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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 #: 1,502
(Continued from previous post)


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.
Yes they do. Mutual influence, cooperative interaction, etc. are quite natural and occur among any group animals.
Critical thinking is not a lesson, its a choice. You use your little grey cells or you let them sit.
You seem to make some distinction between "you" and the "little gray cells" in your brain.
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.
I am indeed expressing my opinion that is different from that of the vast majority. That does not mean that I am wrong. What I just said is with regard to non-punitive child rearing. With regard to us being highly interdependent, this is very well known and frequently spoken about. Within psychology/psychiatry, group dynamics and family systems theory are examples.

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.
I had already formed an opinion earlier that Dennett has not solved the problem, but I did as you recommended and viewed a 1 1/2 hour video of a lecture of his, including the question and answer session afterwards, and noted that although he did a good job of presenting the problem, he did not really solve it, but instead used mixing of models and linguistic ambiguities, such that many people in the audience were either going to sleep or going into trances (this being a way to induce a hypnotic state). No one who spoke stated that they felt that he had actually solved the problem. Nor do I.

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?
Yes, of course, that happens. But just as was made quite clear in Dennett's lecture, the societal issue of the appropriateness of punishment is an extremely important issue that is dependent upon this philosophical problem.
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.
There is an enormous amount of punishment and revenge taking place all over the globe, involving interaction within the family, between and among individuals out on the street, between groups, and between nations. So I cannot agree with your assessment. We are a very angry species.

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.
The picture you paint is not accurate. Yes, there have been attempts to help people that have been shown subsequently to be a bad idea, and mistakes are made at times in the appropriate use of treatments that work if done properly. What you said sounds like a very exaggerated, one-sided view of psychiatry.

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.
Self-actualization occurs in the context of relationships.

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.
Context unclear. The group is a cooperating entity, even though that cooperation may be nonoptimal and even though there may be destructive processes going on in the same group.

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?
Parents, leaders, groups, judges, juries, subcultures, cultures, etc.
And infinitely more important by what justification does a person have the right to decide what is appropriate?
We regard everyone as having the right to his or her own opinion.
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.
I never said that. That certainly can happen. The question is whether it is appropriate. If we believe strongly in punishment and revenge, and wish to engage in them, we will do so more easily if we ignore all of the contributing factors to what has happened.
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.
We continually work on that as groups, the individuals in those groups expressing their opinions and those opinions being shared and compared with each other to see what makes the most sense.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,503
(Continued from previous post)


-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.
That is up to the individual. But I agree that some individuals have been so programmed by their past experiences that they engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behavior that makes them less able to do their part to make the world a better place, not to mention all the suffering they endure.

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.
We generally recognize that it is possible to be wrong, even though convinced that we are right. What helps is the sharing and comparing of ideas, getting feedback from others regarding what we ourselves may be overlooking.

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.
Religions are slow to improve, I agree. They still are rather primitive, and do not have strong self-improving mechanisms within them. The requirement to believe as the rest of the group does tends to stifle improvement by stifling the influx of new ideas. However, if you look closely at the various religions, I believe that you can see some change for the better occurring. There are many inter-faith organizations and activities.
Why not simply do away with religion? What is the use of it?
This really depends upon your definition of religion, to a great extent. Religion does indeed do a lot of good, but the bad parts of it do a lot of bad. But if you look at science as being the study of the way the world works, with the payoff that it tells us how to do miraculous things, then religion helps us work on whether we should do those things are not. Science gives us nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. Should we build them? Why? Those are appropriate questions for religion to help us with. But I agree with you that our current religions are very insufficient for doing a good job, with the exception of Humanianity.

-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.
Much of religion is, but that is not true of Humanianity. And religions are moving in that direction, albeit very slowly.

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.
You are just manifesting an impatience that is very understandable. I also think that you have a limited view of what the various religions are like in their entirety.

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?
No. It is a judgment to be made in the specific case, considering all the factors in the total situation.
The REUPE is phrased in such a way to where a persons actions are motivated towards everyone else.
Can you document that? I consider your statement to be incorrect.
That is self sacrifice. To me it is suicidal to every place someone elses life as a value higher then your own.
Then by definition it would be inconsistent with the REUEP, and therefore would not be Humanian.

