Study asks 'does it really matter if God exists?'

Sep 30, 2013
Philosophers evaluate all sides of one of life’s biggest questions

A new study published by Professor Klaas Kraay explores value of God's existence. This area of focus is also the crux of a two-year research project funded by one of the largest philosophy grants in Canada.

In today's society where social media and technology seem to dominate how people communicate, does – or God – really matter? Ryerson researchers are exploring all sides of one of life's biggest questions in a new research project funded by one of the largest philosophy grants in Canada.

"Religion has been an important part of human history for centuries, and belief in God is very much alive today", says Klaas Kraay, a professor in Ryerson University's Department of Philosophy and the leader of a two-year research project funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

"Through our research, we hope to clarify our intuitions about the difference in value that God's existence makes (or would make) to our lives and to the world around us," he adds. Although plenty of debate and research has been done on God's existence by scholars worldwide, there has been less research focus on the value of God's existence, which is the main reason why Kraay was awarded the $199,000 grant from the U.S.-based foundation.

As part of the project, Kraay and his co-author, Ryerson master's student Chris Dragos, published a paper this month in the prestigious Canadian Journal of Philosophy that debates whether God's existence does matter.

In the paper, the researchers criticize the claims made by renowned University of Oxford scholar Guy Kahane, who has argued that God's existence would make the world a far worse place in some respects, and would make some people's lives meaningless and absurd.

To refute his argument, Kraay and Dragos propose that philosophers should evaluate the best arguments for and against four key positions:

  • Pro-theism: If God existed, the world would be a better place to live.
  • Anti-theism: God's existence would make the world a worse place.
  • Indifferentism: God's existence would not make the world either better or worse.
  • Agnosticism: The effect of God's existence on the world's value cannot be determined.

"People seem to have strong intuitions and feelings about these four positions," says Kraay. "However, this grant will enable us to move beyond intuition and feelings and into rigorous arguments about all aspects of this important issue."

The grant from the John Templeton Foundation will support several visiting research fellows who will conduct research on these four major themes and publish papers in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Public events and a two-day research conference will also be held in 2015 featuring internationally renowned philosophers who will discuss whether God's existence matters.

Explore further: Scientists seen as competent but not trusted by Americans

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mvg
3 / 5 (8) Sep 30, 2013
Perhaps the most pertinent question (and one not brought up in this article) would be:

Does God have an active interest in His creation?
LariAnn
1.9 / 5 (17) Sep 30, 2013
I wonder about the value of this study because the answer to each of the four positions depends on what the nature of the "God" in question is. Since religions can vary widely both in the nature of their God and of his/her/its involvement in human activity, the result of this study may turn out to be way too general to be applicable to real-life human populations. To give some examples - one concept I have is that "God" is the sum total of all primal or quantum level energy. To say that if such energy did not exist, it would not matter to the world would be sheer and absolute nonsense! (Yes, there is a pun in there). But if the "God" in question is proposed as a vengeful, dictatorial and anthropomorphic, cosmically powerful entity, then it seems certain that the world would be far better off without him/her/it.

As for Guy Kahane's claim, if God does not exist, then to me it is certain that ALL people's lives are meaningless and absurd. But my concern above also applies here.
Gyrene251
3.4 / 5 (17) Sep 30, 2013
Garbage research since it makes an assumption that god exists. That point is certainly contentious. It appears to be souped up version of Pascal's Wager. An argument can also be made that religion is not necessary as a foundation for human values.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.1 / 5 (7) Sep 30, 2013
That the science trolling apologist organization Templeton Foundation would find philosophers willing to try to explain away the problem of "evil" that christianism 'omnipotent' magic has is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that they are afraid to analyze the main key position of skepticism.

More surprising is that they try to pawn off philosophy as 'science', despite that few will be fooled by such a ruse.

Also, the ship has sailed on this as a science question. The inflationary standard cosmology showed that the universe is a result of a spontaneous process nearly 10 years ago.

And we now know that no universe that support life (Friedmann universes: homogeneous, so long lived enough, and isotropic, so consistent physics) can have any magic action involved. It turned out that similarly to biology (universal common ancestry, not species creationism), magic was the worst possible idea for how the world works!
Doug_Huffman
2.4 / 5 (17) Sep 30, 2013
The supernatural is unfalsifiable nonsense. The effects of the belief in the supernatural are not and have been debated and abused since Plato's mis-named Republic (better Civil-corporation).

Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2013
@LariAnn: Certainly one can make a humanist (but not parsimonious scientist) appeal to pantheism. But that is also equal to solipsism, since you can append the appeal to anything.

Note that there isn't any quantum "energy" as such, our universe (and actually all Friedmann universes) are total zero energy. The total energy doesn't exist (sums to zero), or we couldn't have a universe. So it matters that such energy doesn't exist, it matters for *everything*. An energy pantheism is exactly nothing, like the universe is in such a sense.

