Lord Mord

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About Lord Mord

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    And then there's Mord!
  • Birthday 09/05/1981

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  1. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    Where the viewpoint I'm providing would work in real life is like this:
    Suppose that instead of Jo, we were talking with a religious legislator, proposing the law which killed this woman.  We object to its being based in religion.  He says that science and religion needn't be opposed and says that his reasoning is entirely valid.
    Is he wrong?  All other things equal, we can't know.  For your position to be true and usable, for every instance of a religious argument, you have to find some invalid derivation, and given the infinite number of arguments possible, that is far from certain.  If even one is logically derived from the assumptions, your position falls apart.
    My position, by contrast, makes everything simpler.  "Valid?!" we cry.  "Who gives a shit about valid?  Ridiculously low bar to clear.  Your conclusion is immoral on its face, as is at least one of your major assumptions."
    We shouldn't care if religion and science are compatible, because science is only an amoral tool.  We should care if religious values are compatible with human rights and dignity, and where they aren't, reject them forcibly.
  2. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    The thing is, rather than demonstrating anything about the logical conclusions of my arguments, you've made a whole bunch of entirely unsubstantiated inferences based on what you feel to be true.   As to your perennial complaint about no real-world examples, I'm not even sure what it is that you think I'm trying to prove.  As for what I am trying to prove, I just don't know what kind of real-world example could be made to demonstrate it, because it's not that kind of argument.  Re: the point to which you first took objection, what I took away from it seemed, if not necessarily correct, then at least not decidedly incorrect.  You're taking the opposite position, that it's decidedly incorrect.  My argument has been simply that if you were defining the terms correctly, you would see that your position is, while not not necessarily false, also decidedly not necessarily true.  All I can do to show that, it seems to me, is to remind you what science really means and what its limitations are. What I keep running up against is your steadfast refusal to budge from the connotations you have assigned to to the word science, and your tendency to make conflations generally.  So, in the end, you're probably right to call this one.  Agree to disagree.
  3. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

     It would, for an improper definition of the word valid, yes.  Ordinarily, however, valid =/= justified.
     Except that I never did that.  I classified those issues as being about values, which they most certainly are.  Values such as, people should not be coerced.  I like that value.  I also classified the disagreement you and i have about what words like "valid", "justified" and "science" mean as one of semantics, which, I think, is the definition of such things.
     Why on earth would I justify the mother's death?  That is an outrageously stupid law.  That particular law is probably invalidly derived, as far as logic goes, but just because the conclusion is horrible is insufficient to call it invalid.  It's plenty enough to call it evil, though, and I'm behind you 100% on that one.
  4. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    Okay.  So.  Uh, sorry, sorry.  Dead horse, and all that, but upon further review, this point struck me forcibly, and I have to respond.  Thank you. 
    Emphasis mine.
    Can you please show me where I said or suggested it was okay?  I merely said it was not necessarily in conflict with science.  I think it highlights the center of our disagreement, when my attempt to bring you around to seeing a religious position as not necessarily in conflict with science suggests to you that I'm saying that the religious position is therefore "okay" -- as if not being in conflict with science would confer moral legitimacy.
    Not being in conflict with science is not morally proper or improper; it's a thing unto itself.  Science doesn't care where we get our personal values from, or what we do with those values.  Science will just measure the impact that a realization of our values has on the world.  And that's it, really: science is just an instrument to measure.  Science cannot tell us what is moral, only what the consequences of a given morality will be.  We can disagree over which consequences, and therefore which morals, are most desirable, but at some point that will come down to personal preference.  I would argue that not all personal preferences are morally equal, but that is of course wholly subjective.
  5. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    I admit that my chief concern is for civility, so how you get there, is up to you.  One thing you might consider, though, is assuming good faith.  If we both mean to reach a conclusion, and we're both open to looking at facts, then if one of us is truly "right," some combination of facts will probably get us there.  At some point, we may find that we're talking past each other, in which case we stop, recognizing that our aims don't really have anything to do with each other.  At some point, we may find that it's really some one value judgment -- and not a fact at all -- that separates us, in which case we respectfully agree to disagree.  Or at some point, one of us may change his mind.  In none of these instances is abuse a requirement.
    The thing is, I don't think anyone here, with the possible exception of Ser Scot can say definitely that he or she has always been civil, and certainly I can't.  It's just, in that moment, it was a bit of a buzzkill for participating in the thread, and I hoped that was not your intention, to make me stop.
    But to the point, you keep using this expression, "philosophical hand-waving," but you realize that's all this thread can be about, right?  Philosophy, one's philosophical approach.  You use a dismissive, sneering term in contrast to your shining, concrete "real-world", but again, your examples are merely data.  Your data can't tell me how to feel about the subject, it's numbers or words on a page, full stop.  You then color those facts with your philosophical approach to the world, assigning value to the elements and telling a story.  What is being pointed out is that there is not only one valid philosophy in the world, and those differences of philosophy will take the same facts, color them differently, and reach a different conclusion.  What you call hand-waving, I call an attempt to introduce you to the concept of more than one valid point of view.
    In any event, I've realized this morning that I have again spent several posts here in what is essentially a semantic argument.  You have adopted your values in the absence of a religious doctrine, and you have correlated your values so strongly with your self-image as a scientist (by philosophy, if not by profession), that you will not hear of science being separated out of the equation.  You have convinced yourself that science gave you your values, and that's totally fine. I really shouldn't bother trying to dissuade you, since our values and our conclusions, I think, largely align.
    I just disagree with your definition of science.  If you're interested in the semantics still, then let me just say this: no one can base their judgment on all of the facts, and weigh them all equally.  Differences in weight are not suspensions of the scientific method, they are simply intrinsic to the existence of differing philosophies and points of view.  Ignoring a fact does not make one un-scientific, because scientists ignore certain facts all the time, in order to reach their conclusions.  They call these facts "outliers" or they say that the connection to why (x) happens has not yet been made, but they still draw inferences from the data that someone else, someone who believes those outliers must be more significant than that, will challenge.  Who is more scientific?  The answer is not absolute; it depends on what you value.  Science will give us the data, but which data we choose to believe are important is not scientific, but personal.
  6. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    Your belligerence is wearing thin.  Please stop.
    But to answer your question, you're missing the point, which is about the limits of science.  I had understood your point to be that science will tell a person what's right, and what I'm saying is that science won't tell you what's right, because science can only tell you what will probably be, and not whether that will be a good thing or not.
    The point I was making is that neither side has to fight the science to call their position justified. Both sides can agree on every single scientific claim made, and both sides can agree that every claim made carries some significance.  Yet, because one side's values are different, they choose to weight some facts greater than others, and so without anyone discounting facts or reason or science, they reach differing conclusions, with some in favor of dropping and others not.
    This can be seen as an extension of the religious versus a-religious conflict.  The religious are capable of accepting every single fact you might care to mention (outside, perhaps, in some cases, as regards a handful of subjects, like creation) and agree, in the accepting, that the facts are well-established and important after some degree -- and still they might reach a different conclusion from you about policy.
    This tells us their conflict is not with science -- they've accepted your science -- but with your values.  Knowing and believing the same facts that you do, they would prefer you'd reach a different conclusion and believe theirs is justified, and vice versa.
    The conflict is therefore not one between faith and science, or anyway it needn't be.  The only thing which it is by necessity is a conflict between value sets as to which facts are most important and to what degree.
  7. Lord Mord added a post in a topic US Politics -- Where Candidates Fall like Leaves   

