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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 #: 1,773
Vincent,

Good to see you back!
-We'll Bill, First of all I would like to apologize for my lack of response. Its been a confusing and a hard year, but I have learned a lot. Or at least I think I have. But in the end we can all think that we have learned more then we really have. To answer this statement, I dont see how it is conceivable to hope for such a world and I suppose I could be labeled as quite the negative nelly, but I feel that people for the most part are far too rotten to the core to allow such a state of society to come into existence.
I see us as a species of animal that is in a very unnatural physical and psychosocial environment, and as manifesting the results of that. I also believe we have the capability of coming to an adequate enough understanding of this set of circumstances and of how we function, such as to be able to arrive at a far better way of life than we have ever been able to accomplish so far. But the key lies in understanding, and we have not adequately accomplished that yet. That is the project I am working on.

My current belief concerning the problem is that we are all really sort of modern day Cavemen, with the structures of society attempting to keep in check our basic instinctual urges and drives.
Yes, I agree, but I believe the situation is more complex than that, as I have indicated above.

I think that if there were some way whereby people could be more in touch with their true instinctual natures and to be able to execute their deepest urgest most people would be a lot happier.
I don't have the same view. It is not the execution of our deepest urges that leads to happiness, but instead the optimization of our behavior such as to produce outcomes that make us happier, that would make us a lot happier. And the optimization of our behavior means doing a better job of understanding and thereby supervising our basic animal nature. We can rear a puppy to become an affectionate dog or a vicious dog, and we can do the same with regard to our own offspring. Vicious humans create much PSDED. And viciousness is a matter of degree.

Some of these deeper urges of course involve killing and assaulting other people and how in the world would a society allow individuals to do such things and stay afloat?
These deeper urges are in response to things that happen, and we have an ability to determine, to some extent, what things will happen. So the answer is not that of allowing us to engage in those behaviors, but instead that of acquiring the capability of markedly diminishing those “deeper urges.”

I have no idea and I certainly dont think that such a society can work.
You are right.

I do feel as of right now that if people were allowed to use reason to navigate them to fulfill their inner most urges without guilt or restraint (which is hammered home by tradtions and religions) you would probably have the least amount of PSDED.
If I understand you correctly, I could not come to the same opinion, as noted above.

Your welcomed to see contradictions in this view if you want. It is easy to poke holes in because I myself can see how weak it is in a way, but I will readily admit that its a half formed idea. Its where my thought is leading, its not the end result of my still evolving views.
I so much wish that you would read my Book1, which would provide alternatives to your current way of thinking.

-I completely agree with you concerning words. Its often times very important to get down to specifics on what another person means. Sometimes asking another person to elaborate further on the words they use can point out to the person flaws in their own way of thinking. Especially certain words like love, faith, technology, happiness.....are very fuzzy and are hard to define for anyone. I feel like you are assuming in the second paragraph though that things like me thinking you are obsessed, fixated and misguided somehow excludes the possiblity that you are ALSO conscientious, dedicated and reasonable. I think you are all those things, I see no contradiction except that the first three words have negative connotations and the last three sound more positive. I think your all the positives and the negatives and a lot of what your taking as nagatives (such as obsessed and misguided) I dont feel are negative. Obsessions are things all men of achievement have and to be misguided is something that everyone is at one point or another. I think it is perfectly possible to be both reasonable and misguided. Reasonable to me means assesing facts and using data realistically. Many people can do that and still come away with the wrong conclusions.
The connotations of “obsessed,” “fixated,” and “misguided” customarily have to do with dysfunction.
(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,774
(Continued from previous post)
-I think were just using words in different ways here. I dont use free will in the sense of a metaphysical view outside of the laws of nature. I mean that a person's inner drive to achieve an outcome should be ascribed to them as a individual entity. The "will" to initiate an action is not a will that exists outside of the laws of nature. In the most basic way possible I would say that my definition of free will is when someone "feels" that the actions they execute are in their control. To me free will is kind of a sense of wholeness and integration in action. To me I dont use the term in a supernatural way that steps it outside the bounds of nature. Your view is more in line probably with the way most people understand the term. However, I feel that it is a term that needs to be updated because what people meant back when about the individuals right to make a personal choice was just a more ignorant description of what we now understand far better.
Interestingly, I think you will find that my view is very close to yours. You would find this out if you read Book3 [For Everyone: The Mind-Body Problem (and Free will Versus Determinism): The Most Important Philosophical Problem].