Instead system histories (wavefunctions) obey an action principle to preserve physics. This means that universes can fluctuate out of the quantum void (which contains nothing but the embodiment of the action principle, aka system histories). There can be no overarching 'principle', the sum of all system histories are just the sum of all system histories (aka the quantum void and the universes).
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Sep 30, 2013
[cont] Interestingly, universes appears out of the void as resonances, "fuzzy instantons", see Hawking's no-boundary cosmology, which most often will be the inflationary universes we see. [ http://arxiv.org/...91v2.pdf ]
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (9) Sep 30, 2013
Wouldn't the god under consideration bias the participants? I know gods that I would favor over the psychotic, attention whore xtian brand

Funded by the TEMPLEtons. Any irony in that?
kochevnik
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 30, 2013
As for Guy Kahane's claim, if God does not exist, then to me it is certain that ALL people's lives are meaningless and absurd. But my concern above also applies here.
You confuse your life with the life of anyone else, of which you apparently have no clue. Meaning is placing values on actions. If you're waiting for your invisible skyfairy to make the decisions, you won't live long. Or perhaps you go about the actions but allow an invisible, imaginary friend to place values on them. In that case you're in a downward mental spiral
Squirrel
2.4 / 5 (16) Sep 30, 2013
Whose God?

Seven billion of us--seven billion ideas about God, whether s/he in fact exists, what value God might or not have--seven billion multiplied by the number of times each of us alive at this moment as we change our ideas about God consistently or inconsistently with earlier ideas ones.

We should be very thankful a Canadian prof has a privileged knowledge about God (he is paid enough) denied to the other seven billion other humans that make up humanity.
hemitite
1 / 5 (12) Sep 30, 2013
Gee, how could it possibly matter that there is a ground to existence?
BAKOON
2.6 / 5 (25) Sep 30, 2013
Franklins is a good example of why the comments section needs regular moderation.
kochevnik
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 30, 2013
We should be very thankful a Canadian prof has a privileged knowledge about God (he is paid enough) denied to the other seven billion other humans that make up humanity.
Yes in the most diminutive sense, anyone or anything with an unmatched skill is godlike. Magician Anatoly Nemetov gives every outward appearance of godlike ability. Any visitor from a more advanced civilization would be godlike. Animals like tigers and lions and wolves and bears were gods before man completely dominated them. There are as many gods as living organisms on the planet, as each has a unique, unmatched skill
jackjump
1 / 5 (15) Sep 30, 2013
From whose point of view, God's , our's or the other life on the planet's? Shouldn't we also first determine what kind of God He is? Is he an old testament God, possessive, strict, and vengeful, a new testament God, loving and forgiving, just a bemused indifferent observer or is he The Force from Star Wars?

Personally I suspect God created a Universe full of stars as collection points for cold bright matter which accumulate around the stars and which we call planets. In fact we're just scum that accumulates on the surface of planets and as such are a bother to clean up. Better hope for a loving, forgiving God.
RobertKarlStonjek
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 30, 2013
Curiously, they have already decided on monotheism and an anthropomorphic (human-like) God (Abrahamic version of God).

Altogether there are some 10,000 different Gods. The world's biggest democracy, India, for instance, is predominantly Hindu which has multiple Gods of both sexes.

This is not a study of God but a study of existing western philosophical (predominantly Christian) positions on God and therefore has no global or universal significance.

For instance 'Pro-theism', 'Anti-theism', 'Indifferentism' and 'Agnosticism' are philosophical positions and have no relevance to psychology, anthropology, theology or other religious studies ~ it has relevance only to philosophy. Most believers (Abrahamic traditions), for instance, think that the benefit of God's existence is most noticeable in the afterlife. This position is not even mentioned in the four key philosophical positions thus making them all but totally irrelevant to believers and sceptics alike.
RobertKarlStonjek
4 / 5 (4) Sep 30, 2013
"..does religion – or God – really matter?"

This indicates the irrelevance of the scope of the study: many people who believe in God or 'something beyond the material' do not belong to any religion at all and some religions, particularly Buddhism, do not include 'God' in any of their doctrine or belief system...
Code_Warrior
2.1 / 5 (11) Sep 30, 2013
Does God really matter? To those who believe, yes, very much. To those who don't, it depends. It seems to me that if God didn't matter, then there would be nothing to be gained by being intolerant of the idea because it doesn't matter anyway. The fact that the mention of God on this site tends to bring out strong emotions on both sides seems to indicate that God does matter.
rwinners
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 30, 2013
Nope.

We will all find out... or not.... sooner or later.
Neinsense99
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 01, 2013
Apparently the mortal comments will be hereafter moderated in the heavenly archives. Nobody seems to be paying attention now.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (11) Oct 01, 2013
Of course he doesn't. If he did, then where is he? I couldn't see him when I looked up at the clouds earlier. You'd think he'd be up there with his fairy wand, but he isn't. lol
infiniteMadness
2.1 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
There's ONE argument the believers cannot run from.

The truth.

And if theres one thing science delivers, it's facts based on observable data, not imaginary gods. And thats what humanity needs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (9) Oct 01, 2013
Ahaaahaaaahaaaaa a philo gets a $200k grant - not to research whether or not the bookgods are real, which he is certainly not qualified to do, but whether the belief in these gods has any value.

And to do this does he amass data on the consequences of wishful thinking and endemic bigotry and oppression toward women and unbelievers? Does he compare growth rates of religion-based cultures and the resulting violence this causes vs cultures which have managed to throw off the yoke and now enjoy enduring peace?

No. He throws out a nice list of -isms which OTHER philos are supposed to use to answer his questions for him. But of course they won't, instead adding to the endless and pointless discourse which is the bread and butter of this empty discipline.

Which is why philosophy is the hobbled stepson of religion. Grants such as this are welfare for academic place-holders until admins can find more suitable occupants for their oak-paneled offices.

