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 View Poll Results: Is science inherently atheistic?
 Yes 77 46.39% No 68 40.96% On Planet X, God is a scientist 21 12.65% Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

 18th May 2012, 08:25 AM #761 I Ratant Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Apr 2008 Posts: 15,305 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ You're treating the process and a description of the process as the same thing. They are not. They are different. The map is not the territory. I would challenge you, again, to articulate a decision that is made based on science alone. ... . The Manhattan Project.
 18th May 2012, 08:26 AM #762 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by laca For the umpteenth time, NOTHING CAN PROVIDE that ought. That just is for everyone. It's a brainstate. The decision can be made regardless of the ought, using science alone. How can you make a decision without an ought?
 18th May 2012, 08:29 AM #763 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by I Ratant . The Manhattan Project. Based on Truman's military and political objectives, and the American goal of winning a war. Can you explain why you believe the decision to undertake the Manhattan project is entirely based on scientific facts, only -- and not at least, for example, a desire for power or knowledge?
 18th May 2012, 08:34 AM #764 laca Illuminator   Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 3,161 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ And yet I might read exactly the same reports and decide to go to the store anyway -- the difference being that you prefer to avoid bad weather, while I do not. Again, the decision included the use of scientific knowledge, but science did not dictate the decision - your own system of goals and priorities did. Can you form your system of goals of priorities based on science? If not, why not? If yes, is it possible to have a goal or priority that you arrived at by science? If not, why? If yes, then we can put the red herring back in the box.
 18th May 2012, 08:39 AM #765 laca Illuminator   Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 3,161 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ How can you make a decision without an ought? It's my fault for going along with this red herring, but I'll go on as long as it's fun. Even if you take the ought as a necessary part of decision making, it's a given for everyone with brainwaves. Saying you can't make a decision without an ought is like saying you can't make a decision without your mother. Which, using the same mental gymnastics you guys are trying to pull, is technically accurate but utterly meaningless.
 18th May 2012, 08:47 AM #766 Skeptic Ginger formerly skeptigirl     Join Date: Feb 2005 Location: Shifting through paradigms Posts: 40,507 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ How can you make a decision without an ought? Ought is an emotion one's brain experiences. Human decision making is a neurobiological function. How do you make a decision? __________________ (*Tired of continuing to hear the "Democrat Party" repeatedly I've decided to adopt the name, Pubbie Party, Repubs "Republics" and Republic Party in response.)
 18th May 2012, 08:53 AM #767 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by laca Even if you take the ought as a necessary part of decision making, it's a given for everyone with brainwaves. People's goals are different, and a difference in objective may result in a difference in decision given the same facts. So, no, the "ought" is neither something you can just wave away as background, nor superfluous. We have to establish a basis that includes one or more "ought" statements -- utilitarian ethics for example. Once we establish our basis, once we have a goal in mind, then science can help us achieve it. But science without a motivation is as meaningless as a GPS device without a user -- there's no one to tell it where to go.
 18th May 2012, 09:06 AM #768 KoihimeNakamura Creativity Murderer     Join Date: Feb 2007 Location: Graham, WA Posts: 6,846 Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger Ought is an emotion one's brain experiences. Human decision making is a neurobiological function. How do you make a decision? That's oversimplified. Way too much. __________________ Don't mind me.
 18th May 2012, 09:26 AM #769 JoeBentley Self Employed Remittance Man     Join Date: Nov 2009 Location: Norfolk, VA Posts: 1,762 Exactly how much do we need to complicate it? __________________ - Opinions require evidence and no before you ask defining something as "Something doesn't require evidence" doesn't count. - In extreme cases continuing to be wrong when you've been repeatedly proven to be wrong is a form of rudeness. - Major in philosophy. That way you can also ask people "why" they would like fries would that.
 18th May 2012, 09:31 AM #770 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by JoeBentley Exactly how much do we need to complicate it? It again depends on our goal in discussing it. If our goal is to recognize good and bad decisions, then we need to complicate it enough to distinguish between the two. If we're looking to debug software, calling it "a bunch of electrons moving around" is oversimplifying it. If we're trying to understand the reasoning behind decision-making, calling it "a neurobiological function" is oversimplifying it.
