Why be good?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Elohist, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    That's an interesting statement.
    IMO, there is a third option. a) I would rephrase it "there can be no universal goodness without a universal badness."
    Sometimes what seems bad is good, and sometimes, what seems good is bad.

    Professor Bartlett has a wonderful lecture where he explains that the "exponential function" may seem good in the short term, but can actually be bad in the long term.

    Thus its might not necessarily be a question of morality but of probability.
    Natural Selection functions that way, implacably and with no moral attachment.
    I really recommend this lecture, it has profound implications.
     
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Does this not assume there is an objective element of what is good or bad, rather than it being a wholly subjective notion? I rather see the issue of good and bad being subjective, even if some of that subjectivity is consistent through the human populace (bearing in mind that widespread subjectivity is not the same as objectivity).
    If one assumes that the universe is inherently neutral, then "good" can only have meaning as a relative notion, the opposite being "bad".
    On the other hand, if one assumes the universe is designed with a level of objective "good" then they would need to explain further.

    Apologies, I haven't watched the video (no access at work) so apologies if he addresses what I say...
    The function itself is neutral. It is simply a descriptor of the change in relative size of a population over time.
    "Good" and "bad" are our subjective views of the change in the population in question, not of the function itself. What is good or bad are the benefits or costs of what the resultant change in population will mean for what I place value on.
    To talk of a mathematical function as good or bad is, in my view, rather odd.
     
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly, except you do not have any control over it. the mathematical function is an implacable form of transmitting information. Objectively that makes it an amoral function of maintaining balance. and that presents a duality of results, from a subjective human moral standpoint. A Good result or a Bad result. That is the functional nature of Natural Selection. A quote from Hellstrom's Chronicles, "life must take life to continue"

    Bartlett explains that the exponential function forbids continual steady growth of a population (or of anything) especially where resources are scarce. It is inevitable that even with abundant resources the earth can only sustain a limited amount of populations, before Bad things begin to happen. this is proven by the introducing the Japanese Carp in the great lakes.
    Bartlett begins his lecture with, "the least understood mathematical function in all of mathematics is the exponential function. And then he explains how it works in very simple real life terms terms and why there has to be , what we call Good and Bad, whether we like it or not, but also the human dilemma which method of population control to use.
     
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly, except you do not have any control over it. the mathematical function is an implacable form of transmitting information. Objectively that makes it an amoral function of maintaining balance. and that presents a duality of results, from a subjective human moral standpoint. A Good result or a Bad result. That is the functional nature of Natural Selection. A quote from Hellstrom's Chronicles, "life must take life to continue"

    Bartlett explains that the exponential function forbids continual steady growth of a population (or of anything) especially where resources are scarce. It is inevitable that even with abundant resources the earth can only sustain a limited amount of populations, before Bad things begin to happen. this is proven by the introducing the Japanese Carp in the great lakes.
    and this;

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    Bartlett begins his lecture with, "the least understood mathematical function in all of mathematics is the exponential function. And then he explains how it works in very simple real life terms terms and why there has to be , what we call Good and Bad, whether we like it or not, but also the human dilemma who should choose the method of zero growth, nature or us, which will be the greatest dilemma man has had to deal with, which method of population control to use. Gradual (good) or Catastrophic (bad).
     
  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Good can be defined as the most logical way to optimize an extrapolated situation. Bad can be defined as a random choice that does not optimize beyond itself. Like the exponential function, when the curve is close to zero, Y is small. As the curve approaches infinity the number maximizes toward a constant.

    For example, in the 10 Commandments, we have thou shall not steal. The thief may define stealing as good, since this is how he earns his living. Stealing may be optimized for him, but this choice is not optimizing beyond himself, because his thievery will cause a ripple effect making a wider ranged system, become less optimized. Every victim has lost some of their trust in strangers.

    An optimized system of good, would not allow anyone to steal, so there is more cooperation and less feelings of violation and defensiveness. This state is the exponential curve approaching steady state; benefits the most. Like the asymptote, it may never reaches the limit, because the thief will not feel optimized, and would prefer keep the curve near zero; selfish is considered bad.

    Good and evil are not relative but is based on what is close to the limit for all versus what is close to one or zero. Evil also reaches a limit of optimization, but for a much smaller group, which may not even benefit itself in an objective way. This is why the Satan is often connected to free will and choice that deviates away from natural optimization; the asymptotic limit that maximizes nature.

