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the issues of sex and sexuality? Sex and sexuality is a normative part of human life. However, many religionists view sex and sexuality quite negatively, especially women's sexuality. They strongly contend that in order to be religious, one must subvert the sexual instinct into what they consider to be more positive expressions i.e. for marriage and particularly generative purposes only. They vehemently aver that sex and sexuality for its own sake is a base, animal act and humans, in order to be more human, must know the appriopateness of sex and sexuality. To them, sex and sexuality must be constrained in order for society and humankind to progress to higher levels. They also contend that the liberalization of sex and sexuality will eventually lead to the downfall of America as it did to other civilizations. Let's discuss this!
Because sex is evil. Just watch t.v.
Just kidding. But seriously. I have no idea. Sex is natural and quite frankly, necessary, if we want our species to survive. For those who don't, well then be as sex-free as you want.
The main issue I have with the believing folk is the "before marriage" or "after marriage" argument. "You shouldn't have sex before marriage because in God's rules, etc."
I personally think that marriage is simply a legal documentation. The spirit of the relationship is what's important. If i'm committed to someone, then they will know it, and sex will be healthy. If I am not, then slapping a marriage label on me isn't going to make me committed. So why force someone to adhere to a legal document? What does that prove? It doesn't prove they're committed. It just proves that they know how to sign their name on a piece of paper. You can easily get a divorce these days. I want to get married, obviously, but I'm fully aware that it's not NECESSARY. I just want to. I like the idea of legally having a different name, being addressed a certain way, legally sharing something, etc. To me it's symbolic.
I find the last point interesting. You said They also contend that the liberalization of sex and sexuality will eventually lead to the downfall of America as it did to other civilizations.
It appears you agree with the assertion that it led to the downfall of other civilizations. Do you think that played a role?
Not at all. I was just stating what many conservatives and religionists feel about the liberalization of sex, sexual mores, and sexuality regarding the context of civilization. Many conservatives and religionists staunchly maintain that there must be stringent controls and guards regarding sex and sexuality if civilization and culture are to advance and progress. They contend that the liberalization of sex and sexuality lead to the ultimate degradation of humankind thus devaluing civilization.
The problem that I see here is that you don't see to think that liberalism gives you your own view on what sex is and how we should consider it.
You point your finger at Christians and say "You are telling me that sex ought to be thought of a certain way." While completely missing the fact that your own group has its own idea for what sex ought to be (Pleasure without any consequences, regardless of what we might have to do in order to prevent those consequences).
You seem to be unwilling to acknowledge that your own point of view is not the "default" by any means.
While im sure this I true for some religious people, this idea is more foreign to me as a Christian.
You seem to be under the illusion that sexual ethics and morality can be somehow dictated by "science."
If one shark doesn't require another sharks "consent" before copulating with it, then 'rape' doesn't exist with the animal kingdom. If man is nothing but just another beast, then how do we come to the conclusion that rape is wrong? It requires an arbitrated standard of morality, above your subjective views.
Christianity asserts that there is an essentially ordered purpose to sex, naturalism asserts that there is no purpose or meaning anywhere, and thus there is no sexual immorality.
But I think we all know that there exists more than the simplified principle "if it feels good do it."
Objective morality? One first has to make the assumption that your particular version God is only goodness and wants goodness for us. You also have to assume that you particular version of God has a better understanding how what good is. You would have to in many cases go against what you may know yourself to be good. It would see that to be good one would not be allowed to think for oneself.
Is the needless suffering of people good or bad. Perhaps it's time for us to look at what makes people most happy rather than listen to the writing of people who were slave owners a few thousand years ago. Does cheating on a spouse hurt someone? Yes. Is it illegal in most countries? No. Should the punishment be public stoning to death? No. But we do see that very law in place with countries without a separation with church and state.
So the first thing that we would need to establish in order to have a discussion is what you mean when you say "Objective morality," "Subjective morality," "Good" and "bad."
You seem to be using nonstandard constructs of those words in your comments.
Then we would have to talk about the Problem of evil which you bring up as a point to reinforce your argument (Plantinga's free will defense is more than an adequate counter though).
The separation of church and state was actually first brought about by the christian church, but you don't seem to be too eager to bring that up.
Objective morality = Morally/ethically right or wrong independent of our personal feelings.
Subjective morality = What we ourselves define as right and wrong.
Not difficult concepts.
Excellent. Thus an "Objective moral value" would be one that is set as a standard regardless of whether or not anyone agrees that it is true.
For example: Many people think that genocide is an objectively wrong thing. That is, if the Nazis had won the second world war and managed to kill or re-educate every single person into thinking that the genocide of the Jews was a morally right thing- it would still be wrong.
Morally subjective things are arbitrated solely based on our opinions without there being any "right answer"
For example: "Which flavor of icecream is the best?" Is a subjective question because I think we can all agree that there is no "right" answer. All answers are equally valid.
So now lets look at applying these two terms to moral problems. If all morality is subjective as you seem to be holding, then the question of whether or not you should rape someone doesn't have any more of a right answer than which flavor of icecream you like the most.
