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God-fearing....or not.

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Stephanos
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75 posted 01-27-2008 12:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
And where in the Constitution did you find that, Stephen? Our Law, I believe, makes no such claim. Even in the non-binding rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence there's ambiguity whether Jefferson was referencing God or a god.


But what you call "rhetoric", was the seedbed from which the whole idea of "human rights above Government" comes.  Considering the whole context of the Constitution, present day secularist rhetoric cannot be superimposed upon it, just because the word "God" is absent from the constitution.


Secondly, how would you sustain the argument that Jefferson's reference was all that ambiguous?  What is a "god" in Jeffersonian thought, as opposed to "God"?

quote:
And while you may not like it much, Stephen, this whole thread is about discrimination.


As of late, it has been about the discussion of whether human rights are real without God.

In a pluralistic society, the tension between recognizing God and not "offending" is always going to exist.  But the question of how to approach such problems is quite different than the question of whether there are specific religious ideas bound up in our idea of human rights ... or whether it is wise to deny or try and remove them.

quote:
The sun is bright simply because it IS the sun. If it wasn't bright, it would no longer be the sun. Similarly, every human has rights simply because they ARE human. Life imbues them with those rights. Not men, not government, and not a dozen different gods.


You conflate humanity with human rights.  You are presuming that rights are instrinsic to humanity ... but is that true if humanity is a product of chance?  If rights were inherent in humanity, then the word "rights" (and the explanation) would be superfluous.  In denying that real rights come from God, you are only placing humanity above God.  God has made the sun go dark before, probably to show us that its brightness is not its own.    


quote:
If you want to argue that Life flows only from God, that's fine with me. That's a different argument, a religious argument not a legal one


Only there is no foundation for a legal recognition of rights without God, other than social contract alone, which you've already admitted cannot sustain the idea of rights.

quote:
My rights, however, do not and will not depend on someone's religious interpretations of the day. 'Cause those, I fear, too often change with the wind.


So Ron, what DO your rights ultimately depend upon?


Stephen  

Ron
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76 posted 01-27-2008 04:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
So Ron, what DO your rights ultimately depend upon?

And that, Stephen, is the $64,000 question. Indeed, it's the only question that matters.

My rights depend only on my willingness to claim them. I can choose to surrender them, but so long as I draw breath, no one can take them from me.
Stephanos
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77 posted 01-27-2008 05:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Self recognition is still a form of recognition.  Weren't you the one who drew the distinction between rights and recognition of them?  Who or what (apart from yourself) gives you rights to begin with?  Surely you think you had some rights 'ere you could insist upon them?  

If I didn't know you better, I'd think you were attributing your rights to men again ... even if that man happens to be yourself.


Stephen
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78 posted 01-27-2008 06:09 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

It's only about self-recognition to the extent that you specifically asked about my rights. Ask me about your rights and my answer will perhaps center on Stephen-recognition.

Stephen, who or what gives you hunger? Thirst? A desire to breath or procreate? Who or what makes you human instead of canine? Who gives you all the qualities of humanness that define you?

You insist on considering human rights apart from humanity. It would seem self evident to me that you can't have human rights for a cockroach? Yet if you clearly can't have human rights without a human, you also can't have a human without having human rights. They are inseparable because each comprises the other.

You have the rights of a human, Stephen, because you are human. If you were a cockroach, you'd have the rights of a cockroach. It's really as simple as that.
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79 posted 01-28-2008 12:59 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

quote:
Human rights is much like solar luminance; the noun necessarily flows from the qualifier.


Dear Ron, tell me how, by evolution, a monkey in the zoo developed the self-recognition of human right.

quote:
The sun is bright simply because it IS the sun. If it wasn't bright, it would no longer be the sun.


The sun is bright because it is burning and if it is not burning, we still call this celestial body sun. So many unseen or un-sensed yet by human eyes or telescopes are rising in the morning and setting in the evening. They will all have their names, bright or not. Not all suns are bright(blackhole is one of the stage of the sun) and moon is bright by reflect light but we call it moon but sun.

quote:
] Similarly, every human has rights simply because they ARE human.


since when?

quote:
Life imbues them with those rights. Not men, not government, and not a dozen different gods.


what is life?

quote:
If you want to argue that Life flows only from God, that's fine with me.


why? why do you agree that you shall be imposed by this thought?

quote:
My rights, however, do not and will not depend on someone's religious interpretations of the day. 'Cause those, I fear, too often change with the wind.


you are absolutely right. We shall find the truth.

and I have changed my mind. You shall go nowhere because we still need PIPtalk the wonderful site.
All I want to say that you can talk whatever you want is because you are standing on a freeland. institutions does not talk. It has to be sounded out and interpreted properly by person.
many countries do have freedom of speech in their constitution. But when you really do it, you may have caused social unstable. (or many)

So where is the freeland come from? it is there because it is there ?


