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For all the Athiests.........

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posted on Nov, 23 2006 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by dominicus
Shiluhud,
What esle would be the casue of me reaching this spiritual enlightenment, when it happened at the same time that I was building my Love towards God at such a rate that I never knew doing such a thing was possible? I don't see or can find no eveidence that it was anything other than this, being that all my effort was in seeking out God, and then "it" happened.
Your subjective opinion however it was derived is STILL not proof of any deity. Look at it this way, What if your enlightenment actually came from satan because he knew your weakness for god, tricking you into believing it was from god? (not that I believe that either, just giving you an opinion from your side of the fence - Kind of)


Another point I wanted to mention is that there's no way the majority of thiests in the world could be "tricked" into following Christ. Based on the World Almanac, there are over 2 billion Christians world-wide. I don't see how 2 Billion people can blindly follow something that you think is a myth. The fact is that many Christians taste different amounts of this spiritual enlightenment I speak of as there are different levels and amounts of the experience. The things that Christ did while he was here, including ressurection, where so huge that the World was changed by these events and never the same since in a positive way. Let's see you start a myth that changes the World, where time has to restart on all world calendars and you have over 2 billion followers. Better yet show me another myth that did the same. Even the scientific does not refute his existance, only what he has done while he was here.


First off , of the 2 billion christians there are over 1500 different denominations each with their own version of what the bible means, who and what jesus was etc - hell even people with the same denomination cant even agree, so dont put it across that 2 billion people think the same thing. Secondly christianity has been a forcefull religion, inflicting its superstition around the world for centuries, that is the only reason it is so prolific. On the subject of calendars did you happen to note that not all use the gregorian (jesus) version?? Also the debate is still ongoing as to whether jesus was a historical person or just a myth - Me personally am leaning more towards myth but there are one or two things that dissuade me.


Einstein was not talking about God in that statement, but he might as well be. Basically he's saying that our intelligence should be enough to realize that our intelligence can't fathom the mysteries of existence itself. Since we can't fathom existence itself, how can we fathom God? Check point for agnostics, but yet I will say again that spiritual enlightenment enables you to have additional spiritual intelligence to fathom God and the Biblicial precepts guide you to this arena.
Einstein was not talking of a supernatural entity but of the forces of the universe. And again you presume your experience was from your god.


About morals, I meant to say that the core morals are universal amongst most dominant religious views. Do not kill another, steal, cheat, lie, etc, etc.
They may be dominant religious views but that doesn't mean that religion founded these views (which by the way they didn't), so these core morals can be used and are used by anyone not just religious people.


I feel that I have authority to say that your view that God does not exist is wrong, because I have tasted of Spiritual Enlightenment along with countless others, in which the person my situation is given additional "tools" to fathom God, or better yet come face to face with God in one of many ways. Againt this is not arrogance that I am implying, but Love and compassion and me wishing of how much I would give both my hands and feet away (perhaps even sacrifice myself) for even one of you to experience this.
Again you presume to know from a subjective experience you had. You can never know anything 100%




G




posted on Nov, 24 2006 @ 02:17 AM
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Ok,
So presumming Satan tricked me by giving me this experience. What would his motivation be, if the only thing that happened to me was to change all my old ways of sin and spend the majority of my time, researching, focusing, and being in contemplating and Loving God? If he tricked me then it backfired, and pressuming he does exist, the Bible references him as being one of the greatest angels ever created.....so he wouldn't put forth a plan on little old me that would backfire.

The next point is that the Bible speaks about reaching (being blessed with) this Spiritual Enlightenment by the Holy Spirit and many of the wonderful tools/things that come with it. Before getting "there" when I read of this enlightenment, I thought for sure that it doesn't happen anymore these days nor that it would happen to me and then BAM few months later I'm "there"!!!!! I'm right there and completely understand the Biblical descriptions of living enlightened and happened to meet others who have experienced this.

Yes there are a large number of denominations but for the most part, most of them get along because of the central theme being the core belief of; Christ the Son of God dying as a sacrifice for the sins of the World and ressurected 3 days later. My denomination of Christian Mystic is one of the smallest and takes tons of of heat, and yet I forgive them for what they say and how they judge because our core beleifs are the same. It will be in the afterlife when they see that all of the spiritual things I spoke were truth.

The whole Einstein quote as I said in my last post was just a huge example on how what he said can be factored into the God question, even if hat's not what he was reffering to at first glance. Simply said our intelligence cannot fathom God unless we get additional help from God to fathom him. If you do not seek this additional help then you will never be able to fathom God and will hence always question whether he exists.

If core morals/ethics didn't originate from God and Enlightened prophets, then where did they originate from?

There are plenty of things that you can know 100% such as that you exist (I think therfore I am), my mother is really my mother based off dna tests, it's raining in this part of the world, if you cut your wrists u will die, etc etc.

Again I argue that my experience is objective because I had witnesses to my changes, others that felt tatstes of my enlightenment by me simply being around them, and having met others who have experienced the same exact thing through spiritual work based off the Bible.

Since it couldn't have been Satan by reasons of backfiring, I was completely healthy then and now as the events took place, 100 percent sane, and under no influence of any drugs or alcohol. My only tool was reading the Bible till my eyes became swollen and practicing what it said in there for 14 months and then BAM!!!!!!! Enlightenment, ego death, transcendence, complete personality change, brand new likes/dislikes, taking up studies of quantumm physics, daily prayer, debating others to turn to God, sacrificng myself for others by helping, reaching out, spending time, etc.

