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post #17 of (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Liddellianenko View Post
Well the explanation I'm proposing, and that is generally understood from the concept of the soul across various cultures, is that the mind is just a computational and memory storage tool.

The functionality question you're asking really is something akin to "What is the function of a computer?" ... simple really, it's useful for processing information and storing/retrieving memories, and running/interacting in it's own virtual/digital world.

Heck think of it as a computer CPU running one big World of Warcraft MMORPG/Matrix type application if you want to simplify it, though it's more complex than that. But the true "free will" input comes from outside, from the user that is entering input and controlling the mouse and keyboard.

Similarly, the mind itself would be a proxy for the soul on another level. It is useful for storing the memories and experiences of this life, learning and refining skills applicable in it's own virtual world (this life), but the "decision-making" based on that information and computation is made by a user (soul) that is seeing all of this and entering live input where needed.

So basically it's more like your second "if decision making operates based on our experience of the world" scenario ... the input coming from the soul, coming from perhaps a quantum or sub-quantum/extra dimensional level, is aware of the experiences and worldly interactions of the mind and body through their composition down to the quantum level. Based on this information, the decision-making can be carried out by the soul the same way an MMORPG player can make decisions based on what he sees on the computer screen.

The mind itself has no independent decision making, but it's inputs are very much independent, as quantum mechanics have shown that particle mechanics at the quantum level are always random and cannot be predestined to be one way or another even if the entire states of particles are known (as postulated in LaPlace's demon). It is in the form of these random particle collissions that input is entered into the "real world" by the soul.
I'm not sure I'm following this at all, which worries me a little.

Firstly, there is no concept of "the soul" that is cross cultural. Concepts of the soul in various cultures are radically different. The difference between Christian theology and Jewish theology, which are supposed to be at least similar on the issue, are not in the least. Getting into something like a Hindu/Buddhist or shamanistic/animistic view is even worse.

But lets see if I follow where you're going:

(P1) There is a soul which is external to the body.
(P2) The soul acts on the body (at the subatomic level) such that it has control over circumstances (brain states) which elicit particular behaviors.
(P3) Free will resides in the ability of the soul to manipulate behaviors independent of physical causality.

Do I have these wrong? They feel off to me.

I don't see why not ... if something cannot be proven one way or another, one is free to believe either side of the explanation based on logic and likelihood.

It's like saying in the 14th century or whenever the germ theory of disease came out almost two centuries before the microscope was invented to actually get empirical proof, "oh well just because you can't disprove these 'germs' doesn't mean they actually exist or have any relevance to disease theory. The theory makes a lot of logical sense of course, but one must continue to believe in Galens humors for healing, it's just stupid to believe otherwise!".

Not all things in science are empirically proven ... Einstein's theory of relativity was revolutionary far before it could be empirically proven. It doesn't make people believing or analyzing the world using that theory idiots. Heck, even macro-evolution isn't empirically proven it's not like anyone's ever seen a species evolve into another, it's based on broad patterns in fossil history.
You're missing the point I was making in the comment.

If you hold a proposition to be true and there is no standard of evidence which could demonstrate the theory to be false, then the applied value of that theory is limited.

When germ theory and theories of evolution and relativity were formed, there was a clear standard of evidence for ways in which they could be demonstrated to be false.

Darwin discusses it extensively. Einstein does as well.

Is there evidence that could demonstrate that (your interpretation of) free will did not exist? Is there evidence that could demonstrate that (your interpretation of) God does not exist?

This is me regurgitating Popper and (later) Flew on falsifiability, but that's where I was getting the point from. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

Well I already clarified that I wasn't just considering American fighters, I was just concentrating on them since we have reliable data for an detecting a statistical anomaly, in a country where there is more diversity in religion than say Brazil.

Just saying something to the effect of "Christians are dumb and uneducated, so you'll find more of them in MMA/sports" is a complete cop out. Some of the best wrestling programs in America are in California, East Coast etc., in the best funded universities, with all backgrounds of people competing in it.

I don't get this obsession with "post-collegiate" education as some sort of indicator of intellect either, and somehow people with just college degrees just being a bunch of unwashed bumpkins. If anything, useless MBAs with no real skills except claiming credit for others work are the dumbasses being fired first in today's economy.

Among the Christian fighters I mentioned, most if not all are college educated, so your casual assumption of assigning their religion to their "poverty/ignorance" is just another instance of an atheist superiority complex bias.
It's not an atheist superiority complex bias.

Post-graduate education directly correlates to higher income levels. That's a fact.

