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War and critical thinking… a British perspective
Posted: 04 November 2010 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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People are not monolithic.  For example, there are atheists who are in the closet, atheists who are so militant that they are almost combative, and people across that whole spectrum.  You can’t choose an idea structure then expect everyone who subscribes to some version of that to behave the same way.  In the same way, one can be, say, a social liberal but a fiscal conservative, one can be a politically conservative humanist who believes the Iraqi and Afganistan wars were necessary, and another who is politically liberal and a humanist who demonstrated against those wars. 

People are complex.  We shouldn’t try to fit them into a few boxes.

Occam

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Posted: 04 November 2010 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I can’t even control the behavior of the children I nurtured and raised from blastocyst to adulthood. How could anyone fit someone they into a box with expectations, when they had much less influence than that?! tongue rolleye

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Posted: 05 November 2010 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Kyuuketsuki UK - 20 September 2010 01:53 AM
gary100 - 28 August 2010 09:27 PM

I’ve always thought that Humanism should be concerned (and involved) with social justice and peace issues as well. War is human destruction, and extremely wasteful of economic resources that could be better spent shoring up the social contract—the economic safety net, health and education.

I thought humanism was about evaluating the world, the universe from a humanist perspective not about declaring a given war as just or not.

Keke

How do you seperate one from the other?  When you evaluate you are making judgements, including whether or not any particular war is just.

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Posted: 06 November 2010 12:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 04 November 2010 02:34 PM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 20 September 2010 01:53 AM

I thought humanism was about evaluating the world, the universe from a humanist perspective not about declaring a given war as just or not.

Sure, but, you can’t extricate yourself from the world around.

Every value judgment echos in attitudes and deeds.
Why should humanists be exempt from worrying about current war policies and deeds?

I’m not saying anyone should be ... Gary’s reply to me implies he thinks that humanists should consider wars (specific wars?) unjust and I don’t see that. Morality is a social concept and, although it will inform you and allow you to make such judgements, entirely separate from humanism itself.

I don’t think that humanism tells us whether killing other individuals (on any scale) is right or wrong any more than atheism says we should love our fellow man (O’Hare) ... what tells us such things are wrong is (largely) the social morality we are part of, the kind of people we have brought up to be/have decided to be.

Keke

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Posted: 06 November 2010 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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garythehuman - 05 November 2010 02:43 PM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 20 September 2010 01:53 AM
gary100 - 28 August 2010 09:27 PM

I’ve always thought that Humanism should be concerned (and involved) with social justice and peace issues as well. War is human destruction, and extremely wasteful of economic resources that could be better spent shoring up the social contract—the economic safety net, health and education.

I thought humanism was about evaluating the world, the universe from a humanist perspective not about declaring a given war as just or not.

Keke

How do you seperate one from the other?  When you evaluate you are making judgements, including whether or not any particular war is just.

Just like we separate science from morality ... humanism, it seems to me, is the evaluation of the universe, the world we see around us, the events that occur from a human perspective and so must inform our (moral?) evaluations but humanism does not appear to dictate a specific moral stance. IOW being a humanist cannot, IMO, dictate to me that the Nazi’s were wrong ... my conscience based on my society’s moral stance does that.

Can I be a humanist and still believe that the holocaust was a good thing? I don’t see why not! I don’t BTW, I’m just saying that that has nothing specific to do with my having a humanistic philosophy.

Keke

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Posted: 06 November 2010 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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to answer Kekerusey’s comment.

It is true that Humanism is a philosophy of reason and naturalism—naturalism being based on fact and observation absent of the supernatural. HOWEVER Humanism is also concerned with the human condition— human survival and human conduct. War is mentioned in several of the Humanist Manifestos, in particular those of the American Humanist Association. The issue is not “What is a just war?” per se, but the ethical problems and destruction brought about by war and the planning for war. I don’t see how on the subject of “Planetary Humanism,” as Paul Kurtz not calls it, one can be concerned with ethics on a global scale and ignore war.
Ethics is not just concerned with observation, but with human responsibility and action.
—Gary

[ Edited: 06 November 2010 09:13 AM by gary100 ]
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Posted: 06 November 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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gary100 - 06 November 2010 09:09 AM

to answer Kekerusey’s comment.

It is true that Humanism is a philosophy of reason and naturalism—naturalism being based on fact and observation absent of the supernatural. HOWEVER Humanism is also concerned with the human condition— human survival and human conduct. War is mentioned in several of the Humanist Manifestos, in particular those of the American Humanist Association. The issue is not “What is a just war?” per se, but the ethical problems and destruction brought about by war and the planning for war. I don’t see how on the subject of “Planetary Humanism,” as Paul Kurtz not calls it, one can be concerned with ethics on a global scale and ignore war.
Ethics is not just concerned with observation, but with human responsibility and action.
—Gary

In which case (if true and I’ve yet to be convinced), as a moral relativist, I can’t be a humanist.

Keke

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Kekerusey

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Posted: 06 November 2010 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Kyuuketsuki UK - 06 November 2010 12:40 AM
garythehuman - 05 November 2010 02:43 PM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 20 September 2010 01:53 AM
gary100 - 28 August 2010 09:27 PM

I’ve always thought that Humanism should be concerned (and involved) with social justice and peace issues as well. War is human destruction, and extremely wasteful of economic resources that could be better spent shoring up the social contract—the economic safety net, health and education.