You see this was never in my nature. I was selfish and had my own agendas and would have never have been caught dead typing away on here in support of God. I myself was agnostic and didn't want to have anything to do with God. But the question began to gnaw away at me and I had to seek out if God is real and he proved himself to me and to millions of others, if not billions.

Again my most important statement is that of; if you haven't given it a genuine try then you are a mere spectator/window shopper and you make all your speculations from the outside looking in. It's like me inviting you to the greatest party in the world that's being held in an arena that you can't see into. At first you think that all these people are crazy. But if you just buy the ticket and wait in line for a while, you'll see the truth.

LOVE



posted on Nov, 24 2006 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by dominicus
If core morals/ethics didn't originate from God and Enlightened prophets, then where did they originate from?


From within every individual guided by social learning.

Different religions, different morals; different people, different morals; different times, different morals.

The very notion that morals did not exist before a prophet channeled a supernatural law is pretty tenuous.

Most social animals have social rules. If they didn't, the group structure would not survive.



posted on Nov, 24 2006 @ 08:35 PM
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first off , of the 2 billion christians there are over 1500 different denominations each with their own version of what the bible means, who and what jesus was etc - hell even people with the same denomination cant even agree, so dont put it across that 2 billion people think the same thing. Secondly christianity has been a forcefull religion, inflicting its superstition around the world for centuries, that is the only reason it is so prolific.


Really? So each of those 1500 different denominations all disagree on what the Bible says about each doctrine? Can you please give an example of each one? In other words let's say we use the doctrine of Baptism. Can you give me an example how each of the 1500 different denominations all disagree upon that doctrine. ..O, and name each denomination also please. Thanks. Or were you just using hyperbole?

How have you come to know this and be so sure? Is it not also your "subjective opinion" that there is no God or that Christianity is false? Afterall who is it that stated,



You can never know anything 100%


??



posted on Nov, 24 2006 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin

Originally posted by dominicus
If core morals/ethics didn't originate from God and Enlightened prophets, then where did they originate from?


From within every individual guided by social learning.

Different religions, different morals; different people, different morals; different times, different morals.

The very notion that morals did not exist before a prophet channeled a supernatural law is pretty tenuous.

Most social animals have social rules. If they didn't, the group structure would not survive.



Please expound how morals came to be by way of evolution and social learning? How is it that anything can be learned through empiricism?

I am interested to see how you work out that lying is wrong, stealing is wrong as is murder based on an empirical worldview that claims we gain knowledge through observation.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 12:11 AM
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shihulud, there is 1 thing that you can know 100%


"I think therefore I am"


if you know you are thinking, then you know you exist

therefore your own existence is the only thing that you can be absolutely sure of in this world



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by shihulud I think you will find that Einstein was an atheist and Stephen Hawking certainly is. But what I keep saying is that you dont need god or religion to reach enlightment or to live a good moral and ethical life.


Of course you can always spend the rest of your lives in the cycle of specualtion, until you find out that there is an afterlife, and then what??? Ooops !!!!
I'll not be speculating at all, I'm living my life the way I want as I dont believe in an afterlife.


Einstein was often quoted referring to God in a positive way. He said science and religion are blind and lame without each other, for example. But I don't know if he was partial to any faith in particular, just that he sounded like someone who felt there was a divinity present.
'God does not play dice with the universe.' Einstein
'God does play dice with the universe, and sometimes he throws the dice where we can't see them.' Hawking
Hawking may very well be a devout atheist, and although I have read one book of his plus many articles by him, I can't say what he believes about the spiritual realm. I know that Sagan wrote and spoke quite confidently that religious faith, and the spiritual world were just mental constructs, and no more. It was my view that Carl Sagan was a more vocal atheist, and also the least inspired writer of the bunch, for what that is worth.
Atheism is as valid as theism, to me. Neither need be wrong, in a world of individuals, imho.

post script: The prayer studies I have seen showed significant improvement in the 'prayed for' group. In one summary, a researcher wrote that the improvement was 'statistically significant'. There are, no doubt, studies with contradictory results as well. It is not a 'fact' prayer does no good, by a long shot, even ignoring the scientific evidence supporting that it does. It would be very tough to disprove something like prayer, there are too many variables. Pray that I win the next lotto draw, and I'll let you know if I do, okay?



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by UnrealZA
Please expound how morals came to be by way of evolution and social learning? How is it that anything can be learned through empiricism?

I am interested to see how you work out that lying is wrong, stealing is wrong as is murder based on an empirical worldview that claims we gain knowledge through observation.


The morals themsleves are not a result of biological evolution or science. The mechanisms underlying the process are the result of biological evolution - I gave examples earlier of situations in which people have lost their moral compass due to neural injury, usually frontal lobe related.

Morals are formed socially, they change over time. They are also personal but we may agree on many of them. So, socially we come to an agreement as to what morals will become law. So, it may be immoral to lie, but white-lies are common and can be useful, such as not hurting anothers feelings etc. Why would we do that? Because we possess a biological capacity for empathy, when we hurt another, we can represent their emotion - given there are certain situations and conditions were empathy fails (and morals seem to fail too, particularly extreme emotion and for out-groups). So, many morals are formed by setting conditions and rules about not hurting others.

Reciprocal altrusim ensures that individuals cooperate, as social animals we need to reciprocate - this is present within and between species, you help me, I help you, we both benefit. If an individual decides to not reciprocate, they gain a negative reputation and lose social benefits via a form of 'punishment' (this also happens in other animals). Other morals are about ensuring reciprocation and social order.

All social groups need cooperation and orderliness to function, they have social rules. It is present in groups from bats to chimpanzees to humans. Social learning is the process that ensures children learn and adhere to social law. Thus some children will see homosexuality as wrong, others as a natural sexuality. It is not absolute.

