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

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 80
disregard of other evidence. Your only answer to violent seriel killers with normal childhoods is to assert that there must be something missing from their pasts that we dont know about. Your fitting evidence around your favorite scenario as opposed to looking at the evidence and gaining a realistic framework. Or at least that is how it seems to me.
*My reply:

There have been examples of bad things happening in all branches of medicine (as well as economics, industry, government, etc.). To characterize all doctors or all psychiatrists as being evil is unwarranted.

For more than four decades (and I am only semi-retired) I have tried to help people stop the enormous suffering they have come to me for help with, and I believe that almost all of my psychiatric colleagues have been similarly motivated. And the science upon which our treatment methods are based is supported by enormous amounts of very skilled, peer-reviewed research.

Our problem is not that people are being forced to have treatment, but that treatment, especially adequately intensive treatment, is unavailable to many who need it. But I don’t think I can present enough evidence to clear myself and my colleagues of these charges.

On the other hand, I know that some do have such images of us, and that there have been events and situations that have promoted those images. As time goes on, I believe people will have an increasingly accurate perception of the field. And the field is still young, so we are still learning and re-learning.

-I will only say here that I dont feel that all psychiatrists are evil. I feel that a good deal of good can be done through therapists and am not opposed to the whole field despite how it might sound. I feel very strongly that the field has done far more harm then good overall. However, the subject is very complex, to much so to spend all afternoon typing explainations.
I believe we can classify beliefs into two categories:

Existential beliefs are beliefs about the way the world is, was, and will be, and about what will happen if we do things. Science helps us develop these beliefs.

Ethical beliefs are beliefs about what I, you, we, and they should or should not do. Religion helps us develop these beliefs.

We do develop both existential and ethical beliefs without science or religion. Science and religion are our efforts to help ourselves to do so.

Your characterization of Humanianity is, I believe, inaccurate. To obtain an accurate idea of it, you should again read the homepage at Humanianity.com.

Humanianity is not really a new religion, but instead is an idealized endpoint of the improvement that all religions are to some extent making as our species becomes increasingly rational. It does not replace other religions, but enhances them. It is a personal religion, one that a Christian, Jew, Islamist, Unitarian-Universalist, agnostic, and atheist can have.

To be Humanian is simply to be committed to the Humanian ultimate ethical principle, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and this little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future. There are many approaches to the implementation of that ultimate ethical principle, and many different ideas as to how to do so.

We as a species are still, indeed, just a toddler, compared to how we will be in the far future, if we are fortunate and can meet the challenges ahead of us. Our current religions reflect who we are and where we are in our development.

- I will simply say that any ethics which state what someone else should do as pertains to positive action is deeply immoral and arrogant. I will also say that in no does religion in any form make humanity more rational. The exact opposite is the case and has always been so. If religion were causing humanity to be more rational it would be called science and we would have no religion. Ethics are personal if they are good ethics. They will guide you in how you should act. They will NOT concern themselves with the actions of others.
Actually, I believe that we should all try to make ourselves and each other happy, and the more that we attempt to do this, the better off we will be.

We all have a sphere of influence, namely, all of those people upon whom we have some effect or influence. Using this metaphor, the closer a person is to the center of one's sphere of influence, the more influence one has on that person. One's spouse or child would be very close to the center, whereas a store clerk that one interacts with would be at some distance from the center. There are people upon whom one will have no influence or effect, but it is very hard to know how far out from oneself one's sphere of influence extends. The closer a person is to the center of one's sphere of influence, the more important the care and treatment of that person is (because of the greater impact, by definition). The exact center is oneself, and one has maximal responsibility for taking care of oneself and developing oneself, so that one is indeed capable of making the world as good a place as possible within his or her sphere of influence.

This concept of a sphere of influence is in no way new. The same thing is covered in a more detailed way in Dianetics and Scientology. The need to place a religious framework on top of other current religions is also a method of scientology. Everyone else wants to step up and lead everyone else into the right way of behaving. Cant we all just leave each other alone. Cant we be humble in the face of existence?
*
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,517
Vincent,
So I agree with your proposition, and do not believe I have said otherwise. And first we need some clarification.

We are not trying to explain people, but instead to explain their behavior, and perhaps also their subjective experience (e.g., how they are feeling or how they are interpreting things that are happening).

So I do not say that their behavior and subjective experience can be explained by their childhoods. I say that there are many, many factors that belong in a complete explanation, one of those (sometimes important) factors being things about their childhood. A total explanation will include their current situation including their relationship system, their whole past life including childhood, and their biological makeup including genetic factors, temperament, learning capabilities, etc. My emphasis has been upon the importance of the past and present human relationship environment as an explanation of who we are, how we react, what we believe, etc. I emphasize the importance of recognizing that we are a group animal, and that what we do very often affects others just as what they do affect ourselves. My personal wish is to contribute in whatever way I can to the project of optimizing our interactions with each other, such that at some time in the future we will drastically have reduced the PSDED that we cause in each other.

