Atheism creates a moral vacuum which only a religion can fill.
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This is the point I had spent a lot of my words in explaining in the posts above. Let me do it again for you.
Now, I know you have always had problems with me not defining things properly. So, let me tell you what I mean by a moral absolute. Wikipedia might give a definition, but here is mine.
Moral absolutism for me is to take a position on a particular issue and not hold a contradictory opinion on it, WITH ALL THE DETAILS REMAINING THE SAME.
When you make a general statement and add details to it, they are no longer the same. For example, consider the two statements. A: You will burn your hands if you touch fire. B: You will NOT burn your hands if you touch fire with gloves on.
These two are not contradictory statements. With more details, you are actually changing the entire subject.
Similarly, to say “Drugs is wrong.” And then to say “Taking Aspirin, which is also drug, for headache is not wrong.” These two are not two different positions on the same subject. Here the subjects themselves are different and hence not a change in position.
If I said that taking Aspiring is wrong, and then also believed that it is right, then it is a contradiction. Because here the subject has not changed at all.
Is it possible to take two different positions on the same subject? Yes, is what I am saying. For example: killing of a fetus. If a lady kills a fetus in her womb for the sake of her career, it is possible to hold two different opinions on the same subject. You can say what she did is right from the perspective of the mother, and you can also say what she did is wrong from the perspective of the innocent fetus. Two contradictory opinions on the same subject. This is not a fantasy example. This really happens in the real world. Mothers do it, and they feel guilty about it, while comforting themselves with excuses that a better career is good for the future child.
There are more examples I can give of how you end up with two opinions on the same subject. This is what I mean by relativistic morality.
Hope this is clear.
It is the very fact that details and situation can justify any action or behavior that makes them relative, you are obfuscating the issue with your argument about cognitive dissonance, things can be relative or subjective without cognitive dissonance. When you say X is absolute, you are saying it is without any justification or subjective feature that could possibly change its value. I, quite honestly, find your attempt to change the definition of absolute so you can claim that it can apply to morality dishonest. It would be like me saying:
I am going to define red as the color you call green.
My lighter is green.
So my lighter is red.
While logically following if the first premise is accepted, you have yet to show that we should accept that premise, and instead keep pretending that we should.
Valiya - "Now, I know you have always had problems with me not defining things properly. So, let me tell you what I mean by a moral absolute. Wikipedia might give a definition, but here is mine...Moral absolutism for me is to take a position on a particular issue and not hold a contradictory opinion on it, WITH ALL THE DETAILS REMAINING THE SAME."
Why do you continually insist on making up your own definition for technical terms that already have definitions? You actions continuously remind me of the writings of Orwell. In particular his paper "Politics and the English Language" (1946):
"Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different."
Your "private" version of moral absolutism is so broad, that it includes just about every moral system I can think of. So just as you did in your conversations on evolution---by using your own private definitions you have crafted a tautology.
Hi NYARLATHOTEP and TRAVIS
(This one post I think will answer both of your concerns)
The name of the concept is really not such a big deal as you think. I have explained what my concept is very clearly. You can call it whatever you want – call it absolute, objective, relative, subjective or what have you.
My concept is only this: if your moral position on a given situation doesn’t change, when the situation itself remains the same, or when you don’t hold two contradictory moral positions on a given situation, then, that is what I call absolute morality. If you are not comfortable with the term ‘absolute’ call it by any other name that you think is fit.
When I draw my morality from my scripture, my moral position doesn’t change, or I don’t hold two contradictory opinions on a given situation.
Whereas, when you draw your morality from your environment (based on scientific findings, social contract and so on) your morality is bound to change and have internal contradictions.
It is to show this I gave the example of the aborted fetus. I can give you many more examples. I was expecting you would refute these examples.
If you think my morality, based on my book, also changes, please show me with examples. Probably, I could be corrected.
Therefore to take TRAVIS’ example: I am not trying to name red color as green. All that I am doing is I am defining a particular wavelength of light. You can give it whatever name you like. Call it X, if you like. But I want you to consider the wavelength details that I have provided.
Of course, I know that you question the validity of my book. And you may want to question the logic behind my choice of my book and so on. These are indeed valid questions. However, that’s a different topic altogether. We will discuss that as well.
But for the time being, I am just saying that when I derive my morality from my book (on whatever basis) my morality is unchanging and strong.
NYARLATHOTEP. Since you raised the topic of evolution again, let me also clarify my position on that. You had problems with terms like ‘information’, ‘qualitative information’ ‘gene efficiency’ and so on.
In the example of the E Coli experiment, you may use any standard or definition you want for all these terms. And using them, I just want you to tell me one thing.
