Lawrence Kohlberg and the Six Levels of Moral Judgment?
Traditionally, psychology has avoided studying anything that is loaded with value judgments. There is a degree of difficulty involved in trying to be unbiased about things that involve terms like “good” and “bad!” So, one of the most significant aspects of human life—morality—has had to wait quite a while before anyone in psychology dared to touch it! But Lawrence Kohlberg wanted to study morality, and did so using a most interesting (if controversial) technique. Basically, he would ask children and adults to try to solve moral dilemmas contained in little stories, and to do so outloud so he could follow their reasoning. It wasn’t the specific answers to the dilemmas that interested him, but rather how the person got to his or her answer.
One of the most famous of these stories concerned a man named Heinz. His wife was dying of a disease that could be cured if he could get a certain medicine. When he asked the pharmacist, he was told that he could get the medicine, but only at a very high price—one that Heinz could not possibly afford. So the next evening, Heinz broke into the pharmacy and stole the drug to save his wife’s life. Was Heinz right or wrong to steal the drug?
(Source: The above passages of both Kohlberg’s work and the Heinz dilemma were taken from Dr. C. George Boeree’s terriffic web site.)
The psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) didn’t think moral behavior should be thought of as a grab bag of virtues, e.g. that being a moral person meant you were honest, upright, and direct, or it could also mean you were hard-working, generous, and fair. Instead, Kohlberg focused on different stages or levels of moral judgment and pinned each level to a particular way of morally evaluating behavior. Based on a series of interviews, Kohlberg developed six distinct levels of moral judgment or reasoning.
|1. Actions are determined to be good or bad depending on how they are rewarded or punished.||Example: It would be bad for me to take my friend’s toy because the teacher will punish me.|
|2. The exchange principle enters the picture at this level, and we treat with fairness those who do the same with us or those who can help us .||Example: If Katy is nice to me, I’ll be nice to her, but if she is mean to me, I won’t feel bad about being mean too.|
|3. The morality of an action depends heavily on peer approval.||Example: I better not drink and drive because my friends will think less of me and I, in turn, will think less of myself.|
|4. How moral an action is depends on how well it conforms to society’s rules; the emphasis at this level is on maintaining social order.||Example: I am personally against the war, but would never publicly protest it on campus without the administration’s permission.|
|5. Moral behavior at this level might include arguing in favor of customs or laws being changed in order to preserve the health of the society; blind obedience is more forcefully questioned and cultural differences in what is considered to be ethical behavior are recognized.||Example: It can’t be right that huge corporations sometimes pay no taxes; that law needs to be changed, so that the burden of taxes falls more equally on everyone’s shoulders.|
|6. At this level, people follow a moral code based on universal principles that grant all individuals certain basic rights. Society’s rules take a back seat if they contradict those principles, as was the case with those who challenged slavery even when the law allowed it.||Example: I refuse to obey a law which treats a large portion of the population as second-class citizens.|
This video will give you some good visual images to clarify the various stages or levels in Kohlberg’s theory. But the real treat is watching a clip from the movie Edward Scissorhands. In the film, Johnny Depp, as the title character, puzzles over a moral dilemma posed for him by the great character actor Alan Arkin. Arkin tries to make Edward solve a moral dilemma using his head. But all Edward can do is respond with his heart. In short, Arkin talks Kohlberg while Depp speaks Carol Gilligan. Gilligan was Kohlberg’s research assistant, and she criticized him for emphasizing what she considered a male-biased view of morality, one that emphasized rules and principles rather than relationships (More about her in another snippet). The other images in the video will be useful to help you remember the stages in Kohlberg’s theory. But in any case, Depp pondering morality in a goofy-looking wig and white pancake make-up is not to be missed. Ref
The Universal Ethic (according to FRED E. FOLDVARY), is universal in that it applies equally to all people regardless of time, place, or personal identity. Personal or cultural ethics are arbitrary, from an outside observer’s point of view. One group believes in marriage to only one person (at a time), while another may approve of polygamy. The particulars of a personal ethic develop and draw their authority from traditions and the views or revelations of leaders and teachers, influenced by the natural and cultural environment. The U.E. is nonarbitrary. Personal or cultural ethics can change over time, as sexual ethics have been changing in this century. The U.E. is absolute, fixed, and eternal; it does not change, unless human nature itself should change . Personal or cultural ethics are subjective and relative to a person’s or group’s position in society. The rulers and subjects may have different conceptions of what is good. The U .E. is objective (independent of purely personal views) and not dependent on anyone’s social status. Personal or cultural ethics may be irrational and contain contradictions. American ethics espoused human rights and liberty while enslaving Blacks and slaughtering the Indians. Religions of love and mercy brutally converted or killed persons they considered heathens and heretics. The U.E. must be entirely rational and consistent within itself, with human nature, and with the purpose of ethics: to prescribe the good and evil of human conduct. The function of the U.E. is the proper government of human conduct. A conflict between personal or cultural ethics and the U .E. occurs only in the coercive enforcement of conduct, not in the private belief or observance of a personal or cultural ethic. For example, a man’s relationship with God is not prescribed by the U.E. It is left to personal observance and faith. What the U.E. does prescribe is that no one may force another to worship in any particular way. The U .E. deprives religion of the practice of coercive enforcement, and in so doing it also protects religion from coercive restraint. “Ethics comes from the nature of man,” he began, “in whom we can designate three levels of existence. “The first is the physical level, that of matter and energy. It is the level of man as a collection of chemicals. Inherent in material substance are laws of physics and chemistry that describe and govern its