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Thread: Dawkins Interview

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlwaysGreenAlwaysWhite View Post
    Won't the best and brightest rise regardless of circumstance?

    I feel continuously pulling the dead weight of society is a burden on those who help our society thrive.

    The entitlement recipients play little to no role without government intervention...

    The average-middle class citizens play a vital role in helping to sustain a free market economy that is carried by the upper echelon of our society...

    The upper echelon dregs would also fail without government intervention...

    The useless on both sides of the scale put a strain on all of us and the government is aiding and abetting...

    The liberal ideal is to keep that cyclical...

    That's alarming, tbqh...
    The best and brightest will still rise to the top, achieve great success and be rewarded for it, that's a good thing.

    I'm talking about the rest of us. Our insurance shouldn't be tied to our job. College should be more affordable and students shouldn't have to take on so much debt. The public school in the poor neighborhood and the rich neighborhood should be as equal as we can realistically make them.

    I'm not saying we should give out more welfare checks. I'm saying we should provide more opportunity. There will always be people who, for whatever reason, squander and waste their productivity. But the vast majority of Americans are not those people. We're a hard working people, despite the cynicism about ourselves today. Supporting the middle class is not giving out free money, it's providing more opportunity for those willing to work.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    No, he means better. Truth is, in a moral society, the man who can be immoral without being caught is in a stronger survival position than the man who refuses to behave immorally even when he can get away with it.
    All you've done here is explain how morality evolves. A new morality comes out of the realization that it serves better to one's survival. What you see as immoral now may just be the new moral. That's how it works.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    The philosophical problem with this statement is that the argument "we are getting more moral" implies some objective standard against which moral attitudes could be measured, a benchmark against which "moral progress" can be determined. And the simple reality is that absent God, there is no viable argument for any objective moral standard.

    Which means that, absent God, the claim "we are more moral than we used to be" is nothing but the semantic analog of "we have different morality than we used to have, and we like this morality better." It is, quite literally, an argument the Nazis could have made for their own society (they were more moral, in their own twisted conception, because they, unlike past cultures, recognized the importance of preserving the master race and took action to do so).

    well stated. While I can get on board with Dawkins' thoughts on evolution, his obvious atheist bias ruins the other stuff. And his "answer" on where morality came from is just so much tap dancing, at least to me.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyBlitz View Post
    But see, you're taking equal opportunity, in an American political context, and taking it to extreme levels.

    I'm talking about a universal curriculum for nation and school funding changed to a national pool that can give it out based on number of students.
    Then I suggest you describe it accurately. Thats not "equallity of opportunity". Thats "equallity of funding and curriculum".

    I'm talking about healthcare for everyone where we all pay taxes for it and I'm talking about making college more affordable.
    I.e. a Social Welfare State

    If only you cared as much about responsabillities of citizens as you do their "rights".

    We're all born different
    Racist, sexist, homophobe. I though we were all equal.

    But to take something like "equal opportunity" and bring up the climates of Phoenix and Seattle is ridiculous, Warfish.
    Rediculous is the conscious dishonesty of labeling one thing as something else.

    I could just call you a ****ing liar, if you like. Like so much of Obam's speech last night (if he were honest, I'd vote for the rhetoric he spouts, he's simply not honest).

    Funding =/= Opportunity

    And my point stands, that the (D) Party, who admitted is the party of science IMO, is also the party who thinks it is more powerful that science, and can stop via collectivist policies, glabal climate change, extinctions and basic human nature.

    As a nation, we should be thinking how best and responsibly we can give opportunity to our people.
    As a nation, we should be thinking about how best to protect individual rights, freedom and liberty. It is not the role of the State to "provide opportunity" or to make up for a lack of same. Freedom and Collective Equallity cannot co-exist.

    .....combined with cheaper college......
    College is a liberal dominated, public-service-dominated, industry. You tell US why it's so expensive.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    All you've done here is explain how morality evolves. A new morality comes out of the realization that it serves better to one's survival. What you see as immoral now may just be the new moral. That's how it works.
    First, that doesn't match up with his quote; nothing he identified "serves better to one's survival".

    Second, the very assertion is inherently contradictory. For example, "current morality" says that theft is wrong. Your assertion would be that if it benefits you to steal, not stealing would be morally wrong. The same holds true for murder, torture, and every other activity currently considered "immoral". What you are describing is not the evolution of a morality, but of an amorality.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    First, that doesn't match up with his quote; nothing he identified "serves better to one's survival".