-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.
Well then I probably do agree with you, in part in that science and technology allow us to share and compare ideas more easily and allow us to put new and better ideas into action. Science does far more than accident does. I guess I'm not clear on what you would consider to be a third alternative.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,504
(Continued from previous post)


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.
But if they do not put that concept into action in the form of personal conduct, of what benefit is that admission? You are in many ways expressing your wishes as to how people should behave. And I agree with much of what you say.
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?
I don't understand. Are you saying that being good to a person causes them to shoot 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?
Why are you so much against people being self-righteous? What does "pushy" mean? Are you being pushy with your ideas in our discussion? You certainly are being persistent. But I welcome your efforts, because they assist in the clarification of ideas. And are you accepting of embezzlement and identity theft, neither of which are 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.
This is not clear. Are you saying that I am powerless in the realm of responsibility for my own happiness? Maybe you are saying that I am powerless in the realm of responsibility for your happiness. I don't see it as an issue of power, but rather an issue of generosity. People can be of help to each other and increase each other's happiness. They also can make other people quite unhappy. If you are captured and tortured, you will be very unhappy, and it will be because of what others are doing, rather than just something that you are accomplishing within yourself.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 71
*The meeting has come and gone. I missed you.
I got the days confused and ended up showing up on Saturday instead. I still ended up making friends at the hooka bar, so it was in no way a waste.
*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.
I feel that this illustration is incompatible with what I'm saying. By calling them incompatible and supporting a deterministic position you provide yourself with an excuse for knowing what is best for others, which is irronious.
*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.
Saying that you believe in free will is absolutely in no way the same as saying that people are unimportant. Nothing causes a person to be a prime cause. Thats is tantamount to asking why does your heart pump blood, or why does your brain have action potentials, or why is it that my eyes pick up light waves instead of sound waves. Its because of design. I would maintain that you will never have a complete answer to your explanation because you dont share the same mind as the acting agent. Therefore you are bound to base your theories on assumptions every time.
*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.
Actually, yes it is. Our present actions are not the results of our childhoods. If they are, then the problem is that the person is evading the responsibility of using his mind to solve issues and is essentially an overgrown child. If he is in fact an adult child, then the problems he runs into from not relying on his own judgement is what he deserves.
*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.
This is a strawman argument. Taking out the first whole half of this statement which has nothing to do with an actual arguement, I would like to point out that the issue here is that you can grow your own food. If you do you have less time to create. That is true and totally irrelevent. That is a side issue. What is being talked about here is autonomy. I'm obviously not against people relying on the achievements of other people. I obviously did not create this computer I type on. If he wants to create then let him engage in trade. If he wants to grow his own food, then it means more to him then other things he might create. If he wants to grow his own food instead of create, then more power to him. The same applies to a man of trade. This statement seems to imply that a person has some unspecified responsiblity to create things for others. This is not true and people have the right to work if they dont want to, provided they dont take anything for others.
-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?
No. Childhood has nothing to do with that and neither does society. Once again its like saying what causes the neurons in my brain to fire, or what causes me to sleep every night instead of stay awake. Childhood has nothing to do with the tendancies of biological behaviors of our bodies. All psychological behaviors are ultimately biological behaviors.
*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.
They label it with absolutely no biological or neurological basis. It is not science. It is politics. Suffering and dysfunction exists, its fine to address them, but lets not call this science. Even when neurological causes to mental problems are found they are not found by psychiatric practitioners.
-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 are desperate to involve other people in the decisions of actions. Am I typing this message because of my childhood, or because of other people. I'm not typing it because of you, you arent a prime cause. I dont have to answer your messages. I answer them because I choose. You seem to mistake causation with resources quite often. If I go run this morning is that because of my childhood? All kinds of decisions that I make dont involve other people. You are determined not to see that people can decide things on their own and only on their own. You will now say i'm sure that I refuse to see that people are a part of some web of influences. I do see that, I never said that I didnt, I'm only speaking of the end results of actions. Ends are what matters, not means. The whole is greater then the sum of its parts. If you relegate all things down to nothing but influences you take upon yourself a hopeless indeavor because the only person who holds direct access to their own influences is the individual and considering the depth to which subconcious influences influence our actions, you will never arrive at causes. All you will ever have are foundationless theories resting upon one tenth of the overall picture. Without the full picture you cant hope for a good framework in which to help people. And by stating this I am of course only speaking of that part of us that is constructed of past experience. Notice I said past expereience, not all of our learning involves other people.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 72
