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Re: FT

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  • roy_langston
    ... Now THAT is question begging. What we take to be meant by, right is exactly the conclusion you are assuming. ... That s not my position. My position
    Message 1 of 111 , Nov 15, 2012
      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:

      > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@> wrote:
      > > It is presumptuous for us to assume that we must be right about those practices, and they must have been wrong.
      > Nobody should assume anything. What one should do is consider the activities and see if they comport with what we take to be meant by "right."

      Now THAT is question begging. What "we" take to be meant by, "right" is exactly the conclusion you are assuming.

      > It is a presumption to assume that might (or "success") makes right too.

      That's not my position. My position is that rights aided our ancestors' reproductive success, and THAT IS WHY WE CONSIDER THEM RIGHT. This is not just a learned cultural preference. Infants as young as three months have been shown to have an aversion to unjust behavior. Infants as young as eight months have shown a preference for seeing wrong-doers punished.

      > It makes success, but the claim that success makes right is no more than either an unsupported claim or a change in the meaning of the term.

      Not really. It's a statement about where the concept of "right" -- the uniquely human capacity both to engage in moral reasoning and to be persuaded by it -- comes from.

      > >They didn't do it for no reason, or out of perversity.
      > There are other reasons for doing things than to do what is right. What is the basis for the suggestion that whatever succeeds must be right?

      That's not the suggestion. The suggestion is that the CONCEPT of right -- our capacity to think in terms of right and wrong -- HAS succeeded, and there is no other basis for its existence.

      > >People in our culture have been effectively unanimous in moral judgments that posterity will no doubt consider equally grotesque, such as the evil and insane "War on Drugs," which IMO is an atrocity fully comparable to, if not worse than, exposing sickly infants on hillsides.
      > Not really relevant to anything, but an interesting sermon nonetheless.

      You're not willing to consider the possibility that your view of right and wrong might be parochial. Fine.

      > > > It doesn't really matter what the particular chosen quality is, its evolutionary success can't alone make it "right" from a more general point of view.
      > >
      > > Why not? What else could the concept of "right" possibly be based on, and how else could it persist but by evolutionary success?
      > I think the burden is on you to show that right IS based on evolutionary success.

      Moral capacity is universal among humans (except for sociopaths, and psychologists consider their moral disability so radical as to make them psychologically a different species), but is found in no other species. It is also such a powerful and pervasive influence on our behavior that it cannot reasonably be assumed to have arisen by accident. So it has arisen through selection pressure ("evolutionary success"), and that is where the concept of "right" comes from. So it CAN'T MEAN anything else.

      > That's nothing like what most people mean by the term.

      Again, most people are viewing it subjectively, like memory. What people mean by "memory" is their experience of remembering things, not the actual electro-biochemical phenomenon occurring in their brains. Moral science -- evolutionary psychology -- concerns itself with a concept of "right" quite different from what most people mean by "right," just as neuroscience concerns itself with a concept of "memory" that is quite different from what most people mean by "memory."

      > Suppose you were to say that what is red is what those who have guns say is red. Does the fact that anybody who denies this gets shot means that you are right?

      Of course not. But I don't understand how that relates to what I have said.

      > > > Anyhow, his position seems to me old-fashioned, somewhat Hegelian and (as you again point out) Germanic, since it makes individual rights derivative of societal goals.
      > >
      > > No. Reproductive success may or may not be a societal goal, and it ultimately doesn't matter: reproductive success will prevail by definition.
      > True, but the claim that that matters is just begging the question.

      Nonsense. It matters by definition, because our ancestors' reproductive success is where all the relevant concepts come from.

      > >Individual rights are derivative of human nature, which is a product of evolution, and I HYPOTHESIZE that the mechanism of its emergence was inter-society competition, especially in the form of lethal conflict.
      > It's an interesting suggestion, but I've heard no arguments for it yet.

      See above.

