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8 Year Olds, Free Will, and Baptism


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8 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I agree.  I'm not sure how this is not in agreement.  

Good!!

Sorry for any misunderstanding then!!  I will read you more carefully- sorry if I have not done so very carefully in the past.  I knew at one point that we were on a similar wavelength- it's good to know we still are!!

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

Okay, I meant using the word as in saying I am assuming something, while also advising others to avoid making assumptions.  Coming up with possible explanations is better than making assumptions, whether subjectively or objectively.

Even in something like math you have to start with fundamental assumptions. For example, from the way you wrote most likely you are assuming God exists in that even if you believe you have perfect evidence for him, you are assuming what you see is actually real, evidence and not an illusion. 

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

Here is the direct quote:

He did not say we experience well-being in different degrees or levels on a scale.  He said we experience different "forms" from each other.  That is very, very different from what you claim he said and makes it subjective to the individual without any objective way to measure it. 

I think this misses the point, as I suggested.  What is it?  yes, he's suggesting it can be measured.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

Well-being is not an objectively monolithic/monadic experience identical for each individual with the only difference being the degree or level of well-being measured on a scale. 

This misses the point.  He's not saying this per se.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

No, no, no, well-being is a subjective conglomerate of different forms and quale, with no two people being alike.  What promotes well-being for one, might promote suffering for another (such as small talk at a party, or the taste of durian fruit).  It is entirely subjective in more ways than can be measured and is entirely reliant on subjective and biased opinion, which is in no way can be objectively measured and qualified.

An assumption based on soft science with a value based judgment and goal.  Good and bad are value judgments.  Value judgments don't belong in hard science. It would effectively destroy hard science as we know it once value judgments are allowed to creep in. 

Let's try this.  What is the goal of medical science?  I thought it was physical health.  But it can't be, according to you, since physical health is but subjectively imagined by each of us, and is derived from but a soft science and the measure of it is a value judgment.  The problem is, that's simply not true.  Medical science is not soft, neither is neuroscience.  There needs to be the assumption for a goal of the science.  Physical health is the goal, but its not particularly definable, and is but imagined differently by each of us...so medical science then too must just be a soft science because good health and bad health are value judgments....apparently.  The problem is, you're just plain wrong.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

Hard science can be built around value judgments, but in no way does that make the value judgment an objective fact of natural science (hard science).  For example, we can use hard science to create medicine to treat pain based on the value judgment that pain is bad.  But the value judgment of "pain is bad" is not an objective scientific fact.  Do you see the difference? 

The difference between what and what?  Yes, medical science is not a soft science.  the goal is physical health and that is but a value judgment.  That does not mean the goal is immeasurable or that the goal is subjective.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

Here is the problem as I see it.  Neither you or Harris are distinguishing between soft science and hard science.  What Harris is promoting is already being employed by practitioners in every field.  Doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, social sciences, etc are all employing soft science and making value judgments which are not based on hard science and measurable objective fact.  These all have the same goal of promoting well-being.  It is already being employed in practice in the soft sciences, so why the heck is Harris trying to manipulate our understanding of hard science vs soft science and re-invent the wheel that is already turning just fine?   By introducing value judgments where we can't establish objectively measured criteria, then we water down the unbiased rigor of the hard natural sciences. Hard science will loose its unbiased edge - which will be it's downfall.  There will be no distinction whatsoever between hard science and soft science. 

The implications are many.  I think a good start would be to read the MOral Landscape.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

You say that "no one questions the scientific basis for the attempted measures we have in place".   That is because no one is pretending that those measures are hard science that measure objective truth. 

That's simply not true.  The measures taken in medical science to compare to objective goals.  And it is a hard science.  IT simply can't be argued medical science is a soft science.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

If someone did make that claim, you bet people would be questioning.     We acknowledge that it is a value judgment and is entirely subjective.  We are ok with that.  We don't need to pretend that it is a hard science to employ it.  We are ok with making value judgments and distinguishing it from the natural sciences (as it should be, to protect the integrity of hard science). If you think asking someone what their pain is on a scale of 1 to 10 is practicing hard science - that is beyond me. 

No one is suggesting, of course, that asking an individual what their pain level is on a scale of 1 to 10 has anything to do with science or medical science.  

6 hours ago, pogi said:

For clarity, 

Hard science: "Any of the natural or physical sciences, as chemistry, biology, physics, or astronomy".  These hard sciences rely on objectivity and are not based on subjective value judgments.

Soft science: "Any of the specialized fields or disciplines, as psychology, sociology, anthropology, or political science, that interpret human behavior, institutions, society, etc., on the basis of scientific investigations for which it may be difficult to establish strictly measurable criteria".  These soft sciences can also be rigorous but are largely dependent upon subjective value judgments which are not considered objective facts.  