"why do you twist my passion into a string to fit in your thread?" TM
TomMark
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80 posted 01-28-2008 10:43 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

quote:
My rights depend only on my willingness to claim them. I can choose to surrender them, but so long as I draw breath, no one can take them from me.


this, under many conditions one has to do Cost/benefit analysis. But it is very painful to give up any right under any condition.

quote:
It's only about self-recognition to the extent that you specifically asked about my rights. Ask me about your rights and my answer will perhaps center on Stephen-recognition.

Do human beings have same right or different right? if you think that right has to be based on recognition?

quote:
who or what gives you hunger? Thirst? A desire to breath or procreate? Who or what makes you human instead of canine? Who gives you all the qualities of humanness that define you?

God

quote:
You insist on considering human rights apart from humanity.

Human right....I think that it is what we can do for surviving.They are build-in characters. To the extreme like killing for self-defence.
Humanity ...what we can do to not hurting others.
It is the conscience. also build-in. like no killing for self-defense.

quote:
It would seem self evident to me that you can't have human rights for a cockroach?

People do recognize human right in Dog or children to their stuff animal.  

quote:
you also can't have a human without having human rights.

I agree. Human right are build-in.

quote:
They are inseparable because each comprises the other.

I don't see it in reality. How  many have dead for fighting for right? (where does humanity play/)


quote:
You have the rights of a human, Stephen, because you are human. If you were a cockroach, you'd have the rights of a cockroach. It's really as simple as that.


absolutely agree.
But do we have right to be ungrateful?
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81 posted 01-28-2008 01:01 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"why do you twist my passion into a string to fit in your thread?" TM

Stephanos
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82 posted 01-29-2008 10:24 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
It's only about self-recognition to the extent that you specifically asked about my rights.


Ron, it seems to me you've evaded the question.  I asked what your rights (not recognition or cooperation with) ultimately depend upon.  It might be easier to ask what does an infants rights depend upon, since there is no cognition of any such thing.  

Can you answer that question without admixing recognition with rights per se?  


quote:
You insist on considering human rights apart from humanity.


Not at all Ron.  Humanity is a given.  I merely insist that unless there is someone transcendently above humanity, then there can be no such thing as real "rights".  Rights viewed as a mere human characteristic (like the color of one's eyes) begs the question, since it is humanity that has such an awful time with its own "rights".  Anything morally obligatory but practically unbinding (justice, equity, rights) cannot be placed in the same category as naked physical fact, as you have done.  If part of humanity acts as if there is no rights (either their own, or of others') then by your observation, rights cannot be universal.  


Stephen
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83 posted 01-29-2008 02:18 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

          I don't know that the question can be given an absolute answer.

     Short of that, I'd imagine that rights depend first on consciousness.  Rights depend upon communication between people, simply to understand there is more than a single conscious experience in existence.  And rights depend on an attempt to elaborate the existence of one consciousness with another.  I don't know that this elaboration has to be assertion, as the French existentialists would seem to want it.  Nor do I know that despair is essential to the process.  I think simply that play is enough on the most basic of levels; play and the elaboration of play would be enough to bring about the notion of rights and rules.  Presupposing consciousness and communication of course.

     The discussion seems to be veering wildly away from a discussion of politics and human rights into a discussion of theology.  I enjoy theology, I really do; but I don't understand why we must have a discussion of theology before we can talk about politics and human rights.  

     I also enjoy conversations about science.  I would feel the same way if somebody insisted on talking about science instead of politics and human rights.  Science certainly has as much to contribute to the discussion as religion, you know.  We could talk about evolutionary biology.  How human power structures have analogues in monkey behaviors that affect mating.  How civil liberties may be pro or anti evolutionary trends, depending on how one looks at the passing of of specific gene sets.  

     To some of you the suggestion may sound pretty stupid.  To me it's at least as interesting and profitable as the discussion we've been having.  In fact, it sounds like pretty much the same discussion from a different direction.  Instead of somebody (perhaps Ron?) having to admit you can't talk about human rights without first acknowledging that all rights come from God, somebody'd have to admit  (perhaps Stephanos?) that evolution was the more rational factor to consider.