behavior: the laws of conservation, attraction, and motion that are the basis for the physical existence of living beings. “The second is that of life, made of matter yet possessing features so distinct from raw physical substance that some people have postulated some kind of ‘quickening’ agent in life apart from matter. Life contains self-generating materials and processes acting under self-oriented internal forces. It is programmed, designed and directed by genetic codes that make it behave much more ‘purposefully’ than the random thrashing about of non-living matter directed by external or nonprogrammed forces. And when a living being becomes so aware that it can direct its own life self-consciously, then a third level of existence becomes possible. “The third level is that of intelligence and sentience beyond a certain threshold. It is the level of awareness and consciousness that enables a living being such as man to control and direct its own actions and responses beyond the calls of automatic instinct (unlearned genetic programming); the predominance of learned, changeable and flexible behavior over automatic, genetically controlled reactions to stimuli; and the highly developed capacity to reason, which man is endowed with as a species. ‘Intelligence’ alone seems too lean a word, too cold and narrow for this level of existence, and yet also too loose. Coyotes are said to be intelligent animals, and intelligent humans are contrasted to those who are not, yet humans as a whole exist on this third level and coyotes do not, unless they are more capable than we know. We can create a future grandeur for humanity – the liberation of the human spirit – once we come to terms with the momentous significance of our human sentience. The Universal Ethic which flows from this source is the ethic of freedom, humane love, and the unity of the human family. It can turn our technology to beneficial ends, to restore the lost harmony between the products of nature and those of man. It is not an ideal utopia that the Universal Ethic offers, but a real world in which each person is free to direct his own life, as befits a sentient being. If the Universal Ethic is the fixed and objective principle of right and wrong, then to discover what it is and accept its validity we must be able to derive it rationally, from natural premises. The Universal Ethic itself is the objective standard for ethics, and so it has to be derived from scratch, using observations about human beings in the raw – independent of culture – to construct rational deductions, and combining these observations with the purpose and function of ethics. Without a rational basis, we are left with authority, whether of tradition, or personal insight, to be accepted on faith. Why should one authority be believed, objectively, rather than another? Such authorities may be quite valid in themselves as a source of personal values revealing happy ways to live and the ultimate nature of some reality, but they cannot alone be the source of a rational, objective ethic to be recognized and accepted by humanity as the foundation. Some people will always refuse to be swayed from their opinions, whether by logic or by emotional or humanitarian appeals. Others will argue with the premises, or claim that rationality itself is meaningless. No matter how sound a derivation of a rational ethic may be, it will not convince everyone. But just as the existence of gravity does not depend on whether we believe in it or not, neither does the existence of a permanent, objective ethic. A person open to rational demonstration and possessing a heart sympathetic to human good will be compelled to accept the truth of the Universal Ethic, provided the presentation does justice to it. “Good and evil are not abstractions existing by themselves. If no living beings existed, there would be no good or evil. Something can only be good or bad to someone or for somebody. ‘Good’ is a person’s reaction and feeling that something is beneficial or agreeable to him, and ‘bad’ is the reaction that something is harmful or disagreeable. ” If you see a purple box lying in the middle of the field, how do you know whether it is something good or bad? You can’t tell until you know what the box is, what it contains, and how it affects you: what it does to you or for you. “What does it mean for something to be morally good or bad? Morality and ethics refer to human conduct and existence, to how we humans behave – what we do and say – and what our identity is with respect to others: for example, child, adult; male, female; ruler, subject. And so our conduct is judged to be right or wrong as it is felt to be good (beneficial or agreeable) or bad (harmful or disagreeable) to some being, whether it be an animal, another person, yourself, the majority of a society. “Given this individuality and equality, we can now state the first principle of the Universal Ethic: only acts that affect others are designated as good or evil. Those actions of a person which affect himself or herself alone cannot be called good or evil by the U.E. Thus, by the morality of the Universal Ethic, only those actions that affect others can be said to be good or evil. What you do to yourself alone is neutral. Rights come from morality. To say you have the right to live, or the right to own property, or the right to be free from harm is to make a moral claim. But where does morality come from? Every community has some kind of moral code, often embodied in its laws. The religions and communities of the world have moralities that differ drastically from one another. Is this all that morality consists of, the mores or standards of particular groups of people? Or is there some fundamental, natural moral law or universal ethic that transcends any particular time and place? For without such a natural morality, the dictates of a religion or a community are merely arbitrary orders to be obeyed out of expedience, if at all. But how can we discover what this natural morality is, or know whether it exists at all? For freedom and human rights to mean anything, they must be specific principles founded on the bedrock of a fixed ethic. “Harm” should not be whatever the authorities don’t happen to like, but must be defined by the ethic in a manner that can be applied to all moral issues. Ethics is to human relations what health is to life. The rules of health tell us how to avoid sickness and death, and the rules of ethics tell us how to be free from social illness, injustice, exploitation, and crime. We must start with dignaty and self-ownership for all in this endeavor. Our political, economic, and social problems are ultimately moral questions. Consider these examples:
Dignity = respect?
Dignity = respect?
To me, dignity may be summarized as acknowledging as well as
honoring that others own themselves and thus possess value as fellow dignity beings.
“In the end all we really have is each other and life is too damn short to not be kind.”
