Confederate Symbols

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    I like what you said Robert.

    But when we discover god who died and made that prick god? What makes his fiats, warnings and proclamations objective? Create a universe and you are the man? The objective man? If we don’t want to smite the Amalekites or stone a so called sinner do we have a leg to stand on?



    @jakelafort I laughed out loud when you said “hate the sin, not the sinners” tuchet! And thank you for the explanation of the mirror neurons and your take on and evolutionary case for the development of empathy. I recall reading about this somewhere but I don’t recall.  I think we may need to start a new thread to continue.  You brought up some good points.

    One  final thought on Confederate symbols and slavery… Reg mentioned that my basic question was asking how one can be good without God. I admit my question is related but it really was emphatically looking for practical options for condemning the Confederacy’s stance on slavery, not so much the broader categories of “good” vs “evil”. Since slavery is specific and based on human beings consciously and purposefully acting by kidnapping and enslaving others, I figured there’s a reasonable humanistic explanation for such condemnation. (As stated earlier,  of course I see slavery as evil). Slavery is as old as humanity- thus one can’t just view the Jewish or Christian’s text on the topic, regardless of ones view of said faith systems. This is a human issue and somehow our empathy and mirror neurons continue to misfire throughout the eons.

    Anyway,  you and many others have given me lots of homework to do.  Thanks and if you do start another topic where we can discuss some of these tangential topics, let me know.



    @robert you wrote,

    I was surprised how many of my fellow musicians/friends revealed their ignorance because of the pandemic coupled with the Floyd murder. I can’t even talk with them about any of this, they loose their minds

    I also can’t easily have conversations with some of my black friends and definitely some of my white evangelical friends regarding this topic or tRump. (Ok, I shouldn’t have done that, but Robert, it was pretty funny)



    Probably the grist for an entire standalone discussion but is slavery actually wrong in an objective way? or do we simply feel revulsion toward it, making our attitude subjective? Is it that we don’t want a society to include slavery? or is it that no one has a right to enslave, which begs the question of where rights come from and can they be anything other than the result of consensus and/or legislation?

    Fish school to survive, birds flock. Ants divide the labor. As brainy social primates surviving in a dangerous world, we cooperate. We devise systems of protection for individuals, be they religion with gods and their rules and/or secular governments with courts and its laws. This is for self preservation and ultimately makes the whole species stronger. Every society has done this, and therefor so many gods and governors. If evidence appears to substantiate a creator/god perhaps we can find some external moral gold standard but until then we are it.

    Long way around to decide it’s subjective. BTW, there’s nothing unnatural about slavery. For example, ants maintain a herd of aphids to their benefit, not the aphids’. Worse, perhaps, ants will enslave other ants.

    On a lighter note, we are still trying to figure out who owns whom when it comes to cats, and dogs may be little more, from a biological point of view, than a social parasite.



    fullermingjr see links to two short articles that may surprise you in revealing intelligence in animals.

    Unseen points out slavery is natural. Ants are slavers. And if i understand Davis he sees slavery as a resultant of complex human relations and growth of our populations. Maybe we are akin to ants. As we move into cities and hustle/bustle commotion we lose our kindness and empathy. At an extreme level life may seem kafkaesque. Certainly mob mentality subsumes the individual’s reservations in what would otherwise be wrong. Ever walk down a country road? Ya come across a stranger the two of ya say hello. In the city? yeah right!

    So there is this innate sense of right and wrong. It is not unique among humans. Modernity can strip away this primal compass. Ideology in religion and politics is the agent. Just one example…honor killings…muslim girl is raped…brother throws acid on her and she dies. Yeah that is cool? Ha? If you grow up in that religion and culture you might well think so. Otherwise ya wanna vomit. Normalizing what is otherwise anathema-that is what happens when we are indoctrinated. Our better nature is submerged. That is why i am an anti-theist. Yeah the endless lies suck. But not nearly to the degree that religion changes us and harms us.



    It’s not that we are akin to ants. Our social structure is fundamentally different to them. Humans evolved in an environment completely different to the world we know. They lived in small social groups with tons of space and infrequent contact with other humans. They were hunter gatherers, lived short lives and lived in a fairly hostile natural environment. We did not evolve to settle down and aggregate in groups and, in general we are not well equipped to deal with large scale settlement and complex human interactions. When civilization began two things happened, radical innovation and knowledge building with extreme cultural shifts, and very toxic power structures. It’s not that we evolved to have these power structures. It’s just a toxic byproduct of human evolution when humans aggregate together. It is rare in human history that a society is able to overcome these cruel power structures and it almost always happens when a strong set of abstract ideas about the individual emerge along with economic incentives that permit individual rights. In other words, no I don’t think slavery is a human quality that evolved in our natural setting. It is a toxic by product of our evolution in an environment that could not quickly adapt to radical change with quick human aggregation. We’ve only been so called “civilized” for a few millennia. That is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. The only way forward is cultural evolution that that requires maintaining strong ideals of individual freedom, the economic incentives to maintain it, taking care of the planet and ensuring a minimum of economic redistribution and attacking injustices. Without that we are doomed to see the relatively unique situation we have collapse. It’s probably inevitable. It’s easy to envision slavery returning.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.


    That makes a great deal of sense Davis.


    Simon Paynton

    @unseen – the objectivity and moral realism we think we have, are an illusion.  “True” objectivity in a mathematical sense doesn’t exist for morality – or if it does, it’s irrelevant.  The way in which it does exist is that the conditions that give rise to human morality are eternal (at least, for the duration of the human family tree), and therefore, it’s predictable and stereotypical.



    It’s not that we are akin to ants.

    Ants never revolt and behead the Queen?



    The enslaved ants sometimes do according to headlines. Also Queen Ant will sacrifice colony to retain throne. Those are Trump ants. We think we are smarter/better than ants…

    Seems roles were so defined in feudal era that each person was ant-like. Is that where “ants in your pants” originated?



    @unseen – the objectivity and moral realism we think we have, are an illusion. “True” objectivity in a mathematical sense doesn’t exist for morality – or if it does, it’s irrelevant. The way in which it does exist is that the conditions that give rise to human morality are eternal (at least, for the duration of the human family tree), and therefore, it’s predictable and stereotypical.

    How “moral” is defined varies from time to time and place to place. Thus, whatever they commend or deplore cannot be objective.



    That Unseen take reminds me of a linguistic pet peeve. “The MORAL thing to do…” Such sententious shit!

    Whose morality? The morality you wish to impose or Joe down the street?



    Somebody commented to me that they thought instead of removing the confederate statues, the US should teach history in schools. (Because that really gets emotions going).

    I had to reply that the toppling of these statues IS teaching history in a way that schools never did, inasmuch as we are all becoming aware of the historical reasons these statues are untenable, and its a major teaching moment for history.


    We need to be careful not to edit out the parts of our histories that make us feel uneasy, ashamed or annoyed. We are formed by our shared histories. Denial or cover-ups are the wrong approach.

    Written on the walls of the Ministry of Truth are the words IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH and each day, as history is rewritten, the old history is sent down the memory holes for destruction. (Reference 1984)



    Cultural Evolution = Social Justice=Justice as fairness

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