That doesn't seem right though does it?
If morality has an objective edge (like I am saying it does) then how do we ground it in anything but an omniscient and omnipotent God?
First you would have to demonstrate that such God exists, unfortunately that is not demonstrated by the bible.
What do the sciences tell us about morality? Well they can teach us plenty about what it is to be human and why we humans value certain things. If we understand that ending human suffering is the moral objective we can know when something is objectively moral by wether or not it causes human suffering or not. If God exist he should have no problem with that as he loves us, however the God the OT causes human suffering which tells us his teaching are flawed and are the teaching of people attempting to gain and keep power.
What for instance is objectively wrong with homosexuality given that it's not a choice?
There may however be something objectively immoral with promiscuity or infidelity as they cause pain, but homosexuality causes no pain. While disallowing homosexuality causes great pain.
Fortunately natural theology points to the existence of a God, without using scripture as basis. The Kalam Cosmological or Aquinas' First Mover arguments are more than adequate to establish that a naturalistic foundation for the world is not sufficient.
As I think I said before, the sciences cannot tell us anything about morality because they can only tell us what things "are" not what we "ought" to do. Science can tell you that slavery is X times less efficient then a wage system or populations are on average X times less prospherous, but it cannot tell us that we "ought" not to have slaves because the moral dimension is categorically different from the scientific one. I would recommend looking up the "is-ought" problem.
If you would like to talk about the problem of evil, as I said- I can talk to you about Plantinga's free will defense.
Homosexuality has yet to be established as something that is genetically determined, if you think it is I would love to know what breakthrough paper you caught that I managed to miss.
I could as a very similar question: If pedophilia is naturally occuring among human beings, why should we demonize it? Sure it might cause pain and abuse to children, but all morality is subjective according to you anyways, so we can safely allow the pedophiles will to override that of the children.
The answer is OF COURSE pedophilia is an evil, even if it is naturally occuring.
Pedophile is wrong because people are being hurt. That's how we know it's wrong, it causes misery. Homosexuality hurts no one.
But I'm not here to educate you. The sciences do tell us what is right and wrong for humans, the bible or any other books do not as they cause harm to humans plus none of you can agree on which book to use or even which laws in it are applicable.
If the goal is to cut down misery then that's what we should be doing.
Yes, Pedophilia is wrong because people are being hurt. And it is wrong to hurt people because...
You either have to assume the view of moral relativism where nothing is actually right or wrong, or you can join me in moral objectivism where there are objective moral values. Lets apply the Euthyphro dilemma to you: Is it wrong to rape children just because you say that it is wrong, or is it wrong because it violates a transcendent moral standard?
The rest of your comment is you repeating yourself and refusing to answer any of the points I just raised. I would encourage you to go talk to any academic ethicist to confirm what I have just said here, or you can go take a philosophy 101 class and get back to me.
Funny, your simply taking the word of people who already believe rather than listen to opposing arguments. DAVID HUME, come to mind.
Funny, your simply taking the word of people who already believe rather than listen to opposing arguments. DAVID HUME, come to mind.
To me evil implies the Satan, if you can prove he exists I'll discuss evil with you.
I have no idea why some people are homosexual, I do know that it's not a choice just as it's not a choice I made to find women attractive, I just always did.
Pedophilia is unfortunately naturally occurring in our societies, there are reasons that can be given as to why, but as it hurts people it's wrong. Please don't confuse or link homosexuality with pedophilia.
Because it causes degradation of the society in which it happens. Our moral duty is the search for happiness. The sciences can tell us how to get there.
Again, my personal opinion is worthless as I could be a psychopathic pervert (I'm not) but society and science can tell us what hurts people.
Is there really a need to insult? I usually don't answer questions that are irrelevant, and I like to keep to one topic at a time so the posts don't get to long, like this one.
You are, again, repeating yourself without any intention of responding to the points that I have raised.
David Hume first realized the "Is-ought" problem that you continue to ignore. You are either just randomly quoting philosophers at me now in the hopes that it will make your comment sound impressive, or you are woefully ignorant of the academic consensus within both philosophy and ethics that the is-ought problem is an insurmountable gulf that "science" cannot cross.
Because you seem unwilling to have a reasoned conversation about this, I will pose the following question to you which you have up until this point been dodging.
1. Do objective moral values exist?
If you answer in the affirmative, I would pose this follow-up.
2. From whence do we derive that there are objective moral values?
If you fail to answer the question and decide to go off on another tangential rant, the conversation is over.
You appear to enjoy controlling the conversation.
I understand the is ought fallacy just fine thanks. It's a fallacy to claim that most humans hold religious beliefs therefor they should.
1. Objective moral are not valid.
2. Once again, the sciences can provide subjective morals.
Claiming that the bible is a valid source for subjective morals we should be following is silly at best considering it was writing by male slave owners trying to keep to keep those slaves.
You said that the "is-ought" problem is: "a fallacy to claim that most humans hold religious beliefs therefor they should."
You either have never heard of the "is-ought" problem before or you just want to play games.
