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(03-23-2020, 08:46 PM)Dānu Wrote: I just want to chime in that while I think indoctrination is problematic in the general case, it's not as troublesome for me regarding children.  Parents have the responsibility to equip their children for functioning in the world in the best way they know how.  While opinions certainly differ on what is the best way, the simple fact is that children, until their late teens, lack the maturity to make these decisions on their own.  As a practical and ethical matter, it is appropriate to leave the job of teaching children and how to go about that up to the parents involved, excepting that doing so might infringe upon a specific right of the child.  Even uncritical teaching of religious truths should be protected in that context, in my book.  As parents, we make decisions about what aspects of life to encourage personal autonomy on in our children, and which not.  I suspect that much of the furor about parents "indoctrinating" their children stems from a bigoted dismissal of religion in general.  We don't cry horror about parents indoctrinating their children in safe sex.  It's a reflection of how we feel about religion generally.  Even if I were against religion generally, though, I would still carve out a space for parents to do as they wish concerning religious education.

Except that religious teaching is about avoiding reality. We have social services for a reason, especially in cases where parents are not doing what is in the best interest of the child. I may not work in social services, I've never been a parent, but I don't need to have experience in either situation to understand abuse. Religious parents abuse their children with religious teachings. Plain and simple. You can disagree, although you'll be doing it from a position of irrationality.

Sex is science. Sex is not some made up concept invented by religion. No, because sex is real religion has instead created sin to make sex look bad. Just another reason religion is bad.

There's a clear fucking difference between religion and science, and anyone who defends religion as being on the same level as teaching safe sex needs a serious reality check.
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(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: All the other disciples saw Jesus appear to them. Only Thomas was not there. He was skeptical and said that he would believe when he saw with his own eyes.

This is perfectly reasonable.  Even if multiple friends and/or family members swore up-and-down that they saw my deceased grandfather walking around alive, I'd still be skeptical. I wouldn't automatically think they were lying, but I would suspect that they were somehow sincerely mistaken.  When the claim is that extraordinary, subjective experience just won't cut it as evidence.

(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: Jesus' reply had absolutely no condemnation in it. It is interesting that you take this as "the single best example of Jesus advocating blind faith and discouraging skepticism". What do you mean by "blind faith?" It seems that putting 'blind' in front of it creates a pejorative term.

Would you prefer "unconditional" or "unquestioning"?  In any case, the pejoration is intentional, 'cause whatever you want to call it, faith is a shoddy epistemology.

(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: This quick read illustrates the way faith is used in the Bible. It is not blind in the sense that I think you mean it.

I think if you read Proverbs 3 (the whole chapter) it is hard to walk away with the meaning you intend. Solomon is writing advice throughout the whole book.

I'm not impressed.  In the bit about Hebrews 11, Abraham's reasoning still presupposes the truth of God's promise, seemingly on faith alone, and the Berean church in Acts similarly seem to have taken faith in Scripture, even if not Paul, for granted.  Most of the rest are vague appeals to "wisdom" and/or "understanding," which are semantically malleable enough that they can, at the Christian's whim, be read to exclude healthy skepticism.  The closest your citations come to actually advocating skepticism is the mention of "discretion" in Proverbs 3:21, but even that is ironically canceled out if not overshadowed by an earlier passage in the very same chapter.  Proverbs 3:5-6 is another very clear support for my understanding of faith rather than yours. 

(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: If a family has engages in "distancing oneself from family members who would challenge one's faith" that would be to ignore the parables of being salt and light, hiding a candle under a bushel basket, and the 50+ other verses you can get here.

Skimming this selection, I find that the trend seems to be mere calls to evangelize and/or lead others by example into Christianity, neither of which necessarily address what to do when those to whom you are compelled to proselytize turn the tables and start dissuading you. Also, there's Romans 16:17.

(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: First, you are not going to find biblical support for the mindset you want to paint here.

Actually, I now have even more such support since you led me to Proverbs 3:5-6.  Thanks for that!

(03-23-2020, 02:55 PM)SteveII Wrote: Second, I think your concept of faith is off.  Faith is trusting in that which you have some reason(s) to believe is true.

