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“Into the millennium” - Pres. Nelson


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42 minutes ago, pogi said:

If you would have read the link, it addresses antidepressant us in Utah - so does the link you posted. 

https://religionnews.com/2015/07/02/5-reasons-why-mormons-are-happier-says-researcher/

Sure, but that doesn't refute my point. Mormonism is great for the people who it works for, but what about those for whom it doesn't? I don't think suicide is a very good option. What about drugs?

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I choose to live my life based on rational critical thinking.

I do too.  I also live by faith.  It is a false dichotomy to suggest that we can't live by both.   To be honest, we all live by faith, you can't avoid it. 

While rational critical thinking is good (especially from an eternal progression perspective), you will never taste of the true interpretation of truth in mortality according to holism.  Embrace the uncertainty.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I do not think Mormonism is true.  I guess I would rather have found Mormonism is not true than to stay allegedly happy in a false belief system. 

That is a matter of faith.  You can't say that it is false without relying on faith that it is false to some degree.  As you suggest, science can't disprove it.   You may claim that it is "critical thinking" and not faith that has led you to that conclusion, but your "critical thinking" is based on faith to large degree (including faith in the reliability of your own critical thinking faculties - which should be questioned).  Everyone believes that they are good critical thinkers, but for some reason we can't agree on much of anything...hmmm.  At the core, everything is based on philosophy (even science).  No one agrees on philosophy.  It is all ultimately faith based.  Reason can only take you so far.   Ultimately you are taking a lead of faith and making a guess.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

It is up to your religion to prove the positive affirmations it makes about things not the other way around.

 Religion is not in the business of "proving" anything.  That is the realm of science.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Spiritual truths is a subjective term and can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  Again as noted there are a lot of ways to happiness and happiness may mean different things to different people. And not all ways to happiness are necessarily good or even moral.  

What is wrong with subjectivity?  Isn't everything we experience relative to the subject experiencing it?  Life is subjective.  We are the subjects interpreting the world. Scientific objectivity has its place, but to downplay subjectivity is to downplay life. 

"Spiritual truth" is subjective.  I agree.  I am confused as to why you think that "good" and "moral" are not subjective though. 

Essentially, you are downplaying spiritual truths because they are subjective. But then you continue to judge other peoples subjective happiness as potentially being not good or immoral, based on your own personal subjective interpretation of "good" and "moral" (as if those are not subjective).  So, spiritual truth is an unworthy pursuit because it is subjective, and this conclusion is based on your own subjective judgments of "good" and "moral".  Do you see the problem here?  You see, critical thinking always falls short no matter how smart we like to think we are.  You can't trust yourself to critically think your way to the TRUTH.  It can't be known in mortality without incomplete/imperfect/fallible interpretations.  We rely on faith.  

 

 

Edited by pogi
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30 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Sure, but that doesn't refute my point. Mormonism is great for the people who it works for, but what about those for whom it doesn't? I don't think suicide is a very good option. What about drugs?

Are you demanding perfection before religions contribution to happiness is acknowledged or something?  If perfection is required before we accept and value the contributions of science, religion, or philosophy, etc. then we are screwed.  Sense when is science perfect?  What about those for whom science didn't work?  Drugs?  Suicide?

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14 hours ago, Teancum said:

I am not clear as to why you think it inconsistent. The topic of theodicy has been problematic for many humans over time. Evil and suffering are real and for many hard to reconcile with what Judeo Christian ideas are about the nature of God.

I explained why I think it is inconsistent. If you are still optimistic about life even in the face of tragedy, why shut out God? One can still believe in God and be optimistic about life in the face of tragedy. Even more so considering His promises. 

The problem is with false ideas about God. Everything we experience on earth prepares us to become more like God. This is His purpose. The Atonement compensates for all suffering.

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3 hours ago, Analytics said:

For me, "transcendent truth" is a somewhat ill-defined term. If you access transcendent truths and it adds meaning and depth to your life, more power to you. For me, this is true whether you access these transcendent truth through LDS or through LSD. ...

