Religium!

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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Fri May 10, 2013 4:47 pm

I am afraid your understanding of the scientific method is somewhat lacking. The scientific method is a specific multi-step process (hypothesis, experimentation, conclusion, among others) through which data can be generated and deemed worthy to be called science. My point was that this method has no way of proving its own validity. If we are to accept science as such we must understand that our basis for acceptance must lie outside the process itself.

Concerning ethics my point is that all people need some sort of supernatural construction in order to have a system of ethics (whether they recognize this or not). Nature cannot inform the ought, the normative aspects of our experience.

You state that ethics are based on artificial concepts. I do not want to put words in your mouth but it sounds as if you are putting forth what is essentially moral relativism. Without the transcendent there can be no ethics.
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Re: Religium!

Post by superbob1998 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:26 pm

..... I have a tendency to move from one religion to another.... I believe myself to be an Agnostic Atheist at the moment, but no religion or lack-there-of is seeming to be fit for me. :/

Well, I still have my whole entire life ahead of me.... Maybe I could spend some time contemplating about what I believe to be true, get my facts straight.

The main reason why I'm not Christian is because I come from a Christian family.... My father is quite religious but also accepts many scientific theories, but if I ask him about said theories, I don't ask him about it. I just accept the fact that he agrees with it. Every person is entitled to their own opinions/beliefs.

Back to the Christian family: Me being a part of the family made me a rather religious boy. I disliked going to church, though. Then, when Middleschool came around, I started to see things differently. I was able to see how when science is explained, it is actually explained and it has much room for improvement while, with most religions, what is to be believed is set in stone and is explained in a one way fashion with no room for improvement.
Another reason for my conversion to another religion or lack-there-of is because of my family being Christian. I grew up only knowing that a deity had control over my life and my future, and I didn't like that. I didn't like being a part of a "system". My slight rebellious traits also contributed to my shift of mind.

I see myself as a more educated person now. I'm a bit more open to new ideas and theories. The only real downside to my shift is that I feel confused. Every time I think about death, I get a headache, so I try to avoid the topic. There are so many questions to be asked, but the human mind can only handle so much. Being Christian made everything simpler. I felt happy. It seemed like the world was a bit of a better place, but now I can see the true bitterness of this planet.....

Most of my friends are Christians. Any time we start talking about religion, I try to change the subject. The subject of religion is a very sensitive one, so I try to avoid it.

.

I created this topic to hear a few opinions are share a few laughs (hence the reason for the link), but hopefully, this topic doesn't become too out of hand or I may have to do something about it.

Oh, wait, this is Drones. Why are we being so serious in Drones? Well, it's better to have this topic here than anywhere else, I assume.

*I DID THIS ALL WITH QUICK REPLY* :D
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Re: Religium!

Post by CuSToM_94 » Fri May 10, 2013 10:34 pm

I'd like to hear your opinions about ISLAM and Muslims :)
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Sat May 11, 2013 9:20 am

@ Edward Fox: sorry for my hard belief but I find this discussion very interesting :o

That's what I mean with the scientific method. During my studies for industrial engineer the method attracted me because of its power and potential. You think about a model and then do experimentations to check if your model is right. If it isn't you change your model and do some experiments again until they can explain each other. Then we make a risky assumption that the model is right because the experiments validate it (the experiment part is the validation). The assumption could still be wrong (as history shows us) but it is the 'best we've got' for the moment. The basis for acceptance is the experimentation part (which is part of the process but also outside it because it is a physical phenomena that cannot be false because it occurs). What I said before does not contradict this position, if it does then I did not explain myself well.

As for ethics I believe in universal ethics so I'm not a supporter of moral relativism :) . In fact I keep a journal where I try to define a universal moral reference... but that's just my interpretation. I don't see why you can't have ethics without a transcendent part. What harms life (in all its forms) is bad, what protects and improves the quality of life is good -> that's my 'assumption'. It is of course a general line, applying this for specific situations is not straightforward. It is an artificial concept because it is not written on a tree that it should be like that (that's what I meant with artifical concepts).

