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Author Topic:   How do you know truth?
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 114 (25978)
12-08-2002 7:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by funkmasterfreaky
12-08-2002 6:56 PM


quote:
Originally posted by funkmasterfreaky:
quote:
John, in the previous post you said that you look for truth. I was wondering, what is your definition of truth? And how do you know it when you find it?
This was a question posed by Chara in another thread which got burried. No response was given and I thought it might make for a good discussion.

it is a good question and i'll await replies so i don't attack a straw man...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 12-08-2002 6:56 PM funkmasterfreaky has not replied

Replies to this message:
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forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 114 (26107)
12-09-2002 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Quetzal
12-09-2002 4:06 AM


hi Q...
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
I'm also a tad curious - not for John's take on it, but for others. What is "truth" as you understand it? Second, related question, "Why is it important to seek it?" IOW, what is this concept that everyone seems so hot and bothered about seeking?
Most theists of whatever stripe seem know what truth is, so I'd be interested in hearing what they think.
Most non-theists of whatever stripe seem to agree they don't know what it is. Some claim to be seeking it, some argue there isn't any such thing. Some claim that it's an unapproachable ideal.
So what is it?

i find this interesting because i've never (never!! can you believe?) met an atheist who said anything other than "there isn't any such thing as truth"... or, "truth is subjective, an objective truth doesn't exist"... if one possesses truth (granting the existence of this entity), one possesses knowledge... would you agree?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Quetzal, posted 12-09-2002 4:06 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Quetzal, posted 12-10-2002 4:02 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 114 (26169)
12-10-2002 6:52 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by Quetzal
12-10-2002 4:02 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
Hmm, not sure whether I agree with this or not. How is Truth related to knowledge? In my experience, it is quite possible for us to "know" something that isn't true. This observation is especially accurate when we make claims about things that are "self evident", or assign values to something. Utility is another concept that gets squishy when we talk about knowing something. The validity of our knowledge, IMO, depends on the confidence level we assign to the evidence we use to determine what is "known", if that makes any sense. How does this relate to Truth?
for one to possess knowledge it seems to me that the claimed knowledge must be true... it's almost tautological, in my mind... how can one "know" something if that something is not true? take two opposing views, one true and one false... semantics aside, isn't the view that's false merely a strongly held belief? take my "knowledge" that God exists... if it is not true, what would you label it if not belief? notice this has nothing to do with the means by which one possesses knowledge, merely the possession itself
i think that some things are false, some are partially true (or false), and some are true... if so, objective truth exists and the existence of false and/or partially false views doesn't negate that
we've (maybe not you and i) had this discussion before, and ones epistemology goes a long way in determining how one views this issue... my view is, if there is no objective truth, there can be no such thing as knowledge... how do you define 'knowledge'?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Quetzal, posted 12-10-2002 4:02 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Quetzal, posted 12-10-2002 8:46 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 114 (26394)
12-12-2002 7:34 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Quetzal
12-10-2002 8:46 AM