     It's unfair to ask and unlikely to expect such things from either one of them; and either request seems to me to be an unreasonable precondition for a conversation that compassionate people can reasonably expect themselves to have with other compassionate people in this specific unlikely era.  Let us be unreasonable together.  We need not stop being thorny, that's half our charm.  Perhaps rather more than half of mine.

     Ron doesn't offer the science argument, of course; I do.  Ron's argument is political and libertarian, if I understand it correctly.  The underpinnings around assertion of self, though, give away the existential roots of the argument.  I think Ayn Rand would disagree with me, and I'm mean spirited enough to enjoy that.  She would call them Aristotelian, and she has.

     No matter.  We still need to have our discussion.  Perhaps we can continue being stuck where we are. Perhaps, a victory, we can find some new place to get stuck.  That's what a democracy is about, isn't it.  We keep at it with faith in the process and in ourselves to come out at least as decently as we went in.  Maybe better.

     I look forward to more God, more Libertarian politics, more humanistic claptrap and whatever spice anyone else can throw on the fire.  Next time, somebody else please bring the fire-starter and the barbeque.  It may be starting to feel too calm around here again.

     My best, BobK.

TomMark
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84 posted 01-29-2008 03:32 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

quote:
The discussion seems to be veering wildly away from a discussion of politics and human rights into a discussion of theology.  I enjoy theology, I really do; but I don't understand why we must have a discussion of theology before we can talk about politics and human rights.

We have to learn or find out where the human right come from? and what it is, right?
So where human come from?
From God? then what are those rights?
From evolution? then what are those rights and  how it is evolved out?
those questions are scientific and logic and theological as well.

Just tell me something.
Stephanos
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85 posted 01-29-2008 08:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK:
quote:
The discussion seems to be veering wildly away from a discussion of politics and human rights into a discussion of theology.  I enjoy theology, I really do; but I don't understand why we must have a discussion of theology before we can talk about politics and human rights.


Bob, no one said we had to talk about one thing before we talked of another.  A thread allows many concurrent lines. We have already talked about politics, human rights, discrimination, and God.  And given the title and subject of the thread I think all are apropos.  I have merely been having a debate with Ron about the veracity of the idea of "human transcendent inalienable rights" without God, which I think is mired in subjectivism.  But that doesn't mean you or anyone else can't take the discussion wherever you wish.  

quote:
Instead of somebody (perhaps Ron?) having to admit you can't talk about human rights without first acknowledging that all rights come from God, somebody'd have to admit  (perhaps Stephanos?) that evolution was the more rational factor to consider.


Firstly, Evolution (were I to believe in its scientific veracity) would not do away with the necessity of God.  But if you are taking it to mean the theory at odds with the doctrine of Special Creation, it would certainly not be more "rational" regarding the subject of human rights.  "Survival of the fittest" in principle, is not the most compatible with the concept of inalienable rights.


Stephen    
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86 posted 01-30-2008 07:19 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephen:

Well, the real-life irony here is that those who are most likely to posit a strong connection between theology and individual human rights are the very people most likely oppose human rights legislation.

Stephen, ordinarily I might come down on your side on issues like this one.  In the work I'm doing, the legislators who quote Scripture at me are an almost guaranteed "no-vote" on my issue.  Regardless of the facts, regardless of the need, regardless of the cost-benefit.  Absolutely no chance of a "yes" vote as if the prohibition against my proposal was etched by the finger of God Himself on the stone tablet as an 11th Commandment.

My observations ... people know how to opine a strong connection between theology and individual human rights, but they haven't really given much thought to what that means.  In practice, its more about being in the same club with people saying the same things than it is about understanding how to apply such strongly professed truths to the benefit of those most vulnerable to human rights abuses.

Until I see more application and less abstraction, I don't see how debates like these do anyone much good.  Perhaps the a critical missed step is teaching those who espouse such views how to apply them.  Then I might be more inclined to listen.

Jim
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87 posted 01-30-2008 09:51 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

Willing to listen?  You already know what I'm saying is true.  I agree with you about the disconnect between theology and BE-ology, and it is worthy of lamentation.

Stephen
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88 posted 01-30-2008 10:49 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Jim, Whatever you are doing now, I know that you are fighting for the unprivileged and it is human right issue and it should be based on love.