I"m aware.  

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

Let me boil the problem down in as simply as I can.

Hard Science starts with an assumption and rigorously and objectively tests the assumption to determine if it is "true" or "scientific fact".  Once this sturdy foundation is proven, then science can further build upon this sturdy foundation.

Sam Harris, on the other hand, starts with an assumption, he doesn't/can't objectively test the assumption, then he claims every conclusion based on the untested assumption is "true" or "scientific fact".  The problem is that a house is only as solid/true as its foundation.

The assumption is entirely arbitrary with no scientific reason to make it the foundation of morality.  I could just as easily make the arbitrary assumption that anything which promotes the homeostasis of spinach = morality.  Anyone who therefore eats spinach is immoral.  That is now a scientific fact!  Given naturalism as a foundation, anthropocentrism (which is really what Harris is proposing as a basis for morality) just feels so...wrong.  There is no scientific basis for it.

The wise man built his house upon a rock , but Harris is trying to convince science to build its house upon sand. It is a disservice to science and weakens its foundation of objectivity.  It is a slippery slope from there once you allow the foundation to be weakened. It will forever destabilize science.  

One could say the difference between hard science and soft science is the foundation it is built upon - "hard" foundation (rock/proven assumption) vs. "soft" foundation (sand/unproven assumption).  I have no problem calling Harris's approach a soft science.  But we can't pretend that it is based on hard objective scientific fact. 

No.  I think you have it all wrong.  He is not in any way saying some random person who imagines whatever is setting any standard to measure.  He's advocating for a scientific, as in a hard scientific, measure.  

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7 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Nope I am talking about rudeness that offends people and then they think you are a troll and ignore everything you say.   If you like that role here, go forward my good brother.  You want it plain and straight up- then that is what I will give you.  People think you are a jerk, so anything valid you have to say gets ignored.

If that's your path, stick to it.

People who think I m a jerk are just wrong.  And people who tell me that other people think I am a jerk are telling me that those other people are wrong by thinking I am a jerk.  I have qualia telling me that I am not a jerk, but if people would rather judge me as something I am not rather than try to get to know the real me then it is not my fault.  It is their own fault for judging me incorrectly and not making an effort to get to know the real me.  But enough of this personal talk about me and the people who you say have judged me to be rude as in offensive as in someone who makes comments that are not true.  Let's just use our words to say what we want to say to try to help people know and understand what we know and understand is true.

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14 minutes ago, Calm said:

Even in something like math you have to start with fundamental assumptions. For example, from the way you wrote most likely you are assuming God exists in that even if you believe you have perfect evidence for him, you are assuming what you see is actually real, evidence and not an illusion. 

Can you say what I do without using the word assumptions?  I can. I do not make any assumptions as I understand what that word means. I make logical deductions but not any assumptions, or at least not any that I am aware of.  I have evidence that God exists and that evidence is not an assumption. And yes what I see and feel and touch is real. I see no good reason to assume otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

No.  I think you have it all wrong.  He is not in any way saying some random person who imagines whatever is setting any standard to measure.  He's advocating for a scientific, as in a hard scientific, measure.  

Do I have it all wrong?  Don't waste my time if you are not even going to attempt thoughtful responses.

Quote

 

On 8/23/2020 at 12:30 AM, stemelbow said:
 that which promotes well being is a moral good.  


On 8/24/2020 at 8:09 AM, stemelbow said:
We inherently want.  Our wants, which I"m going to slyly change to desires, are adjustable sure, but ultimately it comes down to maximizing our pleasure.

its a question of will it really maximize pleasure, or will it increase well being?  

The goal is, as Harris puts it, well being (I mentioned maximizing pleasure).  We have it in us, even if we mistake how to achieve it.  


On 8/24/2020 at 2:30 PM, stemelbow said:
We decide based on trying to reach a maximized pleasure.  

 

Sounds more like the philosophy of anthropocentrism to me than a hard science.  Prove otherwise.  It seems like ecocentrism might be a more appropriate philosophical foundation for morality (but still, just as soft).  Why not?  You can see how philosophical his foundation really is.  His foundation is entirely philosophical and subjective, and based on human values and wants and desires (in fact he places them above all else for no objective reason). No objectively tested and proven hypothesis.  Prove otherwise.  Everything he builds upon it is based on a  soft foundation.  Prove the foundation is based on hard science and not philosophy  Then I'll believe you. 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Medical science is not soft

Human holistic well-being is more and more the goal in many medical fields (especially nursing).  Nursing is as soft as a down blanket!   A philosophy of nursing (yes, I said philosophy) encompass everything that Sam Harris is promoting - namely holistic human well-being.  Nursing is entirely based on philosophy, not an objectively tested and proven scientific fact.  It uses hard science to further its philosophy, but it is entirely philosophically based.  It is therefore a soft science because it deals with subjective human well-being and philosophy (just like Harris is trying to do).  It is not a natural science, aka hard science. 