hi Q
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
Knowledge does not equate to Universal Truth. Knowledge is ever-changing. Knowledge increases exponentially, building on or overturning past knowledge. What we think we know may or may not be True (or even true).
i simply disagree... if it isn't true, it isn't knowledge... it can pass, or pose, for knowledge... but read again what i wrote about 2 opposing worldviews, both of which make knowledge claims
quote:
quote:
take two opposing views, one true and one false... semantics aside, isn't the view that's false merely a strongly held belief? take my "knowledge" that God exists... if it is not true, what would you label it if not belief? notice this has nothing to do with the means by which one possesses knowledge, merely the possession itself
I don't think you meant to say what this part seems to read: a belief is a view that's false? By definition, a belief is held to be true (or even True) by the holder of that belief. Why would anyone believe something that they knew wasn't true (small "t")? I would say that it's quite easy to hold beliefs that are false, but that doesn't imply or presuppose falsity.
no i don't think i said that... i did say a belief can be false, even a belief that claims to be true or claims to be "knowledge"... take your flat earth example... if you believe the earth is flat and espouse that view as knowledge ("i KNOW the earth is flat") and i hold an opposing view ("i KNOW the earth is spherical"), one of us would be in possession of truth and the other not (assuming the earth was one of those two shapes)... therefore one of us would be in possession of knowledge and one not
quote:
This is where I agree with you - the epistemology one uses to determine the truth (small "t") or falsity of a belief will have a tremendous impact on the final determination. It's pretty easy to do with itty bitty truths (like evolution ) - evidence, reason, evidence, inference, evidence, deduction, evidence, etc are all that's needed to determine whether an itty bitty truth is accurate or not.
However, to determine the validity or even existence of a transcendental, objective Truth (capital "T") is somewhat more difficult. Which, of course, brings me back to my original questions: what is Truth (big t)? How do you know what you call Truth (big t) is valid? Once you answer that question, we can go on to the "why do we seek it?" question.
I hope that makes sense. I'm a lousy philosopher. Wanna talk about genetic bottlenecks?
lol no thanks!!.. i do read those g.b. threads tho, find 'em fascinating... i agree that determining T-ruth is difficult if not impossible, given relative states of discovery etc... that doesn't mean such a truth doesn't exist, nor that it won't eventually be discovered... so i guess, if forced, i'd define truth as "a knowledge claim lacking in falsity"... i much prefer defining knowledge tho, seems less ambiguous, as true warranted belief (tho i really don't wanna get mired in that epistemological debate again )

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Quetzal, posted 12-10-2002 8:46 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Quetzal, posted 12-13-2002 7:52 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 114 (26552)
12-13-2002 9:50 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Quetzal
12-13-2002 7:52 AM


hi Q
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
I agree this is an example. If we had lived 500 years ago, we both would have held that the Earth is flat - because that was what was "known" at the time. For you, at the time, this would have been true (and for the Church of the time, it was Truth). It's only now, with our 20/20 hindsight, that we can declare that the knowledge the Earth is flat was in error - that what was known then was actually untrue. From my perspective, this implies that what we "know", even at the best of times, may not be true. I have no problem with this uncertainty - it just makes life interesting. You apparently feel that there must be some pure "knowledge" out there somewhere. Is it possible to attain it? Or is it some unrealizable "ideal"?
i don't really know if what i believe about knowledge applies to *all* areas, but i do believe that for some things (again using flat earth as an example) there is a Truth... what i'm saying is, there is a truth (again, maybe not for all things) and whatever it is remains true regardless of the numbers of people who don't believe it or don't even KNOW it at any one time... oh btw, i didn't include your previous paragraph but i will indeed take into account our (seemingly mild) disagreement on epistemology... as for the possibility of attaining whatever "pure" knowledge exists, i can't answer that... but whether we can or not should have no effect on whether or not it exists
quote:
Q:
BTW: Isn't your last bit about truth being "a knowledge claim lacking falsity" where you define knowledge as "a true warranted belief" circular or something? Truth is a true belief lacking falsity? It just sounds weird to me the way you've phrased it. I suppose that's what I get for taking science courses instead of philosophy...
probably is circular, so you can scratch the "truth" definition lol.. i was uncomfortable with it anyway

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Quetzal, posted 12-13-2002 7:52 AM Quetzal has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 12-15-2002 5:13 PM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 32 of 114 (26669)
12-15-2002 7:05 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by funkmasterfreaky
12-15-2002 5:13 PM


quote:
Originally posted by funkmasterfreaky:
Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life"
can't think of a better definition.

yayus... and to know truth one must ?????