*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.
No. Actually I never said anything about unconditional continous positive regard. I was quoting Martin Seligman, it was his statement, and I was using it to prove the point that there are hundreds of studies which show again and again and again that punishment is the single best way of modifying behavior. Its very psychiatric of you to espouse a view of the negativities of punishment with total disregard of these studies. Pick your favorite theory, espouse a view and ignore all evidence to the contrary. That is not scientific. In order to reject the repeated findings of the Psychiatric Association you would have to provide counter evidence or illustrate flaws in the data collection of all of these studies. Making assertions against findings is simply picking what you want to believe and ignoring the evidence. With that type of attitude you probably really should be founding a religion.
*It allows for understanding behavior at a deeper level. There is no wish to do so when the primary motivation is punishment and revenge.
It is simplistic and round about to talk about punishment and revenge especially in the realm of "society". For one thing, what we do to criminals when we lock them up has nothing whatsoever to do with revenge. The punishment we inflict on criminals is not punishment based off of revenge. The judge does not send anyone to the chair because he wants to inflict revenge on them. Revenge is felt by the people (for the most part) who the wrong has been done directly. These rules are put in play to keep people from enforcing themselves on each other. I think that you are overlapping concepts which dont have anything to do with each other. "Society" is not looking to get revenge on anyone, and when you use terms like humans, or "Parents, leaders, groups, judges, juries, subcultures, cultures, etc. " you try to back up your arguments with the vaguest statements possible. These groups dont decide anything togther. I myself absolutely refuse to be lumped into vague and meaningless categories like that.
-(Speaking of locking up criminals.) Who is this we?-
*(Speaking of locking up criminals.) Who is this we?
Humans.
(You are speaking here of who wants revenge.) Yet again you have answered a question concerning specifics with an answer which is even more vague then your original assertion. Humans? All of them? Every human wants revenge? That says absolutely nothing. Your a human. Or are you? Are you perhaps an alien? Is that why you stand outside of the other humans who want revenge? You havent said anything by saying humans.
*An almost universal belief that punishment is needed. The belief is almost universal, but not quite. I do not believe it.
You dont? But did you not live in this culture that believes in punishment, and did you not have a childhood here that was the influence behind your adult beliefs, and is there not some specific cause behind your not beleiving in punishment. If "humans" believe in revenge, and were a product of our environments (because without others we die), where in the world did you come from?
*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.
the death penalty is not a form of punishment?
-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.
Your not hearing me. "They could live outside society without them." How could they be needed if the person is living autonomously outside society. Your mother is needed isnt she, up until you move out of the house. Once you have your own house and make your own payments on your bills and wash your own clothes, do you really go around and tell people that you are still dependant on your mother?
*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.
The others are not needed. The one person who I specifically found and cant remember the name of right now (but who I mentioned on here before) lived on an island by himself for four years with absolutely no interction with others, and he thrived. He returned not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Four years is a long time, its not something to overlook. You seem to want people to be dependants.
*You seem to make some distinction between "you" and the "little gray cells" in your brain.
Your sense of self is created by your brain stem, your temporal parietal juncture, the language centers in the brain, and various other sections of the prefrontal cortex. That is not every single gray cell in my brain. There are plenty left over.
*I had already formed an opinion earlier that Dennett has not solved the problem, but I did as you recommended and viewed a 1 1/2 hour video of a lecture of his, including the question and answer session afterwards, and noted that although he did a good job of presenting the problem, he did not really solve it, but instead used mixing of models and linguistic ambiguities, such that many people in the audience were either going to sleep or going into trances (this being a way to induce a hypnotic state). No one who spoke stated that they felt that he had actually solved the problem. Nor do I.
Well at least we both know the issue. I thank you for looking this up. I got a wondefull kick out of the audience myself. I cant say that they looked rivited.
*Yes, of course, that happens. But just as was made quite clear in Dennett's lecture, the societal issue of the appropriateness of punishment is an extremely important issue that is dependent upon this philosophical problem.
And where determinism lies, often there lies with it the total disregard for responsibility.
*There is an enormous amount of punishment and revenge taking place all over the globe, involving interaction within the family, between and among individuals out on the street, between groups, and between nations. So I cannot agree with your assessment. We are a very angry species.
Punishment and revenge are very simplistic ideas to tyr and expain most of peoples behavior around.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 73
*The picture you paint is not accurate. Yes, there have been attempts to help people that have been shown subsequently to be a bad idea, and mistakes are made at times in the appropriate use of treatments that work if done properly. What you said sounds like a very exaggerated, one-sided view of psychiatry.