Outrageous.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (9) Oct 01, 2013
The supernatural is unfalsifiable nonsense. The effects of the belief in the supernatural are not and have been debated and abused since Plato's mis-named Republic (better Civil-corporation)
Deistic gods cannot be disproved which is why philos love them so much. But the theistic gods, the gods of the books, have been thoroughly falsified. Science has shown us that none of the bible stories ever happened, and that the books themselves are riddled with adulterations, forgeries, graffiti, and fundamental misconceptions regarding natural laws.

The god who wrote these books either obliterated evidence and replaced it with counter-evidence, in which case he is a deceiver, or he was simply unaware of the goings-on in the realm he created, in which case he is incompetent. In either case he is not the perfect paragon the books SAY he is, and cannot therefore exist.

Does god deceive the flock in order to find out how much they TRUST him? Believers must ask themselves this question.
julianpenrod
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 01, 2013
Among other things, the title is misleading, since, to determine if the presence of God has any importance would require the "study" to be able to end God's presence, which they cannot do. Yes, it does appear that it is being asked if humans can "get along", however that term is meant, without acceptance of the presence of God. And, yes, it doesn't even do that since it seems to isolate its interest in the answer to whether people believe, without grounds, if the presence of God makes things better. And, frankly, they fail there, too, since they should apply the question if God makes some things better and some worse. That question, incidentally, will indicate that craven and corrupt, since they always are punished and never see it as a reasonable thing.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) Oct 01, 2013
With regards to mvg claiming the real question is whether God interacts with the universe, it may be meaningless. Particle physical claims the state of a particle under certain events, when it is observed somehow instantaneously, without interaction, maybe even without a signal between them, results in another particle, created at the same moment, to take on a diametrically opposed nature. The mere presence of God, even without directly acting, can be at least presumed no less potent.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
But, the fact is, I have repeatedly described how to actually see real, provable and even convincing interaction with God. Undergo the sea change, act scrupulously and ethically, seek the betterment of yourself and the world and do it because you know it's right, not for any benefit it will give you, do not cut corners, realize the danger of any malignant stance, even as meager as pettiness, and you will see God's interaction in your life. But "science" devotees roundly refused and mocked what I said, which means, among other things, they do not ever intend to act ethically, without ulterior or prurient motive, to improve the world or themselves. And what manner of person is it who so contemptuously proclaims the intent to necessarily embrace that kind of ethic?
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
Yes, it does.
"t is nonetheless true that many researchers believe that religion promotes both physical and mental health. For many religious people, faith provides a source of hope and companionship with like-minded believers. Furthermore, Mr. Dawkins' belief that religion is one of the world's great evils is also untrue. Yes, evil things have been done in the name of religion. But, as John Tures reports in Pacific Standard, the vast majority of wars since 1648 (when the Peace of Westphalia was signed) were due to power and land grabs and regime change, not religion. "
http://www.realcl...ion.html
And if theres one thing science delivers, it's facts based on observable data, not imaginary gods. And thats what humanity needs.

That's YOUR value.
Eugenic scientists valued perfection and murdered to obtain it.
kochevnik
2.2 / 5 (10) Oct 01, 2013
@julianpenrod But, the fact is, I have repeatedly described how to actually see real, provable and even convincing interaction with God.
Yes eat a diet of locusts and magic mushrooms or smoke opium as the saints did and you too will see god! Or dog at least....
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (9) Oct 01, 2013
craven and corrupt, since they always are punished and never see it as a reasonable thing
Well this is easy to address. What is more craven and corrupt than to convince people to lay down their lives for a god that doesnt exist? What is more abominable than to condemn people as evil who only choose not to believe in a god who leaves absolutely no evidence for his existence, when there should be scads of it?

If the craven and corrupt should be punished then we should at least make god-based institutions pay taxes. That should hurt a little yes?
With regards to mvg claiming the real question is whether God interacts with the universe, it may be meaningless
Meaningless? Gods direct intervention in the discourse of his own natural laws is essential to granting wishes and bestowing immortality. If god doesnt interact then he doesnt exist.

And myriad statistical trials and examinations have provided no evidence that prayer is any more effective than luck or a good placebo.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 01, 2013
Eugenic scientists valued perfection and murdered to obtain it
The nation of israel: god repeatedly tempted them and culled the weak in his quest for perfection, or at least total submission. 'The meek shall inherit the earth' - a goal and a promise.

Eugenics - the religious notion of a chosen people.
"'Protestants proved the most enthusiastic and numerically powerful group of religious participants in eugenics movements. Supporters ranged from high-ranking clerics to small town ministers in the Methodist, Unitarian, Congregational, Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches..."

"Reformed Rabbis especially enthusiastically embraced Darwinian evolution and, likewise, widely accepted eugenics. Many Jews and some Christians also utilized biblical accounts to support eugenics. Rabbi Max Reichler cited the Mosaic Law as proof of biblical justification for eugenics. 'Abraham insisted that the wife of his "only beloved son" should be from the seed of a superior stock.'"
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 01, 2013
Eugenics - the religious notion of a chosen people.

It IS a SCIENCE based notion that genetic engineering can improve people.
And the problem is when the eugenics scientists subjectively pick and choose the human characteristics THEY like.
Eugenicists like Sanger didn't like blacks and promoted abortion of blacks.
Other eugenicists didn't like Jews or gypsies so they must be purged from the human gene pool.
nowhere
5 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2013
It (eugenics) IS a SCIENCE based notion that genetic engineering can improve people.