    I've never understood that point, about pissing off Iowa and New Hampshire.  What is that supposed to look like, when it happens?  They'll secede?  They're two among fifty and 4.4 million among 300 million.  So what if they don't like it?
  8. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    Emphasis mine.
    "Just" is an adjective which must be assessed by a person; it presumes a judge, a person.  So, the answer to "Is it justified?" depends on who the judge is.  And your judge is probably going to want more details, because the outcome of your hypothetical is unclear.
    Likely questions would be, "Which religion?" and "Who is being coerced?" and "Coerced to do what?"  The fact that they are asking these questions means that science isn't up to the task.  You've given all the parameters that your scientific brain found necessary, and their objection isn't to having to pay attention to facts, but the exact reverse: you haven't given them enough!
    Science will tell us how to build a nuclear device, but only our moral compunction either to kill or to refrain from killing will tell us whether or not to drop it.  The difference between people who want to drop it or not is not between those who care about the statistics of how many people will  die, but it is the difference between the meaning they attach to those statistics.  Some will see a large number of total dead and say, "We can never do such a thing!" and others will say, "But look how much worse it will be for the bad guys than for us!"
    Your description of the problem as some people not caring about facts does not stand up in that example.  They care about facts, and indeed, they care about the same facts as their opponents, but they attach different meaning to those facts.  The difference is not scientific or religious, fact-based or non-.  The difference is strictly in the alignment of values.
  9. Lord Mord added a post in a topic The case against Mizanur Rahman, where is the line between free speech and incitement to violence?   