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 12-15-2002 5:13 PM funkmasterfreaky has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 34 of 114 (26712)
12-16-2002 6:32 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Quetzal
12-16-2002 3:24 AM


hi Q
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
You're right. Who cares? If this entire discussion is simply you trying to justify your nihilism, you're barking up the wrong tree with me. "Sweetness and light", hunh? LOL. Nice dismissal of someone who disagrees with you. I have witnessed, up close and personal, most of the worst things that humans are capable of doing to each other both individually and in the aggregate. I have narrowly avoided losing my own life at the hands of others - primarily through pure luck and slightly faster reactions - and have been forced, to my eternal regret and (for many years) recurring nightmares, to take the life of others in order to preserve my own. And yet, at the same time I have seen many selfless and even "heroic" acts; I've witnessed much kindness; I've been the recipient of deep friendship; and I've experienced great beauty - both man-made and natural.
I arrived at the philosophical position I adhere to, and which you dismiss so cavalierly, after many years of quite difficult reflection - "soul searching" the theists would call it. Guess what? In spite of my experiences, I haven't given up. I haven't come to the conclusion that "life sucks and then you die". I haven't lost "faith" in humanity. Nihilism honest? Nihilism is defeatist, utterly selfish, supremely arrogant, intellectually vacuous, and morally bankrupt. It's the default position of people who haven't got the strength to face up to the vicissitudes of life. It consigns the entirety of humanity to hopelessness and dispair while abrogating any personal responsibility to make any effort to change the situation. I can't imagine how a true nihilist can even get out of bed in the morning.
a nihilist can make one tired, yes? ... but it's always seemed to me that a person who denies the transcendent God has only nihilism to fall back on, and has to make a concious effort to avoid nihilistic thoughts... if all we have is the accidental bumping and grinding of molecules, if there is no more, then life really is meaningless...
i read your post very closely, and many of the things you wrote can be said of my own life... i think you have made a mature and wise decision to live your life the way you do... i simply believe that your worldview, your philosophy of life, has been chosen *because* nihilism is the only, and distasteful, alternative... i hope that makes sense

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Quetzal, posted 12-16-2002 3:24 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 12-16-2002 8:59 AM forgiven has replied
 Message 36 by Quetzal, posted 12-16-2002 9:17 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 41 of 114 (26877)
12-16-2002 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by robinrohan
12-16-2002 3:27 PM


quote:
Originally posted by robinrohan:
My point is that materialism and moralism do not mix. Materialism precludes free will and moralism demands it.
I can't believe you reacted so emotionally.
It's not a matter of what makes us feel good or what is good for us or any other sentiment--it's a matter of what's true.
[This message has been edited by robinrohan, 12-16-2002]

i have to agree with your first paragraph, robin... if materialism is all there is (objectively speaking), whatever philosophy one finally adopts is meaningless... and that regardless of how we approach it...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by robinrohan, posted 12-16-2002 3:27 PM robinrohan has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 42 of 114 (26878)
12-16-2002 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Quetzal
12-16-2002 9:17 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
quote:
a nihilist can make one tired, yes? ... but it's always seemed to me that a person who denies the transcendent God has only nihilism to fall back on, and has to make a concious effort to avoid nihilistic thoughts... if all we have is the accidental bumping and grinding of molecules, if there is no more, then life really is meaningless...
On the contrary, life - human life anyway - is entirely what you make of it. It is only meaningless if you allow it to be so - for good or ill. I'm kind of surprised you would say that. Isn't there an old Christian prayer that talks about (and apologies if I misquote), "1. Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, 2. the courage to change that which I can, 3. and the wisdom to know the difference"? Think of it from a non-theist perspective and it still makes sense.
ok thinking... *making half-way intelligent expressions... or painful*... sorry Q it just seems to me that if life is an accident, so are the things that make up our individual lives... and if this is all there is, there is no purpose... the serial killer and the pope are both ecstatic to be doing what they want in life and in the end it doesn't matter one whit...
thank God there is more, eh?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Quetzal, posted 12-16-2002 9:17 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by robinrohan, posted 12-16-2002 8:12 PM forgiven has not replied
 Message 45 by Quetzal, posted 12-17-2002 3:40 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 46 of 114 (26956)
12-17-2002 7:22 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Quetzal
12-16-2002 9:17 AM