Incorrect. It is a social philosophy, not a science based notion.

And the problem is when the eugenics scientists subjectively pick and choose the human characteristics THEY like.

Err no, the problem isn't with the specific characteristics discriminated against, but rather the act of discrimination itself.

Eugenicists like Sanger didn't like blacks and promoted abortion of blacks.

Here we see eugenics, a social philosophy, used to promote racism.

Other eugenicists didn't like Jews or gypsies so they must be purged from the human gene pool.

Here again we see eugenics as a means of enforcing social discrimination.

Eugenics is a failed philosophy because it is morally wrong.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 02, 2013
Eugenicists didn't like blacks and Jews
Religionists like mormons and the KKK and most ALL of them didn't like these people a few gens ago. Bigotry is codified in the bible. The holy books are where most people get their notions of who to hate and why.

The descendents of Ham and Shem and Cain and amalek were all selectively vilified. Noah said kill the amalakites while Joshua hunted canaanites. You xians hunted Jews for centuries because John said they killed your godman.

Tribalism - internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity - while socially unacceptable in today's world - is a normal human state. Western culture goes to great lengths to suppress it. But religions resist this because they are based upon it. Jesus said that unbelievers are evil. Joshua showed what needed to be done with them.

Outgrowing their counterparts and overrunning them is what the surviving religions are designed to do. This is a form of evolution.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 02, 2013
Genetic engineering was not even a dream when eugenics was given it's name. Sorry ryggy they are two entirely different things and it is very irresponsible of you religionists to suggest that they are not.

The holy books and their agencies have been selectively breeding people for millennia by identifying those who could not conform, and culling them.

The dynamics of the tribe domesticated the species. Religion turned this process into a science, with spectacular results.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
"It is important to understand the cultural background of the era that created this field of science."
"the idea of Social Darwinism became popular and was used to explain these social inequalities. Social Darwinism utilizes the concept of natural selection from Charles Darwin and applies it to society. Social Darwinism explains survival of the fittest in terms of the capability of an individual to survive within a competitive environment. This explains social inequalities by explaining that the wealthy are better individuals and therefore better suited to survive in the uncertain economy. In terms of survival of the fittest the wealthy are more likely to survive and produce more offspring than the poor. "
"Eugenicists believed genetics were the cause of problems for the human gene pool"
https://people.cr...nics.htm
Eugenics is a failed philosophy because it is morally wrong.

Why is it morally wrong? It's science.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 02, 2013
This is morally wrong:

"The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity.  So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever."   (Ezra 9:10-12)

-Religionists would call it 'science'.

As far as genetic engineering goes, it is morally wrong to bear children with downs syndrome or cleft palates or missing diaphragms or epilepsy if these things can be repaired genetically; even though many religionists will tell you this is tampering with the will of god. And if they had the power to prevent this they would do so, which is why it is a moral imperative to ensure that they do not ever GET that power.

Islamists thought polio vaccines were immoral.
brt
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
This is stupid and shallow topic to research, but that's what the John Tempelton Foundation does.
Mr_Science
2.1 / 5 (15) Oct 02, 2013
The article starts out with "one of the largest philosophy grants in Canada". Therefore, cannot be science.

Philosophy
Noun
: The study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.

Science
Noun
: Knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Even for social science this is stretching it. This article should never have been published on a science website to begin with.

Judging from the comments above, anyone that thinks this article is science also believes Eugenicists is science. This would explain the hatred of real science in the world. Eugenicists used basic scientific ideas to prove their claims. This is just like religions have used their basic beliefs to prove some people should be killed. Both have been misused and misrepresented many times over. The end result has never been good on either side. However, once again that is a matter of philosophy and not science.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
Both have been misused and misrepresented many times over.

On what basis is any science misused?
Science is amoral.
One can point to a religious commandment condemning murder and if people mujrder they violate what the religion values.
What is the scientific law condemning murder?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
"Professor Jonathan Glover, the British philosopher and ethicist, who said: "Dennis started by saying that I hadn't denied his central contention that if there isn't a God, there is only subjective morality. And that's absolutely true.""
"And the eminent Princeton philosopher Richard Rorty admitted that for secular liberals such as himself, "there is no answer to the question, 'Why not be cruel?'""
"The Oliners, it should be noted, are secular, not religious, Jews; they had no religious agenda.

I asked Samuel Oliner, "Knowing all you now know about who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, if you had to return as a Jew to Poland and you could knock on the door of only one person in the hope that they would rescue you, would you knock on the door of a Polish lawyer, a Polish doctor, a Polish artist or a Polish priest?"

Without hesitation, he said, "a Polish priest." And his wife immediately added, "I would prefer a Polish nun."
http://www.realcl...1/a_resp
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
"Nowhere in the West today is anti-Americanism and Israel-hatred as widespread as it is at universities. And Princeton University awarded its first tenured professorship in bioethics to Peter Singer, an atheist who has argued, among other things, that that "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee" and that bestiality is not immoral.

Dawkins and his supporters have a right to their atheism. They do not have a right to intellectual dishonesty about atheism.

I have debated the best known atheists, including the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss ("A Universe from Nothing") and Daniel Dennett. Only Richard Dawkins has refused to come on my radio show.

