Sunday School

Sunday School 2nd January 2022

This topic contains 50 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #40526

    Happy New Year to everyone!

    How 2021 collapsed the divide between religion and politics.

    How today’s Conspiracy Theories echo The Satanic Panic.

    The truth about white evangelical Christianity.  See similar long read post below.

    Responding to: Three Sincere Questions for Atheists.

    Christian privilege allows the Sheriff to break the law of the land.

    People got sick at a Conspiracy Conference. They’re sure it’s anthrax.

    World of Woo: The association of dangerous and greedy front-line swindlers. I need to use my bioptron after reading that!

    Environment: 2021.

    New Year’s resolutions – if the future is preordained can we really change?

    Ten scientific discoveries from 2021 that may lead to new inventions and seven new things we learned about Human Evolution too. The Top Ten dinosaur discoveries and the 8 weirdest things we saw in 2021. (I don’t have a thing about lists even though I have 4 of them today!).

    What did the Galileo affair say about science vs. religion?

    You can track the JWST with NASA from here.

    All praise to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for providing us with the perfect space food.

    I will have to give this article about the Multiverse theory plenty of consideration because I think I will end up disagreeing with one of my favorite physicists. Ugh, unless we live in a fractal Universe!

    Our brain preserves our sense of Self and being alone with our own thoughts is a skill we can practice while our sense of right and wrong is interwoven with our personality. But would it be mental to suggest that the mind does not exist?

    Long Reads: Deconstructing White Evangelical Politics. The Return of the Urban Firestorm. David Attenborough’s unending mission to save our planet.

    Sunday Book Club: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Podcast: 11 unexplained mysteries in Science with a podcast for each.

    Coffee Break Video:  2021 Humanism Conference with Steven Pinker. Start the new year with a swim and you might be more optimistic. Professor Peter Millican – God does NOT exist. If you ever find yourself in the west of Ireland during a storm you could take refuge in this church.

    #40528

    Have a great week everyone!

    #40531

    Strega
    Moderator

    Yayyy thanks Reg!  Happy new year mate 🙂

    And happy new year to everyone, whether posters or ‘ghosts’ who read. Stay safe!!!

    Strega

    #40536

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    In Three Sincere Questions for Atheists, I don’t like the reasoning in answer #3. Specifically, any logical argument against the existence of God has to first define God, and unfortunately, the only definitions of God are the ones invented by human beings. Just focusing on a so-called Christian God ignores the larger context of what humans around the world regard “God” to be. This larger context is certainly pertinent, especially when discussed in an epistemological context.

    Of course the reading audience here is mostly Christian, but God, and/or the God construct is much larger than that, around the world and in world history. Not to mention, proving that something does NOT exist requires a whole different kind of scientific reasoning, if it’s even possible at all. We can only prove the origin of human constructions of “God”, and evidence in history of various human beliefs.

    #40539

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Oh, the imagination of conspiracy theorists, and the irony in how they conspire to spread their theories.

    Does that make sense, somehow? While seeing ill will where it doesn’t exist, they respond with their own ill will.

    #40593

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    our sense of right and wrong is interwoven with our personality.

    This is a very interesting article, which ties in personality traits with moral traits.  I think I score highly on agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience.  Maybe everyone thinks that about themselves.  Maybe it’s why I’m a political pluralist.

    It is important to notice here that our inclinations toward consequentialism and deontology can be perfectly aligned – but they can, and often do, come into conflict.

    Some evocative thought-experiments known as sacrificial dilemmas help illustrate the tensions that can occur between consequentialist and deontological inclinations. For example, in one scenario – a variation on the ‘trolley problem’ – we are to imagine ourselves witnessing a runaway trolley or tram headed toward five construction workers, who will certainly be killed if the trolley is not stopped.

    I don’t buy the idea that consequentialism – judging an action on its consequences, and deontology – judging an action morally, in its own right, “often do, come into conflict”.  Not all the time or every day for everyone.  Only in extreme circumstances.   In dilemmas.

    I buy the Buddhist idea that intentions, actions and conseqences go together.  To benefit someone means to put the right conditions in place for them to flourish.  Buddha said (apparently) that actions that are “tainted” by anger, greed or ignorance will be flawed and will come to some kind of bad end.  He called these karmic actions: those which bear a bitter fruit.  The implication is that caring, sharing actions produce the optimal consequences in social relational situations.  This is what we do every day all day long, as ethical.

    #40597

    Davis
    Moderator

    I don’t buy the idea that consequentialism – judging an action on its consequences, and deontology – judging an action morally, in its own right, “often do, come into conflict”.  Not all the time or every day for everyone.

    Nope. We break our moral rules all the time. We judge others for doing things we “justify as okay” all the time. Good self-knowledge includes being highly aware of this.

    #40598

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    But do we break our moral rules for the sake of ultimately doing good, or to be selfish?