I reiterate again and with simplicity, you are shooting in the dark. You cant have a complete explanation of another persons behavior.
I don’t believe I have ever said otherwise. I don’t believe we ever have a complete explanation. But we can have enough of an explanation for some particular purpose, for instance, for the purpose of making a decision. All of our knowledge is probabilistic. We are always playing the odds.
There are no experts of human behavior.
I don’t know what your definition of an “expert” is, but I believe that in any given field of knowledge there is variability with regard to how knowledgeable people are, and that some are wiser than others in a particular area because of their life experience relevant to that particular area. Seeking knowledge from others who probably know more is a very common and valued experience.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,518
(Continued from previous post)



A person’s behavior and subjective experience are indeed often explained most easily and most importantly (and therefore “mainly”) by their whole history of interaction with others, including the present situation. But this depends a lot on what it is that we are trying to explain. For instance, a knee-jerk reflex would not be explained in that way, except insofar as another human (e.g., doctor) were causing it to take place by hitting the tendon with a reflex hammer. And there are also always other components of the causation of a person’s behavior and subjective experience that are not human interaction, such as whether it is raining, etc.

But we do diverge regarding the issue of “judging” people. I believe that, in general, it is better to understand people than to judge them. I realize that, the way we live currently, there is no way we can simply stop judging people. It is a basic part of our whole way of thinking and of doing things. And it is not by any means all bad. For instance, judging at ballroom dance competitions is something that is probably primarily positive. (I don’t know how much suffering is produced in people who have spent so much time and money and then do not win, but it is a choice that they make. And although some of our sports, at least the way they are done, cause a fair amount of PSDED, the whole basic concept is probably positive.) But our whole approach to non-optimal behavior is, in my opinion, far, far from being optimal, and this applies to adults and children. Taking an understanding approach, along with appropriate supervision to the degree indicated, would, in my opinion, produce far better results. I realize I stand almost alone in my non-punitive approach. And I realize that we could not just suddenly change to doing things the way they should be done. It will have to be a gradual process. And it may never happen to any great extent. Overall, I think there has been a slight improvement within our species with regard to this. Child rearing has become slightly less punitive. We are increasingly understanding the importance of understanding children. And even built into our legal system is a recognized necessity to understand, at least a little bit, the person who has done something wrong. The problem is that so much more is needed, without which just stopping punishment can lead to even worse problems.

It should be noted that much of my response above is relevant also to the next set of differences that you have proposed. So I will perhaps be saying more later about this issue of punishment.

- A skeptical minded person always judges everything. You do also realize I hope that all of these statements concern the means of changing the priorities that others other then yourself should hold. To want to change others behaviors in any way involving victimless crimes is to say that you know more about someone else should be doing then they themselves do. In order to hold that view you must judge the behaviors of others as being as you put it "non optimal" and such a view always must hold within it the judgement of others. In order to support what you beleive you must be judging other despite all other statements which state otherwise.

You have called my attention to a very good point, having to do with the term “judge” and related terms, such as “judgmental” and “judgment.” I realize now that there is much room for misunderstanding in what I have been saying for some time. The problem is that there is more than one meaning of the word (and therefore of those related words).

Although there are quite possibly even more meanings to the terms than what I am about to present, I believe that these two meanings help to clarify one of the reasons for our inability to agree on a number of things, and explain why when you, above, say that I do judge, and can’t avoid judging, that does not detract from what I said about being understanding as opposed to judgmental.

(1) We can use “judge” or “judgment” to mean coming to a conclusion regarding the quantity or value of something. We can say that something is optimal or non-optimal, or helpful or not helpful, or heavy or light, etc. When we refer to behavior, we can make the judgment that that behavior is helpful, not helpful, wise, unwise, skilled, unskilled, “rational” or “irrational,” etc. We can make the judgment that an individual is very helpful to others or to the community, or that he or she is harmful to others or the community.

(2) We can use “judge” or “judgment” to refer to whether a person is deserving of punishment/revenge. This is the meaning I have in mind when I talk about people working toward getting closer to the “understanding” end of the continuum from “understanding” to “judgmental.” When someone does something we consider to be wrong, we can either try to understand why that happened and, with that knowledge, work toward helping that person not to make the same mistake again, or we can decide on a way to cause the individual PSDED, thus satisfying our wish for revenge/punishment. Yes, I know that the punishment is supposed to be for the purpose of deterrence, but it is also for the purpose of revenge.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,519
(Continued from previous post)



We do not yet have studies comparing punitive and non-punitive child rearing, because we do not yet have enough people who really believe in and engage in non-punitive child rearing. (I challenge you to find just one person other than me who believes in it.) I am not talking about just not spanking. There are all sorts of ways of punishing that cannot be quantified and studied in good studies, such as non-verbal and verbal communication that deliberately causes the child to suffer (including guilt-invocation, shaming and ridiculing).

Also, I do not believe that just stopping punishing is sufficient. Highly skilled use of reward, teaching, and modeling for identification are necessary also. This will require training for those wishing to engage in child rearing. We are not ready for that yet. We believe that everyone has a right to produce and rear children, until proven otherwise through terrible scenarios.