    Second, the very assertion is inherently contradictory. For example, "current morality" says that theft is wrong. Your assertion would be that if it benefits you to steal, not stealing would be morally wrong. The same holds true for murder, torture, and every other activity currently considered "immoral". What you are describing is not the evolution of a morality, but of an amorality.
    No. This isn't about individual instances of "immoral" behavior. It is about a pattern of behaviors that over a large period of time will benefit the survival and continuation of those that do not see it is "immoral", but instead, "necessary " . That is how evolution works.

    Your assertion that "amorality" can not be the progression of morality? Don't have to look much further than the issue of abortion to blow that up. There are some that now believe that the immorality lies in a lack of "choice". That mentality was once unheard of. Its a mutation of morality. It may stick, and it may die off.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Then I suggest you describe it accurately. Thats not "equallity of opportunity". Thats "equallity of funding and curriculum".



    I.e. a Social Welfare State

    If only you cared as much about responsabillities of citizens as you do their "rights".



    Racist, sexist, homophobe. I though we were all equal.



    Rediculous is the conscious dishonesty of labeling one thing as something else.

    I could just call you a ****ing liar, if you like. Like so much of Obam's speech last night (if he were honest, I'd vote for the rhetoric he spouts, he's simply not honest).

    Funding =/= Opportunity

    And my point stands, that the (D) Party, who admitted is the party of science IMO, is also the party who thinks it is more powerful that science, and can stop via collectivist policies, glabal climate change, extinctions and basic human nature.



    As a nation, we should be thinking about how best to protect individual rights, freedom and liberty. It is not the role of the State to "provide opportunity" or to make up for a lack of same. Freedom and Collective Equallity cannot co-exist.



    College is a liberal dominated, public-service-dominated, industry. You tell US why it's so expensive.
    You're being purposely obtuse.

    Absolute equal opportunity can never be fully realized, as nobody is born equal. Absolute freedom can never be fully realized, as what I do affects other's freedoms, we're not all islands.

    I've outlined the steps I would take to make things more equal, as well as, i should add, raising taxes on everyone, raising the capital gains tax and having a rather vicious estate tax.

    I'd use that money for universal healthcare, cheaper college and trade schools for our citizens and government investment in certain sectors of the economy, mainly the cutting edge and mainly by research grants, as well as lengthening the school day, year and equally distributing, as best I could based on # of students, money to public schools.

    We've learned that best protecting individual rights is by having a booming middle-class and a check against powerful interests. The government can help in both areas. Preserving freedom is not the only role of government, and it's not only done by "staying out of the way". An uneducated, unemployed citizen, is not free. An overwhelming powerful elite class can be just as oppressive on a population as any form of government.

    Go read about the Gilded Age in this country, read A People's History of the United States. When the owner of where you work, where you shop and rents you your home - he owns you. It took economic justice and the Square Deal to support the middle class, because it had been suffering. Now we need that support again, for the 21st century. Times are different, technology is such that we can afford for everyone to have a baseline of solid education, if they're willing to work, and a baseline of medical coverage.

    And just as an aside, we're not #1 in social mobility anymore, we're closer to 10th - and google that, and go look at the countries you see on there. Ask yourself what's different between us and them.

    Lastly, it's ridiculous to cite Darwinism as a reason why not to support the middle class through government, as Darwinism and the theory of evolution takes thousands and thousands of years of biological mutation to affect significant change in our species and furthermore, is not a true indicator of success in a capitalist, market economy. It's a biological explanation for why humans are they way they are today, not an explanation for why there are rich and why there are poor, and why in the past thirty f***ing years, the middle class has eroded to an alarming degree.

    Lazily applying the theory of evolution to economics is a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory itself.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyBlitz View Post
    Go read about the Gilded Age in this country, read A People's History of the United States. When the owner of where you work, where you shop and rents you your home - he owns you. It took economic justice and the Square Deal to support the middle class, because it had been suffering. Now we need that support again, for the 21st century. Times are different, technology is such that we can afford for everyone to have a baseline of solid education, if they're willing to work, and a baseline of medical coverage.
    So you're holding up Howard Zinn as an unbiased historian who's spin should be taken as gospel? really?

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantum View Post
    So you're holding up Howard Zinn as an unbiased historian who's spin should be taken as gospel? really?
    Zinn's not gospel and he's not unbiased or without an agenda, but he does take an American historical perspective from the middle class, the poor and the dissenters POV.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyBlitz View Post
    You're being purposely obtuse.