 

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

Do I have it all wrong?  Don't waste my time if you are not even going to attempt thoughtful responses.

Sounds more like the philosophy of anthropocentrism to me than a hard science.  Prove otherwise.  It seems like ecocentrism might be a more appropriate philosophical foundation for morality (but still, just as soft).  Why not?  You can see how philosophical his foundation really is.  His foundation is entirely philosophical and subjective, and based on human values and wants and desires (in fact he places them above all else for no objective reason). No objectively tested and proven hypothesis.  Prove otherwise.  Everything he builds upon it is based on a  soft foundation.  Prove the foundation is based on hard science and not philosophy  Then I'll believe you. 

Human holistic well-being is more and more the goal in many medical fields (especially nursing).  Nursing is as soft as a down blanket!   A philosophy of nursing (yes, I said philosophy) encompass everything that Sam Harris is promoting - namely holistic human well-being.  Nursing is entirely based on philosophy, not an objectively tested and proven scientific fact.  It uses hard science to further its philosophy, but it is entirely philosophically based.  It is therefore a soft science because it deals with subjective human well-being and philosophy (just like Harris is trying to do).  It is not a natural science, aka hard science. 

 

Thanks for the conversation, pogi. Maybe one day you'll read the arguments, until then all the best.   But it's a start and I do appreciate your efforts.   

Feom my estimation we didn't get very far into the first premise.  I can see you aren't moving on the initial point.  Might as well agree to disagree.  I tossed in a couple of links to consider and a couple of book references.  Hope you look into them.  

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Thanks for the conversation, pogi. Maybe one day you'll read the arguments, until then all the best.   But it's a start and I do appreciate your efforts.   

Feom my estimation we didn't get very far into the first premise.  I can see you aren't moving on the initial point.  Might as well agree to disagree.  I tossed in a couple of links to consider and a couple of book references.  Hope you look into them.  

You mean this?

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Premise 1:

Morality and values depend on the existence of conscious minds, and specifically, on that fact that various minds can experience various forms of well being and suffering in the universe

I have absolutely no problem with this premise.  I am confused as to why you think I am stuck on it.  

I only saw one link.  I read it.  Just a bunch of philosophy.  No science anywhere.

I do find this telling however:

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You can l ook up Sam Harris' profile.  But yes he considers himself a moral philosopher.  

If morality is a hard science, why does he consider himself a philosopher?  Hmmm...all I hear is philosophy.  Not one iota of hard science anywhere.

I intend to read his books too. Until then, best to you too.

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On 8/26/2020 at 7:54 PM, OGHoosier said:

I'm in awe.

You like that one?

Check out this one.  It's a screenshot off my Kindle book which I strongly suggest you buy.  The kindle reader app is free and the book sells for THREE DOLLARS!  Sorry for the text size but it is the best I am capable of under the limitations I had.  Vattimo is a practicing Catholic (as far as I know ) who is in my opinion one of the best contemporary pragmatic theologians who is actually a believer.

 

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An Ethics for Today: Finding Common Ground Between Philosophy and Religion Kindle Edition

by Richard Rorty  (Author), Jeffrey Robbins (Foreword), Gianni Vattimo (Introduction), G. Dann (Afterword), & 1 more  Format: Kindle Edition

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005CAPKGW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

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image.png.716fdd38b64334b876d5275570217121.png

What gives meaning in our lives is the creation of new worlds, which process brings us joy and well-being.

Sound familiar?  ;)

 

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10 hours ago, pogi said:

 

You mean this?

I have absolutely no problem with this premise.  I am confused as to why you think I am stuck on it.  

Because you re-worded it, broke it into two and demonstrated each time you mentioned it, that you failed to get what it was proposing.  

10 hours ago, pogi said:

I only saw one link.  I read it.  Just a bunch of philosophy.  No science anywhere.

I do find this telling however:

If morality is a hard science, why does he consider himself a philosopher?  Hmmm...all I hear is philosophy.  Not one iota of hard science anywhere.

He's a neuroscientist as well.  The arguments themselves happen to fall in the realm of philosphy.  

10 hours ago, pogi said:

I intend to read his books too. Until then, best to you too.

Thanks, man.  Its all we can ask.  No big deal on the disagreement.  It happens.  HOpe we have no hard feelings.  

