Scott Mayers wrote: ↑
Mon May 13, 2019 12:39 am
I think you need to think of those "Trolley Dilemmas" in order to understand how values are 'relative'.
Trolley dilemmas don't actually show that values are relative. They do show that doing ethical decision making in the real world is complex and often may involve trade-offs...but not that the values change.
Look at it this way: in all scenarios in the Trolley Problem, there is one cardinal value -- the value of a human life. Interestingly, that's not a value that Atheism can establish. There's a sort of post-Christian squeamishness involved in the Trolley Problem, actually, because under Atheist assumptions, it really doesn't matter who you kill...or how many.
...we don't realize that for such a person to do so requires another to lose their autonomy (a bad thing)...
Autonomy is also a value for which Atheism has no explanation or warrant. There's no Atheist basis for saying that taking away someone's autonomy is a "bad" thing. It's just a "thing," under Materialist assumptions.
But as it is, life is not a zero-sum game (a game in which wins for one mean losses for others)...at least, not in many cases. It's possible for one person's autonomy to be exercised with no cost at all to anybody else. If I have a friend who's a multi-millionaire, it may be that he stole it from me. Or it may be that he invented the computer, and a whole bunch of people valued what he did, and they paid him so much for it that he became a multi-millionaire. In that latter case, his win is also a win for everybody else; and why should I envy his millions, even though I don't have them, since he added value to the world and earned what he got?
Not every successful person is a robber-baron. Such do exist, but not everybody has to be one.
Evolution by Darwin's explanations in his own works were attempting to speak neutrally of 'value'. That was partly what made others take issue against him. He was demonstrating nature as 'careless' of value on some universal level but rather selfishly interpreted. Morals are only a delusion if we presume what is 'good' is UNIVERSAL.
Darwin does indeed conduce to total amorality. That is why most people, even Darwinists, shudder at the idea of Social Darwinism: it has hideous and amoral applications, when taken to human beings. But Darwin didn't "demonstrate" this: he merely assumed
it. That's not at all the same thing.
As for 'religious thinking', evolution only indirectly favors this because it is based on 'trusting' and 'gambling' of others you are more familiar with in some way than not.
A hard case to make, if "religion" is all illusory anyway. It would seem far more adaptive for people to be Atheists, since that's the way things really are supposed to be. Or are you suggesting that while "religion" was strong enough as a force to induce trust, Atheism simply wasn't? If it's right, it's hardly a commendation of Atheism -- now Atheism is "less adaptive" than "delusions," it would seem. And it would be hard to make any case that religion was a bad thing, in opposition to Atheism, if survival is the goal.
In fact, all the lucky and adaptive people would be religious, and the Atheists would be in danger of elimination by natural selection.
You keep presuming that evolution selects for 'good' or 'bad' by some universal
standard of fitness
I said no such thing. I said that the only concepts of "good" and "bad" an evolutionary Atheist could hold would be "adaptiveness" and "non-adaptiveness" respectively.
But you're quite right "adaptiveness" is not actually a moral
property...just a contingent fact. There is no moral law declaring, "Thou shalt adapt." It might as well be said, "Thou shalt become extinct." They are equally indifferent facts, under Evolutionism.
You are begging your own standards as 'universal'
Nope. Didn't say what you attribute to me.
A cat is an 'atheist'.
Funny. I guess it doesn't take a lot of thought to be one, then. Is a rock an Atheist too?
But in light of ALL positions, I am "atheist", which means that I hold no position for ANY religion.
No. That describes someone being a "stubborn agnostic." He "holds
" to "no position."
Can you not see that one who is Atheist doesn't require knowing WHY they lack a particular belief agnostically?
Can you not see you just used two contradictory words to describe your own position? Agnostic is one thing, and Atheist another. They don't mix, because either one is saying one "knows" something, or one is professing complete "ignorance" of that same thing. But never both. If you are making any knowledge claim with regard to the God question, you're an Atheist. If you're professing total ignorance on the answer, you're an Agnostic.
We are ALL atheists in reality
Funny. I don't feel like one. And I'm pretty sure my belief in God disqualifies me.
