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  #51  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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Carey: I'll concede that mathematical truths imply the existence of some abstract world….
Come on Carey, I’ didn’t say “abstract”—I said it “exists”—I’d say that objective mathematical truth is perhaps more real and/or more fundamental than the material, “natural” world that we find ourselves in. Your “concession” that “mathematical truths imply the existence of some abstract world” is ultimately nothing more than saying it’s some sort of mental construct. And I’d also say that the world of mathematics is much more than something that merely “describes relationships between quantities.”

Anyway Carey, that’s ultimately what our differences boil down to: I’m convinced that objective mathematical truth exists, that it is somehow more real and/or more fundamental than the material, “natural” world that we find ourselves in; whereas you say that mathematical truths are “abstract”—essentially, whether you’re able to willingly acknowledge it or not, ultimately nothing more than mental and/or social constructs.

(BTW Carey, FYI and FWIW, I can’t find where I ever actually stated that Margaret is “immoral,” as she claims, but that she keeps repeating the charge suggest that perhaps there is some sort of shame/guilt self loathing thing going on, so you may want to keep that in mind in your exchanges with her—I think you may be having a positive influence on her, but tread carefully— the slightest misstep and you could be back in the doghouse with me and JB.)
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  #52  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 12:49 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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I’m convinced that objective mathematical truth exists, that it is somehow more real and/or more fundamental than the material, “natural” world that we find ourselves in
I can grant that there are universal mathematical truths, but I'm not convinced that they justify any kind dof mysticism about another world beyond our own. Even if mathematical truths do in fact imply another, real world beyond the physical one with which we are familiar, that doesnt mean there are universal moral rules. The connection there seems highly tenuous.


Quote:
(BTW Carey, FYI and FWIW, I can’t find where I ever actually stated that Margaret is “immoral,” as she claims, but that she keeps repeating the charge suggest that perhaps there is some sort of shame/guilt self loathing thing going on, so you may want to keep that in mind in your exchanges with her—I think you may be having a positive influence on her, but tread carefully— the slightest misstep and you could be back in the doghouse with me and JB.)
I think Margaret is under the mistaken impression that you and JB condone eugenics, when in fact you only condone honestly accepting the systematic differences both within and between sexes and ethnic sub-groups. Yes, it's politically incorrect to think that anyone has more or less innate ability than anyone else - but tough shit. Margaret does not seem to be familiar with the naturalistic fallacy (the unjustified deduction of "what ought to be" from "what is" - i.e. just because there are systematic differences between races or sexes does not mean that moral conclusions of any kind should be drawn from them).

What's this about potentially being in the doghouse with you and JB? When have I not been in your doghouse?
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  #53  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 01:20 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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Carey: I can grant that there are universal mathematical truths, but I'm not convinced that they justify any kind of mysticism about another world beyond our own.
I’d not necessarily call it “mysticism,” just an undeniable reality, that undoubtedly “exists,” that is obviously beyond the so-called “material,” “natural” reality, and mental constructs, of the materialist’s/atheist’s all there ever was, is, will be, universe. But it seems that we more or less agree on where we part ways. Very good. (Hell, I never made this much progress with my good buddy Todd.)

Quote:
Carey: What's this about potentially being in the doghouse with you and JB? When have I not been in your doghouse?
LOL. It almost pains me to say this Carey, but I think you may be getting better, smarter, wiser. Maybe that edumacation is starting to pay off. Kick ass bro.
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  #54  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 02:28 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

Carey, You said,
Quote:
. . just because there are systematic differences between races or sexes does not mean that moral conclusions of any kind should be drawn from them).
Bravo. I have repeatedly stated that I accept that both group and individual differences are influenced by genetics. I believe the question as to which differences are most affected by which genes or the complex ways that culture modifies or replaces those influences is still an interesting and as yet largely unanswered one.

As long as some black people and women are obviously capable of achieving very high competence in any field that any other gender or race can partake in then I believe it is socially irresponsible and immoral to deny to these groups the benefits of their society. Those include decent schools, tax provided scholarships, job and income opportunities, program funds (such Title IX), etc. on an equal basis - no matter what group differences may exist.

I also am in favor of intelligently using taxpayer funds to help elevate groups that have suffered discrimination in the past - as a means of attaining a more harmonious and morally benificent society that would have more productive and happier citizens and fewer citizens in jail or living on the streets.

Many of the statements in this forum have been oblique or direct attacks on those kinds of policies. They often take the form of in-your-face statements of the superiority of white males compared to women and blacks for various endeavors. Why are those statements even necessary in a scientific discussion?