“Moral, ethical, legal, and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that a being has the right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In the modern context, dignity can function as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in proscriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, to animals used for food or research, and to plants. “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to the worth of human beings. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context. The English word “dignity”, attested from the early 13th century, comes from Latin dignitas (worthiness) by way of French dignité. In ordinary modern usage it denotes “respect” and “status”, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect.” Ref
*Axiological Dignity Being Theory*
An “Axiological assessment of human beings” shows with an axiological awareness a logic of values is clear which takes as its basic premise that “all persons always deserve positive regard regard.” – Progressive Logic by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. And the reason why we should are is because we are Dignity Beings.
“Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.” – Donna Hicks (2011). Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict
I am inspired by philosophy, enlightened by archaeology and grounded by science that religious claims, on the whole, along with their magical gods, are but Dogmatic-Propaganda, myths and lies. Kindness beats prayers every time, even if you think prayer works, you know kindness works. Think otherwise, do both without telling people and see which one they notice. Aspire to master the heavens but don’t forget about the ones in need still here on earth. You can be kind and never love but you cannot love and never be kind. Therefore, it is this generosity of humanity, we need the most of. So, if you can be kind, as in the end some of the best we can be to others is to exchange kindness. For too long now we have allowed the dark shadow of hate to cloud our minds, while we wait in silence as if pondering if there is a need to commiserate. For too long little has been done and we too often have been part of this dark clouded shame of hate. Simply, so many humans now but sadly one is still left asking, where is the humanity?
Why Ought We Care?
Because kindness is like chicken soup to the essence of who we are, by validating the safety needs of our dignity. When the valuing of dignity is followed, a deep respect for one’s self and others as dignity beings has become one’s path. When we can see with the eyes of love and kindness, how well we finally see and understand what a demonstrates of a mature being of dignity when we value the human rights of others, as we now see others in the world as fellow beings of dignity. We need to understand what should be honored in others as fellow dignity beings and the realization of the value involved in that. As well as strive to understand how an attack to a person’s “human rights” is an attack to the value and worth of a dignity being. Yes, I want to see “you” that previous being of dignity worthy of high value and an honored moral weight to any violation of their self-ownership. And this dignity being with self-ownership rights is here before you seeking connection. what will you do, here you are in the question ever present even if never said aloud, do you see me now or are you stuck in trying to evaluate my value and assess worth as a fellow being of dignity. A violation of one’s dignity (Which it the emotional, awareness or the emotional detection of the world) as a dignity being can be quite harmful, simply we must see how it can create some physiological disturbance in the dignity being its done to. I am a mutualistic thinker and to me we all are in this life together as fellow dignity beings. Therefore, I want my life to be of a benefit to others in the world. We are natural evolutionary derived dignity beings not supernatural magic derived soul/spirit beings. Stopping lying about who we are, as your made-up magic about reality which is forced causing a problem event (misunderstanding of axiological valuations) to the natural wonder of reality. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. To make another dignity being feel pain is to do an attack to their dignity as well as your own. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. When I was younger I felt proud when I harmed those I did not like now I find it deserving even if doing it was seen as the only choice as I now see us for who we are valuable beings of dignity. I am not as worried about how I break the box you believe I need to fit as I am worried about the possibility of your confining hopes of hindering me with your limits, these life traps you have decided about and for me are as owning character attacks to my dignity’s needs which can be generalized as acceptance, understanding, and support. As I see it now, how odd I find it to have prejudice or bigotry against other humans who are intact previous fellow beings of dignity, we too often get blinded by the external packaging that holds a being of dignity internally. What I am saying don’t judge by the outside see the worth and human value they have as a dignity being. Why is it easier to see what is wrong then what is right? Why do I struggle in speaking what my heart loves as thorough and as passionate as what I dislike or hate? When you say “an act of mercy” the thing that is being appealed to or for is the proposal of or for the human quality of dignity. May my lips be sweetened with words of encouragement and compassion. May my Heart stay warm in the arms kindness. May my life be an expression of love to the world. Dignity arises in our emotional awareness depending on cognition. Our dignity is involved when you feel connected feelings with people, animals, plants, places, things, and ideas. Our dignity is involved when we feel an emotional bond “my family”, “my pet”, “my religion”, “my sport’s team” etc. Because of the core sensitivity of our dignity, we feel that when we connect, then we are also acknowledging, understanding, and supporting a perceived sense of dignity. Even if it’s not actually a dignity being in the case of plants, places, things, and ideas; and is rightly interacting with a dignity being in people and animals. We are trying to project “dignity developing motivation” towards them somewhere near equally even though human and animals don’t have the same morality weight to them. I am anthropocentric (from Greek means “human being center”) as an Axiological Atheist. I see humans value as above all other life’s value. Some say well, we are animals so they disagree with my destination. But how do the facts play out? So, you don’t have any difference in value of life? Therefore, a bug is the same as a mouse, a mouse is the same as a dolphin, a dolphin is the same as a human, all to you have exactly the same value? You fight to protect the rights of each of them equally? And all killing of any of them is the same crime murder? I know I am an animal but you also know that we do have the term humans which no other animal is classified. And we don’t take other animals to court as only humans and not any other animals are like us. We are also genetically connected to plants and stars and that still doesn’t remove the special class humans removed from all other animals. A society where you can kill a human as easily as a mosquito would simply just not work ethically to me and it should not to any reasonable person