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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Nope I am talking about rudeness that offends people and then they think you are a troll and ignore everything you say.   If you like that role here, go forward my good brother.  You want it plain and straight up- then that is what I will give you.  People think you are a jerk, so anything valid you have to say gets ignored.

If that's your path, stick to it.

I've said it before. Ahab is the best troll because he doesn't realize he's trolling, which makes it so much harder to not respond to him. He's like the Manchurian candidate of trolls.

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

You like that one?

Check out this one.  It's a screenshot off my Kindle book which I strongly suggest you buy.  The kindle reader app is free and the book sells for THREE DOLLARS!  Sorry for the text size but it is the best I am capable of under the limitations I had.  Vattimo is a practicing Catholic (as far as I know ) who is in my opinion one of the best contemporary pragmatic theologians who is actually a believer.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005CAPKGW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

What gives meaning in our lives is the creation of new worlds, which process brings us joy and well-being.

Sound familiar?  ;)

 

I'll get that book and get back to you.

Actually, I did mean to ask you for more recommendations. I've finished reading and digesting "What It's Like To Be A Bat", what's the next great text?

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5 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Because you re-worded it, broke it into two and demonstrated each time you mentioned it, that you failed to get what it was proposing.  

He's a neuroscientist as well.  The arguments themselves happen to fall in the realm of philosphy.  

Thanks, man.  Its all we can ask.  No big deal on the disagreement.  It happens.  HOpe we have no hard feelings.  

No hard feelings.  I just want to address your comment about how "the arguments themselves happen to hall in the realm of philosophy".

Do you know what scientists use when they want to prove their science?  They use science...they don't rely on syllogisms and philosophy.  The science proves itself. 

He is a neuroscientist...but he is a moral philosopher.  Show me the science.  It shouldn't be so dog-gone difficult if the claim is that this is a hard science. 

I have been doing a little reading, deciding if I want to read his book or not.  I was hoping that by reading his book I might better understand his definition of "well-being" as that is the entire foundation and basis for his proposition.  From reading reviews, it appears I will only be wasting my time if I think that he makes any attempt to even define the foundation of his so-called science.  

This from an atheist forum:

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 The failure to define well-being makes it extremely difficult to accept Harris’ thesis.

https://atheistforum.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/moral-landscape-definition-of-wellbeing/

 This from Sam Harris himself:

Quote

So scientists fear that answers to specific questions about human well-being may be very difficult to come by, and confidence on many points is surely premature. This is true. But, as I argue in my book, mistaking no answers in practice for no answers in principle is a huge mistake.

Like I said, when you have a definition and a foundation to stand on, lets talk.  Until then, you have philosophy.  No science.  Anywhere. Whatsoever.  No practical answers?  And he claims this is science?  

Science is not about "answers in principle" (that is philosophy).  Science is about "answers in practice" (through testing and application of the scientific method).  Sam Harris has a philosophy.  No science.

Quote

Harris suggests that, much like physical health, well-being eludes concise definition.

That is why health is a soft science.  There are different fields of health science and each is based on a different philosophy of health.

One of the philosophical approaches to health science uses the following definition for health:

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The state of being free from illness or injury.

At least they even attempt a definition!  Without one, we would have no health sciences.  From this philosophy, the hard sciences of anatomy, physiology, patho-physiology, cellular biology, bio-chemistry, etc.(the hard natural sciences) can be employed and applied to achieve the goal of the foundational philosophy.  It is an applied science, a.k.a "soft science". The hard sciences are applied to a philosophy. 

There are various philosophies and scientific approaches to health.  But, the difference between these soft sciences of health and Sam Harris's pretend hard-science of morality, is that they at least have functional definitions to work from.  Sam Harris provides absolutely NO working definition for "well-being".   Without a working definition and philosophy to build off, it can't even be called a soft-science.   He has nothing.  He has an idea for a philosophy, but has not even defined that yet.  Once he has defined it, then maybe he can use that as a launching board to apply some hard-science too.  But until then, he has a book full of words (philosophy), no hard-science anywhere.

Even if he does develop a working philosophy and definition of "well-being", many of the health sciences already have, and employ, working definitions of holistic "well-being".  These applied soft sciences use this as a philosophical foundation from which they apply the hard-sciences.  How is Sam's "hard science"...harder than these other soft sciences that already exist?  He. Doesn't. Even. Have. A. Definition.

Weak sauce.   

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24 minutes ago, pogi said:

No hard feelings.  I just want to address your comment about how "the arguments themselves happen to hall in the realm of philosophy".

Do you know what scientists use when they want to prove their science?  They use science...they don't rely on syllogisms and philosophy.  The science proves itself. 