Punishment, and the wish for revenge, is normal and natural. It was not instilled in us through primitive and outdated tendencies. It is part of our basic animal nature. There is a better way to rear children, but it must be learned and practiced as a complex skill, just like ballroom dancing (as opposed to walking and running).

Compared to other species, we have to mold our children’s behavior to be compatible with a highly unnatural (social) environment, so we, compared to other species, engage in much, much more punishment of our offspring. It is effective in the short term, but can produce enormous problems ultimately. And we just don’t recognize the connection between our extreme tendency to punish and these enormous problems, because we consider both to just be sort of normal (since they have always been with us). We can do far better than we have ever done so far. But we have to realize that fact in order to accomplish doing so.

Empathic child rearing by empathic parents is what will most lead to empathic children. Punishment makes parents and children enemies, and the anger and fear prevents empathy. And punished children try to do to others what has been done to them, multiplying the victimization, as bullied children and young adults suffer and even kill themselves.

-I have personally met people who did not believe in punishment in child rearing. I've been in whole conversations concerning it. There are several people of very liberal mindsets who practice none punishment. It is simply very far from the truth to say that no one else practices non punishment in child rearing. In fact enough people practice none punishment to where it should be very easy to do studies on such things. All of these statements are just contentions of belief standing in total disregard of other evidence. Your only answer to violent seriel killers with normal childhoods is to assert that there must be something missing from their pasts that we dont know about.
Yes, the processes (human interactional processes, especially communicative processes) that cause such problems may be very subtle and difficult to spot and understand unless the family is worked with by someone who understands these processes. Statistical studies would have a hard time identifying the important causes of such problems.
Your fitting evidence around your favorite scenario as opposed to looking at the evidence and gaining a realistic framework. Or at least that is how it seems to me.
I am basing what I say upon years (actually decades) of personal experience in helping parents who are distressed about what is happening to their children, and also upon my observations of the responses to my talking about non-punitive child rearing in other settings. For most people, “non-punitive” quickly gets changed to “non-corporal punishment.” And people change the word “punishment” to the word “discipline,” and they say that to not “discipline” a child is an abrogation of parental responsibility. If you can find a single example of someone advocating a non-punitive approach to child rearing, I would appreciate your letting me know. But you are right that I have not searched for such studies, and if there is indeed evidence against what I believe, I am not aware of it. So I would like to see such evidence.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,520
(Continued from previous post)


My reply:

There have been examples of bad things happening in all branches of medicine (as well as economics, industry, government, etc.). To characterize all doctors or all psychiatrists as being evil is unwarranted.

For more than four decades (and I am only semi-retired) I have tried to help people stop the enormous suffering they have come to me for help with, and I believe that almost all of my psychiatric colleagues have been similarly motivated. And the science upon which our treatment methods are based is supported by enormous amounts of very skilled, peer-reviewed research.

Our problem is not that people are being forced to have treatment, but that treatment, especially adequately intensive treatment, is unavailable to many who need it. But I don’t think I can present enough evidence to clear myself and my colleagues of these charges.

On the other hand, I know that some do have such images of us, and that there have been events and situations that have promoted those images. As time goes on, I believe people will have an increasingly accurate perception of the field. And the field is still young, so we are still learning and re-learning.

-I will only say here that I dont feel that all psychiatrists are evil. I feel that a good deal of good can be done through therapists and am not opposed to the whole field despite how it might sound. I feel very strongly that the field has done far more harm then good overall.
If you have any evidence for this belief, I would like to hear it.
However, the subject is very complex, to much so to spend all afternoon typing explainations.
I believe we can classify beliefs into two categories:

Existential beliefs are beliefs about the way the world is, was, and will be, and about what will happen if we do things. Science helps us develop these beliefs.

Ethical beliefs are beliefs about what I, you, we, and they should or should not do. Religion helps us develop these beliefs.

We do develop both existential and ethical beliefs without science or religion. Science and religion are our efforts to help ourselves to do so.

Your characterization of Humanianity is, I believe, inaccurate. To obtain an accurate idea of it, you should again read the homepage at Humanianity.com.

Humanianity is not really a new religion, but instead is an idealized endpoint of the improvement that all religions are to some extent making as our species becomes increasingly rational. It does not replace other religions, but enhances them. It is a personal religion, one that a Christian, Jew, Islamist, Unitarian-Universalist, agnostic, and atheist can have.

To be Humanian is simply to be committed to the Humanian ultimate ethical principle, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and this little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future. There are many approaches to the implementation of that ultimate ethical principle, and many different ideas as to how to do so.

We as a species are still, indeed, just a toddler, compared to how we will be in the far future, if we are fortunate and can meet the challenges ahead of us. Our current religions reflect who we are and where we are in our development.