:rolleyes: Okay. :rolleyes:  I don't want to go all "reefer madness" on you or anything, because am sure there are devout Latter-day Saints who proclaim (and whom am I, or who is anyone, to say otherwise?) that marijuana is the miracle drug that transported them from complete, pain-vexed Zombie-hood to actually being able to function pain free*, or nearly pain free, but achieving transcendence through LSD may come with a pretty high price: I'm not sure what the ratio of "good trips" to "bad trips" is, but, surely, you cannot rule the latter out completely.  Speaking of bad trips: https://www.verywellmind.com/five-bad-acid-trip-stories-22096.

*I should note that marijuana, too, albeit, apparently, in rare cases, has hallucinogenic properties and may lead to someone taking a "bad trip," with ill effects persisting for much longer than the user would prefer.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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1 hour ago, Mike Drop said:

Changes will be coming in 2023, major changes. I heard garments will no longer be required for temple worthy members. 

:rolleyes:  Okay.  Remember: You heard it here first, folks. :rolleyes:

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12 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

I explained why I think it is inconsistent. If you are still optimistic about life even in the face of tragedy, why shut out God? One can still believe in God and be optimistic about life in the face of tragedy. Even more so considering His promises. 

I don't shut God out.  I just doubt God exists. And I think the problem of evil and suffering is one of the most compelling reasons for that conclusion.

 

12 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

The problem is with false ideas about God. Everything we experience on earth prepares us to become more like God. This is His purpose. The Atonement compensates for all suffering.

THis is a statement of faith. And how can you be sure your ideas about God are not the false ones?

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15 hours ago, pogi said:

I do too.  I also live by faith.  It is a false dichotomy to suggest that we can't live by both.   To be honest, we all live by faith, you can't avoid it. 

I never said you cannot live by both.  But what wins when rational thought and critical thinking conflict with what you believe based on faith?  And I think when  you say we all live by faith you are conflating the word.  Many do not live by religious faith.  But sure I have faith or a belief if I work out and eat well I will lose wait.  Or if I study for an exam and put the time in I believe that I will pass.  This is still an evidence based belief. Much/most religious faith is faith without or in spite of evidence.

 

15 hours ago, pogi said:

While rational critical thinking is good (especially from an eternal progression perspective), you will never taste of the true interpretation of truth in mortality according to holism.  Embrace the uncertainty.

I do embrace uncertainty.  More than a person who bases their life on religious faith I think.

15 hours ago, pogi said:
Quote

That is a matter of faith.  You can't say that it is false without relying on faith that it is false to some degree.  As you suggest, science can't disprove it.   You may claim that it is "critical thinking" and not faith that has led you to that conclusion, but your "critical thinking" is based on faith to large degree (including faith in the reliability of your own critical thinking faculties - which should be questioned).

 

 

I certainly do try to question my thinking but I am not free of bias.

 

 

 

 Religion is not in the business of "proving" anything.  That is the realm of science.

That seems convenient does it not?  So anyone can claim anything and call it a religion and it thus needs to be respected as such?

 

15 hours ago, pogi said:

What is wrong with subjectivity?  Isn't everything we experience relative to the subject experiencing it?  Life is subjective.  We are the subjects interpreting the world. Scientific objectivity has its place, but to downplay subjectivity is to downplay life. 

"Spiritual truth" is subjective.  I agree.  I am confused as to why you think that "good" and "moral" are not subjective though. 

Good questions.  Good and moral can be subjective I suppose to some extent.

 

15 hours ago, pogi said:

Essentially, you are downplaying spiritual truths because they are subjective. But then you continue to judge other peoples subjective happiness as potentially being not good or immoral, based on your own personal subjective interpretation of "good" and "moral" (as if those are not subjective).  So, spiritual truth is an unworthy pursuit because it is subjective, and this conclusion is based on your own subjective judgments of "good" and "moral".  Do you see the problem here?  You see, critical thinking always falls short no matter how smart we like to think we are.  You can't trust yourself to critically think your way to the TRUTH.  It can't be known in mortality without incomplete/imperfect/fallible interpretations.  We rely on faith.  

 

 

I don't think I judge others subjective happiness as immoral.  Though I did say some ways people find happiness are not moral ot good.  Would you disagree with that?  Do you think radical Islam is good even if a Jihadist finds happiness in it?  Faith in a religion at least currently just does not work for me. If someone is happy great as long as they are not harming themselves and/or others.

Edited by Teancum
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14 hours ago, pogi said:

Are you demanding perfection before religions contribution to happiness is acknowledged or something?  If perfection is required before we accept and value the contributions of science, religion, or philosophy, etc. then we are screwed.  Sense when is science perfect?  What about those for whom science didn't work?  Drugs?  Suicide?