“Does the transporter enzyme select what should enter the cell before the mutation or after the mutation?” Use any standard you want, and just give me the answer.
The answer will be that the transporter enzyme selects what should enter the cell before the mutation. After the mutation it allows anything to enter into the cell.
When an enzyme allows everything into the cell it is destructive to the cell under natural conditions. That’s is why I argue that this experiment is not an example for evolution.
Valiya - "If you want to prove evolution, do you know what you have to show me?...What you have to show me is that a mutation causes increase in genetic information. This is an extremely important. So far, there is no known example in the living world of any mutation that causes an increase in information by even a single nucleotide."
You told us there were no known examples of a mutation 'increase in information by even a single nucleotide'. We give you a well documented example of a mutation adding about 3000 nucleotides.
You told us we need to show you 'a mutation causes increase in genetic information'. As above we gave you a well documented example that increased the information in a organism by about 6000 bits.
Before we consider any of your goal post moving, could you please tell us if the original original bar you set for the theory of evolution been met?
I had answered this question about what I meant by “a single nucleotide” in an earlier post. You did not respond to that.
Yes, I had asked for an example for an increase in information. But that has run into all these difficulties of definitions and so forth.
That is why now I am asking you to simply compare the transporter enzyme before and after the mutation, and tell me (using any standard you choose) which one is selective in allowing substrates into the cell.
If you can answer that, then I think it will solve all the problems. Because that would essentially show that the E Coli has only become defective after mutation. Much like the cancer cell in human body.
If the transporter enzyme fails to be selective after mutation, it is a defect. Therefore, the mutation is not an example of evolution.
I can’t make it more clear than this.
BTW, what is your response to my explanation of morality?
Give us a straight answer, when you said "there is no known example in the living world of any mutation that causes an increase in information by even a single nucleotide”, where you wrong?
Did you not read my post when i replied to it. Let me cut and paste it for you here: "What do you think I could have possible meant when i said "a single nucleotide" in B statement. That was part of a very long post in which I was trying to establish that a mutation can never give rise to a new trait. Therefore, that was a superlative statement, which should only be taken in that sense. If I am critiquing an author's style of writing, and I said something like "His books are not worth a penny," you shouldn't take it literally and bring evidence that his books are in fact priced higher than a penny.
If you undersand that, then there is no contradiction between A and B. After all that I said about E Coli experiment, is this the only problem you have with my argument? Can I assume that you agree with the rest of my argument, which is that E Coli experiment is not an example for evolution?"
And as you have been asking me a lot of pointed questions, I would like to get your honest answer to my question:
"Does the mutation in E Coli make the transporter enzyme less selective than before the mutation?" Yes or No?
"Does the mutation in E Coli make the transporter enzyme less selective than before the mutation?" Yes or No?
Yes, and it is still an example of evolution---even by your standards---because nucleotides where added (which is exactly what you said would 'prove' evolution).
Now will you finally answer my question with a yes/no:
when you said "there is no known example in the living world of any mutation that causes an increase in information by even a single nucleotide”, where you wrong?
No, I was not wrong.
If understood in the sense that i explained. If you insist you will take it literally and then accuse me of lying, then I have only this to tell you. My intention in this discussion is not to trump anybody. There are certain things that I have come to understand as truth, and I am just sharing them with you. As I had mentioned earlier, if you can show me that my understanding is wrong, I will in all honesty, concede that what you are saying is right, and will own up my mistake. I don't have any ego and I can easily say "Sorry, I was wrong."
Moreover, let's for a moment think my statement about the 'single nucleotide' was a mistake. Fine, it shows that mutation can add nucleotides. Do you want to call it information? Fine, I have no problem with that as well. In that case, duplication of cancer causing genes is also addition of information. Therefore, can it be taken as proof for evolution? I hope you would say no. That's the same case with the E Coli experiment.
So, please don't say that the E Coli experiment is evolution "according to my standard." I have explained my position very clearly. Why are you not critiquing my lengthy explanation. I gave so many examples of how the mutation is actually making the cell defective. You don't have anything to say about those explanations?
Lastly, there are so many things that you said, which if I wanted I could have picked on to make you look "dishonest" to borrow your word. That is not my intention though. Remember you said that you can neither prove or disprove evolution and God. If I want I can hang on to those points you said and keep dragging the argument to no gainful ends. But that doesn't server any purpose.
I think I have presented my case strongly. I am saying you should accept my argument. If you have valid refutations present them. Or let's move on.
I also explained my position on morality with examples. I have raised some questions too. Do you intend to respond to them?