 18th May 2012, 09:34 AM #771 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by dafydd That has nothing to do with religion. Way to completely miss the point.
 18th May 2012, 09:36 AM #772 JoeBentley Self Employed Remittance Man     Join Date: Nov 2009 Location: Norfolk, VA Posts: 1,762 I'm really not trying to be confrontational here but I'd be more willing to go down this path if I was 99% certain the answer wouldn't boil down to "Complicate it just enough so we can fit some Woo in there somewhere." You're making the mental process into something a lot more complicated and grandiose then it really is. Forget software thought is just "a bunch of electrons moving around." That's not over-simplifying that's just calling it what it is. I get that this answer doesn't speak to some people but I can't make it not true. __________________ - Opinions require evidence and no before you ask defining something as "Something doesn't require evidence" doesn't count. - In extreme cases continuing to be wrong when you've been repeatedly proven to be wrong is a form of rudeness. - Major in philosophy. That way you can also ask people "why" they would like fries would that.
 18th May 2012, 09:42 AM #773 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by JoeBentley You're making the mental process into something a lot more complicated and grandiose then it really is. Forget software thought is just "a bunch of electrons moving around." That's not over-simplifying that's just calling it what it is. And a car is just "a bunch of atoms moving around". I'm sure the next time you go to a mechanic to get your car fixed, and when you ask him for the issue he says "it's all just a bunch of atoms moving around," you're not going to be happy. And when we are discussing the basis and methodology of certain kinds of thought, identifying all decisions as just the outcome of atoms moving around is, again, not helpful.
 18th May 2012, 09:42 AM #774 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ If we're looking to debug software, calling it "a bunch of electrons moving around" is oversimplifying it. More to the point, the above description is not actually helpful in informing us how to write a computer program. Originally Posted by AvalonXQ If we're trying to understand the reasoning behind decision-making, calling it "a neurobiological function" is oversimplifying it. Similarly, cataloging people's brain states when they make ethical decisions is not helpful in informing us ow to make the same ethical decision.
 18th May 2012, 09:44 AM #775 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by JoeBentley Woo "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
 18th May 2012, 09:46 AM #776 JoeBentley Self Employed Remittance Man     Join Date: Nov 2009 Location: Norfolk, VA Posts: 1,762 Originally Posted by mijopaalmc "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Explain to me where morals, ethics or other so called "oughts" come from that isn't a brain state and isn't Woo. __________________ - Opinions require evidence and no before you ask defining something as "Something doesn't require evidence" doesn't count. - In extreme cases continuing to be wrong when you've been repeatedly proven to be wrong is a form of rudeness. - Major in philosophy. That way you can also ask people "why" they would like fries would that.
 18th May 2012, 09:48 AM #777 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by JoeBentley Explain to me where morals, ethics or other so called "oughts" come from that isn't a brain state and isn't Woo. Show me where cars come from that isn't a state of matter and isn't Bob Dole.
 18th May 2012, 09:50 AM #778 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by JoeBentley Explain to me where morals, ethics or other so called "oughts" come from that isn't a brain state and isn't Woo. Explain to me why you continue deliberately misconstrue my argument by reducing it to a false dichotomy. Last edited by mijopaalmc; 18th May 2012 at 09:51 AM.
 18th May 2012, 10:01 AM #779 laca Illuminator   Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 3,161 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ People's goals are different, and a difference in objective may result in a difference in decision given the same facts. So, no, the "ought" is neither something you can just wave away as background, nor superfluous. We have to establish a basis that includes one or more "ought" statements -- utilitarian ethics for example. Once we establish our basis, once we have a goal in mind, then science can help us achieve it. But science without a motivation is as meaningless as a GPS device without a user -- there's no one to tell it where to go. And again you picked a sentence out of an argument and "addressed" it. You also ignored a post of mine I would have liked addressed (naturally, why else would I post something). While you are of course under no obligation to address anything, that's a bit dishonest in my book and takes the fun out of this. On top of everything, this has been going on for a while now. So I'm done arguing with you guys. It's like banging one's head against a brick wall. Just keep in mind that as long as you claim that you cannot make a decision without ought, you are also unable to make a decision without your mother. The two claims have the same relevance in the issue. Every rationalization you brought up in defense of the ought being part of the making of a decision can be applied just as well for your mother being a part of your decision making. Science cannot provide you with your mother. If you wouldn't have a mother, you would not be able to make any decision. And so on, and so on. Oh, and I'm sure it's pretty obvious that there is a virtually endless list of stuff that can be subjected to the same line of reasoning you apply to the ought and yield sillier and sillier conclusions. IMO this underlines just how silly and contextually empty your argument is.