I said Mormonism is great for the people it works for. That isn't an acknowledgement of its contribution? 

I'm just pointing out that it doesn't work for everybody. I'm also subtly critiquing your point that more-or-less said, "it makes people feel happy and that's all that matters!"

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12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

With respect, Steven Pinker is not regarded as "one of the greatest writers and thinkers of our time" by professional ethicists, generally speaking. He's one thinker among many, and he's not a slouch, but he's not a giant. That image only persists because Pinker writes for a popular audience and thus is highly visible. Bill Nye syndrome is at it again. 

According to Wikipedia:

Quote

Pinker was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[104] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy's 100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[105] and 2008;[106] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[107][108] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[109]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of Newcastle, Surrey, Tel Aviv, McGill, Simon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. Pinker received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1999.[110] On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association's Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[111]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).[112]

From 2008 to 2018, Pinker chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary.[113] He wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, published in 2011.

In February 2001, Pinker, "whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study",[114] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bill Nye syndrome? 

12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

First, the word  "humanism" requires more of a definition than we're working with here; the closest thing you've come to a definition is an instruction to read Pinker. Unfortunately, this thread will be long dead and cooled by the time I'm done with Pinker, so if you would like a meaningful conversation, please provide a definition of "humanism" for us to work with.

According to Pinker, "The goal of maximizing human flourishing—life, health, happiness, freedom, knowledge, love, richness of experience—may be called humanism. (Despite the word’s root, humanism doesn’t exclude the flourishing of animals, but this book focuses on the welfare of humankind.) It is humanism that identifies what we should try to achieve with our knowledge. It provides the ought that supplements the is. It distinguishes true progress from mere mastery." Pinker, Steven. Enlightenment Now (p. 410)

12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Anyways, I contend that humanism is not the basis of our common morality, and I assert that this demonstration of your point is marred by a fallacy. You assert that, because we hold the same opinion on a moral matter, we must both be grounded in humanism.

No, that isn't my assertion. As an example of what I'm saying, choose any editorial written by the editorial board of the Deseret News that touches on issues of morality. Look at its arguments and the basis of its arguments. The arguments will always be based on humanistic values. For example, a few weeks ago they wrote Cruel treatment of Haitian refugees inexcusable: The United States shouldn’t let people successfully storm its borders, but it has a duty to treat asylum-seekers with dignity, and to recognize basic human rights. The concept of human rights comes from humanism--not from the Bible. Human rights are articulated in things like the Humanist Manifesto. Even if the Deseret News is arguing for the benefits of religion, they frame the argument in terms of humanism--religion ought to receive preferential treatment because it helps maximize human flourishing in terms of life, health, happiness, freedom, etc.

As another example, your scriptures are full of teachings that you ignore. How do we know which scriptural teachings you embrace and which ones you ignore? 99 times out of 100, you embrace the humanistic teachings of the scriptures and reject the anti-humanistic teachings of the scriptures.

As another example, look at Pogi's arguments on this thread. "Mormonism, on the other hand, has a greater track record of happiness/well-being power.  It is predictable according to science."    

12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

John Gray provides some trenchant critiques of Pinker for the New StatesmanThe general thrust of his argument is that Pinker is a poor historian.

Anybody with influence will have their critics. It's odd that you choose John Gray here. Are you a John Gray fan? Do you embrace his teachings about morality and the purpose of life?

12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

He paints a Manichaean picture of the Enlightenment as entirely pure and good, but this elides a massive chunk of illiberal Enlightenment thought such as that of Nietzsche and Comte, who demonstrate clearly that Enlightenment thought only leads to today's fashionable ethics when paired with other influences outside of "pure rationality." Am I to assume that what they were doing "wasn't real humanism?" If so, how do you plan to prevent Correct Humanism™️ from becoming...whatever they were doing, I guess?

Comte was a positivist, not a humanist. Nietzsche is generally considered an anti-humanist. Humanism isn't a catch-all phrase for any and all philosophies that aren't based on god(s). It is a specific philosophy that has some proponents (e.g. Pinker) and many critics (e.g. John  Gray, Nietzsche). I'm flattered that you think I might have a plan to cause Humanism to win this debate but I have some sad news for you. I am not God.