So, what about murder? Murder is unlawful killing. We set the laws, we also use a group of peers to determine whether individuals have broken laws. For example, take this scenario...

You see a rail trolley racing towards a group of five people in the distance. But the line forks into two. On the other line is one single individual. Next to you is a lever which can redirect the train to the other line. What do you do?

You know your action will lead to a death. Your inaction to 5 deaths. Do you have a right to kill the one person? The person has done no wrong, your are not being threatened in any way. If you act you will mean to kill this one person.

What do you do? Which is immoral - Inaction or action? What if the one individual was a child?

The theory of evolution will not give you an answer, but you will use biological processes developed through evolution to make the decision.

[edit on 25-11-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin

The morals themsleves are not a result of biological evolution or science. The mechanisms underlying the process are the result of biological evolution - I gave examples earlier of situations in which people have lost their moral compass due to neural injury, usually frontal lobe related.



First, thanks very much for the honest and informative reply, much appreciated.

Second, I will perhaps address the bulk of it later down the way but for now we need to deal with origins in a sense. You being an atheist/empiricist hold to, I'm sure, the idea that we gain knowledge through observation. We observe fire burning and we know then that fire burns things. We know not to stick our hands in ther fire because our sense of sight and/or touch tells us this, correct? My point is to get us to a starting point. Too often we hold things to be valid without going back far enough. I am asking us to go back to a starting point and ask, "If we claim "B" and "C" then "A" MUST of taken place as such....."

I understand what you're saying about morals, how the underlying mechanisims of evolution are their result, but how is it that this came about based on the empirical world view of observation=knowledge?

How did the first sub-human (I use this term to define the first mammal creature that evolution claims is our direct ancestor) come to "observe" that murder is wrong if he, she or "it" had no previous knowledge of death or even murder? Remember, previous to this incident our sub-human had no knowledge of murder. In order for the empirical worldview of morals to be valid then "murder is wrong" had to be already encoded or present within that first "simple cell" which mutated over and over again. Or perhaps "murder is wrong" is a result of said mutations? Perhaps still, as you suggest, we learned that "murder is wrong", via "herd instinct" perhaps? If though from herd instinct would not impulse win?

In the case of your "train" dilemma, how is it a moral choice if morals are not Absolute? If a moral relativist is the one making the choice perhaps he just walks away from it and leaves it to fate. Sure someone dies and yes even in not making a choice he has made a choice but given that morals are relative who are we to say he made the right or wrong choice? Perhaps in his culture his "moral compass" is different regarding such issues, is he wrong?

Back to our "sub-human". Let's say we have sub-human Carl and sub-human Bob sitting in a cave. Bob notices that Carl has a nice walking stick. Bob wants a stick like that but instead of Bob going out and getting one Bob takes it from Carl. When Carl protests Bob wacks Carl upside the head with it. You and I in hindsight would say, "Hey that's wrong Bob!" Yet we can't use hindsight here but rather place ourselves in Carl's shoes...or feet. Does Carl KNOW this to be wrong? Does he say..."Hey that's wrong Bob!" Or does he slowly learn through observation that Bob is a jerk and some years later come to the conclusion that 1) Bob stole from him and 2) assualted him ?

The biggest obstacle for the empirical worldview is that knowledge could never come from observation. Can "observation brings knowledge" even be placed in a logical syllogism? One MUST first have knowledge to KNOW they are observing anything in the first place, correct? How do you KNOW fire burns through observation if you do not first have knowledge that you are even observing anything at all? Who told you it was a "fire" and how did you even learn that word? So the empiricist must first answer where did 'knowledge" come from before he or she can answer where morals came from, especially if they argue that morals are a by-product of social conditioning. Is knowledge learned or innate? Those are the only two choices we have. If learned how is it possible to learn knowledge if no knowledge is present to even know you are learning? A case of the cart before the horse. The only choice then is it is innate, much like flight in an eagle. Who teaches the eagle to fly? Where does it go to learn flight? Does it observe another eagle fly and by this observation it gains knowledge of wind sheer, velocity, etc.? Flight for the eagle (any bird of flight) is innate. Perhaps knowledge also is innate and not learned nor a result of chemical process within the brain. What say you?

If innate does this change your view of morals, if not, why?

Thanks



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 04:51 PM
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Originally posted by UnrealZA
First, thanks very much for the honest and informative reply, much appreciated.


No problem. But I'll just state that I'm not a true athiest, more an agnostic-athiest. Not much difference really, I'm just a little less certain




How did the first sub-human


The first mammalian descendent of humans would be a small shrew-like animal. Probably not a group living animal.

But this animal would show emotion and maternal mechanisms. These would be the basis for future development. Hence, for many animals, it is instinctual to care for you own descendents.

But if we jump up the evolutionary heirarchy...

Even before this first true 'sub-human' the biological mechanisms are in place. In herding/grouping species, they show the ability to exhibit emotional contagion. If one antelope shows a fearful response, the herd/group follows in response, without even seeing the fearful stimuli. They act as one. How would this develop? Well, evolution will enhance the survival of individuals who respond like this, pure natural selection. If we have a population of 50% herd responders, 50% individualistic repsonders, throw in various predators, before you know it, it will be almost 95% herd responders. Natural selection will filter in favour of such a mechanism as a survival technique for social/group animals - and I'm sure you know, we can show emotional contagion, such as mass hysteria.