    The concept of relative good and evil is evil because it makes people think they are optimizing the herd, while in fact they dissociated the herd until it is every person for themselves; back toward zero. The melted pot approaches a limit that maximizes all, while diversity goes the other way toward the zero point. Ultimately, each person begins to think they are their own unique culture. The larger system loses optimization.

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    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    You are addressing the human moral interpretation of good and bad. Nature does not make such distinctions. It functions in accordance to strict natural mathematical laws.

    When a population outgrows its resources, bad things happen, usually a major portion of that population (including many good and religious people) dies, which is a "bad" thing, but it stabilizes the ratio between population numbers and available resources, which is a "good" thing.

    This a fundamental universal law of cause and effect. There is no good nor evil in the universe, just probabilistic (mathematical) determinism.

    I have no objection to spirituality as long as it recognizes, that it is a human invention.
    I admire true Buddhists who are atheist but live a life of moderation and personal introspection in all things, which is in agreement with the laws of "stable systems".

    I consider greed the greatest sin. This practice of collecting started way back when ants would gather and store food for "bad" times. Of course an ant has no idea of good or bad. It just serves the hive. Later, many animals adopted this survival skill. But in nature, animals only take or store what they need and no more, which ends up in a stable environment and population with a near zero long term population growth.

    OTOH, humans have no such natural restrictions. We take, not what we need, but what we want and as we can artificially increase our food resources, humans have become an invasive species, killing its environment. As Bartlett clearly demonstrated that the earth's constantly growing population will inevitably result in scarcity of resources, along with it's "bad" results.

    Thus I have no objection to religion speaking of "mortal sins" and "living virtues", but that is a long way from a sentient and motivated creator who made humans in his image. I find it a ancient and simplistic belief system which has had no effect on human good and bad behavior, because each religion claims exclusive truth, which makes it logically impossible to come to spiritual agreement, or establish empathy. History is testament to that.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  10. birch Valued Senior Member

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    I use to think this myself, it seems so logical, doesn't it? that there was no good and evil but simply a seesaw between needs and surplus or lack. So desperation would compel to desperate acts etc. But then, like most things, that logic did not apply on another level because there are humans that take more than is needed not just to hoard in cases of scarcity but just because they can and have no ethics or empathy for another. Compounding this, a being has the capability to inflict pain also just because it can or even for pleasure, not self-defense. There is an inherent lack of empathy/sympathy which is the root of evil. IT EXISTS FRONT AND CENTER. Like with anything, there are exceptions and nothing fits cookie-cutter into a pre-supposed formula.

    Which made me realize, the true test of good and evil is when there is abundance and then you see that evil doesn't abate. It just becomes gratuitous based on pleasure, stimulation, ego, vanity or any excuse a being can come up with. simply, because it can. Which makes me wonder, if a developed brain can be so corrupt and twisted to 'play' with life at it's expense, how much more evil and a monster is a being beyond us.

    You think it's about balance but it's about power and how and who wields that power indicates the quality and definition of good and evil.

    this is the blindspot and stupidity of such cold logic as 'this is a human invention' when good and evil affects lifeforms. humans are not an abstract invention, as if we don't matter. so therefore what affects us is not abstract. reducing us to math, does not negate our qualitative experiences. we are the ones who are experiencing it so therefore good and evil does have qualitative effect and it's therefore, real. Just as a brain can and with knowing intent decide upon an action aware of it's cause and effect. That is not abstract as the results will be real. The difference being that it has no effect on the universe is not the point which is really the basis of your point of view. We exist. Interestingly, that is really similar to fundamental religion that places God's will above human consideration.

    Reducing everything to the scientific abstract and meaningless is dishonest logic. You have to pare down and ignore everything else and focus only on the abstract in order to do this.

    We can think and we can feel and other lifeforms are aware of this too. Now, consider what this recipe means? Yes. good vs evil. Even developed concepts are real.

    Your logic is like saying a painting that has been developed and in a frame does not actually exist but reducing it down to carbons.