He is a neuroscientist...but he is a moral philosopher.  Show me the science.  It shouldn't be so dog-gone difficult if the claim is that this is a hard science. 

I have been doing a little reading, deciding if I want to read his book or not.  I was hoping that by reading his book I might better understand his definition of "well-being" as that is the entire foundation and basis for his proposition.  From reading reviews, it appears I will only be wasting my time if I think that he makes any attempt to even define the foundation of his so-called science.  

This from an atheist forum:

 This from Sam Harris himself:

Like I said, when you have a definition and a foundation to stand on, lets talk.  Until then, you have philosophy.  No science.  Anywhere. Whatsoever. 

Science is not about "answers in principle" (that is philosophy).  Science is about "answers in practice" (through testing and application of the scientific method).  Sam Harris has a philosophy.  No science.

That is why health is a soft science.  It is based on different philosophies.

One of the most common philosophical approaches to health science uses the following definition for health:

From this philosophy, the hard sciences of anatomy, physiology, patho-physiology, cellular biology, bio-chemistry, etc.(the hard natural sciences) can be employed and applied to achieve the goal of the foundational philosophy.  It is an applied science, a.k.a "soft science".

There are various philosophies and scientific approaches to health.  But, the difference between these soft sciences of health and Sam Harris's pretend hard-science of morality, is that they at least have functional definitions to work from.  Sam Harris provides absolutely NO working definition for "well-being".   Without a working definition and philosophy to build off of with use of the hard-natural-sciences, it can't even be called a soft-science.   He has nothing.  He has an idea for a philosophy, but has not even defined that yet.  Once he has defined it, then maybe he can use that as a launching board to apply some hard-science too.  But until then, he has a book full of words (philosophy), no hard-science anywhere.

Even if he does develop a working philosophy and definition of well-being, many of the health sciences already have and employ working definitions of holistic "well-being".  They use this as a philosophical foundation from which they apply the hard-sciences to as an applied science (soft-science).  How is Sam's "hard science" any different?  It would be no more "hard".  The only thing he is suggesting that these health-sciences which already exist in application are objectively moral.  Just more philosophy.  No science anywhere to falsify such a claim. 

Weak sauce.   

I got your point, Pogi, and I think you simply haven't considered the issues.  Until you do, I suppose we'll be left with you arguing against a strawman, and missing the point.  Now, there's no doubt people have disagreed with Harris.  Many have by misunderstanding the whole point, or not reading him and relying on others.  That's not to say there are no good viable ideas to discuss about it.  If you had followed the links I gave earlier in the thread (and I do apologize I'm assuming I put them in a reply to you but it could have been to someone else) there are actual people arguing both sides.  But those arguments actually engage the work, rather than throw some soft balls from the outside while unwilling to dig into it.  

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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

I've said it before. Ahab is the best troll because he doesn't realize he's trolling, which makes it so much harder to not respond to him. He's like the Manchurian candidate of trolls.

By troll I understand you to mean someone who intentionally says something with hope that what is said will illicit a response from those who see what was said, and I know that I do that so I suppose that means that I know I am a troll.

A happy troll.  And my skin is not green.  A fairly attractive troll, too, or at least my wife thinks so, and other people have also thought so. Not all trolls are the same and I think some people just do not realize that it can be good to be a troll.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I got your point, Pogi, and I think you simply haven't considered the issues.  Until you do, I suppose we'll be left with you arguing against a strawman, and missing the point.  Now, there's no doubt people have disagreed with Harris.  Many have by misunderstanding the whole point, or not reading him and relying on others.  That's not to say there are no good viable ideas to discuss about it.  If you had followed the links I gave earlier in the thread (and I do apologize I'm assuming I put them in a reply to you but it could have been to someone else) there are actual people arguing both sides.  But those arguments actually engage the work, rather than throw some soft balls from the outside while unwilling to dig into it.  

No, you don't get my point.  You are dismissing me without reason.  I have considered every issue you have supplied.  I read the link. It is all philosophy.  

If this was a hard science, I could actually test his claims, instead of relying on philosophical debate.  How can I test his claims?  If I can't, then it is not science. Simple. How is this different from religion in the sense that it can't be tested?

I haven't considered the issues?  There is no science to consider.  You have given me nothing to scientifically consider.  Not even a definition for well-being from which he supposedly builds his hard-science upon.  I have been following Sam Harris for quite a while.  Reading his online stuff.  Watching his videos.  I've watched many of his debates.  Engaging in conversations about his philosophies.  In fact, I think I was the one who introduced you to him on these boards quite a while back.  But, if it makes you feel better to pretend like I haven't considered the issues...whatever.  I don't need to read his book to know there is no science in it.  I have read plenty of reviews.  Not one review can point to any science or definition for well-being. Not one.  Why should I waste my time with his book of philosophy?  

