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Re: FT

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  • roy_langston
    ... The principal one being that you don t want to talk about rights as an empirical phenomenon susceptible of scientific analysis. Do you even consider
    Message 1 of 111 , Nov 16, 2012
      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:

      > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@> wrote:
      > > I don't think he's really trying to redefine "rights," so much as he is trying to present an alternate hypothesis for their basis. To follow his "memory" analogy, we all know what memories are, but science has provided a better understanding of their basis, and what they are in actual reality.
      > That analogy is problematic for a number of reasons.

      The principal one being that you don't want to talk about rights as an empirical phenomenon susceptible of scientific analysis.

      Do you even consider evolutionary psychology a legitimate enterprise in empirical science?

      > First, I'll waive all the difficulties surrounding the claim that some memory that someone has just IS a "memory trace" (some neurological feature of the brain).

      Whereas I WON'T waive all the difficulties surrounding the claim that it is something more.

      > For the sake of argument, I'll assume that your memory of a cow in a meadow a couple of miles from the house you grew up in is simply identical to something in your brain, in spite of the fact that, leaving out politics, religion, and other valuative fields, it's hard to come up with any claims that are as controversial. The literature on it is absolutely humongous and there's nothing like a growing consensus on the matter.

      Because many people can't grasp the difference between their subjective experience and its objective nature.

      > Now we turn to the claim that a natural right (say to some amount of land)

      No one has made such a claim. The right is to liberty, not land. The UIE is a restoration and implementation of that right wrt land, made necessary by the social expedient of exclusive tenure. Our hunter-gatherer and nomadic herding ancestors had no need of a UIE because their rights to use land were intact. No one was excluding them from any land (other than neighboring societies).

      > just IS some sort of evolutionary success (or success story or something else--the claim has never been made very clearly here).

      Rights are not reproductive success; they are societal undertakings that have ENABLED reproductive success. Natural rights are a hypothetical ideal of those undertakings that societies would adopt if people had all the relevant facts, and the wisdom and honesty to apply them.

      Again, try to keep your eye on the ball.

      > What will be the analogous research program that will produce evidence of this theory?

      It's one of the hypotheses that the methods of evolutionary psychology can be employed to examine.

      > The first and foremost obstacle to their being any such program is that, unlike in the case of memories, there is a reasonable doubt that there are any such things as natural rights to be shown to be identical to ANYTHING. Nobody doubts that there are memories of cows, but lots of people doubt that there are natural rights.

      Not when they are correctly defined. See above. It is indisputable that societies have undertaken to restrain their members' behavior wrt one another. So rights exist. It is also indisputable that they have affected people's and societies' differential reproductive success. Natural rights are just the ideal rights that would enable optimum reproductive success. The only disputable part is my hypothesis that the relationship between rights and reproductive success is not a coincidence.

      > So before any research program can be developed to show that what these thingies are can reasonably be asserted to be identical to some other things (or events, or values, or stories, or whatever it is exactly that Roy or anybody else is claiming that they are identical to) there must first be some demonstration that there's anything there at all? What is there identity criteria. When do we have one natural right, and when two?

      See above. Evolutionary psychology has proceeded whether you consider its research program possible or not.

      > Of course, there are BELIEFS in natural rights, but we're not here interested in a theory of where those came from (that's the genetic fallacy at work)

      Huh?? So any sort of inquiry into the origins of human moral beliefs, behaviors, etc. is "the genetic fallacy at work"? Thus you refute evolutionary psychology?

      What utter rubbish.

      > or what those mental events may be identical to. Presumably the similar sort of program that we used for memories may be engaged to push the identity of beliefs with neurological processes. But our claim is not about the beliefs. Beliefs in unicorns and lollipop fairies may also succumb to that research program: but that wouldn't show that the entities to which such beliefs refer are actually in the world.

      Rights are indisputably in the real world.

      > That is the nature of intentionality--beliefs may be false.

      But not the belief that rights exist.

      > Anyhow, that's enough for now. The point is, even granting the memory/memory trace identity (and that's generous),

      No, it is not, because the alternative is effectively belief in the supernatural, in "the ghost in the machine."

      > it doesn't take any claims about natural rights very far.

      See above.

      -- 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 
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        of Los Angeles
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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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