- I will simply say that any ethics which state what someone else should do as pertains to positive action is deeply immoral and arrogant.
Did you just engage in a deeply immoral and arrogant act? Did you say that others should not state their opinions about what others should and should not do?
I will also say that in no does religion in any form make humanity more rational. The exact opposite is the case and has always been so.
But I did not say that it did. I believe that religion should become more rational.
If religion were causing humanity to be more rational it would be called science and we would have no religion. Ethics are personal if they are good ethics. They will guide you in how you should act. They will NOT concern themselves with the actions of others.
See you are using a different definition of “ethics” than I do. You can review what I have written about it (about ethical and existential beliefs).

Actually, I believe that we should all try to make ourselves and each other happy, and the more that we attempt to do this, the better off we will be.

We all have a sphere of influence, namely, all of those people upon whom we have some effect or influence. Using this metaphor, the closer a person is to the center of one's sphere of influence, the more influence one has on that person. One's spouse or child would be very close to the center, whereas a store clerk that one interacts with would be at some distance from the center. There are people upon whom one will have no influence or effect, but it is very hard to know how far out from oneself one's sphere of influence extends. The closer a person is to the center of one's sphere of influence, the more important the care and treatment of that person is (because of the greater impact, by definition). The exact center is oneself, and one has maximal responsibility for taking care of oneself and developing oneself, so that one is indeed capable of making the world as good a place as possible within his or her sphere of influence.