- It is true that religion has played this role far more extensively then philosophy. I think that that is because religion is infinitely easier to understand in all its forms as oppossed to a Neitzsche, Descartes, Spinoza or even someone as mediocre as Ayn Rand. I dont see anything to improve in religion. To me its just one big mess and I dont really feel that people should instead become invested in philosophy. I dont remember if I wrote they should (my thoughts change over time and its been a while since I wrote) but I dont think that people are not always bright enough or more accurately PATIENT enough to understand what most influencial philosophers have said. Most people are apathetic and lazy. They are seekers of truth. I also think that in some areas, such as morals in particular, that neuroscience and evolutionary biology are going to provide far better answers as to why we should behave in certain ways then philosophy will. Although in a great many areas philosophy will still have its place.
The sciences help us attain accurate existential beliefs, but the primary function of our religions should be to help us develop our ethical beliefs. Religion and Science should be handmaidens.

- I'm afraid that we have hit on an area here where we do not see eye to eye. I believe the first half of your statement. Science does help us understand the way the world is. However, I certainly dont believe that religion helps us to understand morals or is the basis of morals. I feel that morals are evolutionarily wired into us from a sort of social evoluiton. The seeds of morals reside in the brain and were there long before religion simply codified them. I think that morals are a combination of social evolution in societies institutions (religion being one of several) and the result of inborn hardwired feelings of empathy. This is one of the reasons I dont agree with Ayn Rand saying that altruism is the source of destruction in the world. I'm not an altruist, but I dont think that altruism is first and foremost a behavior tied into philosophy. I think that altruism is probably an evolutionary throwback to when we lived in hunter gatherer societies. Just the same as society provides humanity with a series of hoops to jump through to fulfil instinctive urges altruism is an outdated behavior from hunter gatherer days. When currency came into development it undermined hunter gatherer societies for a more individualized society, but our emotions were stuck back in time apart from the developments of society.
Again, I wish you were able to get a real clear understanding of my beliefs about this, which are probably not much different than yours. Book1 would provide that.

- I think you have a misguided and confused position on punishment and revenge. These two words to me dont even go together. Revenge is personal and society's punishement of lawbreakers doesnt involve revenge. WE dont want revenge. SOCIETY doesnt do anything. There is no OUR here. This is not something that society chose to do. The punishment of lawbreakers concerns a series of actions different people have come up with to keep order. The people who came up with these laws were not seeking revenge. The laws apply to situations all over the country they have no emotional investment in. I dont see how the word revenge can be batted around when the person executing revenge/punishment has no investment in outcomes concerning situations he knows nothing about.
Punishment is a procedure. Revenge is a motivation. The procedure of punishment is justified according to the belief that it will prevent further non-optimal behavior. Revenge is the wish to induce PSDED in an individual or group, and is a manifestation of anger. Revenge is very often one of the motivations leading to punishment. We do not believe in being nice to the criminals we quarantine. But this is a big topic.

- I decided not to cover the rest because it just seemed to be more disagreement over the use of words. I might come to the meeting tommorow, I'm not sure. Ever since Maddy left I kind of stopped going. School is almost done and I would like to sit in on another one. I'll just have to see how things play out. Like I said before, this has been a really hard year, but a very educational one as well. I am looking forward with hope to a more active and engaging upcoming year. (provided that the world doesnt end soon)
:)
Missed you at the meeting.