either. If you think humans and animals are of equal value, are you obviously for stronger punishment for all animals to the level of humans? If so we need tougher laws against all animals including divorce and spousal or child support and we will jail any animal parent (deadbeat animal) who does not adequately as we have been avoiding this for too long and thankfully now that in the future the ideas about animals being equal we had to create a new animal police force and animal court system, not to mention are new animal jails as we will not accept such open child abuse and disregard for responsibilities? As we don’t want to treat animals as that would be unjust to some humans, but how does this even make sense? To me it doesn’t make sense as humans a different from all other animals even though some are similar in some ways. To further discuss my idea of *dignity developing motivation” can be seen in expressions like, I love you and I appreciate you. Or the behavior of living and appreciating. However, this is only true between higher cognitive aware beings as dignity and awareness of selfness is directly related to dignity awareness. The higher the dignity awareness the higher the moral weight of the dignity in the being’s dignity. What do you think are the best ways to cultivate dignity? Well, to me dignity is not a fixed thing and it feels honored or honoring others as well as help self-helping and other helping; like ones we love or those in need, just as our dignity is affected by the interactions with others. We can value our own dignity and we can and do grow this way, but as I see it because we are a social animals we can usually we cannot fully flourish with our dignity. Thus, dignity is emotionally needy for other dignity beings that is why I surmise at least a partially why we feel empathy and compassion or emotional bonds even with animals is a dignity awareness and response. Like when we say “my pet” cat one is acknowledging our increased personal and emotional connecting. So, when we exchange in experience with a pet animal what we have done is we raze their dignity. Our dignity flourishes with acceptance, understanding and support. Our dignity withers with rejection, misunderstanding, and opposition. Dignity: is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. When you say, they have a right to what they believe, what I hear is you think I don’t have a right to comment on it. Dignity is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. To me when we say it’s wrong to kill a human, that person is appealing to our need to value the dignity of the person.’ The person with whom may possibly be killed has a life essence with an attached value and moral weight valuations. And moral weight,’ which is different depending on the value of the dignity being you are addressing understanding moral weight as a kind of liability, responsibility, or rights is actualized. So, it’s the dignity to which we are saying validates the right to life. But I believe all living things with cognitively aware have a dignity. As to me dignity is the name I home to the emotional experience, emotional expression, emotional intelligence or sensitivity at the very core of our sense of self the more aware the hire that dignity value and thus worth. Dignity is often shredded similar to my thinking: “Moral, ethical, legal, and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that a being has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In the modern context dignity, can function as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in prescriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, to animals used for food or research, and to plants. “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to human worth. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context.” Dignity, authenticity and integrity are of the highest value to our experience, yet ones that we must define for ourselves. People of hurt and harm, you are not as free to attack other beings of dignity without any effect on you as you may think. So, I am sorry not sorry that there is no such thing in general, as hurting or harming other beings of dignity without psychological destruction to the dignity being in us. This is an understanding that once done hunts and harm of other beings of dignity emotionally/psychologically hurts and harms your life as an acceptance needy dignity being, as we commonly experience moral discuss involuntary as on our deepest level as dignity beings. Disgust is deeply related to our sense of morality.
Attacking the Person?
I strive to attack thinking and not people but I sometimes may use dignity attacks or character attacks about behavior or thinking people are doing. I only say things they can quickly fix or change. Then I will pressure them to change it. My point in doing this is help mirror the bad or errored thinking or behavior so they can change if they wish I try to never do it to hurt anyone as I see this as not a productive and potentially abusive.
However, if I only spend my time pointing fingers have I not wasted times I could have also offered helping hands. Thus, even though somethings things need to be harshly pointed out so to is there a need to be involved in the benefit of helping where we can. May my drive to help not be somehow silenced just because there is a need to fight all that is wrong. I want to thank everyone throughout my life that have treated me with compassion and kindness. From something as simple as a smile or comforting word, to things that create impacts so big they were life altering; you have written with the pen of love across my heart and have helped me be a person who strives to also show and treat others with compassion as well as kindness. I do not respect faith, I respect people. I value the sanctity of “rights” of every person to self define their beliefs and do not attack people because of what they believe. I say, attack thinking not people. We who truly value ourselves and others can and do make a better world. May we together fill the world with this shining example of humanity.
Foolish people are limited and thus are impoverished of mind. So intellectually blinded they seem to hardly find much to which they feel compelled to learn. In this state of ignorance they often think foolishly that they somehow are in “full knowledge” know it all. Whereas, wise people are rich in intellectual openness and a deep desire for truth as well as an enriched need to know things as they actually are thus are so compelled to learn and are so willing to be a student that they can learn from anything around them.
Creating Our Purpose?
You know I have one message, be a good person, for whatever is the extremely short lives. Life is just too short not to be kind. Our behavior with others will either add to human flushing or it doesn’t. How desperately want acceptance and how desperately we need to accept each other in kindness. I only have one goal: Some people are a bit confused as to what my goals are with my thinking. I am not trying to change minds, I am trying to change the world.
“Expose the Unspeakable harm”
We all can be irrational, but biases that is not even in the interesting point. Because we can all be irrational we have an outright moral obligation to institute accuracy in one’s choices. Which is similar to the potential for harm that beliefs unchecked can and do have, even if it’s just that it contributed to unspeakable harm.
To Feel or Not to Feel?
Slow down, and think, is that even a reality coherent statement?
