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Secular Humanism debate

Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?
If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?
EvanK
Posts: 599
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6/24/2012 8:15:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

Yes.

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

Depends, but it could really go either way. It really depends on how future generations raise their kids. Right now, even though I believe they are generally good people, I don't have a whole lot of hope for this generation (2000's kids, late 90's kids) raising good kids. I'm a mid 90's kid, and a lot of the people my age are good (the ones I know, anyway), but I don't see them raising good kids. Which could very well carry on to future generations.

Bottom line, I'd say it's 50/50 at this point, but humanity very well could take a turn for the worse in the next century. Depends on a lot of things though. I doubt 100 years ago, people thought the world would be as it is today.

If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

I'm not a religious person myself, but religion does have good moral lessons to teach, and the majority of people are in fact religious, and so I think it does have something to do with it. For example, when the Spanish Catholics came to Mexico, and helped end the Aztecs' human sacrifice rituals. They did it largely for religious reasons, converting most of the Aztecs to Catholics. So yes, while I'm not religious myself, it's hard to deny the good teaching religion, particularly Christianity, has to offer.

Hope I was of some help. :)
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/24/2012 8:16:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'll answer as best I can. I don't really know a lot, and this may change, but I'll give you what I can.

At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

In terms of MORALITY, no. In terms of overall decency, kind of. I'll assume you're looking for morality, so no.

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

I think it has the potential to be. I'd say that overall, it's NOT a moderating force, just because of what has been done in the name of what people call religious morality.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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6/24/2012 8:22:54 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?
If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

You're a secular humanist?
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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6/24/2012 8:32:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

I don't consider humans inherently good or bad. If we're to assign normative meaning to something, I would say that intent and behavior, which are developed after the fact, can be generally labeled as degrees of "goodness."

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

I don't expect humans won't be much different than they are now, but they'll be in a much different environment. Humans act one way in a society that based on some contingency condones race-based slavery, and they act another if growing up in Post-Civil Rights New York.

If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Sure, if you convince people that they must change their behavior even on the level of having beliefs or else face a massively imbalanced consequence (like hellfire), you can have quite a moderating force.

Totalitarianism is also quite good at "moderating" morality.
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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6/24/2012 8:36:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

No.

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Not really.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/24/2012 8:38:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:22:54 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?
If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

You're a secular humanist?

No. I personally am a militant moralist.
Though I hold both to the utter depravity of man and the pinnacle of decency within man.

I believe that both are available and possible within humanity. I also hold that only religion offers the key to moral incumbency that aligns our decency.

I am looking for insight from people who hold the secular humanist view. I'm learning :)
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/24/2012 8:52:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:15:21 PM, EvanK wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

Yes.

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

Depends, but it could really go either way. It really depends on how future generations raise their kids. Right now, even though I believe they are generally good people, I don't have a whole lot of hope for this generation (2000's kids, late 90's kids) raising good kids. I'm a mid 90's kid, and a lot of the people my age are good (the ones I know, anyway), but I don't see them raising good kids. Which could very well carry on to future generations.

I myself am a graduate '97. I do also see a lower and lower critical thinking level and ability level from Generation X, my generation, and younger.


Bottom line, I'd say it's 50/50 at this point, but humanity very well could take a turn for the worse in the next century. Depends on a lot of things though. I doubt 100 years ago, people thought the world would be as it is today.

Good point.

If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

I'm not a religious person myself, but religion does have good moral lessons to teach, and the majority of people are in fact religious, and so I think it does have something to do with it. For example, when the Spanish Catholics came to Mexico, and helped end the Aztecs' human sacrifice rituals. They did it largely for religious reasons, converting most of the Aztecs to Catholics. So yes, while I'm not religious myself, it's hard to deny the good teaching religion, particularly Christianity, has to offer.

Hope I was of some help. :)

Very helpful. It seems you feel that education level would be a key factor.

Would you agree that education in certain 'areas' are likely to be the directive force for good or bad? If yes, what key areas of education do you see relevant? Is further religious studies more or less important?
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/24/2012 8:59:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:16:44 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I'll answer as best I can. I don't really know a lot, and this may change, but I'll give you what I can.

Thank you.


At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

In terms of MORALITY, no. In terms of overall decency, kind of. I'll assume you're looking for morality, so no.

Decency is fine. For example Christian morality holds that the pinnacle of decency is "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."


If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

I think it has the potential to be. I'd say that overall, it's NOT a moderating force, just because of what has been done in the name of what people call religious morality.

So you hold that 'abuse' of religion outweighs any moderation that is gained, basically a practical net loss?
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/24/2012 9:12:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:32:58 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

I don't consider humans inherently good or bad. If we're to assign normative meaning to something, I would say that intent and behavior, which are developed after the fact, can be generally labeled as degrees of "goodness."

So you would say that our cognitive rights and wrongs are assessed after we do it? Not while, prior or during premeditation?


If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

I don't expect humans won't be much different than they are now, but they'll be in a much different environment. Humans act one way in a society that based on some contingency condones race-based slavery, and they act another if growing up in Post-Civil Rights New York.