These individuals have no higher consciousness, they are not self-aware, they have no higher cognition. They show emotions, respond to and represent conspecific emotions, care for their young. This will be purely innate responses. But there will still be an element of social learning.


In the case of your "train" dilemma, how is it a moral choice if morals are not Absolute? If a moral relativist is the one making the choice perhaps he just walks away from it and leaves it to fate. Sure someone dies and yes even in not making a choice he has made a choice but given that morals are relative who are we to say he made the right or wrong choice? Perhaps in his culture his "moral compass" is different regarding such issues, is he wrong?


Good answer. Yep, it would be a personal choice, it would be based on that individual's personal morals and learning. They may feel they cannot make the choice and purposefully cause the death of another and feel that acting to cause a death would be worse than inaction. I don't think either is truly immoral, but I know which action I would take.

Also, you never answered


You may be surprised to learn that 90% of people agree on the response. No differences between atheists and theists are shown on such scenarios. However, the 10% suggests there is no absolute/universal moral action here - if it was absolute, they would all agree.


Back to our "sub-human". Let's say we have sub-human Carl and sub-human Bob sitting in a cave. Bob notices that Carl has a nice walking stick. Bob wants a stick like that but instead of Bob going out and getting one Bob takes it from Carl. When Carl protests Bob wacks Carl upside the head with it. You and I in hindsight would say, "Hey that's wrong Bob!" Yet we can't use hindsight here but rather place ourselves in Carl's shoes...or feet. Does Carl KNOW this to be wrong? Does he say..."Hey that's wrong Bob!" Or does he slowly learn through observation that Bob is a jerk and some years later come to the conclusion that 1) Bob stole from him and 2) assualted him ?


Carl will feel pain and a negative emotion. He will feel sad, he will feel loss. He will feel 'wronged'. If he has sense, he will not allow Bob into his cave or will move cave to a group that exhibit social cohesion. This group will flourish through cooperation, organisation, and orderliness. A cohesive group that share work and play. He will earn his place in this group by reciprocation.

Poor Bob will eventually become a social leper and have no-one to reciprocate with, he will be alone deemed untrustworthy. If he happens to cause trouble to the cohesive social group, he will be treated as an untrustworthy out-group member and punished until he leaves. Just like any group of apes. If a particular group member turns to Bob's way, he will be punished, losing reputation and social standing and either conform or be banished from the group to maybe join Bob, where they can cheat each other.

One approach will see success and lots of offspring. The other not so successful.

Game theory shows how certain approaches can be most effective. If almost all are 'cheats', no single 'nice' individual prospers. If almost all are nice, cheats prosper very well, until cheats out-number nice. But there is also the 'reciprocators' - you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. When this approach is available, it prospers and becomes stable alongside lesser proportions of nice and cheats.



The biggest obstacle for the empirical worldview is that knowledge could never come from observation.


I really can't agree with this. Science suggests otherwise. I spend my life attmepting to gain knowledge from observation. I think it works.



Perhaps knowledge also is innate and not learned nor a result of chemical process within the brain. What say you?

If innate does this change your view of morals, if not, why?

Thanks


It depends what you mean by knowledge. Skills can be due innate tendencies (but a bird still needs to learn to fly but will have a motivation to do so). One of the more interesting findings I heard recently is that rabbits have an innate tendency to avoid the smell of foxes. They tested this with rabbits held in captivity and introduced them to novel animal smells. The fox smell was most avoided - I doubt they have an 'avoid fox gene' but the scent of predators is different than vegetarians.

I think there are definite innate tendencies in humans. To act for social group benefit, empathy, maternal/paternal instincts, emotions, sexual desire, thirst, neophobia etc. Some also seem to have an innate fear of snakes and spiders - makes pure evolutionary sense.

But I do think true explicit knowledge is learned from society, culture, and new knowledge from science.

[edit on 25-11-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 11:25 AM
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Than ks again for the reply. It is refreshing to know that not everyone posting in this area is a loon waiting for the mothership to beam them up.

I am an Evangelical Christian and I am not here to "save you" or anyone else for I cannot do that. God alone saves, Christians are an instrument, not the cause of that saving. I am also not one to use Scripture like a baseball bat. Notice I used no Scripture in my reply to you. I use it when called for.

Now to answer quickly what "I" personally would do if in that situation? I would save the more.




However, the 10% sugg ests there is no absolute/universal moral action here - if it was absolute, they would all agree.


Absolutes are never fully agreed upon, such as Truth. Truth is Absolute yet many people deny this not knowing that a denial of Truth is confirming it. Rather if truth was truly relative it would have to be "absolutely relative for all people everywhere". Hence again, to deny Truth is Absolute is to confirm it.

In the case of morals they must also be universal for if not then moral disagreements would make no sense. Statements such as "rape is wrong" would be meaningless. The telling of a lie, the breaking of a promise and the stealing of an item would then have no need for excuses.

For even a "white" lie is a lie. If someone asked me where my child was intending to do them harm I would lie to that person. Now I may claim it was a "justified lie" yet it's still a lie. A rose is a rose as is a lie a lie.



I really can't agree with this. Science suggests otherwise. I spend my life attmepting to gain knowledge from observation. I think it works.


Yes I agree with you here BUT how is it that one gains "knowledge" through observation IF "knowledge" is not first present?? In other words let's take the first "sub-human" again. How are they able to "observe" and gain "knowledge" of their surroundings if they must first "observe" to gain "knowledge" that they are "observing" anything? Knowledge is NOT observation but one MUST first have knowledge in place BEFORE they "know" they are observing.