The (free) books I mentioned are at HomoRationalis.com.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 103
*I see us as a species of animal that is in a very unnatural physical and psychosocial environment, and as manifesting the results of that. I also believe we have the capability of coming to an adequate enough understanding of this set of circumstances and of how we function, such as to be able to arrive at a far better way of life than we have ever been able to accomplish so far. But the key lies in understanding, and we have not adequately accomplished that yet. That is the project I am working on.
- I think we agree here. Were both of the opinion that we are designed for an environment and lifestyle far different from the one we inhabit. Technology advanced and for the most part peoples minds and instincts lag behind advancement.
*Yes, I agree, but I believe the situation is more complex than that, as I have indicated above.
-I'm sure your right. The situation is probably more complex but I'm sort of just using broad strokes to paint a picture.
*I don't have the same view. It is not the execution of our deepest urges that leads to happiness, but instead the optimization of our behavior such as to produce outcomes that make us happier, that would make us a lot happier. And the optimization of our behavior means doing a better job of understanding and thereby supervising our basic animal nature. We can rear a puppy to become an affectionate dog or a vicious dog, and we can do the same with regard to our own offspring. Vicious humans create much PSDED. And viciousness is a matter of degree.
-I think here we run into a slight divergence of view. The optomization of our behavior to produce outcomes......which are what outcomes? I see what you mean I think, its like a consequentialist view which states that outcomes are more important then where you start. Its saying that the means justify the ends. In this view we are both in agreement (if I understand the view correctly). I think that here we are pretty much in agreement, but I wouldnt put it in terms of supervising our animal natures. I think that people should be able to find ways of unleashing their animal natures through the mediation of reason. To put it a different way, I think that people have urges which are their instincts. Everyone is looking to have sex for instance. Now, we cant go out and just start raping people. So culture/society evolved rules (I would assume that took place largely after the agricultural revolution) which makes us jump through indirect hoops to arrive at the fulfillment of inner needs and urges. I think that our urges have predominance over our reasoning (partly because the structures of the lymbic system and emotional systems are far older then the prefrontal cortex) but we cant fulfill these instincts directly so we have to find round about ways of doing it. I think that a lot of soceity's problems revolves around suppresing instinctive urges in people and placing guilt upon them which leads to frustration. I am highly critical of the idea that rearing people differently will necessarily fix the problem however.
*These deeper urges are in response to things that happen, and we have an ability to determine, to some extent, what things will happen. So the answer is not that of allowing us to engage in those behaviors, but instead that of acquiring the capability of markedly diminishing those “deeper urges.”
-I disagree. If we are going to focus on markedly diminish behaviors why not focus on trying to turn homosexuals straight? It sounds to me like a need to "normalize" urges that are not of the norm. I dont think our urges our the problem. I think that the problem is too much normalization in the first place.
The connotations of “obsessed,” “fixated,” and “misguided” customarily have to do with dysfunction.
-That is not the way I'm using them.
*The sciences help us attain accurate existential beliefs, but the primary function of our religions should be to help us develop our ethical beliefs. Religion and Science should be handmaidens.
- Our views are also clearly different here as well. Religion and science have very little in common. Science deals with observations and conclusions based off of them. Religion deals with answers lacking evidence. The views are in complete contradiction. I dont think that religion has ever helped with ethical beliefs. These beliefs are the product of social evolution and brain evolution. Religion takes credit for what the evolution of society brought about.
*Punishment is a procedure. Revenge is a motivation. The procedure of punishment is justified according to the belief that it will prevent further non-optimal behavior. Revenge is the wish to induce PSDED in an individual or group, and is a manifestation of anger. Revenge is very often one of the motivations leading to punishment. We do not believe in being nice to the criminals we quarantine. But this is a big topic.
-I think that you define punishment and revenge accurately, but that you make a leap when you say that revenge is a motivation that leads to punishment. Your right until you say that. Revenge is never (or very very rarely) the motivation for punishing criminals in society. Society punishes people apart from feelings of revenge.
*Missed you at the meeting.
-I got there super late and the door said closed. So I was effectively locked out because I couldnt get there in time. So I flirted with the girl outside, went and had a couple of drinks at the hookah bar and then drove back home. Next time I'll get there earlier. With my luck it was probably the best philosophy meeting ever.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,776
I see us as a species of animal that is in a very unnatural physical and psychosocial environment, and as manifesting the results of that. I also believe we have the capability of coming to an adequate enough understanding of this set of circumstances and of how we function, such as to be able to arrive at a far better way of life than we have ever been able to accomplish so far. But the key lies in understanding, and we have not adequately accomplished that yet. That is the project I am working on.