What I meant in the last but one sentence in the post above is "I am NOT saying you should accept my argument." there was a typing error that changes the meaning.
Valiya - "In that case, duplication of cancer causing genes is also addition of information. Therefore, can it be taken as proof for evolution?"
By your criteria, absolutely. I never said your criteria was a good one (or that I agree with it). You offered it, not me.
Valiya - "Remember you said that you can neither prove or disprove evolution and God."
Science is incapable of proving things:
"Journalists often write about "scientific proof" and some scientists talk about it, but in fact, the concept of proof — real, absolute proof — is not particularly scientific. Science is based on the principle that any idea, no matter how widely accepted today, could be overturned tomorrow if the evidence warranted it. Science accepts or rejects ideas based on the evidence; it does not prove or disprove them." - http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/misconceptions.php
Valiya - "I gave so many examples of how the mutation is actually making the cell defective."
It matters not if you think it was "defective" it made the organism prosper in its environment. You suggested this does not count because the environment was artificial, and this mutation might hurt the organism in other environments which certainly might be true, but this does not matter. For a mutation to be selected for, it just needs to provide some advantage in the environment which it is in, which it clearly did in this case.
And you want to talk about dishonesty? How about this quote from you earlier in the thread:
Valiya - "And now they have come up with yet another fairy tale to explain away fossil gaps: it is called the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory. To put it simply, it states that one fine day, due to a freak accident of genes, a rat give birth to a bat. Fully formed bat."
That is a bald faced lie. Dumb on purpose, yet again.
You are still insisting that my criteria is "addition of a single nucleotide" despite my repeatedly telling you that it's not to be taken literally. Don't you have anything to say about the example i gave, "a book not worth a penny." Are you the one who decides what my words mean, or is it me?
Do you honestly think that cancer cells are an example of evolution just because it fits my 'standard' as assumed by you?
You conceded that the E Coli mutation makes the enzyme less selective? Doesn't that mean a defect when compared to its pre-mutation stage?
You have once again emphasized that science can neither prove or disprove anything. Then what is your intention here? If God and Evolution can't be proved or disproved, then why even take a position?
I agree that a mutation might get selected despite being defective. But if that's the only kind of example you can show for evolution, then essentially organisms should be devolving, not evolving. Regressing into more and more primitive forms, and not progress into higher stages. That's why I (as I have been arguing all along) this example doesn't serve show evolution.
Lastly, about PET. As you can see in my post, I had very clearly mentioned "To put it simply..." I know fully well that my explanation was very simplistic. But if you want to start a discussion on that, I can show to you why I made that remark. You may have to eventually think that a highly improbable jump in species took place once a while.
I want you to please appreciate the use of rhetoric in language. When you are trying to say a lot of things (especially on huge topics like these) in few words, you will tend to use superlative expressions, which are not to be taken literally. It would have been impossible for me to get into all the complicated explanation of PET in that one line. Therefore, I used some exaggeration to underline my point. I am not laboring under any illusion that my posts are being read by a group of ignoramuses. I know all you guys are extremely smart and well read. So, I can never hope to slip in a lie and get away scot-free.
"I agree that a mutation might get selected despite being defective. But if that's the only kind of example you can show for evolution, then essentially organisms should be devolving, not evolving. Regressing into more and more primitive forms, and not progress into higher stages."
Right there is your problem. Evolution is merely descent with modification. That's all. It makes absolutely no comment that places any sort of value on that modification. Some modifications cause a variation to fail and die out, others increase the ability to thrive. It sounds, from what you have said, that you think evolution equals improvement. It doesn't. It equals change.
Hi Cyber, long time no see.... actually this whole topic of evolution began with you and you just disappeared for a while. Nice to catch you again.
If you describe evolution is nothing more than a descent with modification then I have no problem in accepting it. However, if you say the modifications give rise to more complexity... then I am yet to see an example of it. However, with this statement I think you have conceded that the E Coli experiment does not show an improvement in the organism. That's all that i was trying to prove all along. Hope Nyarlthotop saw your post.
I made exactly zero claims nor offered any opinion about the E. coli discussion. Hope Nyarlthotop sees this.
Since you came in while we were in the middle of discussing E Coli, i thought you were speaking in the context of E Coli. Still, it doesn't change much. If you think evolution is only about a variation in descent, and not necessarily about improvement, then it would only serve to show that organisms have devolved, gone from higher organisms to more and more primitive ones. That doesn't explain the levels of complexity that we see in nature.
Perhaps you shouldn't suggest what would "prove" evolution to you, if you don't mean it.
Also as far as PET goes, you probably shouldn't present a simplified cartoon version of a theory then attack the cartoon for being "a fairy tale" (we call that a strawman).