If that is indeed what you mean, I don't think "faith" is quite the right word.  Might I suggest "confidence"?  However you may define it, its actual breadth of usage readily allows Christians to dismiss evidence or the lack thereof, which implies that, at least in their more candid moments, your definition is not what they actually mean by the term.

(03-23-2020, 03:14 PM)SteveII Wrote: Jesus' entire ministry was about distinguishing between keeping some list of rules with actually changing one's heart. This is a huge distinction. If I hate people, lust after women, etc., but present a good image to everyone, I might have an easier time managing my daily life, but I am in the same boat as everyone who murders and cheats. Nearly everything Jesus taught about in the gospels and later in the epistles had to do with what is in one's heart.

Turning this around and claiming this is "emotional/behavior control" is simply to miss one of the main themes that runs throughout the entire New Testament. It is supposed to be the result, not the method of living a God-inspired life.

And the fact that "changing one's heart" is the "result" to be aimed for, it's still ultimately emotion/behavior control.  I fail to see how the above changes that.

(03-23-2020, 03:14 PM)SteveII Wrote: Regarding the "isolation" idea, why would any parent want people to teach their kid something they believe is wrong? Even an atheist is going to put limits on who their children are influenced by. We never discouraged our children from having friends--christians or not. We did discourage them from hanging out with kids who did drugs, kids whose parents allowed underage drinking, etc. etc.

There's a difference between merely believing differently and actively trying to teach that belief to someone else's kids.  The issue is that, for many Christian parents (even if not you), merely the former is sufficient grounds for isolating their children from certain friends, even if those friends have made no deliberate attempt to influence them.  Also, drug abuse and underage drinking are behaviors, not beliefs, so I don't think that's an apt comparison.

(03-23-2020, 04:12 PM)SteveII Wrote: I don't think sexual consent is analogous to teaching children about God for a couple of reasons. (1) You are talking about consent to an actual event that has actual physical and emotional consequences. Teaching a child about God is an accumulation of information that might lead to a conclusion but does not lead to an event. (2) Sexual consent is a decision based on whether you have enough information. Teaching children about God is the information. Logically, information must precede a decision.

Your entire thought experiment seems to assume that teaching children about God is indoctrination. But as we have discussed, it is the tactic not the content that makes it so.

First of all, religious instruction has "actual" intellectual and/or emotional consequences which can often be just as significant as the physical and/or emotional consequences of a sexual act.  Second of all, making an informed decision relies on having not only the information itself but also the cognitive faculties to sufficiently evaluate it, and this applies to both sexual activity and religion.  

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: The "very good inductive case..." for Naturalism.  Two points:

1. Some person or group of people attribute to God some event E. It is found that event E was in fact a virus or some mental illness (I think anything would work--I just need something as an example). It is later shown that there are naturalistic explanations to this. This is classic God of the Gaps argument. A version of an argument from ignorance. If this is the type of thing you are talking about, then it seems your inductive argument for Naturalism relies on the existence of fallacious argumentation as a premise. Strange.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here.  The existence or use of fallacious argumentation in defense of supernatural causation is not a premise.  If anything, it's a parallel conclusion, or at least a suggestion of the actual premises in the argument.

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: OF COURSE, if you found something in the Bible that attributes something to God which is clearly a natural process, then you might have an argument. Is there something you have in mind? If you say evolution, I am going to go with Augustine who 1700 years ago, did not take the 6 days of creation as literal. He didn't know anything about evolution.

How about the geological and meteorological phenomena named in Isaiah 29:6?

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: 2. You are claiming way more than you could ever hope to support. You said "Every single time we've attributed an observed phenomenon to a supernatural cause, we've been wrong..." You simple cannot know this--by definition.  Did Jesus heal the paralytic? Did he rise from the dead. Did Aunt Mae's tumor go into remission on it's own? Did God intervene to cause two people to meet for some purpose? Did God give Pastor Bob the right words to say on Sunday? You don't know these things. You can't know these things.

Fair enough, I suppose.  At least in the context of this discussion, that was a bit of careless wording.  Allow me to rephrase.  Every single time we've claimed that te supernatural was the only and/or best explanation for an observed phenomenon, we've been wrong.