 18th May 2012, 10:08 AM #780 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger You missed the part about "should" not existing in the context you are using it in. And you missed the part where you are merely asserting the non-existence of "should" in your so-called context.
 18th May 2012, 10:18 AM #781 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by laca Every rationalization you brought up in defense of the ought being part of the making of a decision can be applied just as well for your mother being a part of your decision making. That's incorrect. Take a look at the post of mine you just quoted: Originally Posted by AvalonXQ People's goals are different, and a difference in objective may result in a difference in decision given the same facts. So, no, the "ought" is neither something you can just wave away as background, nor superfluous. We have to establish a basis that includes one or more "ought" statements -- utilitarian ethics for example. What makes the goal relevant is that the goal forms the basis for the decision. Even with everything else the same, including all relevant scientific facts, different goals can result in different decisions. So, the goal is different from a background fact, like humans having ancestors or me having a brain. The goal is an actual, active, relevant part of the decision-making process. It's a premise of the argument, not just an axiom of logic. Last edited by AvalonXQ; 18th May 2012 at 10:19 AM.
 18th May 2012, 10:44 AM #782 Jorghnassen Illuminator     Join Date: Nov 2004 Location: The realm of ideas Posts: 3,881 Still running in circles I see. I think the forums need a set of smug smilies like on the SA forums. Here's a new point for pointless discussion: the antithesis of natural is "not in base e". __________________ "Help control the local pet population: teach your dog abstinence." -Stephen Colbert "My dad believed laughter is the best medicine. Which is why several of us died of tuberculosis."- Unknown source, heard from Grey Delisle on Rob Paulsen's podcast
 18th May 2012, 11:19 AM #783 Aridas Crazy Little Green Dragon   Join Date: Sep 2011 Posts: 1,107 Originally Posted by westprog You agree with the statement a couple of paragraphs earlier. No, I didn't. But we really don't need to take a side trip into Free Will and Determinism territory, do we? __________________ So sayeth the crazy little dragon.
 18th May 2012, 11:39 AM #784 JoeBentley Self Employed Remittance Man     Join Date: Nov 2009 Location: Norfolk, VA Posts: 1,762 Originally Posted by Aridas No, I didn't. But we really don't need to take a side trip into Free Will and Determinism territory, do we? And that's why I gave up in the other thread and have pretty much given up on this one. The navel gazers will drag us down level after level until we give up in confusion and use that confusion to declare themselves the winner. This thread started out about God and science. Within 5 pages we were talking the limits of science. We're now talking decision making. Another 10 pages we'd be talking free will and determinism. If we argue with them for another 20 pages we'll be at the brain in a jar level again. 10 pages after that and we'd just be reduced to correcting each others spelling and grammar. No matter how much we argue all they are gonna do is lob it back at us. When argued into a corner they'll just drop down a level and start back from square one. We've done the Facts->Truth->Reality->Meaning and the Objective->Subjective->Paranormal->Solipsistic and the Word->Definition->Semantics->Pedantics dance with them enough to know the steps. They'll argue us down until we can't argue and to them that's a win. __________________ - Opinions require evidence and no before you ask defining something as "Something doesn't require evidence" doesn't count. - In extreme cases continuing to be wrong when you've been repeatedly proven to be wrong is a form of rudeness. - Major in philosophy. That way you can also ask people "why" they would like fries would that. Last edited by JoeBentley; 18th May 2012 at 11:47 AM.