If whoever against you, is reading Bible to you to prove that you are wrong, Then to him I shall say  that I would love to listen to a dog ruffing out the Scripture than a human preaches without a heart because dog would not turn around to judge me. And God is all about love. keep fighting!!!!!
TM
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89 posted 01-30-2008 11:02 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

"Firstly, Evolution (were I to believe in its scientific veracity) would not do away with the necessity of God.  But if you are taking it to mean the theory at odds with the doctrine of Special Creation, it would certainly not be more "rational" regarding the subject of human rights.  "Survival of the fittest" in principle, is not the most compatible with the concept of inalienable rights."

     Evolution is, as a scientific theory, open to experiment and test.  You are free to set up any experimental test you wish, debate the validity of the methodology with critics until you come with a mutually acceptable set of replicable procedures and run your experiment.  Analyze your data, write up your conclusions and submit them to a peer reviewed journal.  If you want your conclusions widely accepted, you'll want that to be a widely respected peer reviewed journal.  You need not bother "to believe" in its scientific veracity until it reaches that point, though you may certainly chose to do so.  I may be off-base here in my understanding of what the requirements are for a scientific test of a hypothesis should involve.  For example, the data should be reproducible and should pass certain statistical tests of reliability, and reproductions of the original experiment should confirm the original findings,  But generally, the word "belief" need not come into the picture.  The data works or it doesn't.  Changes need to be made in the hypothesis or they don't.  Talk about belief is from another context.

     To talk about the "necessity" of God is a large problem in language.  Loads of people get along fine without using the concept at all.  If you believe in God, then it is possible that you can believe that you are not necessary to God.  (I know that God loves man from the Christian point of view; is man necessary to God in some way?  I think reasonable people might differ here.)  God may be necessary to specific individuals.  You may believe that God is necessary to creation.  There are other useful and competing theories.  My personal preferences run toward the theological, but people often tell me I am foolish.  I believe that being foolish and right are not incompatible.

     When you talk about "special creation," I don't know what you mean.  It sounds like the distinction that Einstein drew between "relativity" and "special Relativity," but I haven't brushed up on that in thirty years.  Is "special creation" something that has to do with space/time?
Does Space/time deform in "special creation" to create the illusion of gravity?  

     I am also not sure what you mean when you say," [I]t [evolution, I think] would certainly not be more "rational" regarding the subject of human rights. "   By this I suspect you mean either "social darwinism," which is social policy and hardly science or the "science" of eugenics.  I am told that Hitler was an admirer of the early American "science" of eugenics, which (and I hope I'm remembering some other country and some other world than this one) led to sterilizations of mental patients and the retarded in this country.  I have NOT taken the time to reconfirm this at this writing, and do not want to mislead by suggesting that I have.  In fact, I hope I'm wrong.

     However, this is somebody's fantasy based on Darwin's work, and not the work of Darwin.  I don't hold Jesus responsible for the Inquisition, either.  I don't know how one would measure equality in absurdities so large, but both theses stretch a great deal.

     Near as I can tell, evolution is still out on ruthlessness, and that cooperation may be a much more favorable trait for survival.  That is why it's important to preserve a reasonably diverse gene pool, and why when Stephanos
uses the phrase "survival of the fittest," he shows how important such dialogues as this can be.  My contention is that it is precisely  those who fail to understand the need for compassion; and that we are all in the business of life together, that are the ones that are playing with matches while topping off the tank.

Stephanos
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90 posted 02-04-2008 06:50 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK:
quote:
Evolution is, as a scientific theory, open to experiment and test.  You are free to set up any experimental test you wish, debate the validity of the methodology with critics until you come with a mutually acceptable set of replicable procedures and run your experiment.  Analyze your data, write up your conclusions and submit them to a peer reviewed journal.


Evolution (if this means that Darwin's mechanism of random mutation/ natural selection is responsible for the origins of biological forms we see) cannot be tested.  As far as I understand, there is no reproducible way to determine if a light-sensitive spot could ever evolve into an eye.  It is a theory about origins which involves inference, and a whole lot more 'gap' than many are scientifically comfortable with.  Determining that bacteria mutate into drug-resistant strains, or that the size of finch beaks vary with enviormental changes, or that moth wings may change colors, does not provide hard evidence for evolution (as the theory of origins).  It is however evidence for biological change among species, once you've been given the forms.  In that sense, it's not a question of whether one believes in Evolution, but what is the defintion of Evolution and what powers may be (scientifically) attributed to it.


quote:
To talk about the "necessity" of God is a large problem in language.  Loads of people get along fine without using the concept at all.