Also, when you say that "most of the top wrestling programs in the country exist in California and the East Coast," you're just plain wrong. Cornell (1) and Penn State (3)have a great wrestling programs, but of the top 25 programs in the country, 14 of them are in the midwest, one is in California (Cal Poly) and 5 or 6 (depending on how you count) are in the midwest.

Here's the difference, the midwestern schools produce a disproportionate number of the top MMA fighters. Though, realistically, very few collegiate wrestlers go on to become high profile MMA fighters, just because there are so few high profile MMA fighters contrasted with All-Americans.

Very few MMA fighters come from middle- or upper-class backgrounds. That was my point. It's not a pejorative, it's strictly observational.

Corrent on the Agnostics, dead wrong on atheists, at least based on any casual observation. Just go out on the internet, every comments thread, website, yahoo answers, stumbleupon, forum etc. is filled with absolutely virulent Christianity bashing. Every 13 year old with a keyboard is extolling the virtues of Flying Spaghetti Monster and patting himself on his back with a smug smile over his wit and "original" intellect. You yourself have started a thread on Pop atheism and how it's the trendy thing nowadays. It's not just the internet, I experience it over and over in my daily life.

If you want an example in MMA, take a look at this Frank Mir interview.

"Just don't care" very much? Atheists go out of their way to ridicule religion the moment anyone listens. There is somehow this ridiculous pretense that they have a casual nonchalance about it, but the very fact that the entire religion registration thread has 95% atheists all spewing ridicule against the one Christian trying to defend his views is an indicator of just how much atheists "don't care".
Actually, this particular criticism is fine. The point I was trying to make was about the advocacy of conversion, but that's actually a reasonable defense.

By the way, my criticism of "pop atheism" is not a critique of "mocking religion." Nietzsche does it (very, very well) and so did plenty of other philosophers. My critique is of the grounding of popular arguments (like the Pastafarian approach) and their relevance with respect to the way that they treat traditional philosophical arguments which are just orders of magnitude more powerful, because the analogies are more grounded and the historical impetus and lengthy debate makes them more easily defended.

Right, I'm sure those answers on prison surveys have nothing to do with the fact that their freedom depends on "proving" how reformed and good they are during parole hearings and otherwise, how their new found faith has changed their thinking and made them repent.

If you're going to quote a statistical anomaly, at least quote one where the respondants don't have an HUGE ulterior motive for a certain response. Like having a shot at freedom for example. At least in MMA or the free world people don't have that kind of motivation bias. You might as well cite me opinion polls of how much people in North Korea love their blessed leader Kim Jong Il.
All of the polling is conducted anonymously, as is standard operating procedure for any reasonable polling sample. The idea that asserting "I've converted to Christianity" would make it more likely for a prisoner to get out on good behavior is a little troubling, but I guess given the general association of the words "Christian" and "good person" that isn't surprising.

Who made this arbitrary distinction that so and so falls under "divine command" and so and so under "virtue ethics"? It's so arbitrary to say, oh if God tells you to be virtuous, well that's a WHOLE ANOTHER thing than if someone else says it. It's the height of semantics.
You're missing the distinction here.

Divine command theory perhaps I should've used the term "theological voluntarism") is the theory that the moral value of an action is derived from the moral command from god.

Virtue ethics is the theory that the moral value of the action is derived from the way in which the action promotes intrinsically virtuous behavior, behavior which forms habits that lead to personal betterment.

These are mutually exclusive because they both independently derive the concept of "moral action." It's not semantic.

Try to refute my point on the Gospels not projecting Virtue Ethics. All of of Jesus' words reinforce that virtue is rewarded and sin leads to destruction, that is the core of virtue ethics. How does it suddenly "change the theory" completely if God is the one encouraging virtue ethics?

Most Christians do actually tend to go in order from Gospels -> Epistles -> OT. One example is that you don't see most Christians holding a saturday sabbath, eating Kosher food etc. because of that very precedence i.e. in the Epistles it is stated that God made everything clean to eat and so the OT is negated in that regard.

Only a very small chunk of literalist Christians who think the Bible is the unfallible literal word-for-word written by God kind of thing pretend to take all parts the same, and even they I bet don't go around eating Kosher good and sacrificing bulls to archs. I'm not representing that literalist brand of Christian anyway.
Actually, polling indicates that number isn't very small at all. And I'm pretty sure that the section you're alluding to is in Acts, though I'd have to double check. But that's beside the point.

But I'm trying to get some terms ironed out here. I probably should have done this earlier.

Ethics is the practice of moral actions, and so different systems of ethics differ because they differ in defining what constitutes a moral action, a "good" action.

Theological volunteerism (the term I'm switching to because, as SEP points out "Divine Command Theory" is a weak term) determines the moral value of an action based on the expressed view of God in the text.

