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Old 05-25-2011, 03:36 AM #295
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:38 AM #296
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You're really overrating Sam Harris. I'm not going to watch a 23 minute video, but if what he means by "answering moral questions" means providing an objective assessment of subjective values, he really needs to work on his philosophy.

I mean, this is the same guy that says torture is morally okay, religion is the driving force behind the motivations of suicide bombers, criticizes moderate theists as being worse than extremists, etc. etc. etc.

Essentially a neo-con with a scientific background.

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:57 AM #297
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He didn't outright say torture was 100% okay for the record. He stated that in certain situations it was morally justifiable and i will agree 100% with that. If i have to torture the **** out of some guy to save the lives of a couple thousand of people i would do it in a heart beat because those couple thousand lives are more important that his piece of mind and well being especially if he intentionally put them in harms way. The movie Unthinkable with Samuel L Jackson portrays that moral dilemma quite nicely. The Sam Harris accusation you're referring to was a simply statement taken out of context in an interview.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:08 PM #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Watterson View Post
You're really overrating Sam Harris. I'm not going to watch a 23 minute video, but if what he means by "answering moral questions" means providing an objective assessment of subjective values, he really needs to work on his philosophy.

I mean, this is the same guy that says torture is morally okay, religion is the driving force behind the motivations of suicide bombers, criticizes moderate theists as being worse than extremists, etc. etc. etc.

Essentially a neo-con with a scientific background.
It's disheartening to see you so judgemental over someone you haven't even read anything about other than some misconstrued bull**** taken far away from a source argument. If I wanted to debate the legitimacy of someone, I'd take the time to understand their material, rather than outright discredit then through blind assumption. You're not showing very good character here.

You've asked me before how moral values can be considered objective. Watch the video for a short synopsis of his proposal. Don't argue over something you have no interest in learning.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:25 PM #299
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Dude when I was younger I was big into Sam Harris, that was back in my YAYATHEISM days.

I've read his work. It's ****ty philosophy, ****ty political philosophy, and the fact that he thinks the war on terror is justified because of how bad Islam is shows how little he understands political philosophy, ethics, and economics.

I've read what he wrote on objective moral facts, and IT IS CRAP. He doesn't even get past the fact that values are still ultimately subjective.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:33 PM #300
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He didn't outright say torture was 100% okay for the record. He stated that in certain situations it was morally justifiable and i will agree 100% with that. If i have to torture the **** out of some guy to save the lives of a couple thousand of people i would do it in a heart beat because those couple thousand lives are more important that his piece of mind and well being especially if he intentionally put them in harms way. The movie Unthinkable with Samuel L Jackson portrays that moral dilemma quite nicely. The Sam Harris accusation you're referring to was a simply statement taken out of context in an interview.
So then how are his values objective if it depends on context?


Also, unthinkable was quite bad. Didn't really deal with moral dilemma at all, at least not imo.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:13 PM #301
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He doesn't even get past the fact that values are still ultimately subjective.
He has an entire chapter of his book dedicated to this. But hey, you've read it...

Let me point also point out that most modern-day philosophers are more likely to favor moral realism over moral relativism. Sam Harris is far from the only person proposing this idea. But hey, if you want to battle the majority of those that are professions in a field you aren't, then that's fine. I don't mean that sarcastically either. I hold beliefs in things that differ from the majority of the academic world. It happens. I just don't want you think that Sam Harris is some nut proposing some genuinely unaccepted ideal.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:22 PM #302
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I mean, this is the same guy that says torture is morally okay
WAAAYYY out of context as stated above.

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religion is the driving force behind the motivations of suicide bombers
What else would it be, then?

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criticizes moderate theists as being worse than extremists, etc. etc. etc.
He actually is saying that religious moderates pave the way for extremists, not that they are worse. Moderates are the ones that make religious criticism out to be some untouchable subject.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:22 AM #303
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K. Sorry, I'm being dickish in my style. As a skeptic, I don't want anyone confusing me for Sam Harris. I'm a classical liberal communitarian, pacifist who supports self-defense, and I really dislike his political philosophy and ethics. It just sucks, imo. I know that quite a few people in philosophy support moral realism, but I also think some of modern philosophy has lost sight of what is pointless theory and philosophical problems, and the real-world application of their field. Not that that is inherently bad, or that theory is bad, but idk, I'm tired right now so this might be confusing. I'm a Hume-ian (sp?) skeptic.

Also, Masta, if you're truly interested in their motivations follow this link. I'm eagerly awaiting my chance to purchase Life as a Weapon: The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings.

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/w...cide-bombers-0
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:38 AM #304
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K. Sorry, I'm being dickish in my style. As a skeptic, I don't want anyone confusing me for Sam Harris. I'm a classical liberal communitarian, pacifist who supports self-defense, and I really dislike his political philosophy and ethics. It just sucks, imo. I know that quite a few people in philosophy support moral realism, but I also think some of modern philosophy has lost sight of what is pointless theory and philosophical problems, and the real-world application of their field. Not that that is inherently bad, or that theory is bad, but idk, I'm tired right now so this might be confusing. I'm a Hume-ian (sp?) skeptic.
Much better to hear you respond this way.