(03-23-2020, 06:45 PM)SteveII Wrote: I would never say that God caused existence. He existed. Therefore what we see is contingent on his existing. It explains why something exists rather than nothing.

How does any of that follow, particularly the third and fourth sentences from the second?

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: Nothing I would present for these topics are an argument from ignorance or God-of-the-Gaps argument. You have to pay attention to the actual premises. For example,

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause
4. And because the properties ANY first cause must possess are already contained in the concept of God, that cause is God.

I expanded the last one to short circuit any confusion about the conclusion.  There are metaphysical and scientific reasons for each premises. People can and do write multiple chapters on each of the four. No argument from ignorance in sight.

And as you may recall from the thread that you dedicated to the KCA, I've also written what arguably amounts at least to a single chapter in response to this, explaining why #4 especially is unsound.

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: Regarding whether Theism is the best explanation for first cause, consciousness, or fine tuning, you imply that there are competing explanations. You don't. The alternatives are "brute facts" (which the very definition of is without explanation) and/or proposing ad hoc changes to or conclusion about metaphysics for the sole reason of a possible explanation. Perhaps with my new-found quarantine, I will get to address these in an upcoming thread.

Regarding at least some of those phenomena, I'm quite sure that there are competing explanations, and they generally have the advantage of not relying on the groundless assumption of the supernatural.

By the way, if I'm understanding you correctly and you've been struck by COVID-19, I hope you recover quickly.

(03-23-2020, 06:01 PM)SteveII Wrote: Regarding the NT, why do you say that "religious experiences" are among the poorest form of evidence instead of just "experiences"? It seems if you follow that train of thought, you are going to end up begging the question.

Fine.  I'm quite happy to broaden that to "subjective experiences" of any kind.  What I said still holds.

(03-12-2020, 07:45 PM)SteveII Wrote: I answered some of this directly above why this is not an argument from ignorance. I would add that an argument from ignorance (God-of-the-Gaps) would take the form of:

1. We don't have an explanation for x
2. Therefore God.

But that is not the form of say the Kalam argument above. Which of the first 2 premises is probably false? If the conclusion was not God, I bet you wouldn't have a problem with either. However, if the premises are true then the conclusion necessarily follows. If the premises are probably true then the conclusion is probably true.

I would say that the argument from ignorance comes into play not necessarily in the core of the KCA itself but rather in the attempted corollary arguments for why the cause is necessarily a deity.
The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. - Carl Sagan
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν τῇ φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστὶν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις. - Κᾱ́ρολος Σήγανος

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He doesnt know the universe began to exist. BS unsupported assertion. Deadpan Coffee Drinker
The rest....well, garbage in, garbage out.
cetero censeo religionem esse delendam 
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(03-26-2020, 07:28 AM)Deesse23 Wrote: He doesnt know the universe began to exist. BS unsupported assertion.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker
The rest....well, garbage in, garbage out.

And that's the thing, while Christians and theists in general debate the fine detail they forget the big picture.

That an entity that created us, wants us to know and worship him would create such stupidity in the first place, the very fact it requires so much detailed explaining with so many competing views doesn't dawn on then as a problem.

Even as a Christian i though the cosmological argument was at best fanciful, and at worse very dishonest.  Same with the fine tuning..etc, all require assertions we cannot claim to now.
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.

(03-23-2020, 08:46 PM)Dānu Wrote: ...We don't cry horror about parents indoctrinating their children in safe sex.  It's a reflection of how we feel about religion generally.  Even if I were against religion generally, though, I would still carve out a space for parents to do as they wish concerning religious education.

Equating  educating (not "indoctrinating") our children about safe sex with religious indoctrination is absurd.  
Safe sexual practices are a real part of any/all child's upbringing, particularly considering contemporary, laissez faire
attitudes towards sex. On the other hand, religious "education" is a pointless, potentially socially harming, and
outmoded practice that has no meaningful benefits in a scientifically-enlightened 21st century.  In fact, singular,
religious "education" can all too often lead to a watering down of the genuine sciences, and a corruption of our true
place in the universe.

I note though that the "history" of all religions should be taught as it rounds out to a large degree where we find
ourselves  today—for reasons both right and wrong.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.