I think we agree here. Were both of the opinion that we are designed for an environment and lifestyle far different from the one we inhabit. Technology advanced and for the most part peoples minds and instincts lag behind advancement.
I’m not talking about technology. I’m talking about all those things that children need to learn to become “socialized.” I’m talking about proper speech, taking turns, being quiet, learning schoolwork, covering oneself, not touching certain things, etc., etc. Think of all the things parents are always getting after their children about, telling them to stop, and all the things children need to learn to do, whether they want to or not.

I don't have the same view. It is not the execution of our deepest urges that leads to happiness, but instead the optimization of our behavior such as to produce outcomes that make us happier, that would make us a lot happier. And the optimization of our behavior means doing a better job of understanding and thereby supervising our basic animal nature. We can rear a puppy to become an affectionate dog or a vicious dog, and we can do the same with regard to our own offspring. Vicious humans create much PSDED. And viciousness is a matter of degree.
I think here we run into a slight divergence of view. The optomization of our behavior to produce outcomes......which are what outcomes?
An increase in joy, contentment, and appreciation, and a decrease in pain, suffering, disability, and early death, for everyone, now and in the future.

I see what you mean I think, its like a consequentialist view which states that outcomes are more important then where you start. Its saying that the means justify the ends. In this view we are both in agreement (if I understand the view correctly). I think that here we are pretty much in agreement, but I wouldnt put it in terms of supervising our animal natures. I think that people should be able to find ways of unleashing their animal natures through the mediation of reason.
Unleashing their animal natures through the mediation of reason is indeed supervision of their animal natures. That’s what I mean.

To put it a different way, I think that people have urges which are their instincts. Everyone is looking to have sex for instance. Now, we cant go out and just start raping people. So culture/society evolved rules (I would assume that took place largely after the agricultural revolution) which makes us jump through indirect hoops to arrive at the fulfillment of inner needs and urges.
Yes, we supervise the fulfillment of those urges, making sure the fulfillment is done properly.

I think that our urges have predominance over our reasoning (partly because the structures of the lymbic system and emotional systems are far older then the prefrontal cortex) but we cant fulfill these instincts directly so we have to find round about ways of doing it.
The process of supervision.

I think that a lot of soceity's problems revolves around suppresing instinctive urges in people and placing guilt upon them which leads to frustration.
There are better ways.

I am highly critical of the idea that rearing people differently will necessarily fix the problem however.
But have you actually explored rational-ethical child rearing? If you have not explored it and do not know what it consists of, how can you form an opinion that carries any weight for you?

These deeper urges are in response to things that happen, and we have an ability to determine, to some extent, what things will happen. So the answer is not that of allowing us to engage in those behaviors, but instead that of acquiring the capability of markedly diminishing those “deeper urges.”

I disagree. If we are going to focus on markedly diminish behaviors why not focus on trying to turn homosexuals straight?
Because it doesn’t make sense, and causes PSDED. Why would we want to anyway?

It sounds to me like a need to "normalize" urges that are not of the norm. I dont think our urges our the problem. I think that the problem is too much normalization in the first place.
I don’t understand.

The connotations of “obsessed,” “fixated,” and “misguided” customarily have to do with dysfunction.
That is not the way I'm using them.
Not clear how you are, then.

The sciences help us attain accurate existential beliefs, but the primary function of our religions should be to help us develop our ethical beliefs. Religion and Science should be handmaidens.
Our views are also clearly different here as well. Religion and science have very little in common. Science deals with observations and conclusions based off of them. Religion deals with answers lacking evidence. The views are in complete contradiction.
Because we are using the term “Religion” differently.

I dont think that religion has ever helped with ethical beliefs.
People look to church to learn how to live right (among other things, of course).

These beliefs are the product of social evolution and brain evolution. Religion takes credit for what the evolution of society brought about.
I don’t know what you mean.

Punishment is a procedure. Revenge is a motivation. The procedure of punishment is justified according to the belief that it will prevent further non-optimal behavior. Revenge is the wish to induce PSDED in an individual or group, and is a manifestation of anger. Revenge is very often one of the motivations leading to punishment. We do not believe in being nice to the criminals we quarantine. But this is a big topic.
I think that you define punishment and revenge accurately, but that you make a leap when you say that revenge is a motivation that leads to punishment. Your right until you say that. Revenge is never (or very very rarely) the motivation for punishing criminals in society. Society punishes people apart from feelings of revenge.
I agree other rationales are present, but so is revenge. We don’t believe in just providing rehab. People who commit crimes must be made to suffer. Why?

