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 #: 1,498
(Continued from previous post)


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.
Mixture of models. If you want to understand people and predict their behavior, you use the deterministic model, as is done in the sciences. It you wish to get revenge on the person, you use the free-will model.

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.
Of course, to be complete one has to know the individual life history of that person (never completely possible), rather than just relying upon general information, such as characteristics of the culture. But though there are exceptions, there is a pretty high correlation. You will find the majority of women wearing burkas to be only in certain cultures, though there might be exceptions.

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.
You need to define “psychiatric abuse.” Electroshock therapy can be life-saving in a situation where nothing else has worked.

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.
But what life influences led to your being a 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.
You can have a part if you wish, and work at it.
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.
Yes, you can have a part in making the world a better place or a worse place.

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.
Behaving appropriately, I believe, is a part of our responsibility, and we need to raise our children such that they do behave appropriately as adults.

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.
That is an oversimplification of the child rearing process.

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.
We usually do that because it is satisfying to do so.

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.
Context missing. Needs clarification.

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.
We certainly do make predictions as to how others are likely to respond, and most of us are pretty careful in how we respond. But context is missing.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,499
(Continued from previous post)


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.
Well, I agree.

-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.
There is inaccuracy in prediction, of course, but I don’t think that the results of our prediction can be attributed to chance alone.

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?
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.
I think letting others know what you stand for helps them to do the same.

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.
I tend to agree with you. That is why religions are so important and why they should improve.
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.
Only because of how you define “religion.”

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.
Not if you are committed to the REUEP.

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.
It is young. A person has to be a child before becoming an adult. Our religions are still just children.

And our own group, and ourselves, and myself.
In the REUPE who is the priority? Is it the self or is it the group?
That is a judgment to be made in the specific case, considering all the factors in the total situation.

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.
Could not agree less. Science is not involved in my ballroom dancing, nor in my making friends.