This concept of a sphere of influence is in no way new.
And I did not say otherwise. I think it is a good concept.
The same thing is covered in a more detailed way in Dianetics and Scientology.
I don’t subscribe to those belief systems.
The need to place a religious framework on top of other current religions is also a method of scientology. Everyone else wants to step up and lead everyone else into the right way of behaving. Cant we all just leave each other alone. Cant we be humble in the face of existence?
I am thankful that we have advocacy from people who believe they have something to offer. I believe we humans exist, and have whatever good life we may be able to have, only by virtue of our working cooperatively with each other, and this cooperative work includes sharing with each other any ideas as to how we can make life better for our species. We are still young as a species, and rather primitive ethically. We need much, much improvement with regard to our approach to ethics. This will include a drastic change in our child rearing methods, since the ethical sense (the motivation that is produced by the activation of ethical beliefs) is generated primarily early in life through the interactions between parent and child. Currently, we create, out of infants, human adults that are saints, monsters, and all in between, and much PSDED is thereby caused by our non-optimal child rearing methods. We can do better than that. And I want to share my ideas about this with all who will listen.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 81
*I don’t believe I have ever said otherwise. I don’t believe we ever have a complete explanation. But we can have enough of an explanation for some particular purpose, for instance, for the purpose of making a decision. All of our knowledge is probabilistic. We are always playing the odds.
I didnt intend to put words in your mouth or label you as saying something you didnt. I however dont think that this statement is a universal statement or that it is applicable to all people. Everyone is different. Looking into a persons past can in some occasions provide us with insights into how they are. Sometimes it provides us with none. Even if it does provide us with some explanations all we are doing is assuming we know more then we do. Knowledge pertaining to another person is especially probablistic in comparison to the knowledge of the physics of the world. Human behavior cannot be quantified by looking at people as a series of influences, people must be looked at as wholes and ends in themselves. Out of all of the schools of psychology the overall assertions of Gestalt psychology ring the most true to me. The whole is greater then the sum of its parts. People must be viewed as whole entities when talking about behavior, its a completely unfair position to consider them as the victims of punishment, the harbingers of revenge, the products of childhood, or entities whose behavior must be modified. The most prevalent problem with psychology's influence is the concept that behaviors in and of themselves could possibly be deseases. Diseases are treated through medicine. If a person has a mental illness it should be approached as a brain disorder. That is scientific. To call a certain behavior a disease is to tell a person that you are in an enlightened position that should permit you the authority to modify who and what they are. Skinner, in my opinion, was an evil man.
*I don’t know what your definition of an “expert” is, but I believe that in any given field of knowledge there is variability with regard to how knowledgeable people are, and that some are wiser than others in a particular area because of their life experience relevant to that particular area. Seeking knowledge from others who probably know more is a very common and valued experience.
You have already previously stated that you didnt understand what I meant by expert and I defined that for you. When it comes to the behaviors of others for the most part we can all call ourselves for the most part ignorant. I have a problem (and I'm not saying you do this yourself) with psychologists and psychiatrists who want to act like they are authorities on how people should be behaving. Your average person is as much of a source of knowledge of others actions as the most schooled of the psychologists. A street dealer probably knows more about how average people behave then Freud ever did.
*(2) We can use “judge” or “judgment” to refer to whether a person is deserving of punishment/revenge. This is the meaning I have in mind when I talk about people working toward getting closer to the “understanding” end of the continuum from “understanding” to “judgmental.” When someone does something we consider to be wrong, we can either try to understand why that happened and, with that knowledge, work toward helping that person not to make the same mistake again, or we can decide on a way to cause the individual PSDED, thus satisfying our wish for revenge/punishment. Yes, I know that the punishment is supposed to be for the purpose of deterrence, but it is also for the purpose of revenge.
I accept your distinction on the manner by which judgement can be used in both ways. I assert again and quite forcibly that almost none of us want criminals punished because we have a desire for revenge and punishment. This statement is against what I believe because it involves trying to find rotten presumptions about concepts in a persons beliefs or flaws in their characters which if corrected can be used to mold that person into a better individual who wont want to cause others pain. It comes from the assumption that a person would want to change, and often times people dont. Sadists derive real pleasure from the pain of others. People who want to cause others what you refer to as PSDED arent going to want to change and therefore they wont. This yet again is a problem of will. Change happens in a person because a person wills it to or because of subconcious modifications which happen because of experiences. Changes are not programmed into a person by others, and all of the behavior modifications that a person can dream up in their mind will not be sufficient to change the perspective of a someone who is happy with who they are and their own inclinations, even if authrities want them to change. Peoples actions are absolutes, their thoughts dont matter. Only in the rhelm of morality does punishment or deterence come into play, thoughts are not the issue because we cant know the thoughts of someone else.
* Yes, the processes (human interactional processes, especially communicative processes) that cause such problems may be very subtle and difficult to spot and understand unless the family is worked with by someone who understands these processes. Statistical studies would have a hard time identifying the important causes of such problems.
Someone who understands these processes? No one understands these processess. You place this someone in a position of authority whereby they should be allowed to tell others how to raise their own children, and then turn right around and say that -statistical studies would have a hard time identifying the important causes of such problems-. So your speaking of someone who understands processes of human development, but understands them in such a way whereby statistics and studies are never looked at. This is the exact opposite of a reasonable approach. I think that if someone wants to tell others how to raise their children, and if they make assertions on the negative outcomes of punishment, they should point to more then just assertions.
*I am basing what I say upon years (actually decades) of personal experience in helping parents who are distressed about what is happening to their children, and also upon my observations of the responses to my talking about non-punitive child rearing in other settings. For most people, “non-punitive” quickly gets changed to “non-corporal punishment.” And people change the word “punishment” to the word “discipline,” and they say that to not “discipline” a child is an abrogation of parental responsibility. If you can find a single example of someone advocating a non-punitive approach to child rearing, I would appreciate your letting me know. But you are right that I have not searched for such studies, and if there is indeed evidence against what I believe, I am not aware of it. So I would like to see such evidence.
I am an atheist. A christian could very well make the assertion that their belief in a God is rooted in the personal experience of helping others by asserting Gods existence and watching their reactions and how such a belief improves their life. Lifes improvement based off of comforting words does not make those words true. You yourself didnt raise those children did you? Shouldnt you be searching for contradictory evidence before asserting these claims. I would point you in the direction of Martin Seligmans book authentic happiness.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 82