Missed you at the meeting.
I got there super late and the door said closed. So I was effectively locked out because I couldnt get there in time. So I flirted with the girl outside, went and had a couple of drinks at the hookah bar and then drove back home. Next time I'll get there earlier. With my luck it was probably the best philosophy meeting ever.
Oh gosh! If only you had opened the door, or even knocked.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 104
I’m not talking about technology. I’m talking about all those things that children need to learn to become “socialized.” I’m talking about proper speech, taking turns, being quiet, learning schoolwork, covering oneself, not touching certain things, etc., etc. Think of all the things parents are always getting after their children about, telling them to stop, and all the things children need to learn to do, whether they want to or not.

- I imagine a lot of the things you speak of are innate. Not all of them, (learning schoolwork, not touching certain things) but a great deal of what parents teach their children I feel has a genetic basis. Even Apes have social orders in the ways they behave around each other. Young children before roughly the age of four dont have these behaviors because they dont understand the theory of other minds. Young children are just like psychopaths, they are selfish and superficially charming, but they dont comprehend that others see the world differently then they do. However, almost all children develop a theory of other minds around the age of four (unless their suffering from Asperger's syndrome) and this seems to indicate to me that there is a genetic basis for a lot of our morality and our social behavior. It switches on at around the age of four. That is also why I tend to deviate from your view that religions give people their morality. I dont think religions give people morality, religions take credit for a morality that evolved through societies which learned that some behaviors lead to thriving and others to extinction. Where behaviors led to some groups surviving, those behaviors (such as people not murdering each other and stealing from one another) were adopted. They were embeded into us through years of social evolution. Some people's brains are not working properly and they dont have empathy. This is a neurological defect. Some people can get knocked on the head in a certain area and become religious when they were atheists. The same phenomenon can occur the other way around. To me this shows that a lot of what you speak of is innate within us and not a result of upbringing. However, since all children are raised by their parents with these rules, then I dont know how we could determine if you were more right or I was.

Unleashing their animal natures through the mediation of reason is indeed supervision of their animal natures. That’s what I mean.

-Then indeed we seem to see the problem as arising from the same place.

But have you actually explored rational-ethical child rearing? If you have not explored it and do not know what it consists of, how can you form an opinion that carries any weight for you?

-The idea sounds dubious to me. I can form a very flimsy opinion based off of what I know, but your right I cant justifiably argue that opinion until I have open mindedly assessed your point of view. My opinion of your stance on the issue would hold no weight as of right now. I can only say that I dont think that an overhaul and reassesment of how were raising our children is going to change anything. This point of view is opened to changing with more information. Its not set in stone.

Because it doesn’t make sense, and causes PSDED. Why would we want to anyway?

-(This concerns turning homosexuals straight.) Your right, it doesnt cause PSDED and I hope we wouldnt want to. I brought it up because you just stated "So the answer is not that of allowing us to engage in those behaviors, but instead that of acquiring the capability of markedly diminishing those “deeper urges.” I dont agree that we should markedly diminish those deeper urges. If someone is homosexual then that is a need to fulfill a deeper uruge, an instinct. We shouldnt want to deminish any of our instincts at all, unless as you said they cause PSDED. However, I would argue that we shouldnt try to diminish them in those cases either, if there is a way to channel those instincts through other means. To redirect but not to diminish. To me diminishing instincts sounds a lot like emotional suppression. A great example of emotional suppresion being looked on as an ideal is Ayn Rand's Objectivist movement. When it comes to emotions and instincts Neitsche was far closer to the right view I think.

People look to church to learn how to live right (among other things, of course).

-I disagree. We know morality from our hearts not from a religion. Religion has been a vehicle for some of the most immoral behavior and not because religion was used wrong. Immorality is prevalent in the bible.

I agree other rationales are present, but so is revenge. We don’t believe in just providing rehab. People who commit crimes must be made to suffer. Why?