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.
So you have read and studied the home page of Humanianity, and don’t agree that the world would be drastically better off if everyone were Humanian?
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 67
*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.
Until I know all the details that is probably true. I could very well be shooting in the dark. I am going to attend the philosopy discussion group tonight and then maybe you will be able to explain it to me more in depth.
*Mixture of models.
You keep accusing me of mixing models of free will and determinism. The two models do not need to be viewed as incompatible. Compatibalism is a genuine view of free will which has been adopted by the philosopher Daniel Dennette and to which I ascribe. He is a very influential and well regarded philosopher and his views are also adopted by a great number of prominent thinkers. Of course this does not make them correct, the views of Sam Harris and others that free will doesnt exist could be correct. However, it is not accurate to try and dismiss my views on their compatibility as "mixture of models" because the compatibalist view of the matter is pretty much as old as the other two stances.
-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?
And what about your example? I myself dont have one. I'm saying that different experiences and their magnitude of influence are different for different people. I dont think that it can be said that all of a persons most important experiences are provided by other people, I think it must be a case by case basis.
*Ultimately his food, clothing, and shelter required others having done their part.
No not his food or shelter. But like I said that is irrelevent. He was living outside of society. The point is that he was self sufficient. You have to crawl before you can walk. He did not need society when he was grown and independent.
*We rest upon the shoulders of those who have gone before.
On the shoulders of a very few who made progress and came before. We get our knowledge often from people who came before. There is nothing wrong with that. However, its unjust to ascribe the success that we manage to create for ourselves to them, because the decision to use or not use this knowledge is up to us.
*Accomplished by millennia of people working to learn how to do that.
(this involves critical thinking). Critical thinking is innate. Its an inborn quality. It can be influenced altered and reinforced, however, the ability to do it is innate. Millennia of people are not responsible for my ability to weigh in facts and judge opinions. I either decide to do it, or I do not.
*I allow my parents and my school to have an effect on me?
Yes thats true. You allow yourself to accept the ideas they give you, or you turn away and reject the influence.
*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 assume you mean studying people scientifically from the psychological standpoint. I dont think that psychology has a very good history on relying on evidence or science to back up its assertions. One need only look at the way that we diagnose mental illnesses so that they end up in the DSM. We vote. Someone suggests that an illness exists, if enough people agree it gets placed in the book. That is not science, science does not rely on voting. I think however that most of us are very interdependant, however I'm saying it doesnt neccessarily have to be that way.
*Mixing models. What determines whether they decide to focus and act on certain influences and ignore and reject others?
The decision must come from them must it not? Who else could possibly decide? It must be them. No one else can make the decision for them.
*You can teach children about the consequences of mistakes without artificially doing things to them to make them suffer. Children want to learn.
That would depend on the child. I dont for a moment think that there are easy answers to child rearing. I dont for a moment think that there is any way in which one could demonstrate that punishement must be discarded.
*Punishment is a poor way to help them come to understand.
Before my last message I didnt have any knowledge of studies which pertained to child rearing. Amazingly I ran across information from reading the head of the APA Martin Seligman's book Authentic Happiness. Here is what he says about child rearing influences and punishment:
"When you reward your child with praise regardless of what she does, two dangers loom. First, she may become passive, having learned that praise will come regardless of what she does. Second, she may have trouble appreciating that she has actually succeeded later on when you praise her sincerely. A steady diet of well meaning, unconditional positive regard may leave her unable to learn from her failures and her successes.
Punishment gets in the way of positive emotion because it is painful and fear-evoking, and it gets in the way of mastery because it freezes the actions of your child. But using it is not as problematic as using unconditional positive regard. B. F. Skinner, in speculating that punishment was ineffective, was simply wrong. Punishment, making an undesirable event contingent on an unwanted action, turns out to be highly effective in eliminating unwanted behavior-perhaps the most effective tool in behavior modification-and literally hundreds of experiments now demonstrate this."
So those are the words of the head of the American Psychiatric Association. Apparently there have been literally hundreds of experiments done which illustrate time and again that punishment is the single most effective tool for getting children to learn. Until these hundreds of experiments have in some way been descredited, we should stand on the side of evidence and not contentions. Just because something is asserted doesnt make it so.
-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?
Because you said that it is impossible for a person to be held accountable for actions. There is according to you no action a person can take which is nothing more then the result of their influences. That removes responsibility completely from the shoulders of the acting agent.
*Right. We hope they suffer.
(Speaking of locking up criminals.) Who is this we? I personally dont have a burning desire for anyone to suffer. You clearly dont want them to suffer. Who is this we? If it were the result of (society?) wanting them to suffer are we not both according to your model a part of the society, unable to remove ourselves from its influence? What accounts for our indifference to their suffering?
*Right, because revenge is important to us.
Us? Its not important to me. I dont believe in the death penalty. What do you ascribe that to? Many people dont believe in the death penalty. What do you ascribe them and me to? You have to get specific on who wants who punished and who wants revenge and why.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 68
*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.
I read your definition of punishment and i accept it.
*But you are arbitrarily discounting much of what I point out as obvious examples of how we are interdependent.