Virtue ethics determines the moral value of an action based on whether or not the action promotes a virtue in and of itself.

God can promote virtue ethics. My point is that he doesn't. The text in the Bible clearly does not instruct you to partake in the action because of the intrinsic character of the action (the virtue that it cultivates) but because of the instruction from God.

Also, the opposite of virtue isn't "Sin." The opposite of virtue is vice, which (accord to virtue ethicists) is simply the antithesis of the intrinsic moral character of a particular virtue.

A "Sin" is an action of inferior moral quality. "Sin" is synonymous with "bad action."

If God supported virtue ethics in the text, then a "Sin" would be an action that promoted "vice," in contrast to "virtue."

Name one religious (preferably more than token religious and someone who actually tried to be virtuous) UFC champ that fell as drastically and pathetically as Ortiz, at an early stage in his career?
There is no parallel for Ortiz at any stage of his career. How many UFC champions had defended their title 6 times at the age of 28? Frank Shamrock, who left the UFC and didn't really fight anymore until '07?Hughes was 31, or around there, when he had his initial loss to B.J. Penn, but even that's a little ridiculous as a comparison.

But what if we go back 15 years to a fellow named Royce Gracie, who at 29 years old had won three of four UFC tournaments, was a poster child for the sport including the second most prominent member of his generation in the family. A practicing Catholic, to the best of my knowledge, fell from grace after his embarrassing draw with Ken Shamrock leaving the sport for almost five years in disgrace.

It's not as dramatic but Ortiz's issues far predate his becoming champion of the UFC. I think it's fair hard to make someone a poster child for secular UFC champions when he has a life as screwed up as Tito's prior to coming into the organization.

That, of course, is my point.

GSP and Aldo may fall, but there is a huge difference in being taken out at 40 by the next young prodigy and being thrashed out by B-levels in your late 20s/early 30s.

Not to mention getting humiliated by an English street goon like Murray at the peak of his career and having his head stomped into the ground. What other guys at the top have such bad experiences? Oh they don't because they're not cocky douches like Ortiz.
There are two problems with this. The first is that your history is wrong. At no point in his career has Ortiz ever been thrashed by a "B-level." His losses since losing his title to Randy Couture are to Couture, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and Matt Hamill. The fight with Hamill took place when Ortiz was 35, an age where fighters who generally peak early are often considered "past their prime."

Of those guys I just named, all but one of them (Hamill, obviously) was either a title holder at the time or was a title holder either a year before or after the belt was held.

And, again, while I think there's legitimate criticism to be made of Ortiz for "not fighting anybody" during the period following his first loss to Chuck Liddell, and not performing that well against the decent competition he did face, I don't know who you're thinking of when talking about getting "thrashed out by B-level guys."

You can keep bashing Ortiz is you want to, but calling his ego responsible for a loss in a street fight is a little ridiculous. Despite the fact that I'm one of the firmest defenders of that story as true (having multiple second hand accounts of it which seem reliable) street fights are horrible indicators of MMA performance, and the idea that there wasn't a sucker punch involved, or some sort of mitigating factor, especially given the fogginess of the circumstances and the shadiness of Murray, is a little ridiculous.

Also, you're welcome to consider Lee Murray a shady SOB, but please have some respect for his ability as a fighter.

Nope. As I already pointed out Mir is a virulent religion basher and atheist, which fits very well into my pattern of things not going right for cocky unrighteous guys. As far as giving him the benefit of the doubt, unlike Hughes Mir seems to make no effort to try to become nicer.

Hughes comes across as a giant douchebag at some points in his book, but you can see at least he's trying to rectify or change his behavior lately. He made amends with Tim Sylvia for example, and he comes across as less cocky nowadays than his early interviews.

Mir on the other hand goes out on a Brock trash talking spree followed by a psychotic obsession on "killing him in the cage". Why I should extend to him the same benefit I give Hughes, I have no idea. He is getting worse, not better.
Apart from your very selective reading of Mir interviews (I strongly recommend listening to his discussion of the second Lesnar fight) I'm making a point that you're giving Hughes a generous reading and Mir a harsh one. And I think that's still right.

Hughes doesn't just come off as a douchebag in his book, he comes off as disingenuous. I'm happy to give Hughes the generous reading, because I have reason to believe he's a nice guy under other circumstances.

I also have reason to believe that Mir is a nice guy. He's also a smart guy, and he gets himself hyped up for fights the same way that a large number of fighters do, by thinking of his opponent as the enemy. If you read his interviews and you think "this guy is a sadistic bastard," that's fine. But present the context of it, understand the function that it serves in that context and then see if that animosity exists outside of that context.

