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Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions
Posted: 01 October 2010 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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George - 31 March 2010 06:54 AM

Remember Oliver Twist?  wink

Oliver Twist. Is. Fiction…

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Posted: 05 October 2010 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Sam Harris was with John Stewart on the Daily Show last night. He was a little tongue tied for a minute when John put him on the spot, but he recovered nicely. Sam seems a much better writer than speaker.

I am all for science becoming the moral authority.

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Posted: 07 October 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I just got finished wrestling away from one group their expectation of being accepted as a moral authority. I’m just not ready to place that authority in anyone else’s hands regardless of how scientifically based.

I don’t know why some think there is a need to dictate their concept of morality to anyone/everyone else.

I know what is right for me. It doesn’t bother me that it may not be right for you.

[ Edited: 07 October 2010 04:38 PM by Gnostikosis ]
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Posted: 07 October 2010 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Martinus - 30 March 2010 07:58 PM
cacrosdale - 30 March 2010 07:12 PM
Write4U - 30 March 2010 05:46 PM

Second, I understand that humanism is not a legal or political philosophy, but does take as an understanding that humans are the primary source of human governance. :

Very well said, can we have high school grads recite that?

Essentially, that social structure has a bottom-up providence

Provenance?

My main point I want to make is that morality is so commonly claimed to be related to religion, that some sort of non-religious alternative, that provides a basic, structured, and reasoned approach, would need to be offered as a grounding to get people to then use objective data (science), as Sam Harris suggests, to inform their moral process.

If we agree with you that ‘morality’ is part-and-parcel of the religious viewpoint, why patronize the concept? As I mentioned earlier, a focus on the concept of character places responsibility on the individual, whereas morality is for sermons. In this way a continuation of Greek or Renaissance Humanism revitalizes the valuation of character as an alternative.

 

  Write4U: WHY DOES MY NAME APPEAR AS QUOTED AUTHOR TO POSTS WHICH ARE NOT MINE?

[ Edited: 07 October 2010 03:35 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 07 October 2010 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I repeat,  WHY DOES MY NAME APPEAR AS QUOTED AUTHOR OF POSTS WHICH ARE NOT MINE?

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 07 October 2010 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Martinus - 30 March 2010 07:58 PM
cacrosdale - 30 March 2010 07:12 PM
Write4U - 30 March 2010 05:46 PM

“Because someone screwed up the HTML code”

Or whatever the code is called. BTW is there a reference document for the scripting used here?

[ Edited: 07 October 2010 05:22 PM by Gnostikosis ]
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Posted: 07 October 2010 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Write4U, could you check the small number in the upper right hand corner of the post you are referring to and post that (this post is #37)  That way, we could figure out what the problem is.

You may be looking at a big gray block that shows your name inside one of the inner blocks because the person quoted an entire earlier post which had quoted one of yours.  For example, post #36 was made by Gnostikosis who quoted Martinus who quoted cacrosdale who quoted you, all from increasingly earlier posts.

Occam

[ Edited: 07 October 2010 06:30 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 07 October 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Gnostikosis - 07 October 2010 01:04 PM

I just got finished wrestling away from one group their expectation of being accepted as a moral authority. I’m just not ready to place that authority in anyone else’s hands regardless of how scientifically based.

I don’t know why some think there is a need to dictate their concept of morality to anyone/everyone else.

I know what is right for me. It doesn’t bother me that it may not be right for you.

The advantage of morality through scientific inquiry is that it is unbiased if done right and therefore will earn its place of authority. Nobody ought to dictate any concept of morality including, of course, the scientifically derived one. I am confident it will appeal to “reasonable” people.

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Posted: 07 October 2010 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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r4r4 - 07 October 2010 07:52 PM

Nobody ought to dictate any concept of morality…

Isn’t an ought advanced like this itself a moral dictate?

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Posted: 07 October 2010 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Thanks Occam.

My first post in this thread is #15.
The next post, #16 appears to have reversed the quotation blocks and the responses to my quotes are answered by me… LOL 
Post #20 I am completely lost here…. smirk
Then when I tried quote #20, the preview showed that my comment re the confusion was now also quoted in blue. I tried several combinations to edit the quotation marks and restore the sequential order of quote (blue) and response (white). I could not make it work. red face

With respect, I believe that Martinus may have quoted me but when editing the quote, possibly may have not accounted for proper quotations marks, to keep the format intact.
I am sure it was a simple entry error somewhere and if this sequence of post/quote/post/quote post is no longer used, it will just disappear.
I just wanted to bring attention to it as a caution to check that quotation marks are properly placed. It is confusing and possibly misleading.
No offense taken at all.  grin