The "Is-ought" problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem
Since you don't think that objective morals are valid, you wouldn't think that it would be objectively wrong to do anything, like for example- killing everyone in an apartment building for no reason.
The view that you are professing is called "moral relativism."
According to your construction of morality, human beings are the only arbiters of morality, and thus nothing is either right or wrong, but is only as it is defined by human beings. Thus a serial killer could define his killings as "morally good" and his claim to moral goodness is just as strong as your claim that what he has done is a moral evil.
You are quick to say "killing innocent people is wrong" but you don't think any further than that. WHY is killing innocent people wrong if that idea is only a construct given to us by other human beings? A naturalistic universe doesn't care what happens, so why ought we not to kill rather than to kill, especially if might bring some sort of joy to the individual?
I am not a moral relativist, but rather a moral objectivist. I believe that some things are right and wrong, independent of what any human being thinks about them.
Once again, I understand the is/ought fallacy just fine. Perhaps you are having problems with it. Just become something is doesn't mean it ought. Just because people are religious doesn't mean they ought to be. It's a fallacy.
Objective morals are invalid. We as individuals don't get to decide what is moral. Like the writers of the bible deciding slavery is moral, it's ridiculous.
It's simple really, I'm sure if you focused long enough you may get it… The sciences are subjective. The writters of the bible are objective. That's why the bible endorses slavery and marrying your rapist, while the sciences can determine who and when people are being hurt.
I did however enjoy your statement ""killing innocent people is wrong" because your question "WHY is killing innocent people wrong if that idea is only a construct given to us by other human beings?" shows me you think you need to be told why killing innocent people is wrong. If you think further you'd see killing anyone is wrong as it hurts people.
"Homosexuality has yet to be established as something that is genetically determined, if you think it is I would love to know what breakthrough paper you caught that I managed to miss."
Actually, you've missed quite a lot of scientific research and published findings. There is, in fact, strong evidence (genetic, hormonal, biological) that indicates that ALL human sexual orientation is a fact determined before birth.
No choices. No lapses of morality.
No violations of laws of imagined deities.
Perhaps you could link me to the accredited academic article that definitely establishes this point?
Yes, why don't I do your homework for you.
I've already called you out on this. I think that you are just blowing smoke. Prove me wrong for the whole world to see by putting up the link to the accredited academic article. It's just a URL. I'm not even asking for you to summarize it or anything.
If you think that there is no evidence in the form of a data-driven article written by an academic and published in peer-reviewed journal that makes very clear the long-understood fact that rape is a crime of control and violence, then that is your problem.
And can we just STOP with the efforts to conflate pedophilia and homosexuality---however veiled in pedestrian attempts to sounds philosophical?
The comment you are referring to was talking about the difference between an objective and subjective conception of morality. Saying that "X is natural, therefore it is right and good to do it" is a blanket statement that you can't selectively apply to certain behaviors but exclude from others. I am not conflating the two behaviors, but pointing out that arguing for the rightness of one by virtue of it's "naturalness" argues for the rightness of the other.
The philosophical problem you intentionally overlook:
The problem of apples and oranges.
Can we just stop the philosophy crap?
You think homosexuality is wrong. Your thinking is premised on Christianity. And, like many Christians, you attempt to promote the false equivalency of pedophilia and homosexuality claiming in your cause that IF one deems homosexuality a natural form of sexual expression, then one must also deem pedophilia a "normal" form of sexual expression.
That is total crap.
Have you read my reply? I just said that I am not conflating the two behaviors. (So, Strawman fallacy for you)
Then you said: "Can we just stop the philosophy crap?"
So you're going to just dismiss philosophy wholesale? (Doesn't that seem vaguely anti-intellectual?)
And then you proceed to tell me what I think because you seem to think that you are telepathic.
Do you have any way to address my comment that doesn't involve just dodging and dismissing the objection away?
How about: "Whatever."
I am not impressed by graduate school speak.
So when people use big words to support ideas that you agree with you're all for it, but when they use big words to disagree with you, you'll just dismiss them offhand. That's cool. I would consider a little more critical inquiry and introspection.
And if you think otherwise, you need to take some more philosophy speak classes---maybe "Introduction to Logic".
Thank you Mbuggieh, that needed to be said!
A cogent argument that science could and should guide morals (based on the notion that morality is defined as seeking to maximise human well-being) is presented in Sam Harris's book, 'The Moral Landscape'.
The problem there is that Harris doesn't even attempt to address the "is-ought" problem. Academic reviews of his book railed him over and over on that.
He just arbitrarily defines "good" as "flourishing." But he makes that leap on a leap of faith. A psychopath might define "good" as "what benefits my flourishing, all else be damned" and to this Harris has no reply- he even admits that psychopaths become the equivalent of saints on the "happiness scale."
He also calls for the forceful re-education or extermination of religious people in that book, but that's besides the point.
