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Old 01-28-2008, 08:29 PM   #16
CKFresh
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Phil, I will get back to you on this one later. My mind is too "tired" to address all of this right now
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky the Kid View Post
I will argue against you in one respect though. I would say that even atheists can believe in a birthright...or a natural right to something.
Yes, if you are an atheist (I am not), you can "believe" in some natural
laws or natural rights, but you have less of a leg to stand on.
Philosophically, without God, or some spiritual reality that is above
the strictly material world, morality only then has its basis in the
"social contract", that is, what human beings have decided amongst
themselves, for mutual protection and civility.

Out of all the philosophers I've studied, only two ring valid to me:
Thomas Aquinas (if God exists), or Thomas Hobbs (if God does not).
It's the principle of the Thomases, I guess.

To answer your other question, no, I am not in the medical profession.
The closest I come to it, is that my father was a Biology professor
(now retired) who used to be involved in some medical research.
I am a college math teacher (who, by the way, has my first morning
class to go to in 15 minutes...so C-YA). :thumbsup2:
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #18
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Well, I would argue that any morality attributed to a god or some higher spiritual power is the same thing, Phil...that idea of 'social contract' simply given a different label.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:36 PM   #19
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I am not an atheist just so you know, but that doesn't really matter either way.

I absolutely despise Thomas Hobbes, but any natural rights theory does not depend on a sovereign God, just nature itself. It assumes man has a distinct human nature, and we should build our societies according to that nature, to preserve it or even to better it. Locke talks about rights comming from God, but they could just as easily come from nature, and man does not give those up upon entering a society. In modern speak, they would be considered something like basic human rights...you don't have to believe in God to believe in those.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montrovant View Post
Well, I would argue that any morality attributed to a god or some higher spiritual power is the same thing, Phil...that idea of 'social contract' simply given a different label.
No, not right.

Here's the difference...

For the atheist, that is, the strict materialist, who believes that
human beings are nothing more than very complicated arrangements
of molecules, whose actions are nothing more than various chemical
reactions, then inherent morality does not exist. All we are is "dust
in the wind" as it were. The only morality is what we have agreed
to, by social contract. Violations of morality, then, are only violations
of that social contract, not of nature in any way.

However, in regards to human beings as being created by God, then
human beings have an intrinsic value which transcends nature. Thus,
true morality beyond nature does exist, because, then, we human
beings possess a reality in our being above our material nature.
The morality that governs us exists outside of ourselves, and NOT
by social contract. Violations of morality, then, violate our dignity
as human beings transcendant of simply our material nature.

Hope I made the point here.

Sidebar to this topic, I know it is difficult to explain these philosophical
issues with people who reject the concept of God out of hand.
Unfortunately, people who reject the idea of God, dislike religion,
or have a dislike of "moral codes" and the like, I think really do miss
out on, what is a very interesting philosophical/theological discussion.
Try to be more open to it, for two important reasons....firstly, you
may find out that people like me were right all along, that God is
real, and you missed out on a lot, and secondly, your exploration
of reality may have much more richness to it, than if you trap yourself
in a "material only" perception of it.

I'm still in pain over the Packers blowing the Championship Game. :whine:
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:27 PM   #21
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The idea that anything higher than basic material, animalistic human nature relies on there being a God is not true...Socrates predates Christianity, and was "skeptical" :lol: of the Greek gods.

In forming a social contract, men made decisions, but any natural rights theory would suppose that those decisions were based on an adherence to man's natural state...(for example, Locke believes that man is naturally free from birth--ultimately, whether this freedom comes from nature or God is irrelevant to any theory--but desires to accumulate property, and because his life and property is insecure in the state of nature, he forms a society with his fellow men to protect those things. Many philosophers who came after him disagree, but any natural rights philosopher will follow the same basic format) Whether the authority comes from a divine being or nature itself does not matter in any of these theories. If you think it does, please tell me how.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:36 PM   #22
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Atheists have a lower divorce rate(I can get sources if you want me to, but it is true) and, in my opinion, which is based off of 19 years of nothing, have less reason to kill.

The real question is whether human nature would ever allow peace. If you had an anarchist state with the right people, it could, like it did in Spain, but I don't think that there is any chance of that happening again. The world will get rid of us soon enough and save us from ourselves though...
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis View Post
Atheists have a lower divorce rate(I can get sources if you want me to, but it is true) and, in my opinion, which is based off of 19 years of nothing, have less reason to kill.
:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

This is fantastic.