Does this mean that since people think that God is unnecessary, that this will prove to be the case?  In a world where God rains on the just and unjust alike (in other words, where his provision does not simply cease to exist, when people think he has), it is precarious to use "getting along okay" as a criteria for determining whether God is necessary.  There is a lot of talk about "The Problem of Evil", but one can see that the good things of life also hold perils of their own, in what assumptions we may make concerning them.


quote:
If you believe in God, then it is possible that you can believe that you are not necessary to God.  (I know that God loves man from the Christian point of view; is man necessary to God in some way?  I think reasonable people might differ here.)  God may be necessary to specific individuals.


Man is not strictly necessary to God.  But neither does love does always come of sheer necessity.  If love may be called a necessity, it is a chosen kind.  It is only in that sense can we be "necessary" to God.


quote:
You may believe that God is necessary to creation.  There are other useful and competing theories.  My personal preferences run toward the theological, but people often tell me I am foolish.  I believe that being foolish and right are not incompatible.


I might meet a man who tells me that a watchmaker is not required for a watch, that it just "happened" gradualistically and without a guiding mind, and consider him more foolish than you.          

quote:
When you talk about "special creation," I don't know what you mean.


Well, "Special Creation" is usually a term referring to what Young-Earth-Creationists believe, who take a hyper-literal account of Genesis.  My use of the term is different, probably along the lines that Roman Catholic tradition has defined it; having to do with God's creation of humanity as "in his own image".  Previous I contrasted this with the belief that human life arose out of random processes.  


quote:
I am also not sure what you mean when you say," [I]t [evolution, I think] would certainly not be more "rational" regarding the subject of human rights. "   By this I suspect you mean either "social darwinism," which is social policy and hardly science or the "science" of eugenics.


I am referring to Evolution as believed in an atheistic paradigm.  It would not be rational to think that irrational matter and irrational processes could give rise to something that had real "rights".  

quote:
However, this is somebody's fantasy based on Darwin's work, and not the work of Darwin.  I don't hold Jesus responsible for the Inquisition, either.


Oh, I agree that Darwinism need not be taken as scientific atheism, though he himself hinted at this interpretation, and Huxley and others that followed him expounded it further.  Richard Dawkins is probably the most popular of contemporary successors of this interpretation.

quote:
Near as I can tell, evolution is still out on ruthlessness, and that cooperation may be a much more favorable trait for survival.


From an evolutionary paradigm, the persistent existence of ruthlessness and virtue would show that the survival value is inconclusive ... confirming again my statement that "rights" in an atheistic paradigm are subjective, not absolute, not above Government or humanity in any way, in a word, not necessary.


enjoying the dialogue,


Stephen
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91 posted 02-05-2008 03:10 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Stephanos,

          Okay, this is good I think.  Let's see; I'm going to paste in a section of our dialogue from just above here and see if we have an area where we have some agreement, and we can agree on where we have either disagreement or we're missing each other, Okay?

     "Evolution is," I said, " as a scientific theory, open to experiment and test.  You are free to set up any experimental test you wish, debate the validity of the methodology with critics until you come with a mutually acceptable set of replicable procedures and run your experiment.  Analyze your data, write up your conclusions and submit them to a peer reviewed journal."


     And you replied, "Evolution (if this means that Darwin's mechanism of random mutation/ natural selection is responsible for the origins of biological forms we see) cannot be tested.  As far as I understand, there is no reproducible way to determine if a light-sensitive spot could ever evolve into an eye.  It is a theory about origins which involves inference, and a whole lot more 'gap' than many are scientifically comfortable with.  Determining that bacteria mutate into drug-resistant strains, or that the size of finch beaks vary with environmental changes, or that moth wings may change colors, does not provide hard evidence for evolution (as the theory of origins).  It is however evidence for biological change among species, once you've been given the forms.  In that sense, it's not a question of whether one believes in Evolution, but what is the definition of Evolution and what powers may be (scientifically) attributed to it."


   Here is the area from the above that I suspect we may agree about:  "Determining that bacteria mutate into drug-resistant strains, or that the size of finch beaks vary with environmental changes, or that moth wings may change colors, does not provide hard evidence for evolution (as the theory of origins).  It is however evidence for biological change among species, once you've been given the forms."

