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What’s it all about?
Posted: 11 December 2010 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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by Robert Sproule

      The universe is eternal.  It has always existed, and always will.  But life is not.
    It comes into existence, lives for a period of time, and then goes out of existence.
    You and I had no choice about being born, and we have no choice about eventually
    ceasing to exist.  But between birth and death, there are a lot of choices to be made.
    The purpose of morality is to guide us in those choices.
      All life forms have one fundamental goal – to remain alive.  And to remain alive
    requires action – action to acquire those things which will sustain life.  Those things
    are values.  A plant’s values include water and minerals, and it acts to acquire these
    values, or it dies.  A herbivore’s values include plants.  A carnivore’s values include
    meat.  An omnivore’s values include both.  All life forms must acquire values, or
    cease to exist.
      Different life forms have different abilities that enable them to acquire values.
    The cheetah has the ability to run fast; almost all birds have the ability to fly.  And
    man – man has the ability to think. 
      In order to think, one must have something to think about – one can not think
    about nothing.  That something to think about is reality.  We do not live in a void;
    we live on earth in the real world.  In order to survive, we must get a grip on reality.
      It is our five senses – a belief in a sixth sense undermines the validity of the five
    senses we do have – that provide us with the raw data.  Our ability to think allows
    us to integrate that data, draw logical conclusions, resolve contradictions – to reason.
    And reason tells us that we must act in order to survive – act to create and maintain
    those values that support man’s life on earth.
      The pursuit and creation of values is good;  their destruction is evil.  This is the
    standard by which to judge the moral from the immoral – all that which supports the
    creation and maintenance of values is the good;  all that which destroys it is the evil.
    Observe that the standard of good and evil is not derived from God, or Allah, or
    society’s expectations – it is derived from the facts of reality – the fact that man must
    pursue and create values.
      Being reasonable, being productive, being responsible for one’s own life is being
    good – is being virtuous.  Rationality and productiveness are virtues.  (That some
    people obtain values by mooching off a socialist welfare state does not change the
    fact that someone has to create values in the first place.)  The ability to do a job well
    is good – competence is a virtue.
      Happiness, like food and shelter, is a value – happiness is a value worth pursuing.
      Rationality and productiveness are indispensable virtues in the pursuit of happiness.
    They are the two virtues that one must command in order to know one is a good
    person.  And the knowledge that one is a good person is the foundation of happiness.
    One can not achieve any happiness and be a bad person – that is a contradiction.
    Obviously, in order to be a good person, one can not lie, cheat or steal, but that can
    be achieved in one’s sleep.  One must do more than fall asleep to achieve happiness.
    Being reasonable in all things and giving one’s best effort in all things are key to
    knowing one is a good person and key to achieving happiness.
      Observe that being moral, being a good person is a selfish pursuit.  A man chooses
    to be moral because he knows it is in his self interest, that like building the foundation
    for a house, he must have a solid foundation upon which to build his happiness.  He
    takes pride in being a good person.  He is rational and productive.  He is honest –
    does not lie, cheat or steal.  He is responsible – does not expect others to pay for his
    mistakes.  He is reliable – does what he says he’ll do, when he says he’ll do it.  He
    is courageous – because life entails risks.  He has perseverance – because the creation
    of values is work.  And he has integrity – he is loyal to his virtues and values.
      The pursuit, achievement and maintenance of values is a life long pursuit, but
    since man’s lifespan is limited, he must limit the number of values he will pursue –
    he can not be everything there is to be nor possess all there is to possess. So, each
    man must choose those values that hold the best promise in his pursuit of happiness.
    He must choose a career – he can not pursue all careers.  He must choose what food
    to eat – he can not eat all the food on earth.  It is the responsibility of each man to
    choose the values he will pursue and his responsibility to prioritize them – from the
    most important to the least important.  Each man must get it clear in his own mind
    the relative importance of each value to all others.  For example:  suppose a married
    man likes fishing.  His wife requires extensive dental work, but he refuses to pay for
    it, and instead, buys a boat.  It is clear that this man attaches more importance to a
    new boat than he does to his wife’s health.  If he had had the relative importance of
    his values clearly in his mind when he was single, had prioritized his values, he
    would not have proposed marriage – he would have gone fishing.
      In the pursuit of happiness, it is only the pursuit of rational values, properly
    prioritized, that can hold any promise of success.  And each individual must make
    his own choices – alone with his own thoughts.  It is not to be left up to Jesus or
    Muhammad, a teacher or a preacher, parents or friends, or what one might think others
    think.  Each individual must make his own choices.  And they must stand to reason –
    he must decide that his wife’s health requires attention now, and that the boat can
    wait.  And because each man must make his own choices, he must be free to choose.
    He must have the right to his life and the right to his property – he should know that
    capitalism is the only system that protects these rights.
      What’s it all about?  It’s about being a good person – rational, productive, honest,
    responsible, reliable…  It’s about building the foundation of happiness – about being
    a person worthy of happiness.  And making the effort to pursue, achieve, maintain,
    and prioritize one’s values.  It’s not always easy, but one makes the effort, makes it
    each and every day because –  happiness is a value worth pursuing.