hi Q, i didn't miss the below i just didn't have time to address it... i'm pressed for time now, but will do my best
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
1. Take the world and the universe as it is, not what you wish it to be. Accept that humans, being a highly aggressive and territorial species, are quite capable of committing the most heinous acts. But realize at the same time that we are ALSO capable of an incredible amount of greatness. We are a study in contrasts. The same species that can fly and land on another world and whose vision can probe the furthest reaches of the sidereal universe, also condemns the vast majority of its populations to abject misery, starvation and death. The same species that can produce Rembrandt, Bach, Darwin or Einstein, can also produce Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Pizarro. The same species that can imagine the existence of an all-loving God, can turn around and use this same God as justification for slaughtering its own. We are an amazing species: full of contradictions and complexity. Accept it - it's what we are. No one individual will ever be able to change it. An attempt to try changing the entire species is doomed to failure.
i see nothing at all in this paragraph with which to disagree... all i've been trying to say is, if we are here because of a series of accidents, then what we are (collectively and individually) is a result of those accidents... if this is so, there is no difference, in the final analysis, between pol pot and mozart... the accidental nature of the chemicals that made up one person's individuality make up the other's... and it can make no difference which path one chooses (individually)... there is no moral or ethical compass, hitler and ghandi lived "right" lives *for them*
quote:
2. If you can't change the human condition, then what's the point? The point is every individual CAN make a difference, even if infintessimal. You effect what you are able, you improve where you can. Just imagine if everyone thought that way? Even if they don't, so what? The motivation to act where you can comes from within. The act becomes its own reward. I would argue that this is the third option you neglected to mention: neither theist nor nihilist. A "humanist" (although the term has become more and more empty over the years, hence the quotation marks) outlook. Wholly secular, and a refusal to chuck the whole thing as a bad job. Can't change the overall misery index? Nope - but I CAN change it in my immediate environment, which is all that can be asked of a selfish organism anyway.
and this paragraph is equally well stated... but to my mind the discussion centered around whether or not any person or group of people had the right to say that another person or group is "wrong" in whatever course they choose, given that one accident has as much liklihood as another to do "the right thing"... hitler might argue that his course was the only correct one, for germany and for humanity... how can we argue? one accident arguing against another
quote:
3. You have to pick your battles. Some simply can't be won - accept it. The trick is to know when to attack and when to retreat; when to try and improve things, and when your efforts will be vain. Anything else is stupid.
agreed *if* there is no such thing as objectivity... in that case we just live our lives as we think best, and accept the subjective nature of our decisions... we must know that how we think is no better or worse than how any one else thinks... it can't be, see?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Quetzal, posted 12-16-2002 9:17 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Quetzal, posted 12-17-2002 10:58 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 47 of 114 (26958)
12-17-2002 7:34 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Quetzal
12-17-2002 3:40 AM