Read more: http://www.realcl...gaKdSb4F
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter
kochevnik
1 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2013
"Nowhere in the West today is anti-Americanism and Israel-hatred as widespread as it is at universities
Yes because you haven't completely destroyed all the Middle Eastern governments yet and stolen enough oil
Mr_Science
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
On what basis is any science misused?

That would be up to the law of the land and philosophy. Not science. The law of my land says it's misused.
Science is amoral.

Correct
What is the scientific law condemning murder?

As you said yourself, science is amoral therefore the idea of a science condemning is null and void. You do not understand what science is if you think it can. Science has never had any moral basis for anything. I encourage you and anyone else to study science, not conjecture. Pure science has never had any goals. Except one, knowledge and understanding of facts that are evidence based. You are confusing science with a belief system.
One can point to a religious commandment condemning murder and if people mujrder they violate what the religion values.

Correct, but it is done every day and has been from the beginning of known religions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 02, 2013
One can point to a religious commandment condemning murder and if people mujrder they violate what the religion values.
What is the scientific law condemning murder?
Murder within the tribe weakens social cohesion and hence reduces its ability to organize concerted actions against enemy tribes. Murder within the tribe would thus be selected against. Tribes which allowed murder within their ranks would tend to be overcome by tribes that did not.

However, killing members of other tribes, as for example the israelites in butchering anyone they encountered during their rampage through the holy land, would increase cohesion within the tribe and enhance its chances of success and survival.

This is how science explains morality ryggy. Murder has always been a highly subjective endeavor. Your book condemns it while encouraging and demanding it elsewhere.

"Birom Christians eat Roasted flesh of Muslims they Killed in Jos, Nigeria"
Mr_Science
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2013
@TheGhostofOtto1923

While you can use science as the basis for a moral standing, the moral standing it's self is not science. Yes, science my show evidence murder is a bad thing for a community. However, that does not mean science says not to.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2013
science my show evidence murder is a bad thing for a community.

Define what is 'good' and 'bad' for a community.
Nature is indifferent to whether any community or species survives.

You are confusing science with a belief system.

I don't, but many here do.

Tribes which allowed murder within their ranks would tend to be overcome by tribes that did not.

From an objective POV, that is just another scientific observation. What is 'good' or 'bad' about it?
Mr_Science
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2013
science my show evidence murder is a bad thing for a community.

Define what is 'good' and 'bad' for a community.
Nature is indifferent to whether any community or species survives.

The assumption of course is the community's goal is to survive.

I can see this topic is going way astray and somehow I got sucked into it as well. Shame on me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2013
the moral standing it's self is not science... However, that does not mean science says not to
Science is the examination of physical processes. There is nothing which exists that is not physical. Science therefore can and does tell us about the source and nature of morality.

In a tribe, someone who violates tribal law including transgressions against fellow members will be punished. Tribes which do not enforce tribal law and allow lawlessness cannot act effectively as a group against tribes with stronger internal bonds based upon mutual trust and a willingness to sacrifice for each other. Religion is merely the codification of this activity for extension over ever larger and more disparate groups. Religion is an evolved technology.

The tribal dynamic is eminently accessible to scientific inquiry as it is entirely biological.
http://rechten.el...RID2.pdf
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 02, 2013
Nature is indifferent to whether any community or species survives
There is no substance in this declaration of yours whatsoever. If you made it from a religionist point of view, implying that 'if there is no god then why should we live?' then you must ask yourself how humanity survived for 300k years before your little godman finally showed up? Thousands of gens of happy, prolific people making families and providing for them without any notion that there was some great cowboy with the reins of the universe in his hands.

Okay I got a little flowery there. People havent needed the godhead for most of their existence and will do quite well (no, much much better) when he is gone.

Heaven will not come to earth until god leaves it.
this topic is going way astray
There wasnt much of a topic there to begin with.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (15) Oct 02, 2013
The assumption of course is the community's goal is to survive.

This is what many 'liberals' say, they must act to 'save humanity' regardless of the number of individual humans that must be sacrificed.
Which is more important, the state, the society, or the individual?
The US Declaration of Independence summarized the thoughts of many asserting the inherent rights of the individual, from the Creator, were most important.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 02, 2013
This is what many 'liberals' say, they must act to 'save humanity' regardless of the number of individual humans that must be sacrificed
-while religionists care little for saving humanity in this life, as heaven is so much more important isnt it? And so they are content to encouraging their flock to reproduce to excess and then to expend idle starving generations in battle, all to preserve their own place in the afterlife. A little selfish dont you think?
from the Creator, were most important
But as we now know the 'creator' as described in your books cannot and does not exist, we can thus dispense with that phrase cant we? Because hermeneutics, exegesis, archeology, physics, geology, evolutionary biology, etcetc have shown us that if he exists then he is an incompetent liar, and that we certainly oughtnt to be basing legal documents concerned with human rights on such a flawed and embarrassing standard.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 02, 2013
Hey ryggy ever see this?
http://www.orator...of-john/

'The disciple jesus loved' indeed. From that page:

"It was proper that we end this series of catecheses with this figure as it represent the CLIMAX (emphasis mine) of discipleship which is the call for each and every one of us."

-How much clearer can it be?? Jesus the soft-spoken, sandal-wearing lovegod who travelled with his all-male entourage (including his special friend there), and his mother (who managed by the way to give birth without ever having been sullied by the touch of a man?)