    Or if i were to fling acid in your face, just out of jealousy, that it is neither good nor evil because it is a human invention according to your definition. That is moronic to the extreme. Everything is focused only on the physical and mundane (acid/face) when life has various levels. My intent to harm you with flinging acid in your face because i know it would damage is not considered or ignored which is where we can evaluate good and evil. that is where it starts: consciousness. you are dismissing the responsibility inherent with consciousness.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  11. birch Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/69...-to-death-after-drinking-cyanide-laced-coffee

    So you don't think this is evil? So you think that occurences such as this is merely cause and effect? So this is all your robotic brain can detect? You as another living being can only see that it's just the poison causing the death and that's it, right?

    Of course, good and evil is a human invention because humans exist and are 'alive' and conscious and are therefore capable of knowing good vs evil as well as cause and effect. They implement it all the time. The clue is this: inventions are real too.

    I really want to take people who think there is no good and evil to task. If there were no good or evil, why would society make such actions illegal? Because of self-preservation and the balance of the whole? That is the only reason?

    Let's use your cold mathematical logic. What if this were a person who was not needed by society or would not be missed, should this change the legality? So are rules of law only based on society's needs?

    So are you telling me, that empathy for another living being, is not really the point?

    If that is the case, then your type of logic that some have admitted here, means that slavery, human trafficking, drug trafficking, corporate and governmental corruption etc is neither good nor evil and there is nothing wrong with it. That is what you really mean but don't want to say or don't realize what you are saying. The reason being is all these things are done to benefit someone or the pleasure of someone, even if it's not you or at your expense.

    So never complain or fight for your rights on any matter, otherwise you are a hypocrite. The world and society doesn't need you either and the world will go on just fine without you. if you get abducted by terrorists, remember to tell them it's okay because there is no good nor evil, it's abstract. if your daughter/son are kidnapped, tell your wife it's okay since there is no good nor evil, it's just abstract. after all, one can say to you, that is not good (right) nor evil (wrong) and it's a human invention (like unicorns).
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    The human moral concepts of good and evil are inventions of humans. This is how humans identify intentional actions by other humans, which are either beneficial or detrimental to other humans, animals, and natural resources.

    The universe has no such "intentional actions". Natural actions are determined by natural physical conditions, which are resolved by mathematical imperatives. When a volcano blows up and kills thousands of people and animals, and destroys a 1000 acres of forest, is that an "evil" act?

    In reality it is a natural function of too much internal pressures which are then released, killing everything in its path. You cannot attach any human moral imperative to that, but a religionist could make a case that god is a very cruel being, bringing down such widespread destruction and misery. Remember, we used to sacrifice virgins to appease the fire god that lives below the volcano.

    The concept of God having anything to do with naturally occurring events is the human blind spot and stupidity. It's a human invention and only affects humans on a mental (spiritual) level. The rest of life on earth is oblivious to such notions. They act without aforethought, but follow their inherited traits which have proven to be successful only to survival itself. They have no other needs and are unable to imagine having more than they need.

    Again, greed is a purely human attribute, which we have even recognized in scripture.
    Without greed, there would be no clear-cut forests, no pollution of the air, rivers, lakes, oceans. The world would be a better place without human blind spots and stupidity, in spite of our ability to scientifically observe and draw conclusions, which are promptly ignored by the irrational assumption that "God's will be done" anyway.

    But it is not God's will (intention) that is being done. It is how nature functions.
    I like the secular expression, "Don't mess with Mother Nature", because that is a clear scientific warning that "for every action, there is a reaction", and that includes human action.

    Nature is neither good or evil in intent or desire. It acts in accordance to mathematically deterministic conditions and if we don't live within its natural mathematical rules, bad things happen.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Humans can invent things not found in nature. Cell phones do not grow on trees. Civilization is not natural, but is a product of human activity, with humans having choice and will power, that can go beyond natural. Good and evil is an interpretation of human extrapolation of natural; invention and choice.

    Good and evil is a system of value judgements, based on the impact of inventions and choices, which optimize the group, versus that which does not optimize the group. This can have an extrapolated impact on nature; extrapolated group optimization. The animal has no choice but to be natural, therefore what it does is not defined as good and evil. But humans have choice that goes beyond natural instinct.

    In the bible, good and evil is connected to Satan and the tree of knowledge of good of evil. Knowledge of good and evil implies something that is invented, learned and taught. It is something that is acquired, and is not innate like animal instinct. For example, PC defines good and evil words. This is not natural or innate. It arbitrarily assigns good and evil values to noises that human make. This was invented, taught, conditioned and learned and then enforced by laws of good and evil. This is not natural. If it was innate, we would not need to sell and buy it in the political market place.

