Atheism & Intelligence

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by garbonzo, May 21, 2013.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,620
    Actually, the fear of God/Hellfire does make people a nuisance in my neck of the woods. Every week I someone knocks on my door and threatens me with that.

    To those who believe that morality rests on religion I ask, which religion? I will demand historical proof that the religion has indeed prevented immorality.

    "The mark of intelligence is the ability to entertain a thought without believing it" is a wonderful observation.

    The reverse is true also, "The mark of stupidity is ability to entertain a belief without thought".
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596

    I have a couple of issues with this example. First, for this "moral realism" to have any value, the tormenter has to be someone who subscribes to the notion in the first place. Otherwise, appealing to this so-called objective measure will be no more effective than appealing to our own personal measures of right and wrong. So in that sense, moral realism is just another belief one has to hope the tormenter shares.

    Secondly, subjective values aren't random. They're rooted in logic and reason, for the most part. Sound arguments for moral behavior can be made irrespective to one's own personal values. For instance, you could explain to the tormenter the potential dangers of a society in which the strong abuse the weak, and how by propagating such behavior, he's setting himself up to suffer the same fate as the person he's now tormenting.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    I'm quoting your own words, scifes. You don't get to pretend you didn't say it now.

    It was an example of what you consider to be typical behavior of atheists who choose not to live peacefully. The same group you said you'd be in if you were an atheist.

    Do you not know what "latter" means? You gave two examples: Those who choose to live peacefully (former), and those who do not (latter). You put yourself in the second group (latter).

    Again, I can only assume you've gotten yourself into this mess by confusing the terms "former" and "latter." Is that what happened? Or are you really just pretending you didn't say something you very obviously did?

    Feel free to report me. You're in the wrong on this, so I'll be here waiting for your apology.

    You really need to stop using words you don't know the meanings of. It's gotten you into trouble before, and in this case it just makes you look silly.

    Agreed. Now, let's get on to the question you so cowardly ducked in my last post:

    If you wouldn't rape babies and abduct women as an atheist, what would keep you from doing so?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,632
    Just to clarify things, 'moral realism' isn't something I made up. It's the subject of a long-standing dispute about the foundations of ethics:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-realism/

    In a nutshell, a moral realist argues that 'X is wrong' is a proposition that states the fact that X is wrong. In other words, moral realists think that statements about right, wrong, should and shouldn't state truths about the universe analogous to the laws of physics.

    Moral non-realists such as the moral-instinct theorists suggest that there really isn't any fact of the matter regarding what's good and bad, or right and wrong. What we call 'good' and 'bad' simply states what pleases or offends our (it's unclear whether this means individual or the consensus of the larger group) human social instincts.

    The problem is that if all our moral theory succeeds in doing is explaining why people sometimes apply moral labels to things, it still hasn't answered the question of whether people ought to say that some things are right or wrong.

    When people make moral judgements, they usually mean a lot more than merely 'X offends my sensibilities' or 'X is inconsistent with the beliefs of my social group'. When people say that 'slavery is wrong', they aren't just saying that it's believed to be wrong in the contemporary society they live in. They are saying that it was wrong in all other times and places too, whatever the people in those times and places might have thought about it. Slavery is just... wrong... and that's a fact.

    So... my suggestion is that even if it's true (as I believe it to be) that human social instincts lie at the core of our moral judgements, it might also be true that those instincts incline human beings to project their moral intuitions onto the universe around them and to treat those intuitions as if they were objective facts about the world itself. Even if moral realism is literally false, people seem driven to assume something very close to it whenever they are making moral judgements.
     
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    Why is that a problem?

    So?

    I mean, I know that sounds blunt, but I can think of no other response.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    As I noted earlier, instinct. We're obligate carnivores with no fangs or claws, so the only way we can get enough to eat is to hunt as a pack.

    Other pack hunters like lions and wolves maintain civil relations with their pack-mates the same as we do and for the same reason, even though they actually do have fangs and claws. They can bring down bigger game as a group, so everybody eats better.

    We're only a few hundred generations downstream from the Paleolithic Era, not long enough for evolution to mutate the DNA in our brains for major changes in our instinctive behavior. The only significant change I see (and some other writers agree) is that we've increased the definition of our "pack." As we've advanced from hunting and gathering to farming and herding to city-dwelling to empires based on metallurgy to industrial societies to an information-based economy, we get more goodies for less labor.

    This requires us to not "rape babies and abduct women" who live thousands of miles from our homes, but the goodies are worth the sacrifice. There's no shortage of women anywhere in the Western world, and they're a lot more fun to have intercourse with than babies. (I do not know this from personal experience or even hearsay, but I'm quite sure it's true.)
     
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    I'm well aware of that. But he was the one to make the claim that atheists have no logical reason for not doing so, so I'm curious as to what, if anything, would keep him from behaving that way, were he an atheist.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    It can be argued that no animal, human or otherwise, has logical reasons for their fundamental behavior--survival, mating, group dynamics, etc. It's all programmed by instinct.

    However, the instincts themselves can easily be seen as logical. If animals didn't have the instinct to eat, they would die before they reach reproductive age so the species would become extinct quickly. If they didn't have the instinct to copulate, the same fate would befall them a few weeks, months or years later.