I thought humanism was about evaluating the world, the universe from a humanist perspective not about declaring a given war as just or not.

Keke

How do you seperate one from the other?  When you evaluate you are making judgements, including whether or not any particular war is just.

Just like we separate science from morality ... humanism, it seems to me, is the evaluation of the universe, the world we see around us, the events that occur from a human perspective and so must inform our (moral?) evaluations but humanism does not appear to dictate a specific moral stance. IOW being a humanist cannot, IMO, dictate to me that the Nazi’s were wrong ... my conscience based on my society’s moral stance does that.

Can I be a humanist and still believe that the holocaust was a good thing? I don’t see why not! I don’t BTW, I’m just saying that that has nothing specific to do with my having a humanistic philosophy.

Keke

The problem here as I see it is that humanism is social movement that holds the scientific method and reason is the only proper method of investigation of the world and the societies within it.  Humanism isn’t the science itself but what we use to make value judgments based upon (semi oh oh ) agreed principles on what is happening in our societies.

BTW, I am a combat veteran and have seen the effects of modern firepower up close and personal, I am opposed to war in any expect the most dire circumstances

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Posted: 07 November 2010 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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garythehuman - 06 November 2010 12:43 PM

BTW, I am a combat veteran and have seen the effects of modern firepower up close and personal, I am opposed to war in any expect the most dire circumstances

Not that it matters but I’m ex army too, I’m well aware that war is hell.

Keke

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Kekerusey

“Keye’ung lu nì‘aw tì‘eyng mìkìfkey lekye’ung”
(Insanity, the only answer in a world insane!)

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Posted: 07 November 2010 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Kyuuketsuki UK - 06 November 2010 12:40 AM

Just like we separate science from morality ...

Not all the time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

(Sam Harris talking about how science can answer moral questions)

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Posted: 07 November 2010 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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“If I’m interpreting him correctly, that confuses me, because I thought it was also about how we lived in this world in light of the Humanist philosophy? Did I miss something here?”

That is what he said, that we are only to observe. He also said, that if such is not the case then maybe he’s not a Humanist.
As you pointed out, while objective observation is part of Humanism, so is the ethical or moral issue of how we live in the world.  So, by his own admission Keke is not a Humanist. I can live with that as long as Keke understands the distinction. I appreciate the honesty and consistency.

—Gary

[ Edited: 07 November 2010 02:38 PM by gary100 ]
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Posted: 08 November 2010 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 07 November 2010 02:22 AM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 06 November 2010 12:40 AM

Just like we separate science from morality ...

Not all the time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

(Sam Harris talking about how science can answer moral questions)

I’m sure we’ll disagree but, whilst I would absolutely agree that science informs us and allows us to make moral decisions, I don’t think there is a reasonable case for science itself being moral ... science itself cannot say what is morally right or wrong (especially when one considers that morals are a form of ethics and ethics are purely social so need social groups to agree on what they are).  That’s an important distinction and, whilst I know Harris (bless his cotton socks) was advancing an alternative view there, there are many other views and I suspect other thinkers such as Dawkins would disagree ... one person’s view is not necessarily correct.

Keke

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Kekerusey

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(Insanity, the only answer in a world insane!)

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Posted: 08 November 2010 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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I agree, Keke.  While science gives us a great deal of information about how the brain works, and the data may be able to help us in forming our morality, I feel science is neutral and has no definitive role in ethics or morality.  I see those who wish to assume that science can form or direct our morals as having moved toward accepting science as the new religion.

Occam

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Posted: 08 November 2010 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Kyuuketsuki UK - 08 November 2010 01:11 PM
TromboneAndrew - 07 November 2010 02:22 AM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 06 November 2010 12:40 AM

Just like we separate science from morality ...

Not all the time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

(Sam Harris talking about how science can answer moral questions)

I’m sure we’ll disagree but, whilst I would absolutely agree that science informs us and allows us to make moral decisions, I don’t think there is a reasonable case for science itself being moral ... science itself cannot say what is morally right or wrong (especially when one considers that morals are a form of ethics and ethics are purely social so need social groups to agree on what they are).  That’s an important distinction and, whilst I know Harris (bless his cotton socks) was advancing an alternative view there, there are many other views and I suspect other thinkers such as Dawkins would disagree ... one person’s view is not necessarily correct.

Keke

I agree with this.  Science like religion is just another tool that humans use for good or evil.  Moral/ethical judgments can be informed by science but humans make and live with the results of their own and their societies decisions.

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Posted: 09 November 2010 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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garythehuman - 08 November 2010 02:51 PM

Science like religion is just another tool that humans use for good or evil.  Moral/ethical judgments can be informed by science but humans make and live with the results of their own and their societies decisions.

I’m afraid I can’t agree with that ... whilst both science and religions try to explain the universe around them religions , as far as I am aware, ALWAYS carry a philosophical/moral component. That alone sets science far apart from (and IMO above) any religion.

Keke

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Kekerusey

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(Insanity, the only answer in a world insane!)

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