I'm afraid that we are both unconvincable :) . It's the funny part of being human: two peoples can be 100% sure that they are right while they believe in 2 completely different things! What will prove who is wrong and who is right?? I still hope that the discovery of intelligent alien life will put an end to these unending discussions between what view is wrong and what view is right...

@superbob1998: don't feel bad about starting this topic! Like you say, the place where you grow up is very important. Your consciousness is formed by your environment.
You either taste, feel, and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt, or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. You are either a rebel or a slave. - Chris Hedges

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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Sat May 11, 2013 1:40 pm

Still though the scientific method can only determine what is right insofar as science is concerned. To determine what is right "objectively" so to speak, one has to have faith in a system outside of science.

For example, if you conduct a scientific experiment and feed arsenic to a group of rats and all the rats die you can conclude that according to science arsenic is poisonous to rats. You cannot conclude, using science alone, that arsenic is poison in the larger, more objective sense. You need faith in the system you are using and science does not allow for faith in itself.

My point is not that science is wrong, only that it requires external justification. You cannot believe in science without having faith in science and science does not allow for such beliefs (nor can it verify itself) and thus such faith must come from an external force.
uatg wrote:
As for ethics I believe in universal ethics so I'm not a supporter of moral relativism :) . In fact I keep a journal where I try to define a universal moral reference... but that's just my interpretation. I don't see why you can't have ethics without a transcendent part. What harms life (in all its forms) is bad, what protects and improves the quality of life is good -> that's my 'assumption'. It is of course a general line, applying this for specific situations is not straightforward. It is an artificial concept because it is not written on a tree that it should be like that (that's what I meant with artifical concepts).
Thank you for the clarification.

The point that I am trying to make though is that you do need a transcendent reference if you want to construct any sort of ethical system. You mention the bad and the good. Such terms have no meaning unless one consults the supernatural.

For example, I am sure we can all agree that rape is wrong. The question now is why should this be so? The challenge that I propose is to show me that rape (or murder, theft, whatever you wish) is morally wrong without bringing in the supernatural and transcendent. So far as I can tell it cannot be done.
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Sun May 12, 2013 9:27 am

Thanks for clearing out your arguments. I think I understand what you want to mean what science is concerned. The problem is that 'faith' (in the religious sense at least) is something that I do not have so I cannot affirm your explanation. That being said, I'm not sure that we need an external justification for science and I surely think that 'creating' an artificial justification (e.i. supernatural, religion, etc...) will raise at least the same amount of questions then we already have (for example: how did the supernatural emerge?). I do admit that we need a state that can be used to relate everything with but it seems that some are satisfied with science while some want to go 'further' and need a supernatural explanation. Science is about the most objective level I can think of but I'm aware that others do not share that opinion.
Edward Fox wrote:The point that I am trying to make though is that you do need a transcendent reference if you want to construct any sort of ethical system. You mention the bad and the good. Such terms have no meaning unless one consults the supernatural.

For example, I am sure we can all agree that rape is wrong. The question now is why should this be so? The challenge that I propose is to show me that rape (or murder, theft, whatever you wish) is morally wrong without bringing in the supernatural and transcendent. So far as I can tell it cannot be done.
You wanna challenge me? :D . No Seriously, that's a good point. To be able to explain why such things are bad I need to use a reference frame. In that matter you are correct but instead of using the transcendent/supernatural as a reference frame I use another one (better? I don't know). Using my assumption I say that these things are wrong because
- they harm or decrease the quality of life (disrespect for lifeforms of any kind is bad)
- they show disrespect for the work that the former owner has put into acquiring the goods
- and maybe other reasons that require hours of reasoning or that I cannot grasp for the moment...

You may say that these assumptions I make are artificial but so is the assumption of a supernatural/transcendent state. What ethics are concerned I must conclude that it is impossible to declare something as universally bad or good as you always need a reference frame that is of artificial nature (because, as you pointed out, nature does not offer one). So in that matter - I believe - we agree. In my journal I'm simply trying to find the most 'universal' reference frame I can think of (by using natural concepts for example) with the knowledge that it will never be truly universal (because it is formed by my - probably - irrational subconsciousness).