Not accurate how? What precisely did I mention which psychiatry did not do? I dont feel that anything that I said was an exageration, all of those things are facts.
*Self-actualization occurs in the context of relationships.
That is an overexaggeration. Yes often, but not always.
*We regard everyone as having the right to his or her own opinion.
When judging what is appropriate I would hope that the judge does not have the right to force their opinions onto other people.
-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.-
We continually work on that as groups, the individuals in those groups expressing their opinions and those opinions being shared and compared with each other to see what makes the most sense.
Well that sounds horrifying. So the groups decide on what makes the most sense concerning how other people should be behaving?
*That is up to the individual. But I agree that some individuals have been so programmed by their past experiences that they engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behavior that makes them less able to do their part to make the world a better place, not to mention all the suffering they endure.
We are not programmed. You remind me of Skinner when you talk about people as products and programs. Are you a behaviorist?
*We generally recognize that it is possible to be wrong, even though convinced that we are right. What helps is the sharing and comparing of ideas, getting feedback from others regarding what we ourselves may be overlooking.
Agreed.
*Religions are slow to improve, I agree. They still are rather primitive, and do not have strong self-improving mechanisms within them. The requirement to believe as the rest of the group does tends to stifle improvement by stifling the influx of new ideas. However, if you look closely at the various religions, I believe that you can see some change for the better occurring. There are many inter-faith organizations and activities.
We'll back in the day they didnt have the ability to bomb as great a number of people, and they didnt have GPS systems making it easier to know how to go to your house and talk to you about their views.
*This really depends upon your definition of religion, to a great extent. Religion does indeed do a lot of good, but the bad parts of it do a lot of bad. But if you look at science as being the study of the way the world works, with the payoff that it tells us how to do miraculous things, then religion helps us work on whether we should do those things are not. Science gives us nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. Should we build them? Why? Those are appropriate questions for religion to help us with. But I agree with you that our current religions are very insufficient for doing a good job, with the exception of Humanianity.
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! It is not religions job to hold any sway over what science should be doing. Religion should play no part in deciding the destiny of nuclear power plants or nuclear bombs. They didnt invent them, they played no part in their making, so the whole issue is one which they have no right to decide the appropriateness of. Concerning questions of whether mary rose bodily into heaven, if the bread and wine are really the blood and body of Jesus, what is the appropriate use of secular musical instruments during liturgical services......for those things yes. Not for the provinces of science.
-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.-
Well then I probably do agree with you, in part in that science and technology allow us to share and compare ideas more easily and allow us to put new and better ideas into action. Science does far more than accident does. I guess I'm not clear on what you would consider to be a third alternative.
*I dont have one and dont understand why one is needed.
-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.-
But if they do not put that concept into action in the form of personal conduct, of what benefit is that admission? You are in many ways expressing your wishes as to how people should behave. And I agree with much of what you say.
I am expressing my belief that laws should be put in place to maximize personal liberty. All of my assertions have an overridding theme of increasing liberty. I am not intersted in changing the belief systems of others or of advocating certain ways of behaving. I only think that people should be left free to behave without any authorities telling them to modify themselves or change their ethics.
-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?-
*I don't understand. Are you saying that being good to a person causes them to shoot up a school?
Not at all. I'm saying that even good behavior can have unforseen circumstances. I'm saying that attempting to increase JCA does not always lead to positive results.
*Why are you so much against people being self-righteous? What does "pushy" mean? Are you being pushy with your ideas in our discussion? You certainly are being persistent. But I welcome your efforts, because they assist in the clarification of ideas. And are you accepting of embezzlement and identity theft, neither of which are violent?
Because look at the results that self righteous people cause. That is what happened to the Objectivist movement if you read the history. Ayn Rand was so sure she was right concerning the ethics that other people should be practicing, and the whole time she espoused the erroneous idea that your rational mind programmed your emotions. This led into the whole movement engaging in emotional suppression and turning itself into a kind of cult which shut itself off from the rest of the world. Pushy means trying to get everyone else to think like you. I dont think that i am being pushy because its not my goal to get you to agree with me. I am simply checking on the validity of my own assertions. I'm not interested in you becoming or thinking like me, because I havent got one thing to gain. I think you want people to espouse your views concerning what they should be doing. I make no claim on what others should be doing, I just think that decisions should be left up to individuals. Of course I am agains embezzlement and identity theft, both of which are a form of indirect force. Property is an extension of your personal autonomy, so when someone deprives you of property they are engaging in a form of force.

vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 74
*This is not clear. Are you saying that I am powerless in the realm of responsibility for my own happiness? Maybe you are saying that I am powerless in the realm of responsibility for your happiness. I don't see it as an issue of power, but rather an issue of generosity. People can be of help to each other and increase each other's happiness. They also can make other people quite unhappy. If you are captured and tortured, you will be very unhappy, and it will be because of what others are doing, rather than just something that you are accomplishing within yourself.
I'm saying ultimately people must find their own ways of being happy. Thats not the same as saying that generosity is bad, that helping others is not somehow admirable. Its saying that happiness is not a guarenteed result of such actions.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,505
Vincent,
The meeting has come and gone. I missed you.
I got the days confused and ended up showing up on Saturday instead. I still ended up making friends at the hooka bar, so it was in no way a waste.
See you next time. Where is this hooka bar, and are there any older ballroom-dancing philosophers there?

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.
I feel that this illustration is incompatible with what I'm saying. By calling them incompatible and supporting a deterministic position you provide yourself with an excuse for knowing what is best for others, which is irronious.
I do not support a deterministic position. Both the deterministic framework and the free will framework are useful in certain circumstances. But they also can be misused.

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.
Saying that you believe in free will is absolutely in no way the same as saying that people are unimportant.
You are still not understanding what I am saying. I do not "believe in free will." I do not "believe in determinism." They are simply different models, useful in different contexts. But you cannot use them both at the same time, any more than you can use plastic and graph paper at the same time when trying to model a car. Either model can be accurate, but they are separate models.
Nothing causes a person to be a prime cause. Thats is tantamount to asking why does your heart pump blood, or why does your brain have action potentials, or why is it that my eyes pick up light waves instead of sound waves. Its because of design.
What do you mean by design?
I would maintain that you will never have a complete answer to your explanation
I agree.
because you dont share the same mind as the acting agent. Therefore you are bound to base your theories on assumptions every time.
I do not quite understand this. Any model makes basic assumptions.

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.

Actually, yes it is. Our present actions are not the results of our childhoods. If they are, then the problem is that the person is evading the responsibility of using his mind to solve issues and is essentially an overgrown child. If he is in fact an adult child, then the problems he runs into from not relying on his own judgement is what he deserves.
As a kind of punishment? And are you not aware of how frequently we can be absolutely certain of something that is not correct? What helps you the most in removing error from your judgment? Is it not the sharing and comparing of ideas with others who may see things differently?

-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.
This is a strawman argument. Taking out the first whole half of this statement which has nothing to do with an actual arguement, I would like to point out that the issue here is that you can grow your own food. If you do you have less time to create. That is true and totally irrelevent. That is a side issue. What is being talked about here is autonomy. I'm obviously not against people relying on the achievements of other people. I obviously did not create this computer I type on. If he wants to create then let him engage in trade. If he wants to grow his own food, then it means more to him then other things he might create. If he wants to grow his own food instead of create, then more power to him. The same applies to a man of trade. This statement seems to imply that a person has some unspecified responsiblity to create things for others. This is not true and people have the right to work if they dont want to, provided they dont take anything for others.
What I am trying to point out is that we humans are highly interdependent, and that a great percentage of our complexity has been caused by our interaction with each other.

-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?
No. Childhood has nothing to do with that and neither does society. Once again its like saying what causes the neurons in my brain to fire, or what causes me to sleep every night instead of stay awake. Childhood has nothing to do with the tendancies of biological behaviors of our bodies. All psychological behaviors are ultimately biological behaviors.
But those neurons firing in your brain are firing to a great extent because of what has happened to you, and much of that has been interaction with other people.

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.

