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Thread: Deriving a moral philosophy from Jesus.

  1. Top | #161
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    You should pick up The Blank Slate by Pinker. Coming from a medical science background I'd hazard a guess that T.G.G. Moogly is pretty much on the money. I've studied the genetics of political affiliation much more than religion, but as a great example there are many solid studies which show that political affiliation is mostly genetic, not cultural. Our brain architecture predicts, to a very large degree, our eventual outlook on the world.

    You can even move into aspects of our behaviour which are classically more benign than in hot button topics. Things like sexual desire. Is sexual desire something we learn, or an intrinsic response of our brain when we see objects of our attraction. Hint: it's the latter. We don't choose who we're attracted to, which foods we like to a very large degree, and a plethora of other things. I don't see why this would be any different for religious or political affiliation. And if you dive into the science this viewpoint is well evidenced.

    Sadly, this also means that people aren't as plastic as we classically think they are. There is plasticity, but much of who we are and what we believe doesn't really change much across our lifetimes.
    It's really interesting, isn't it, that given the vast differences among people wrt to their outward appearance we think their all the same where we cannot see. This must have to do with needing comfort and closure, even if it's a lie. It's as if some brains are sleep walking to a degree.
    This is what The Blank Slate addresses. That we are all the same is a liberal idea purported before the rise of rigorous science to combat ideas of racism and genetic superiority after the age of Darwin. Honestly, fair enough, but in reality the idea is untrue, it's just a really nice idea that we like believing.

    Parents think they can turn a fish into a monkey with the right care, Marxists think we can fundamentally change the structure of society if people are taught the right ideas, feminists attribute all of gender inequality to cultural influences. It's an idea that's extensive and pervasive, but like in most things we're usually reality averse. The idea gives us more substance than admitting it's not true.

  2. Top | #162
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    I'm fundamentally similar to a porpoise, a lowland gorilla, a blue whale and an oak tree. But we are all different. Similarity is not sameness.
    I'm not arguing that everyone is "the same". I am arguing that people disagreeing with you about shit is not evidence that your brain works better than theirs.
    Yea, talking about which brain is better is coming from a weird place, the best you can really do is state that certain brain architectures lead to different outcomes, and let others decide if that's 'better' for whatever reason they surmise.

    I went to high-school with a woman who didn't do great in school, likely religious, but is now a happy parent of seven kids. I also know a Psychology PhD who sits around smoking pot, drinking whisky and writing jokes on the internet. Which of those situations is better? One can't really say.

    I would add, though, that I'm hesitant to call 'woo' an infection, as T.G.G. Moogly has done. I think this frame of reference comes from the position that humans should and need to work on some ideal of pure logic, which is an offspring of modern science. This is a perspective that might work as an ideal, but which will never be true in practice. Better to consider humans with strange beliefs just that - human, nothing more, and nothing less.

  3. Top | #163
    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    I'm fundamentally similar to a porpoise, a lowland gorilla, a blue whale and an oak tree. But we are all different. Similarity is not sameness.
    I'm not arguing that everyone is "the same". I am arguing that people disagreeing with you about shit is not evidence that your brain works better than theirs.
    Yea, talking about which brain is better is coming from a weird place, the best you can really do is state that certain brain architectures lead to different outcomes, and let others decide if that's 'better' for whatever reason they surmise.

    I went to high-school with a woman who didn't do great in school, likely religious, but is now a happy parent of seven kids. I also know a Psychology PhD who sits around smoking pot, drinking whisky and writing jokes on the internet. Which of those situations is better? One can't really say.

    I would add, though, that I'm hesitant to call 'woo' an infection, as T.G.G. Moogly has done. I think this frame of reference comes from the position that humans should and need to work on some ideal of pure logic, which is an offspring of modern science. This is a perspective that might work as an ideal, but which will never be true in practice. Better to consider humans with strange beliefs just that - human, nothing more, and nothing less.
    There was most definitely a time in the human past when rational observation and logic were very much selected for. That may not be so much the case anymore as we have overcome many of the direct threats to our survival, not many people really are concerned with being taken by a predator when we fetch water, for example. So the equation has changed.