- I think you see a problem that is not so much there. I think environmentalists are often the same way. People are punished for different "crimes". Sometimes crimes aren't bad at all, sometimes its the laws that are the problem. I feel this way about ever drug law on the books. To be fair though, if we look at the individual case of the death penalty I can see that as a case of a law put in place solely for revenge purposes, or at least for the most part. Any time you talk about the death penalty with someone eventually that person always seems to say "Are you trying to say if some murdered your (fill in the blank), you wouldnt want that person to die to? They usually also argue that that person "has no right to live." Apparently we think its alright for us to decide if someone dies but its an unforgivable act when someone else decides someone should die. We are awfully selective on who we feel should be allowed to murder other people in our society. But the death penalty is the only example I can think of where revenge is the primary motive. I dont think most laws are eye for an eye.

Oh gosh! If only you had opened the door, or even knocked.

-I was ridiculously late. I was like twenty five or thirty minutes late. I wouldnt have even known what anyone was talking about and then the whole meeting would have had to have stopped to get me up to speed.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,778
Vincent,
I’m not talking about technology. I’m talking about all those things that children need to learn to become “socialized.” I’m talking about proper speech, taking turns, being quiet, learning schoolwork, covering oneself, not touching certain things, etc., etc. Think of all the things parents are always getting after their children about, telling them to stop, and all the things children need to learn to do, whether they want to or not.

I imagine a lot of the things you speak of are innate. Not all of them, (learning schoolwork, not touching certain things) but a great deal of what parents teach their children I feel has a genetic basis. Even Apes have social orders in the ways they behave around each other.
I think there is significant, basic communication breakdown here. Watch any parent with his or her kids, especially younger ones, and you will see them fairly continuously stopping their children from doing certain things and trying to get their children to do certain other things. You don't see any such thing with chimpanzees. You see little indicators of social control and even instruction, but nothing at all like is true for humans. Much of that control, of course, is not brought about through punishment or threat of punishment, but much of it is, and in some child-rearing situations, it is quite prominent. In my office, I have seen it occur almost every minute or two. And I am not referring just to formal punishment (spanking, standing in the corner, taking something away, grounding, etc.), but also informal punishment, the ways in which parents speak to children (words, tone of voice) and gesture toward children that are designed to make them feel bad inside (fear, shame, and guilt). Indeed it is true that other animals have social orders, and indeed those social orders are established in part on the basis of dominance behavior designed to produce submission, another way of regarding punishment. (Even among other animals, there would be other mechanisms than just punishment that would be involved, but punishment is a very basic way used by group animals of establishing dominance.)

Young children before roughly the age of four dont have these behaviors because they dont understand the theory of other minds. Young children are just like psychopaths, they are selfish and superficially charming, but they dont comprehend that others see the world differently then they do. However, almost all children develop a theory of other minds around the age of four (unless their suffering from Asperger's syndrome) and this seems to indicate to me that there is a genetic basis for a lot of our morality and our social behavior. It switches on at around the age of four.
I believe your theory of mind concept is a little bit simplified. I understand about the experiments designed to demonstrate it, but it is not a biological process that simply appears one Tuesday afternoon in a child's life, but has its roots and its process of development. Also, I believe you are using a relatively limited concept of ethics, involving rather advanced functioning that is indeed ultimately acquired by most (but not all) humans. A dog can be taught that it should go outside to have a BM. The dog does not have a linguistic model of that belief, but it does have the belief and an ethical sense that accompanies it (motivating the dog to try to get outside). And the dog does not have to empathize with the human who has taught it to have that ethical belief and ethical sense in order to have it.

Our communication would be so much greater if you would read Book1 that has a consistent lexicon and set of concepts that I believe you would be in complete agreement with. Then, there would not be so much endless misunderstanding. I have arrived at my beliefs about these things by specifically working on having a consistent lexicon, that I believe then provides much clarity that is generally not present. It is unfortunate that we keep talking past each other.

