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Jeff Schweitzer - Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World
Posted: 13 June 2009 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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StephenLawrence - 11 June 2009 10:48 PM
Hawkfan - 11 June 2009 08:15 PM

Nope, not buying that straw man.  No connection between an innocent man kidnapped and put in jail and someone imprisoned for committing a violent crime.

The connection is the experience for the person it happens to is fairly similar whether they are guilty or innocent. For the person who has the experience it’s about as bad whether guilty or innocent. The reason we tend to be fairly unconcerned about this is because we believe one deserves it and one doesn’t. We don’t believe that it might have been us who was unfortunate enough to be born with a bad set of determinants and that we are fortunate that we weren’t (who knows one of us might commit a violent crime yet.)

What I’m trying to do is show how belief in free will influences how you feel about it.

It is about being held responsible for one’s actions relative to the laws of the society in which one lives.  I see it as a safety issue, primarily.  But also as a reinforcement of the rules(laws).

Yep.

I think the evidence is poor for rehabilitation.

I think that believing if you do something bad will lead to something bad happening to you is more of a deterent than believing you’ll get rehabilitated. Someone might even deliberately do something bad in order to get rehabilitated, so I think you might be right.

But, I am certainly for providing the incarcerated with some skills training to at least allow them other options after the sentence is served.

P’raps, I have no strong view on what we should do I’m simply trying to show that you would feel very differently if you didn’t intuitevely believe in contra causal free will. And so would just about everybody else, so it does matter whether we have it or not.

Stephen

I can’t really add anything to the free will argument.  As I noted, I haven’t been able to make any sense of the many, many posts here on free will.  I’m really looking at it from a more utilitarian approach.  While I can’t state I have no personal feelings at all when I hear about someone that has committed a very brutal murder, I’m more interested in removing violent people that victimize others from the rest of society.  Barring mental illness or some other recognized incapacity, if an individual takes an action that is a violation the rules(laws) then there is defined consequence.  Show me something objective that we can measure and make predictions about, and I’d certainly be willing to re-think the free will argument.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Hawkfan - 11 June 2009 08:15 PM

  Show me something objective that we can measure and make predictions about, and I’d certainly be willing to re-think the free will argument.

Neuroscientists have been doing experiments on brain functions for some time now, and their general conclusion is that determinism applies as much to the brain as to the rest of the physical world. Objective measurements and predictions have been involved. No free will has been found.

As a result of their conclusions, some leading neuroscientists are involved in a study to discover how and in what ways that this change in understanding of human brain function might effect the legal system. Their proposal is that as our attitudes about the nature of human beings changes, the law will change. Changes in the legal system are certainly objective and measurable, and the prediction—rather general so far—is that incarceration will be less punitive.

Here’s a video of Michael Gazzaniga, neuroscientist, talking on the subject:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid13578632001?bclid=13679042001&bctid=11084285001

[ Edited: 18 June 2009 08:52 AM by normbear ]
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Posted: 16 July 2009 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Hey all, you can now watch the videos of Schweitzer’s recent lecture for CFI in NYC here:

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/nyc/news/jeffrey_schweitzer_moral_life_in_a_random_world/

Anyone else seen him speak? Where this guy has been for the last decade or so, I don’t know, but his message and delivery is top notch. He should be lecturing at all CFI branches nationwide.  He basically tears us down as being anything special and then builds us up with that as a basis for formulating a wonderful, meaningful life that we decide to lead and fill ourselves.

[ Edited: 16 July 2009 12:28 PM by Mike D. ]
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Hi, I’m executive director of the Center for Inquiry in New York City.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Yeah, the beginning, middle, and end of this thread never touched upon the book, or Schweitzer. We’ve had some pretty good debates on the origins of morals here.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Michael De Dora Jr. - 16 July 2009 11:45 AM

He basically tears us down as being anything special and then builds us up with that as a basis for formulating a wonderful, meaningful life that we decide to lead and fill ourselves.