    In Jesus's time - whether we believe jesus is a real person or not - childhood mortality was much higher, like 50%, and on average humans didn't live but for a few decades at most. I can easily recall my awareness level when I was 30 years old and I was pretty stupid by comparison to today. My emotional inclinations were much more dominant, but now that is all changed.

    In the end, all that matters is survival, passing on ones genes, the rest is just baggage in naturalistic terms. Jesus didn't live very long, was not cosmopolitan, didn't learn very much, was not worldly, didn't raise a family, didn't marry, was not literate, was likely bipolar, and died without fanfare. That's us then but that's not so much us now.

  4. Top | #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    Yea, talking about which brain is better is coming from a weird place, the best you can really do is state that certain brain architectures lead to different outcomes, and let others decide if that's 'better' for whatever reason they surmise.

    I went to high-school with a woman who didn't do great in school, likely religious, but is now a happy parent of seven kids. I also know a Psychology PhD who sits around smoking pot, drinking whisky and writing jokes on the internet. Which of those situations is better? One can't really say.

    I would add, though, that I'm hesitant to call 'woo' an infection, as T.G.G. Moogly has done. I think this frame of reference comes from the position that humans should and need to work on some ideal of pure logic, which is an offspring of modern science. This is a perspective that might work as an ideal, but which will never be true in practice. Better to consider humans with strange beliefs just that - human, nothing more, and nothing less.
    There was most definitely a time in the human past when rational observation and logic were very much selected for. That may not be so much the case anymore as we have overcome many of the direct threats to our survival, not many people really are concerned with being taken by a predator when we fetch water, for example. So the equation has changed.
    I'd say it's still selected for, but after a certain point more logic gets diminishing returns. Eventually too much logic leads us to question, which is actually counter-productive in evolutionary terms. So there is a kind of sweet spot where we're smart enough to raise a child, and maybe many children, but not so smart that we question it all and forgo kids altogether.

    I'd argue that this sweet spot is such that people who meet it are very smart, but not smart enough to see through cultural norms and strange beliefs very readily. I'd guess that this sweet spot has been pretty much constant throughout our history.

  5. Top | #165
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aupmanyav View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Those who lack faith in Jesus will still experience suffering. You have to believe and you need to "want to do it".
    That is very funny, to say the least. I lack faith in your Jesus and I am never any worse for it. What is the big reason that I should believe in Jesus and why should I want it. I am happily a strong atheist.
    First you need to know that I too am atheist. The above post was part of a clumsy attempt to make the point that trying to derive a moral philosophy from Jesus' teachings is impossible without first applying the basic requirement to believe that Jesus is God. That requirement is the basis for salvation through Christian faith. And that's the biggest obstacle to seeing Jesus teachings as a philosophy.
    Last edited by Treedbear; 02-10-2020 at 08:17 PM.

  6. Top | #166
    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Some years back, I went through the gospels looking for all the Do's and Don'ts of Jesus. In short, the basic doxology of Jesus, moral commands. There were surprisingly few. and many of them are ignored by today;s Christians. Sell all you have and give to the poor. Do your praying in private. Turn the other cheek. That that you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me. There is really very little Jesus commanded not found in other sources from pagans like Socrates to the prophets like Isaiah.

    There is nothing like a well planned, well laid out moral theory that is complete and well founded to be found in the gospels.

    Much of what Jesus is portrayed as saying was predicated on the very, very soon end of the world and a new heavenly order to come. Which did not happen. Sitting around not worrying about what you will drink, eat, or wear is not a good long term plan, it was foolishness that expected the end of the world very soon. Once one abandons all of that as a failed prophecy, the rest of his commands are small and not very complete for a moral system.
    Cheerful Charlie

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