    It's not "obtuse" to point out that words have meaning, and equallity of funding is not equallity of opportunity.

    Would you like to discuss "fairness" next, or "choice"?

    Like most political party loyalists, hoping for honest discoure with honest langauge and words is hoping for too much.

    Sorry for ignoring the rest of your post, but it was really not worth the time spent to read it. /shrug

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post


    It's not "obtuse" to point out that words have meaning, and equallity of funding is not equallity of opportunity.

    Would you like to discuss "fairness" next, or "choice"?

    Like most political party loyalists, hoping for honest discoure with honest langauge and words is hoping for too much.

    Sorry for ignoring the rest of your post, but it was really not worth the time spent to read it. /shrug
    Natural selection means lower taxes on rich!

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    No. This isn't about individual instances of "immoral" behavior. It is about a pattern of behaviors that over a large period of time will benefit the survival and continuation of those that do not see it is "immoral", but instead, "necessary " . That is how evolution works.

    Your assertion that "amorality" can not be the progression of morality? Don't have to look much further than the issue of abortion to blow that up. There are some that now believe that the immorality lies in a lack of "choice". That mentality was once unheard of. Its a mutation of morality. It may stick, and it may die off.
    And is it "better for survival"?

    The reality is, morality, if it exists at all, has nothing to do with "better for survival". Any conception of morality that ties itself to survival of the species as a bellweather is a 1984esque corruption of the meaning of the word.

    There is either an objective morality (only possible if God exists) or no objective morality. If there is an objective morality, then the vicissitudes of life and time don't change its principles, whatever they are (though they may impact their application). If there is no objective morality, then there is no morality, period; all there is is social opprobrium and what you can and cannot get away with.

  13. #33
    Blitz - a "vicious" estate tax is one of the most absurdly counterproductive things you could ever manage to enact. If there's nothing to leave to one's progeny (or the heirs of one's choice), then there is no reason to continue to be productive past certain levels.

  14. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    No worries



    I think you're missing my point. I mean, I obviously have reasons why I would say "the Jewish God" as opposed to any of the other claims on that list, and I think you know me well enough to know it won't be "because the bible says so", but that's really a different discussion. The point I'm making is actually the one you're about to make - that, assuming there is no God:



    Assuming there is a God, regardless of which - or even if any - religion accurately conceived of/described God, there is a basis to assert that there is an objective morality, that morality is not merely "whatever we say it is at any given moment in time", that the Nazis were not just "operating under a different conception of morality than us" but were actually and in reality "immoral", that they deviated from a moral standard that is objective and therefore exterior to us.

    If there is no God, then the conclusion you draw about morality - that "it is whatever we say it is at any given moment in time" - is absolutely correct.

    And, given that truth, my point was there is an inherent disconnect between Dawkins' atheism and his assertion that history is a progression from "less moral" to "more moral" - because, on that atheism, it is literally impossible for anything to be "more moral" than anything else.
    You have spoken the truth here.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyBlitz View Post
    Elaborate on this for me, then. Because to me, it looks like you're saying those of us that think the rich have had the rules too much in their favor for the past say two or three decades are somehow halting our own evolution.
    That's what Idiocracy was about

    The well educated, intelligent married couple have 0 or 1 kid at the most.

    The Billy Bob idiot in the trailer has 14 kids with 6 women. The guy with the Forest Gump IQ out breeding the genius couple they show in the movie.

    Or, for Jet fans. Peyton Manning, the genius, has 1 child. Cro has 8. Cro is de-evolving mankind. (no, I am not saying Cromartie is an idiot, but how hard is a condom to operate?)

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    And is it "better for survival"?

    The reality is, morality, if it exists at all, has nothing to do with "better for survival". Any conception of morality that ties itself to survival of the species as a bellweather is a 1984esque corruption of the meaning of the word.

    There is either an objective morality (only possible if God exists) or no objective morality. If there is an objective morality, then the vicissitudes of life and time don't change its principles, whatever they are (though they may impact their application). If there is no objective morality, then there is no morality, period; all there is is social opprobrium and what you can and cannot get away with.
    I think the religious object to evolutionary explanations regarding the human condition because they offer alternative and pragmatic views that remove the monopolistic grasp of the religious from those topics. Things aren’t moral because God prefers them. If God does exist, then he prefers certain behaviors because those behaviors are moral independent of him. Morality is and should be viewed independent of God. Otherwise we’re not discussing morality, we’re discussing permission.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, moral values arise in rational beings to help them recognize and respond to risks. In other words, it’s derived from instincts for survival and reproduction. Read up on kin selection. Given our large brains, why wouldn’t we develop complex patterns of thinking and behaving that would permit survival? Impregnating your sister is not only morally wrong but it comes with biological risks that reduce your offspring’s survival. The fact is biological risks were around a long time before we became a sanctimonious species.