Thats because I keep reiterating that people decide on their own outcomes. Once the supplies a person might need from other people could be gleaned from them, they could live outside of society without them. That is the same with adulthood. Once your childhood influences (if your religious they probably consist of a lot of guilt and fear) have been pummeled into you, you dont have to give them voice or attention as an adult if you choose not to. The same with your examples. Once other individuals give you what you might need to get by, you wont need them any longer. And that is assuming they need these things in the first place. I am really not sure that they do. The people who wanted to be self suffiencient I'm sure didnt go all the way toward self suffienciecy just because of the overwhealming inconvenience that such an indeavor would represent.
*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.
You cant say made an individual a naturally critically thinking individual. The words made and naturally dont go together. Critical thinking is not a lesson, its a choice. You use your little grey cells or you let them sit. Much like accepting evidence and reality. You can look to the evidence, or you can simply ignore it and spout out theories and wishes, willy nilly picking your favorite theory of how something works in total disregard.
*Asserting they are incompatible is not enough.
The answer relies on evolution, and I'm not about to sit here and type out the whole issue. You could type in Daniel Dennet free will on you tube and let him illustrate the reasons behind his thoughts if it interests you.
*Mixture of models. If you want to understand people and predict their behavior, you use the deterministic model, as is done in the sciences. It you wish to get revenge on the person, you use the free-will model.
? Man you are really stuck on the idea that free will always leads to us using some form of revenge. What about the other side of things? What about the credit ascribed to a person for their accomplishments? That is infinitely more important then any small amount of revenge that might take place. People are not out for revenge most of the time. Free will hasnt got a thing to do with revenge.
*You need to define “psychiatric abuse.” Electroshock therapy can be life-saving in a situation where nothing else has worked.
You need only look at the history. As Thomas Szasz once said, "psychiatry does not commit human rights abuse, it is a human rights abuse." Leucotomies, Labotomies, Electroconvulsive therapy, involuntary and unjustifiable hospitalization, over medication, unjustifiable and unscientifically proven medical admisnistration of mind altering drugs, medical stigmitization by discriminating labels.....I'm sure there is much more, I know that there is, but that should be enough for the moment.
*But what life influences led to your being a self-made soul?
Absolutely none. You are what you are. You become what you are, if you so choose to be. Self Actualization is a choice, it is not something ascribed to influences.
*You can have a part if you wish, and work at it.
Why would you call a job or action a part? To me parts are things which are a part of something which help it run. Thats why I say we dont have a part, because we dont direct our actions towards helping society.
*Behaving appropriately, I believe, is a part of our responsibility, and we need to raise our children such that they do behave appropriately as adults.
Appropriately? Who decides what appropriate is? And infinitely more important by what justification does a person have the right to decide what is appropriate? Also, here you go again using this word responsibility. You have already stated that you dont feel that any person can be held accountable on their own without first looking into their influences. So how can you now use the word responsibility? Who or what is it that has made it our "responsibility" to behave "appropriately"? Who ascribes this responsibility and who decides what is appropriate? To me this sounds statement seems riddled with self certainy on how others should be bahving.
-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.-
We usually do that because it is satisfying to do so.
And there is not a thing wrong with that, because there is only fulfillment in the action. The only problem comes when someone places themselves in a postion where they lose more then they gain.
*There is inaccuracy in prediction, of course, but I don’t think that the results of our prediction can be attributed to chance alone.
I'll agree to that assertion.
*I think letting others know what you stand for helps them to do the same.
But what if your wrong? Humility is probably the most important virtue.
*I tend to agree with you. That is why religions are so important and why they should improve.
I dont see religions as they stand improving. I dont see religions as they stand changing. I think you must mean up and coming and newly developing religions. Why not simply do away with religion? What is the use of it?
-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.-
Only because of how you define “religion.”
To me actions done in the name of words are infinetly more important then official definitions, just as in people actions speak louder then words. Just as in communism, its always definted as everyone sharing things equally. That is absolutely never what happens when it is practiced. Religion in my opinion in all of its uses is not rational and leads to faith based mental stagnation. It is really anti mind.
*It is young. A person has to be a child before becoming an adult. Our religions are still just children.
If our religions are still children, then they are perpetual children who have not even left the cradle.
*In the REUPE who is the priority? Is it the self or is it the group?
That is a judgment to be made in the specific case, considering all the factors in the total situation.
So in other words there is no answer? The REUPE is phrased in such a way to where a persons actions are motivated towards everyone else. That is self sacrifice. To me it is suicidal to every place someone elses life as a value higher then your own.
-Improvement comes from science. In cases where it does not, its by accident.-
Could not agree less. Science is not involved in my ballroom dancing, nor in my making friends.
Your mixing categories. I have already stated that there is a difference between improvement on the scale of the species and improvement on the scale of the individual. I am speaking of the species.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 69
So you have read and studied the home page of Humanianity, and don’t agree that the world would be drastically better off if everyone were Humanian?
No I really dont, but I have read the page. I dont want to modify other peoples personal conduct, I only want others to admit to the concept that we should accept each other for our differences provided that we arent getting in each others way. That to me is the only ethical concept that makes any sense. People can cause damage to other people, on purpose and accidentally. What if you improve JCA in a person who then goes out and shoots up a school? An ethical principal in a religion as far as I can see revolves around instructing other people what they should be doing. Why cant we just say dont be self righteous, pushy, or violent? The rest of the equation pertaining to helping others, I must say for me revolves around responsibility. You happiness if your own responsibility, I am powerless in that rhelm. But I would go further then that. I think that you are to.
A former member
Post #: 545