I would encourage you to watch this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-YKkYU5W-IM
Thank you for letting me know about the debate on You Tube, of which I had been unaware. Though, I opted to view the entire debate (http://youtu.be/yqaHXKLRKzg) rather than the short excerpt to which you originally referred me, entitled 'William Lane Craig Utterly Destroys Sam Harris'. I heard no admission by Harris that 'psychopaths become the equivalent of saints on the "happiness scale".'
Likewise I can recall no part of 'The Moral Landscape' in which Harris 'calls for the forceful re-education or extermination of religious people'. If you would kindly refer me to the page or pages of the book where you believe this to be the case, I will gladly examine them.
I pointed you to the relevant critique of the book within the debate rather than the whole debate itself, though I'm glad that you choose to review the entire debate. If you read the actual book that they are frequently referring to, you will find the references to psychopaths in the last chapter.
I am afraid that I have made a mistake regarding which book Harris calls for re-education or extermination. The proper book is "The End of Faith"
In his words:
The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others (2004, pp. 52-53)
I notice that you haven't objected to my pointing out that Sam Harris arbitrarily defines goodness as "human flourishing" without any basis for doing so? Would you like to object or do you agree that this is an assumption that he makes?
One of the biggest problems is that Harris seems to think that we can arbitrarily define "well being unit" which we can then use to "scientifically" come to the moral conclusion. And I would certainly agree that if we could all come to agree on a "well being unit" then that certainly might be possible. But the fact remains that we cannot derive an ought from an is- and that "morality units" will always be arbitrary and thus truly undefinable.
Looking at the quote in context, you don't think that to say that Harris 'calls for the forceful re-education or extermination of religious people' is a sweeping statement? Even Craig says at the start that they broadly share the same moral values.
As for arbitrary definitions, Harris argues that all science is based on certain axiomatic values. And he also mentions, to paraphrase, that to argue that God is good is also subjective - maybe allowing thousands to die in natural disasters one could take the view that He is evil.
We can agree that definition is difficult. Healthcare, one aspect of well-being, is also difficult to define - another point made by Harris. However, if a loved one is in severe pain and vomiting, we (hopefully) immediately rush them to hospital (to be treated by science) rather than worrying about what constitutes the definition of good health. No pain is better than pain, no suffering is better than suffering and happiness is better than unhappiness. These we take to be self-evident.
I remain baffled by your reference to psychopaths in your original reply.
"Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."
A: If some propositions are worth killing people just for holding them
B: And if propositions are beliefs
C: Therefore it is okay to kill people just for their beliefs.
Do YOU agree that it is okay to kill people for their beliefs?
You can't get around it. Sam Harris is advocating "thoughtcrime" ala 1984. He also calls for removing people from office just because they say that they are religious, but that doesn't sound at all like discrimination does it? Do you want me to get into how he supports racial profiling?
Harris admitting that we just have to take his definition "on faith" is pretty much a tacit admission that he cannot hope to defend that assumption, and thus he just wants us all to just assume it with him. The problem of course is that we are trying to cross the "is-ought" gap as I have mentioned before.
Healthcare is categorically different from a "well being" unit. We know what a healthy person "ought" to look like. The healthy default is easy to imagine. The well being unit by contrast is completely subject to arbitrary definitions, and thus unscientific. Ergo: science cannot determine morality.
The bit about psychopaths comes along at the end of the book where Harris says that given two possible worlds, one in which the golden rule is instinctually followed, and one in which it was held in contempt- both worlds would be "equal" given a consiquentialist perspective. Ergo: Psychopaths and saints hold equivalency on the "moral landscape."
It does seem to me that you are engaging in the all-to-familiar creationist tactic of quote mining. Here it seems I have no choice but to do to do a big copy and paste job. The wider text in which this quote appears reads thus:
'The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.
Harris has gone on to say this about it:
'This paragraph appears after a long discussion of the role that belief plays in governing human behavior, and it should be read in that context. Some critics have interpreted the second sentence of this passage to mean that I advocate simply killing religious people for their beliefs. Granted, I made the job of misinterpreting me easier than it might have been, but such a reading remains a frank distortion of my views. To someone reading the passage in context, it should be clear that I am discussing the link between belief and behavior. The fact that belief determines behavior is what makes certain beliefs so dangerous.
When one asks why it would be ethical to drop a bomb on Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, the answer cannot be, “Because he killed so many people in the past.” To my knowledge, the man hasn’t killed anyone personally. However, he is likely to get a lot of innocent people killed because of what he and his followers believe about jihad, martyrdom, the ascendancy of Islam, etc. A willingness to take preventative action against a dangerous enemy is compatible with being against the death penalty (which I am). Whenever we can capture and imprison jihadists, we should. But in many cases this is either impossible or too risky. Would it have been better if we had captured Osama bin Laden? In my view, yes. Do I think the members of Seal Team Six should have assumed any added risk to bring him back alive? Absolutely not.'
So no, he does not advocate simply killing people for their beliefs. In answer to your direct question neither do I. That would replicate the very barbarity that Harris seeks to combat. But what would I do to protect me and my family against someone who wishes actually to harm or enslave us because they think we have the wrong beliefs? Well, I couldn't answer right now to be frank. But my government has certalnly taken that decision on my behalf with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan, much to the cost of our troops (putting aside the question of whether that will achieve anything).