But I too propose a challenge ;) . Show me why these vices are morally wrong by using supernatural/transcendent explanations. I'm convinced that they too support on a relative (and thus artificial) concept.
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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Sun May 12, 2013 11:46 am

With regard to science you do still need external justification and faith. This need no be a deep "religious" faith but it is faith nonetheless. Simply put why should you believe information which is the result of the scientific method at all? There is something within us, common sense, prudence, prejudice, faith, which is beyond any of our designed systems for gathering information.

We do need recourse to the supernatural because the natural only contains a very small part (the materialist part) of the human experience. Ethics, aestetics, philosophy, religion, law, language, art, music, are all supernatural (again defined as above and beyond nature) either wholly or in part. As to the question how did the supernatural emerge it could be answered that the supernatural is self-sufficient. Or it is essential in and of itself. Or it exists outside of time and thus the question as to its emergence is in itself unintelligible.

M,y point is that one cannot be satisfied with science alone if one looks closely. It cannot stand on its own (because it needs external verification) and is of limited use (it cannot be applied to the supernatural).

----------

Regarding ethics, I am not claiming that your system is artificial (it clearly is, as the scientific method is entirely man-made and has been around less than 500 years) but rather that it is insufficient for the reasons stated above.

Before we go any further I am confused by some of your statements. You said earlier that you are not a moral relativist. If you are not a moral relativist you must believe that morality is grounded in some objective transcendent and supernatural truth. Yet here you seem to deny the existence of such a truth.

I am wondering about your last line specifically.
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Mon May 13, 2013 9:34 am

Edward Fox wrote:
Before we go any further I am confused by some of your statements. You said earlier that you are not a moral relativist. If you are not a moral relativist you must believe that morality is grounded in some objective transcendent and supernatural truth. Yet here you seem to deny the existence of such a truth.

I am wondering about your last line specifically.
Yes I must clarify myself regarding that statement.

I'm not a moral relativist in the sense that I do not want to judge something relative to a particular culture, person or religion. A specific action occuring in culture A practising religion B should be judged in the same way as in a culture C that is practising religion D (and thus by different peoples too). There must be a moral reference frame so that whatever you do wherever in the world it should be judged the same way. So that is why I stated I am not a moral relativist.

But in my last post I admitted that there is not a 'given' universal reference frame to refer to (by nature or by anything else). So one could say that this is the end of my search and that it is futile to look for something that isn't there. But what I do believe in is that there are mechanisms out there (in nature for example) that we could use as a foundation for that reference frame I am trying to see. I would create an 'objective truth' based upon these mechanisms. I think it is the best approach for finding a neutral (= lose from any existing cultural, religious construction) and universal (= one that can be used by anyone in any situation) moral reference frame. I'm sure you do not agree with this but I prefer to base my moral on something that exists and not on concepts that are beyond my understanding.

What I meant with my last line is that you should try to show why the crimes you stated are morally wrong using supernatural and transcendent arguments. We all agree that they are bad and I'm sure we all use the same arguments so this implies we use the same reference frames. This implies that - without realizing - I used supernatural/transcendent arguments. Oh I see, during my reply I realized myself what you mean with supernatural/transcendent concepts. It seems that every argument that we use to judge an action with is of supernatural/transcendent nature. Am I correct? If that's correct I must admit I use a supernatural/transcendent reference frame (but totally independent of any religious construction) and I thus understand your confusion.

But as long as our moral culture is of the same quality it is of no importance which frame we use to judge or what 'story' we use as foundation.
You either taste, feel, and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt, or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. You are either a rebel or a slave. - Chris Hedges

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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Tue May 14, 2013 12:05 pm

But as long as our moral culture is of the same quality it is of no importance which frame we use to judge or what 'story' we use as foundation.[/quote]Thank you for the clarification. The only problem I have is your assertion that a framework must be neutral. After all science is grounded in European enlightenment thought and empiricist schools. Some (not you particularly) use the demand for an ahistoric acultural framework as a way to discount all positive previous developments out of hand. Skepticism is helpful but in my opinion it the search for the ahistoric and acultural too often leads to Jacobinism, Positivism, Bolshevism and Strausianism. (Similarly all men have their own God or Gods, real or artificial, whether they realize this or not.)