    If primitive humans didn't have the pack-social instinct, most of them would die because a single human (in the era before the invention of flint blades and subsequent, more powerful weapons) would be very hard-pressed to hunt down enough prey to provide enough animal protein to maintain his metabolism. (The protein in grains and legumes is indigestible without cooking, and controlled fire was another technology that was not invented until quite recently. The protein in nuts and seeds, many of which can be eaten raw, does not have a complete balance of amino acids and cannot sustain a human for more than a year or so without the balance of grain or legume protein.)

    It's this pack-social instinct that drives all of our "civilized" behaviors. We simply have to live in harmony and cooperation with our pack-mates, because we need them for sheer survival.

    This is logical, but it is the logic of the natural universe, not the logic of the human brain. The same logic that allows planets to orbit their stars, allows water to remain in a liquid state between 0C/32F and 100C/212F, and allows bits of matter to attract and repel each other through the Four Elementary Forces.

    When you get right down to it, it's even the same logic that makes one plus one equal two and today follow yesterday.

    We can't take credit for the things the universe does for us.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  12. Anew Life isn't a question. Banned

    Messages:
    461
    hi,
    reading here I value much of what I have read, yet gnaw on the flaw of precept of 'pack' being an everpresent chain in society. Yes, it is good to have encourageing relatives of friend and family and recreation, grocery stores homestores and trinket and clothing stores..

    Quality is simple, not packish...Yet Sir Fraggle I am glad to be reminded of comfort and Quality.

    Humans created the word pack, and conitue to max the word out in many less efficient ways.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    "Pack" is my own word for the smaller groups that certain animals form, such as wolves, lions, elephants, horses, dolphins, humans and a couple other species of ape. Packs act in group coordination, for finding food and/or repulsing predators. As such, each member has to regard the others as beloved and essential. They protect each other and each other's children. Elephants mourn the loss of a pack-mate and visit his grave periodically. If in their travels they come upon the corpse of an elephant who died alone, they become very solemn. Poor fellow: he had no pack. Let's adopt him posthumously.

    The other common kind of social species is herd-social. This is more common since it is a fairly standard arrangement for grazers. The herd dynamic guides them to food that the lead cow finds, but other than that, and forming a bulwark to protect the young from predators, there isn't much in the way of intense socializing. They try not to knock each other over, but they don't defend each other from predators, and if one dies the others will simply step over the corpse.

    These are my words, for the very good reason that I have never encountered a discussion of these phenomena by actual biologists, so I have no idea what the proper scientific terminology is. Birds, insects and other animals have some different social structures, such as flock-social and hive-social. (Again: my words.) But in my admittedly limited understanding, I think mammals only come in solitary, pack-social and herd-social.

    So don't blame science for the word "pack."

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  14. Aquatic Ape Registered Member

    Messages:
    6
    I was the first kid in my class to notice religion was crap. The others laughed at me. My brother is in mensa and I was invited. In my opinion only gullible idiots fall for the supernatural. Whether its L.Ron hubbards Scientology or Jesus's Christianity its all cults. In fact Jesus had less followers than hubbard at the time of his death so technically Christianity is an even bigger cult than scientology.
     
  15. Aquatic Ape Registered Member

    Messages:
    6
    I want to see an Atheism Party. That would be worthy of my vote. The rest are full of crazy religious cultists.
     
  16. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,364
    Believing that God exists doesn't mean that the believer hasn't thought things through and follows blindly without any intellectual thought. That said, faith is not an intellectual concept. It is a belief in evidence of things not yet seen. I believe in God and I don't follow a pack mentality nor do I believe in God because of my mere upbringing. I take issue with Christians who wish to force feed their opinions onto others but it is rather odd to think all people who believe in God are somehow intellectually challenged or for lack of a better word, stupid. It is a choice to believe or not. CS Lewis was a brilliant writer and went from being a self proclaimed atheist to a follower of Christianity. Not remotely a stupid man. If someone disbelieves in God, that is his/her choice but I don't understand why the need to broad brush Christians as stupid or crazy, simply because one disagrees with that belief system.

    If someone chooses to not believe in God, so be it. I have more atheist friends than Christian and they are always polite in their views about it with me. As I am with them. No name calling or labeling. We are all human and we have more in common than not, and respecting someone's belief while u may not believe it yourself, doesn't make you appear weak. We can all agree to disagree with kindness. I believe so anyways.

    I'm more of a live and let live person. As long as someone's belief system doesn't hurt another, etc...I don't really have an issue with it. Religion and moral debates to me, should not be intertwined with our government and political system. I think that is where a lot of the turmoil comes in. Likewise, faith based groups should be allowed their freedoms too as long as those beliefs don't infringe on others. In other words, I think both sides can coexist and rather peacefully. Just takes a little effort.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Just my two cents on it, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Indeed. There are millions of obviously brilliant people who are also religious.

    Many scientists scrupulously adhere to the scientific method during the day--meaning that any assertion which is presented without evidence must be assumed to be false. But when they take off their lab coats and go home, they adhere to a religious belief.