That is also why I tend to deviate from your view that religions give people their morality. I dont think religions give people morality, religions take credit for a morality that evolved through societies which learned that some behaviors lead to thriving and others to extinction. Where behaviors led to some groups surviving, those behaviors (such as people not murdering each other and stealing from one another) were adopted. They were embeded into us through years of social evolution. Some people's brains are not working properly and they dont have empathy. This is a neurological defect. Some people can get knocked on the head in a certain area and become religious when they were atheists. The same phenomenon can occur the other way around. To me this shows that a lot of what you speak of is innate within us and not a result of upbringing. However, since all children are raised by their parents with these rules, then I dont know how we could determine if you were more right or I was.
I believe that some of our difficulties, as usual, are linguistic. Some problems also have to do with the fact that I have a drastically different metaphysical view than you do, by virtue of my having worked on solving the mind-body problem. (My solution is different than anything I have seen, and any that I have seen have not seemed really to be solutions, in my opinion.) The fact that a person's beliefs may change in response to head injury does not mean that those beliefs were "innate," that is, bound to have been there from birth, no matter what life experience the person had. I do not know for sure that that is what you mean. All of our beliefs, motivational states, wishes, intentions, experiences, etc. are operations that are being carried on by the brain, and any tinkering with the brain can produce changes in any of those mental phenomena.

Unleashing their animal natures through the mediation of reason is indeed supervision of their animal natures. That’s what I mean.

Then indeed we seem to see the problem as arising from the same place.

But have you actually explored rational-ethical child rearing? If you have not explored it and do not know what it consists of, how can you form an opinion that carries any weight for you?

The idea sounds dubious to me. I can form a very flimsy opinion based off of what I know, but your right I cant justifiably argue that opinion until I have open mindedly assessed your point of view. My opinion of your stance on the issue would hold no weight as of right now. I can only say that I dont think that an overhaul and reassesment of how were raising our children is going to change anything. This point of view is opened to changing with more information. Its not set in stone.
And I believe that bringing about that change in our child-rearing, including advocating that it occur, is something that every last one of us should be urgently engaging in.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,779
(Continued from previous post)

Because it doesn’t make sense, and causes PSDED. Why would we want to anyway?

(This concerns turning homosexuals straight.) Your right, it doesnt cause PSDED and I hope we wouldnt want to. I brought it up because you just stated "So the answer is not that of allowing us to engage in those behaviors, but instead that of acquiring the capability of markedly diminishing those “deeper urges.” I dont agree that we should markedly diminish those deeper urges. If someone is homosexual then that is a need to fulfill a deeper uruge, an instinct. We shouldnt want to deminish any of our instincts at all, unless as you said they cause PSDED. However, I would argue that we shouldnt try to diminish them in those cases either, if there is a way to channel those instincts through other means. To redirect but not to diminish. To me diminishing instincts sounds a lot like emotional suppression. A great example of emotional suppresion being looked on as an ideal is Ayn Rand's Objectivist movement. When it comes to emotions and instincts Neitsche was far closer to the right view I think.
Again, it is quite evident to me that we are talking on parallel tracks, using different lexicons. The lexicon that I have developed and used in Book1 makes use of meanings of words that are indeed common. Those words, however, also have other meanings and connotations which can throw off the dialogue, and are excluded from the meanings in the lexicon.

Your use of the word "instinct" is an example of the addition of linguistic confusion. I don't use the word in my lexicon, because it adds confusion. I could use it if I precisely defined it within the lexicon, but it would not have significant additional benefit as far as I can judge, as I think about it. That does not mean that the word is useless in other contexts. But it would be so great if we actually could have dialogue in which we were both understanding the same thing by the words that we were using.

People look to church to learn how to live right (among other things, of course).

I disagree. We know morality from our hearts not from a religion. Religion has been a vehicle for some of the most immoral behavior and not because religion was used wrong. Immorality is prevalent in the bible.
See, here you are using metaphoric language. I'm sure you know that beliefs and motivational states do not arise from and are not mediated by the heart. So what are you actually saying when you make that statement? Also, it is not clear what you mean by the word "vehicle." People look to church to learn how to live right, and some "churches" say that it is right to kill the infidel. The problem is that most religions have a fairly long way to go before they are strongly Humanian.

My point is that there is no other social organization that is as devoted to the question as to how each of us should personally live our lives then the social organizations referred to as "religions." The problem is that we, as a species, are just a toddler, and so of course our religions are also. Religion can improve because we can improve. Similarly, as science improves, our skills improve, and as our skills improve, our science improves. We have social cooperative behavior in the service of fulfilling our motivational states. Some of our motivational states lead to PSDED if simply manifested in their most natural ways of being manifested. On the other hand, just as we can increasingly improve our supervision of children, we can increasingly improve our supervision of ourselves, through the help that we gain from our interaction with other people, such as comparison of ideas, instruction, and modeling for identification.

