I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity." Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."
A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?
Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.
Obviously you're not up on all of my posts on free will.
Predestination is the theory that from the first moment of existence, everything that would ever happen was set.
I'm a determinist not a predestinationist.
How could everything be predestined when there are those little quantum incidents changing things all the time?
Who gets to define what is "harmful to humanity"? I do! So do you. But not God. At least not the God of the Bible. That God is a jealous, vengeful, wrathful, cruel, genocidal, misogynistic tyrant - one that I would not trust to decide what is"good," "bad," or "evil."
Good, bad, and evil are nothing more than concepts useful to the promotion by human beings of their own welfare and happiness. Therefore, those terms have different meaning in different contexts and environments. They do NOT exist as any kind of eternal, immutable verities.
If I happen to be the one that is thrown off the lifeboat to prolong the lives of the others aboard, I would not consider that "good." The survivors, on the other hand would probably rationalize their decision as a "good" one, wouldn't they? More to the point, as it is implied in this post, what would God, if there were one, think? Would God pick the unfortunate soul to be sacrificed? Or, what is more likely, would the majority of the lifeboat's tenants make what they considered the "good" choice?
As a thoroughgoing atheist, I don't think the words "good," "bad," and "evil" would have any meaning to an entity such as a god, since, by its definition, anything it does is"good."
Ask an expert. William Lane Craig asserts that the extermination of the Canaanites was good. Why? Because God said it was - end of argument. If Craig is correct, the word "good" has no meaning beyond the capricious definition his God places on it.
For me, good, bad,and evil are concepts only insofar as they apply to the happiness and welfare of me and my fellow man. If God chooses to cause me, my friends, my family, and/or my fellow human beings pain and suffering by sending a tsunami our way, don't expect me to call that "good." But many Christians would have to, because it is the work of their God. Isn't it?
Ultimately, EVERYTHING is "material;" which, in turn, may be no more than our perception of quantum reality; which may further mean that everything is just strings (or loops). In what sense would the concepts of "good," "bad," and "evil" have any meaning for them? Answer: NONE!
Wait, I am keeping an open mind on the subject and trying to understand you. I am not necessarily rejecting anything but trying to learn something.
Going back to my example, why should the rock be treated any differently to the person. Both obeyed natural laws.
Please don't say because it is in our nature to hold the man accountable and not the rock.
Why are you rejecting that answer out of hand while at the same time saying you are trying to learn something and are keeping an open mind? You see, one of the behaviors of humans have is to talk about the accountability of other humans. We don't even really seriously talk about fish, dogs, or even chimps as accountable in an ethical sense much less rocks.
Look, when someone does something I don't like, I act and talk as if they are accountable just as you do. I guess Wittgenstein would talk about accountability as a word game with rules we learn through social absorption. Once we're confident we know the rules, we start playing the blame game.
I, like you, feel like something more is happening, that I am actually making conscious decisions, choices, and judgments. However, an analysis of the situation would seem to lead to brain processes which are beyond our control and simply happen entirely below the conscious level.
RE: "an analysis of the situation"
But can we rely on any analysis that was made without the aid of conscious decisions, choices and judgments?
It's not really a matter of "can we." We will or we won't. You seem to have decided that you just won't be persuaded. I've given you lots of evidence that there's no such thing as free will. Don't you see: free will is incompatible with our entire understanding of how things work around here. Activity in the real world always has a physical cause, even if that cause can be traced back to randomness way down on the subatomic level.
But, as always, I come back to the idea that "will" is suspiciously impervious to any sort of useful definition, which on its own should make you suspicious.
Do you have that definition, or are you as I suspect simply unwilling to give up the idea of free will (or incapable), in which case I'm probably wasting my time trying to persuade you.
Me? I've made my peace with the idea that this free will thing doesn't make sense to start with and even if it did, the evidence is against it.
@ Wretched Saint - I want to talk about Free Will from a female point of view.
Your god made man - with testosterone, which makes men rape, become uncontrollable morons, power hungry, comparing size of penis, metaphorically speaking. They start wars, they play sport, they jump off bridges, they want to have flash cars, they are driven to prove themselves male. Why? and do you think this is good - bad - evil.
Women are not 'driven' to do this - of course they can and do jump off bridges etc, but for different reasons. Women want to prove that they can do anything, but it is to themselves, not anybody else.
Why are there over 2 million sex slaves, half of which are children, oh, yes all female. Controlled and abused by men. Do you think this is good - bad - evil.
Why don't women want to keep little boys as sex slaves?
From the Garden of Eden, your god did not like women, and made her subjugated by the male. Why? Do you think this is good - bad - evil?
This is a very big design flaw from your omnipotent god, and it is what causes men to start wars, take women from the conquered enemy, and once again, become sex slaves.
Women don't have to fight 'free will' not to do any of this - Why?
You don't say what particular branch of xianity you belong to - but could a female be top honcho of your particular sect?
I can explain why men behave the way they do, and why women behave the way they do - but your version, the xian version, there is a design fault that causes wars and untold misery. Can you explain your version from the xian point of view, of why men do horrendous misery causing acts, but not women?
My thanks to all the good men of the world , there is just not enough of you :D
Suzanne, I too am puzzled by much of what men do, especially relative to war. I have been to a war and believe that war results from either too much testosterone or too much stupidity.
I may cite some of your post's many valid points in essays (for a local writers group) but there is one I will deal with here: "Why don't women want to keep little boys as sex slaves?"
Surely you know that many women can, and do, keep adult men as sex slaves.
Men are victims of testosterone, and women are victims of estrogen.
Now that's a real Intelligent designer those xians claim as a maker!!!
@Tom Sarbeck - 'Why don't women want to keep little boys as sex slaves?
I have only learned what makes men tick, because I live with a bloke, who is very honest.
He is my sex slave, with the help of Viagra - and I am sure there are heaps of women who keep sex slaves. But I also think that with a willing participant - not minding being blindfolded and tied up, maybe whipped - it doesn't quite fall into the slave department :D
My bloke is not the average male in so many ways, which is the reason we get on so well. He is also puzzled by men, but he does 'get' why men perve, and the reason why all religions put women down, and why men go to war.
I, as a female understand that estrogen controls women, and that women can be bitchy, manipulating cows, but still never do the damage that men do.
Well remember, it's not really fun as long as you have a safe-word ;]
You, dear Tom, are just another bloke who is sure of himself, and doesn't have to prove his manhood. My man is the same, has never been to a football game, as long as a car goes from A to B, not jumping etc. I am talking about the average run of the mill male.
In the scheme of things, man wins for violence, rape, torture.
There are just not enough of men like you.
Well, let's face reality: dominance is based on the potential for violence. This is why malekind has dominated the scene, and probably will for the foreseeable future.
In some ways, we are hard-wired to defer to signs of strong masculinity. Studies have shown that we tend to defer to the taller, the more massive, the deeper voiced among us. Those tend to be men, or women who can simulate men to various degrees.