Post of the Day.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:55 PM   #24
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I understand the idea Phil, but I find it most likely that concepts of god and religion are, in fact, nothing more than man-made ideas used to explain that which we don't know, and to give us a sense of immortality. As such, these concepts do not transcend the material. Put another way, god is man's attempt to define a morality beyond humanity, but being man-made, those same concepts of morality are just as attainable without the need for a divine being.

I don't think I miss out on any discussions by not being religious. Actually, without those who don't believe, wouldn't the discussions be pretty redundant? And since different people have so many different beliefs regarding the nature of god (or gods), while such people may feel we have more of an intrinsic value beyond the material, their inability to agree on what that value is seems to cause as much problem as those who don't believe in any such value at all.

And in the end, where you derive your values from matters less, I think, then what those values are and whether or not you truly follow them. But it does make for fun arguments :lol:
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montrovant View Post
I find it most likely that concepts of god and religion are, in fact, nothing more than man-made ideas used to explain that which we don't know, and to give us a sense of immortality. As such, these concepts do not transcend the material.
This, of course, is the conclusion a person comes to, if you start
with the axiom that God does not exist to begin with, and that you
do not even consider God's reality as even part of the discussion.
Therefore, you ALWAYS perceive the concept of God, the spiritual,
the transcendent, etc. as all man-made, by definition.

I also understand the arguments that some philosophers claim that
nature, itself, awards human beings some basic rights, such as the
state of being "free" by nature. Personally, I think that, while the
arguments made by these philosophers are cogent and somewhat
well thought out, ultimately they are full of crap for this reason...

If all of nature is strictly material, definitions of ideas like "free", "good",
or "human rights", etc can't even exist, since they are ultimately being
defined in a vacuum.

For instance, John Stuart Mill, whose definition of morality was that
of social utility, i.e. "the greatest good, for the greatest number".
Still, what is the definition of "good"? In the strictly material world,
"good" cannot even be defined. For you to be allowed to live, for
instance, why is that "good"? Because you like the fact that you
are alive? Why is the fact you like something, or simply that you
exist "good"? Why is my arrangement of molecules something "good"
and some other arrangement of molecules "not good"....other than
what we AGREE to by social contract in the material world.

Without a transcendent reality (spiritual world, God, transcendent
morality) outside of ourselves, true morality which exists outside of
ourselves does not exist...almost by definition.

I also get it that many atheists say that religion is nothing more than
a man-made concept to try to give meaning to our short, finite lives.
That may be part of it on a personal level. I think it's all much deeper
than that. On the human level, it's the exploration of what reality is.
I personally reject the idea that it is only material.

If so, you have to consider the possibility that the universe might
have ended up being just a bunch of rocks floating around in space.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:46 PM   #26
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CK...I'm missing you, here...

Wanna go onto the next topic?

The next one I've got stuck in my craw is "liberal ideas on education"...

My issue is this:
I believe in funding for education, and that the concept of free access
to public education is a good and just one. However, some liberal ideas
toward how to accomplish this end are flawed. Here's some...
1) Mainstreaming. We don't track, or group students by ability.
2) Every student "has to be there".:thumbdown:
3) Refusal to fund any school that's not "part of the system" (i.e.
no school choice, no voucher system, no religious schools, no magnate
schools, nothing except the secular "union schools".)
4) If we put "enough money" into the schools, the problems will be solved.
5) Head-in-the-sand explanations as to why the schools are failing, such
as "if only we trained our teachers more, the schools would get better",
or "the reason nobody wants to be a teacher, is because we don't PAY
teachers enough"...

I got lots of opinions on this, and lots of personal experience in these
matters (I'm a college teacher now, used to be a high school teacher, too).
Wanna go?

I want to hear your take on the state of public education first, CK.
Whaddaya think, whaddaya say? :thumbup:
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:47 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philabramoff View Post
CK...I'm missing you, here...

Wanna go onto the next topic?

The next one I've got stuck in my craw is "liberal ideas on education"...