That's fine and well. I'd like to discuss this further with you, but this thread, nor forum is really probably the place. Let's get this done at some point.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:01 PM #305
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We still need to set up the tinychat!

Do you use AIM? If so we can chat about it on there tonight.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:12 PM #306
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I'm out all night tonight. Music stuff. Tomorrow, I'm busy as well. Sunday would probably work best.

And yes, we do have to get the tinychat thing going. I'm constantly juggling locations, but will finally have a permanent residence in Seattle come July 15th. Until then I'm there, then I'm back home, then I'm there, then back home... blah blah blah.

What I'm saying is:

Get it started, homeboy.

edit -

Just want to throw some fuel in the fire

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criticizes moderate theists as being worse than extremists
I can agree with this claim. Why? When you count the actual death toll of those caused by moderate theists, due to their religious belief, they far outweigh the deaths caused by extremists. In Catholicism, word and belief is spread that wearing a condom is immoral and wrong. This belief extends to the "aid" they provide for Africans dying of sexually transmitted diseases. Rather than offering them protection against HIV/AIDS, they tell the general population that they can't use condoms because God doesn't allow it. Thanks to the indoctrination of these missionaries, countless lives were forcefully and decidedly kept away from an easy way to stop the spreading of the HIV virus.

Things like that are why I think it's valid to state that moderate theists, as a whole, can be worse than extreme theists.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:35 PM #307
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Actually on 20/20 tonight, they were talking about the efforts of a group that delivers medical treatment to the remote parts of africa having their program virtually shut down (having their funding stripped by a catholic organization, their main support) because they were providing contraception to the people.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:38 AM #308
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I can agree with this claim. Why? When you count the actual death toll of those caused by moderate theists, due to their religious belief, they far outweigh the deaths caused by extremists.
I understood his point, but that isn't "objective ethics" in the sense that I think about it. It seems like a utilitarian judgment.

But, I'm also a classical liberal, so as much as I hate the Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, etc., nothing compares to the evils of the Cultural Revolution, Stalinist USSR, or Pal-Pots regime. Though, I am somewhat biased, being influenced by some Voegelian scholars. Voegel essentially argued that totalitarian regimes that promise a utopia on earth replaced the religious idea that utopia awaits someone after death, and this led to terrible political regimes.


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In Catholicism, word and belief is spread that wearing a condom is immoral and wrong. This belief extends to the "aid" they provide for Africans dying of sexually transmitted diseases. Rather than offering them protection against HIV/AIDS, they tell the general population that they can't use condoms because God doesn't allow it.
I am the biggest critique of how we currently administer foreign aid, so you won't see me disagreeing with it. But, I'd say as bad as that it, the fact that foreign governments give millions to corrupt dictators so they can buy fancy clothes and exotic animals seems far worse.

We also perpetuate their 3rd world environment. I went to an economics seminar that discussed foreign aid. When we send food over, or clothes, we put the local businessmen out of business. They can't become wealthy, increase their capital accumulation, and secure property rights because our government implicitly doesn't allow it.

Professor Rhemke also discussed how terrible some catholic policies regarding contraception are.

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Thanks to the indoctrination of these missionaries, countless lives were forcefully and decidedly kept away from an easy way to stop the spreading of the HIV virus.
Micro-loans and small donations of necessary supplies that aren't provided by local businesses is the way to go. Foreign aid doesn't really aid people.

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Things like that are why I think it's valid to state that moderate theists, as a whole, can be worse than extreme theists.
But how is than an objective moral value? I understand the argument behind it, but it seems like one based that depends highly on context.

Also, a categorical and methodological point: I hate associating individual actions within a voluntary union of individuals with the idea that groups as a whole "act". Doesn't make sense and in my experience it retards the analysis (80% of the time).
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:33 AM #309
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I liked this quite bit actually. It's a good quick overview of his argument, and he makes his basic ideas easily understood. I might pick up The Moral Landscape sometime just to pursue the line of thought a bit more. It's an interesting and thought provoking subject if nothing else.
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:35 AM #310
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Read some of Friedrich Hayek's work on social evolution for a different take on values and their practical application.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:58 PM #311
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Read some of Friedrich Hayek's work on social evolution for a different take on values and their practical application.
I'll make a point to read up on his ideas later. If you have a work of his that could serve as a brief synopsis for his views on the subject, send it my way.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:08 PM #312
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The Fatal Conceit is a good book, as are his The Constitution of Liberty and Law, Legislation, and Liberty. Both great, but they're books, so I'll just link more essays.

The Use of Knowledge in Society is a great essay, but I'm having trouble finding most online :/

http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw1.html
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:18 AM #313
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Thought it might interest some...

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic....04newsupernova
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:22 AM #314
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What are your guy's thoughts on the implementation of atheism in historically recent totalitarian regimes?

Does atheism leave itself open to exploitation via extreme authoritarians than christianity, islam, or judaism?
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:35 PM #315
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Both the religious and non religious peg genocides on each other. The reality of the situation is racial tension and resources. Both of which are always going to be the real issue. But people for some reason refuse to deal with these issues. It's easy to attack a symbol (atheism, catholic church yadablada****awhatever).

I can see how atheism is prefered under totalitarian regimes as it removes another level of influence from the subjects.

I've been drinking IPA's all night, excuse me if I dont make sense.
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