      > >Like most of the old moral theorists, Hegel died before "The Origin of Species" was published, and thus understood almost nothing about human nature, the mind, morality, rights, etc.
      > OTOH, he did think one could deduce the number of planets (7) by a priori reasoning about which he couldn't possibly be wrong. I'd think that you of all people would admire that in him.

      Then you haven't understood a word I have said.

      -- Roy Langston
    • Harry Pollard
      JDK, Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the fittest just describes those who have survived. With regard to your last sentence –
      Message 111 of 111 , Nov 23, 2012

        Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the "fittest" just describes those who have survived.

        With regard to your last sentence – Stalin got there first.


        The Alumni Group 
        The Henry George School
        of Los Angeles
        Tujunga   CA   90243
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        On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM, JDKromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:

        Evolution is not really: the survival of the "fittest" It is just survival of that which survives. Evolution is a way of describing the process of how variation within a population will lead to variation eventually of species.  There are plenty of genes along for the ride which are not particularly "the fittest".  

        Yes the survival of the two apostolic lungs of Christianity (Catholics and the Eastern church) despite its massive weakness and in fact embracement of weakness of the god who becomes human and is rejected and put to death is a puzzle and crazy on its face. It drove Nietzsche crazy (well that and syphillus drove him crazy).  It also drove the communists crazy too.   Massive defense? How many tanks does the church have?


        Sent from my iPad

        On Nov 16, 2012, at 11:26 PM, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:


        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, John David Kromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:
        > On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...
        > > wrote:
        > >
        > > The catholic church has one real function: serving the clergy. When it
        > > was able to, it dominated a large swath of the earth in an imperial form.
        > > It can't now, so it fills out whatever niches it can; but the main thing is
        > > ensuring that members of clergy don't have to go and get real jobs.
        > >
        > Thanks for sharing this one too. I'm getting better picture of Land Cafe.
        > It really is best if we get it all out in the open. It's for the same
        > reason I won't hide my background.
        > This isn't a cocktail party, where we need to avoid the topic for
        > charitable purposes - or at least for the purposes of not interfering with
        > mutual love of beer or gin or your choice. I'd still have a beer in
        > Baltimore (once), with any of you clowns.
        > JDK

        *shrugs* Whatever one thinks of Roy's evolutionary basis for morals, I think there's fairly clearly a pseudo-evolutionary basis for ideas and institutions. Dawkins made this case in his "The Selfish Gene." Basically, ideas are duplicated, with variation, in the minds of individuals; from there, it's survival of the fittest. The conceptual equivalent to a gene being a "meme." Why do religious institutions survive despite being a load of crap that generally act as a drain on society? They're very advanced critters in the world of memes; they've evolved a whole host of defenses to offset their massive weaknesses, such as the notion that it's not polite or even acceptable to question a man's faith, or that without beliefs in these memes, we have no basis for social behavior.

        Catholicism isn't necessarily the most egregious case of this sort of memetic virus (that has to go to Scientology, don't you think?), but that's what it is, and all the bottom line of them all is the same: enrichment (both financial as well as emotional) of clergy. Still and all, its senseless and generally ad-hoc opposition to contraception, even in the light of AIDS epidemics, is horrible enough in and of itself to give me a fairly thoroughgoing distaste for it in particular, and I'd pretty much rather not see any meme I deem useful or good to be mixed up with it.

        Personally, I think one of the best parts of online discussion is that there's less tendency to hold back one's beliefs; many lament this, saying that the internet just makes everyone rude because they don't fear social repercussions, but I believe there's inherent value there, as it allows for a more rapid evolution of memes. The noise and nastiness comes with the territory, and I think people will just eventually find a new normal.

        One common Christian meme is certainly right though: hate the sin, and not the sinner. I agree, I'd have a beer with any of you. It's worth making a conscious effort not to take attacks against our beliefs too personally, because it turns out everyone tends to be wrong quite often.

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