Think of the brain as a blank hardrive (blank mind = blank harddrive). You can push the start button all day long, pound on the keyboard till your knuckles are bloody but nothing will ever happen because there is no information, program or "operating system" on that hard drive. Likewise the blank mind can't observe anything for it doesn't even KNOW it's observing. The eyes would not see anything, touch would be senseless, the nose could not smell for there is nothing there to register these senses. Someone must write a program to your hard drive PRIOR to you being able to turn it on and use it. Likewise someone or something must write a program of "knowledge" to our blank mind so that as we observe through our senses of smell, sight, sound, taste and touch we can then continue to expand our knowledge.

Again, no knowledge ever came from observation for how then did you come to know the word "blue"? Did you tatse it, smell it, touch it, see it or hear it? The obvious reply would be that you learned it in school but this does not work for the very first "sub-human" for there was no one previous to him to teach him what "blue" is. So again, to say we "observe and from that observation we gain knowledge" is overlooking the fact that without knowledge already being present BEFORE any observation than observation would be impossible.



It depends what you mean by knowledge. Skills can be due innate tendencies (but a bird still needs to learn to fly but will have a motivation to do so).


Flight though is not a "skill" for a skill is learned. A surgeon develops his or her skills of surgery. A carpenter is not born with an innate knowledge of a jigsaw but he or she must learn it. A bird, those of flight, knows how to fly from the get go. It observes no other birds. My daughters parrot was raised by hand and has no other contact with birds yet he can fly like a champ if we do not clip his wings. This was not learned.

A newborn infant will seek after its mothers nipple to feed yet how is this possible without an innate knowledge to do so? If the newborn infant had to "evolve" this trait then how is it that evolution has continued given that the first infant mammal born would die from hunger? Let's agree that it is not an innante knowledge but that the mother places her infant to her nipple. The question then becomes how does she KNOW to do this if no one previous showed her, there was no one to "observe"? It can be pushed back even further to ask, "How is she even alive if she had to nurse also?"

I would ask that you think deeply upon this and truly ponder it. I am not asking you to go out and join any church nor cast away your worldview. Just asking you to think deeply.



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by UnrealZA
Absolutes are never fully agreed upon, such as Truth. Truth is Absolute yet many people deny this not knowing that a denial of Truth is confirming it. Rather if truth was truly relative it would have to be "absolutely relative for all people everywhere". Hence again, to deny Truth is Absolute is to confirm it.


Well, yeah, there is such a thing as the truth. However, I can see that by 'Truth', you claim to have the absolute truth, which I doubt. You believe you have the truth, muslims believe they have the truth, hindus have their truth. Which suggests that in this case we are talking about relative truth in an area of ignorance. In this case, applied to knowledge that these 'truths' pertain to, I say "I don't know". There is an answer to these big questions that you and others claim to have already, I and most scientists will claim agnosticism or atheism for your god - even atheists accept they can't prove the negative but will state a likelihood.


In the case of morals they must also be universal for if not then moral disagreements would make no sense. Statements such as "rape is wrong" would be meaningless. The telling of a lie, the breaking of a promise and the stealing of an item would then have no need for excuses.


The moral disagreements occur because we each have our own set of values and morals which we believe are correct. I don't claim my morals to be absolute, they are my set of values determined through experience. There have been attempts to set absolute universal moral standards - the bible attempts this and so does the united nations charter for human rights.


For even a "white" lie is a lie. If someone asked me where my child was intending to do them harm I would lie to that person. Now I may claim it was a "justified lie" yet it's still a lie. A rose is a rose as is a lie a lie.


Yes, it is. But I believe that some lies act in a way that can be considered good. People who lied to nazi's about the whereabouts of Jews, some in their basements, did a good thing. People stating Xmas presents come from Santa are not really doing bad, neither are teachers, when they teach chemistry at a basic level, who do not give the whole complicated truth of atomic theory.


Yes I agree with you here BUT how is it that one gains "knowledge" through observation IF "knowledge" is not first present?? In other words let's take the first "sub-human" again. How are they able to "observe" and gain "knowledge" of their surroundings if they must first "observe" to gain "knowledge" that they are "observing" anything? Knowledge is NOT observation but one MUST first have knowledge in place BEFORE they "know" they are observing.


We learn cause & effect. We learn through observation. When we were born we didn't know that apples fall from trees. We could have been told this from the human base of knowledge and/or observed it for ourselves.

But it's quite hard to see what you mean here - so alternatively, are you are stating that such things as the theory of relativity existed before Einstein developed it? The laws of physics existed, and the theory was waiting to be discovered. However, the knowledge was not present in the human base of knowledge.


Think of the brain as a blank hardrive (blank mind = blank harddrive).


In some ways you are correct. We do have hard-wired responses but a human is a mixture of nature and nurture. Thus feral children will not act like a socialised child. And a hand-reared parrot will not act like a properly socialised parrot.


Again, no knowledge ever came from observation for how then did you come to know the word "blue"?


Blue is just a vocal representation given to a particular wavelength of light. A label you learn as a child. If I said 'glas' to you, you would probably think I meant the material windows were made of. If you spoke welsh, you would know it was the same wavelength of light that you call blue.

I'm currently running experiments. Only myself and a couple others know the findings, it was all gained through observation and the scientific method. At one point, I was the only person to have this knowledge. Hopefully, it will be published in a scientific journal to join the scientific base of knowledge.


Flight though is not a "skill" for a skill is learned.


Birds do learn to fly, just like a human child learns to walk, we may have to do it again if we suffer a stroke. They do have an innate instinct to do so, but they hone the skill through practice (basically making and consolidating neural networks). These type of skills are termed procedural knowledge. If you can remember learning to ride a bike, you will know it took a lot of concentration to do so. With time, the skill becomes second nature.