I agree with your statements on the universal, particularly that all systems, whatever they may be need to be judged on the same standards. I would argue though that the universal can be found, indeed is most often found, in the particular. Nearly all the positive developments of mankind have developed within a cultural and historic framework. (If you happen to be familiar with Edmund Burke I am essentially espousing his view of history.)
uatg wrote:

What I meant with my last line is that you should try to show why the crimes you stated are morally wrong using supernatural and transcendent arguments. We all agree that they are bad and I'm sure we all use the same arguments so this implies we use the same reference frames. This implies that - without realizing - I used supernatural/transcendent arguments. Oh I see, during my reply I realized myself what you mean with supernatural/transcendent concepts. It seems that every argument that we use to judge an action with is of supernatural/transcendent nature. Am I correct? If that's correct I must admit I use a supernatural/transcendent reference frame (but totally independent of any religious construction) and I thus understand your confusion.
Yes, you are essentially correct in understanding the point which I was putting forth. Essentially without the supernatural all of human experience become impossible to comprehend (both the material and the immaterial). Thank you for recognizing the need to consult the supernatural, so to speak. There are very few people who are not explicitly religious who are willing to admit their debt to a system beyond nature.
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Wed May 15, 2013 2:49 pm

Edward Fox wrote:The only problem I have is your assertion that a framework must be neutral. After all science is grounded in European enlightenment thought and empiricist schools. Some (not you particularly) use the demand for an ahistoric acultural framework as a way to discount all positive previous developments out of hand. Skepticism is helpful but in my opinion it the search for the ahistoric and acultural too often leads to Jacobinism, Positivism, Bolshevism and Strausianism. (Similarly all men have their own God or Gods, real or artificial, whether they realize this or not.)
Why shouldn't it be neutral? In order to be universally applicable, the framework must consist of applying the natural onto the artificial. The scientific method (in my opinion - I know you disagree on this) is closely related to that as it tries to define something lose from anything artificial - BUT - I also want to keep science away from ethics, as the former (again, in my opinion!) doesn't need a reference to the transcendent/supernatural as ethics eventually has to 'consult' it in one way or the other (through a religious or non-religious construct). So the ethical framework I would like to define should be completely lose from any historic or cultural product but also from science. This does not have to lead to the philosophies that you mentioned. In fact I don't like to refer to existing definitions when I am defining my framework because it should be grounded onto something natural and thus not yet 'transformed' by former human interpretation. I must admit that I'm not familiar with many literal works (I have heard of Burke but I am not familiar with his interpretation) or historic beliefs that cover this subject. I usually don't go so 'deep' and stay into the applied ethics departement (I love the works of E.F. Schumacher... except for his slightly religious belief ;) ).

I'm still confused why peoples refer to a religiously-inspired supernatural. It does not offer any answers and how can ethics be universal/neutral if it is based on the largest cultural construct Man has ever imagined? They both are artificial but the non-religious approach is, in my opinion, far more logical and universal...
Edward Fox wrote:Yes, you are essentially correct in understanding the point which I was putting forth. Essentially without the supernatural all of human experience become impossible to comprehend (both the material and the immaterial). Thank you for recognizing the need to consult the supernatural, so to speak. There are very few people who are not explicitly religious who are willing to admit their debt to a system beyond nature.
That I rejected the supernatural/transcendent was because I had a different idea about it but it seems that it is has a wide definition. So I do consult the so-called supernatural because plain science or rational thought do not suffice to form a human-friendly ethical framework. That said, ethics is indeed something beyond nature but it does not mean that you can't use nature as a basis for (applied) ethics.
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