I didn't understand your first statement about 'proving evolution.' Please explain.
About strawman argument... i don't need PET to show that evolution is a fairy tale. You just proved it by taking the leap of faith saying that a mechanism, which you conceded is regressive, can give rise to complex life forms.
If you can believe it, you might as well believe in the spontaneous generation theory, that rats come from rags.
I see in your last two posts you are sneaking back to using the term complexity. So I will have to return to my original questions to you in this thread. What is the dimensions of complexity? Last time you told me it was a 4 vector (LOL),
Your constant return to topics that have already been explained shows a penury of valid arguments on your side. I had made it very clear. It doesn't serve any purpose other than a false show of intellectuality to explore a subject that we both agree on. I said that you can use any standard you want and tell me if there is complexity in nature or not. Are you saying there is no complexity in nature? In that case you will have to debate evolutionists first before you take me on, because this is something everyone agrees. If you and I accept there is complexity, the next question is does it require an explanation. Are you saying no? Then, once again, you have to settle your differences with evolutionists first before you take me on. Because they feel there is a need for explanation, and that's why all these theories and so on. If we agree on both. i.e., there is complexity and that it needs an explanation, then what remains is the explanation. That's what we are engaging in right now. Your explanation, I have been proving, is simply inadequate. It's because you are not able to provide a strong defense against my charge that you are hiding behind these terminologies, and ducking the real questions. The laugh is at you.
This thread has taken a turn, but I suppose I shouldn't give up either. Are you trying to imply that complexity cannot arise through natural processes? It can and does on a daily basis. If I have to show how biological complexity arose, because it is complex so needs a explanation, then would something infinitely more complex than biology need an explanation?
Something more complex than biology does need an explanation. However, remember there is a difference between something needing an explanation, and something not being able to be explained. Just because science can't explain the laws of physics before the point of singularity, that doesn't mean there is no explanation. It just shows that it's beyond human capacity to explain it.
Okay, now let us assume for this hypothetical that I didn't know anything about creationism or evolution, if you will allow. So, in this hypothetical, I would have essentially three choices:
1. Posit something even more complex and unexplainable to explain the thing I am trying explain.
2. Posit something less complex and explainable to explain the thing I am trying to explain.
3. Quit trying to explain it at all.
I think we will agree that three is rather against our nature, so we are left with the first two. So, of the first two, which is the most reasonable proposition?
Interesting points Travis...
I will think them over, as you have raised some very deep questions indeed. And i need to give them the time they deserve. But i will come back with my view... soon.
Absolutely! Take all the time you need, I will check back throughout the day, or week, if need be.
Here is a quick take on that:
Therefore, you are in this hypothetical. Say, you are trying to explain the wonderful complexity around you using all the resources at hand. And so you go on explaining the complexity one after the other, until you reach the big bang. And then when you try to think farther behind, you realize that beyond the point of singularity it is impossible to offer any explanation.
Now there are three things you can do:
1. Simply deny that anything exists beyond that point.
2. Stop all inquiries because there is no way to know anything beyond that point.
3. Look for other means of knowledge, other than scientific, to see if there is some way to know truths beyond that point.
I think, the third option is the best option given all the limitations. You have nothing to lose by trying it out… and who knows, you might end up gaining something.
Okay, let us go with that:
How do we determine what truths lie beyond that point? We have already admitted that it is impossible to KNOW anything beyond that point based on evidence or deduction, so, how do we determine which truths are accurate and which aren't? Also, why assume there was nothing beyond that point?
Truth isn't something we decide, it is something that we discover, a statement that seems to describe reality. Ergo, how can we know what statements describe a reality we can't comprehend and don't understand?
It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that there is really only one assumption to be made, that something exists outside our universe. I don't think you will disagree, but, like I said, I could be wrong.
If you are prepared to enquire, then I will provide you with what I know of one such knowledge. That is my religion. You don’t have to believe anything at face value. I have my scripture, I will provide my argument to show you that it is inspired by some reality that it outside of this universe.
If you are convinced, you are free to accept it. If you are not, you are free to reject it.
You SAID: “ Ergo, how can we know what statements describe a reality we can't comprehend and don't understand?”
You will know on what terms we understand that reality when I explain my case.
YOU SAID: “It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that there is really only one assumption to be made, that something exists outside our universe. I don't think you will disagree, but, like I said, I could be wrong.”
That’s nice of you to accept that something exists outside the universe. That’s the starting point. So, if you are interested, I will present my case. But you will have to give me some time. My day is almost ending, and my weekend starts tomorrow. Here Fridays and Sat are weekend.