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Posted: 11 December 2010 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I didn’t get past your first two sentences. When you start off with a false assumption I have no incentive to read further.

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“In the beginning, God created the universe. This has made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”
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Posted: 11 December 2010 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You’re not missing much.  It’s mostly just pseudo-philosophical happythink gibberish anyway.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 11 December 2010 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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DarronS
    I assume from your first two sentences, you take
Douglas Adams’ comments seriously – how bizarre and inexplicable.

Dead Monkey
    Happiness is a value worth pursuing.

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Posted: 11 December 2010 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Robert Sproule - 11 December 2010 04:41 PM

DarronS
    I assume from your first two sentences, you take
Douglas Adams’ comments seriously – how bizarre and inexplicable.

Dead Monkey
    Happiness is a value worth pursuing.

I’m sorry, but your essay adds nothing. It is just new agey psychobabble.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 11 December 2010 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Robert Sproule - 11 December 2010 04:41 PM

DarronS
    I assume from your first two sentences, you take
Douglas Adams’ comments seriously – how bizarre and inexplicable.

You assume too much. Read what I wrote. I meant nothing more than what I said. Your essay starts with a false statement, so I have no interest in reading further.

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“In the beginning, God created the universe. This has made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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Posted: 11 December 2010 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Iagree that the first paragraph is incorrect, but I stuck it out to the first sentence of the second paragraph, and found that so unbelievably wrong, it’s not worth reading further.

Occam

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Succinctness, clarity’s core.

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Posted: 13 December 2010 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Robert:

I apologize for the reactions here, you are new and are not familar with our many previous discussions.  It also is helpful to keep your posts short.

Down to a few specifics:

The universe is eternal.  It has always existed, and always will.

Possibly, this is still open to scientific debate.

All life forms must acquire values, orcease to exist.

I disagree, as far as we know only humans have values, although it is possible that a few other primates have them also.  The animals kngdom has instincts, and plants have no consciousness at all, so it is not possible for values to exisit among plants.

The pursuit and creation of values is good;  their destruction is evil. 

That depends on the values.  Facists also had values and the rest of the world had to go to great lengths to destroys them.

Happiness, like food and shelter, is a value – happiness is a value worth pursuing.

Happiness is not a value, it is a state a mind that can be reached at various times.

A man chooses to be moral because he knows it is in his self interest, that like building the foundation
  for a house, he must have a solid foundation upon which to build his happiness.  He
  takes pride in being a good person.  He is rational and productive.  He is honest –
  does not lie, cheat or steal

  Most choices are not this clear, they often involve decisions between the lesser of two evils.  Also if my path to happiness interfers whith others, who has priority?  May I steal your identiy or your wife if that is my path to happiness?  It wouldn’t be moral if you were a member of my tribe or society, but these actions have often been seen as moral if the person I am stealing from is outside my particular society.

