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Hawking Goes Dawkins

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Sadurian Mike
740622.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:35 am Reply with quote

On a slight but pertinent tangent, I rather like Dawkins' statement about religion, paraphrased and mangled below;

Without religion we have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. With religion we suddenly have good people doing bad things for good reasons.

I know it is not completely watertight but it certainly makes sense.

 
Neotenic
740626.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:41 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Good and Evil are concepts devised by man to describe intention, results, and allow us to choose one action/thing over another.

The example of a child molester is a good example, is that person good or bad? If we look at them objectively then the answer will be a mixture of both, but most people will say bad because they view their intention or action to be bad and therefore associate the whole being as bad


I certainly agree that 'good' and 'evil' are concepts heavily dependent on your point of view on any given situation.

To take a rather less contentious example than child molestation, the prehistoric hunters dragging home the carcass of a mammoth have done a good thing from the point of view of feeding their family, but from the point of view of the family of the hunted mammoth, what the hunters did was the most evil thing imaginable.

 
CB27
740644.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:14 am Reply with quote

Great line from Kryten: It seemed to me that if humanoids eat chicken then obviously they'd eat their own species; otherwise they'd just be picking on the chicken.

 
Jenny
740705.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:22 am Reply with quote

'Good' and 'evil' are huge concepts, and as has been observed above often dependent on your own point of view. I suppose we might better phrase it as altruistic and non-altruistic behaviour. If you look at chimpanzee communities, you can certainly see behaviour that seems altruistic, which mainly stems from regarding another chimpanzee as 'one of us'. This ties in well with what we might observe about human behaviour. When you look at behaviour that most of us would have no hesitation in describing as evil - for example, the behaviour of the Nazis towards the Jews, or the Japanese towards prisoners of war - it often hinges around regarding the person to whom the evil acts are directed as 'other' in some way.

Interestingly, altruism may well have a genetic basis.

 
Peregrine Arkwright
740723.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:45 am Reply with quote

.

Most of the people who seek to put Stephen Hawking in his place have used a homespun regression principle : "if that was his original cause, then who caused that cause?" In other words they are simply extending the unknown one stage further back. Just read The Times correspondence column on the subject.

So letís take a look at the known instead. There are three human phenomena with which all, or most of us, are quite familiar :
> a flash of inspiration;
> suddenly seeing the funny side of something;
> suddenly seeing the sheer beauty of something.

Now : if all these are generated entirely from within what our own minds already knew before, how could they possibly be instantaneous? So where in fact do they come from? Yet do we not sometimes even talk about a divine inspiration, a divine sense of humour, or a divine beauty?

So one explanation which accords well with Occamís Razor is that in the instant they happen those remarkable human phenomena come straight from God; a matter of definition because that is one way of defining 'God'. The creative principle of invention and inspiration (rajas) the destructive principle of humour (tamas) and the constant principle of beauty (sattua) all accord quite closely with those original words in Sanskrit and so with the Hindu/Buddhist view of the world, which also prefers to see it in terms of systems of three rather than systems of two. And I have also come to the conclusion that God has a near-devilish, certainly puckish, sense of humour. Not bad for someone who was a full-blown agnostic from the age of 17 to the age of 33.
Peregrine Arkwright

 
Jenny
740745.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:18 am Reply with quote

The Hindu/Buddhist view tends to resonate with me quite strongly, though in practice I am a Quaker.

To me it is illogical to think of God as being in any sense separate from the creation, which rather does away with the concept of good and evil except as a point of view. Your point of view, of course, may be that of the parasitic worm eating its way through a child's eyeball as highlighted by Dawkins, and I don't think there is a way around that one that holds equal regard for all forms of life. But I do think it is possible to have compassion for that which would not have compassion for you.

 
PDR
740759.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:59 am Reply with quote

Peregrine Arkwright wrote:
.

So one explanation which accords well with Occamís Razor is that in the instant they happen those remarkable human phenomena come straight from God


Another explanation which is simpler (thus placing higher on the razor) would be that the mind is constantly reviewing multiple pieces of information and looking for connections. At some random time t two seperate peices of information are reviewed together that then expose the finniness/beauty/WHY of one of them.

No god needed, entity count reduced - occum rests.

PDR

 
Neotenic
740764.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Not bad for someone who was a full-blown agnostic from the age of 17 to the age of 33.


Is it possible to be a 'full-blown agnostic'?

It sounds to me rather like being a militant Liberal Democrat.

 
Efros
740833.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:57 pm Reply with quote

Yeah proportional representation riots just don't happen.

 
Posital
740837.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:03 pm Reply with quote

like what PDR said...

 
PDR
740884.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:33 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
Yeah proportional representation riots just don't happen.


I can see it now:

WHAT DO WE WANT?
A Lib-Dem Government!

WHEN DO W WANT IT?
Whenever everyone else is comfortable with idea, or perhaps a bit later - if that's alright with you...


PDR

 
Neotenic
740907.  Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:55 pm Reply with quote

What do we want?

For everyone's point of view to be equitably represented in the legislative process!

When do we want it?

Following a full and free debate on the topic, and subject to a national referendum to demonstrate the will of the people!

You see, this is why they never kick off - they can't get their placards out of the front door.

 
Peregrine Arkwright
740969.  Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:22 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
Not bad for someone who was a full-blown agnostic from the age of 17 to the age of 33.


Is it possible to be a 'full-blown agnostic'?

It sounds to me rather like being a militant Liberal Democrat.
Not so. It is the Atheist position which is illogical. If non-believers insist, as they do, that believing in God is merely a personal viewpoint, then they must also accept that not believing in God is merely a personal viewpoint as well.
The agnostic is logical : everyone believe what they like, I happen not to believe in God. The Atheist insists that his personal belief system be adopted by everyone else as well - which is illogical by his own anti-religious standards, as above.
Peregrine Arkwright

 
djgordy
740976.  Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:33 am Reply with quote

Peregrine Arkwright wrote:
. The Atheist insists that his personal belief system be adopted by everyone else as well -


No I don't. People can believe whatever crap they like. If people want to walk about thinking they have an invisible friend in the sky that is entirely up to them.

 
Neotenic
740980.  Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:52 am Reply with quote

Quote:
It is the Atheist position which is illogical. If non-believers insist, as they do, that believing in God is merely a personal viewpoint, then they must also accept that not believing in God is merely a personal viewpoint as well.


What, like this, perhaps?

Quote:
The agnostic is logical : everyone believe what they like, I happen not to believe in God.


That's not quite what agnostic means. That's just a more measured atheism, much like mine.

Not all atheists are flame-eyed fundamentalists, just the same as not all religious people are either.

 

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