They label it with absolutely no biological or neurological basis. It is not science. It is politics. Suffering and dysfunction exists, its fine to address them, but lets not call this science. Even when neurological causes to mental problems are found they are not found by psychiatric practitioners.
I understand that there is a lot of misconception about what psychiatry is about. You would need to have more acquaintance with the field. But scientific models are ones that are legitimized by showing that they produce accurate predictions. The functioning of the brain is extremely complex, and that same thing can be said about the mind. You can be highly critical about a scientific field early in its development, just as you can be highly critical of a child not being an adult. There is more science in psychiatry than you are aware of, but you would have to become familiar with the literature and understand it.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,506
(Continued from previous post)


-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 are desperate to involve other people in the decisions of actions. Am I typing this message because of my childhood, or because of other people.
You are typing it because you are interacting with another person.
I'm not typing it because of you, you arent a prime cause.
I never claimed to be a prime cause.
I dont have to answer your messages. I answer them because I choose.
But without me, you would have no questions to answer.
You seem to mistake causation with resources quite often. If I go run this morning is that because of my childhood? All kinds of decisions that I make dont involve other people. You are determined not to see that people can decide things on their own and only on their own.
The fact that you decide things on your own and only on your own does not mean that those decisions do not have to do with interactions with others and are influenced by interactions with others, both current interactions and past interactions.
You will now say i'm sure that I refuse to see that people are a part of some web of influences. I do see that, I never said that I didnt, I'm only speaking of the end results of actions.
So there is some kind of communication breakdown. I, too, am speaking about the end results, but the end results of all of the causative or influential processes.
Ends are what matters, not means.
Matters according to what and whom? And why do you say that?
The whole is greater then the sum of its parts. If you relegate all things down to nothing but influences you take upon yourself a hopeless indeavor because the only person who holds direct access to their own influences is the individual and considering the depth to which subconcious influences influence our actions, you will never arrive at causes.
You will arrive at some causes some of the time.
All you will ever have are foundationless theories resting upon one tenth of the overall picture. Without the full picture you cant hope for a good framework in which to help people. And by stating this I am of course only speaking of that part of us that is constructed of past experience. Notice I said past expereience, not all of our learning involves other people.
I agree, but much of it does, and you can't simply arbitrarily remove one whole component or set of influences, without distorting the picture considerably.

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.
No. Actually I never said anything about unconditional continous positive regard. I was quoting Martin Seligman, it was his statement, and I was using it to prove the point that there are hundreds of studies which show again and again and again that punishment is the single best way of modifying behavior.
I believe that to be untrue. Can you quote one of those studies? What criteria are being used to determine what is “best”? Best with regard to the suppression of a specific behavior, or best with regard to the total effects and side effects of punishment?
Its very psychiatric of you to espouse a view of the negativities of punishment with total disregard of these studies. Pick your favorite theory, espouse a view and ignore all evidence to the contrary. That is not scientific. In order to reject the repeated findings of the Psychiatric Association you would have to provide counter evidence or illustrate flaws in the data collection of all of these studies. Making assertions against findings is simply picking what you want to believe and ignoring the evidence. With that type of attitude you probably really should be founding a religion.
(Well, in a sense I am, in that I gave the name to “Humanianity.” But really I am just giving a name to a phenomenon that is gradually emerging among us humans, whether I give it a name or not.) In order to demonstrate the value of non-punitive child rearing, you would have to compare those examples of non-punitive child rearing with examples of punitive child rearing. But since almost no one believes in non-punitive child rearing, and since there is no collection of people who have been trained in what to do instead, there is no way to conduct such studies. However, it is quite possible to see how punishment has negative side effects, irrespective of its effectiveness in suppressing unwanted behavior. I am trying to think beyond where we are at presently. And I see improvement in the life of children and families as they move toward a more highly skilled model of child rearing that does not involve punishment. After spending decades of doing such work, it becomes increasingly clear to me how punishment does indeed have negative side effects, and I believe that there is a growing awareness of this fact, although that awareness is still quite limited. I am trying to make a contribution, not just follow in the steps of other people. That would seem to be consistent with what you are trying to advocate.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,507
(Continued from previous post)