12 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Regarding Harris, there's a pretty devastating argument against the ethics of The Moral Landscape, and that's even before you get into the deeper methodological issues that Mike Blackaby explores in this piece and Jonathan Haidt in this piece.

I copy Adam Omelianchuk's formulation of the argument from his review of The Moral Landscape for First Things.

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values has flaws. Sure. But it also makes some excellent arguments. Some of your links are quibbling with relatively minor points Harris makes, some make decent points, and others are either deliberately or inadvertently missing the point. For example, Sam Harris never says or implies psychopaths and moral saints can exist on the same moral level.

Should I start rapid-firing quotes of book reviews of people who like the book?

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I never said you cannot live by both.  But what wins when rational thought and critical thinking conflict with what you believe based on faith?  And I think when  you say we all live by faith you are conflating the word.  Many do not live by religious faith.  But sure I have faith or a belief if I work out and eat well I will lose wait.  Or if I study for an exam and put the time in I believe that I will pass.  This is still an evidence based belief. Much/most religious faith is faith without or in spite of evidence.

All rational thought is based on faith.  Period.  By faith, I mean core assumptions.  When our actions based on those core assumptions produce fruit, we call that "evidence of things unseen" - faith.  Some, however, like to call it "science".  It is all based on philosophy.  Most scientists are not aware of the limitations of science because they are not educated in the philosophy of science.  At its core it is assumptions.   Rational thought can only take us so far, beyond that, it is a leap of faith.  

Please read this article.  I fully endorse it and it explains my perspective very well. http://www.shawndove.com/assumptions-of-science/

I love how it is not dismissive of science, but acknowledges it's limitations.  

I love this quote:

Quote

The major takeaway here isn’t that science could be wrong. It’s that alternatives to science could be right too.

 

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

That seems convenient does it not?  So anyone can claim anything and call it a religion and it thus needs to be respected as such?

That's not really what I was saying.  I was more pointing out the limitations of "critical thinking". 

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

If someone is happy great as long as they are not harming themselves and/or others.

That is an impossible morality.   There is not one way of life that will not cause subjective harm to themselves or others.  Science is no exception.  Science harms people daily.   Should we thus abandon it?  Is it no good?  Worthy of discard? 

My morality suggests that we do our best to love and serve others and cause no harm, but I know that some will be harmed by me and my belief system.  It is inescapable. There is no philosophy for living that will not cause subjective harm. 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

I'm just pointing out that it doesn't work for everybody. I'm also subtly critiquing your point that more-or-less said, "it makes people feel happy and that's all that matters!"

As I pointed out in my post to Teancum above - nothing works for everybody.  You guys seem to be suggesting that religion is silly or useless and worthy of being disregarded because we have science.  I think that is silly. 

 I think you misunderstood my comment about happiness.   I was simply suggesting that there is more to value in life than "predictive power".  Happiness, for example, is valuable.  Religion (Mormonism specifically) provides that more than science.

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30 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Bill Nye syndrome? 

Yeah, Bill Nye syndrome. Look at what Pinker got his awards for. Cognitive neuroscience, writing, and general popularization of science. None of those are ethics, which is the topic on which you are invoking his authority. 

34 minutes ago, Analytics said:

According to Pinker, "The goal of maximizing human flourishing—life, health, happiness, freedom, knowledge, love, richness of experience—may be called humanism. (Despite the word’s root, humanism doesn’t exclude the flourishing of animals, but this book focuses on the welfare of humankind.) It is humanism that identifies what we should try to achieve with our knowledge. It provides the ought that supplements the is. It distinguishes true progress from mere mastery."

That could just as easily be said about Christian ethics, or any code of ethics. The question of ethics is: what constitutes human flourishing? On what scale? The fact that both Aristotelian-Thomists and Pinker can use the same exact words to describe their moral systems ought to tell you that we're not dealing with a particularly precise or individuated mode of thought here. 

37 minutes ago, Analytics said:

The concept of human rights comes from humanism--not from the Bible. Human rights are articulated in things like the Humanist Manifesto. Even if the Deseret News is arguing for the benefits of religion, they frame the argument in terms of humanism--religion ought to receive preferential treatment because it helps maximize human flourishing in terms of life, health, happiness, freedom, etc.

