Eternal Density wrote:And I also see death and pain and suffering and hurt, and I think "This is bad. Something is wrong. The world contains both good and evil. Why is it like this and what can be done about it?"
If the universe was designed and made, right and wrong matter. Everything you do matters. Everything you say matters. Everything you think matters. Everything you love matters.
Actually, suffering is the main reason to doubt
that what matters to me also matters to your imaginary person.
What matters to you, and why?
Garnasha wrote:In short, I object to any decisions made based on the existence of God if that existence is at all necessary to justify such decisions.
In other words, you want to live your life your own way and don't want anyone else telling you what's right and wrong, is that a fair assessment? You like having your own morality that you've decided works for you.
Garnasha wrote:By the way, while evolutionary ethics is not a system of ethics, it is an explanation why all systems of ethics have similar core rules without invoking a single entity imposing those core rules. Groups without those core rules can't cooperate as effectively and die out eventually. By now, it's most likely inherent to the human blueprint just like a preference for nourishing food and an aversion to pain are.
A problem with that line of thought is that the value of human life is dependant upon its usefulness to the group. If someone is not of use to the group, the most optimal or 'right' thing to do would be to kill that person.
Eternal Density wrote:When I look at the world, I see people with personalities and think "these came from a greater person with greater personality". I see communication and think "this came from someone with greater communication". I see creativity and think "this came from someone with amazing creativity". I see beauty and think "this came from someone who values beauty".
And where did this greater person's greater personality come from? Is it turtles all the way up? Or do you reach a level where the existence of a personality doesn't require something to have created it?
There's something depressing about a worldview that insists that no human can create anything greater than themself.
While I see our attempts at creating something greater that ourselves as a colossal waste of time and resources. (The 'where it came from' thing I already discussed in an earlier post.)
Kit. wrote:This is a false dichotomy. Or at least I see nothing that would prevent an infinite being from creating infinite universes unobservable by men.
Sure, but why would an infinite being need to create infinite useless lifeless universes when he can just skip to creating the one that works? My point wasn't so much the dichotomy as "there's infinite *something* outside our universe, so why not an infinite being?" Or said another way "Everything in our universe has a cause, so something had to be uncaused, so why not an uncaused person to intentionally design our universe, rather that a whole lot of other equally uncaused universes?"
Garnasha wrote:Also, science doesn't judge, but it does tell you what will make people happier/safer and will reduce their suffering. Since it's easy to recognize such results as "good", science does in fact tell us what actions will result in good, and therefore can be considered good actions. Science also gives us tools to reach what we want, so yes, if someone wants to do evil, science can make that evil greater. It does not, however, excuse such evil, and if saying "you deliberately caused suffering" isn't a condemnation, I don't know what is.
Why is suffering evil? Why is happiness and safety good? If the earth and everything on it was destroyed (perhaps by one of the various What-If methods
), then what's that to the rest of the universe? If we were all dead, there'd be no more human suffering. Sure, there'd be no more happiness either but how is human happiness a benefit to the universe at large?
CigarDoug wrote: I would argue that since God is NOT human, we have no moral basis to attach our own human morals to him
Also, since God is God, he has the right to attach his morals to us
. Which is why a lot of people really don't like the idea of God.
orthogon wrote:: there is no correct plural of Lego because Lego is an uncountable noun.
Hmm, maybe I should have said "the fight over the word 'literally'" Just take this
and scale it up to the universe.
Garnasha wrote:happiness in this life is real. Suffering in this life is real. Reality doesn't depend on eternity to be true, or have value. Nor does it depend on an outside observer. Nor does it depend on evolutionary ethics, those try to explain why we feel the way we do, not judge those feelings (evolutionary ethics isn't nor aspires to be a system of ethics).
Where did you get those ideas from?
You may think it's self evident, but many (such as some Bhuddists) would disagree.
As for Pascall's Wager, I'm not saying "You should agree with me because of the consequences if I'm right", I'm just saying that this is an important issue and it's in your best interest to be sure to investigate it carefully.
Garnasha wrote:Religion is too often an excuse to do horrible things, or a whip to coerce people to give up significant portions of their health, wealth or happiness.
Garnasha wrote:It also severely hinders one's ability to form models of the world which let one make accurate predictions, either about what one will later observe or what the result of one's actions will be, and conversely, what actions would be necessary to achieve a desired result.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'religion' in this context, and I think it's important to be very clear in this statement. Are you just referring to belief that a deity exists? Or similarly that there's something supernatural, outside our observable universe and not bound by the laws of physics that we can test? Or do you mean something else?
I personally haven't observed any hindrance to the abilities that you've listed. My understanding of cause and effect and probability and action and reaction and how to model how the world will work seem to be as good as anyone else's. So I would have to disagree with your statement, if that's what you mean by it.
Not that your point isn't often valid, for instance among groups with capricious gods. (The Ancient Greeks took centuries to develop any sort of science because it was only the occasional philospher who claimed that every event had a natural cause. Thales, Parmenides, and Aristotle were all in different centuries.)
Garnasha wrote:People who try to refine our collective world-view to be better able to make such predictions are called scientists.
