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-   -   Altruism as good as sex and chocolate? (http://ravingatheists.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13161)

Mog 05-30-2007 05:48 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews

This is the kind of thing I was trying to get at to Lily.

Quote:

The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Their 2006 finding that unselfishness can feel good lends scientific support to the admonitions of spiritual leaders such as Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "For it is in giving that we receive." But it is also a dramatic example of the way neuroscience has begun to elbow its way into discussions about morality and has opened up a new window on what it means to be good.
You can see why this is the kind of research that could scare theologians. We have traits that we attribute to free will more attributable to brain chemistry.

Rat Bastard 05-30-2007 06:06 PM

Altruistic Chocolate Sex....mmmmmmmmm.

Lily 05-30-2007 06:22 PM

Quote:

Mog wrote
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701056.html?hpid=topnews

This is the kind of thing I was trying to get at to Lily.

Quote:

The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Their 2006 finding that unselfishness can feel good lends scientific support to the admonitions of spiritual leaders such as Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "For it is in giving that we receive." But it is also a dramatic example of the way neuroscience has begun to elbow its way into discussions about morality and has opened up a new window on what it means to be good.
You can see why this is the kind of research that could scare theologians. We have traits that we attribute to free will more attributable to brain chemistry.

Theologians have heard it all before, as have we who merely sit in pews. And no, it doesn't scare us in the least. Something still has to decide among all those pleasures-- or do you want to argue that it is six of one, half dozen of the other whether one has sex, eats a Hershey bar or helps an old lady across the street?

Mog 05-30-2007 06:35 PM

Quote:

Lily wrote
Theologians have heard it all before, as have we who merely sit in pews. And no, it doesn't scare us in the least. Something still has to decide among all those pleasures-- or do you want to argue that it is six of one, half dozen of the other whether one has sex, eats a Hershey bar or helps an old lady across the street?

How do you phrase that as a meaningful choice? A prostitute offers me a free blow-job, while an ice-cream vendor offers me a free cone. Meanwhile theres this old lady that needs my help crossing the street all at the same time? Its kind of awkward, don't you think?

No, I don't think they really have heard it all before, at least not with the strong evidence we are accumulating. Given that there is evidence that a psychotic brain is physically different from a healthy brain, would you attempt to medically cure it? We may have the chance to wipe out most of the world's evil with modern medicine.

Lily 05-30-2007 06:50 PM

Quote:

Mog wrote
Quote:

Lily wrote
Theologians have heard it all before, as have we who merely sit in pews. And no, it doesn't scare us in the least. Something still has to decide among all those pleasures-- or do you want to argue that it is six of one, half dozen of the other whether one has sex, eats a Hershey bar or helps an old lady across the street?

How do you phrase that as a meaningful choice? A prostitute offers me a free blow-job, while an ice-cream vendor offers me a free cone. Meanwhile theres this old lady that needs my help crossing the street all at the same time? Its kind of awkward, don't you think?

No, I don't think they really have heard it all before, at least not with the strong evidence we are accumulating. Given that there is evidence that a psychotic brain is physically different from a healthy brain, would you attempt to medically cure it? We may have the chance to wipe out most of the world's evil with modern medicine.

Yes, we have heard it all before. This is exactly the sort of thing I was trying to convey to you. You see everything through the template of the mostly fictional, evil fundy. You really don't get it that there are seriously well educated Christians working in every branch of human knowledge. Some of them are even working in these particular areas, you are so interested in. They don't display any marked cognitive dissonance, either.

And I don't even know what to say to your last sentence. It is, at once, incredibly innocent and incredibly arrogant. You will not wipe out most of the world's evil with modern medicine, any more than you will with psychiatry, or any other means by which people with power "cure" (for their own good, of course) people who don't fit in. That is evil.

Mog 05-30-2007 07:21 PM

Quote:

Lily wrote
Yes, we have heard it all before. This is exactly the sort of thing I was trying to convey to you. You see everything through the template of the mostly fictional, evil fundy. You really don't get it that there are seriously well educated Christians working in every branch of human knowledge. Some of them are even working in these particular areas, you are so interested in. They don't display any marked cognitive dissonance, either.

And I don't even know what to say to your last sentence. It is, at once, incredibly innocent and incredibly arrogant. You will not wipe out most of the world's evil with modern medicine, any more than you will with psychiatry, or any other means by which people with power "cure" (for their own good, of course) people who don't fit in. That is evil.

Lily, you are using this label of "fundy" to avoid our implications. You don't like my implication that god creates evil, but its clear he does it all the time. You go out of the way to try to redefine it to avoid this implication. That is what I call cognitive dissonance. choosing genes that make people psychopaths rather than choosing more benign genes is evil. We don't have the free will to choose exactly what baby we have, god chooses it. If he wanted he could have phased out psychopaths from the genetic pool already, along with homosexuality and birth defects.

I guess we'll never know if we can wipe out the world's evil with modern medicine, will we? Because as we know, thats playing god, and playing god is arrogant and evil. How like the fundy you are, eh?

Its OK, though for god to put 50 million psychos in our midst though. And apparently its better to put them in prison for 10-15 years to life rather than trying to solve the root of their problem. Or to cost us millions of dollars in corporate money (Enron). Lets not forget the irresponsible sex involved. Much of AIDS spread was due to psychopaths who didn't care whether they infected people or not. As a parent, would you want to be mother to a psychopath? Now, I'm not a psychopath, so I can see why such reasoning disgusts you, but you have to see thats its not an easy question, is it?Not Playing god or saving millions of lives and resources?

