Friday, February 19, 2016

More Hate Mail

Really, a Wikipedia article about "emergence"?   I'm supposed to find that refutes my post about Paulo Friere?  Wikipedia.  


Let me ask where in "emergence" theory does it state that someone with lots of money and a love of power has a hard and absolute moral obligation to respect rights theorized - somehow, by some pantomime of logic, "rights" which "emerge" from subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, etc?

THAT  belief, that  the reality of those moral obligations - and, let's not forget, rights - are as real as the physical entities that "emergence" presents as the only real, reality.   And any atheist-materialist can just say, that's bull shit and I refuse to accept it, as that hero of atheist ersatz moralism, Steve Weinberg* has.

There is nothing in materialism to make egalitarian democracy from.  All of the silly structures of every alleged substitute for religious morality, the vague assertions of the 18th century, the "mutualist" model, the Kropotkin patch job on the radical selfishness of natural selection, the inverted thinking of naive, antique, Hamiltonian-Dawkinsite - 1960s era "genetics" turning "altruism" into gene selfishness, etc. can be summarily and willfully washed away by the Weinbergian reductionist acid merely by saying, "I don't have to if I don't want to."

Politics that will result in egalitarian democracy don't just come out of nowhere.  If that "naturally emerges" out of the physical substrate I'd like to know how it can be so notably not universally achieved.  Without the religious belief that rights and moral obligations to respect rights are an equally held endowment of all of humanity - and I would add all sentient life to that - there will never be egalitarian democracy.  Anywhere atheist-materialist-reductionist faith becomes dominant will lose egalitarian democracy wherever it has been approximated.  Those are an absolute prerequisite for democracy, a clear and effective majority must hold them as an absolute belief for democracy to happen.

* ... There are competing things which are all good like happiness and truth.  For example, we sacrifice some happiness when we accept the truth that we're not going to have life after death.  Should we tell other people that they're not going to live after they die?   It probably will reduce their happiness on the other hand truth has a value of its own how do you balance truth and happiness there isn't any algorithm for balancing that.   I think you just have to accept that there is  no postulate that allows you to judge how much happiness you're willing to give up for how much truth. 

Even people who accept all this will say, all right we're not going to agree on what is the good but at least we can agree on the fundamental principle of morality that something like Rawls original condition [I think he meant "Original Position"]  that we should not treat other people worse than we treat ourselves. Rebecca [Goldstein] was saying something like this that everyone equally deserves whatever is good, happiness or whatever it is.  That's not the way I feel either.   And I think it's probably not the way most of you feel if you think about it because. I could probably increase the total amount of happiness by making my family live on rice and beans and live in a one room apartment and just barely keep enough money to keep us alive and healthy and send all of the rest of the money to poor parts of the world where it would do to me.  I'm not going to do that I'm not going to ....  and I well, I'm not confessing immorality.  I'm saying that my moral feelings tell me I should be loyal to my family.

Similarly when my university tries to recruit a bright young star in physics I suppose I could calculate,  well,  he could do more good for some other university and the greater good would imply we shouldn't go after him let some other university go after him. I don't care, I care about my university I'm loyal to my university similarly.  So there loyalty is a value it's not an absolute value I wouldn't cause, like Edward the Third,  I wouldn't cause the hundred years war to advance the interests of my family.  But it is one of these things where we have no algorithm for balancing loyalty against distributive justice.

And I think we have to live with that.  I think we have to live with the fact that although we can reason and try to uncover what our moral feelings are.   And if we get into that I think a very good example would be arguing about abortion ...  maybe I'll come back to that in the discussion.  

We can reason, the reasoning uncovers how we feel morally and perhaps allows us to identify areas of agreement so we can cooperate with each other and bring about what we want. 

I think in the end we have to live with not having a moral philosophy that really works in a decisive way.  I think we have to live the unexamined life.  I think this is part of the tragedy of the human condition just like we have no absolute way of determining that Mozart is better than Led Zeppelin we feel it but it's not something that we can argue,  we can rationally show.  We have to live with the fact that...  this came up yesterday.... when we discover the fundamental laws of physics from which all in some sense follows, that all other principles follow,  we won't know why they're true.  This is something that we have to accept, that the position of human beings is tragic and part of the tragedy,  that there  is no way of deciding moral issues on the basis of - well there is no way of deciding moral postulates which should govern our actions.  And in fact we don't have moral postulates that govern our actions when we behave morally. 

1 comment:

  1. Does Weinberg even stop to think about where these "moral feelings" he talks about come from? Do they arise from physics, which itself arises from empiricism, which itself arises from a distinctly Western set of philosophies.

    Do they arise from the social order? Again, that isn't existent in a vacuum. Common sense? What's either "common" or "sensible" about it? Where does the idea of "common sense" even come from?

    Can he distinguish morality from ethics? Apparently not. His muddle-headed discussion doesn't even take into account Sartre's humanistic ethics, because Weinberg takes responsibility only for what he wants to be responsible for; the rest is somebody else's problem.

    As for his family, on what algorithm does he advance the case for his concern for his family? Genetics? He has no genetic connection to his wife. Electrons, neurons, protons, quarks, mesons? Where does it reside? Does he love his wife? Does he need to determine that absolutely, or does he just figure "Yeah, I guess so"?

    His "moral feelings" tell him to love his family? What the hell does that even mean?

    What a fatuous ass.