hi Q...
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
This does NOT, in spite of robin's unsupported assertions to the contrary, require that an individual's life be without "meaning". Yes the universe is a cold, unfeeling, utterly uncaring place. So what? That's reality. You can wish it away, make up anthropomorphic deities to give you that warm fuzzy feeling, invent an afterlife to hide from the fact of death, or whatever makes you happy. This doesn't make them any more "real" than Schraf's invisible pink unicorns (although I've often wondered how you can have "pink" and "invisible" in the same critter). Alternatively, you can accept what IS, rather than what you wish it to be because it makes you feel better, and live what life you've got to the best of your ability within the constraints of the society in which you were born. It's entirely up to you.
i understand this, really i do... what i don't understand is how one who lives as you describe can make any claim that his subjective decisions are correct or moral or ethical when opposed to those of another... and Q, many atheists (or materialists) do argue that very thing... yes, how we live matters to *us* (and our immediate surroundings)... but so what? in the end it doesn't matter at all
quote:
I would venture to guess that you probably do - and I would predict that, in the absence of your religion, you would STILL act very much in the same fashion. Somehow you don't strike me as the type that would be out axe murdering people if you didn't feel constrained by the threat of future divine punishment. Wonder why you wouldn't?
i agree i'd be pretty much like i am, but i'd be internally inconsistent to think that my way is the right way... the axe murderer *might* have the right philosophy... he certainly has as much right to his way of life as i do to mine
quote:
Popes and serial killers: You're falling into robin's trap of bringing up false analogies in a reductio ad absurdum argument. Unless you can truthfully say there is a behavioral or psychological equivalence between the Pope and a serial killer - or alternatively make the case that the two behaviors are normative in their particular cultures - then the examples are fallacious. The behaviors - and the acceptability - of the two are completely different because one is in conformity to social norms, where the other is exhibiting arguably abnormal behavior. (Since you're not Catholic, I leave it up to you to decide which is which ).
but that's the whole point, Q... it reduces what is acceptable to being, what the majority *thinks* is acceptable at any one time... and our senses (along with everything else) being a matter of accident, how can we trust ourselves to *know*?
quote:
In the end, as you put it, the universe will go on quite unconcernedly whether a given individual is a serial killer or a saint. In fact, the universe will go on quite unconcernedly whether life on this particular planet exists or not. Why does this fact bother some people so much?
i don't know why...
quote:
Of course, you could simply be stating that you believe humans are insane and will run amok unless there is an externally-imposed (read supernatural) constraint on their behavior. In which case, I'd love to see your evidence...
no, humans are humans because we were created human... but you do see that running amok is every bit as morally and ethically viable as praying?
quote:
thank God there is more, eh?
quote:
Thank Darwin we know we are smart monkeys who can make "more" of life all by our lonesomes, eh?
maybe we can... but no one group of such monkeys would be morally correct even in attempting to make more of life

This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by Quetzal, posted 12-17-2002 3:40 AM Quetzal has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 52 of 114 (27104)
12-17-2002 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Quetzal
12-17-2002 10:58 AM