I agree other rationales are present, but so is revenge. We don’t believe in just providing rehab. People who commit crimes must be made to suffer. Why?

I think you see a problem that is not so much there. I think environmentalists are often the same way. People are punished for different "crimes". Sometimes crimes aren't bad at all, sometimes its the laws that are the problem.
Yes, we have a long way to go before we have "laws" that are optimal, and also ways of responding to situations in which people do that which is different than what the law says they should do.

I feel this way about ever drug law on the books. To be fair though, if we look at the individual case of the death penalty I can see that as a case of a law put in place solely for revenge purposes, or at least for the most part. Any time you talk about the death penalty with someone eventually that person always seems to say "Are you trying to say if some murdered your (fill in the blank), you wouldnt want that person to die to?
Yes, I agree with you. But also think about the issue of letting criminals out early. Also think about what emotions the prosecuting attorney attempts to produce in jurors.

They usually also argue that that person "has no right to live." Apparently we think its alright for us to decide if someone dies but its an unforgivable act when someone else decides someone should die. We are awfully selective on who we feel should be allowed to murder other people in our society. But the death penalty is the only example I can think of where revenge is the primary motive. I dont think most laws are eye for an eye.
And my discussion with an attorney revealed the opposite belief. I agree that we do not easily admit that punishment of crime and other unwanted behavior has a revenge motive, because we have some ambivalence about admitting the wish for revenge. We find ways to engage in it without acknowledging that that is what we are doing.

But that is not to say that there are not other rationales also for punishment. Obviously, there is the idea of deterrence of the individual, and the others through the making of an example, from engaging in the behavior in the future. And that would really be great if it actually worked. I would say that the more we punish, the angrier we get. I would say that that is a correlation to be observed within child rearing. Of course the problem is that that anger may not be manifested outwardly in such a way that it can easily be identified. It is possible for it to be manifested only by, for instance, the production of panic attacks, or migraine attacks. (Many of us have been punished with regard to the experiencing of an expression of anger such that the appearance of anger within the self produces great fear.)

Oh gosh! If only you had opened the door, or even knocked.

I was ridiculously late. I was like twenty five or thirty minutes late. I wouldnt have even known what anyone was talking about and then the whole meeting would have had to have stopped to get me up to speed.
That would have been okay. It has happened before. You would have been able to catch up, especially since our discussions tend to be somewhat meandering rather than just progressively in depth.
Todd W.
user 104073922
Columbia, SC
Post #: 24
What religion can everyone agree with?

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

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

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

Would not that religion be the most important religion?
My first post;

If the definition of religion which by definition is the following and believing in that religions Alpha Omega's belief as the followings belief, has the followers given up their freedom to choose their self beliefs?
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,866
Todd, you seem to be using a definition of religion that includes a creed that all members of that religion accept. I believe that is correct for some religions, but not all. Do you believe Unitarian Universalism has a creed? If we look at all those things we have called "religion," we will find some without a creed. Also, you are looking at the way things have been, whereas I am looking into the future. I believe we are beginning to see some acceleration of our third exponential change (a change in our ethics). My concept of Humanianity is related to this third exponential change? How familiar have you become with "Humanianity"?
Todd W.
user 104073922
Columbia, SC
Post #: 25
Todd, you seem to be using a definition of religion that includes a creed that all members of that religion accept. I believe that is correct for some religions, but not all. Do you believe Unitarian Universalism has a creed? "Yes. A creed is a statement of belief as with Unitarian Universalism."

If we look at all those things we have called "religion," we will find some without a creed. "Disagree. All religions share in a common creed of a belief."

Also, you are looking at the way things have been, whereas I am looking into the future. "One can look forward or towards the the future, by no one living knows or can look into or see into the future."

I believe we are beginning to see some acceleration of our third exponential change (a change in our ethics). Ethics and for that matter morality has never and will never change.

My concept of Humanianity is related to this third exponential change? How familiar have you become with "Humanianity"? "Limited knowledge yet enough to state that if one knows not of today, how can one have a clue of tomorrow."


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