Each individual must make his own choices

Maybe, but most of these choices are taken in the context of a group and what is best for it.

Note: definition of “value” that I am using:  A principle, standard or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 13 December 2010 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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garythehuman - 13 December 2010 12:36 PM

Robert:

I apologize for the reactions here, you are new and are not familar with our many previous discussions.  It also is helpful to keep your posts short.

Down to a few specifics:

The universe is eternal.  It has always existed, and always will.

Possibly, this is still open to scientific debate.

The universe began 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang. This is well understood. It has not always existed, and it may exist forever in some form. But the universe has certainly not always existed.

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“In the beginning, God created the universe. This has made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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Posted: 13 December 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“What’s it all about?” 
Does it have to be about anything? Maybe the beginning was an inevitable result of a fundamental mathematical probability.
If it is not, we end up with a physical causality (from where?) or supernatural motive (why?)

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

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Posted: 13 December 2010 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Darron:

The universe began 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang. This is well understood. It has not always existed, and it may exist forever in some form. But the universe has certainly not always existed.

Actually, according to an artcle in the Dec 4th Economist, two scientists, Roger Penrose of Oxford and Vahe Guradyan of Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia have presented evidence for a different theroy, that the universe is cyclic.  I am no expert, nor do I intend on becomming one, in this area, it has absolutely no importance in my life.  I am just leaving the possibility open for further scientific investigation.

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Posted: 13 December 2010 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I read about Penrose’s theory. The director of the WMAP project Penrose based his theory upon strongly intimated Penrose is misinterpreting noise in the data to fit his ideas. Penrose’s announcement has been met with almost universal skepticism. As always in science others will pore over the same data looking for conclusions. As of now, though, the standard Big Bang model is the best explanation we have for how the universe came to be as it is.

Frankly, I would be very excited if other scientists confirm Penrose’s theory, but it does not look good early on.

Edit: If the universe is cyclic, as Penrose claims, he faces a lot of work reconciling his theory with the accelerating expansion rate of the universe. Seems to me a cyclic universe requires it stop expanding and collapse before expanding again.

[ Edited: 13 December 2010 01:51 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 13 December 2010 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Robert Sproule - 11 December 2010 04:41 PM

DarronS
Dead Monkey
    Happiness is a value worth pursuing.

Happiness is self-delusion.  grin

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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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DarronS - 13 December 2010 12:51 PM

The universe began 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang. This is well understood. It has not always existed, and it may exist forever in some form. But the universe has certainly not always existed.

I really don’t see how this is right.

I understand that some scientific theories are also facts but I’d be amazed if the universe having a beginning is one of them.

Surely the factual part, if there is one at all, is that the universe was very very small about 13.7 billion years ago and went through a period of rapid exansion called the big bang. Not that it had a beginning.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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That is the beginning of all we can detect Stephen. Lacking solid evidence, any talk of what may have come before is mere speculation. The universe is amazing, I’ll grant you that.

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Posted: 13 December 2010 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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DarronS - 13 December 2010 01:28 PM

I read about Penrose’s theory. The director of the WMAP project Penrose based his theory upon strongly intimated Penrose is misinterpreting noise in the data to fit his ideas. Penrose’s announcement has been met with almost universal skepticism. As always in science others will pore over the same data looking for conclusions. As of now, though, the standard Big Bang model is the best explanation we have for how the universe came to be as it is.

Frankly, I would be very excited if other scientists confirm Penrose’s theory, but it does not look good early on.

Edit: If the universe is cyclic, as Penrose claims, he faces a lot of work reconciling his theory with the accelerating expansion rate of the universe. Seems to me a cyclic universe requires it stop expanding and collapse before expanding again.

Like I said its not my field, as such i just leave it open for futher possibilities.

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