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  1. #31
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murkrow View Post
    Aleksey, are you going to tell me why you value the happiness of present humans higher than that of future humans?
    It is a fact of our psychology that our values are egocentric. Reasons.

    Bentham's Axiom of human nature: We first and foremost strive to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

    Valuing: An act of bestowing positive emotion upon an entity, or simply feeling good about it.

    Betham's axiom shows that our drives are first and foremost about what makes us feel good. A direct experience of pleasure always intensifies our emotions more than an indirect. In other words, we are made happier by eating chocolate ourselves rather than by hearing about somebody else eating chocolate.The same principle applies to all other pleasures. Altogether we tend to value our own happiness more than that of others.

    Hence, as a result, it is very natural for us to value our own happiness more than that of our descendants.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  2. #32
    Senior Member ThinkingAboutIt's Avatar
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    Default You are not an atheist, you are a humanist

    There is a big difference, and you should tell people the truth. Humanism is a religion, though the Humanist Manifesto and enlightenment creed died long ago.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

  3. #33
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    It is a fact of our psychology that our values are egocentric. Reasons.

    Bentham's Axiom of human nature: We first and foremost strive to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

    Valuing: An act of bestowing positive emotion upon an entity, or simply feeling good about it.

    Betham's axiom shows that our drives are first and foremost about what makes us feel good. A direct experience of pleasure always intensifies our emotions more than an indirect. In other words, we are made happier by eating chocolate ourselves rather than by hearing about somebody else eating chocolate.The same principle applies to all other pleasures. Altogether we tend to value our own happiness more than that of others.

    Hence, as a result, it is very natural for us to value our own happiness more than that of our descendants.
    Should I also value the happiness of you more than the happiness of your descendants?
    wails from the crypt.

  4. #34
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    The big problem here is that while atheists think that they are the enlightened ones and that they know better, there are many more Christians that think the same about themselves. Take a look around. People who think they know better than others about one thing or another are pretty ubiquitous. What makes atheists think that their possessing 'knowledge of the truth' is new or even significant? :rolli:

    You know how annoying those evangelist street preachers are, right? The ones that stand outside pubs at 1am on a Friday night telling us 'the truth' we need to know about Jesus. Imagine what it would feel like for Christians if you stood outside a church after Sunday service and gave them your special message of 'truth'. Because that's essentially what is being advocated here by Dennett.

  5. #35
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    The big problem here is that while atheists think that they are the enlightened ones and that they know better, there are many more Christians that think the same about themselves. Take a look around. People who think they know better than others about one thing or another are pretty ubiquitous. What makes atheists think that their possessing 'knowledge of the truth' is a new or even significant? :rolli:

    You know how annoying those evangelist street preachers are, right? The ones that stand outside pubs at 1am on a Friday night telling us 'the truth' we need to know about Jesus. Imagine what it would feel like for Christians if you stood outside a church after Sunday service and gave them your special message of 'truth'. Because that's essentially what is being advocated here by Dennett.
    Dennett advocates writing about the truth to the masses. He insists on persuading them by reason. He does not advocate on forcing his views on others by being intrusive. There is a big difference between following somebody around and yelling your message out to them, or shoving your documents in their face and simply writing a book about what you have to say.

    If you are doing one, it is much easier for a person who does not want to hear about your views to ignore you. If you are doing the other, doing so is substantially more difficult. In summary, Dennett does advocate revealing what what he thinks the truth is to others, however there are important differences between him and the evangelists. He supports his views with arguments and scientific discoveries. The evangelists do not. He is also much less intrusive.

    That is off point however. My question is as follows; is Dennett still too intrusive? Is it a good idea to mess with people's lives, even if we have every reason to believe that we have the truth. In other words, is Dennett's work really doing more good than harm?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Summary:Your suggestion, as I understand it is that it does harm by being intrusive, as he is being intrusive in the similar sense as Evangelists are. My retort to this is that he is much less intrusive than they are, therefore less hamrful in this regard. Secondly he is less harmful than the evangelists because there are more good reasons to believe that his message is true than that of the evangelists is.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  6. #36
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Dennett advocates writing about the truth to the masses. He insists on persuading them by reason. He does not advocate on forcing his views on others by being intrusive. There is a big difference between following somebody around and yelling your message out to them, or shoving your documents in their face and simply writing a book about what you have to say.

    If you are doing one, it is much easier for a person who does not want to hear about your views to ignore you. If you are doing the other, doing so is substantially more difficult. In summary, Dennett does advocate revealing what what he thinks the truth is to others, however there are important differences between him and the evangelists. He supports his views with arguments and scientific discoveries. The evangelists do not. He is also much less intrusive.