    For me this is a question of two principles: democracy and asymmetry.
    As to the first, the leaders of France and of the United States are, at least apparently, democratically elected.  Consequently, they are our governments, and we own the things they do, whether we like all those things individually or not.  If we want the outcomes to change, we have to change what our leaders are doing, which may mean changing our leadership, which may require motivation.
    As to the second, if you're locked in a death struggle with Achilles, you don't strike his chest and shoulders and legs.  If you're going to resist the United States, you don't charge headlong into the Army; you apply pressure to the most sensitive point that isn't well-protected.
    It isn't especially moral, but if you want morality, get out of the war business.  Or prepare to lose.
  10. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    Just to be clear, the critical feature here is that whatever the facts assembled, at some point a gut decision is required.  What is best or most important in life?  No scientific study can answer that and no argument by itself suffices.  You simply have to prefer one outcome or another, which is exclusively the domain of feelings.  You may well choose to argue that in assessing your feelings you have first taken great stock of the facts, but in the critical moment of the decision, per se, there were some features that the facts alone couldn't tell you.  You just had to choose which outcome you liked more.
    This is totally okay, and no one, to my knowledge, is saying that a gut decision of this kind informed primarily by religious background is preferable or morally equivalent to one which doesn't.  At the least, no one is saying they are necessarily morally equivalent, because everyone is just as interested as you are in ensuring a good outcome, and most of the people you're arguing would probably agree with you on what is the best outcome.
    The point is that while no one is arguing that the two methodologies -- religious and a-religious -- are morally equivalent, I am arguing they are scientifically equivalent.  Science is the process of testing propositions by the accumulation of data, which cannot tell us what the preferred outcome should be.  The most it can do is tell us what the likely outcome is, and not whether that outcome is good or bad.  That takes our personal quirks, our instincts -- our caprices and our character. For some, perhaps, the preferred outcome in the abortion matter you cited is the death of the mother, if both cannot be saved.  In such a case, the same science which you say means we must choose to save the mother actually works against you, because of course the science didn't say that at all.  Your prejudices -- righteous as I may feel them to be, they are just that -- did.  If your logic held up, in such a case we'd have to say that science conflicted with science, even though it's the exact same study.
    Surely, the clearer and more accurate explanation is that values were conflicting with values.
  11. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    This is the same thing you were doing in the transfusion example.  Note: law, in the sense of what should be done, or what must not be permitted cannot be based on "actual facts".  At some point, a value judgment must enter into the equation.
    If the law valued the life of the mother  more greatly, the law would still not be based on fact; it would be based on a different values alignment.
    I don't know if it's fair to call all values judgments akin to religious positions, but they are closer to that than they are to facts, as such.  Ergo, when a religiously-based law reaches a different conclusion than you about the best desired outcome, no matter how many facts you state about what science can do or prove, you are not proving that religion conflicts with science.  You are proving only that a given religion's values conflict with yours.
    Unless you are positing that moral positions can themselves be scientifically proven good or bad?
  12. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    I don't think anyone disagrees with you in regards to the importance of speaking the truth.
    I just don't understand what "explicitly factoring in radical Islam" means, either in philosophical or policy terms.  Is it as simple as making sure the word "Islam" appears next to every evil thing done in its name?
  13. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Religion and Atheism   

    I don't quite see how blaming Islam, in the sense of giving the individual horrific beliefs that perpetuate evil acts a single blanket term, advances the dialogue.  Once we identify that they're all tied to Islam ... now what, precisely?  What new revelation or new act now opens up to us that we could not have considered before?
    Take honor killings.  Killing people is wrong, and we should stop it.  Should we stop it more because it's Islamic honor killings?  Less?  Should we stop it differently somehow?  Making a law against it isn't enough?
    Is forcing women to wear beekeeper suits wrong because it's Islamic, or because it's coercion and sexist coercion at that?
    Of course there's got to be something pretty massive I'm overlooking here, but it strikes me as sort of like hate crimes legislation.  It's not bad enough you did something we think you should stop doing anyway -- you did it while thinking the wrong thoughts!
    It is in this light that I'm constantly wondering: Where is the indefinitely postponed, much-pined-for "conversation about Islam" supposed to go?
  14. Lord Mord added a post in a topic The case against Mizanur Rahman, where is the line between free speech and incitement to violence?   

    I see no evidence, at least in what's quoted here, of his actively instigating insurrection.  Or even hinting at it.  Simply advocating replacement can hardly be viewed as a crime, or something we must suppress, surely?  Surely, if our ideas are so great -- monarchy, constitution, human rights, etc -- then their greatness will be manifest through argument, and does not need to be imposed by force.
    What the guys wants, with respect to a caliphate guided by single-digit-century principles, is stupid, or even insane, but he's got to be able to say it, unless we're ready to call it quits on actual "free" speech.  I mean, maybe we should, I'm just saying that we'll have to radically re-define it in comparison to how it's usually meant.
    Incidentally, the points he makes about comparing what we're doing in Muslim counties to the violence Muslims bring home to us are very well made.  Maybe if for the past, well, few decades anyway, we'd spent more time tending our own damn garden and left everyone else the hell alone, then we wouldn't need to be having this discussion.  A discussion, that is, about whether or not this man should be allowed to call into question the very systems by which we decided to do all that murdering.
  15. Lord Mord added a post in a topic Outrage Over Transgender Character in Zoolander 2   

    I've seen it twice now.  It doesn't seem like enough to decide on the film as a whole.  The trailer is appalling.  Anyone for whom this is a serious problem, and their advocates, should say so, and the trailer people did the film no favors in that section, but the scene is presumably, what, two minutes long in total?  Longer?  And we get ten seconds, spliced together from, I should have said, three or four different parts of the scene.  I'm not saying there's anything innocent about what they're doing -- they are clearly courting controversy -- but I don't see the trailer as sufficient to convict the filmmakers of anything more than that.  Everyone's threshold for boycott will be a little different; I would need something more.