  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by finlee17 View Post
    I think the religious object to evolutionary explanations regarding the human condition because they offer alternative and pragmatic views that remove the monopolistic grasp of the religious from those topics. Things aren’t moral because God prefers them. If God does exist, then he prefers certain behaviors because those behaviors are moral independent of him. Morality is and should be viewed independent of God. Otherwise we’re not discussing morality, we’re discussing permission.
    This is true (Euthyphro FTW!) - but it misses the real reason an objective morality is impossible absent God; authority. No human has the moral authority to impose his view of morality on another human unless he can base that view on an objective source. Thus, without reliance on the existence of God as an objective moral arbiter, it is inconsistent (and therefore logically invalid) to insist that any one person's (or society's) view of morality is better or ought to be universal.

    Of course, that leaves open the question of whether God exists and, if he does, whether any religion has it right about him (obviously, I have my own views on those questions).

    From an evolutionary standpoint, moral values arise in rational beings to help them recognize and respond to risks. In other words, it’s derived from instincts for survival and reproduction. Read up on kin selection. Given our large brains, why wouldn’t we develop complex patterns of thinking and behaving that would permit survival? Impregnating your sister is not only morally wrong but it comes with biological risks that reduce your offspring’s survival. The fact is biological risks were around a long time before we became a sanctimonious species.
    The biological risks of incest are somewhat overstated (look at animal husbandry and the way herds are at times deliberately inbred to emphasize and encourage positive traits). More fundamentally, as I pointed out to JP, there isn't really such a significant connection between morality and survival/reproduction. The morality of charity adds nothing to the survival of the individual (and survival of the fittest, in terms of evolutionary imperatives, is about imperatives that work on the individual to ensure survival of the species; the strong survive, and propagate, strengthening the species). By that measure, charity - which allows the unsuccessful to continue to survive and procreate - is actually a negative when viewed solely through the lens of species-survival, particularly in eras where physical prowess was much more integral to success than it is in modern societies today.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Blitz - a "vicious" estate tax is one of the most absurdly counterproductive things you could ever manage to enact. If there's nothing to leave to one's progeny (or the heirs of one's choice), then there is no reason to continue to be productive past certain levels.
    The part I left out or assumed that other's understood, is that's referring to very large estates.

    These folks:

    Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined

    Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore so admired the daily demonstrations against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that he traveled from New York to Madison for one on March 5, 2011.

    The liberal firebrand opened his speech by heaping praise on those fighting the Republican governor’s efforts to take collective bargaining powers from state and local government employees.

    But he put more firepower into bashing the nation’s rich.

    "Right now, this afternoon, just 400 Americans -- 400 -- have more wealth than half of all Americans combined," Moore avowed to tens of thousands of protesters.

    "Let me say that again. And please, someone in the mainstream media, just repeat this fact once; we’re not greedy, we’ll be happy to hear it just once.

    "Four hundred obscenely wealthy individuals, 400 little Mubaraks -- most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion-dollar taxpayer bailout of 2008 -- now have more cash, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined."

    OK, we’ve repeated Moore’s declaration (including the reference to Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president).

    Now let’s see if what he asserts -- that 400 Americans "have more wealth than half of all Americans combined" -- is true.

    Moore has made other staggering claims about the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. In Capitalism: A Love Story, his 2009 documentary, Moore said "the richest 1 percent have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined."

    He was awarded a Mostly True by our colleagues at PolitiFact National for that claim.

    For his Madison speech, Moore posted a version of the text on his website. It included a link to back up his statement about the 400 wealthiest Americans. The link was to a blog post by Dave Johnson, a fellow at the Commonweal Institute, a California organization that says it promotes a progressive agenda.

    Johnson wrote that in 2007, the combined net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans, as measured by Forbes magazine, was $1.5 trillion; and the combined net worth of the poorer 50 percent of American households was $1.6 trillion.

    Aside from using slightly different terminology than Moore did, Johnson’s numbers present two problems:

    They’re four years old. And they indicate that the poorer 50 percent of American households had a higher net worth than the 400 richest Americans.

    That’s the opposite of what Moore said in Madison.

    We were referred to another item on Moore’s website that was posted two days after the Madison speech. It cites more recent figures, for 2009.