Like Hughes, sometimes Mir just says stuff that sounds arrogant or disingenuous or stupid. But, like Hughes, sometimes Mir has moments of lucidity, and I'm willing to be that those moments of lucidity that I can see indicate a person who has some emotional depth, and isn't just a heel.

Vera, yes, a bit more cloudy. He is a cradle catholic, but beyond that he makes ZERO mention of his religion or beliefs, or them playing any role in his life or inspiring him whatsoever.
Fine. I've already excluded this as an irrelevant standard of evidence, so if you want to pull a No True Scotsman, I really don't care that much.

How are they not based on virtue ethics? The very line

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery" (i.e. Sin - opposite of virtue)

mentions that the reason to not drink too much is to not commit sins/debauchery/unrighteousness like cheating on your wife and sleeping with some skank etc. for example. If you don't believe in virtue ethics, you have no reason to dislike or look down on debauchery... the entire thing hinges on there being some sort of wrong consequences for that kind of thing. It is decidedly un-utilatarian and depends solely on thinking along virtue ethics lines, so I have no idea what your argument is here.

And it's not circular either, I don't know why you keep coming back with this thing. It's virtue ethics based i.e. Get too drunk -> Commit Sins -> Reap personal problems in love & life based on being unvirtuous. It's completely linear.
Again, you think that "sin" is the opposite of "virtue." This is not right.

"Sin" is the Biblical generic for "immoral action," or "bad action." "Vice" is the opposite of virtue.

Again, if the reason not to partake in drink were because of the intrinsic promotion of vice in the act of drinking, then that would be a promotion of virtue ethics.

Actually, in hindsight, this isn't even theological volunteerism. This is utilitarianism/consequentialism. It isn't related to the promotion of vice in character, but to external, material consequences.

Just great, more opinion without any logical argument and even bothering to read the arguments presented here. You bring nothing to the thread except trying to reinforce your own bias and congratulating yourself over your flawless understanding of the world. Congratulations o sage! You have all the answers!
I realize this isn't directed at me, but as someone who criticized my tone early in this thread, and as someone who presumably doesn't appreciate hypocrisy, this is a little ridiculous.

EDIT: Khov asked me to check out his post. I've been swamped with some non-MMA work recently, so I haven't been around that much, but I figured I'd make the appropriate edits to address his post and try to get this rolling again, regardless of whether or not I have time.

Originally Posted by khoveraki
The opening debate introduced one constant that I believe is flawed; which is assuming that seeing evil with the power to stop evil, is in itself evil. I'd like to cite a quick source that proposes a mental state of sadness or depression increases intellectual capacity.

This study implies negativity; ie sadness or depression (malevolence) leads to, or is even the direct causal reason for, progress and inspiration which is inarguably benevolent.
It's not that simple. Here we get into an issue of necessary and sufficient conditions. One can argue that some degree of suffering is causally necessary for producing the "best possible world." One of my professors (who teaches Leibniz; one of the more interesting philosophers to work on this problem) pointed it out rather simply: There is a possible world with the maximum amount of suffering which can be responsible for human progress, where no suffering is not responsible for some sort of progress.

Obviously, this is a utilitarian model of "world assessment," but I've found it pretty compelling. Here's the thing: that property is not a property of the actual world.

Nietzsche (unlike Leibniz, not a Christian) said something to the effect of: "That which doesn't destroy me makes me stronger." That's great. Those things which don't destroy you may occur in the "best of all possible worlds." However, one would presume, then, that those things which might destroy you would be conspicuously absent. In the actual world, there are plenty of things that can destroy you.

I'm not a cynic. I don't think the world is a 'bad' place, where everyone is out to get you. But every year diarrhea kills 1.5 million children under the age of 5. That's not offering inspiration or progress.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent." This is the line in question because it's assuming a constant I disagree with. God can be able to prevent evil but unwilling, without being malevolent, for other reasons.
If (and only if) you only observe a very limited scope of the 'evil' in the world, you can justify the abstinence of God. Perhaps you can justify the suffering caused by human agents, if you believe in human agency. I don't. That's a metaphysical and ethical position, and I feel like I've defended it reasonably well up to this point.

Even if that isn't the case, though, you still have 1.5 million kids under 5 dying as a result of diarrhea. Are human agents responsible? Only in their failure to act, in which case they are in the same moral category as God. The difference, of course, is that the power of human agents is limited (by time, resources, infrastructure, etc.), while the power of God is not. To allow children to die when one has the means to prevent it, you may not want to apply the term 'evil,' but it is certain disturbing.

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