Why can't you address my points about his comparison of well-being to health in lacking a concise definition? 

Where is the strawman?  CFR.  

Edited by pogi
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8 minutes ago, pogi said:

No, you don't get my point.

I haven't considered the issues?  There is no science to consider.  You have given me nothing to scientifically consider.  Not even a definition.

Why can't you address my points about his comparison of well-being to health? 

Where is the strawman?  CFR.  

Whether a scientific field of study is hard or soft, it is still a scientific field of study, and hence, a science.

Hard science and soft science are colloquial terms used to compare scientific fields on the basis of perceived methodological rigor, exactitude, and objectivity.[1][2][3] Roughly speaking, the natural sciences (e.g. physics, biology, astronomy) are considered "hard", whereas the social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, political science) are usually described as "soft".[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_and_soft_science

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10 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Whether a scientific field of study is hard or soft, it is still a scientific field of study, and hence, a science.

Did I suggest otherwise?

stem is trying to convince me that morality is a hard science.  

He doesn't even have a definition for "well-being" to build a soft-science form at this point.  So all he has is philosophy. No science anywhere. 

Edited by pogi
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4 minutes ago, pogi said:

stem is trying to convince me that morality is a hard science.  

that may be a bit of hyperbole.  right and wrong are right and wrong, and what is good is good while what is evil is evil, but whether scientists consider morality to be hard or soft is still up for debate.

4 minutes ago, pogi said:

He doesn't even have a definition for "well-being" to build a soft-science form at this point.  So all he has is philosophy. 

Well, philosophy is at least considered to be a science, so maybe all stem needs to do now is clarify what he means when he uses the term "well-being"

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10 minutes ago, Ahab said:

so maybe all stem needs to do now is clarify what he means when he uses the term "well-being"

Ahab, stop trying to moderate if you haven't even been following the debate.

What do you think I have been trying for the last 10 pages or so to get out of him?

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

No, you don't get my point.  You are dismissing me without reason.  I have considered every issue you have supplied.  I read the link. It is all philosophy.  

If this was a hard science, I could actually test his claims, instead of relying on philosophical debate.  How can I test his claims?  If I can't, then it is not science. Simple. How is this different from religion in the sense that it can't be tested?

I haven't considered the issues?  There is no science to consider.  You have given me nothing to scientifically consider.  Not even a definition for well-being from which he supposedly builds his hard-science upon.  I have been following Sam Harris for quite a while.  Reading his online stuff.  Watching his videos.  I've watched many of his debates.  Engaging in conversations about his philosophies.  In fact, I think I was the one who introduced you to him on these boards quite a while back.  But, if it makes you feel better to pretend like I haven't considered the issues...whatever.  I don't need to read his book to know there is no science in it.  I have read plenty of reviews.  Not one review can point to any science or definition for well-being. Not one.  Why should I waste my time with his book of philosophy?  

Why can't you address my points about his comparison of well-being to health? 

Where is the strawman?  CFR.  

Ok,  let me back up then.  At times it seems like we may be getting somewhere and other times, and I may be wrong of course, it seems you are out in left field.  It may be me.  I, for instance, think you just plain missed the whole argument of the syllogism I offered and it felt like we were hung up on something not even pertaining to the first premise.  So, i'm willing to put that behind us, and see if we can get back to somewhere more productive.  

Sean Carrol:

https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2010/05/04/126504492/you-can-t-derive-ought-from-is

Blog from Harris from 10 years ago responding to these  criticisms from Carroll:

https://samharris.org/toward-a-science-of-morality/

It appears you may side with Carroll's take.  IT's certainly true he makes some great points, but I think Sam's response are worth noting.  

Carrol (and it seems to be your take):
 

Quote

I want to argue that this program is simply not possible. I’m not saying it would be difficult—I’m saying it’s impossible in principle. Morality is not part of science, however much we would like it to be. There are a large number of arguments one could advance for in support of this claim, but I’ll stick to three.

1. There’s no single definition of well-being.

People disagree about what really constitutes “well-being” (or whatever it is you think they should be maximizing). This is so perfectly obvious, it’s hard to know what to defend. Anyone who wants to argue that we can ground morality on a scientific basis has to jump through some hoops.