     Now, I am not certain that these things provide hard evidence of a theory of origins, although there is I believe hard evidence that these things have happened.  It appears we both have agreement on that last point.  There may, I believe, and I am reasonably certain you do not,  be a beginning to life without a Beginner in the same way that our universe can be of finite size without saying that there needs to be something outside its edges.  

     The math of that one escapes me, but from my reading, I hear that this improbability is true.  Until I get better information, I have to go with that.  

    
Evolution (if this means that Darwin's mechanism of random mutation/ natural selection is responsible for the origins of biological forms we see) cannot be tested.  As far as I understand, there is no reproducible way to determine if a light-sensitive spot could ever evolve into an eye.  It is a theory about origins which involves inference, and a whole lot more 'gap' than many are scientifically comfortable with.  Determining that bacteria mutate into drug-resistant strains, or that the size of finch beaks vary with environmental changes, or that moth wings may change colors, does not provide hard evidence for evolution (as the theory of origins).  It is however evidence for biological change among species, once you've been given the forms.  In that sense, it's not a question of whether one believes in Evolution, but what is the definition of Evolution and what powers may be (scientifically) attributed to it.


quote:
To talk about the "necessity" of God is a large problem in language.  Loads of people get along fine without using the concept at all.


     "Does this mean that since people think that God is unnecessary, that this will prove to be the case?"

     No, I confess this is not the case.  But the reason this is not the case is because the answer to the original question is "no" as well.  There is no way to distinguish between the two conditions.

     But I was not talking about whether God was real.  And that was the question you were addressing, I believe.  I wish my problem were with that question; I could simply say, "I don't know and see no way of finding out," and be done with it.

     What I said was that to talk about the "necessity" of God is a large problem with language.  "Necessity" is a way of stacking the deck, you see.  For whom is this a "necessity?"  For many people of belief, yes; and urgently so.  People of belief would insist for everybody.

     I say that you may be taking too much upon yourself, if you insist what others must find of necessity.  I am filled with terrible contradiction.  I find it hard to live with myself about this sometimes, for I would certainly say to you with utter sincerity that human rights are a necessity, and I have a responsibility to insist on those for everybody.  And yet here I am firmly saying I will not accept you insisting on your God for me:  That I accept this benevolent necessity.  What am I to make of myself here, Stephanos?

     Perhaps there are different kinds of necessity on different levels of abstraction.  This might get me off the hook with myself, but I simply don't know right now.
Your insistence on the "Necessity" of God, simply the putting of that into language, you see, gives me fits.  You see my problem here?  And I am a guy who mostly does believe.  

     What about people who see no necessity and feel none?
You are simply wasting oxygen.  These people don't care.  Or they get upset at you for other reasons.  You are fooling around with personal boundaries here, by telling people what they should and shouldn't think, you know.


     "I am referring to Evolution as believed in an atheistic paradigm.  It would not be rational to think that irrational matter and irrational processes could give rise to something that had real "rights"."

     This still makes absolutely no sense to me.  The French Existentialists, Bertrand Russell, many of the Union of Concerned Scientists are atheists and solid and convinced believers in human rights.  These folks certainly believe that human rights are rational.  Far as I can tell, most if not all of them would sign on to being Evolutionists.  Your notion of what's rational and theirs may be very different.
Good people come in all flavors.


     "From an evolutionary paradigm, the persistent existence of ruthlessness and virtue would show that the survival value is inconclusive ... confirming again my statement that "rights" in an atheistic paradigm are subjective, not absolute, not above Government or humanity in any way, in a word, not necessary."


     I think you're conflating The Theory of Evolution here, which, as I understand it, is a theory that has been tested
and forged for over a hundred and fifty years and been modified as needed to fit the data that confirms or disconfirms pieces of it, and Evolutionary Biology, which is a reasonably recent grafting onto the scientific tree.  Whether evolution can be adapted to use in this particular fashion is not at all clear, though people are making very free with that particular theory right now.

     I certainly made use of it earlier in my speculations about the survival value of kindness.  I'm not sure that I mentioned human rights, but you're certainly well within the ballpark to assume I might have.  Organizational theory talks about two different managerial styles, theory x and theory y.  One is authoritarian, top down, and leader driven.  The other is democratic, bottom up, and group oriented.  Each has its own advantages and liabilities.