Garnasha wrote:The idea that religion distorts such a functionally predictive (scientific) worldview is based on the fact that being a scientist negatively correlates with being religious, with a stronger negative correlation as one gets closer to the "top".
There is no such fact.
What metrics are you using for "being religious"? Number of deities? In that case I guess Christians aren't very religious on your scale, which I suppose does fit what you're saying after all.
Garnasha wrote:This scientific world-view has proven itself plenty of times: modern sanitation, chemistry, computers, GPS, antibiotics, structural engineering, agriculture, etc.;
The way you've put those sentences together makes it look like the obvious conclusion is "we only have all these things because of anti-religious people". That only follows if your false dichotomy was valid. But atheism is not a requirement for the formation and application of the scientific method. You're stealing science as an exclusive part of your worldview, but it's not. And really, if you started out with the base assumption "the universe is an accident with no intention behind it" then how do you get from there to "there must be laws which govern how the universe works and we should be able to discover them and use them to predict things"?
Garnasha wrote:the scientific world-view has caused enough good in the world (where good is the increase of happiness(distinct from pleasure) and the decrease of suffering) with no end in sight that by now, contributing to it can itself be considered a minor good,
First, saying "science has increased happiness, so contributing to science increases happiness" is a tautology. Second, by referring to "the scientific world-view" you're sneaking in the claim "we can only have nice things from science if we're unreligious" (where you haven't really clearly defined what you mean be religion) which history shows is quite bogus.
Garnasha wrote:and trying to keep others (children) away from it as if it were a competing religion a major evil.
You've switched back to using loaded moral language like "evil" rather than your previous definition. So what you really said is "keeping people away from science (which increases happiness) reduces happiness" which is again a tautology. And I guess you're making a claim that "religious people" see science as "a competing religion". Well you're the one who just said that there's a negative correletion between being a scientist and being religous. You're the one claiming that science and religion are opposed. Maybe it's not science that they're keeping children away from, maybe it's just your idea that science and religion are opposed that they're keeping them away from.
Garnasha wrote:We have no good evidence for or against the existence of hobbits
Many paleontoligists would disagree with you (though it's the usual thing of finding human remains and claiming they're a new species because finding humans is boring).
Garnasha wrote:Therefore, if science tells us that good is achieved through action A, but religion tells us good is achieved through action B, and those conflict, one should follow the course of action suggested by the world-view with the best track record for keeping its promises in a way we can confirm while we can still act on it, rather than a world-view without anything for it except "we can't conclusively prove it's wrong".
Who gets to decide what happiness is and who is human? Is the most important field of science that of accurately modelling future human happiness?
Can we accurately judge the potential happiness a person will cause before they are even born? A lot of people seem to think so. My grandmother's mother decided that having another baby would make her unhappy, so she attempted to prevent this reduction in happiness. She failed in her attempts at preventing what you would call 'evil', and my grandmother was born. Should we look back at history and judge how much happiness or suffering has eventuated as a result of that failure? Can we accurately model how much happiness and suffering would have eventuated if she'd succeeded? Can we then compare those numbers to evaluate whether her action was good or evil (causing a net positive or negative happines/suffering balance)? Or should we wait a few more generations?
The only way to know for sure would be to accurately simulate the entire probability space of future human happiness and suffering, find the one with the highest happiness quotient, and make sure that everyone does the right thing to cause that future to eventuate. Anything else would be 'evil' according to you.
Really, if good and evil are determined by the amount of resultant human happiness and suffering, then we have absolutely no clue whether our actions are good or evil. Our actions today may only affect a few people, but after years a lot more people will be affected, and we have no way to account for that.
If morals are purely scientific, then we'd better find a way of testing whether a fetus will become the next mass murderer. Or maybe not, maybe the world would be a happier place with all those people dead. How do we know
Here's something interesting:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness_ ... d_children
Gilberts writes that prospective parents know that raising children will be laborious, yet they believe it will make them very happy. In fact, studies show it does just the opposite, and that levels of parental happiness don't rise until kids leave for college ... Still, if happiness is thought of in terms of a broader life narrative, rather than just specific moments of teething, diaper changing and petty-cash culling, it's pretty clear that kids do add value ... married couples test happier, but it's unclear if that's because happy people marry ... "We are the product of our genes and our societies," says Gilbert. Traditions will trump the empirical evidence that money and kids won't make us happy.
Looks like everyone who has children is going against your suggested course of action.
Flumble wrote:That's silly. Lots of researchers write hardware (in VHDL/Verilog) nowadays, why don't they mention it to the public?
Vital HotDog Language?
(Sorry, that's an OTTer in-joke.)
Mikeski wrote: From the hardware side of the fence, I could see software folks not saying "make software" because "make" is already a technical term for anyone who codes in a UNIX environment. And why overload an operator unnecessarily?
Izawwlgood wrote:Z ) Just... stahp. It is such a shame every time biology comes, someone wants to chime in with theology.
Carl Wieland was in town for the weekend so...
*scrolls up and sees how long and rambling this post is*
Meh, I wasted half my morning writing it so I might as well post it.
-Definitely Not Summer Glau
 So this went up today. A couple days late, but oh well. http://creation.com/on-theorigin-of-universes