To keep repeating the mantra 'is or ought' is I think an exercise in semantics. However much creationists like Craig dress-up their position as the result of sound philosophical analysis, their view point is actually very simple. God is good and the word of God is contained in the Bible. Their philosophical enquiry then consists of gemmying so-called observations into this preconception. But if, like Harris, one takes the viewpoint that there is probably no God, then it follows that we ask the question: 'is there such a thing as morality and, if so, how do we define it'. Remember, science is a method for attempting to determine truths. Even though truths may be elusive and the pursuit of them raises more questions, the goal of understanding the universe is clear.
You say: 'Healthcare is categorically different from a "well being" unit'. Really? Who says? Where does that dictate come from? You say: 'We know what a healthy person "ought" to look like. The healthy default is easy to imagine.' (Or is that quote mining?) Well, if that is the case, why can't we say the same about the wider notion of 'well-being'? This is not necessarily dictatorial. Imagine the person who has the misfortune to be diagnosed with cancer by their doctor, then that person will probably expect the doctor to prescribe the best course of action. The doctor may advise that, based on the most up-to-date scientific research, chemotherapy offers the best possible chance for a cure. However, the patient is not obliged to submit themselves to that gruelling process. He can, if he wishes, just pray for divine intervention. The dictate only comes in when governments enshrine principles in law, the one about not killing someone being an obvious example; or when, as already mentioned, they are prepared to wage wars.
It is worth repeating my original point, which was merely to say that Harris makes a cogent argument as to how science could guide morality. He himself indicates it is a starting point for wider discussion on the subject. The problem for creationists is that the very suggestion represents to them a huge threat to their world view.
Thanks for copy-pasting the relevant passages into your comment, though in the future please just link me to page on Harris' blog.
I am certainly glad that you don't think people should be killed solely for their beliefs- but now you run into the problem of what exactly that sentence from Harris means. It very clearly says that some beliefs make killing the holders of those beliefs ethical. It is impressive that you are willing to perform such extraordinary feats of mental gymnastics to creatively interpret the sentence to mean something else, but at the end of the day "Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them." means exactly what it says.
I would be very interested in hearing how you defend some of Harris's other slip-ups, like for example his argument that we should racially profile. Do you support racial profiling as well?
Yes Johnny, what we are having right now is a discussion about philosophy, simply dismissing the "is-ought" distinction as "semantics" (like Sam Harris does) is not only anti-intellectual, but it is am embarrassing concession that your only cogent argument against it is the plea that we dismiss it or ignore it. The "is-ought" problem isn't some pretty little point that some guy came up with in response to this book- its a philosophical fixture first recognized by David Hume that every intro-to-philosophy student is well aware of. Sam Harris completely disregards it and that is why he doesn't have a serious place at the table. But of course we can't expect him to have known all this, his Doctorate is in neuroscience, not philosophy.
You attempt to deconstruct the point that I have made regarding the difference between healthcare and well-being in general, but your entire count argument seems to be based on not bothering to address the problem I raised. We KNOW what a "healthy" person looks like. We don't know what a "well-being" unit is and we lack the basis for even defining it. Is it simply pleasure? Is the most ideal world one in which people are moved into farms and have electrodes planted into their brains so that they constantly have dopamine injected into them to the point where they can't do anything but sit back and let robotic attendants change their bedpans?
You don't want to try to define a "well-being" unit because you don't want to. You don't want to because you can't. You keep looking up at Sam Harris and think "Well gee, he seems like a smart guy, I'll bet he's got it all figured out." And you can't even answer the most basic objections to his work. It's embarrassing the amount of faith that you are willing to entrust in him.
I could equally accuse you of ignoring my points. But you have started to become vitriolic and insulting in your language in what appears to be an attempt to make yourself appear superior. That's not the way to go and I see that another contributor has said as much to you. Readers of this stream will make of that what they may. It only serves to convince me that my points have hit home. So, yes the conversation is best over.
I would just lastly reiterate for the reader that my original point was that Sam Harris makes a cogent argument as to how science could and should guide morals. To which your reply included the statement that Harris 'calls for the forceful re-education or extermination of religious people...' I think that, especially in view of Harris's opposition to barbarism and intolerance, that is an outrageous thing to say.
So now calling anti-intellectualism what it is, (an open disdain for philosophy) is a personal insult against you? I pointed out that Harris's work fails to address the "is-ought" problem. You dismissed that as 'semantics.' I pointed out that it is a valid objection which Harris chooses to dismiss instead of respond to. Not only that, this objection is the exact same one that every philosopher who reviewed "The Moral Landscape" had. For example: http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/20 … -morality/
The objection to your assertion that his argument is cogent is based on the "is-ought" problem. The fact that Sam Harris thinks that some people should be killed for their beliefs is simply dressing on the cake to show that Harris is a crackpot. As is his support for racial profiling and a preemptive nuclear strike against the middle east.