 18th May 2012, 11:39 AM #785 I Ratant Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Apr 2008 Posts: 15,305 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ Based on Truman's military and political objectives, and the American goal of winning a war. Can you explain why you believe the decision to undertake the Manhattan project is entirely based on scientific facts, only -- and not at least, for example, a desire for power or knowledge? . It was science that led scientists to believe that nuclear fission was possible. That the result would be militarily/politically useful was an outcome of the science.
 18th May 2012, 11:41 AM #786 I Ratant Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Apr 2008 Posts: 15,305 Originally Posted by JoeBentley Exactly how much do we need to complicate it? . The need to make a decision. Buy a AccckGassp Ford or a Chevy. Walk on green, dispose of properly.. all complications that mess up doing ought about anything.
 18th May 2012, 11:42 AM #787 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by I Ratant . It was science that led scientists to believe that nuclear fission was possible. That the result would be militarily/politically useful was an outcome of the science. And had the military decided not to pursue nuclear fission weapons, what then?
 18th May 2012, 11:43 AM #788 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by I Ratant . The need to make a decision. Buy a AccckGassp Ford or a Chevy. Walk on green, dispose of properly.. all complications that mess up doing ought about anything. Except all of those are themselves "oughts".
 18th May 2012, 11:43 AM #789 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 Originally Posted by I Ratant . It was science that led scientists to believe that nuclear fission was possible. That the result would be militarily/politically useful was an outcome of the science. Yes. So science + military goals = Manhattan project.
 18th May 2012, 11:59 AM #790 Skeptic Ginger formerly skeptigirl     Join Date: Feb 2005 Location: Shifting through paradigms Posts: 40,507 Originally Posted by KoihimeNakamura That's oversimplified. Way too much. And yet you had no answer to the question, "How do you make a decision?" Perhaps these citations will make it less oversimplified: Neurobiology of Decision Making: A Selective Review from a Neurocognitive and Clinical Perspective Neurobiology of Decision Making - An Intentional Framework Quote: The aim of statistical decision theories is to understand how evidence, prior knowledge, and values lead an organism to commit to one of a number of alternatives. Two main statistical decision theories, signal detection theory and sequential analysis, assert that decision makers obtain evidence—often from the senses—that is corrupted by noise and weigh this evidence alongside bias and value to select the best choice. Signal detection theory has been the dominant conceptual framework for perceptual decisions near threshold. Sequential analysis extends this framework by incorporating time and introducing a rule for terminating the decision process. This extension allows the trade-off between decision speed and accuracy to be studied, and invites us to consider decision rules as policies on a stream of evidence acquired in time. In light of these theories, simple perceptual decisions, which can be studied in the neurophysiology laboratory, allow principles that apply to more complex decisions to be exposed. The goal of this chapter is to “go beyond the data” to postulate a number of unifying principles of complex decisions based on our ﬁndings with simple decisions. Keep in mind a full understanding of the process is not yet achieved. But arguing a philosophy of the gaps theory is as much a failed prospect as the god of the gaps premises. __________________ (*Tired of continuing to hear the "Democrat Party" repeatedly I've decided to adopt the name, Pubbie Party, Repubs "Republics" and Republic Party in response.)
 18th May 2012, 12:01 PM #791 Skeptic Ginger formerly skeptigirl     Join Date: Feb 2005 Location: Shifting through paradigms Posts: 40,507 Originally Posted by mijopaalmc And you missed the part where you are merely asserting the non-existence of "should" in your so-called context. I didn't simply assert it, unlike you. I made an evidence based conclusion. We have plenty of evidence that 'ought' is a brain function and no evidence any such thing exists outside of an animal brain. __________________ (*Tired of continuing to hear the "Democrat Party" repeatedly I've decided to adopt the name, Pubbie Party, Repubs "Republics" and Republic Party in response.)
 18th May 2012, 12:03 PM #792 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger I didn't simply assert it, unlike you. I made an evidence based conclusion. We have plenty of evidence that 'ought' is a brain function and no evidence any such thing exists outside of an animal brain. And since nobody claimed otherwise, you again erected a straw man and successfully knocked it down. Congratulation on a hollow and irrelevant victory.