As another example, your scriptures are full of teachings that you ignore. How do we know which scriptural teachings you embrace and which ones you ignore? 99 times out of 100, you embrace the humanistic teachings of the scriptures and reject the anti-humanistic teachings of the scriptures.

As another example, look at Pogi's arguments on this thread. "Mormonism, on the other hand, has a greater track record of happiness/well-being power.  It is predictable according to science."    

You have missed the point of my entire commentary in this regard. Or rather, you have reasserted your point without rebuttal. I say again: the fact that humanistic ethics and Christian ethics agree on certain points does not establish that humanism is the basic underlying framework. I will repost my prior paragraph on that, for convenience. Emphasis added:

14 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

 

Anyways, I contend that humanism is not the basis of our common morality, and I assert that this demonstration of your point is marred by a fallacy. You assert that, because we hold the same opinion on a moral matter, we must both be grounded in humanism. This evidence does not carry us to your conclusion, however. Just because we have the same view on the morality of a particular act does not mean that we share the same moral framework: to assert such would be to commit a fallacy of composition. Furthermore, your evidence does not establish a direction of causality. Just because humanism (however you define it) adopts a moral stance, does not mean that it is the origin of that moral stance. Therefore, the fact that we hold a moral stance which is embraced in humanism does not mean that we derive it from humanism, or that humanism provides a common moral basis. I, for my part, would contend that what you call "humanism" is hedonistic utilitarianism rebranded with conspicuous Christian moral tendencies. It is transparent from a study of history that the moral basis of "humanism" as it has been most commonly defended is not self-evident to all societies; with that in mind, I wonder how it obtains justification since it has no other authority but self-evidence to rely on if it indeed claims to be "moral truth." 

I especially object to the following sentence, which in my opinion is represents a view that historically indefensible:

42 minutes ago, Analytics said:

The concept of human rights comes from humanism--not from the Bible. 

From a historical standpoint this is nonsense. The concept of "human rights" has an ancient pedigree in Christian thought. Early Christianity existed as a direct rebuke to the classical conception of the human being, which made the idea of human rights possible in the first place. See the following: The Scandalous Origins of Human Rights. Actually, as argued by Harvard professor Samuel Moyn, the conception of human rights which distilled in the second half of the twentieth century is directly descended from dialogues conducted by Christian churches based on a Christian worldview. See his 2015 book Christian Human Rights. Natural rights dialogue has been ongoing in Christianity for a millennium, so the claim that "human rights" owes its existence to humanism, a decidedly late philosophical enterprise, is nonsense.

Furthermore, for Latter-day Saints the question is even less difficult since we have a revelation endorsing the existence of human rights and granting justification in befriending them: D&C 98, 101, and the Book of Mormon's discussion of the "rights and liberties of the people" (which are vaguely defined, but the general concepts of rights is there). You can call those modern forgeries influenced by humanism all you want, it doesn't matter: for believers who believe in the divine origin of these texts, the authority comes from God, not humanism. 

1 hour ago, Analytics said:

Are you a John Gray fan? Do you embrace his teachings about morality and the purpose of life?

Do I have to be in order to think that he made some good points in a specific article?

1 hour ago, Analytics said:

Comte was a positivist, not a humanist. Nietzsche is generally considered an anti-humanist.

And yet they both derived their thinking from the Enlightenment. Pinker should be a little more precise in his argumentation before proclaiming the Enlightenment as a panacea. It is, after all, entitled "Enlightenment Now". Pinker needs to elaborate on how his interpretation of the Enlightenment prevails over the others without assuming the conclusion.

1 hour ago, Analytics said:

For example, Sam Harris never says or implies psychopaths and moral saints can exist on the same moral level.

He doesn't have to. If an argument implies absurdities, then it doesn't matter who points them out. How is Omelianchuk wrong? 

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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

I don't shut God out.  I just doubt God exists. And I think the problem of evil and suffering is one of the most compelling reasons for that conclusion.

Yet you say you still have hope in the face of suffering. One can also have faith in God and in the Atonement in the face of evil and suffering. I find satisfactory answers in the Restored Gospel, not in the false conclusions and misunderstandings of others.

4 hours ago, Teancum said:

 

THis is a statement of faith. And how can you be sure your ideas about God are not the false ones?

