вторник, 9 юли 2019 г.

Bible Arguments 9

By DeYtH Banger


"Many of our biological instincts are nurturing, but some are thoughtlessly violent. Reasoning may be based on untested premises or inadequate information, resulting in bad conclusions. Many laws derive from primitive tribal fears or the privilege of power and may have nothing to do with morality."


- Dan Baker


"Speaking about morality, good is the absence of harm. To be good is to act with the intention of minimizing harm
What else is meant by morality? Morality is not a huge mystery. Ethics is simply concerned with reducing harm. (There is a difference between ethics and morality—one is theory and the other is practice—but most people informally use the two words as synonyms, so I will too. Some nonbelievers don’t even think we need the word “morality,” and they have a point, but I am using the word in the informal sense of “how should we act?”) Morality is not a code."

- Dan Baker

"It is not pleasing an authority figure. It is not “bringing glory” to a god, religion, tribe, or nation. It is not passing a test of virtue. It is not hoping to be told someday that “you are my good and faithful servant.” Humanistic morality is the attempt to avoid or lessen harm."


- Dan Baker

"I think most believers are good people. Although religious doctrine is generally irrational, divisive, and irrelevant to human values, some religions have good teachings sprinkled in with the dogma, and many well-meaning believers, to their credit, concentrate on those teachings. Surveying the smorgasbord of belief systems, we notice that they occasionally talk about peace and love. Who would argue with that? Sermons and holy books may encourage charity, mercy, and compassion, even sometimes fairness. These are wonderful ideas, but they are not unique to any religion. We might judge one religion to be better than another, but notice what we are doing. When we judge a religion, we are applying a standard outside of the religion. We are assuming a framework against which religious teachings and practices can be measured. That standard is the harm principle. If a teaching leans toward harm, we judge it as bad. If it leans away from harm, it is good, or at least better than the others. If a religious precept happens to be praiseworthy it is not because of the religion but in spite of it. Its moral worth is measured against real consequences, not orthodoxy or righteousness."


- Dan Baker

"Mere Morality is all about. (“Do unto others” is decidedly not a good rule for masochists, psychopaths, or people with kinky sexual preferences, religious obsessions, or simply bad taste.) Religious groups such as Buddhists, Jains, and Quakers that are known for their ideals (if not always practices) of pacifism are more moral than groups such as Christian Crusaders, Muslim suicide bombers, and Kamikaze pilots, whose dogma has led directly to violence. We can make this judgment on the basis of lessening harm, which is a principle available to all of us.
So the good values that a religion might profess are not religious values. They are human values. They transcend religion, not in a supernatural sense, but in the natural sense that they are available to everyone, regardless of our particular religious heritages or choices."


- Dan Baker

"What day of the week you should worship, how many times you should say a certain prayer, what religious texts you should memorize, how you should dress, whether women should wear jewelry or makeup in church (or whether their bodies should be seen at all), what words you can say or pictures you can draw or songs you can sing, what books you should read or music you should listen to or movies you should watch, what foods you should eat, whether you can drink alcohol or caffeine, whether women can take positions of leadership, if and how women should submit to men, how women should control their own reproductive future, who your children are allowed to date or marry, how gays, nonconformists, heretics, or infidels should be dealt with, how a class of privileged leaders (clergy) should be treated or addressed or whether they should be allowed to marry, how much of your money or time is demanded by the religion, how many times a day you should pray, what words should be said or what direction you should face during prayer…"


- Dan Baker

"If religious teachings cause unnecessary harm—and they often do—they are immoral and should be denounced. If we play C. S. Lewis’s game and separate out common human morality, Mere Morality, from religion, nothing is left worth praising on ethical grounds. (We might appreciate religious art or music, for example, but this is irrelevant to morality.) Turn it around and strip each religion of its weird supernatural and ritualistic uniqueness and what is left, if anything—such as peace, love, joy, charity, and reciprocal altruism—is Mere Morality, or humanistic goodness…"


- Dan Baker

"Since harm is natural, not supernatural, its avoidance is a material exercise. Harm is a threat to survival. It is disease, predators, parasites, toxins, invasion, war, violence, theft, parental neglect, pollution of the environment, excessive heat, cold, lack of food, water, shelter, and adequate clothing, unsafe working conditions, accidents, drowning, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, volcanos, winds, storms, lightning, mudslides, coastal erosion … you can add to this list, but whatever you add will be natural."