He covers this subject in his book. He claims that literally hundreds of studies completely contradict your assertions. I'm not going to look to find these hundreds of studies, but if you want this information you could pick through the book and he mentions these findings in the section on child rearing. Even if he did not, I would find it completely inconceivable that if the behaviorists had convincing evidence that non punishment led to good results that they wouldnt have been head over heels to publicise the results. It isnt me who should provide evidence, you technically should be the one because your the one making an assertion which states we should change the status quo. OK. Based off of what evidence? Based only off of the fact that talking to parents about non punishment makes them feel fulfilled or in some cases actually leads to good results? Its a truism that people most of the time will believe what makes them feel good and not what is actually true.
*If you have any evidence for this belief, I would like to hear it.
This concerns psychiatry doing more harm then good. How about the fact that when psychiatry has been in the wrong they have disabled people to the point where they can no longer function as a person. That lobotamies have led to people being brain dead. (which is practically dead) That they have consistently broken the hypocratic oath by prescribing medications that turn people into zombies and addicts, or that they have electroshocked people into a stupor. If someone goes to a psychologist and comes away feeling good about their life and condition that is a sure victory. If someone goes to a psychiatrist and they have portions of their brains cut out, or they are locked away and not permitted to leave the psychiatric hospital how much more damaging is that then someone who comes away feeling better? A person can feel better for a day, a person in confinement is never happy in prison. A person helped in therapy comes away functioning better, a person overmedicated or lobotomised never functions correctly again. These illustrations should be obvious. Psychiatrists can be of use, but the harm done is far more prevalent then the good.
*Did you just engage in a deeply immoral and arrogant act? Did you say that others should not state their opinions about what others should and should not do?
No I didnt. I said positive action should never be dictated to someone else. By positive actions I mean a persons conduct as pertains to their own decisions concerning their lives. The ultimate immoral action is to force yourself on someone else or get pushy with someone else. To tell someone else what their conduct ought to be is an arrogant assertion. I am not the person in this discussion trying to change others conduct. I want people to get out of each others way. I want people to decide their own conduct, in cases where they dont interfere with others freedom.
*But I did not say that it did. I believe that religion should become more rational.
Religion is not a rational thing. It cant be. Religion is about comfort, its not about facts. Its about personal conduct, not observations concerning how the universe operates. Rational concerns being able to make predictions on the laws of nature which either lead to more understanding or that allows you to more effectively survive. That is never what religion centers around.
*I am thankful that we have advocacy from people who believe they have something to offer. I believe we humans exist, and have whatever good life we may be able to have, only by virtue of our working cooperatively with each other, and this cooperative work includes sharing with each other any ideas as to how we can make life better for our species. We are still young as a species, and rather primitive ethically. We need much, much improvement with regard to our approach to ethics. This will include a drastic change in our child rearing methods, since the ethical sense (the motivation that is produced by the activation of ethical beliefs) is generated primarily early in life through the interactions between parent and child. Currently, we create, out of infants, human adults that are saints, monsters, and all in between, and much PSDED is thereby caused by our non-optimal child rearing methods. We can do better than that. And I want to share my ideas about this with all who will listen.
There is so much to say about this closer that i dont know where to start. Your wrong. I am certain of this. When a person is wrong about something then they are wrong about something, and I very strongly believe that you are wrong. First of all, what does the age of the species have to do with anything? Tyrannosaurus Rex was around much longer as a species, however, I dont think that it at any point developed a strong ethical sense. The longevity of our species has nothing to do with assertions pertaining to conduct. We are not primitive ethically, because ethics are personal. Some people may be, other people arent. People dont share the same ethics. They shouldnt share the same ethics and as long as no one forces themselves onto others there is nothing wrong with an individuals ethical system. A persons ethical sense is not primariily given to them in childhood, but decided by them in adulthood. We do not "generate" human adults out of infants, the evidence shows that people who cause suffering to others are usually born with this innate wish regardless of childhood punishment (this I know neurologists have found evidence for), and there is no strong ties between child rearing methods and adult psychopaths. My father was punished by an alcoholic grandfather, he was never violent. Ted Bundy was raised in a loving home and killed woman brutally. My brother and me were raised in the same home with very similar experiences, yet we have completely and totally different interests. Your ignoring all of my examples and asserting your beliefs on child rearing based only off of what you want to believe regardless of all else. What do you say about these examples? What explains a child who doesnt punish his children when his father punished him? Or a serial killer who grew up in a happy loving family? You should have good ground to stand on before you start in with telling other parents how they should ethically raise their children.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,521
Vincent,
I don’t believe I have ever said otherwise. I don’t believe we ever have a complete explanation. But we can have enough of an explanation for some particular purpose, for instance, for the purpose of making a decision. All of our knowledge is probabilistic. We are always playing the odds.
I didnt intend to put words in your mouth or label you as saying something you didnt. I however dont think that this statement is a universal statement or that it is applicable to all people. Everyone is different.
Agreed.
­ Looking into a persons past can in some occasions provide us with insights into how they are. Sometimes it provides us with none. Even if it does provide us with some explanations all we are doing is assuming we know more then we do.
I don’t know why you say this.
Knowledge pertaining to another person is especially probablistic in comparison to the knowledge of the physics of the world.
Agreed.
Human behavior cannot be quantified by looking at people as a series of influences, people must be looked at as wholes and ends in themselves.
Now you are getting into complex philosophical and semantic issues.
Out of all of the schools of psychology the overall assertions of Gestalt psychology ring the most true to me. The whole is greater then the sum of its parts. People must be viewed as whole entities when talking about behavior, its a completely unfair position to consider them as the victims of punishment, the harbingers of revenge, the products of childhood, or entities whose behavior must be modified.
What if it is so? I think the evidence is strongly in favor of those statements, except that you would always have to add “among other things.”
The most prevalent problem with psychology's influence is the concept that behaviors in and of themselves could possibly be deseases.
Who asserts this??
Diseases are treated through medicine. If a person has a mental illness it should be approached as a brain disorder.
Agreed.
That is scientific.
Agreed.
To call a certain behavior a disease is to tell a person that you are in an enlightened position that should permit you the authority to modify who and what they are.
If a person repeatedly engages in behavior that causes himself and/or others PSDED, the odds are high that he or she has a mental illness. The behavior is not the illness; it is a manifestation of it.
Skinner, in my opinion, was an evil man.
I think he tried to make a contribution to the effort to understand ourselves better so that we can make our lives better. None of us get it all right (except perhaps for me).