hi Q... i don't think we're talking 'bout the same thing else i got sidetracked somehow... i thought we were talking about how one worldview is equal to any other if all that exists is material, and if we are the product of molecular belly dancing... you write
... while our behaviors have a biological foundation, we are NOT wholly - or arguably even mostly - dependent on biology.
but see Q, we are (IF everything is based on materiality)... environmental and societal pressures mean nothing, they simply push the premise back to such time as the "founders" of a certain worldview etc imposed their will on others... imo
It's fairly easy, after the fact, to make value judgements in the case of any human.
i'm not making judgements, it isn't my job... i'm simply saying what has to be if there is no objective standard... there either is or there isn't... if there is, it's either material or metaphysical or some combination... if there isn't, no one person, group, nation, world is right or wrong no matter what mores or ethics it/they practice
We can quite confidently declare, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, that Hitler was "bad", morally repugnant, etc. How do we arrive at this conclusion? Because he caused the deaths of 12 million people. I don't think any of us would argue against this being a "bad thing".
but see, this is exactly my point... it *isn't* a "bad thing" in and of itself if there is no standard against which bad is measured... so you could argue against hitler's germany being good till you are blue in the face... eventually you'll have to choose something by which to measure, something other than opinion or majority rules in order to show *why* it was bad... 12 or 12 million, it doesn't matter... it was right for him and germany at that time and nobody in the world has a right to say his morality is better or worse... *if* the material is all there is and *if* the way we think is a matter of accident
But don't you find it even slightly curious that millions of people either followed, acquiesced or even abetted him during his heyday? And that these were not misguided fanatics, but rather sane, normal, average, every-day people? And that moreover, these people shared quite the same (or similar) "moral compass" you proclaim? NOTE: I am NOT making the ludicrous and unsupportable assertion that Christianity and Hitler had anything at all to do with each other. What I AM saying is that the example of Hitler and the German people between say, 1933 and 1945, are prima facie evidence AGAINST the existence of any objective morality.
i reject that argument... if i can find only one reasonable explanation other than a lack of objective morality, if i could point to one person who behaved as she did out of fear or some other emotion, there would be no evidence to support that view
During Hitler's reign, HIS vision was the guiding principle that determined the normative behavior for the society that he led to destruction. It is only AFTER the fact that we can rightfully proclaim that it was "immoral".
Q, i don't buy that... i suppose you mean that within germany herself it was only after the fact, but many millions of people viewed him as evil at that time... people do what they know to be wrong all the time... not always, thank God, to the degree of germany back then, but that's all it was... a matter of degree... if objective morality exists it doesn't preclude free beings from forming their own brand of morality for reasons they hold important
I would guarantee you that if you could go back in time and ask an average German then whether or not Hitler was "immoral", the answer would be "no". Interestingly, this is precisely the kind of thing we would expect to see if humans have no objective morality: an individual may try to maximize his personal benefit at the expense of the group, and the group (if I might anthropomorphize just a little) may attempt to maximize its benefit at the expense of the individual. Hitler did both, with disastrous results.
i say that you can't make the statement "..this is precisely the kind of thing we would expect to see if humans have no objective morality.." without having at least some idea of c.s. lewis's "crooked stick"
Which finally brings me to the remainder of your point (and the next paragraph, actually), concerning moral relativism. IF you are going to argue that a particular behavior is "bad" or "good", you can ONLY do so from within the context of the particular society. Otherwise you're just passing wind, or judging another (or another society) based on your own presuppositions. HOWEVER, it doesn't automatically follow that all societies are equal or equally valid.
yes it does follow, Q... if there is nothing but materiality, nothing but the accidental firing of electrons, it automatically follows that all worldviews are equally valid... hitler wasn't wrong, he was merely slightly weaker than the rest of the world when it came to imposing his worldview... IF there is no standard against which to measure his actions, his actions can in no way be said to be "wrong"
However, it has no extrinsic moral right to the intervention. It is, in fact, imposing its own morality on another society. It isn't necessarily a "bad" thing for a society to intervene like this. I merely wish to point out that it isn't necessarily a "good" thing, either. This isn't moral relativism - its a restatement/expansion of what I've been maintaining all along: morality is a culturally subjective and culturally derived concept.
that is true, if there is no objective morality there can be no good reason to intervene.. true, it wouldn't be good or bad to do so if the material is all there is... your last statement is true *in a world where the material is all that exists*
We're not arguing objectivity. We're arguing objective (i.e., universal) morality. I don't believe you have made the case for its existence.
i really wasn't trying to... i was simply agreeing with you that in a material world objectivity can't exist

This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Quetzal, posted 12-17-2002 10:58 AM Quetzal has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Quetzal, posted 12-18-2002 8:45 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 53 of 114 (27169)
12-18-2002 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Quetzal
12-17-2002 10:58 AM


hi Q... below is a post i resurrected from another thread, it was mr. p and me... this shows kinda where we left off and might explain my thinking a little
quote:
Originally posted by forgiven:
hello mr. p
quote:
Originally posted by Mister Pamboli:
How are we to distinguish irrational from rational thought?
it can't be done... in a strictly materialistic worldview, rationality is mere preference with a pinch of "majority rules" tossed in
quote:
How are we to distinguish rational thought building on true premises from rational thought building from false premises?
either a) empirically or b) intuitively or c) some mixture of a and b... or as the bible says, "test all things, hold on to that which is true"... the problem comes about when choosing the tools used for testing and in determining if such tools actually exist in nature...
quote:
How are we to establish any coincidence between ideology and rationality?
if idealogues are irrational by definition, all rational thoughts held by such a person are coincidental... or as my grandma might have said, "even a blind hog finds an acorn occasionally"... however, if rationality itself is mere preference, all instances of rational thought are coincidences... if "material" is all that exists, my reason is as "true" as anyone else's whether or not i am an idealogue
quote:
How are we to determine whether our belief in that coincidence is rational or irrational, ideological or nonideological without recourse to questioning the rationality of our belief?
doesn't matter... if reason is a transcendental entity, there is truth... if it's material, there is no truth... all is reduced to molecular accidents imposing the results of their accident on the wills of other accidents by fiat...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Quetzal, posted 12-17-2002 10:58 AM Quetzal has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 58 of 114 (27267)
12-18-2002 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Quetzal
12-18-2002 8:45 AM


