the moral sense

There are authors who can make you laugh. There are authors who can make you think. Then there are authors that can make you do both. I think Mark Twain is in the last class.

In Mysterious Stranger, he does this so well. The character Satan, ably represented by Philip Traum, cautions against misuse of the word brutal. He insists, and you would agree, that the things treated under this heading no brute has been found guilty. He suggests we respect the higher animals.

The things were classify inhuman too are wrongly classified. Only humans are capable of them. Think rape, slavery, torture, war, exploitation all very human. It is our nature to do these things. We find them abhorrent, that I admit, but it is in our nature to do them. No lion kills another out of malice or kills a zebra because it can. And he says we are capable of these abuse because of the moral sense – the judge of good and bad.

He writes

No brute ever does a cruel thing, that is the monopoly of those with the Moral sense. When a brute inflicts pain he does it innocently; it is not wrong; for him there is no such thing as wrong. And he does not inflict pain for the pleasure of inflicting it, only man does that. Inspired by that mongrel Moral Sense of his! A sense whose function is to distinguish between right and wrong, with liberty to choose which of them he will do. Now what advantage can he get out of that? He is always choosing and in nine cases out of ten, he prefers the wrong.

I think, here

There shouldn’t be any wrong; and without the Moral Sense there couldn’t be any. And yet he is such an unreasoning creature that he is not able to perceive that the Moral Sense degrades him to the bottom layer of the animated beings and is a shameful possession

he took a lot of liberty with facts. Would we be better off without the moral sense? Would we find slavery abhorrent or it would be as natural as marrying off a nine-year old?

Is Mark Twain right [ the Moral Sense again] in defending the brutes? Should we find a word to replace brutal in our description of cruelty to one another. No other animal, I think, treat their fellows as we do. And whatever we describe inhumane, acts very human, can we find a more proper word for them?

This brings to mind the issue of whether human persons are naturally good or bad or whether these traits are learned. Jean Jacques Rousseau, I think, argued that we are naturally good. Another philosopher, I can’t recall claimed we are not good and are in need of salvation but the one I agree with is we are not any of the above. It is our actions that should be judged. If I dispatch the president and his cabinet, do I become a bad person or a person guilty of murder?

And while talking about murder, if in a revolution, we kill the president, his family and cohorts, no one gets arrested, why should I be, if I do it on my own for the public weal?

this is hilarious

In his post, an open letter to skeptics, Michael intends to show the doubter that his god is the real one because it says so in the bible.

Because different religions make almost similar claims, I asked if he knows Arjuna. His response was

Please think about this. Your life, your eternal soul, depends on it.

[And many bible verses]

He has written an explanation for why he will not publish a comment I wrote. He writes

“makagutu” sent a response comment which I have chosen not to publish. This person did not comment on any point that I made in my post. Rather, they sought to use my blog as a platform for their own agenda. I am not obliged to permit anyone else to commandeer my site. My blog and this latest post are clearly based on a Scriptural perspective. I have made every effort to openly declare that my faith, my opinions and my convictions are all Biblically based. One look at my website header makes that totally obvious.

And yet this person apparently takes offense at my posting Bible verses. They are free to hold their own opinions, but why would anyone engage the author of Biblically-based articles if they are offended by the use of Biblical arguments and Biblical citations? That response is a non-sequitur. It’s senseless.

I do not apologize for stating the gospel of Jesus Christ. makagutu’s god, like all false gods, redeems no one. It only leads people to their deaths.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

One might be wondering what I could have written to warrant this explanation?

I asked him to show where my question was a mockery, what agenda was I hawking and what had I lied about. Maybe that was too much to ask. Why write a letter to a group of people you can’t answer their queries?

do we have freewill?

All men speak in bitter disapproval of the Devil, but they do it reverently, not flippantly; but Father Adolf’s way was very different; he called him by every name he could lay his tongue to, and it made everyone shudder that heard him; and often he would even speak of him scornfully and scoffingly; then the people crossed themselves and went quickly out of his presence, fearing that something fearful might happen.”
― Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

That heading has nothing to do with this post. I like Mark Twain and I am currently reading the Mysterious Stranger.

Doug Smith wants to convince us the bible is a better source of information on neurology and psychology than what we have.

He claims Sam Harris has committed a fallacy of begging the question when he(Sam H) says

As sickening as I find their behavior, I have to admit that if I were to trade places with one of these men, atom for atom, I would be him: There is no extra part of me that could decide to see the world differently or to resist the impulse to victimize other people.

Whereas it is true it is not possible to go back in time or be someone else, it is possible to see how a person has acted in every similar situation. An example will suffice. One of the politicians in this country has in every political situation been an opportunist. For this he has been branded YES/NO or watermelon. And I am sure an example can be found in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Smith tells us

The key experience we have is that we can decide what to do with our thoughts.[emphasis his]

But I disagree. I have thoughts like to dispatch the entire legislature. I can’t do it. I don’t have the means. I could be caught and jailed. All these are causes. They determine what I do or I don’t. To make the claim that the decision not to act is arbitrary is, in my view, either ignorance of what freewill is or a lack of engagement with the problem.