My issue is this:
I believe in funding for education, and that the concept of free access
to public education is a good and just one. However, some liberal ideas
toward how to accomplish this end are flawed. Here's some...
1) Mainstreaming. We don't track, or group students by ability.
2) Every student "has to be there".:thumbdown:
3) Refusal to fund any school that's not "part of the system" (i.e.
no school choice, no voucher system, no religious schools, no magnate
schools, nothing except the secular "union schools".)
4) If we put "enough money" into the schools, the problems will be solved.
5) Head-in-the-sand explanations as to why the schools are failing, such
as "if only we trained our teachers more, the schools would get better",
or "the reason nobody wants to be a teacher, is because we don't PAY
teachers enough"...

I got lots of opinions on this, and lots of personal experience in these
matters (I'm a college teacher now, used to be a high school teacher, too).
Wanna go?

I want to hear your take on the state of public education first, CK.
Whaddaya think, whaddaya say? :thumbup:
I too am a teacher and will refer this post to my union rep. He'll have my answer shortly.

:lol:
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:50 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philabramoff View Post

I also understand the arguments that some philosophers claim that
nature, itself, awards human beings some basic rights, such as the
state of being "free" by nature. Personally, I think that, while the
arguments made by these philosophers are cogent and somewhat
well thought out, ultimately they are full of crap for this reason...

If all of nature is strictly material, definitions of ideas like "free", "good",
or "human rights", etc can't even exist, since they are ultimately being
defined in a vacuum.

For instance, John Stuart Mill, whose definition of morality was that
of social utility, i.e. "the greatest good, for the greatest number".
Still, what is the definition of "good"? In the strictly material world,
"good" cannot even be defined. For you to be allowed to live, for
instance, why is that "good"? Because you like the fact that you
are alive? Why is the fact you like something, or simply that you
exist "good"? Why is my arrangement of molecules something "good"
and some other arrangement of molecules "not good"....other than
what we AGREE to by social contract in the material world.

Without a transcendent reality (spiritual world, God, transcendent
morality) outside of ourselves, true morality which exists outside of
ourselves does not exist...almost by definition.
I think this confuses natural right with the idea of universal truth. Natural rights in theory are based on universal truths--but they aren't defined or studied and understood by natural man--they're just the way things are/were. Whether these are dictates from God or simply the way we are through nature doesn't make much difference in the theories themselves.

Because nature has made man "free" (let's say for the sake of argument), an atheist could believe in a natural right to freedom while in society.
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Last edited by Richard the Lionheart; 01-31-2008 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:00 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philabramoff View Post
CK...I'm missing you, here...

Wanna go onto the next topic?

The next one I've got stuck in my craw is "liberal ideas on education"...

My issue is this:
I believe in funding for education, and that the concept of free access
to public education is a good and just one. However, some liberal ideas
toward how to accomplish this end are flawed. Here's some...
1) Mainstreaming. We don't track, or group students by ability.
2) Every student "has to be there".:thumbdown:
3) Refusal to fund any school that's not "part of the system" (i.e.
no school choice, no voucher system, no religious schools, no magnate
schools, nothing except the secular "union schools".)
4) If we put "enough money" into the schools, the problems will be solved.
5) Head-in-the-sand explanations as to why the schools are failing, such
as "if only we trained our teachers more, the schools would get better",
or "the reason nobody wants to be a teacher, is because we don't PAY
teachers enough"...

I got lots of opinions on this, and lots of personal experience in these
matters (I'm a college teacher now, used to be a high school teacher, too).
Wanna go?

I want to hear your take on the state of public education first, CK.
Whaddaya think, whaddaya say? :thumbup:
I don't have much of an opinion on the education system because I know so little about it... Having said that, I will give you a few opinons.

1) Teachers should make more money...
2) Keep religion out of public schools.
3) Spend money equally - give inner city schools the same resources that suburban schools get.

I also wanted to comment on something else you said:

Quote:
Without a transcendent reality (spiritual world, God, transcendent
morality) outside of ourselves, true morality which exists outside of
ourselves does not exist...almost by definition.
Morality is created by humans. I don't need a book to tell me not to kill or steal... Religion can help people understand morality if they can't figure it out for themselves, but many of us are "good" people with or without religion. Human experience and the lessons of history do the job just fine.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:09 AM   #30
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While "morality" is a human-made concept by definition, what CK said is right, and I would even go further to say that most human beings are born with an innate regupnance at the thought of killing someone else that transcends laws and societal beliefs.
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