convictions in this area mirror reality.
Most likely because of a different definition of punishment that does not acknowledge that there is both formal and informal punishment. Punishment does not just mean spanking, for instance.

The point was that you can’t have a single thing, or do a single thing other than the very trivial, without others having done their part.
-You can survive.-
I don’t agree.
Once again I dont think that your assertions mirror reality. The people I have illustrated lived outside of society. I dont meant where they got their resources. They lived outside of society and didnt depend upon it for their essentials. We cant pick theories because we want to believe them. Good theories cant go against evidence if were going to apply any rational principals.
But you are arbitrarily discounting much of what I point out as obvious examples of how we are interdependent.

But my point is that we cannot survive without some degree of coordinated, cooperative behavior.
That is not the case. We can survive without cooperative behavior. You arent giving the naturally critically thinking individual his due credit in my opinion
And you are not giving due credit to all those things that made that individual a naturally critically thinking individual. Take any such individual and I could describe a previous life history that would have led to the individual not being a naturally critically thinking individual.

Not actually so, but I understand how it seems that way. This has to do with the "mind-body problem" and the "free will versus determinism problem". I believe that we are simply dealing with different models, that have different degrees of usefulness in different situations. Science is based upon the deterministic model. But everything that you do from moment to moment is based upon the free will model. The problem is that there is still the question as to how we should treat someone who has done something inappropriate. This is tied together with the question as to whether one should be judgmental or understanding.
I dont believe they are incompatible. I am a compatibilist.
Asserting they are incompatible is not enough.

We get into the question as to what "causation" means, and especially the question as to what "a primary cause" is.
The self is the primary cause. If a person acts outside of the willful control of the self then they are not a primary cause and the primary cause can be attributed to something else.
Mixing of models.

(Continued in next post)
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