Religion should only be taught in school under two circumstances:

As a very minor subsection of history.

As a comparative study, where multiple religions are taught.
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(03-26-2020, 02:06 PM)Phaedrus Wrote: Religion should only be taught in school under two circumstances:

As a very minor subsection of history.

As a comparative study, where multiple religions are taught.

I agree, what we are finding in the U.K. is when it's taught like very few kids then go on to be believers unless they come from a religious family, even then many question.

Mostly they decide that all religions are just stories told by people to comfort themselves, or create some kind of order in uneducated society.
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.
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(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: But, who decided that "on balance, it enhances the well-being and/or reduces the suffering of sentient creatures" was good? You probably think that obvious, but why not the survival of our species or the planet or some other goal. Can't wave your hand and say the definition of good is x. This was clearly not always the definition and you don't give an account for it.

On the contrary, I'm arguing precisely that it was always the definition, at least implicitly.  It just hasn't been the easiest thing to realize and spell out in explicit terms.

As for survival, no human being (and likely no sentient being in general) is content with merely surviving, if given the choice.  Sure, surviving is better then dying, but surviving comfortably and happily is even better still.   Given that we all have an instinctive drive to not only survive but also thrive, then mere survival would be less useful to us as a goal than one that included thriving as well.  The planet's continued existence, by itself and strictly for its own sake, is of similarly limited utility to us as a goal, given our instinctive drive to thrive.  Its relevance stems from it being a necessary precondition (for now) to our actual goal, which entails the well-being of our species. 

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: But if you anchor morality that way, then all you have are 'enlightened norms' that you have labeled morality. "Cross-cultural judgements" means you have decided that some behaviors by some cultures are wrong when considering the larger group.

The larger group need not be a consideration.  Take female genital mutilation (or any genital mutilation, really) as an example.  We can confidently declare it morally wrong because it causes great suffering to many members of the practicing group itself while serving no proportionally greater good for the same group.  Of course, the challenge is to convince the practitioners of that, but they're still wrong, whether they accept it or not, in much the same way that flat-Earthers are still wrong no matter how willfully ignorant they continue to be.  

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: But that's not the right word. They are not wrong, in so much as they are not conducive to some set of goals.

Indeed, they are wrong, in that their actions ultimately conflict with the implicit goal we all instinctively share.  Those committing the evil may have convinced themselves otherwise, but that doesn't change the moral facts of the matter.

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: If these 'global goals' conflict with more 'local goals', you have a difference in goals. This is not the definition of morality. There is no process that these differences undergo to get you to a moral right and wrong.

It's simple, really.  Any "local goals" will ultimately reduce to the maximal well-being of the in-group, and however well selfishness and/or chauvinism may serve that underlying goal in the short term, it will always be even better served in the long term by seeking the same maximal well-being for out-groups as well (i.e. "global goals").  Again, not everyone realizes this, but that has no bearing on the truth of the matter.

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: Three questions:

1. You have presupposed an extensive set of rights that each person has. These are relatively new. Does that mean every law, act, and event that did not honor these rights since the beginning of conscious man were immoral?
2. If there existed only one culture, would it's goals be the definition of right and wrong?
3. 250 years ago was it morally right or wrong to have a mid-late term abortion? The people at the time would have universally said it was wrong. Where they mistaken? If so, how can you know that you are not mistaken now?

Three answers:

1.   I haven't presupposed any rights.  The only thing I've presupposed is that the well-being of sentient creatures is good and the suffering of sentient creatures is bad.  With that single axiom in mind, I have subsequently become convinced that there is overall more well-being and less suffering when every sentient creature has certain rights.  So in short, yes, any legislation or regime that has abridged those rights has been immoral, in the sense that they have caused sentient creatures to suffer unnecessarily.

2.   If by "goals" you mean specific values on or close to the surface (e.g. prizing love or honesty), then no, not necessarily.  If instead you mean everything the species comprising such a culture was instinctively driven to seek and revel in once attained, then yes.  Part of the difficulty in answering this question is that, at its ultimate foundation, I don't think morality is culturally bound at all, but rather species-bound at best, and more likely intrinsic to sentience in general, whatever form(s) it takes.  The various routes and/or missteps taken in getting from that foundation to surface-level moral values are the culturally bound stuff.