I don’t know what your definition of an “expert” is, but I believe that in any given field of knowledge there is variability with regard to how knowledgeable people are, and that some are wiser than others in a particular area because of their life experience relevant to that particular area. Seeking knowledge from others who probably know more is a very common and valued experience.
You have already previously stated that you didnt understand what I meant by expert and I defined that for you. When it comes to the behaviors of others for the most part we can all call ourselves for the most part ignorant.
I think we fall on the bell-shaped curve.
I have a problem (and I'm not saying you do this yourself) with psychologists and psychiatrists who want to act like they are authorities on how people should be behaving.
You have quite a striking image of such people.
Your average person is as much of a source of knowledge of others actions as the most schooled of the psychologists.
I wonder how one would demonstrate this to be so.
A street dealer probably knows more about how average people behave then Freud ever did.
They have different expertises, based upon different life experience.

(2) We can use “judge” or “judgment” to refer to whether a person is deserving of punishment/revenge. This is the meaning I have in mind when I talk about people working toward getting closer to the “understanding” end of the continuum from “understanding” to “judgmental.” When someone does something we consider to be wrong, we can either try to understand why that happened and, with that knowledge, work toward helping that person not to make the same mistake again, or we can decide on a way to cause the individual PSDED, thus satisfying our wish for revenge/punishment. Yes, I know that the punishment is supposed to be for the purpose of deterrence, but it is also for the purpose of revenge.
I accept your distinction on the manner by which judgement can be used in both ways. I assert again and quite forcibly that almost none of us want criminals punished because we have a desire for revenge and punishment.
And I assert the opposite just as forcibly.
This statement is against what I believe because it involves trying to find rotten presumptions about concepts in a persons beliefs or flaws in their characters which if corrected can be used to mold that person into a better individual who wont want to cause others pain.
I don’t follow that.
It comes from the assumption that a person would want to change, and often times people dont. Sadists derive real pleasure from the pain of others. People who want to cause others what you refer to as PSDED arent going to want to change and therefore they wont. This yet again is a problem of will. Change happens in a person because a person wills it to or because of subconcious modifications which happen because of experiences. Changes are not programmed into a person by others, and all of the behavior modifications that a person can dream up in their mind will not be sufficient to change the perspective of a someone who is happy with who they are and their own inclinations, even if authrities want them to change.
I see many who want to change and have difficulty doing so. And some of them I can help to some extent.
Peoples actions are absolutes, their thoughts dont matter.
I don’t know what you mean by “absolutes.” Our behavior (actions) is determined by our beliefs and our motivational states.
Only in the rhelm of morality does punishment or deterence come into play, thoughts are not the issue because we cant know the thoughts of someone else.
We are telling each other what our thoughts are. And sometimes we can get pretty good at guessing.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,522
(Continued from previous post)


Yes, the processes (human interactional processes, especially communicative processes) that cause such problems may be very subtle and difficult to spot and understand unless the family is worked with by someone who understands these processes. Statistical studies would have a hard time identifying the important causes of such problems.
Someone who understands these processes? No one understands these processess.
No one understands them at all??
You place this someone in a position of authority whereby they should be allowed to tell others how to raise their own children, and then turn right around and say that -statistical studies would have a hard time identifying the important causes of such problems-. So your speaking of someone who understands processes of human development, but understands them in such a way whereby statistics and studies are never looked at. This is the exact opposite of a reasonable approach. I think that if someone wants to tell others how to raise their children, and if they make assertions on the negative outcomes of punishment, they should point to more then just assertions.
I tell people that they should always do what they believe in, what makes sense to them. I also recommend that they look at any of their assumptions with the recognition that there may be better ones, i.e., that they keep an open mind. I notice how frequently you paint the picture of someone “telling others what to do.” I don’t see myself as ever doing that. Is it possible that you have a tendency to view situations as being this way more than they actually are? I don’t see why you consider advocacy to be the same as evilly telling people what to do.

I am basing what I say upon years (actually decades) of personal experience in helping parents who are distressed about what is happening to their children, and also upon my observations of the responses to my talking about non-punitive child rearing in other settings. For most people, “non-punitive” quickly gets changed to “non-corporal punishment.” And people change the word “punishment” to the word “discipline,” and they say that to not “discipline” a child is an abrogation of parental responsibility. If you can find a single example of someone advocating a non-punitive approach to child rearing, I would appreciate your letting me know. But you are right that I have not searched for such studies, and if there is indeed evidence against what I believe, I am not aware of it. So I would like to see such evidence.
I am an atheist. A christian could very well make the assertion that their belief in a God is rooted in the personal experience of helping others by asserting Gods existence and watching their reactions and how such a belief improves their life. Lifes improvement based off of comforting words does not make those words true. You yourself didnt raise those children did you? Shouldnt you be searching for contradictory evidence before asserting these claims. I would point you in the direction of Martin Seligmans book authentic happiness. He covers this subject in his book. He claims that literally hundreds of studies completely contradict your assertions. I'm not going to look to find these hundreds of studies, but if you want this information you could pick through the book and he mentions these findings in the section on child rearing.
If you could give me one example of an assertion of mine and one example of evidence to the contrary, I would appreciated it.
Even if he did not, I would find it completely inconceivable that if the behaviorists had convincing evidence that non punishment led to good results that they wouldnt have been head over heels to publicise the results. It isnt me who should provide evidence, you technically should be the one because your the one making an assertion which states we should change the status quo. OK. Based off of what evidence? Based only off of the fact that talking to parents about non punishment makes them feel fulfilled or in some cases actually leads to good results? Its a truism that people most of the time will believe what makes them feel good and not what is actually true.
True, and most people feel good about punishment being used to inhibit undesirable behavior.