Harris doesn't "oppose" barbarism, but through his strict utilitarian ethics would impose it. But you seem to define anything that Sam Harris is for as "good" and anything that he is against as "barbarism." So I'm not really surprised.
I would love to see any points that you have made which I have failed to address.
But in any case what appears to be happening now is that you are begging out of the conversation after I've called you out on simply repeating yourself and challenged you to provide a cogent defense against the objections I have raised.
Yes, I don't think that readers of this conversation will have much trouble at all.
What makes you think that Christians are fearful of sex and sexuality? Do you think Christians don't enjoy sex in the same way that other people do? There is no way that science can dictate moral behavior, not among animals and certainly not among humans. Christians subscribe to the godly teaching that the perfect context for sex is within marriage. I don't know if sex was responsible for the breakdown of other civilizations, but when people go outside of God's boundaries for sex, they reap the consequences - broken relationships, unwanted pregnancies, depression, abortions, STDs etc. etc. Why put yourself through that?
As indicated in a previous comment, I believe that Sam Harris in 'The Moral Landscape' presents a reasoned agument for how science can in fact guide morality, if that is defined as maximising human well-being. He also explains why he believes religion, contrary to your assertion, falls short as a guidance to 'good' behaviour. You can hear both sides of the debate at http://youtu.be/yqaHXKLRKzg and I am grateful to Travis Wakeman for alerting me to this.
And yet, by searching these words: "science moral behavior", I found no less than 2.2. million scientific articles. It would appear science does indeed have something to say about moral behavior, much more so than the Bible.
I just want to point out that the OP did not specify Christians. She was addressing all religious minded people. Sexual repression does pop up as a huge problem in many, many religious traditions. It is not limited to Christianity, and she made no implication that was the case.
Thank you, Motown2Chitown. Religionists encompass all religions, not just Christianity. Sadly, so many people demonize Christianity as the boogie person. Also, Christians AREN'T monolithic either. There are liberal, enlightened, and progressive Christians as well as other religionists. However, there are religionists who are traditionalistic, fundamentalistic, even fanatic who DO have an issue with sex and sexuality, especially if it out of the traditional purview.
I can't disagree with any of that.
There is such an automatic reaction from some when they hear/see anything that appears critical of their chosen means of faith expression. Some choose not to align with any known religious tradition but can be just as dangerous as the ones who do.
It's important, IMO, to recognize what is and isn't natural. I believe that there are valid reasons to restrain our sexual behavior on occasion, to protect ourselves and others, but restraint is not akin to denial.
The problem that I see is that the OP is defining the liberal standard for sexuality as the "default" and asking (at least you and I as Christians) "Well why do you dissent from this position?"
But the hidden assumption is that the liberalistic view of sex as purely a means to an end for pleasure is the default view.
She's asking of all religious people, not just Christians. I understand you answering from a Christian view, if that's your religious choice, but the beginning of your response-"What makes you think Christians..."-assumes something in the OP that isn't there. I wasn't being combative, just hoping to point out that she wasn't attacking or pointing specifically to any one group of believers.
The OP defined their question in an "us-them" format. They don't need to specifically mention Christians in order for the question to be an attack on them. In any case, since the OP is clearly a westerner (probably american) the question is most likely explicitly about Christianity since that is the point of friction right now that is blocking liberal conceptions of sexual purpose from becoming the norm.
"...is most likely explicitly..."
Explicit would have been if she asked why Christians felt that way. You have implied a lot from the OP. So, if you're going to guess, then it's really most likely implicit according to your reading of it. Not unusual or bad, just honest. We humans have a tendency to see what we see or what we want to see, depending on our desire to engage or debate. Enjoy.
Yeah, I didn't have the time to look for hidden assumptions. I just answered the question she asked. Sorry.
If you look through history you see many old countries who loved nudity. For example Greece and their many forms of nude status. Their sexuality was not the demise of their cultures. In Roman times there society was one of the greatest in history. Their sexuality was not there demise,It was there vast empire that grew to large to control. In the same sense of the United States. It is not it's sex or sexuality, it's our enormous population that will become unable to control that come to our demise.
Go read some of the roman moralists from the later period. Seneca, Cicero, Plutarch. They all agree that the later period of the roman empire was much more morally relativistic in comparison to its earlier period (when it was on the rise).
In terms of a concrete change, the moral relativism of the later period caused a huge decline in birth rates in the capitol which resulted in a loss of manpower and strength- thus opening the door for the gothic invasions.
Couple of similar examples for you. Ed Gein (serial killer) was caught when he was 12 masturb*ting in the tub, by his overly religious mother, who grabbed him by his genitals and told him that genitals were a man's curse. She made him feel bad and constantly reminded him that his sexual desires were not normal. Jerome Brudos (serial killer) was repeatedly caught as a child with women's shoes. He had a foot f*tish from a young age. His mother constantly made him feel as if he was evil for liking woman. She was extremely religious. A large amount of serial killers had what is considered normal sexual desires when young, but had over bearing religious mothers who believed sex was not for fun, but for procreation. A large amount of both serial killers and rapist could be eliminated if they were told it was okay to have sexual desires and women were told it was okay to think outside the box. (Not approving or endorsing murder or rape)
With that said, I have several friends who believe anything outside "standard" sex is "gross". The reason is because they grew up in naive sheltered (women obey and don't do anything "not lady like") homes. I know I got slightly off topic but overall it is really sad for all involved. Why do the religious people care so much about what other's are doing?