hi Q
quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
Interesting response.
quote:
f:
but see Q, we are (IF everything is based on materiality)... environmental and societal pressures mean nothing, they simply push the premise back to such time as the "founders" of a certain worldview etc imposed their will on others... imo
How can you state that environmental and societal pressures mean nothing?
i meant that in the sense that one can conceiveably trace worldviews back in time but my main point was that those pressures mean "nothing" in any moral or ethical sense
quote:
In other words, while we may be constrained by biology, we are individually more influenced by the world around us both developmentally and in the suite of reactions we use in any given situation.
this may be so, but it has no bearing that i can see on what i'm trying to say... that is, in a material world all worldviews are equally valid... the only thing that can invalidate one or more is might, since there is no such thing as "right"
quote:
We have invented the terms ethics, morality, etc, as ways of describing this feedback system. We (individually and collectively) make value judgments (moral, immoral, good, bad) based on the concensually accepted norms of our particular society. In essence, then, environment and societal pressures are the basis for morality — both individual and collective — as I’ve maintained all along.
i still say we're missing one another somewhere... i'm not saying we *don't* do those things, i'm saying we have no right to do those things in a material universe... what determines whether or not one worldview is superior or inferior?
quote:
On the contrary, you most assuredly DO make judgments — we all do. You yourself have indicated that you consider Hitler bad and Ghandi good (or at least you used those two as examples). You are, however, making this judgment based on your own standards which are outgrowths of your own culture.
yes i do make judgements, but i do so because my worldview allows me to without being internally inconsistent... i believe there is a standard by which to make such judgements, and so far i don't see where you have any such standard other than mores or pressures... iow, if i believed as you (sorry if this isn't what you believe, it's my take on it only) that there is only the material, i'd not make judgements of any kind... after all, how can i trust *my* upbringing, my societal pressures, my mores to be any better or worse than anyone else's?
quote:
This goes once again back to my (unaccepted) challenge on another thread: if an objective morality or standard exists, please define at least one element that is common to every culture (and I provided a sample list of cultures that is at least somewhat cross-species). Care to try your hand?
my apologies, i don't remember seeing that but i have been busy lately and it's so easy to miss posts... i'm not sure what you mean by "element" so i hope this fits that category... i'd say that the torture and rape of a young child is commonly accepted as evil in all societies throughout history...
quote:
First off, the way we think isn’t a matter of accident in the sense I think you mean. The way we think is a product of our biological and cultural evolution over thousands (in the case of culture) or millions (in the case of biology) of years. We are constrained to a certain extent in the way we deal with the world around us by natural and cultural history. I have never claimed otherwise.
Q, i'm not arguing against this... i'm simply saying that if all that exists is material, if there is no transcendent entity known as "good," the way any individual or group thinks (and behaves) is on equal footing with any other individual's or group's thinking and behavior.. there is simply no standard in that case, nothing to look at and say "this is good" and "this is evil"
quote:
We (again I’m speaking both individually and collectively) DO have standards by which we judge behavior — the norms of the society and culture in which we find ourselves. In the case of Hitler’s Germany, we are not only judging him and his society from OUR cultural standard, but we are judging them from a historical perspective. IOW, we are judging the results and the actions that led up to those results in retrospect.
i'm not saying we *don't* judge (using "we" from the materialist perspective)... all i'm saying is we have no moral footing for the judging... if you truly believe that it's only in retrospect that an act can be labeled "evil" then that's the way it is... for you... imagine for a moment that germany won the war, germany and japan... the history books would look different, correct? would the actions of germany be more acceptable then or would they *still* have been wrong?
quote:
Let me see if I can illustrate my point here a little better, by moving away from Hitler (since he’s such an unequivocal and extreme example). Pick one of the following and we’ll see if we can determine whether the person was objectively moral or not: Alexander the Great, Suleiman the Magnificent, Peter the Great, Iyesu Tokugawa, William T. Sherman, William the Conqueror, Leopold II, Robert E. Lee, or Volodimyr I (that one might be a little obscure, but he happens to be a verrrry distant ancestor so I included him).