 18th May 2012, 12:58 PM #793 AvalonXQ Guest   Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 11,853 SG, the very reference you quoted corroborates the point (emphasis mine): Quote: The aim of statistical decision theories is to understand how evidence, prior knowledge, and values lead an organism to commit to one of a number of alternatives. Two main statistical decision theories, signal detection theory and sequential analysis, assert that decision makers obtain evidence—often from the senses—that is corrupted by noise and weigh this evidence alongside bias and value to select the best choice. So, science confirms that evidence alone is not the basis for decisions.
 18th May 2012, 01:24 PM #794 Jorghnassen Illuminator     Join Date: Nov 2004 Location: The realm of ideas Posts: 3,881 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ SG, the very reference you quoted corroborates the point (emphasis mine): So, science confirms that evidence alone is not the basis for decisions. Well, in decision theory, you got to pick a loss-function in the first place. There's many of them. And the optimal decision depends on the loss-function. And if you're a Bayesian, then your choice of prior is another thing, and if you base your decision on MCMC methods (assuming number-crunching is involved), then you basically have to run your chain forever to insure it has converged to the steady-state and is not just stuck in a local mode. __________________ "Help control the local pet population: teach your dog abstinence." -Stephen Colbert "My dad believed laughter is the best medicine. Which is why several of us died of tuberculosis."- Unknown source, heard from Grey Delisle on Rob Paulsen's podcast
 18th May 2012, 01:27 PM #795 tsig a carbon based life-form     Join Date: Nov 2005 Posts: 26,645 Originally Posted by westprog You agree with the statement a couple of paragraphs earlier. What I'm trying to express is that that I'm not trying to say that it's necessary to believe in God and go to church to make decisions. I don't think it's necessary to have a coherent philosophical position. It's quite possible to have motives which are perverse and contradictory. It's still necessary to make decisions, and there has to be some basis for them. As long as it's not science, right?
 18th May 2012, 01:28 PM #796 dafydd Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: Belgium (Flatland) Posts: 31,443 Originally Posted by mijopaalmc Way to completely miss the point. Enlighten me. I am an atheist and I taught my children not to lie, steal or cheat without the aid of religion. __________________ Yesterday upon the stairs I met a man who wasn't there He wasn't there again today I wish that he would go away. Last edited by dafydd; 18th May 2012 at 01:30 PM.
 18th May 2012, 01:30 PM #797 tsig a carbon based life-form     Join Date: Nov 2005 Posts: 26,645 Originally Posted by AvalonXQ Yes, and the descriptions supplied by science are not sufficient to establish goals and motivations, or to make decisions. Science will often be necessary to make good decisions, but since the best it can do is provide us with all necessary facts and knowledge but not motivation, it's insufficient for decisions. This mysterious motivation is beyond all knowing? ETA: looks like we're at MWIMW* *motivation works in mysterious ways Last edited by tsig; 18th May 2012 at 01:34 PM.
 18th May 2012, 01:32 PM #798 Jorghnassen Illuminator     Join Date: Nov 2004 Location: The realm of ideas Posts: 3,881 Originally Posted by tsig As long as it's not science, right? According to you, this is magic: $\log_{10}x$ /why yes, I am trying to kill this pointless thread __________________ "Help control the local pet population: teach your dog abstinence." -Stephen Colbert "My dad believed laughter is the best medicine. Which is why several of us died of tuberculosis."- Unknown source, heard from Grey Delisle on Rob Paulsen's podcast
 18th May 2012, 01:35 PM #799 mijopaalmc Illuminator   Join Date: Mar 2007 Posts: 4,634 Originally Posted by dafydd Enlighten me. I am an atheist and I taught my children not to lie, steal or cheat without the aid of religion. That's not what I was implying, and I'm pretty sure that you understood that. Show me (by providing a quote) where, in this thread, I implied that religion is the only way to convey ethics.
 18th May 2012, 01:40 PM #800 dafydd Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: Belgium (Flatland) Posts: 31,443 Originally Posted by mijopaalmc I suppose Skeptic Ginger would never tell her children (real or hypothetical) not to lie, cheat, or steal. Here. Implying that a non-skeptic believer would use religion. __________________ Yesterday upon the stairs I met a man who wasn't there He wasn't there again today I wish that he would go away.

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