-What problematic subgroup would be more willing to protect the institution which gave them refuge, safe to pursue their unique lifestyles behind the thick walls of monasteries and convents?

Your god and his entire life story was DESIGNED to attract gays to the clergy. Perhaps it wasnt this way in the beginning, but it is OBVIOUS how it turned out.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 02, 2013
"...a controversial report carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica links Pope Benedict XVI's resignation to the existence of blackmail and a gay lobby...

"...the Vatican has something to hide: is the Vatican trying to cover up homosexuality within the institution? Is the pope himself, perhaps, gay?

"La Repubblica said that the cardinals describe a number of factions within the Vatican, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation" — a fancy way of saying a gay lobby... some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature" — a clear reference to blackmail..."

[Pope francis] first dispensed with his predecessors' distaste for the very word "gay". "Who am I to judge?"

-But it appears upon critical examination that the church itself was configured expressly to foster this lifestyle AT THE CORE; its characters, its philosophy, its garments, its living accomodations; everything.
nowhere
not rated yet Oct 03, 2013
Eugenics is a failed philosophy because it is morally wrong.

Why is it morally wrong?

Don't you understand why discrimination is wrong?

It's science

Incorrect. Philosophy isn't science.
nowhere
4 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2013
Both have been misused and misrepresented many times over.

On what basis is any science misused?
Science is amoral.

Bad question. Science grants knowledge, and knowledge is power. Any form of power can be misused, even though power itself is amoral.

One can point to a religious commandment condemning murder and if people mujrder they violate what the religion values.

And are punished for that violation. It is the selfish gene of self preservation that upholds morals.

What is the scientific law condemning murder?

It is not a scientific law, but rather a logical deduction that identifies murder is wrong. This is true for all morals.
nowhere
not rated yet Oct 03, 2013
Which is more important, the state, the society, or the individual?

First we establish the individuals importance. An individual is however ill equipped to deal with survival on his own, and thus many individuals form a society. For a society to function, and from the interaction of a society, morality is developed. To uphold morality and to structure the society, a state is formed, which creates laws and regulations which it enforces. It is therefore logical to say they are all important as they are all interdependent.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 03, 2013
It is therefore logical to say they are all important as they are all interdependent.

Without the individual their is no society or state.
When the society and state don't respect and support the individual, the society and state disintegrate.
Don't you understand why discrimination is wrong?

Depends upon the discrimination.
What is the scientific support for for anything being wrong?
nowhere
not rated yet Oct 04, 2013
It is therefore logical to say they are all important as they are all interdependent.

Without the individual their is no society or state.

Yes. This is why we initially established the individuals importance.

When the society and state don't respect and support the individual, the society and state disintegrate.

Yes. And when the individual doesn't function effectively within the society or abide the states regulations and laws, the society is disrupted. This effects all the individuals that make up the society. If too many individuals follow this route, eventually the society fails.

What is the scientific support for for anything being wrong?

Any scientific process that identifies a deviation relative to an expected result. For example, it was scientifically determined that mars has less water than expected. Therefore the scientific process that was followed supports the fact that our expectations were wrong.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 04, 2013
Therefore the scientific process that was followed supports the fact that our expectations were wrong.


A better word is the expectations were not correct.

How does science decide what human behavior is right or wrong? Science can document the results but has nothing to say about the value of 'right' or 'wrong'.
And when the individual doesn't function effectively within the society or abide the states regulations and laws, the society is disrupted.

Depends upon what the laws are.
If the law violates the property rights of the individual, it is only right and proper for the individual to oppose such laws which will lead to a better, more productive society.
kochevnik
2.2 / 5 (6) Oct 04, 2013
@ryggie If the law violates the property rights of the individual, it is only right and proper for the individual to oppose such laws which will lead to a better, more productive society.
There is scant evidence that making the property rights of an individual sacred "will lead to a better, more productive society." That's merely your libertarian religion with no rigorous backing. There is a lot of evidence, in contrast, that sharing and cooperation are far more important
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 04, 2013
There is scant evidence that making the property rights of an individual sacred "will lead to a better, more productive society."


There is MUCH evidence showing property rights are required for liberty and property.
" German immigrants to the American colonies had more secure property rights in the 18th century than does a native-
born Venezuelan in the 21st. Is it any wonder that the United States prospers while Venezuela stagnates? "
http://www.cato.o...a482.pdf

There is a lot of evidence, in contrast, that sharing and cooperation are far more important

There is a big difference between forced 'sharing', socialism, and charity.
Only in a society in which property rights are protected will people cooperate and share.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Oct 04, 2013
How does science decide what human behavior is right or wrong? Science can document the results but has nothing to say about the value of 'right' or 'wrong'.
"Murder within the tribe weakens social cohesion and hence reduces its ability to organize concerted actions against enemy tribes. Murder within the tribe would thus be selected against. Tribes which allowed murder within their ranks would tend to be overcome by tribes that did not.

"However, killing members of other tribes, as for example the israelites in butchering anyone they encountered during their rampage through the holy land, would increase cohesion within the tribe and enhance its chances of success and survival.