     The two styles run through the species pretty widely.  Democrats and Republicans.  Saints and Psychopaths.  Mommy and Daddy.  The overlap is somewhat stretched because each one has something of the other.  I think that what's being spoken about here is something like these two trends in humanity.  People need both and in balance.

     I don't think you need to swear allegiance to science or to the forces of God's right to get your very own copy of The Junior Woodchuck's Manual, from Donald Duck Comics; the book Huey, Dewey and Louie always consulted when they ran into Rain Forest Ghosts in Zanzibar or Duck Eating Ants in the Andes.  You take your heart and your brain and your friends and whatever other  pieces of help you need, scientific method or bible or Tao te Ching and you do what you can.  There are atheists who believe in rights, I've named some of them above, and if you look around cautiously enough, there may even be one or two others someplace worth getting to know.  All logic to the contrary.

     I too enjoy the dialogue.  Bob


    
  I
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


92 posted 02-05-2008 07:45 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Poor God . . .

Somehow I think
He’ll let me in
if I share with Him
a pack of cigarettes.

.
Stephanos
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93 posted 02-05-2008 11:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK:
quote:
Now, I am not certain that these things provide hard evidence of a theory of origins, although there is I believe hard evidence that these things have happened.  It appears we both have agreement on that last point.  There may, I believe, and I am reasonably certain you do not,  be a beginning to life without a Beginner in the same way that our universe can be of finite size without saying that there needs to besomething outside its edges.


Okay, so we agree that natural selection works to the degree that it affects some amount of change within a species.  But that is not the main premise of Darwinistic Evolution, which is the theory of Common Descent.

Your second point has to do with abiogenesis which has nothing to do with natural selection, since there has to be replicating life already in place.  Abiogenesis is not a part of Evolutionary Theory, strictly speaking, though it is taken for granted by many who believe it.  Very interesting stuff to talk about, and to question.  But perhaps the main point I would like to bring out, is that there is much about contemporary Evolutionary belief (a mixture of a belief in Darwinism, methodological naturalism, and dialectical materialism) which is religious-like in nature.  


To illustrate this, I'll provide a couple of quotes, one by Michael Ruse (an agnostic who is a proponent of Darwinian Evolution), and the other by evolutionary geneticist Walter Fitch.  

"One should be sensitive to what I think history shows, namely, that evolution just as much as religion--or at least, leave "just as much," let me leave that phrase--evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically. I guess we all knew that, but I think that we're all much more sensitive to these facts now. And I think that the way to deal with creationism, but the way to deal with evolution also, is not to deny these facts but to recognize them and to see where we can go, as we move on from there." (Michael Ruse, from the AAAS 1993 Boston meeting)

and ...

"By a metaphysical construct I mean any unproved or unprovable assumption that we all make and tend to take for granted. One example is the doctrine of uniformitarianism that asserts that the laws of nature ...have always been true in the past and will always be true in the future. It is the belief in that doctrine that permits scientists to demand repeatability in experiments. I like the word doctrine in this case because it makes clear that matters of faith are not restricted to creationists and that in the intellectual struggle for citizen enlightenment we need to be very clear just where the fundamental differences between science and theology lie. It is not, as many scientists would like to believe, in the absence of metaphysical underpinnings in science" (Fitch, from "The Challenges to Darwinism Since the Last Centennial and the Impact of Molecular Studies" Evolution 36 (1982))

At least such pre-commitments are being acknowledged, more than they have been in the past.


quote:
What I said was that to talk about the "necessity" of God is a large problem with language.  "Necessity" is a way of stacking the deck, you see.  For whom is this a "necessity?"  For many people of belief, yes; and urgently so.  People of belief would insist for everybody.

... I am filled with terrible contradiction.  I find it hard to live with myself about this sometimes, for I would certainly say to you with utter sincerity that human rights are a necessity, and I have a responsibility to insist on those for everybody.  And yet here I am firmly saying I will not accept you insisting on your God for me:  That I accept this benevolent necessity.  What am I to make of myself here, Stephanos?

     Perhaps there are different kinds of necessity on different levels of abstraction.  This might get me off the hook with myself, but I simply don't know right now.
Your insistence on the "Necessity" of God, simply the putting of that into language, you see, gives me fits.  You see my problem here?  And I am a guy who mostly does believe.