A newborn infant will seek after its mothers nipple to feed yet how is this possible without an innate knowledge to do so? If the newborn infant had to "evolve" this trait then how is it that evolution has continued given that the first infant mammal born would die from hunger?


You are jumping ahead a bit. This is an instinct, it uses hormones and pheromones to stimulate suckling. Suckling developed over time. We believe the first mammals were likely similar to monotremes - they have no breast, the secretion is from a specialised sebacious gland. The young animal find the nuritious secretion and laps it up.

I don't doubt there are innate instincts. Beavers have an instinct to build a dam. Raise them out of water and away from trees, they exhibit the same stereotypical behaviour as wild beavers. They instinctively show this behaviour, it was honed by evolution. We have an instinct to vocalise, but we learn complicated language and grammar.



I would ask that you think deeply upon this and truly ponder it. I am not asking you to go out and join any church nor cast away your worldview. Just asking you to think deeply.


I think deeply a lot, it is required in science.

[edit on 26-11-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 11:41 PM
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Melatonin,
What do you have to say for children that are born with gifts of which they previously had no observance of, stimulation from, or not being passed down from that of the two parents? Playing the piano by ear at 2. Painting sophisticated art pieces by 3. Singing perfect pitch by 4, etc. Would you view this as having extra established nuerons through a random jump in the evolutionary ladder, or perhaps see it more as an innate situation???

As for your train question, I would have picked to sacrifice the one for the many. Your emperical view however is in the same boat with moral relativism because of the observance factor. Since there are cults that see it morally acceptable to decapitate babies as did the Nazi's with killing jews, then you should have no right to think that what they did/are doing is/was wrong because that is what they practice based on what they observed. If Germany won the war, then we would have a world-wide systematic holocaust and it would be deemed morally acceptable globally.

The problem is there is no stability when morals are based on observance and cause/effect through evolution. The results you get are pockets of reformed morals that go against the morals of both the Bible and the ones that are the majority globally recognized ones. But since those pockets sprung up based on observance and cause/effect then they shouldn't be opposed and you have the chance of one of these pockets becomming the worldwide standard.

I think we can all agree that moral standards(majority wise), at least in the U.S. and Europe have been declining rapidly over the last few decades. This has been statistically shown in reputable studies of all sorts. The problem we have in this situation as stated above is the domino effect of morals being bent and becomming less commonplace, which can lead to the observance factor that it's ok to continue on this pace (insert argument on the evolution of morals). Finally what we get is that they've become so bent from pressure and loopholes, that new ones become the reigning majority view and that's what is considered acceptable, when in reality it's not.

This will be seen with the current generation of teens, of which the majority feel that it's o.k. to illegally download music. This is as we speak considered stealing by the majority global view. But, as this generation grows older and the new ones come into play, we might just see a shift in the moral code of stealing.

I orginally brought up the question of "where do you think your morals come from, because like UNrealZA has pointed out with the innate and the chicken before the egg argument (i.e. what was there to observe for the very first being). I strongly hold to and believe that morals are innately within our biological make-up. Those pockets of deformed morals that spring up are simply corruptions of this innateness. Ultimately leading to the directon of.....where do these innate faculties come from??????
_________
UnrealZA,
Thank you for stepping in and pointing out what you feel to be incocsistancies in the emperical/relative moral view. I'm glad you can be here to raise your opinions and views.



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 11:47 AM
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Originally posted by dominicus
Melatonin,
What do you have to say for children that are born with gifts of which they previously had no observance of, stimulation from, or not being passed down from that of the two parents? Playing the piano by ear at 2. Painting sophisticated art pieces by 3. Singing perfect pitch by 4, etc. Would you view this as having extra established nuerons through a random jump in the evolutionary ladder, or perhaps see it more as an innate situation???


Don't know of any such individual cases but we all differ in abilities. I very much doubt it is anything more than genetics/biology and environment.


As for your train question, I would have picked to sacrifice the one for the many.


OK, so I have two answers and you both agree that we should kill the one to save the many. What about this scenario...

As before, trolley on rail-line, 5 people in its path, but the only way to stop the trolley is to drop a weight in front. This time you are on a bridge, there is a fatman sitting on the edge. Do you push him onto the line saving the lives of the many?

You were prepared to kill the last man, will you sacrifice the fatman and push him?


Your emperical view however is in the same boat with moral relativism because of the observance factor. Since there are cults that see it morally acceptable to decapitate babies as did the Nazi's with killing jews, then you should have no right to think that what they did/are doing is/was wrong because that is what they practice based on what they observed. If Germany won the war, then we would have a world-wide systematic holocaust and it would be deemed morally acceptable globally.


I would have my own morals to compare the action to. I would deem them immoral, others may disgree. Morals do not exist outside of agents and their actions. They are decided upon by social agreement within groups producing laws. Thus you would say these actions are immoral, I would agree, others would not (Luther may have cheered them on). In the same way, I see all genocide and mass-murder as immoral, I also see stoning people to death for minor acts, slavery, and killing innocent animals in spite as immoral - therefore to me, the biblical 'god' is immoral. I'm wouldn't be surprised you think otherwise.


The problem is there is no stability when morals are based on observance and cause/effect through evolution. The results you get are pockets of reformed morals that go against the morals of both the Bible and the ones that are the majority globally recognized ones. But since those pockets sprung up based on observance and cause/effect then they shouldn't be opposed and you have the chance of one of these pockets becomming the worldwide standard.