    That is off point however. My question is as follows; is Dennett still too intrusive? Is it a good idea to mess with people's lives, even if we have every reason to believe that we have the truth. In other words, is Dennett's work really doing more good than harm?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Summary:Your suggestion, as I understand it is that it does harm by being intrusive, as he is being intrusive in the similar sense as Evangelists are. My retort to this is that he is much less intrusive than they are, therefore less hamrful in this regard. Secondly he is less harmful than the evangelists because there are more good reasons to believe that his message is true than that of the evangelists is.
    Fair enough. I don't know enough about his views I only meant to caution by use of example.

    My point was that, its not important what you base your views on because they are both sides see theirs' as fundamental truths. The religious may base their views on a profound and inherent faith. Dennett bases his on rational fact. Each will say their truth is undeniable and we are left with a stalemate. You cannot weigh faith against reason - its apples and oranges. Or in philosophical terms, fighting (what is viewed as) a priori knowledge with an a posteriori argument. Reason has little place in religion. Its pointless to use it to persuade the religious. Its like trying to convince pacificists to go to war by beating them up.

    I think there is nothing wrong with attempting to persuade others but it must be done with respect and with their consent. It certainly may be of assistance to people who are struggling with their beliefs and seek advice. And I also think the evangelists should be able to if they also keep to the same standards. But what troubles me are people that make their anti-religious views a campaign, such as Bill Maher (not that I've seen Religulous). I hate when it becomes, "lets all laugh at the foolish religious people and their ignorant backward beliefs". Religion discussion is a minefield that should not be attempted without respect.

    I ultimately thing that when it comes to religion views we must emphasize that they are beliefs not fundamental truths. People are entitled to express their religious beliefs but publically attacking and undermining those of others (if those beliefs are not harmful or discriminatory) is wrong to me.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    There is a big difference, and you should tell people the truth. Humanism is a religion, though the Humanist Manifesto and enlightenment creed died long ago.
    Scientology, for instance, is registered in many parts of the world as a religion, but as far as I know, humanism is registered nowhere in the world as a religion.

    Think about it.

  8. #38
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    That is off point however. My question is as follows; is Dennett still too intrusive? Is it a good idea to mess with people's lives, even if we have every reason to believe that we have the truth. In other words, is Dennett's work really doing more good than harm?
    I personally was not put off by Dennett, I am put off by Harris. The demeanor is entirely different; and in regards to the street preacher thing vs Dennett, it's pretty clear that shouting in someone's face whether or not they've "agreed" to listen is different than writing a book that the reader has to agree (i.e., move into a partnership with the author) to open and read, the reader has control over the exchange.

    While Harris is also a writer, I think demeanor is more important there. I often get a sense of disdain from him that seems to drive his work, where Dennett is more about making the supported argument rather than a personal repudiation.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I personally was not put off by Dennett, I am put off by Harris. The demeanor is entirely different; and in regards to the street preacher thing vs Dennett, it's pretty clear that shouting in someone's face whether or not they've "agreed" to listen is different than writing a book that the reader has to agree (i.e., move into a partnership with the author) to open and read, the reader has control over the exchange.

    While Harris is also a writer, I think demeanor is more important there. I often get a sense of disdain from him that seems to drive his work, where Dennett is more about making the supported argument rather than a personal repudiation.
    Sam Harris strikes me as the sanest of the atheists.

    He is well informed and he understands the mystical tradition from the inside.

    And he is effortlessly intelligent and speaks the language of the day.

    If I saw atheists as my enemy, I would most fear Sam Harris.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Sam Harris strikes me as the sanest of the atheists.
    He is well informed and he understands the mystical tradition from the inside.
    And he is effortlessly intelligent and speaks the language of the day.
    If I saw atheists as my enemy, I would most fear Sam Harris.
    Actually, not in the least.
    He's not dangerous at all because he has made himself ineffective.

    Since he takes such an extreme tack, he only wins over people who already agree with him and will never make headway against those who oppose him. He gives them more than enough fodder to just dismiss him outright. And that is exactly what they've done -- they branded him a hard-core atheist who hates God, and pretty much all the religious conservatives ignore him.

    I would be FAR more scared of someone who could get his enemies to listen to him.

    (and frankly, it's nothing to be "scared" about... this is about what's true, right? Not about what people want to be true? People are only scared because they're more worried about protecting what they have rather than making sure what they have is correct.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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