I am as sure as I can be given our situation. How can you?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Yeah, Bill Nye syndrome. Look at what Pinker got his awards for. Cognitive neuroscience, writing, and general popularization of science. None of those are ethics, which is the topic on which you are invoking his authority. 

I think you're just being argumentative. Remember, all I said was "Pinker is one of the greatest writers and thinkers of our time." I stand by what I said. If you think less of Pinker's writing and thinking than the folks at Time, Foreign Policy, National Academy of Sciences, American Psychological Association, American Heritage Dictionary, etc., that is your prerogative.    

53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

That could just as easily be said about Christian ethics, or any code of ethics. The question of ethics is: what constitutes human flourishing? On what scale? The fact that both Aristotelian-Thomists and Pinker can use the same exact words to describe their moral systems ought to tell you that we're not dealing with a particularly precise or individuated mode of thought here. 

You have missed the point of my entire commentary in this regard. Or rather, you have reasserted your point without rebuttal. I say again: the fact that humanistic ethics and Christian ethics agree on certain points does not establish that humanism is the basic underlying framework. I will repost my prior paragraph on that, for convenience. 

Historically, Humanism evolved in a Christian culture. Of course it did. And yes, in general Christians didn't need atheists to tell them which teachings of the Bible are morally reprehensible and ought to be ignored or rationalized away. They figured it out for themselves. Eventually. 

If we drew a Venn diagram between the ethics of modern western Christianity and the ethics of a secular humanism, there would be a ton of overlap. Yet the fact remains the secular humanist would be able to make detailed arguments about the basis of his morality being reason. Historically it came out of Christianity as Christianity evolved. But logically, Humanism is based on reason. In general, what mainstream ethicists say on ethics and its source will concur with the position of the secular humanists. At that point you can say what Humanists believe about ethics is really just Christian ethics, but isn't that just semantics? 

53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Do I have to be in order to think that he made some good points in a specific article?

I just find it odd that you'd be reading that article in the first place. Do you generally read the writings of nihilistic atheists because you think they make good points, or were you scouring the web to make a rebuttal against a book you haven't read?  

53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

And yet they both derived their thinking from the Enlightenment. Pinker should be a little more precise in his argumentation before proclaiming the Enlightenment as a panacea.

How do you know how precise his argument is if you haven't read the book?

53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

It is, after all, entitled "Enlightenment Now". Pinker needs to elaborate on how his interpretation of the Enlightenment prevails over the others without assuming the conclusion.

How do you know that isn't what he did? 

53 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

He doesn't have to. If an argument implies absurdities, then it doesn't matter who points them out. How is Omelianchuk wrong? 

What you quoted Omelianchuk as saying is true. I completely agree with him. The problem is Sam Harris agrees with him too. What Omelianchuk says is almost entirely irrelevant to Sam Harris's book. When Omelianchuk makes an argument about "neurobiological well being"--a concept that Omelianchuk both introduces and defines--he is talking about an idea that flatly contradicts Sam Harris. Sam Harris talks about human well being, not "neurobiological well being." 

If you pick up a copy of The Moral Landscape, you'll see that Sam Harris talks extensively about psychopaths before you get to chapter 1. From the introduction:

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What if certain people would actually prefer the Bad Life to the Good Life? Perhaps there are psychopaths and sadists who can expect to thrive in the context of the Bad Life and would enjoy nothing more than killing other people with machetes.

Worries like this merely raise the question of how we should value dissenting opinions. Jeffrey Dahmer’s idea of a life well lived was to kill young men, have sex with their corpses, dismember them, and keep their body parts as souvenirs. We will confront the problem of psychopathy in greater detail in chapter 3. For the moment, it seems sufficient to notice that in any domain of knowledge, we are free to say that certain opinions do not count. In fact, we must say this for knowledge or expertise to count at all. Why should it be any different on the subject of human well-being?

Anyone who doesn’t see that the Good Life is preferable to the Bad Life is unlikely to have anything to contribute to a discussion about human well-being. Must we really argue that beneficence, trust, creativity, etc., enjoyed in the context of a prosperous civil society are better than the horrors of civil war endured in a steaming jungle filled with aggressive insects carrying dangerous pathogens? I don’t think so. In the next chapter, I will argue that anyone who would seriously maintain that the opposite is the case—or even that it might be the case—is either misusing words or not taking the time to consider the details.