"This is how science explains morality ryggy." -otto

-And I can understand if you have a hard time recognizing it as science. Because, you know, you really dont want to do you?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Oct 04, 2013
This is how science explains morality ryggy." -otto

No, it does not.
Some societies murdered babies (still do, especially atheistic 'liberal' ones) and Aztecs and Mayans murdered for their reasons.
Science can only document the effects of the acts and can make no comment on the value of the acts.
IF you don't want to be murdered, THEN it would be a good idea not to murder others. Why does science care whether you are murdered or not?
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (12) Oct 04, 2013
It is therefore logical to say they are all important as they are all interdependent.

Without the individual their is no society or state.
When the society and state don't respect and support the individual, the society and state disintegrate.
Don't you understand why discrimination is wrong?

Depends upon the discrimination.
What is the scientific support for for anything being wrong?

For future reference, 'their' indicates possession. 'There' is a location or direction. 'There is' asserts existence.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Oct 04, 2013
For future reference, 'their' indicates possession. 'There' is a location or direction. 'There is' asserts existence.


Really?

Without the individual, there is no society or state.

Happy?
JohnGee
1.3 / 5 (15) Oct 04, 2013
Without the state, life is "nasty, brutish, and short".
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Oct 05, 2013
Without the state, life is "nasty, brutish, and short".

That's the motto of the state of North Korea, nasty, brutal and short.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Oct 05, 2013
Somalia is better being stateless:

"We find that although Somalia is poor, its relative economic performance has improved during its period of statelessness. We describe how Somalia has provided basic law and order and a currency, enabling the country to achieve the coordination that has led to improvements in its standard of living."
http://www.scienc...08001017
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2013
no comment about the value of the acts
-Of course it can. You are just aping a common religionist misconception (lie).

We can assume that a species values survival and propagation. The tribal dynamic, internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity, aids in the success of tribes and as such we have been selected for these behaviors.

Your religions are based on this dynamic. God said 'do not murder' but this apparently does not apply to heathens, wayward women, insolent children, amalakites, canaanites, and their babies. 'Dashing their little heads against the rocks with glee'- ring a bell? Israelites were routinely commanded to kill everything that moved, except sometimes for young virgins.

Only western secular culture is capable of extending intra-tribal altruism to incompass the entire species. Religions are what is PREVENTING this. They CANNOT tolerate a world in which unbelievers exist.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2013
Somalia... Stateless libertarian wonderland
Well al shabab thinks so. A fine group of god-fearing entrepreneurs.

"Islamist fighters in southern Somalia say Western forces have launched a night-time raid on one of their bases.

The militant group al-Shebab told the BBC "white soldiers" had arrived by boat at the port of Barawe and rebels had repulsed them, losing a fighter.

No-one has admitted the attack. US and French special forces have carried out raids in Somalia in recent years.

It is not clear whether it is linked to last month's attack in neighbouring Kenya, which al-Shebab has claimed."

-Easy to do without a state when neighboring countries are willing to come in and enforce your laws for you.
Hev
1 / 5 (1) Oct 05, 2013
why are all my 5 stars turning into one star - is it because support fact that any mention of any gods is not science at all and not worth any sort of scientific grant or research - leave gods for the superstitious who have not moved on in mentality from the stone age
freeiam
1 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2013
Wipipedia proves it's usefulness:
"(…) I disapprove of the Templeton Foundation's attempt to tie theologians to the coat tails of scientists and philosophers who actually do have expertise on this topic. (that materialism is in Dennett's opinion not an obstacle to an ethical life) Many years ago I made the mistake of participating, with some very good scientists, in a conference that pitted us against astrologers and other new age fakes. I learned to my dismay that even though we thoroughly dismantled the opposition, many in the audience ended up, paradoxically, with an increased esteem for astrologers! As one person explained to me "I figured that if you scientists were willing to work this hard to refute it, there must be something to it!" Isn't it obvious to you that the Templeton Foundation is eager to create the very same response in its readers? Do you really feel comfortable being complicit with that project?[80][81][82]--Daniel Dennett"
freeiam
1 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2013
I can add to that that:
"Religion is an scientifically explained phenomenon."
and
"A God or Gods can only be defined as 'that which you inherently cannot know' and hence makes discussion obsolete"
freeiam
1 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2013
"Religion is an scientifically explained phenomenon."
...but which is the historical origin of it is just a pure mystery (it could be the visit of some extraterrestrial civilization or whatever else) ...

It can, just as any other thing you can think of (and cannot prove), but Occam's razor does wonders. Religion can be explained completely on solid scientific grounds.

As to the 'philosophical' question ("about life the universe and everything") posed in this article; the answer is already given: 42
JohnGee
1 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2013
Without the state, life is "nasty, brutish, and short".

That's the motto of the state of North Korea, nasty, brutal and short.


' "In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." '

-Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan speaking on the "State of Nature" i.e. man without government.