As for 'morals of the bible' see above. No morals are formed by the process of evolution. The evolutionary process provided the biological system that allows to us to form morals. These act to enable social groups to be cohesive, ordered, and successful. Nihilism and anarchy will not a successful group make.


I think we can all agree that moral standards(majority wise), at least in the U.S. and Europe have been declining rapidly over the last few decades. This has been statistically shown in reputable studies of all sorts. The problem we have in this situation as stated above is the domino effect of morals being bent and becomming less commonplace, which can lead to the observance factor that it's ok to continue on this pace (insert argument on the evolution of morals). Finally what we get is that they've become so bent from pressure and loopholes, that new ones become the reigning majority view and that's what is considered acceptable, when in reality it's not.


I don't think there has been a great dissolution of morals in the last 200 years. In fact, since the enlightenment, more people have rights and freedoms than before. If you are talking very recently, you may want to check out the numbers for crimes, teenage pregnancy, and murder in the bible-belt and across the US as a whole (you apparently attempt to follow biblical law more than we in europe.)


This will be seen with the current generation of teens, of which the majority feel that it's o.k. to illegally download music. This is as we speak considered stealing by the majority global view. But, as this generation grows older and the new ones come into play, we might just see a shift in the moral code of stealing.


Yet america was formed from a great land-grab and slaughter of indigenous people - you recently celebrated it. The british empire did the same, we thought it was OK to steal the land off people, after all they were just heathens. I don't think you will see any great shift in the moral code of stealing - people have always stolen items from others, it is just the form that changes.


I orginally brought up the question of "where do you think your morals come from, because like UNrealZA has pointed out with the innate and the chicken before the egg argument (i.e. what was there to observe for the very first being). I strongly hold to and believe that morals are innately within our biological make-up. Those pockets of deformed morals that spring up are simply corruptions of this innateness. Ultimately leading to the directon of.....where do these innate faculties come from??????


Morals themselves are not innate, they are formed through experience and social learning. They are formed within group contexts. Morals are emotionally-laden beliefs about actions.

With all respect, if you want corrupted morals, you should read the old testament.

The mechanism that underlies moral belief is an evolutionary adaptation. It enabled group cohesion - don't hurt you own people, be altruistic to your own people etc - as history shows, generally out-groups are not given this decency.

Here's an interesting study that was performed - they asked groups of Israeli children moral questions about the Jericho story in the book of Joshua. Only 26% disapproved of the actions. Then the researchers changed the story, taking out 'Joshua' and 'Israel' replaced with 'General Lin' and 'a chinese kingdom'.

Same action, different context. What do you think they found? How innate are these absolute morals...

[edit on 27-11-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 02:09 PM
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Originally posted by UnrealZA



first off , of the 2 billion christians there are over 1500 different denominations each with their own version of what the bible means, who and what jesus was etc - hell even people with the same denomination cant even agree, so dont put it across that 2 billion people think the same thing. Secondly christianity has been a forcefull religion, inflicting its superstition around the world for centuries, that is the only reason it is so prolific.


Really? So each of those 1500 different denominations all disagree on what the Bible says about each doctrine? Can you please give an example of each one? In other words let's say we use the doctrine of Baptism. Can you give me an example how each of the 1500 different denominations all disagree upon that doctrine. ..O, and name each denomination also please. Thanks. Or were you just using hyperbole?
I suppose it is quite hyperbole-ish but then again why would there be all these denominations if they all believed the same thing??????? Also baptism is a central doctrine to christianity so probably all denominations have it.


How have you come to know this and be so sure? Is it not also your "subjective opinion" that there is no God or that Christianity is false? Afterall who is it that stated,



You can never know anything 100%


??
Yes, that is quite true. However just because something can exist doesn't mean it does - when I say can exist I mean through possibility not probability. Everything is possible but not everything is probable.


G



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 11:53 PM
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The different Christian denomination factor is subject to the same theory is to why people like a certain movie or anything for that matter. Women are more emotional and men more aggressive, so both groups would like a certain movie for different reasons and wouldn't be able to completely relate to each other's reasons why. That's a big reason why action movies tend to have a love story intertwined into it for the sake of bringing in the emotions and the female audience.

Christianity's various denominations hold the same foundational doctrines of baptism, Son of God, ressurection, sacrifice for all of our sins, etc. The differences tend to be in the grey areas such as; does divine prophecy and prophets still occur, since Christ was begotten in Mary by the Holy Ghost.....was Jesus' DNA the same as Mary's or intertwined with spiritual DNA, sabbath being saturday vs. sunday services, rituals, celibacy, marriage, experiential vs. doctrinal, gnosticism, mysticism, etc. I can make the list of differences perhaps a few posts long, however across the denominations that hold true to the foundational doctrines, they all report the same kind of amazing enlightenment that comes from the Holy Spirit of which I have been professing from the start. Not only that, but they all really don't make a big deal about their differences knowing that either in the afterlife or when the "end" happens, all the grey areas will be made ironed out. Besides, if it was so utterly important for us to know any of these, then God would not have allowed any of these grey area's in the divinely inspired Bible.

I do agree that the agnostic view is more solid than the athiestic view between the two of them and when it comes to debating. To put myself back into the shoes of agnosticsm, which is where I was for the majority of my life til reaching enlightenment, I can completely comprehend and understand the paradox of using faith while giving any spiritual path a try. Your whole view is observational and proven by science, so in order to make those initial leaps seems unfounded. Yet, the paradox of the matter lays in the fact that this is exactly what one must do at first for God to finally reveal himself to you.