I don’t personally like it very much when people try to “build me up.” I like it down here where I am; it makes more sense to me that way and I like it when things make sense. The only person I do allow to build me up is Sagan. Luckily, the effect only lasts as long as I watch his Cosmos.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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In that podcast he speaks of Man in the context of not having religion, then being able to “rise” up to obtain the potential of Humanity.
Finding a “glorious”, fruitful existence amongst one another, without the shackles of irrational religion.(all my words-paraphrasing)
I just can’t help seeing the same conundrum that humanity brings naturally upon itself, with or without religion.
I think he states that religion is a biological, therefore evolutionary, offshoot of man. I believe it is.
At certain times, this biological offshoot, I’ll call X has been labeled religion. Early on, he describes X as a method for explaining the unknown. Astronomy, physics, probably biology itself too. As man comes to understand these sciences, through rational, scientific process, X doesn’t go away. It evolves, biologically right along with us.
X works, like all other components of our minds, either individually, or collectively(herd or socially).
Inserting the morality factor in here is difficult.
Maybe morality, which also stems directly from biology, social behavior, survivor instincts, is one step ahead of X, and X evolves itself accordingly.
Obviously X was the beginnings of science(mans attempt to understand things). But man got science, but the need for X was still there.
No matter what, many men were not going to let go of X. The reasons are plenty.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Let me also say that none of us will or can let go of X. It is part of us. It manifests itself in lots of ways. Religion, astrology, gambling, crystals, palm reading, fears, ideologies, maybe art?, anything which attempts to see, or understand the unknown. Maybe Science is also from X, still, today. Some people do it “right”, others cheat.
No matter how good science gets though, it won’t be able to get rid of X.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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VYAZMA - 16 July 2009 01:29 PM

Let me also say that none of us will or can let go of X. It is part of us. It manifests itself in lots of ways. Religion, astrology, gambling, crystals, palm reading, fears, ideologies, maybe art?, anything which attempts to see, or understand the unknown. Maybe Science is also from X, still, today. Some people do it “right”, others cheat.
No matter how good science gets though, it won’t be able to get rid of X.

Have you read Hood’s SuperSence? I think he did a good job explaining why “X” exists and what it is.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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George - 16 July 2009 01:35 PM
VYAZMA - 16 July 2009 01:29 PM

Let me also say that none of us will or can let go of X. It is part of us. It manifests itself in lots of ways. Religion, astrology, gambling, crystals, palm reading, fears, ideologies, maybe art?, anything which attempts to see, or understand the unknown. Maybe Science is also from X, still, today. Some people do it “right”, others cheat.
No matter how good science gets though, it won’t be able to get rid of X.

Have you read Hood’s SuperSence? I think he did a good job explaining why “X” exists and what it is.

No, but what does he say?

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Georgie, I just read the Blurb in Amazon about the book. Yeah, no-doubt, we’re hard-wired for this. Where else could it have come from, The Monolith, like in 2001? grin

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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In a nutshell, he says that we won’t be able to let go of the “X” (Hood’s SuperSence) because it holds our society together. I think I actually disagree with his conclusion: evolution doesn’t give a flying hoot about our society and if things (mutations and adaptations) turn out to do without society, or maybe form a different kind of “society,” we might perhaps lose this X/SuperSence. That said, Hood does an excellent job, in my opinion, at explaining why we have the supersence and how it is presented in most of us. I really enjoyed it.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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VYAZMA - 16 July 2009 01:50 PM

Georgie, I just read the Blurb in Amazon about the book. Yeah, no-doubt, we’re hard-wired for this. Where else could it have come from, The Monolith, like in 2001? grin

Either the Monolith or the other mysterious thingy called “the culture.”  wink

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Posted: 16 July 2009 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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George - 16 July 2009 01:53 PM

In a nutshell, he says that we won’t be able to let go of the “X” (Hood’s SuperSence) because it holds our society together. I think I actually disagree with his conclusion: evolution doesn’t give a flying hoot about our society and if things (mutations and adaptations) turn out to do without society, or maybe form a different kind of “society,” we might perhaps lose this X/SuperSence. That said, Hood does an excellent job, in my opinion, at explaining why we have the supersence and how it is presented in most of us. I really enjoyed it.

In my opinion, I don’t know if it is THE thing which holds our society together, or just part of it. Or maybe not any part of it, it just adds flavor to our society. The thing that makes it so hard to define X is that we are talking about these things in layers, or separate parts.
In reality(upstairs, in our minds), I don’t think it is that delineated or simple.
I suppose so about your future scenarios. Certainly without “us” around X will also go away.
If another society evolved from the ashes, or from us, maybe X will go away. But speculations on the future shouldn’t have any bearing about what we know as X now, or in the past. Speculations on when, and how X started is another matter.
But on that issue, I don’t really care. I think it is waaay too far back, and so ingrained that it can’t be known.

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Posted: 16 July 2009 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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George - 16 July 2009 01:55 PM
VYAZMA - 16 July 2009 01:50 PM

Georgie, I just read the Blurb in Amazon about the book. Yeah, no-doubt, we’re hard-wired for this. Where else could it have come from, The Monolith, like in 2001? grin

Either the Monolith or the other mysterious thingy called “the culture.”  wink

Nooooo…X partly causes culture! Along with social behavioral programming. cheese

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Posted: 16 July 2009 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Well, Hood thinks that without it we wouldn’t see those things that help to hold our society together as sacred. Kind of like when you fall in love and believe that she is the only one — a trick of our mind to get you to bed.

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