cool deal.




A former member
Post #: 546

I dont want to modify other peoples personal conduct, I only want others to admit to the concept that we should accept each other for our differences provided that we arent getting in each others way.

I agree, we should try to control external reality. And not bend the volition of other people by means of duress and deception. And, vice-versa.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 70
By external reality I assume you mean the resources we have to mold to our will. If this is indeed the case we are most certainly in agreement. i dont want to bend mold or shape other peoples volitions through duress, deception, force, pursuasion, or pushiness. If you hurt no one, your alright by me whatever you do. I do think sir that we see eye to eye.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,500
Vincent,
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.
Until I know all the details that is probably true. I could very well be shooting in the dark. I am going to attend the philosopy discussion group tonight and then maybe you will be able to explain it to me more in depth.
The meeting has come and gone. I missed you.

Mixture of models.
You keep accusing me of mixing models of free will and determinism. The two models do not need to be viewed as incompatible. Compatibalism is a genuine view of free will which has been adopted by the philosopher Daniel Dennette and to which I ascribe. He is a very influential and well regarded philosopher and his views are also adopted by a great number of prominent thinkers.
See below.
Of course this does not make them correct, the views of Sam Harris and others that free will doesnt exist could be correct.
I do not agree with any of them.
However, it is not accurate to try and dismiss my views on their compatibility as "mixture of models" because the compatibalist view of the matter is pretty much as old as the other two stances.
You cannot model a whole car by modeling one half of the car with plastic and the other half with a diagram on paper. Each one can be accurate, but the models are incompatible.

-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?
And what about your example? I myself dont have one. I'm saying that different experiences and their magnitude of influence are different for different people. I dont think that it can be said that all of a persons most important experiences are provided by other people, I think it must be a case by case basis.
if you use the free will model and consider yourself to be a "prime cause," then of course you can regard other people as relatively unimportant. But you can always abandon the free will model and ask the question as to what caused you to be that "prime cause." You can always ask the question as to what caused you to do a particular thing, and I would maintain that the more complete the answer is, the more it has to involve other people, past and present.

Ultimately his food, clothing, and shelter required others having done their part.
No not his food or shelter. But like I said that is irrelevent. He was living outside of society. The point is that he was self sufficient. You have to crawl before you can walk. He did not need society when he was grown and independent.
And here, I again cannot agree. It seems to me that you continually overlook the obvious fact that there is hardly anything that we can do that does not require others having done their part. It seems that you are satisfied to say "I did it" or "he did it," and simply not ask the further question as to why that happened. Just because something happened in the past, such as in one's childhood, does not mean that it is unimportant in the causation of a person's behavior in the present.

We rest upon the shoulders of those who have gone before.
On the shoulders of a very few who made progress and came before. We get our knowledge often from people who came before. There is nothing wrong with that. However, its unjust to ascribe the success that we manage to create for ourselves to them, because the decision to use or not use this knowledge is up to us.
Much of what we stand on as we progress is that which was built by many, many people, often involving much menial labor. In order for you to create, you must be alive. In order for you to be alive, you must eat. In order for you to eat, somebody has to do a lot of menial work. If you yourself do it, you will have much less time to create.

Accomplished by millennia of people working to learn how to do that.
(this involves critical thinking). Critical thinking is innate. Its an inborn quality. It can be influenced altered and reinforced, however, the ability to do it is innate. Millennia of people are not responsible for my ability to weigh in facts and judge opinions. I either decide to do it, or I do not.
I allow my parents and my school to have an effect on me?
Yes thats true. You allow yourself to accept the ideas they give you, or you turn away and reject the influence.
Yes, and what causes me to accept the ideas or turn away and reject the influence? Do child rearing and society's attitudes toward children have anything to do with that?

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 assume you mean studying people scientifically from the psychological standpoint.
No, I mean from the standpoint of just looking around at what is happening.
I dont think that psychology has a very good history on relying on evidence or science to back up its assertions. One need only look at the way that we diagnose mental illnesses so that they end up in the DSM. We vote. Someone suggests that an illness exists, if enough people agree it gets placed in the book. That is not science, science does not rely on voting. I think however that most of us are very interdependant, however I'm saying it doesnt neccessarily have to be that way.
What is being voted on is how to define certain terms. People are not voting on the way the world works. They are not voting on whether suffering and dysfunction exists, but rather how to label it.

Mixing models. What determines whether they decide to focus and act on certain influences and ignore and reject others?
The decision must come from them must it not? Who else could possibly decide? It must be them. No one else can make the decision for them.
No one else makes the decision for them, but you can always ask the question as to why they made the decision that they did. A complete answer to that is going to involve other people.