So they can further feed their superegos. I can tell you one thing though. Those that allow their egos to feed their superegos excessively also allow their egos to feed the desire of the ID. How many fallen televangelist have we seen caught with their pants down? It's simply human nature.
"A large amount of both serial killers and rapist could be eliminated if they were told it was okay to have sexual desires."
Can you back up that assertion?
What you are saying is that the purpose of sex is purely for pleasure, and not related to any sort of teleological end. But you aren't asking yourself why you have come to view the purpose of sex as being for pleasure and why you should define that purpose as the default.
First I never said sex was purely pleasure, I have three planned children so obviously I am aware of the repercussions of sex. However do you have any proof that it isn't suppose to be for pleasure also? As for serial killers, does it seem like a coincidence to you that a large amount of serial killers have a link to parents who tell them sexual attraction isn't normal? That later turn around and kill people to fulfill those pleasures? I'm not justifying it, but we all become what we do based on environmental factors. If their environment taught them the correct way of dealing with their sexual attractions (finding a willing partner and doing it in private.) instead of just screaming that masturbation is evil, wouldn't that logically equal them dealing with it in a way that doesn't involve killing people? Why do you think rapist rape? They seek control! Who seeks control? People who are insecure with themselves! Who is responsible for making a child secure? The parent!
You didn't answer my question about your assertion that if we accepted a liberalized conception of sexuality that we would make "a large amount" of serial killers go away. Do you have any data or support to back up that assertion?
You have added another assertion: "Why do you think rapist rape? They seek control! Who seeks control? People who are insecure with themselves! Who is responsible for making a child secure? The parent!"
Do you have any data to back up that assertion either? From my perspective your are psychologizing rapists based on your own personal guesswork, not any sort of knowledge with the academic literature in criminology.
If I have mistakenly stated your position then please clarify for me:
What is the purpose of sex?
You didn't answer my question either! "However do you have any proof that it isn't suppose to be for pleasure also? "
So let's start with this. What is the purpose of sex? Well based on the bodies reactions it is for both procreation and pleasure. If not then please explain why a woman who is not ovulating is still capable of having an orgasm! Because women conceive during ovulation! Did god mess up and forget to turn off our feel good receptors? Based on the body's reaction sex is clearly an instinct for both procreation and pleasure. I hope my stance on that was pretty clear that time!
Next, "your assertion that if we accepted a liberalized conception of sexuality that we would make "a large amount" of serial killers go away. Do you have any data or support to back up that assertion?" Well can I go back in time and take those serial killers out of crappy homes and place them in better ones to see how they turn out? No I can not. The majority of psychology is educated guesswork. So with that said, I base my view on educated guess work, years of studying the behavior of serial killers and rapist, and statistics. The majority of serial killers believe in a god and grew up in a home with at least one guardian that was religious. The majority of serial killers also have fetishes. (All these facts came from second edition of The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers along with FBI statistics) Most have self esteem and control issues (basic psychology says most control and self esteem issues are developed during child hood). Put all these facts together and the logical guess work comes to change the issues created as a child and you change the outcome of the adult. Now I'm sure none of that means anything to you, but it really doesn't matter if you like it or not, you asked though and there is my answer which ended up much longer than I wanted.
Now on to rapists, the short answer to "Do you have any data to back up that assertion either?" Yes I do! Rapist seek control/power hence the FBI classifications Power-Reassurance (Compensatory), Power-Assertive (Exploitative), Anger-Retaliatory (Displaced) behavior, and Anger-Excitation (Sadistic) behavior. Feel free to look any of them up on the FBI website and read the definitions. ALL rapists are seeking some form of sexual control. Fixing them goes back to the same thing I stated in serial killers. Self esteem issues almost always start in childhood.
From the Christian standpoint, sex is something to be enjoyed, but within the bounds of marriage where it serves to cement the bond between the husband and wife. There wouldn't be any "proof" for an ethical viewpoint since it is philosophically constructed rather than "found" in the same sense that you would find material evidence for something like a murder case.
The rest of your post seems to be a hypothesis that you assert is true based on your reading of the "Encyclopedia of Serial Killers" along with "FBI Statistics". I hope that you will forgive me for being skeptical, but do you think that you could reference the exact book with page number, or website for that claim?
In any case their claimed religious standing wouldn't do much to prove anything in terms of causation like you seem to think it does.
Correlation does not prove causation, and in a nation like the US with a clear religious preference towards Christianity, it wouldn't be surprising to note that many of those individuals are themselves Christian. That would be like saying that since most of the killers were found to have worn blue jeans at one point in their life, wearing blue jeans has some sort of bearing on whether or not one becomes a serial killer.