You are right in saying that your insistence upon "rights" is the same kind of insistence as that of God.  For when you ask how "telling others how to think" may be justified, my answer is similar to what yours would be for insisting on the recognition of rights.  I'm not so sure that your idea about 'different levels of necessity' can change that.  But I'm open to hearing more on your idea if you're willing to explain it.


I would like to ask you, since you say you "mostly believe", whether it would offend you if the nature of God, were somewhat like the nature of "rights" or morality, in that human acknowledgment is obligatory, or that he is indispensable to human nature?  For the Christian belief is that we are not independent beings, but dependent ones.  The fact that much current support and help goes unrecognized, and doesn't instantly dry up with our piety, shouldn't be used to deny that.  The reason I ask that, is because I think our main problem has always been the desire for autonomy; so the suggestion of dependence rubs us the wrong way.  And even though you might imagine that I'm chiding you, I have the same problem ... if not conceptually, practically.  For even after one accepts God intellectually as necessary, or even becomes a 'Christian' by personal commitment, there is still the struggle of obedience and trust.    


quote:
Me:  I am referring to Evolution as believed in an atheistic paradigm.  It would not be rational to think that irrational matter and irrational processes could give rise to something that had real "rights"

BobK:This still makes absolutely no sense to me.  The French Existentialists, Bertrand Russell, many of the Union of Concerned Scientists are atheists and solid and convinced believers in human rights.  These folks certainly believe that human rights are rational.  Far as I can tell, most if not all of them would sign on to being Evolutionists.  Your notion of what's rational and theirs may be very different.  Good people come in all flavors.



I never said that atheists couldn't believe that being moral is rational, or even that they couldn't be moral.  But that doesn't mean that their philosophy is able to sustain that idea.  Absolute morality of any kind is extraneous to dialectical materialism and must be held in spite of it.  The existentialist philosophers saw this too.


Since you mentioned the French Existentialists, you may recall that "overstepping rationality in order to find meaning" was one of their main themes.  Why?  Because in a godless universe, rational thinking cannot arrive at the necessity of moral behavior.  They probably inherited this realization from the first Existential writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, who wrote "If there is no God, all things are permissible".  And though they didn't accept God and Christ as the solution (as Dostoevsky definitely did), they accepted the basic dilemma.  But tensions existed within their existentialism.  And though Sarte once wrote that "Atheism is a cruel and long range affair: I think I've carried it through, I see clearly, I've lost my illusions", he later said during an interview, "I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God".   Albert Camus also greatly criticized Sartre for his activism, for its philanthropic leaning was somewhat inconsistent with the things he typically wrote.


Also, Bertrand Russell's later years were plagued with a profound skepticism (hint ... everything was in doubt, even his very own being and significance).  In contrast to his atheism he also once wrote the following:  "The root of the matter is a very simple and old-fashioned thing, a thing so simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it, for fear of the derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The thing I mean—please forgive me for mentioning it—is love, Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a motive for existence, a guide in action, a reason for courage, an imperative necessity for intellectual honesty"  (from 'The Impact of Science on Society')

As far as being "good" is concerned, I honestly think that there is no one wholly good except God.  But what goodness there may be is due to the fact that we were created in his image, and so the desire for "good" is often there despite wrong beliefs.  That is not to say that belief is unimportant, or that it doesn't affect one's morality.


quote:
I think you're conflating The Theory of Evolution here, which, as I understand it, is a theory that has been tested and forged for over a hundred and fifty years and been modified as needed to fit the data that confirms or disconfirms pieces of it, and Evolutionary Biology, which is a reasonably recent grafting onto the scientific tree.  Whether evolution can be adapted to use in this particular fashion is not at all clear, though people are making very free with that particular theory right now.


I was using the term "Evolution" in the most widely held fashion, the contemporary equation of it with the theory of Common Descent, or Common Ancestry.  If you make a distinction between this and Evolution, I am fine with that, and would like to do the same.  Though the most popular proponents today (not just lay people) use it in the much more ambitious sense ... the so-called scientific explanation of all of life.


quote:
You take your heart and your brain and your friends and whatever other  pieces of help you need, scientific method or bible or Tao te Ching and you do what you can.  There are atheists who believe in rights, I've named some of them above, and if you look around cautiously enough, there may even be one or two others someplace worth getting to know.  All logic to the contrary.


Get help from where you may indeed.  And inconsistency between someone's philosophy and their beliefs or actions, is certainly no reason for disdain.

You bring up many good points and questions,

Peace,

Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (02-06-2008 12:19 AM).]

 
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