You can teach children about the consequences of mistakes without artificially doing things to them to make them suffer. Children want to learn.
That would depend on the child. I dont for a moment think that there are easy answers to child rearing. I dont for a moment think that there is any way in which one could demonstrate that punishement must be discarded.
I believe there is. One would have to engage in child rearing while believing that punishment could be discarded and believing in the value of doing so, including knowing what to do instead.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,501
(Continued from previous post)


Punishment is a poor way to help them come to understand.
Before my last message I didnt have any knowledge of studies which pertained to child rearing. Amazingly I ran across information from reading the head of the APA Martin Seligman's book Authentic Happiness. Here is what he says about child rearing influences and punishment:
"When you reward your child with praise regardless of what she does, two dangers loom. First, she may become passive, having learned that praise will come regardless of what she does. Second, she may have trouble appreciating that she has actually succeeded later on when you praise her sincerely. A steady diet of well meaning, unconditional positive regard may leave her unable to learn from her failures and her successes.
Punishment gets in the way of positive emotion because it is painful and fear-evoking, and it gets in the way of mastery because it freezes the actions of your child. But using it is not as problematic as using unconditional positive regard. B. F. Skinner, in speculating that punishment was ineffective, was simply wrong. Punishment, making an undesirable event contingent on an unwanted action, turns out to be highly effective in eliminating unwanted behavior-perhaps the most effective tool in behavior modification-and literally hundreds of experiments now demonstrate this."
So those are the words of the head of the American Psychiatric Association. Apparently there have been literally hundreds of experiments done which illustrate time and again that punishment is the single most effective tool for getting children to learn. Until these hundreds of experiments have in some way been descredited, we should stand on the side of evidence and not contentions. Just because something is asserted doesnt make it so.
But in no way do I consider the alternative to using punishment to be unconditional continuous positive regard. You are making the assumption that eliminating punishment means rewarding your child for everything. That is an extremely simplistic view of child rearing. I agree that I stand alone, at least to a great extent, in viewing punishment as being non-optimal. Our culture believes in punishment, and it would be quite striking if a component of our culture, the APA or any other organization, stood in opposition to such a view. The APA and other organizations are made of people, and people believe in punishment. However, none of that means that I am wrong. I make my case for it in the chapter on Rational-Ethical Child Rearing.

-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?
Because you said that it is impossible for a person to be held accountable for actions.
Nowhere did I say that it was impossible for a person to be held accountable for actions, nor would I ever say such a thing. This should alert you to the fact that there is a major linguistic confusion in our discussion. That needs to be clarified.
There is according to you no action a person can take which is nothing more then the result of their influences. That removes responsibility completely from the shoulders of the acting agent.
It allows for understanding behavior at a deeper level. There is no wish to do so when the primary motivation is punishment and revenge.

Right. We hope they suffer.
(Speaking of locking up criminals.) Who is this we?
Humans.
I personally dont have a burning desire for anyone to suffer. You clearly dont want them to suffer. Who is this we? If it were the result of (society?) wanting them to suffer are we not both according to your model a part of the society, unable to remove ourselves from its influence? What accounts for our indifference to their suffering?
An almost universal belief that punishment is needed. The belief is almost universal, but not quite. I do not believe it.

Right, because revenge is important to us.
Us? Its not important to me. I dont believe in the death penalty. What do you ascribe that to? Many people dont believe in the death penalty. What do you ascribe them and me to? You have to get specific on who wants who punished and who wants revenge and why.
I was not talking about the death penalty. I was talking about punishment. Those who advocate against the death penalty do not advocate against punishment.

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.
I read your definition of punishment and i accept it.
Okay, and for the reader, it is anything that the parent deliberately does to make the child feel bad because the child has disobeyed or is disobeying. Scolding, ridiculing, threatening, pointing the finger at, etc. are all forms of informal punishment.

But you are arbitrarily discounting much of what I point out as obvious examples of how we are interdependent.
Thats because I keep reiterating that people decide on their own outcomes. Once the supplies a person might need from other people could be gleaned from them, they could live outside of society without them.
So other people are indeed needed.
That is the same with adulthood. Once your childhood influences (if your religious they probably consist of a lot of guilt and fear) have been pummeled into you, you dont have to give them voice or attention as an adult if you choose not to.
And what is going to lead you to make that change within yourself?
The same with your examples. Once other individuals give you what you might need to get by, you wont need them any longer.
But you are overlooking that you are acknowledging that those other individuals are needed. Furthermore, if you really look at any specific examples, you will see that continuing survival ultimately depends upon others. You can go for a while (a short while) without such interaction, but ultimately it will be needed. And that which you have inside of you in the way of skills, language, knowledge, etc., has come from other people, adding to and modifying that which is inside of you.
And that is assuming they need these things in the first place. I am really not sure that they do. The people who wanted to be self suffiencient I'm sure didnt go all the way toward self suffienciecy just because of the overwhealming inconvenience that such an indeavor would represent.
Again, we would have to take a look at specific examples.

(Continued in next post)
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