Dr. Sam Harris v. Dr. Bill Craig (2)

 
YBlocker
 
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YBlocker
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26 February 2011 03:57
 

Hey Forum Readers,

Gathering from most your views, we all generally agree. 

On another note, I did some looking around.  I found a few interesting things.  (1, 2, and 3) It seems salient to me to know Dr. Craig.  His arguments, counter-arguments, and intellectual associations are all included.  I am providing a few links to a few of the places I looked at.  Only if you feel interested, you can search the links.  And if you have any of your own research on Dr. Craig, it would be appreciated.  So, the first link is a podcast. (1) It is about morality.  This is where these two will clearly be arguing.  I assume it will cover a good portion of the debate.  So, I am devoting some large of portion of this post to it.

In the Podcast, you can skip right to four minutes.  That is one piece of argumentation to expect.  They quote Dr. Harris as saying, “Morality must relate at some level to the well-being of conscious creatures.  If there are more or less effective ways for us to seek happiness and avoid misery in this world, and there clearly are, then there are right and wrong answers to morality.”  (1) To which Dr. Craig replies, “Oh man!  It’s all there.  It’s all packed into that sentence.”  (1) He thinks of this as the crippling part of Sam’s argument.  He is equating wellbeing with the good.  Dr. Craig finds this perfectly fine to some degree.  He agrees that science can determine wellbeing, but says this can’t be extended to morality.  Thus, he finds Dr. Harris unconvincing. 

The first complaint is a supposed confusion of the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  That Dr. Harris confuses moral uses of good & bad with simple uses of good & bad.  He supposedly can’t justify morality on Atheism.  In other words, Dr. Craig wants an explanation for why these should even be considered moral on ‘Atheism’.  (I think that’s an epithet nowadays from most of our neighbors.) Why should the wellbeing of conscious creatures matter?

The second complaint is about the wellbeing of conscious creatures translating into facts about our brains.  In sum, why should facts about our brains that increase wellbeing be considered good?

Number three is about being involved in objective knowledge.  When you are involved in finding objective knowledge, you are already taking values into account.  Things like parsimony, logical consistency, etc.  Dr. Craig states that it is confusing the uses of the word good.  If someone is not logically consistent, then you don’t say that person is morally bad.  You just state that they are illogical. 

Number four and a lower order complaint is about separating unconscious creatures from consideration.  He called it “a kind of species-ism”. (1)

Fifth on the list of Dr. Harris Heresies is the factual claim that a science of human wellbeing is beginning to emerge.  Sixth on the list of Dr. Craig complaints about it is that it could lead to eugenics.  (Re-read that last sentence.)  If you want it in audio, you can skip to 19 minutes and listen for under a minute.  Later on stating that Dr. Stephen Hawking and himself would be killed.  And, abortions would be rampant.  He ends the speech with the idea that this view of Dr. Harris’ is simply too open to being abused in frightening ways.

What are your thoughts?
My replies:

1) This complaint is stated as if never reading the book.  Dr. Harris has presented an example to clarify.  What is there to care about in a universe composed entirely of rocks?  Nothing.  What if a scenario like the “worst possible misery for everyone” (WPMFE) was real?  Then, we could say that is bad.  If those two scenarios are accepted along with their implications, it naturally follows that it’s not a case of justifying morality on Atheism.  One needs to understand that conscious creatures, and furthermore, their wellbeing is all we could care about.

2) This response comes from a misunderstanding of Dr. Harris’ scenarios.  If the wellbeing of conscious creatures is all we could care about, then facts about our wellbeing come from knowledge about our brains.  Thus, an understanding of our consciousness will have a branch of it become a science of wellbeing.  If our wellbeing is all can care about and science can give us an objective understanding of wellbeing, then we are left to say that wellbeing is the good because anything better than the WPMFE is good.

3) Personally, I would say that someone who is illogical and not amenable to further argument or evidence is a bad person.  They are severely decreasing my wellbeing and quite possibly for others around them.  This type of mind usually belongs to a proselytizer.

4) Moot point considering all other previous points made in reply.  Also, he is confusing just our species as being conscious.  It may very well be that other creatures are conscious.  Cetaceans come to mind. 

5) I think the eugenics ploy was a low trick to play on historical fears.  To the abortion reply, I found that study after study state that improving the lives of women in a country improves the wellbeing of an entire country.  Things like giving them a choice in reproduction, giving them some money, and maybe some other things to sustain themselves.  Abortion gives them a choice.  It also helps them stand on their own two feet.  So, if he is against abortion, he is for the consequences of decreased societal wellbeing.