First, there are people who aren’t that interested in universal well-being at all. There are serial killers, and sociopaths, and racial supremacists. We don’t need to go to extremes, but the extremes certainly exist. The natural response is to simply separate out such people; “we need not worry about them,” in Harris’s formulation. Surely all right-thinking people agree on the primacy of well-being. But how do we draw the line between right-thinkers and the rest? Where precisely do we draw the line, in terms of measurable quantities? And why there? On which side of the line do we place people who believe that it’s right to torture prisoners for the greater good, or who cherish the rituals of fraternity hazing? Most particularly, what experiment can we imagine doing that tells us where to draw the line?

Harris:

Quote

This is where Carroll and I begin to diverge. He also seems to be conflating two separate issues: (1) He is asking how we can determine who is worth listening to. This is a reasonable question, but there is no way Carroll could answer it “precisely” and “in terms of measurable quantities” for his own field, much less for a nascent science of morality. How flakey can a Nobel laureate in physics become before he is no longer worth listening to—indeed, how many crazy things could he say about matter and space-time before he would no longer even count as a “physicist”? Hard question. But I doubt Carroll means to suggest that we must answer such questions experimentally. I assume that he can make a reasonably principled decision about whom to put on a panel at the next conference on Dark Matter without finding a neuroscientist from the year 2075 to scan every candidate’s brain and assess it for neurophysiological competence in the relevant physics. (2) Carroll also seems worried about how we can assess people’s claims regarding their inner lives, given that questions about morality and well-being necessarily refer to the character subjective experience.  He even asserts that there is no possible experiment that could allow us to define well-being or to resolve differences of opinion about it. Would he say this for other mental phenomena as well? What about depression? Is it impossible to define or study this state of mind empirically? I’m not sure how deep Carroll’s skepticism runs, but much of psychology now appears to hang in the balance. Of course, Carroll might want to say that the problem of access to the data of first-person experience is what makes psychology often seem to teeter at the margin of science. He might have a point—but, if so, it would be a methodological point, not a point about the limits of scientific truth. Remember, the science of determining exactly which books were in the Library of Alexandria is stillborn and going absolutely nowhere, methodologically speaking. But this doesn’t mean we can’t be absolutely right or absolutely wrong about the relevant facts.

As for there being many people who “aren’t interested in universal well-being,” I would say that more or less everyone, myself included, is insufficiently interested in it. But we are seeking well-being in some form nonetheless, whatever we choose to call it and however narrowly we draw the circle of our moral concern. Clearly many of us (most? all?) are not doing as good a job of this as we might. In fact, if science did nothing more than help people align their own selfish priorities—so that those who really wanted to lose weight, or spend more time with their kids, or learn another language, etc., could get what they most desired—it would surely increase the well-being of humanity. And this is to say nothing of what would happen if science could reveal depths of well-being that most of us are unaware of, thereby changing our priorities.

the question of how do we define it, doesn't feel all that interesting to me.  I've tried to address the why, to me, it doesn't really matter.  I think Harris does address it well.  Science would be ineffective if we didn't allow ourselves the leeway of pursuing things that aren't that well defined, as I see.  But more to the point, whose to say we can't find measures or pursue a science without finely defining it's goals?  

I think the great challenge of Harris' proposal here is the science.  It would be to be able to take the workings of our inner self and translate it into something definable, then comparable, then, you know, objective.  Carroll suggests it's impossible, but I think Harris is right.  and plus, how would we know it's impossible?  It's simply guessing that it sounds too complicated or something.  I don't see how his points show it's impossible.  I think he describes some challenges, sure.  

And  I apologize.  I did not realize you turned me on to Harris.  I suppose I must have forgotten that.  If you did, then thanks.  It's been helpful to me in trying to organize for myself the difficult issues of our time.  

Edited by stemelbow
Link to post
3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Ok,  let me back up then.  At times it seems like we may be getting somewhere and other times, and I may be wrong of course, it seems you are out in left field.  It may be me.  I, for instance, think you just plain missed the whole argument of the syllogism I offered and it felt like we were hung up on something not even pertaining to the first premise.  So, i'm willing to put that behind us, and see if we can get back to somewhere more productive.  

Sean Carrol:

https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2010/05/04/126504492/you-can-t-derive-ought-from-is

Blog from Harris from 10 years ago responding to these  criticisms from Carroll:

https://samharris.org/toward-a-science-of-morality/

It appears you may side with Carroll's take.  IT's certainly true he makes some great points, but I think Sam's response are worth noting.  

Carrol (and it seems to be your take):
 

Harris:

the question of how do we define it, doesn't feel all that interesting to me.  I've tried to address the why, to me, it doesn't really matter.  I think Harris does address it well.  Science would be ineffective if we didn't allow ourselves the leeway of pursuing things that aren't that well defined, as I see.  But more to the point, whose to say we can't find measures or pursue a science without finely defining it's goals?  