It allows for understanding behavior at a deeper level. There is no wish to do so when the primary motivation is punishment and revenge.
It is simplistic and round about to talk about punishment and revenge especially in the realm of "society". For one thing, what we do to criminals when we lock them up has nothing whatsoever to do with revenge.
Ask victims and their families.
The punishment we inflict on criminals is not punishment based off of revenge. The judge does not send anyone to the chair because he wants to inflict revenge on them. Revenge is felt by the people (for the most part) who the wrong has been done directly.
Judges are forced to engage in such punishment. The procedures used are not only for the purpose of deterrence, but also for the purpose of revenge.
These rules are put in play to keep people from enforcing themselves on each other.
Yes, controlled punishment and revenge.
I think that you are overlapping concepts which dont have anything to do with each other. "Society" is not looking to get revenge on anyone, and when you use terms like humans, or "Parents, leaders, groups, judges, juries, subcultures, cultures, etc. " you try to back up your arguments with the vaguest statements possible. These groups dont decide anything togther. I myself absolutely refuse to be lumped into vague and meaningless categories like that.
You refuse to be labeled as "human"? But I do disagree. All of my observations throughout the course of my life have led me to be quite aware of how important punishment and revenge are to us humans, as individuals and groups.

-(Speaking of locking up criminals.) Who is this we?-
Humans.
(You are speaking here of who wants revenge.) Yet again you have answered a question concerning specifics with an answer which is even more vague then your original assertion. Humans? All of them? Every human wants revenge? That says absolutely nothing. Your a human. Or are you? Are you perhaps an alien? Is that why you stand outside of the other humans who want revenge? You havent said anything by saying humans.
I thought it would be clear that I was talking about "the vast majority," "almost everyone." Yes, I have some views that are different from those of almost everyone.

An almost universal belief that punishment is needed. The belief is almost universal, but not quite. I do not believe it.
You dont? But did you not live in this culture that believes in punishment, and did you not have a childhood here that was the influence behind your adult beliefs, and is there not some specific cause behind your not beleiving in punishment. If "humans" believe in revenge, and were a product of our environments (because without others we die), where in the world did you come from?
Yes, I guess the specific circumstances of my interactions with my fellow humans have indeed led me to have beliefs that are quite different from the vast majority of them. Without those other fellow humans, I would not be believing what I do and I would not be saying what I am saying right now. Remember that I referred to the vast majority. That’s not everyone. And there is a tendency to move toward non-punitiveness, though very early in its development.

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.
the death penalty is not a form of punishment?
Yes, it is. But punishment is not a form of the death penalty. Those who advocate against the death penalty are not advocating against punishment in general. (Maybe there are exceptions, but I have not heard of them.)

-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.
Your not hearing me. "They could live outside society without them." How could they be needed if the person is living autonomously outside society. Your mother is needed isnt she, up until you move out of the house. Once you have your own house and make your own payments on your bills and wash your own clothes, do you really go around and tell people that you are still dependant on your mother?
No, but I am still dependent upon other people. How do I get that house, and money, and clothes, and water. And there is no reason to exclude the past when asking to what extent the causes of my behavior include my interactions with other people.

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.
The others are not needed. The one person who I specifically found and cant remember the name of right now (but who I mentioned on here before) lived on an island by himself for four years with absolutely no interction with others, and he thrived.
Alexander Selkirk. From Wikipedia: “Selkirk proved resourceful in using equipment from the ship as well as materials that were native to the island. He built two huts[1] out of pimento trees. He used his musket to hunt goats and his knife to clean their carcasses. As his gunpowder dwindled, he had to chase prey on foot. During one such chase he was badly injured when he tumbled from a cliff, lying unconscious for about a day. (His prey had cushioned his fall, sparing him a broken back.)[2] He read from the Bible frequently, finding it a comfort to him in his condition and a mainstay for his English.
When Selkirk's clothes wore out, he made new garments from goatskin using a nail for sewing. The lessons he had learned as a child from his father, a tanner, helped him greatly during his stay on the island. As his shoes became unusable, he had no need to make new ones, since his toughened, callused feet made protection unnecessary. He forged a new knife out of barrel rings left on the beach.” Does this sound like he did not rely upon other humans?
He returned not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
“His long-anticipated rescue occurred on 1 February 1709 by way of the Duke, a privateering ship piloted by William Dampier. Selkirk was discovered by the Duke's captain, Woodes Rogers, who referred to him as Governor of the island. Now rescued, he was almost incoherent in his joy.”
Four years is a long time, its not something to overlook. You seem to want people to be dependants.
But he acquired the skills and materials that allowed him to survive from other people. And look at his quality of life.

(Continued in next post)
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