So outside stimuli is a direct result of behavior? How much is congitive thought and outside stimuli a role?


If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Sure, if you convince people that they must change their behavior even on the level of having beliefs or else face a massively imbalanced consequence (like hellfire), you can have quite a moderating force.

So you feel that moral incumbency and divine retribution are very effective moderators against human depravity?


Totalitarianism is also quite good at "moderating" morality.
You mean at eliminating morality or eliminating the good?
Ahmed.M
Posts: 616
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6/24/2012 9:16:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A new born baby is completely pure and free of sin, and after the baby becomes older it becomes sinful, and must do good deeds and repent to overcome the sins..
EvanK
Posts: 599
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6/24/2012 9:19:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:52:04 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:15:21 PM, EvanK wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

Yes.

If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

Depends, but it could really go either way. It really depends on how future generations raise their kids. Right now, even though I believe they are generally good people, I don't have a whole lot of hope for this generation (2000's kids, late 90's kids) raising good kids. I'm a mid 90's kid, and a lot of the people my age are good (the ones I know, anyway), but I don't see them raising good kids. Which could very well carry on to future generations.

I myself am a graduate '97. I do also see a lower and lower critical thinking level and ability level from Generation X, my generation, and younger.


Bottom line, I'd say it's 50/50 at this point, but humanity very well could take a turn for the worse in the next century. Depends on a lot of things though. I doubt 100 years ago, people thought the world would be as it is today.

Good point.

If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

I'm not a religious person myself, but religion does have good moral lessons to teach, and the majority of people are in fact religious, and so I think it does have something to do with it. For example, when the Spanish Catholics came to Mexico, and helped end the Aztecs' human sacrifice rituals. They did it largely for religious reasons, converting most of the Aztecs to Catholics. So yes, while I'm not religious myself, it's hard to deny the good teaching religion, particularly Christianity, has to offer.

Hope I was of some help. :)

Very helpful. It seems you feel that education level would be a key factor.

Would you agree that education in certain 'areas' are likely to be the directive force for good or bad? If yes, what key areas of education do you see relevant? Is further religious studies more or less important?

I'd like to warn you in advance, my explanation will parallel a novel, so I apologize for the lenght of my reply in advance.

I'll start off with religious studies. As I've stated, I'm not religious, but I can't help but look back to a time in America when people were half way decent (obviously, America was never perfect, but it was better than today). A big part of it was religion. People were religious, it was taught in schools a lot of the time, and by the parents even more. Christianity brings plenty of very good moral lessons, which as of late are being thrown to the side because of a few problems with Christianity. What I mean is, people think that since Christianity is anti gay, and some are anti evolution, etc, that Christianity as a whole is wrong, and needs to be thrown out entirely. The problem is, in my opinion, how do you teach kids morality? You can teach right and wrong, but it seems that it was much more effective when taught in religion, by the parents.

Problem is, somewhere along the way (past 50 years, maybe 60) the adults (of their time) lost faith in religion (understandably), mainly due to scientificul break throughs that hurt the faith it would seem. And so the entire religion is thrown out, good teachings included.

What I mean to say is, Christianity is a wonderful way to teach good morality. I was raised a Catholic, and while I don't hold that faith now (I'm 17 currently, so I suppose I'm still "being raised" lol) I cannot imagine my parents raising me well without the good teachings found in Christianity. I was taught right from wrong, and of course I questioned it. They told me it was because God didn't like us doing wrong, and I listened. But the question that arises is, how can we teach good morality (chritianesque morality) without Christianity? That's a problem I don't see much of an answer to at the moment. I'm not saying that secular humanism is impossible, just very difficult to achieve. I know it's happened, but it seems Christianity has really helped society, as far as moral teachings go.

As for actual education, that's another big problem. Personally, I blame public schools. I'm a home schooled student, and when I hear about what goes on in some public schools, it really makes me sick sometimes. We don't teach them individuality it seems. My friend who goes to public school talks about it. He says they're always part of a team, or a group. Never on their own. They never have to do anything for themselves, and so they are never sure of themselves. No self confidence of any kind for some of the kids, he tells me. And they are taught this way so they won't question authority. My friend tells me two teachers have basically said this, not in a straightfoward way, but they are taught that their higher ups have all of the answers, and so don't question them. This leads to mind numb robots, who are afraid to do anything for themselves, because they may "offend" someone, or hurt their feelings. We focus more on this, he says, than anything else.

He tells me they really don't focus on American history, not the important parts. They don't emphasize the required math and science, and english and history. He says that in all of his high school years (he's 16) he really hasn't learned anything. He hasn't learned to think for himself, or problem solving by himself. He says he's basically learned to work in a group, with no individuality. He says he's basically wasted the 10 years he's spent in school. Thankfully for his sake, his parents are considering home schooling him.