To think we actually can someone how, like a switch, turn off completely what you feel or wish not to feel. No matter what the external really in every way possible we can know the external pressure against the fragile body our minds are enshrined. One who questions deeply the Reality of Existence every breath you willfully take and wish not abstracted should remind you that you have had your experience to being it all along, that aware was as point begin with feelings in fact, you always feel, unless something is very disrupted, it’s just that sometimes, we are refused to only feeling, for a time, Instead of clear thinking we fail for untruth or half-truths, in the acquisition of extremely traumatizing motivators we are nothing but unchecked feelings and runaway emotions. We are no longer the pilot then, no we have become the plain getting hijacked.
“Don’t be Boxed in by Abstraction”
All we have is “Now,” the here and now awareness is to finally live in what is actually present, anything else is Abstraction. Life itself is education. You are not some abstraction, you’re a body and you feel. So, no extra justification needed, but I still effort to give a justification anyway as I care to inform others if I can. Words are largely emotional projections, with an intentionally attached “emotional biology” created to motivate “emotions” in yourself and others to regulate or deregulate emotions.
Belief Regulation Also Involves Emotional Regulation
If someone challenges a specific point and your minds first response is to employ rhetoric, like oversimplified hasty generalizations or inaccurate half-truths used to imply a further truth that is nothing but a mental evasion from a truth inquiry. If you do this, you seem to exhibit some obscurity in the claimed truth stance offered and not in the court of dialectical scrutiny. Be willing if shown to say, I guess I was a lot surer about the claim until it was critiqued, now I am wanting to learn more about in with you. We Love Generalizations (even if wrong): “We don’t like slow clear accurate thinking, no, we are bias irrational compulsive disordered hasty generalizations thinking beings.” We build our “belief” of the accuracy of our hasty generalizations one assertion at a time. In other words, we add undue increasing assurance because we keep saying it over and over again, not because it’s actually accurate to the facts. We may cherry pick a few facts to support this error in thinking but that is intellectual dishonestly, as if it can be destroyed by the truth it should be.
You don’t like my truth? Well to be honest I didn’t care much for your lies.
In the honest search for truth there is no sides.
Love and kindness is all we have in the end that makes life sense. I am no better than anyone, I too am just a fragile body alone in the world, if not for the kindness of others. Impress me with your evidence not your evidence devoid options. I am a mental nightmare walking and radical thinker so free it’s like a psychopath taking, king of my jungle, just a mental gainster stalking the menus of unchecked flawed thinking.
No there is No gods and No we are not a Brain in a Vat
My atheism is a fell defended and philosophically rich nonbelief/disbelief position or style and its well supported thinking of axiological atheism. Axiological (value theory or value science; a social science) atheist. Or put it in an easier way think of it kind of like moral argument reasoned and ethical driven strong atheism (disbelief in god’s). Axiological atheism: (Ethical/Value theory Reasoned and Moral Argument driven) Atheism, Anti-theism, Anti-religionism, and Secular Humanism. Axiological atheism = Strong Disbelief as well as Strong Secularism and Humanism. To learn more check out: “Axiological Atheism Explained” http://damienmarieathope.com/2015/10/30/axiological-atheism-explained/
The Three Dimensions of Realist Commitment?
According to Anjan Chakravartty with The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “The description of scientific realism as a positive epistemic attitude towards theories, including parts putatively concerning the unobservable, is a kind of shorthand for more precise commitments (Kukla 1998, ch. 1, Niiniluoto 1999, ch. 1, Psillos 1999, Introduction, Chakravartty 2007a, ch. 1). Traditionally, realism more generally is associated with any position that endorses belief in the reality of something. Thus, one might be a realist about one’s perceptions of tables and chairs (sense datum realism), or about tables and chairs themselves (external world realism), or about mathematical entities such as numbers and sets (mathematical realism), and so on. Scientific realism is a realism about whatever is described by our best scientific theories—from this point on, ‘realism’ here denotes scientific realism. But what, more precisely, is that? In order to be clear about what realism in the context of the sciences amounts to, and to differentiate it from some important antirealist alternatives, it is useful to understand it in terms of three dimensions: a metaphysical (or ontological) dimension; a semantic dimension; and an epistemological dimension. Metaphysically, realism is committed to the mind-independent existence of the world investigated by the sciences. This idea is best clarified in contrast with positions that deny it. For instance, it is denied by any position that falls under the traditional heading of ‘idealism’, including some forms of phenomenology, according to which there is no world external to and thus independent of the mind. This sort of idealism, though historically important, is rarely encountered in contemporary philosophy of science, however. More common rejections of mind-independence stem from neo-Kantian views of the nature of scientific knowledge, which deny that the world of our experience is mind-independent, even if (in some cases) these positions accept that the world in itself does not depend on the existence of minds. The contention here is that the world investigated by the sciences—as distinct from “the world in itself” (assuming this to be a coherent distinction)—is in some sense dependent on the ideas one brings to scientific investigation, which may include, for example, theoretical assumptions and perceptual training; this proposal is detailed further in section 4. It is important to note in this connection that human convention in scientific taxonomy is compatible with mind-independence. For example, though Psillos (1999, p. xix) ties realism to a ‘mind-independent natural-kind structure’ of the world, Chakravartty (2007a, ch. 6) argues that mind-independent properties are often conventionally grouped into kinds (see also Boyd 1991 and Humphreys 2004, pp. 22–25, 35–36). Semantically, realism is committed to a literal interpretation of scientific claims about the world. In common parlance, realists take theoretical statements at “face value”. According to realism, claims about scientific entities, processes, properties, and relations, whether they be observable or unobservable, should be construed literally as having truth values, whether true or false. This semantic commitment contrasts primarily with those of so-called instrumentalist epistemologies of science, which interpret descriptions of unobservables simply as instruments for the prediction of observable phenomena, or for systematizing observation reports. Traditionally, instrumentalism holds that claims about unobservable things have no literal meaning at all (though the term is often used more