Making the broad generalization that all rapists seek sexual control seems a bit hasty and I wonder if the academic literature supports you. Perhaps under the very narrow definition of rape as the sort of violent "knife to her throat" sort of thing, but the definition has broadened to include instances where parties drunkenly gave consent. Those are clearly two different categories.
Ok Just realized I was talking to someone who clearly tells me there is no proof for their belief but wants a page number for what I have. So with that feel free to have the last word, and feel free to buy The Second Edition of the Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (happened to be one of the books from my psychology professor that I held on to so it IS the EXACT book) and read it yourself. Or google it! The FBI keeps wonderful public records. Man, it's disappointing to be having a conversation with someone who wants everything to be one sided. You already stated "In any case their claimed religious standing wouldn't do much to prove anything in terms of causation like you seem to think it does." So even if I provided you with proof you wouldn't see it as such based on that remark. I won't continue to debate with someone who pretty clearly wants a one sided debate. Too early in the morning. I'll be the grown up and know when to walk away from this since obviously it's not going to be productive.
I am somewhat disappointed that you have chosen to reconstruct my statement to unfaithfully to the original.
1. Neither of us have evidential "proof" for our positions in the sense of material evidence. They are constructed from ethics derived from worldviews. You seem to be under the mistaken presumption that this gives you some sort of default status on this question, but it doesn't. If you want to get into the worldviews I would encourage you to look into the comment that I left on your "Ten questions to answer a Christian" hub where I provided two examples of arguments that invalidate a naturalistic point of view.
2. You choose to reference a work, If I was specifically referencing a statistic, you would be perfectly within your right to ask for a source or citation. Your unwillingness says to me that you either are (perhaps mistakenly) trying to paraphrase your impression of the work which may or may not affirm your statement- or that you don't want to look up the reference- either of which are fine but a rather sloppy way to conduct a discussion in my opinion.
3. As I said before, if a population with an attribute that occurs at 80% has a subset of that population with the same 80% incidence rate- then it is clear that the attribute itself is not related to the subset population. In any case, correlation does not prove causation.
4. If you provided me with a genuine "proof" then I would change my mind. You seem to be upset that I am disagreeing with you for not having furnished evidence for your claims. I would be more concerned about the furnishing of the evidence then about the skepticism of habitual skeptics. You seem unable to defend your remarks and so you are begging out of the conversation, that is fine by me- at least you didn't consume a disproportionate amount of my time.
Does it matter what Christians think?
Can you really make the claim that a rapist is a Christian?
And any rapist who asserts that he or she is a Christian is, to be quite honest, a liar.
I think everyone who has studies Psychology 101 or Sociology 101 knows that rape is not about sex or sexual pleasure, but about control and violence. This was known and understood by the mid-20th century.
Can you point me to the accredited scientific paper that shows this to be the case? Until then you are psychologizing about the personal thoughts and motives of other people which I presume you won't claim to have access to unless you are also telepathic.
Elevating any theory for rape to "fact" without having evidence to support that claim is irresponsible sociology.
Do the research yourself.
And read the news; read about the use of rape against women to as political tool of intimidation.
Read about how rape is used in India as a response to the emergence of feminism.
Read about how rape is used in Pakistan and India and other places to restore male honor.
Read about gang rapes of girls globally whom refuse to accept traditional lives or refuse marriage.
No, you JUST SAID that its something that you would get in Psychology 101 or Sociology 101. So clearly this must have an academic basis for you to make that claim.
The closest that anyone has gotten is that there "might" be a connection. Seems like an awfully wobbly platform to build your house on though, doesn't it? And hardly Psychology 101.
Thanks for trying though.
And now you are reduced to begging out of the conversation after making claims that you are unable to support with evidence. Thanks anyway.
Jeez, all us people begging out the question. Travis, you sure got us beat!
Wow, both of you just dismissing objections to your positions, creating straw men arguments, and doggedly repeating yourself over and over- you guys sure are good at this whole "discussion" thing.
If I may interject, it has come to my attention through research on this subject that there are differing theories about why people rape others--all coming from experts in their particular fields.
Perhaps it varies by the person?
I don't normally use wiki as a source for anything, but since I'm not arguing one way or the other, and the sources seemed legitimate, I want to throw this URL out there. It outlines some theories on this subject and the sources (unless I missed one) seem to be legitimate and correctly quoted.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_ … ote-CSOM-1
I guess my point in providing this is to give a summary pointing out that there are MANY theories on rape, none of which appear to be definitive. I am no psychologist, but does it not seem reasonable that each person's reason will vary according to person?
My assumption is that any time someone rapes someone, they get some sort of sexual pleasure from it. So i can agree on that. However, is that sexual pleasure derived from the feeling of control? Punishment? etc.?
Just a thought.
Yes. Thank you. The truth is that people can develop "theories" for why people do terrible things like rape- but none of the theorists can just climb inside of a rapists head to read their thoughts.
That is the problem, all of these theories depend on inferences that the researchers develop themselves.
For a really good paper on how we ought to be conducting sociology research, look up Donald Black's paper "Pure Sociology." It's a great read.
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