If we were to discover a new tribe in the Amazon tomorrow, there is not a scientist alive who would assume a priori that these people must enjoy optimal physical health and material prosperity. Rather, we would ask questions about this tribe’s average lifespan, daily calorie intake, the percentage of women dying in childbirth, the prevalence of infectious disease, the presence of material culture, etc. Such questions would have answers, and they would likely reveal that life in the Stone Age entails a few compromises. And yet news that these jolly people enjoy sacrificing their firstborn children to imaginary gods would prompt many (even most) anthropologists to say that this tribe was in possession of an alternate moral code every bit as valid and impervious to refutation as our own. However, the moment one draws the link between morality and well-being, one sees that this is tantamount to saying that the members of this tribe must be as fulfilled, psychologically and socially, as any people on earth. The disparity between how we think about physical health and mental/societal health reveals a bizarre double standard: one that is predicated on our not knowing—or, rather, on our pretending not to know—anything at all about human well-being.

Harris, Sam. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (pp. 18-19). Free Press. Kindle Edition. 

As this quote demonstrates, Sam Harris's main target in this book are actually post-modernists. He argues that human well-being is a real, objective thing, and that human well being is good and the alternative is bad. Harris does not say or imply "psychopaths and moral saints can exist on the same moral level." That is the opposite of his point. 

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42 minutes ago, Analytics said:

If we drew a Venn diagram between the ethics of modern western Christianity and the ethics of a secular humanism, there would be a ton of overlap. Yet the fact remains the secular humanist would be able to make detailed arguments about the basis of his morality being reason. Historically it came out of Christianity as Christianity evolved. But logically, Humanism is based on reason. In general, what mainstream ethicists say on ethics and its source will concur with the position of the secular humanists. At that point you can say what Humanists believe about ethics is really just Christian ethics, but isn't that just semantics? 

So let me get this straight, you are saying that humanism "came out of" the ethics of Christianity, and Christianity is therefore largely responsible for influencing the ethics of humanism.  Christianity comes up with these ethics through a mythical God, yet when analyzed by humanists they can be defended with "logic" and "reason".  Crazy how a mythical God was largely the source for the "reason based" ethical foundation of humanism.  But lets not give Christianity any credit for these ethics because they are based in a mythical God, while our ethics are based in reason - therefore we deserve all the credit and can do away with religion.  We don't need them anymore.  Let's chop off the hand that fed us, created our ethics, and pretend like we haven't been influenced by God whatsoever, and blow it all off as "semantics". 

The contributions of religion to humankind are priceless.  Humanism may claim "reason" as the base of their ethics (and they may not be wrong), but they are hard-pressed to deny God/Christianity as the source.    

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19 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

 

Anyways, I contend that humanism is not the basis of our common morality, and I assert that this demonstration of your point is marred by a fallacy. ... [Emphasis added by Kenngo1969]

Ah, My Young Padawan ... brilliant, yet, still, with much to learn:  The word is "anyway."  There are several transitional words or phrases  that would work better here than that too-ubiquitous and oft-misspelled word: "Be that as it may ...", "Regardless ...", "In any case ...", et cetera.  Clearly, you are one of the more intelligent people (particularly in your age bracket) that I have ever met.  While I realize that an off-the-cuff contribution to a message board isn't a doctoral dissertation, always, you will be best served to sound (and to seem) as intelligent as, clearly, you are.

Just a word to the wise! :D 

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

So let me get this straight, you are saying that humanism "came out of" the ethics of Christianity, and Christianity is therefore largely responsible for influencing the ethics of humanism.  Christianity comes up with these ethics through a mythical God, yet when analyzed by humanists they can be defended with "logic" and "reason".  Crazy how a mythical God was largely the source for the "reason based" ethical foundation of humanism.  But lets not give Christianity any credit for these ethics because they are based in a mythical God, while our ethics are based in reason - therefore we deserve all the credit and can do away with religion.  We don't need them anymore.  Let's chop off the hand that fed us, created our ethics, and pretend like we haven't been influenced by God whatsoever, and blow it all off as "semantics". 