liberally in connection with some antirealist positions today). Some antirealists contend that claims involving unobservables should not be interpreted literally, but as elliptical for corresponding claims about observables. Epistemologically, realism is committed to the idea that theoretical claims (interpreted literally as describing a mind-independent reality) constitute knowledge of the world. This contrasts with sceptical positions which, even if they grant the metaphysical and semantic dimensions of realism, doubt that scientific investigation is epistemologically powerful enough to yield such knowledge, or, as in the case of some antirealist positions, insist that it is only powerful enough to yield knowledge regarding observables. The epistemological dimension of realism, though shared by realists generally, is sometimes described more specifically in contrary ways. For example, while many realists subscribe to the truth (or approximate truth) of theories understood in terms of some version of the correspondence theory of truth (as suggested by Fine 1986 and contested by Ellis 1988), some prefer deflationary accounts of truth (including Giere 1988, p. 82, Devitt 2005, and Leeds 2007). Though most realists marry their position to the successful reference of theoretical terms, including those for unobservable entities, processes, properties, and relations (Boyd 1983, and as described by Laudan 1981), some deny that this is a requirement (Cruse & Papineau 2002, Papineau 2010). Amidst these differences, however, a general recipe for realism is widely shared: our best scientific theories give true or approximately true descriptions of observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world.”
Science is quite the opposite of just common sense.
As a rationalist, I want you to deeply think and not just simply doubt.
“Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude towards the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences.” Ref
“Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world as it is, independent of what it might be taken to be. Within philosophy of science, it is often framed as an answer to the question “how is the success of science to be explained?” The debate over the success of science in this context centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make valid claims about unobservables (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables, as opposed to instrumentalism. Scientific realism involves the two basic positions. First, it is a set of claims about the features of an ideal scientific theory; an ideal theory is the sort of theory science aims to produce. Second, it is the commitment that science will eventually produce theories very much like an ideal theory and that science has done pretty well thus far in some domains. It is important to note that one might be a scientific realist regarding some sciences while not being a realist regarding others. For example, one might hold realist attitudes toward physics, chemistry and biology, and not toward economics, psychology and sociology.” Ref
Epistemic Achievements versus Epistemic Aims
According to Anjan Chakravartty with The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “It is perhaps only a slight exaggeration to say that scientific realism is characterized differently by every author who discusses it, and this presents a challenge to anyone hoping to learn what it is. Fortunately, underlying the many idiosyncratic qualifications and variants of the position, there exists a common core of ideas, typified by an epistemically positive attitude towards the outputs of scientific investigation, regarding both observable and unobservable aspects of the world. The distinction here between the observable and the unobservable reflects human sensory capabilities: the observable is that which can, under favourable conditions, be perceived using the unaided senses (for example, planets and platypuses); the unobservable is that which cannot be detected this way (for example, proteins and protons). This is to privilege vision merely for terminological convenience, and differs from scientific conceptions of observability, which generally extend to things that are detectable using instruments (Shapere 1982). The distinction itself has been problematized (Maxwell 1962, Churchland 1985, Musgrave 1985, Dicken & Lipton 2006), but if it is problematic, this is arguably a concern primarily for certain forms of antirealism, which adopt an epistemically positive attitude only with respect to the observable. It is not ultimately a concern for scientific realism, which does not discriminate epistemically between observables and unobservables per se. Before considering the nuances of what scientific realism entails, it is useful to distinguish between two different kinds of definition in this context. Most commonly, the position is described in terms of the epistemic achievements constituted by scientific theories (and models—this qualification will be taken as given henceforth). On this approach, scientific realism is a position concerning the actual epistemic status of theories (or some components thereof), and this is described in a number of ways. For example, most define scientific realism in terms of the truth or approximate truth of scientific theories or certain aspects of theories. Some define it in terms of the successful reference of theoretical terms to things in the world, both observable and unobservable. (A note about the literature: ‘theoretical term’, prior to the 1980s, was standardly used to denote terms for unobservables, but will be used here to refer to any scientific term, which is now the more common usage.) Others define scientific realism not in terms of truth or reference, but in terms of belief in the ontology of scientific theories. What all of these approaches have in common is a commitment to the idea that our best theories have a certain epistemic status: they yield knowledge of aspects of the world, including unobservable aspects. (For definitions along these lines, see Smart 1963, Boyd 1983, Devitt 1991, Kukla 1998, Niiniluoto 1999, Psillos 1999, and Chakravartty 2007a.) Another way to think about scientific realism is in terms of the epistemic aims of scientific inquiry (van Fraassen 1980, p. 8, Lyons 2005). That is, some think of the position in terms of what science aims to do: the scientific realist holds that science aims to produce true descriptions of things in the world (or approximately true descriptions, or ones whose central terms successfully refer, and so on). There is a weak implication here to the effect that if science aims at truth and scientific practice is at all successful, the characterization of scientific realism in terms of aim may then entail some form of characterization in terms of achievement. But this is not a strict implication, since defining scientific realism in terms of aiming at truth does not, strictly speaking, suggest anything about the success of scientific practice in this regard. For this reason, some take the aspirational characterization of scientific realism to be too weak (Kitcher 1993, p. 150, Devitt 2005, n. 10, Chakravartty 2007b, p. 197)—it is compatible with the sciences never actually achieving, and even the impossibility of their achieving, their aim as conceived on this view of scientific realism. Most scientific realists commit to something more in terms of achievement, and this is assumed in what follows.” Ref
No, science CAN NOT be with religion.