I'm not surprised you didn't pick up on the reference. I also know you're one of those "republic not democracy" guys. What do you think the R in DPRK stands for?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2013
I know the reference. Hobbs was wrong.
State of Nature:

Locke: "Men exist in the state of nature in perfect freedom to do what they want. The state of nature is not necessarily good or bad. It is chaotic. So, men do give it up to secure the advantages of civilized society."
Hobbes: "The state of nature is a state of war. No morality exists. Everyone lives in constant fear. Because of this fear, no one is really free, but, since even the "weakest" could kill the "strongest" men ARE equal."
Purpose of govt:
Hobbes: "To impose law and order to prevent the state of war."
Locke: "To secure natural rights, namely man's property and liberty."
Representation:
Hobbes: "Governments are designed to control, not necessarily represent. " {This must be why socialists like Hobbes.}
Locke: "Representation ensures that governments are responsive to the people. Representation is a safeguard against oppression." {Why socialists don't like Locke.}
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2013
Thanks to FDR, Stalin and communism, North Korea is a Hobbesian state.
Thanks to the USA, founded on the principles of Locke, among others, South Korea is a more Lockeian state.
JohnGee
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 06, 2013
No, even though he disagreed on the State of Nature, Locke still very clearly supported the Social Contract, which you vehemently deny. You don't understand what your idols wrote...
State of Nature:

When Locke says "perfect freedom" he doesn't mean that purely positively. Included in that is the freedom to stab your neighbor, steal, murder, etc. They are saying similar things; Hobbes is just more forceful. Neither advocates anarchy.
Purpose of govt:

They are again saying similar things. The government must honor contracts, which a state of nature/war is not adequate for. And there is no empirical evidence for "natural rights" unfortunately. We get the rights we fight for, just as Americans have fought for healthcare recently.

Locke was an evolution of Hobbes. One doesn't have to throw out everything Hobbes said because Locke said some things better.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2013
We get the rights we fight for, just as Americans have fought for healthcare recently.

It can't be a right if the state must violate other rights to protect it.
"every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his." He continues: "The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.""
"people, not rulers, are sovereign. Government, Locke wrote, "can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent.

Read more: http://www.fee.or...gzQZqTHF
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2013
"What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. "
" If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. "
"Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. "
"Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces? "
Obamacare is legal plunder.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2013
"when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. "
"Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests. "
The Law.
Democrats and republicans do not abolish legal plunder, which is why they both oppose tea parties and libertarians for they do want to limit state power and limit legal plunder.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2013
"Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few — whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so. "
"how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. "
"All these plans as a whole — with their common aim of legal plunder — constitute socialism. "
The Law
Obamcare, minimum wage,.....are legal plunder.
pppillai
1 / 5 (9) Oct 06, 2013
As we find ourselves self acutualizing, performing or seeking better, we will assume god to have such attributes and expecting god to be better than sum of all of us as we start defining god, we appear or tend to be protheist if we start examining any of our assumptions, god ought to be bigger than all sum of us, some will agree with us, some will come with new ideas, some may refute may refute some may say irrelevant or nonsense... So we have other groups making sense - still the propositions are bit wide atleast we must be able to explain many perception of god including no god, even if we are pro-god or protheist, for some it may be difficult to accept us, the human or animals or plants as iota of god...but it make sense as we do create and control something it is good to presume to derive certain of these godly qualities, in that sense the atman stands out well inspite of differing religious faith once abstracting out the atman whether it is big atman or the original or the divisible or indivisible interestingly fits well with already used mathematical numbers zero one decimals whole numbers and intuitively the imaginary logic - i then, the I of we is also very interesting... Will god, if existing, will ever think himself as - I
pppillai
1 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2013
I have been contemplating instantaneous communication to keep things together, if god or matter doing that... The speed must be enormous bothways not to be separated or to be together...when we enter brahama yoga state, we are mostly in state singularity, we are the centre of universe, we are the net force... The thought of I is an impulse from the calm substrata.. Each one of us then in a way each universe again integrated by a substrata into one intuitively although
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (8) Oct 08, 2013
A cartoonist's take on the 'planning and logistical challenges' peculiar to Noah and his little Ark project: https://www.youtu...e=relmfu
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (8) Oct 08, 2013
"Religion is an scientifically explained phenomenon."
...but which is the historical origin of it is just a pure mystery (it could be the visit of some extraterrestrial civilization or whatever else) ...

It can, just as any other thing you can think of (and cannot prove), but Occam's razor does wonders. Religion can be explained completely on solid scientific grounds.

As to the 'philosophical' question ("about life the universe and everything") posed in this article; the answer is already given: 42

"So long, and thanks for all the fives!"
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (7) Oct 08, 2013
There is scant evidence that making the property rights of an individual sacred "will lead to a better, more productive society."


There is MUCH evidence showing property rights are required for liberty and property.
" German immigrants to the American colonies had more secure property rights in the 18th century than does a native-
born Venezuelan in the 21st. Is it any wonder that the United States prospers while Venezuela stagnates? "
http://www.cato.o...a482.pdf

There is a lot of evidence, in contrast, that sharing and cooperation are far more important

There is a big difference between forced 'sharing', socialism, and charity.
Only in a society in which property rights are protected will people cooperate and share.

Aside from the egregious cherry-picking and apple-orange comparison, somebody has a very suspicious definition of the term "prospers"....
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (8) Oct 08, 2013
Thanks to FDR, Stalin and communism, North Korea is a Hobbesian state.
Thanks to the USA, founded on the principles of Locke, among others, South Korea is a more Lockeian state.

South Korea had decades of oppressive, corrupt military dictatorship before democracy, also thanks to the protection of the USA. You 'forgot' that, of course. You also forgot the thousands from other countries, and the Koreans themselves, that kept it out from under the Stalinist regime.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Oct 08, 2013
South Korea had decades of oppressive, corrupt military dictatorship before democracy,

How many from the south ran north?
thanks to the protection of the USA


DPRK has the protection of China and, for a time, USSR.

But DPRK is still a state in line with the Hobbesian view of people and FDR and Stalin were prime instigators.