hmmm ok, volodimyr will do, you can tell me who he is
quote:
I can quite readily believe you reject the argument. However, you are committing a fallacy of division — that the properties of the aggregate or collective (in this case the normative principles of the German society of 1938) must be shared by each individual member of that aggregate. This is an especially obvious error when dealing with humans (remember the free will bit? It works just as well from a naturalism standpoint — I just don’t ascribe it to a gift from a deity.) Simply finding a single counter-example (or dozens) in this instance doesn’t refute my argument. To do that, you would have to show that the majority were afraid, etc, and this fear or whatever coerced them into violating the moral compass you claim exists. Feel free to provide evidence that the majority was coerced.
maybe it is fallacious, but i don't really think so... you made the statement that nazi germany was a proof that objective morality doesn't exist... my counter is simply that the numbers who practice evil at any one time don't disprove whether or not such a standard exists
quote:
That’s pretty much what I’ve been saying all along. However, have you considered the implications of what you wrote here? Objective morality doesn’t preclude? If so, then what evidence is there that such a thing exists? You may wish to reconsider or rephrase that statement.
i said *if* etc etc... "if objective morality exists it doesn't preclude free beings from forming their own brand of morality for reasons they hold important"... the germans were free to choose good or evil, right or wrong... without some objective standard by which to guage, who's to say whether or not their actual choice was one or the other? the vanguishing side? might makes right?
quote:
Feel free to explain what Lewis is talking about if it bolsters your case. OTOH, I made a specific prediction of what I would expect to see if no objective morality exists. I provided an example that seems to fit the bill — you have not shown the example is incorrect, merely asserted it. I have made another prediction — that we will be unable to discern specific evidence of cross-cultural morality (my challenge on the other thread). So far, that hasn’t been refuted either. You might want to make a stronger case, here.if objective morality exists it doesn't preclude free beings from forming their own brand of morality for reasons they hold important
lewis said what i've said, pretty much... that a man can't call a stick crooked unless he has some idea of what a straight stick looks like...
quote:
This appears to be another fallacy. Your conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow from your argument. Materialism does not automatically conclude that all worldviews are equally valid — which I think I pointed out.
what i've tried to say is, if one can't point to some standard then materialism *does* say just that... the societal/environmental mores you spoke of simply reduces itself to who has the best means of imposing a worldview on others at any point in time
quote:
I never said there was no good reason to intervene. I said there is no ultimate, universal, objective, disinterested justification for intervention.
i agree!! that's all i've been saying... but i *only* agree if there is no megaphysical, objective thing labeled "good"... only if, iow, the material is all that exists
quote:
(Ooops, I seem to have missed your post #47. Do you want me to go back to it or just carry on from here?)
only if there's anything you'd like to address from it

This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by Quetzal, posted 12-18-2002 8:45 AM Quetzal has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 59 of 114 (27278)
12-18-2002 9:03 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by funkmasterfreaky
12-16-2002 8:59 AM


quote:
Originally posted by funkmasterfreaky:
"I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me"
Jesus Christ is the way. Jesus Christ is the truth. Jesus Christ is life. And through his way of truth and life we may come to the Creator/Father.
We may pass unto understanding, and ABSOLUTE TRUTH through the grace of God bestowed upon us by Christ Jesus. Praise be to God Most High who reigns supreme, to him be all Glory, Honour and Praise. He has provided a way to reconcile us unto him, and to save our eternal soul. That he loves even the worst of us is incredible to me. He will even provide absolute truth.
And all God's people SAID?!!??!!

amen and amen

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 12-16-2002 8:59 AM funkmasterfreaky has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by graedek, posted 12-18-2002 9:31 PM forgiven has replied

  
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