Science is a method to understand the world as it is, which is naturalistic only, not one shred of magic. In fact, the scientific method assumes Methodological Naturalism, because that is all that has ever been found and is the most likely thing that ever will be found. As religion is not intended to represent the world as it is but instead what it is not the stupid supernatural, which is the thing of fantasy, wishful thinking and delusion.
We must not confuse beliefs, religion is beliefs built from myths devoid of corroborating evidence. Science uses corroborating evidence to establish what is true and that offers something worthy to believe.
I Am a Rationalist and Support Reasonable Skepticism?
Is it correct to hold a belief that theists, such as Christians actually have a concept of something nonexistent labeled “GOD”, just like we all have a concept of something nonexistent labeled “unicorns”?
Do they really have any reality tangible concept to label “the god concept” because without it are not beliefs about “the god concept” reality intangible? A concept of something nonexistent labeled “GOD”, is not tangible and is incapable of being perceived as something in or of reality. It is an unknowable reality intangible unfounded speculation, not a known concept.
Such as, can we not form a somewhat reality tangible concept to label “the unicorn concept,” for we can conceive of a horse and a singular horn in order to intelligibly have a unicorn concept. Can we not generate a mental picture of a concept that fits the label unicorn, but one cannot really close their eyes and conjure up any concept of anything labeled “GOD” even though no one has any more reason to believe in unicorns then gods.
I do reject that the god label has any meaning in reality and that any effort given to a god concept is still nothing but lies made up claiming to know or give believed qualities and it is that which I am rejecting as an atheist. But when asked if I believe an offered dity such as Allah to me I am a ignostic atheist (I reject the god label as expressing anything real and also reject the belief of any god concept connecting to anything real).
I don’t believe that the label “God” refers to anything imaginable. That doesn’t mean I don’t also reject the claim offered thus am Atheist as well. You are saying I must choose and I am saying I don’t think I have to. If you ask is god a intelligible thing no. Do I believe the claims given to it no. Thus, to me I can be both hold in myself the stance it is meaningless therefore Ignostic and reject their claim of a god so am an atheist.
To me Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., do not really believe in a god at all as no one can, as there is no way to actually believe in an undefinable in reality, unknown from reality, and nonpositional to reality as the opposite is required to know something, therefore this only believe that they believe that the label “God” refers to something imaginable but god is like a square circle statable in words even understandable as separate pieces but impossible by design when added together.
Theological noncognitivism atheism: theological noncognitivism atheists – holds that the statement “god exists” does not express a proposition, but is nonsensical or cognitively meaningless. A theological noncognitivist atheist claims “god” does not refer to anything that exists, “god” does not refer to anything that does not exist, “god” does not refer to something that may or may not exist, and “god” has no literal significance, just as “Fod” has no literal significance. The term God was chosen for this example, obviously any theological term [such as “Yahweh” and “Allah”] that is not falsifiable is subject to scrutiny. Many people who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” claim that all alleged definitions for the term “God” are circular, for instance, “God is that which caused everything but God”, defines “God” in terms of “God”. They also claim that in Anselm’s definition “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived”, that the pronoun “which” refers back to “God” rendering it circular as well. Others who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” argue in different ways, depending on what one considers the “theory of meaning” to be. Michael Martin, writing from a verificationist perspective, concludes that religious language is meaningless because it is not verifiable. 1
Ignostic atheism: ignosticism is similar to agnosticism, but where agnosticism is the claim that you can’t know something (god), ignosticism is the claim that, if the definition of something (god) is incoherent, then it can’t be meaningfully discussed, and if the definition of something (god) is unfalsifiable, then it has no meaning. Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts. Ignosticism could possibly be one of the best argument against god concepts ever as it sees all efforts surrounding existence of a God concept semantically twisting the definition of God to mean that which is incomprehensible. If God is incoherent then the experiences believers attribute to God are by extension unintelligible and therefore meaningless. In which case you void any and all purported experiences of God because you couldn’t comprehend them. Ignostic atheism holds two interrelated views about to reject all God concepts. They are as follows: 1) The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed. 2) If the definition provided is unfalsifiable, the Ignostic atheist takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of a God concept is rendered meaningless thus must stay refuted. As with any topic, and especially in the realm of the supernatural and woo, the subject of any debate should be coherently defined. If one offers a clear definition of an entity, then in order to take a position whether it exists or not the definition of the entity must be one in which its existence can be falsified (there is a rational and logical method by which we can test the existence of the subject as it has been defined). Few theists ever offer a clear definition of God. The few who do offer a definition almost never offer one in which the existence of that God could be tested. The rare falsifiable definition offered regarding God’s existence is easily falsified. And so as with any subject (such as the existence of almost all supernatural entities) debate about the existence of God is, for the far majority of such conversations, pointless. 123
Noncognitivism atheism: is the position that religious language — and specifically religious terms like “god” — are not (cognitively) meaningful. Noncognitivism atheism argues that religious language is not meaningful because its empirical claims cannot be verified, even in theory. Likewise they further think there are no positive attributes that can be ascribed to entities like “god,” and entities without attributes are meaningless.This means that noncognitivism denies the essential meaningfulness of religious language, religious arguments, and religious apologetics. If they aren’t meaningful, then they can’t be either true or false and believing them to be true is pointless. 1