3.   Generally, that's still a moral gray area even now.  At least, in my view it is, but I don't actually know for sure that I'm not mistaken, and crucially, if you want to change my mind, the way to do that is by appealing to the universal moral axiom and showing that its net effect is to increase suffering and/or decrease well-being.  Even in this regard, I doubt it would be as simple as a carte-blanche prohibition, as context often matters.  In any case, whatever scenario we would deem immoral by this rubric now would still have been wrong 250 years ago.

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: But that is a might-makes right argument. What if there were many more people that like x or they grouped together to have a nation state where they could carry out their acts on each other as a big sick contest? That cannot be the standard of right and wrong.

No, it's a matter of making the best out of a bad situation, or committing a lesser evil to prevent a far greater one because no other choice presents itself.  In a zero-sum scenario where either the rapist or his victims must inevitably suffer in some way, we create less suffering by curtailing the rapist than we do by allowing him to act out his desires.

If genuinely enjoying X were the norm, then by definition, experiencing X would be a form of well-being rather than suffering, and the moral thing to do would generally be to at least allow if not promote X rather than forbidding it.  If all the BDSM enthusiasts and Addams families of the world came together to form the new nation of Odynophilia, we would be remiss to call their customs wrong, as long as it was clear that the citizens engaged in them derived genuine pleasure from them and weren't harming each other in the process.

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: You are right, the entire argument hangs on your assertion that (1) is the standard.

Right, just like any argument you're likely to make in favor of theistic morality hangs on your assertion that God is the standard.  So again, pointing this out gets neither of us anywhere in establishing which model of morality is superior.

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: That would gut the everyday notion of right and wrong. Every culture and every justice system in the world assumes we have a choice. Would you say that we have it wrong and it will evolve with time toward that understanding?

Perhaps such an evolution will occur or is already beginning.  Are you suggesting that this would be a bad thing?  If a justice system re-oriented in this way still had the net effect of deterring crime and thus promoting well-being while reducing suffering, what meaningful difference would it really make?

As it happens, I think the notion of choice may still serve a role as what I call a "pragmatic approximation."  In that capacity, it would seem much like those flight training manuals that assume a flat and stationary Earth.  Contrary to what flat-Earthers like to claim, both the authors and the readers almost certainly know that the Earth is a rotating sphere revolving around a much larger sphere, but factoring that into the calculations would usually just impede the process by overly complicating it.  

(03-23-2020, 09:53 PM)SteveII Wrote: Assuming you had a choice, if you will suffer no ill effects (say you had some sociopathic tendencies) and your wife will surely never know, isn't then your conclusion that cheating on her is morally good? Not even amoral, actually morally good because it brings pleasure?

In scenarios like this, it becomes important to consider things on a societal scale rather than an individual one.  It's where Kant's categorical imperative finds its way into the rule utilitarianism of which I think the Harrisian axiom is arguably a summarial expression.  If it was generally held that marital infidelity is perfectly acceptable provided sufficient discretion, that would ramify quite negatively on marital trust, the meaning of wedding vows, and thus the institution of marriage as a whole.  Paranoia regarding spousal fidelity would become much more common than it already is, as would children with at least one deadbeat or otherwise distant parent, for example.  Sure, certain individuals could probably get away with it with no real harm done, but society as a whole would clearly be worse off if it were the norm.  It's for a very similar reason that we don't sacrifice one very unwilling organ donor to save the lives of multiple recipients.  No one would go to the hospital if they thought that was a considerable possibility, so more people would suffer and die from inadequate medical attention.

Let me ask you one question of my own, Steve.  You contend that morality is defined by consistency with God's will and/or nature.  Let's assume for the sake of argument that you've convinced me that God exists.  Now, how would you go about the subsequent task of convincing me that I should adopt his will and/or nature as my moral guide?  For example, granting that God commands us to be honest and/or that his nature is one of honesty, how and why does that compel me personally to be honest? What objective reason could you give me to care what God wants/is?
The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. - Carl Sagan
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν τῇ φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστὶν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις. - Κᾱ́ρολος Σήγανος


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