- Dan Baker


"Intention is crucial when determining the legality or morality of an action. If you trespass on my property and trample through my garden while fleeing from an attacker, I will not press charges. If you do it because you hate my family, then I will press charges. In the first case, I can see that my garden is minimal collateral damage in the overall assessment of harm. In the second case, it is maximal harm, in context…"

- Dan Baker

"People who are selfish, greedy, and egotistical may indeed be trying to minimize the harm to their own personal lives, but if they are ignoring the harm their actions cause to others, they are not acting morally. That is what morality means. That is why we have laws against theft, homicide, battery, abuse, mayhem, and perjury. Mere Morality does not mean we should completely ignore our own interests; it means we should take all harm into account. If an action results in a harm that is much greater to yourself than to another person or persons, then it is not immoral for you to protect yourself. That’s why we allow for the motive of self-defense in a trial."

- Dan Baker

"Harm is still harm, whether it is social or not, but your body is your body, and if you are mentally healthy, and if your action does not affect others, and if you can cover your own health expenses, then harming yourself is a health issue for you alone, not a moral issue for society. It should be none of my business what you do to yourself. (Although, if you are my friend, I may try to talk you out of it.)"

- Dan Baker

"…his own fingers (or some other body part, as Jesus encouraged in Matthew 19:11–125), that is certainly harmful and destructive, and may be unhealthy, but the act is only immoral if it affects other people—and it might indeed, especially if others are dependent on that person. (In my case, as a professional pianist, it would certainly affect others.) If I know in advance that that man is intending to lose a finger, and I suspect there is no good reason for it, then I am the one faced with the moral question of whether I should try to stop him. I certainly want to keep people from harming themselves, and I think most of us feel that way."

- Dan Baker


"Similarly, virtually all women who choose to have an abortion are making a mentally healthy and rational choice, a difficult decision for moral and health reasons. I’m not directly comparing a fetus to a finger, although most abortions occur when the fetus is smaller than the tip of your little finger. Contrary to the dogmatic opinions of the misnamed “pro-lifers,” abortion is not killing an unborn baby."

- Dan Baker

"In my opinion, that is immoral.
Mental illness or instability are not “evil” or immoral. The consequences of the actions of mentally deficient people may indeed be harmful, but we put such people in the hospital, not in prison. It is a health issue, not a moral issue. For society, however, mental illness is indeed a moral issue because those who are entrusted with the authority to determine the fate of such individuals have to determine the course of action that results in the least amount of overall harm to society as well as to the individual involved…"

- Dan Baker

"Instinct and law prejudge your actions, but reason, the real-time investigator, can re-judge them, using the harm principle as the measure. All three of these tools, taken together, can make a powerful arsenal for moral decisions. For better or worse, they are all we have…"

- Dan Baker

"We now know that acts of charity and compassion actually boost pleasure chemicals in the brain, similar to how we feel when eating chocolate, listening to music, making love, or laughing. Why do you hold the door open for the person coming behind you? It’s partly learned common courtesy, but it’s more than that. You don’t know that person, and might not even like that person. It’s not just reciprocal altruism—“Listen, buddy, you better hold the door for me next time!”—because you would do it anyway. You would feel bad not doing it. Why? Part of it is pure instinct, part of it is chosen social cooperation, and part of it is the little chemical…"

- Dan Baker

"Thomas Jefferson was a deist, living just like an atheist with no religious practices, but believing there had to be some kind of starter god, or impersonal force that got everything going. The deists were the pre-Darwinian freethinkers, lacking a model for the origin of life. But Jefferson got it right about instincts, anticipating the theory of evolution by many decades. Charles Darwin famously wrote: “It has, I think, now been shewn that man and the higher animals, especially the Primates, have some few instincts in common."

- Dan Baker

"Frans de Waal, in his book The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society, gives many examples of nonhuman animals acting compassionately. Altruism is an evolved behavior that does not rely solely on having a “higher” brain that can construct formal moral philosophies."

- Dan Baker

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