Onto the next section, I just want to briefly look at Dr. Craig and his colleagues in the ID and Theological realm.  In particular, the International Society for Complexity and Information is very noteworthy.  It has a website and has all the information you need on people at link number [2].  If you click society fellows, you find people like Alvin Platinga, Jeffrey Schwartz, William Dembski, and Christopher Michael Langan.  I remember Dr. Craig saying that Dr. Platinga was the greatest living Christian Philosopher.  So, it might be prudent to look into him.  Jeffrey Schwartz is an M.D. and neuroscientist.  He states that materialism is untrue. [3] And, that he has evidence for this from his studies in OCD.  Dr. Bill Dembski is known for his ideas of specified complexity in Intelligent Design Theory.  Which as we know has good public relations and not much else, it doesn’t have much in the way of published papers.  If it does, it doesn’t have many.  We’d be talking thousands fold less publish evolution.  Lastly, Christopher Michael Langan, the ‘smartest man in america’.  Apparently, he outdid Marilyn vos Savant in a test devised by the ultra high IQ community to measure one in a million level intelligence and above.  (176+ on a deviation/adult scale) So, what do you think of these folks? 

[1]  http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/RF_podcast/Sam_Harris_and_The_Moral_Landscape.mp3
[2]  http://www.iscid.org/
[3]  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycnIO4o9vbE

 
robbrownsyd
 
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robbrownsyd
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02 March 2011 09:30
 
Scott D. J. - 26 February 2011 02:57 AM

Hey Forum Readers,

Gathering from most your views, we all generally agree. 

On another note, I did some looking around.  I found a few interesting things.  (1, 2, and 3) It seems salient to me to know Dr. Craig.  His arguments, counter-arguments, and intellectual associations are all included.  I am providing a few links to a few of the places I looked at.  Only if you feel interested, you can search the links.  And if you have any of your own research on Dr. Craig, it would be appreciated.  So, the first link is a podcast. (1) It is about morality.  This is where these two will clearly be arguing.  I assume it will cover a good portion of the debate.  So, I am devoting some large of portion of this post to it.

In the Podcast, you can skip right to four minutes.  That is one piece of argumentation to expect.  They quote Dr. Harris as saying, “Morality must relate at some level to the well-being of conscious creatures.  If there are more or less effective ways for us to seek happiness and avoid misery in this world, and there clearly are, then there are right and wrong answers to morality.”  (1) To which Dr. Craig replies, “Oh man!  It’s all there.  It’s all packed into that sentence.”  (1) He thinks of this as the crippling part of Sam’s argument.  He is equating wellbeing with the good.  Dr. Craig finds this perfectly fine to some degree.  He agrees that science can determine wellbeing, but says this can’t be extended to morality.  Thus, he finds Dr. Harris unconvincing. 

The first complaint is a supposed confusion of the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  That Dr. Harris confuses moral uses of good & bad with simple uses of good & bad.  He supposedly can’t justify morality on Atheism.  In other words, Dr. Craig wants an explanation for why these should even be considered moral on ‘Atheism’.  (I think that’s an epithet nowadays from most of our neighbors.) Why should the wellbeing of conscious creatures matter?

The second complaint is about the wellbeing of conscious creatures translating into facts about our brains.  In sum, why should facts about our brains that increase wellbeing be considered good?

Number three is about being involved in objective knowledge.  When you are involved in finding objective knowledge, you are already taking values into account.  Things like parsimony, logical consistency, etc.  Dr. Craig states that it is confusing the uses of the word good.  If someone is not logically consistent, then you don’t say that person is morally bad.  You just state that they are illogical. 

Number four and a lower order complaint is about separating unconscious creatures from consideration.  He called it “a kind of species-ism”. (1)

Fifth on the list of Dr. Harris Heresies is the factual claim that a science of human wellbeing is beginning to emerge.  Sixth on the list of Dr. Craig complaints about it is that it could lead to eugenics.  (Re-read that last sentence.)  If you want it in audio, you can skip to 19 minutes and listen for under a minute.  Later on stating that Dr. Stephen Hawking and himself would be killed.  And, abortions would be rampant.  He ends the speech with the idea that this view of Dr. Harris’ is simply too open to being abused in frightening ways.

What are your thoughts?
My replies:

1) This complaint is stated as if never reading the book.  Dr. Harris has presented an example to clarify.  What is there to care about in a universe composed entirely of rocks?  Nothing.  What if a scenario like the “worst possible misery for everyone” (WPMFE) was real?  Then, we could say that is bad.  If those two scenarios are accepted along with their implications, it naturally follows that it’s not a case of justifying morality on Atheism.  One needs to understand that conscious creatures, and furthermore, their wellbeing is all we could care about.

2) This response comes from a misunderstanding of Dr. Harris’ scenarios.  If the wellbeing of conscious creatures is all we could care about, then facts about our wellbeing come from knowledge about our brains.  Thus, an understanding of our consciousness will have a branch of it become a science of wellbeing.  If our wellbeing is all can care about and science can give us an objective understanding of wellbeing, then we are left to say that wellbeing is the good because anything better than the WPMFE is good.

3) Personally, I would say that someone who is illogical and not amenable to further argument or evidence is a bad person.  They are severely decreasing my wellbeing and quite possibly for others around them.  This type of mind usually belongs to a proselytizer.

4) Moot point considering all other previous points made in reply.  Also, he is confusing just our species as being conscious.  It may very well be that other creatures are conscious.  Cetaceans come to mind. 