Smith then decides to create a distinction, that, I think, only makes sense to him and his followers. He writes

I think this distinction between our thoughts and our “self,” our choosing, deciding, intentional, willful self, is the key difference.

Maybe someone knows what difference he is referring to. I don’t know it. Between my thinking about vanilla ice cream and buying it, there is no gap. There are times I think I can do with ice cream but I don’t buy simply because I am not anywhere near an ice cream vendor.

I think, and I am not stretching it, that Doug has no idea what freewill is. He writes

However, none of these constraints invalidate the truth that most healthy people have the ability to evaluate options and make decisions using what we call free will.

I think it would be best for him to define what he means by freewill.

The determinist’s argument simply is that our actions have causes. I can actually go further that our thoughts are caused. They don’t originate with us. They are imposed on us by our surrounding, experiences, education and so on.

No one denies the argument, which most have claimed is the strongest challenge to determinism, that we experience the world as if we are free agents[emphasis mine]. We also experience the world around us as if it is flat. We feel as if the sun rotates around the earth. As Nannus would say, these are as if constructions. Just as we had to drop the illusion that we were a special creation, we shall have to do the same with the illusion of freewill.

Tolstoy says it best when he writes

It was necessary to renounce the consciousness of an unreal immobility in space and to recognize a motion we did not feel; in the present case it is similarly necessary to renounce a freedom that does not exist and to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious.

This argument

This leads me to why I believe that determinism is self-refuting, or collapses in on itself. If we really have no free will, then we couldn’t actually prove it, because our very reasoning processes depend on our ability to freely choose between options.

by Smith is faulty. In fact, it can be seen, by observation that our thoughts have causes. That my using the staircase instead of jumping from fifth floor, which is a choice, has a cause.

Smith writes

When we evaluate whether something is true, we should go through a process of logical reasoning. In that process, we seek to understand competing options, evaluate each option in the most reasonable way we know, and based on our evaluation, we make a decision about what we believe is the best option. This process itself requires free will: the ability to consider options and make a choice based on whatever criteria we believe is best.

2+2=0.

This question is not made 5 when one says they have freewill. Freewill or lack of it is not necessary in evaluating whether a feather falls faster than a stone, in a vacuum. In fact, no amount of freewill will change the value of E=MC².

Smith then attacks evolution, in a roundabout way. He writes

However, if I don’t actually have free will, my ability to make a free choice in response to this question is an illusion. I think it’s even worse for determinists who follow a materialist evolutionary line of thought. If the way our minds work is just a byproduct of natural selection acting on random mutations, then the goal for which our minds were made was simply to survive and reproduce, not to be reasonable, rational, or logical.

And how is being rational not a survival trait? Those who barbaric end up dying before they can reproduce either in fights or jailed. They have no opportunity to pass on their genes. The believer arguing against evolution in this way, I believe, is ignorant about natural selection. And what is a materialist evolutionary line of thought anyway? Is there an immaterialist evolutionary line of thought or materialist non-evolutionary line of thought?

I agree our experience of freewill is real. The question has never been of experience. The question is whether our conclusion is correct and I think it is not. Our experience is based on an illusion.

I admit readily that the question of whether we have free will has very important implications for ethics, morality, and even theological systems. I don’t stop here though. I go ahead and suggest that given a determinist universe, we must change how we treat offenders.

I don’t think Smith made a case for freewill, neither did he respond to Sam Harris or even Daniel Kahneman. In fact, I think his treatment of the two is best represented  by this quote of B. Russell

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

 

five ways the ‘best’ atheist praised god

  1. He asked for immortality

I don’t know about you, but everywhere I look, everyone is trying their best not to die, especially those who believe they are headed to heaven.

2. He had everyone living in fear of him

Our interlocutor writes

The atheist works towards this goal. There is no other reason for amassing tremendous wealth or extending the boundaries of a nation. The objective is to rule the entire world, or at least wield enough influence so that no one can tell you what to do. Hiranyakashipu had this.

Maybe things are different where in your hood, but, look at the likes of Creflo Dollar, the Catholic church, Joel Osteen, Kyunas and we must, if what our interlocutor says think them atheists.

3. He showed that devotion cannot be stopped

If you ask me, it is the Muslims killing people in Bangladesh for free-thought, the Buddhists killing Muslims in Burma for believing differently that shows that freedom of thought can be restricted but never stopped. No atheist is trying to kill believers for believing virgins give birth, Pegasus fly blah blah

4. He came up with the best argument for atheism

He asked for god to show up

5. He allowed god to exploit a 1% weakness

God showed up as a lion-man and killed him.

What an interesting story this is

Here is the

Explanation for why church numbers are dwindling

The church is fighting over, and breaking up over homosexuality. There are other issues, but the overriding issue is homosexuality and homosexual ‘marriage’. Ms. Evans position of one of opening and affirming homosexual ‘marriage’, and has been fighting tooth and nail since World Vision’s decision in 2014.

Who would have known this was the reason?

this is an interesting piece