So in the beginning for a while you are operating on faith, all the while genuinely seeking out and asking God that if he trully exists to reveal himself to you. When you give this search your all being and spend all your effort and energy on seeking him out, this is when He finally decides to give you Spiritual Enlightenment = a way of knowing 100% that he is there with these additional faculties that very few people in existence have. Those that do are either Christians with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (different from the water one) or mystics.

_____
Melatonin,
I shall have a respond to your last moral post in a few days, as I do have more points to bring up. However, before I answer your fat man question, I would like to pose the question to you of haunted places. I'm speaking of instances where you can bring in instruments such as infrared instruments, magnetics, frequency analyzers, and temperature meters. It has been documented that in places considered "haunted," researchers do unbiasly get readings on all of the aforementioned instruments. Where would evolution fit into this picture as well as not knowing whether there is an afterlife????

As for the sacrificial fat man......would I be able to sacrifice myself in the matter instead???



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 06:53 AM
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Originally posted by dominicus
Melatonin,
I shall have a respond to your last moral post in a few days, as I do have more points to bring up. However, before I answer your fat man question, I would like to pose the question to you of haunted places. I'm speaking of instances where you can bring in instruments such as infrared instruments, magnetics, frequency analyzers, and temperature meters. It has been documented that in places considered "haunted," researchers do unbiasly get readings on all of the aforementioned instruments. Where would evolution fit into this picture as well as not knowing whether there is an afterlife????


There is no convincing evidence of an 'afterlife'. So when they take these instruments into haunted houses they find changes in the instrumental measurements - not really convincing evidence. You don't invoke the extraordinary until you have assessed the ordinary.

In the past, we used to see lightening and invoke angry supernatural beings -like Zeus. When I was a child I used to think the moving shadow outside my window was a witch - it was just a tree. Thus we expect effects to have causes, sometimes we misattribute what we can't explain to false causes.

Here's a link to a proper scientist that studies such phenomena...

www.psy.herts.ac.uk...


As for the sacrificial fat man......would I be able to sacrifice myself in the matter instead???


Only if you were fat enough, this guy is really fat, even bigger than Michael Moore, heheh.

But that would be a very altruistic act and is something evolution can easily explain.



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 07:21 AM
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The bible was not written by God. It was written by men. It has been adapted and altered numerous times in its history to suit the church and the governments that the church has chosen to support. The best example of this is the Protestant faith which was created solely to justify second marriages, because the Catholic church did not recognise them.

The bible is no proof of a god. It is a fear tool. A weapon of mass destruction - and it has served its purpose over and over again throughout the centuries and it still is doing.

Its a book, and as such its as valid as any other piece of science fiction.



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 08:20 AM
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dominicus,

Great post, very well put and very interesting. Thanks also for the kind words.


melatonin,

You seem to be missing the point here about getting to the very first empirical "blank mind". So let's try another analogy.

We are at a baseball game and through a special gizmo we are able to bring to this game from the far distant past our very first "blank mind" ancestor. What can he tell us about the game through observation alone? What inferences can he make?

Well he can observe that some men are playing on an open field. Yet who told him it's an "open field" and how does he know what "playing" is?

Perhaps he can observe that they are holding a wooden stick of some sort and attempting to hit a round ball or object. Yet again who told him what a "bat" is let alone what "wood" is? How can he describe to us what "round" is when he has no prior knowledge of it?

In fact, he can't even communicate to us anything about what he is observing, why? Because he has no PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of anything. His mind is blank so he could observe that baseball game till the cows come home but he would still never be able to gain any knowledge of or about that game because he doesn't even KNOW he is observing. He would be a drooling moron and not even know he is drooling.

This is what I and Dominicus are seeking to put forth when one holds to an empirical worldview. It is placing the cart before the horse. No observation is possible unless one has prior to that observation "knowledge". Without knowledge being prior to observation how can one KNOW they are observing anything?

Now knowledge could NOT be evolved nor could it be the result of biological process for then no human would be alive today yet knowledge had to come from somewhere, someplace. I gave an example of a blank hard drive and how it can do nothing but sit there until someone programs it to receive information. Likewise our minds, if born blank, can do nothing until it is programed to receive information yet just as no hard drive can program itself no blank mind can program itself either. Why?

Because someone outside of the hard drive must program it and again likewise someone outside of the human mind must pre-program it so that it can take in and write information. So if knowledge did not evolve where then did it come from?

Can you place in syllogistic form knowledge from observation?

This is why I argue that before the empiricist can tell me "where morals come from" he or she must first tell me how, through observation alone, we came to have "knowledge"?



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by neformore
The bible was not written by God. It was written by men. It has been adapted and altered numerous times in its history to suit the church and the governments that the church has chosen to support. The best example of this is the Protestant faith which was created solely to justify second marriages, because the Catholic church did not recognise them.

The bible is no proof of a god. It is a fear tool. A weapon of mass destruction - and it has served its purpose over and over again throughout the centuries and it still is doing.

Its a book, and as such its as valid as any other piece of science fiction.


Flawed argument?

You had best look at your own argument first for it is fatally flawed. By you stating that the Bible was NOT written by God but by men and that it was changed and altered many times over implies that you are privy to information that the rest of the academic world is not. Your claim also implies that you know what was in the original autographs of Scripture since you claim it has been changed and altered many times over. Can you please share with us exactly what was changed and what the originals said?? I'm sure you're well versed in Hebrew and Aramaic, correct? Or perhaps it was another language?? You should know, correct?

I suggest you re-think your ignorant statement to go more along the lines of...."It is my OPINION that the Bible was written by men and not God for I BELIEVE it to be re-written to suit the ideas of men."



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