Ever wonder why there's no unique art anymore? Kids are told to turn their creative side of their brain off. My friend (Jake's his name, btw) has lived in three seperate areas of the country, and says they are all basically the same thing, as far as public school teaching goes.

That doesn't mean that all public schools are this way, but many are.

Bottom line, kids are ignorant, they are not taught morality, they are taught that individualism is wrong because it may offend people, they are taught religion is wrong. They are not taught to think for themselves. How do we fix this? I really don't know. It's a big complicated mess.

Religion can help the moral side of the kids, but as for the educational side, well, I could go on longer than I have, but it's a big problem, stemming from, in my opinion, public school.

I hope I make sense. Sorry again for the long post ;)
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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6/24/2012 11:04:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 9:12:44 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:32:58 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?

I don't consider humans inherently good or bad. If we're to assign normative meaning to something, I would say that intent and behavior, which are developed after the fact, can be generally labeled as degrees of "goodness."

So you would say that our cognitive rights and wrongs are assessed after we do it? Not while, prior or during premeditation?


If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?

I don't expect humans won't be much different than they are now, but they'll be in a much different environment. Humans act one way in a society that based on some contingency condones race-based slavery, and they act another if growing up in Post-Civil Rights New York.

So outside stimuli is a direct result of behavior? How much is congitive thought and outside stimuli a role?


If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Sure, if you convince people that they must change their behavior even on the level of having beliefs or else face a massively imbalanced consequence (like hellfire), you can have quite a moderating force.

So you feel that moral incumbency and divine retribution are very effective moderators against human depravity?


Totalitarianism is also quite good at "moderating" morality.
You mean at eliminating morality or eliminating the good?

Cognitive rights and wrongs? I'm not sure what you mean.

The interplay between morality and cognition is very complex.

We morally evaluate events before we consciously process the information using several different parts of the brain. One of the most prominent is the "disgust" reaction which fires not just when actually encountering something evolutionary designated as disgusting (like feces) but when the person has experiences which morally are considered repugnant (like incest). This is distinct from guilt, which involves a different area of the brain. This, in turn, is different form the modules involving shame.

So, to think about how this actually influences choices, consider fMRI results on people considering the Trolley Problem (http://www.wjh.harvard.edu...). Because of how our moral modules are wired, acts which are identical in result can be "tagged" very differently. That is, our brain reacts wildly differently to pressing a button versus pushing someone off a bridge even if the same moral stakes apply. It's not that our brain follows some pre-set deontological standard, but instead a set of heuristics which compete and, depending on the scenario, overwhelm each other.

To break it down even more, consider the Ultimatum Game, supposedly one of the most basic instances of game theory (http://en.wikipedia.org...). When looked at cognitively, the choice of the player depends on at least schemas: pre-consciousness discrepancy, attributional schema based on valence activation, and counterfactual tendency to repress impulsive behaviors (http://www.ijpsy.com...).

So, at what point would we say we've "assessed" right and wrong?

"So you feel that moral incumbency and divine retribution are very effective moderators against human depravity?"

If by human depravity, you mean "anything said religion does not like" then sure. But if you took away all religion, we'd still feel guilty about doing things we consider wrong. Religion is not why chimpanzees and children have aversive reactions to even witnessing things like unfairness

Religion does not stop people from cognitive errors posed by the Trolley Problem unless it just so happens to deontologically be covered in the relevant scripture.

Totalitarianism, like religion, can regulate morality by establishing a norm and threatening physical pain if said norm is broken. If you keep the norm up for a few generations, it'll probably stick for the hell of it (ex. saying "god bless you" after someone sneezes is now polite for the sake of being polite. It's not related to souls pouring out of noses).

Religion, like totalitarianism, can also eliminate the good if it so wishes. Not sure what definition of "good" they'd use, but I'd be interested to hear it.
WriterDave
Posts: 934
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6/25/2012 8:16:41 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?
If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Are you talking about the value of the lives of humanists, or the morality of humanists? Or are you talking about the value of humanism as a moral force?

I believe humans are both inherently good and inherently evil. We're biologically evolved, and so have a killer and survival instinct, but we're also mammals, and so have a social and nurturing instinct. The rest is learned behavior.
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Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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6/25/2012 11:50:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 8:16:41 AM, WriterDave wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:03:38 PM, Gileandos wrote:
I am preparing for a future debate on the value of human secularism.

As a secular humanist, I have a line of questioning, I am hoping several will be able answer so that I can gain a better understanding of belief sets.

Do you believe that humans are inherently good?
If yes, 100 years from now what will be humanities state? 500? Star Trek?
If No, do you believe that religious morality is a moderating force?

Are you talking about the value of the lives of humanists, or the morality of humanists? Or are you talking about the value of humanism as a moral force?

I believe humans are both inherently good and inherently evil. We're biologically evolved, and so have a killer and survival instinct, but we're also mammals, and so have a social and nurturing instinct. The rest is learned behavior.

Thank you very insightful. I would further ask, What percentage is instinct and what percentage is the 'cognitive learned behavior' as active in ones daily life or moral/decency decisions?