I think the great challenge of Harris' proposal here is the science.  It would be to be able to take the workings of our inner self and translate it into something definable, then comparable, then, you know, objective.  Carroll suggests it's impossible, but I think Harris is right.  and plus, how would we know it's impossible?  It's simply guessing that it sounds too complicated or something.  I don't see how his points show it's impossible.  I think he describes some challenges, sure.  

And  I apologize.  I did not realize you turned me on to Harris.  I suppose I must have forgotten that.  If you did, then thanks.  It's been helpful to me in trying to organize for myself the difficult issues of our time.  

I have seen several videos of Harris Debating Carrol.  I think Harris takes Carrol on the matter of free-will (in my opinion), but Harris is dead wrong here.  One thing I would like to point out that whenever I ask for proof of science, you show me more philosophy.  Carrol is a philosopher, not a scientist.  This is largely a philosophical debate between the two.  Where is the science? 

My point was related to Carrol's, but different.  My point was more about the philosophical vs objective foundation of any particular field of science and how that affects the limits of what can be said about anything built upon it.  The results can only be as strong as the foundation.  Even if Harris made up a definition, it would be philosophically based and not objective (until it can be measured).  To suggest that it theoretically could be measured is one thing, and I agree with Harris here.  It theoretically could be measured.  But we need a definition to know what to measure.  Until it is actually measured, it remains in the realm of philosophy. 

Harris brings up a point about the "limits of scientific truth"?  If not being able to measure whatever it is you are studying is not a limit to objective scientific truth...I don't know what is.  

Well-being: It is not defined. It can't be measured objectively.  It manifests as quale experience. People experience and describe it differently.  Its effect can be observed in brain scans though.  

God: It is not defined. Can't be measured objectively.  It manifests as quale experience.  People experience and describe it differently.  Its effects can be observed in brain scans though. 

If well-being poses no limits to scientific truth, then neither does God.

Harris has a theory that has potential to be scientific if he could develop a methodology to objectively measure it.  Until it is objectively measured, tested, and falsified, it only has potential to be scientific.  It is not yet scientific truth.   It is as simple as that. 

Carrol does have a "methodological" point, as Harris points out.  Harris should understand that methodology is kind of important to science.  Without a scientific methodological way to study an undefined phenomenon, then there is a limit to what we can say about it scientifically.  That is a HUGE FREAKING LIMIT to objective scientific truth.   That is the limit that Harris has failed to address.  That is why you can't show me any science.  Because there is none!  There is no method to study it.  Science requires methodology, not just philosophy.  He has absolutely no methodology.

Quote

Remember, the science of determining exactly which books were in the Library of Alexandria is stillborn and going absolutely nowhere, methodologically speaking. But this doesn’t mean we can’t be absolutely right or absolutely wrong about the relevant facts.

We wont even know if they were "relevant" facts until we know which books were actually in the library!  The "Relevant facts" don't tell us which books were in the Library of Alexandria.  In Harris' case, those books represent well-being and morality.  In religion, those books represent God.  We can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong about the relevant facts about God too, that doesn't mean God is a legitimate study of science.  We have no methodology to study Him (or well-being/morality) objectively.   How is this not crystal clear?

Because there is no methodology, we cannot scientifically say what those books are, just like we can't say what well-being and morality is, just like we can't objectively say what God is.  Without methodology, there is no science.  There is only philosophy. 

Edited by pogi
Link to post
3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

the question of how do we define it, doesn't feel all that interesting to me. 

Well, that is kind of the point of science. We define and explain things that we observe and measure and test in nature.  In the case of well-being, there is no methodology to objectively measure it, or define it, or test it.  But yet Harris presumes to make it the foundation of objective morality, and thinks that objective morality is somehow scientific?  It is just as scientific as making God the foundation of morality.

3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I think the great challenge of Harris' proposal here is the science.  It would be to be able to take the workings of our inner self and translate it into something definable, then comparable, then, you know, objective.  Carroll suggests it's impossible, but I think Harris is right.  and plus, how would we know it's impossible?  It's simply guessing that it sounds too complicated or something.  I don't see how his points show it's impossible.  I think he describes some challenges, sure.  

Exactly!!! The challenge is the science.  There is none.  There is no methodology.  No way to observe anything.  Because something could theoretically be measured objectively, doesn't make it science until it is.  It is not scientific until we have a method of measuring it - just like with God.

That's why I said "come back when..." 

To claim that morality is a matter of scientific objectivity is a bit premature, don't you think?   It could be...theoretically...some day...maybe...  Until then, morality and God are equally unscientific. 

Edited by pogi
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