5) I think the eugenics ploy was a low trick to play on historical fears.  To the abortion reply, I found that study after study state that improving the lives of women in a country improves the wellbeing of an entire country.  Things like giving them a choice in reproduction, giving them some money, and maybe some other things to sustain themselves.  Abortion gives them a choice.  It also helps them stand on their own two feet.  So, if he is against abortion, he is for the consequences of decreased societal wellbeing.

Onto the next section, I just want to briefly look at Dr. Craig and his colleagues in the ID and Theological realm.  In particular, the International Society for Complexity and Information is very noteworthy.  It has a website and has all the information you need on people at link number [2].  If you click society fellows, you find people like Alvin Platinga, Jeffrey Schwartz, William Dembski, and Christopher Michael Langan.  I remember Dr. Craig saying that Dr. Platinga was the greatest living Christian Philosopher.  So, it might be prudent to look into him.  Jeffrey Schwartz is an M.D. and neuroscientist.  He states that materialism is untrue. [3] And, that he has evidence for this from his studies in OCD.  Dr. Bill Dembski is known for his ideas of specified complexity in Intelligent Design Theory.  Which as we know has good public relations and not much else, it doesn’t have much in the way of published papers.  If it does, it doesn’t have many.  We’d be talking thousands fold less publish evolution.  Lastly, Christopher Michael Langan, the ‘smartest man in america’.  Apparently, he outdid Marilyn vos Savant in a test devised by the ultra high IQ community to measure one in a million level intelligence and above.  (176+ on a deviation/adult scale) So, what do you think of these folks? 

[1]  http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/RF_podcast/Sam_Harris_and_The_Moral_Landscape.mp3
[2]  http://www.iscid.org/
[3]  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycnIO4o9vbE

These guys haven’t got a clue about what Sam Harris is saying. I doubt they have even read his book TML. Clueless! The lot of them.

 
eudemonia
 
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eudemonia
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03 March 2011 17:11
 

Hard to think that any academic/intellectual today in this type of debate is even talking about eugenics. Shows how backward thinking and not up to date people like Craig are.

Religio types will never allow an extension of WBCC to morality. Morality is their last ditched effort to hold on to divinity. Humanism, Eudaimoniaism, Altruism etc., etc., will always fall short of pure morality in the religious mind. Morality for humans simply must be divine in origin or they cannot justify any Monotheistic beliefs.

 
 
SkepticX
 
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03 March 2011 17:31
 
eudemonia - 03 March 2011 04:11 PM

Morality is their last ditched effort to hold on to divinity.

Last ditch—it’s a military reference to the days of trench warfare. Used to be, so I hear, people would also talk about “dying in the last ditch” as in “holding out to the last man” and such.

Yup.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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03 March 2011 18:55
 

Man. Does anyone else wish the religious side had some better ammunition? Just for the sake of a clean fight? WLC commits every logical fallacy we have a name for. Isn’t he supposed to be a PHD in philosophy? Wouldn’t this have been covered in class?

 
YBlocker
 
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03 March 2011 18:55
 

Hey Stuka,

The respondents you quoted are wrong.  You’re simply right to label them as you did.  I hope people reading your post note your point.  It was without reference to God or gods.  And it was with reference to readily available and realizable evidence, that evidence being reflection of the suffering or happiness to be inflicted on you by certain actions and how that probably scales equally to others around you.

[Update]  Just read Jeffrey M. Schwartz book, OCD symptoms seem alleviated, if not cured, by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and drugs.  But, what of the claim of being proof of God or the dismantling of naturalism?  Not a damn thing, I think.  It seems perfectly reasonable to assume the simpler explanation of natural processes fixing the OCD, rather than the opposite.  So far, he is an unfruitful counter to our general view.  Is he aware of the studies stating to be able to predict your choices about six seconds on average before you choose it?  Where is the supernatural and unusually elusive ‘free-will’ there?  And Chris Langan’s score was apparently 195 on a test called the ‘Mega Test’.  The catch?  It was untimed and unsupervised, a ‘Power Test’.  He went under a pseudonym as Eric Hart in a High IQ club and scored in the 170’s, still high.  He corrected mistakes and gave his real name, as he scored 195.  Well, it is an untimed and unsupervised test.  Except, it says that the person being tested was supplied about 6 weeks.  The problem?  He went under two names.  He had a theoretical limit time of twelve weeks, which is twice the time given.  So, how can we interpret this?  Probably, we can reasonably say a smart guy trying to cheat his way to be a genius.  Although, he apparently has a theory of the universe called the CTMU.

Regards

 
James Bowery
 
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James Bowery
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20 August 2018 09:03
 

The ad hominem arguments about CTMU, being based on the controversy over Chris Langan’s IQ and, indeed, his character, are addressed in the CTMU Chris Langan FAQ.  I would encourage those who promulgate materially damaging rumors to first familiarize themselves with its contents.

http://ctmucommunity.org/wiki/Chris_Langan_FAQ