Now, I'm reasonable enough. You think its at least ethical to alter the brain chemistry of those diagnosed psychopaths that want their brain chemistry altered?

Lily 05-30-2007 07:30 PM

Quote:

Mog wrote
Now, I'm reasonable enough. You think its at least ethical to alter the brain chemistry of those diagnosed psychopaths that want their brain chemistry altered?

Actually, I am nothing like a fundy-- especially the caricature that you have in mind. But I am not much like the real thing either. I see that you really believe what you are saying but only a profound ignorance of history could lead you to so blindly grasp at "better living through medicine".

God does not create evil. If he did, you could not thwart his purposes. It is a silly argument that is ok, I suppose, while sitting around your dorm room at midnight solving the world's problems but it is meaningless in real life.

Are there really 50 million psychos in our midst? Somehow, I would have supposed I would have noticed...

As far as altering the the brain chemistry of psychopaths? It depends entirely on whether or not the person is a real psychopath and whether the limits on who can be treated can be so tightly drawn as to preclude altering the brain chemistry of people whose thoughts the powers that be don't like. Otherwise, the wise person remembers that hard cases make bad law.

Choobus 05-30-2007 07:39 PM

actually, it's head cases that makes bad laws. Case in point: the patriot act

Mog 05-30-2007 07:42 PM

Yes, according to http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html Hare identifies 1% of the world population, (300,000 people in Canada) as psychopaths. Most of them aren't the serial killer type though. They fit into society well enough to climb up the corporate ladder and abuse their power there.

Quote:

He calls them "subclinical" psychopaths. They're the charming predators who, unable to form real emotional bonds, find and use vulnerable women for sex and money (and inevitably abandon them). They're the con men like Christophe Rocancourt, and they're the stockbrokers and promoters who caused Forbes magazine to call the Vancouver Stock Exchange (now part of the Canadian Venture Exchange) the scam capital of the world. (Hare has said that if he couldn't study psychopaths in prisons, the Vancouver Stock Exchange would have been his second choice.) A significant proportion of persistent wife beaters, and people who have unprotected sex despite carrying the AIDS virus, are psychopaths. Psychopaths can be found in legislatures, hospitals, and used-car lots. They're your neighbour, your boss, and your blind date. Because they have no conscience, they're natural predators. If you didn't have a conscience, you'd be one too.
So basically they are smart enough to play by society's rules and hurt it more subtly. Given that most psychopaths are not the most malign types that we see in movies, is the 1% a little more easier to believe?

I think if you are going to argue that way that god doesn't create evil, you'll have to argue that he doesn't create good either. If he did, you would not be able to thwart his purposes.. Silly argument indeed.

I do agree that laws to alter brain chemistry could easily be abused. I guess we better make sure that the psychopaths in government positions aren't the ones making the laws.

Lily 05-30-2007 07:44 PM

Quote:

Mog wrote
I think if you are going to argue that way that god doesn't create evil, you'll have to argue that he doesn't create good either. If he did, you would not be able to thwart his purposes.. Silly argument indeed.

Multiplying foolish hypotheses does not make the argument stronger.

I suppose I should add that you have just undercut your own argument. Now we aren't talking about true psychopaths but "subclinical" ones. Thus, have you greased the slippery slope without even knowing it ...

Mog 05-30-2007 07:45 PM

Quote:

Lily wrote
Quote:

Mog wrote
I think if you are going to argue that way that god doesn't create evil, you'll have to argue that he doesn't create good either. If he did, you would not be able to thwart his purposes.. Silly argument indeed.

Multiplying foolish hypotheses does not make the argument stronger.

No, but it shows how weak your argument is.

Gnosital 05-30-2007 08:11 PM

Quote:

Lily wrote
Theologians have heard it all before, as have we who merely sit in pews.

Not bloody likely. fMRIs have not been around that long and theologians don't know how to read neuroscience journals.

Quote:

Lily wrote
Something still has to decide among all those pleasures--

Sure it does. It's called a brain. Not that you would be familiar with one of those.

Quote:

Lily wrote
...or do you want to argue that it is six of one, half dozen of the other whether one has sex, eats a Hershey bar or helps an old lady across the street?

This has to be the dumbest attempt at an argument yet. Xians and math just don't go together well, do they?

Fucking moron.

Choobus 05-30-2007 08:29 PM

Quote:

Gnosital wrote
Xians and math just don't go together well, do they?

so that's why they can't decide if they have one or three gods......

Mog 05-30-2007 08:35 PM

Quote:

Choobus wrote
Quote:

Gnosital wrote
Xians and math just don't go together well, do they?

so that's why they can't decide if they have one or three gods......

Not to mention that they have a bunch of entities that they refuse to call gods, but have godlike powers: Lucifer, Mary, the Arch-angels, the numerous saints, etc.

Lily 05-31-2007 04:47 AM

Quote:

Mog wrote
Quote:

Choobus wrote
Quote:

Gnosital wrote
Xians and math just don't go together well, do they?

so that's why they can't decide if they have one or three gods......

Not to mention that they have a bunch of entities that they refuse to call gods, but have godlike powers: Lucifer, Mary, the Arch-angels, the numerous saints, etc.

This is hopelessly ignorant drivel which is why it is not worth actually responding to you. You simply don't have the faintest idea what you are talking about. It also makes it less likely that you are credible when talking about subjects I am not well informed on. Maybe we could discuss the weather ...


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