    #40599

    Davis
    Moderator

    We do things we hold to be generally wrong in order to:

    A) Ensure our self interests

    B) Do something we believe is less harmful than the consequences

    C) Believe it is a worthy exception

    D) Cause we just feel like it and don’t have to explain ourselves to no one

    E) Tell ourselves the rule doesn’t apply in that case

    Though more usually:

    F) One or more of the above

    People who are aware of this have a greater degree of self-knowledge. We do things we generally hold to be “not a great thing to do” frequently, even generally praiseworthy people do it every day. People tell mistruths multiple times a day and are frequently only partially aware of it or not at all. A majority of people deny that they tell mistruths despite it being extremely unlikely they go one single day without saying something deceptive or at the very least not fully honest.

    Any one who has anything to say about moral systems should be able to deal with the problem of telling the truth. It is not always sensible to be completely honest with people, and in some situations not even the safe thing to do. The harm of being honest sometimes heavily outweighs the consequences, even sometimes for all parties involved. Yet, it is difficult to justify dishonesty, at least in a comprehensive rational way. The most common moral systems all deal with this quite differently and how they deal with it is telling of the general principles of that moral system and is extremely interesting. To not know these things is a great loss, especially if one is preoccupied by ethics.

    #40600

    Davis
    Moderator

    We do things we hold to be generally wrong in order to:

    A) Ensure our self interests

    B) Do something we believe is less harmful than the consequences

    C) Believe it is a worthy exception

    D) Cause we just feel like it and don’t have to explain ourselves to no one

    E) Tell ourselves the rule doesn’t apply in that case

    Though more usually:

    F) One or more of the above

    People who are aware of this have a greater degree of self-knowledge. We do things we generally hold to be “not a great thing to do” frequently, even generally praiseworthy people do it every day. People tell mistruths multiple times a day and are frequently only partially aware of it or not at all. A majority of people deny that they tell mistruths despite it being extremely unlikely they go one single day without saying something deceptive or at the very least not fully honest.

    Any one who has anything to say about moral systems should be able to deal with the problem of telling the truth. It is not always sensible to be completely honest with people, and in some situations not even the safe thing to do. The harm of being honest sometimes heavily outweighs the consequences, even sometimes for all parties involved. Yet, it is difficult to justify dishonesty, at least in a comprehensive rational way. The most common moral systems all deal with this quite differently and how they deal with it is telling of the general principles of that moral system and is extremely interesting. To not know these things is a great loss, especially if one is preoccupied by ethics.

    #40601

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    F) One or more of the above

    None of those possibilities is “to make the best possible outcome”; i.e., “I do something I feel to be wrong in order to make the best possible outcome”.  That’s my point: that right intentions and right actions bring about the optimum outcome, because intentions and actions are putting the conditions in place for people to thrive to some extent or other.

    the problem of telling the truth

    In evolutionary ethics, truth telling is helpful and even necessary within a cooperative context.  The general guiding rule would seem to be, tell the truth when it is helpful, and lie or conceal when that is helpful to do.

    preoccupied by ethics

    It’s true, I am preoccupied with ethics.  But if you get into it seriously, there’s no room for anything else.

    #40602

    Davis
    Moderator

    None of those possibilities is “to make the best possible outcome”; i.e., “I do something I feel to be wrong in order to make the best possible outcome”.

    Did you not read B?

    In evolutionary ethics, truth telling is helpful and even necessary within a cooperative context.  The general guiding rule would seem to be, tell the truth when it is helpful, and lie or conceal when that is helpful to do.

    Please stop overgeneralising about evolutionary ethics. It is a baby field that does not remotely have the kind of consensus you are applying to it, not to mention that half the field is descriptive. Saying “in evolutionary ethics…” is ridiculous. Consider replacing all of this with: I believe or this is what one guy said in their book.

    But if you get into it seriously, there’s no room for anything else.

    No, you bite the bullet and inform yourself on the basics of the history of Western ethics by reading a few books (especially when you flippantly dismiss tons of shit you know little about). Zheesh. This shouldn’t be controversial.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by  Davis.
    #40604

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    B doesn’t look like the best possible outcome to me, unless you mean the least worst.

    The most common moral systems all deal with this quite differently and how they deal with it is telling of the general principles of that moral system and is extremely interesting.

    Evolutionary ethics places truth-telling within a cooperative context, and to analyse how it is normative could tell us a lot about cooperative normativity.

    #40605

    Davis
    Moderator

    Evolutionary ethics places truth-telling…

    Ugh. Did you not read me calling you out on making broad claims about evolutionary ethics? It is a new branch with a very diverse set of views and nothing remotely approaching consensus, not to mention most of it just describes the evolution of human morality without even developing a moral system. Just…come down a few notches with this. It is absolutely absurd to say “evolutionary ethics is x” or “evolutionary ethics would say x”. If it is your own opinion just say so. If it is that of a particular author or even two just say so. It will be a while, if ever, until such a statement makes any sense, has any value or can be taken seriously. Own your own ideas.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by  Davis.
    #40612

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If it is your own opinion just say so. If it is that of a particular author or even two just say so.

    Yes, but if you are a mathematician, say, or an engineer, do you have to name the author of every single idea you use to synthesise new ideas?  Or do you just do mathematics or engineering to come up with answers to new questions?

    I can usually place moral ideas within the evolutionary ethical framework, because I have a good understanding of the pre-existing factual situation of evolutionary ethics as they actually exist in nature.

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