    Knowledge of good and evil has a connection to law. Law teaches us what is considered evil by the group, as well as how the individual needs to behave to optimized itself with the group; thou shall not pollute. This may or may not reflect objective reality, since political groups often reverse laws that the other assigns as good and evil. Illegal immigration was defined as good a few months ago and now it is defined by law as something bad.

    God's laws are not about subjective good and evil that can change. These are more like natural laws for the human will and choices which endure. It takes into consideration human choice and will, and therefore what is not natural, but which nevertheless can be made objective, like natural laws. it optimizes a new layer of selection based on choice and free will.

    When you add invention, it is not always clear cut if it is bad or good or how we need to define it. A new medicine may start out with the best of intent; tries to optimize the health of the group. This will often be defined as good. But as time goes on, if there are too many side affects that do harm, at an objective level, we may redefine it as evil. Often law and knowledge of good and evil is a learning curve, with no clear cut bottom line that will last forever. As we learn and approach steady state, this is called God's laws, to differentiate this end state in time; the asymptote of the exponential curve as it approaches infinity.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  14. river Valued Senior Member

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    To be Good evolves Humanity beyond instinctive reactions .

    To be Good is about Humanities survival in the holistic .
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yup. Good and Bad/Evil are human inventions.
     
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  16. river Valued Senior Member

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    Experience and the ability to think . Is what distinguishs between all three.

    Good is advanced thinking . Invention sure , thought though is an advancement upon instinct .

    Bad/evil are primiative instinctual thoughts and thinking .
     
  17. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    It's not up to you, your chosen.
     
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Because we know the "rules", but can also break them, for awhile, until we get penalized and our game ends.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  19. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    For example, the rules of PC define good and evil with respects to certain noises and sounds people make and want to hear. These rules are not written anywhere in historical texts, but is a new human invention. In this case, there is ambiguity in terms of what is good and what is a evil because it is a fad.

    Do we go along with longer term good based on wisdom, or do you go along with the short term good, based on fad? If we go long term, this will be good with respect to long term wisdom, but may be defined as evil, by the fad. This is the main problem associated with eating at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of knowledge is a belief system of good and evil that may be a manmade fad.

    Here is what often happens, using PC as an example. Good and evil are subjective, when faddish, yet it will be treated as objective. This will justify using force to subjugate people who do not go along. The subjugation of others is evil both in ancient and modern times. If you bully someone, who is not going along with a subjective human invention of good and evil, good becomes evil.

    As another example, the left will define their position as good, while the position of the right will be defined as evil. This is also done the other way. This is subjective. The left is now bearing false witness against Trump, calling that good. False witness is universally defined as evil. But because a fad redefines it as good, it is still not good, in terms of the preponderance of the historical good-evil data.

    This is why Jesus did away with law of good and evil. One can never come to the truth, since it is too easy to confuse good and evil and then justify evil in the name of good; suicide bombers. The suicide bomber thinks they are doing good based on their belief system; ends justices the means. The righteous man lives by faith, which means you flow with your inner voice, giving one the flexibility to shift positions but not linger. This lowers the need to force anything on anyone, less you do evil in the name of good.

    Love your enemy was connected to the enemy of your own household; your belief system based on good and evil. Love your enemy separates your projections of evil, due to the conditioned belief system, from the person, since in the end this all does not matter.
     
  20. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Censorship rules and verbal etiquette aren't anything new (in general context). But it may seem that something novel is transpiring with respect to the non-traditionalist side of the political spectrum becoming super-strict and intolerant of certain kinds of free speech. And to large extent it may be that segment of the Millennial generation which grew up in over-protected circumstances who desire censorship policies to protect people from personal offenses. Not necessarily any ideological polarity that the attitude / movement conforms to. (Heck, I might arguably be a fringe Millennial depending on what extreme [begin] year the non-consensus start and end posts are varyingly set at; the term itself is blatantly misleading with its "from 2000 onward", face-value suggestion. [EDIT] Even the post-Millennial "Generation-Z" begins in the mid-90s, in some schemes.)

    - - -
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Great. Another thread derailed into politics...
     

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