Then your critique is that "religion" is LESS adaptive. But if so, you can no longer explain the very existence of "religion" as an adaptive advantage.
NO, it is a side-effect
of adaptive factors. It is 'bad' when the subjective values of something relative by nature gets treated as though they HAVE intrinsic value to ALL people objectively.
I can't make sense of this answer, I'm afraid. Can you clarify it?
Religion is also evolved from older SECULAR civilizing stages.
Historically incorrect, I have to say. That explanation of that becomes a speculative "just so story": that means, it is a way of shaping a narrative, but it is fiction as regards the facts.
We know of absolutely no secular ancient societies at all. They are all "religious," in one form or another...usually polytheistic in some form, but with some monotheists as well. But not Atheists.
This is just a politic based upon the majority of people in all times BEING religious of some sort.
Hey, it was your claim, not mine. If it's faulty, don't blame me. I never said that because all people were at one time religious, that you had to be. I just said your society of pre-religious Atheists was a fiction. And it was.
For instance, I'm guessing you recognize the history of the pyramids as having times of distinctly different myths or religions that CAME BEFORE the Jewish religious history. YET, within the religions based upon this, you opt to trust that it speaks of a reality of ONE god throughout, regardless of any record of the prior recognition of Egyptian history.
Incorrect. Egyptians were Polytheists. I have no need -- nor did I suggest -- that I would defend that.
This is contradictory. If your 'god' was the true one, wouldn't the ancient Egyptians have this religion?
No. There's no reason to suppose this, and it's a really poor argument.
Look at it this way: even you don't believe everybody's beliefs are right. If you're an Atheist, you're at least convinced that people who believe in a God or gods are wrong. So even you would not make this error...so why would you imagine you could attribute it to me? I'm not seeing any logic there.
Also, let me remind you, I LACK a religious belief.
So why would I NOT interpret religion as a byproduct of some secular reality?
If reality is as the evolutionary Atheist supposes, it is neither religious nor secular inherently. It's indifferent. It's "agnostic," if anything at all. But then you're stuck with the old puzzle of how the alleged evolutionary process throws up this thing called "religion," a thing which (you insist) bears no relationship to reality itself.
And that's a fact that really needs an evolutionary explanation...which I was asking you to provide, if you could.
If polytheism was a fact PRIOR to monotheism, this in itself proves that your monotheism is an afterthought of social change, not an explanation of some reality.
That's an "if". We actually have some pretty good indications that ancient religious people were more Monotheistic than previously recognized. For sure, Polytheism was more common, but this is exactly what one would expect -- that wrong answers would be more common than right ones. However, we have good indications of an ancient singular God in traditions like China, in addition to the Hebrews. So Monotheism is also very ancient, and apparently strongly linked to a single tradition, as well.
So how do you think an Evolutionist could argue it's better to kill off your own offspring and cease the reproduction of your own DNA? I'd like to see that rationale. Can you suggest it?
If one doesn't have children, what does it matter if some other progeny persists in the future?
Dawkins says it does. He says that "the selfish gene" is the basic fact of reality. Genes "want" to reproduce themselves, he says, and "we all dance to our DNA."
The abortion debate is about the conservative land-owning wealthier people wanting SLAVES
Absolutely the opposite.
Abortion in North America is largely a crime against African-American and other minority women and children. Almost an equal number of black babies are murdered that way as are born live, at present. Not only that, but Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood
, the largest abortuary in North America, was a racist eugenist who advocated abortion as a way of "purifying" the lower races. In "High Lights in the History of Birth Control," Oct 1923, Sanger wrote:
"... these two words [birth control] sum up our whole philosophy... It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks -- those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization."
What did she mean? Well, in 1939 she was an invited speaker to the women's arm of the KKK at Silver Lake, New Jersey: a thing she happily did -- to great acclaim, apparently, though I could not find an actual transcript of what she said on that occasion. But nobody disputes she did it.
And in a nauseating letter to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble regarding a stealthy attempt to curtain black reproduction she called "The Negro Project," on Dec. 10, 1939, she wrote: "We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population..."