No, I’m not saying that at all. I am saying this:

For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings were incredibly suspicious. They believed in huge pantheons of gods. In general, these gods didn’t care about ethics, but they would sometimes do you favors if you made the right sacrifices. It was like this for hundreds of thousands of years. Eventually a tribe of people on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean believed that one of these Gods chose them as His people, and promised them blessings if they worshiped Him and Him alone. This particular God gave the people a whole bunch of commandments in an ethical system that was, being charitable, primitive. But it was okay for the time, and the people prospered, relatively.

This religion continued to evolve, and eventually a branch of it became a religion in its own right called Christianity. Christianity was successful in part because it had a better system of ethics (e.g. you no longer had to chop off a piece of your penis to please God!). This new religion slowly grew and eventually became the official religion of the Roman empire.

Religion continued to slowly evolve as people changed it to fit what made sense to them and what benefited the powerful. Then a plague wiped out about 50% of the population of the entire continent. It killed sinners and saints with equal fury. This not only disrupted the social order—it also made people reconsider their religious convictions.

This led directly to the Renaissance and the birth of modern humanism. The printing press. Christians rationally looking at their church and deciding that they’d be better off starting new ones that made more sense. Some Christians burnt each other at the stake. Others didn’t. The ones with more humanist values tended to prosper more than the ones that taught self-flagellation. The enlightenment. Spinoza. Christians began to analyze their religion and their ethics in purposeful ways. Some became deists and believed there was no revelation. The deists (e.g. Benjamin Franklin) tended to prosper the most. The ethics of the time spread around. Joseph Smith.

Scientific methods and analysis got more systematic. People started looking at the truth claims of religion more carefully. Scientific knowledge about reality started growing exponentially. People continued to refine their ethics. Some were successes. Bertrand Russell. Sore were failures. Vladimir Lenin. Richard Dawkins. Steve Pinker. Sam Harris. Me. You.

I may have left out a detail or two. My point is that just as human beings are all related, our ideas are all related, too.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

The contributions of religion to humankind are priceless.  Humanism may claim "reason" as the base of their ethics (and they may not be wrong), but they are hard-pressed to deny God/Christianity as the source.    

The same God who said, "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ***"? The same God who said, "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves"? The same God who instigated the cruel and unusual punishment of making working on Saturday a capital offense? 

This is a tiny set of examples taken from the article  Some Reasons Why Humanists Reject The Bible.

I challenge you to read that entire article and then come back and tell me how the God of the Bible is the basis for modern ethics.

Edited by Analytics
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50 minutes ago, Analytics said:

No, I’m not saying that at all.

Hmm...

3 hours ago, Analytics said:

Historically it came out of Christianity as Christianity evolved.

Yet, this:

50 minutes ago, Analytics said:

I challenge you to read that entire article and then come back and tell me how the God of the Bible is the basis for modern ethics.

I'm puzzled. 

Humanism was born out of the evolution of Christianity.  Will the child deny the mother that created it? 

Sure, religion has a lot of baggage.  It evolved into what made humanism humanism though. 

Edited by pogi
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13 minutes ago, pogi said:

Humanism was born out of the evolution of Christianity.  Will the child deny the mother that created it? 

Sure, religion has a lot of baggage.  It evolved into what made humanism humanism though. 

It's every mother's dream for her children to grow up and have a better life than she did.

Humanism's mother should be proud.

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18 hours ago, Analytics said:

It's every mother's dream for her children to grow up and have a better life than she did.

Humanism's mother should be proud.

Yes, it's every mothers dream to have their kid deny them any credit whatsoever for being the source of the fountain of good that flows from their kid.  It makes them feel so valued and appreciated when their barely infant child arrogantly takes all the credit for the thousands of years of development and experience of their mother that brought forth the fruits for their child to pluck without labor.  They simply pick the apple from the tree and deny credit to their mother who labored diligently in planting, nourishing, watering, pruning, tilling, and grafting the tree for the desired fruit.    

The child says:  "My reason and logic confirms to me this is the most nourishing, delicious, and valuable fruit in the entire field, and because my logic tells me this and because I plucked it from my mother's tree, I deserve all the credit, and I disown my mother and relinquish her to scorn and shame and wish that she were dead and gone!"     Every mother's dream! 

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On 10/8/2021 at 2:30 PM, Bernard Gui said:

I am as sure as I can be given our situation. How can you?

I have  no need to be sure.  I can live with uncertainty and I can do it without ticking I know what an imaginary being is telling me is the God's final word on things.

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