If you have any evidence for this belief, I would like to hear it.
This concerns psychiatry doing more harm then good. How about the fact that when psychiatry has been in the wrong they have disabled people to the point where they can no longer function as a person.
That is true of all branches of medicine.
That lobotamies have led to people being brain dead. (which is practically dead)
That is not the usual result of lobotomy.
That they have consistently broken the hypocratic oath by prescribing medications that turn people into zombies and addicts, or that they have electroshocked people into a stupor. If someone goes to a psychologist and comes away feeling good about their life and condition that is a sure victory. If someone goes to a psychiatrist and they have portions of their brains cut out, or they are locked away and not permitted to leave the psychiatric hospital how much more damaging is that then someone who comes away feeling better?
Do you think that is happening today?
A person can feel better for a day, a person in confinement is never happy in prison. A person helped in therapy comes away functioning better, a person overmedicated or lobotomised never functions correctly again. These illustrations should be obvious. Psychiatrists can be of use, but the harm done is far more prevalent then the good.
I believe you have a highly distorted image of psychiatrists.

Did you just engage in a deeply immoral and arrogant act? Did you say that others should not state their opinions about what others should and should not do?
No I didnt. I said positive action should never be dictated to someone else. By positive actions I mean a persons conduct as pertains to their own decisions concerning their lives.
Yes, that is what we are talking about.
The ultimate immoral action is to force yourself on someone else or get pushy with someone else. To tell someone else what their conduct ought to be is an arrogant assertion. I am not the person in this discussion trying to change others conduct.
You appear to be trying to change mine.
I want people to get out of each others way. I want people to decide their own conduct, in cases where they dont interfere with others freedom.
I want people to share and compare their ideas, and to advocate for what they think will make things better.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,523
(Continued from previous post)


But I did not say that it did. I believe that religion should become more rational.
Religion is not a rational thing. It cant be. Religion is about comfort, its not about facts. Its about personal conduct, not observations concerning how the universe operates.
Now this statement I agree with.
Rational concerns being able to make predictions on the laws of nature which either lead to more understanding or that allows you to more effectively survive.
And have better life. Yes, I agree with this statement.
That is never what religion centers around.
Religion makes use of such knowledge in its efforts to work toward living better, but it tends to stay behind the times. This is getting better, I believe.

I am thankful that we have advocacy from people who believe they have something to offer. I believe we humans exist, and have whatever good life we may be able to have, only by virtue of our working cooperatively with each other, and this cooperative work includes sharing with each other any ideas as to how we can make life better for our species. We are still young as a species, and rather primitive ethically. We need much, much improvement with regard to our approach to ethics. This will include a drastic change in our child rearing methods, since the ethical sense (the motivation that is produced by the activation of ethical beliefs) is generated primarily early in life through the interactions between parent and child. Currently, we create, out of infants, human adults that are saints, monsters, and all in between, and much PSDED is thereby caused by our non-optimal child rearing methods. We can do better than that. And I want to share my ideas about this with all who will listen.
There is so much to say about this closer that i dont know where to start. Your wrong. I am certain of this. When a person is wrong about something then they are wrong about something, and I very strongly believe that you are wrong.
Have you read the book “On Certainty”?
First of all, what does the age of the species have to do with anything? Tyrannosaurus Rex was around much longer as a species, however, I dont think that it at any point developed a strong ethical sense.
I don’t know how social it was, how much of a group animal it was.
The longevity of our species has nothing to do with assertions pertaining to conduct. We are not primitive ethically, because ethics are personal. Some people may be, other people arent. People dont share the same ethics. They shouldnt share the same ethics and as long as no one forces themselves onto others there is nothing wrong with an individuals ethical system. A persons ethical sense is not primariily given to them in childhood, but decided by them in adulthood. We do not "generate" human adults out of infants, the evidence shows that people who cause suffering to others are usually born with this innate wish regardless of childhood punishment (this I know neurologists have found evidence for), and there is no strong ties between child rearing methods and adult psychopaths. My father was punished by an alcoholic grandfather, he was never violent. Ted Bundy was raised in a loving home and killed woman brutally. My brother and me were raised in the same home with very similar experiences, yet we have completely and totally different interests.
What is happening is that you are oversimplifying what I believe. The processes in human interaction and communication are quite complex and sophisticated. I believe your concept of punishment is far more simplistic than mine.
Your ignoring all of my examples and asserting your beliefs on child rearing based only off of what you want to believe regardless of all else. What do you say about these examples? What explains a child who doesnt punish his children when his father punished him?
There are all sorts of adaptations to punishment. And the child has multiple relationships with others who are in complex systems of interaction with each other.
Or a serial killer who grew up in a happy loving family?
You have to look more deeply than that.
You should have good ground to stand on before you start in with telling other parents how they should ethically raise their children.
Again, I don’t tell them how to do so, but instead they and I put our heads together to try to follow certain principles that seem correct to them. You certainly must see me as a controlling person (perhaps even with evil motives), rather than as someone who tries to help. But I know you are not alone. This is a widespread phenomenon. I see it as a widespread presence of anger about having been repeatedly punished, resulting in an anti-authoritarian attitude and a wish to gain “freedom” from any kind of “control.” (I’m not just talking about you, remember.) If you read the chapter on “Rational-Ethical Child Rearing” you will understand more of what I am saying.
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