    So, let’s start again.

    In that item, Moore correctly quoted Forbes, which said in a September 2009 article that the net worth of the nation’s 400 wealthiest Americans was $1.27 trillion.

    Forbes generates its list annually, using interviews, financial documents and other methods to tally their figures. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with an estimated net worth of $50 billion, topped the 2009 list for the 16th consecutive year

    The second part of Moore’s claim -- that the net worth of half of all Americans is less than that of the Forbes 400 -- is more complicated.

    Moore cited a December 2010 Federal Reserve Board report that said the net worth for all U.S. households was $53.1 trillion in September 2009. That was the same month Forbes released its top 400 list.

    That’s a starting point -- $53.1 trillion is the net worth for everybody.

    Moore also cited a March 2010 "working paper" by Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University and Bard College. Wolff was a key source in Moore’s claim that was rated Mostly True by PolitiFact National.

    Wolff’s paper said that as of July 2009, the three lowest quintiles of U.S. households -- in other words, the poorest 60 percent of U.S. households -- possessed 2.3 percent of the nation’s total net worth.

    Moore then multiplied that 2.3 percent by the nation’s total net worth of $53.1 trillion and got $1.22 trillion.

    In other words, he was saying the poorest 60 percent of U.S. households had $1.22 trillion in net worth, which is less than the $1.27 trillion in net worth for the Forbes’ 400 wealthiest Americans.

    Of course, if the net worth of 60 percent of households is less than that of Forbes’ 400 wealthiest, the net worth of 50 percent of the households -- which is what Moore claimed -- would also be less.

    We contacted Wolff, who said he had reviewed Moore’s calculations.

    "As far as I can tell, they’re fine," he said.

    Three economists -- Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Daniel Mitchell of the libertarian Cato Institute -- agreed.

    We made one more check.

    Since Moore’s statistics were for 2009, we sought figures for 2010.

    The 2010 net worth of the Forbes 400 was $1.37 trillion, Forbes reported in September 2010. That same month, the total U.S. net worth was $54.9 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Board report cited by Moore.

    Wolff hasn’t updated his 2009 figures. So we used his 2.3 percent figure again, multiplied by the 2010 total net worth of $54.9 trillion, and found that the net worth of the poorest 60 percent of U.S. households was $1.26 trillion in 2010.

    That’s less than the 2010 net worth for the Forbes 400.

    How could it be that 400 people have more wealth than half of the more than 100 million U.S. households?

    Think of it this way. Many Americans make a good income, have some savings and investments, and own a nice home; they also have debt, for a mortgage, credit cards and other bills. Some people would still have a pretty healthy bottom line. But many -- including those who lost a job and their home in the recession -- have a negative net worth. So that drags down the total net worth for the poorer half of U.S. households that Moore cited.

    We also want to add one cautionary note, from Mitchell of the Cato Institute, about Moore’s methodology: The Federal Reserve uses hard numbers to calculate the net worth of all households, but Forbes uses assumptions and interviews along with hard numbers in estimating the net worth of the Forbes 400.

    There’s no way to know how the differences between the two affect the net worth numbers, but Moore used the data that are available and there’s no indication he "cherry-picked" figures for a desired result, Mitchell said.

    With that caveat, our assessment indicates that as of 2009, the net worth of the nation’s 400 wealthiest individuals exceeds the net worth of half of all American households.

    We rate Moore’s statement True.
    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/...-more-wealth-/

    I'm not after the million or even ten million someone leaves their children.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by chirorob View Post
    That's what Idiocracy was about

    The well educated, intelligent married couple have 0 or 1 kid at the most.

    The Billy Bob idiot in the trailer has 14 kids with 6 women. The guy with the Forest Gump IQ out breeding the genius couple they show in the movie.

    Or, for Jet fans. Peyton Manning, the genius, has 1 child. Cro has 8. Cro is de-evolving mankind. (no, I am not saying Cromartie is an idiot, but how hard is a condom to operate?)
    Well I'm not crazy about the idea that rich and intelligent are considered synonyms. That's my problem.

    And does this mean universal healthcare is bad because a lot dumb people will survive? Because emergency rooms will treat idiots hurting themselves regardless of insurance, universal healthcare would ensure everyone's paying in.
    Last edited by SafetyBlitz; 09-10-2012 at 01:33 PM.

  20. #40
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    Morality is a social construct which was developed through culture and survival instincts over thousands of generations. God and objectivity have nothing to do with it.

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