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 07 October 2010 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Gnostikosis - 07 October 2010 05:04 PM
Martinus - 30 March 2010 07:58 PM
cacrosdale - 30 March 2010 07:12 PM
Write4U - 30 March 2010 05:46 PM

“Because someone screwed up the HTML code”

Or whatever the code is called. BTW is there a reference document for the scripting used here?

lol,  LOL ...., but you cannot attribute the statement “Because someone screwed up the HTML code”...to me.  LOL

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 07 October 2010 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I agree, Write4U.  I’ve noticed over the months that people will often quote others and somewhere along the line either delete one of the {quote} or {/quote} symbols and from then on everyone’s statements end up seeming to be attributed to someone else.  Whenever I see one that’s obvious I try to fix it, but most of them (such as the problem you pointed out) slip by. 

Occam

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Posted: 28 October 2010 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Harris has already dealt with many of the objections listed by posters to this thread in “The End of Faith”. It really is pretty essential to read that book to understand Harris’s arguments fully. He is certainly a better writer than speaker. I note (with regret) that he is going to read the Audible version of the new book himself, which means… slowly.

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Posted: 09 November 2010 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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I just finished The Moral Landscape and found it pretty compelling, though I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time thinking about it. I am, however, struggling to understand the criticisms against Harris’ take on morality…so I’ll pick on Occam even though his post is from several months ago.

Occam - 23 March 2010 01:22 PM

Scientific reality would exist with or without organisms to observe it, and it has no relationship to human morality.

But wouldn’t biology or medicine also be contingent on the existence of organisms in the universe? It seems like you’re cheating a bit and being unfair to morality.

Occam - 23 March 2010 01:22 PM

Just because my morality is summarized by “maximize help, minimize harm, and enjoy myself”  it’s no more based in science than the huge variations in morality that the various societies and individuals have demonstrated.

Why did you pick those three behaviors out of the countless others you had to choose from? They obviously weren’t selected at random so there must be some goal behind them. Assuming one’s goal was to maximize well-being then wouldn’t it be better to determine behavioral guides like “maximize help, minimize harm, and enjoy oneself” in the context of rationality and science rather than just on a whim or because it’s in a book or some other reason?

Once you pick a goal (like understanding planetary motion or understanding the universe or understanding human well-being), isn’t science the only reliable method of achieving (at least in principle) that goal? I think that’s what Harris is arguing and I’m having trouble seeing why we couldn’t say this is a better way to go about things.

[ Edited: 09 November 2010 12:08 PM by Chocotacoi8 ]
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Posted: 09 November 2010 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Chocotacoi8 - 09 November 2010 12:06 PM

I just finished The Moral Landscape and found it pretty compelling, though I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time thinking about it. I am, however, struggling to understand the criticisms against Harris’ take on morality…so I’ll pick on Occam even though his post is from several months ago.

Occam - 23 March 2010 01:22 PM

Scientific reality would exist with or without organisms to observe it, and it has no relationship to human morality.

But wouldn’t biology or medicine also be contingent on the existence of organisms in the universe? It seems like you’re cheating a bit and being unfair to morality.

Occam - 23 March 2010 01:22 PM

Just because my morality is summarized by “maximize help, minimize harm, and enjoy myself”  it’s no more based in science than the huge variations in morality that the various societies and individuals have demonstrated.

Why did you pick those three behaviors out of the countless others you had to choose from? They obviously weren’t selected at random so there must be some goal behind them. Assuming one’s goal was to maximize well-being then wouldn’t it be better to determine behavioral guides like “maximize help, minimize harm, and enjoy oneself” in the context of rationality and science rather than just on a whim or because it’s in a book or some other reason?

Once you pick a goal (like understanding planetary motion or understanding the universe or understanding human well-being), isn’t science the only reliable method of achieving (at least in principle) that goal? I think that’s what Harris is arguing and I’m having trouble seeing why we couldn’t say this is a better way to go about things.

I think Occam hit the nail right on the head. The best science can do in this case is categorize different moralities, and analyze the origins of different morality. Science could do this quite effectively.
It would be ridiculous to think that science could somehow compute the ideal morality, or the true moral code.
How can science objectively determine the true moral code or the “right” moral code when science can already objectively determine that the variations in morals are played out on this planet by the massive differences in geography, economy, sociology, psychology, etc.
Science can easily explain why some people suffer and some people create suffering. So if science can explain this objectively, how could science say that no one must suffer? It couldn’t! Because science knows that suffering is part of the system. Science knows that ones mans sufferings creates another’s harmony.

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