When real scientists discuss those things they are usually aware of the ideological baggage they carry and avoid phrases and statements that encourage ideological feelings in others who may have different views - in respect for the science. But people are free to see that as my silly liberal ideology. I try to keep it out of scientific discussions.

Eugenics is perhaps too strong a word - I used it when I was angry. It just nicely encapsulates both racism and sexism so nicely. But that's all morals and politics. I'm interested in the science - which suffers when the winds of ideology rage - and they always pick up in intensity whenever someone says things like tough shit. There's a fine line between vigorous discussion on the merits and contempt - that sometimes seems elusive for you.

However, the study of the emotions that underlie these statements and how those emotions affect our behavior choices is a very interesting part of human nature. I am starting another thread based on my Somatic Behavior Choice Hypothesis to explore those issues if you are interested. (So you can carry on your free-will discussion here.)

Beware though, that any comments will be judged not just on their merits but according to how well, by their nature, they validate the theory.

Margaret
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  #55  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 02:50 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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They often take the form of in-your-face statements of the superiority of white males compared to women and blacks for various endeavors.
I have not read all of the recent forum activity, but I have a lot of trouble believing that such claims would come out of either JB or Fred, if those are the people to whom you're referring. Please point out the posts in which either of them have made such KKK statements.
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  #56  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

Not interested in revisiting those. It's enough that I believe that to be true to make my point. Let's move on.

Margaret
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  #57  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 04:04 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
I can’t find where I ever actually stated that Margaret is “immoral,” as she claims, but that she keeps repeating the charge suggest that perhaps there is some sort of shame/guilt self loathing thing going on, so you may want to keep that in mind in your exchanges with her—I think you may be having a positive influence on her, but tread carefully— the slightest misstep and you could be back in the doghouse with me and JB.
Once again, I have to show you your earlier quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
If indeed free will is an illusion, as you believe, then obviously so is morality, and moral blindness would be inevitable. (I’m guessing TomJ would agree.)
which is stating 'that Margaret is “immoral,”', along with all atheists. And I explained how TomJ does not agree. Now, if you're saying that Margaret is not immoral and neither are atheists then I would take that as a huge step in the right direction for you.

FWIW I believe that Fred was talking about Carey being with JimB and Fred in Margaret's dog house.
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  #58  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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FWIW I believe that Fred was talking about Carey being with JimB and Fred in Margaret's dog house.
Roger that.
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  #59  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 05:06 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

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TomJ: [Fred said:] If indeed free will is an illusion, as you believe, then obviously so is morality, and moral blindness would be inevitable. (I’m guessing TomJ would agree.) . . . which [Tom then asserts] is stating 'that Margaret is “immoral.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, Tom; and it amazes me that you’re unable to see the distinction here—what is being stated is that if indeed free will is an illusion, then “morality,” inevitably, is an illusion, ergo “immorality” would also be an illusion, ergo no one’s behavior would be ever be “moral,” or “immoral”—“morality” would essentially be an oxymoron in such a case.

E.g., if a wolf kills another wolf, or perhaps kills the offspring of another wolf, for whatever “reason,” we don’t say that its behavior is moral or immoral—it’s simply following its instincts, behaving in a such a way so as to survive and reproduce.
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  #60  
Unread April 16th, 2006, 05:40 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

I don't know why this keeps coming up but to clairify - and thanks for defending me, Tom - in this encounter I did not accuse Fred at the time of saying that I was immoral. I responded with a post that asked Fred if he intended to suggest that I and all atheists were immoral - and if not, I suggested that he should moderate his position. Tom has pointed this out previously as well.

Instead, I believe Fred further tried to justify it. He certainly did not retract it.

This was after Fred had made repeated assertions regarding Tom's morality in respect to his relationship with his wife where Fred set up an assertion trap where Tom would have to agree to being a philandered if he did not accept Fred's premise about free-will - if I remember correctly.

I think the point that Fred is trying to establish is just that - that atheists must be immoral - and he creates logical traps to prove it. I think that's his mission.

At some time after that Fred essentially admitted that his purpose being here was to expose all atheists as being immoral (or something very close to that).

My memory is not perfect on these points so I invite anyone to correct the record if I didn't get it quite right. But, as far as Fred calling me immoral, I'm way over that. I only refer to it in the spirit of things that would be good to avoid since such statements and counter-statements tend to spiral out of control.

I think Fred's recent comments in this thread were well done. I don't agree with them but he stated them well and passionately. The discussion was getting downright interesting.

A discussion as to whether certain worldviews are inherently immoral - are inherently volatile and will always lead to acrimony that serves no purpose. We all know how Fred feels about us. Let's talk about free-will as a philosophical concept and not as a value-laden club that can be used to denigrate others.

Just a suggestion.

Margaret
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