    Even though, in the lab, a belief with no evidence must be summarily rejected, in personal life everyone is free to believe anything they want.

    I can't speak for all atheists, but (unless I'm in a crappy mood, which is rather easy to acquire here

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ) I only find Christians abhorrent when they assert that their belief is obviously correct and that it is we who are the fools for not understanding that.

    It's perfectly okay to say that even though one has no evidence to support a hunch/belief/fantasy/dream/whatever, in one's heart one is still sure that it's true, that one won't be dissuaded, and we're wasting our breath when we argue against it from a cold, rational, scientific position. What is NOT okay is to insist that other people must adopt this hunch/belief/fantasy/dream/whatever, based only on one's own assertion, which admittedly has no supporting evidence.

    What is even LESS okay is to lie to us and insist that there is evidence--such as the frauds perpetrated by the creationist cabal.

    And what is positively, absolutely, under no circumstances okay is to tell us that we must adopt this hunch/belief/fantasy/dream/whatever or we'll be killed/imprisoned/marginalized/deported--or merely accosted and subjected to sermons every time we walk outside. There is so much of this going on (have you looked at a newspaper lately?) that you must understand that we've had about all we can take. Sure, it's not right for us to put the Presbyterian family in the the next block in the same category as the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian theocracy, the Westboro Baptists and the rest of the Religious Redneck Retard Revival in the USA, the... well, if I actually took the time to write the complete list of these threats to civilization, then you'd probably understand why I can't help being just a teeny bit wary of the Presbyterians.

    After all, a thousand years ago, Iberia under the rule of Muslim Arabs was an oasis of rationality and tolerance, where modern science and mathematics were being elaborated without fretting over conflicts with a literal interpretation of the Koran, where Christians were accepted unremarkably, and where Jews had more freedom than they'd had since the fall of Israel, and that they would have until a few of them made their way to China 500 years later or to the USA 500 years after that. But look at the Muslim world today. The seductive fairytales of religion have a way of corrupting entire civilizations. Who's to say that the Presbyterians are immune to this seduction?
     
  18. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,364
    Agreed!

    The irony of christians who are trying to force their way onto others is...Jesus Himself, was never like this. lol In fact, He instructed His Apostles to go to the surrounding villages, preach the Gospel message, and should people not be welcoming, etc...to leave the village. 'Shake the dust from your feet.' It alarms me for lack of a better word, that christians throughout the centuries have not adhered to this very powerful passage in the Bible. But, that said...we are all not like that.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    To your point about 'seductive fairytales of religion.' Because I believe in God, I don't feel what I believe is a fairy tale. At the same time, it honestly doesn't bother me that you think what I believe is a fairy tale. lol You know? I don't really understand the fight that both sides have to go at it, taking it to the mattresses so to speak, in an attempt to sway the other side. Who cares if you think that what I believe is bunk?

    The purpose I chime in here is just to say, that many Christians are good hearted, intelligent people who just believe something that an atheist doesn't. That's it, really. Some christians twist the Bible for their own misdeeds. There are also atheists who do their own misdeeds. I don't say...'well, if only he/she believed in God...' lol I just believe that as humans, we are fallible. Whether we believe in God or not...we will make errors in judgement. We will do things that are wrong. It is part of the human condition, if you will.

    Going with the fairytale comment, though. While there are PEOPLE WITHIN CIVILIATIONS who commit atrocities by misrepresenting their own religion...there are others who do a lot of good for the world, ''following'' their religion. Mother Teresa and Gandhi come to mind. Again, not without their own flaws, they forged to create change, based largely on their own faith and belief system. Creating change in a positive way.

    So...there will be good and bad in both camps.

    Off topic...but, I just want to say also...you are a very kind man. And you truly ''listen'' to people on here; you are tactful and respectful in response. So, thank you.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. quinnsong Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,621
    @ Wegs


    Fraggle is one of my favs, and even if I do not always agree with him, he usually states his case respectfully and with oodles of common sense. Having said that, Fraggle can also be well umm :jason: when you get his dander up!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,620
    If it not an intellectual concept, how does one "believe"?

    There is a real intellectual word for the concept of "that which may become reality". It is the definition of the word Potential.

    We use this word almost daily in all segments of society all over the world, but people seldom stop to think about the profound implications of the word Potential. The one thing that sets it apart from a belief in a God is, Potential is an inherent quality of anything which may or may not become reality, but without assigning intelligence or emotion to the process.
     
  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,364
    Lol duly noted

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Becoming one of my faves too. Wish more were like him.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  22. schema Registered Member

    Messages:
    94
    I believe that science is a religion in itself.
     
  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,364
    I meant to reply to this when u posted it. My apologies.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Potential...a core difference between that and faith in God, is I believe in a Creator. Potential doesn't create. It is the energy that may be created...by us. It is subjective in nature. I think the theory of it is fine, but to me ...there is a fundamental difference because it can't create on its own.

    Potential needs me. But I need God. Of course this is my belief and in no way, do I force it on another.
    Thank you always taking the time to reply with thoughtful posts. I notice those things. Lol

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     

Share This Page