Evidential atheism: thinks that whether or not belief in a divine being is epistemically acceptable will be determined by the evidence. I intend to treat “evidence” in a broad sense including a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises. (Also note that one could be an evidentialist theist.) The evidentialist theist and the evidentialist atheist may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically. 1
Non-evidential atheism: goes beyond a limitation in common atheism which likely is using evidentialist theory of knowledge which is any theory of knowledge that says that having evidence for a thing is necessary for knowing that thing. A non-evidentialist theory of knowledge denies this most commonly offering instead two additional non-evidentialist theories of knowledge: the causal theory, and reliabilism. Even if a belief lacks a credible rational it is not automatically irrational it may simply be utilizing a less supported or even wishful idealism stance that may even be somewhat flawed and yet still not irrational which is to be without the faculty of reason or deprived of reason. According to the Causal Theory of Knowledge, the difference between a true belief that isn’t knowledge and a true belief that is amounts to the following: if a true belief that P is knowledge, then it is causally connected to the fact that P. The simplest sort of causal connection would be direct: one where the fact that P is the cause of a subject’s belief that P. Causal connections can also be indirect: perhaps the fact that P causes the fact that Q which causes the subject to believe that P. It allow that you can know P if P is “logically related” to a fact that is causally connected to your believing P. According to the Reliabilism theory of Knowledge, which holds that the difference between mere true belief on the one hand and knowledge on the other is that the latter is formed via a reliable process: Reliabilism S knows that P if and only if S’s true belief that P was caused by a reliable process. What is a “reliable process”? Well, think of an analogy. A reliable car is one that generally works when you want it to. What “work” do we want our belief-forming processes to do? We want them to form true beliefs. So a reliable belief-forming process is one that generally leads to true beliefs. Reliabilism says that knowledge is true belief that was formed by a process that can generally be relied on to form true beliefs. As long as perception, memory, testimony, and reasoning are reliable in this sense, they can give us knowledge. If the processes of reasoning that lead us to form inductive generalizations (like “All men are mortal”) are reliable, then according to RT, they can lead us to knowledge. 1
Experiential atheism: The second type of argument commonly advanced against the doctrine of divine omniscience attributed to a god something, which is the problem of experiential knowledge. This is that there appear to be certain kinds of knowledge that can only be acquired by having certain kinds of experiences. The Problem of Experiential Knowledge: (1) There are some items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience. (2) Some of the experiences through which items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience are acquired are such that they cannot be had by a god something. (3) If some of the experiences through which items of knowledge that can only be acquired through experience are acquired are such that they cannot be had by a god something, then there are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god. Therefore: (4) There are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god something. (5) If there are some items of knowledge that cannot be acquired by a god something then it is not the case that a god something is omniscient. Therefore: (6) It is not the case that a god something is omniscient. 1
Humanist atheism: humanist atheism is most likely secular humanism with atheism added. Secular humanism is alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of lowercase humanism. Humanist atheism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision making. Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). Generally, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today “Humanism” typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centered on human agency, and looking to science instead of religious dogma in order to understand the world. Humanist atheism believes there is a need to hold disbelief on the god question because most concepts god holds that god is the only giver or definer of rights, ethical, justice or truth. Thus Humanist atheism assorts only disbelief and god removal in relevance can then embrace human reason, ethics, and social justice. Humanistic atheism values human reality in naturalism, rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of social morality and human decision making. It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. 12
Ontological atheism: ontological atheism asserts Ontological theism arguments aim too high. Just like logical calculus cannot ascertain a specific basic proposition is correct, existential calculus should not be able to conclude that some specific being exists. Logical calculus can show that if a bachelor exists then a man exists (since a bachelor is, specifically, a man), and existential calculus might be able to show that if certain things exist then a god something exists. But ontological arguments try to prove that something (god) exists without committing to the existence of any specific thing. They can therefore be roughly divided into several types:- (a) ones that assume that a god something exists from the get-go, but disguise it in some way; (b) ones that make an error in existential calculus, so are not sound; (c) ones that are correct but trivial, e.g. showing that the sum of all things exists in some sense. rethinks if one agrees that the existence of a god something has indeed been proven, you still really don’t know much about that god other than that it is infinite and perfect. These characteristics seem to be quite dangerous in light of the characteristics of a god something that have been posited by many organized religions. They posit someone who cares for us and who would simultaneously damn us to eternity in hell for our failure to believe in him thus we cannot and should not believe in a god something. Using rationality, one cannot conceive of a god something with infinite perfection, with anthropomorphic qualities (i.e. human motivation, characteristics, or behavior) or an infinite god holding judgments or care about what humans do. Ontological atheism reveals that the Ontological theism argument is problematic on four grounds: A) It defines a god something as a Necessary being which is necessarily O, and then “derives” that god is a necessary being. This isn’t so much a flaw as it is misleading. B) It assumes that which it seeks to prove, namely it assumes that the Necessary-god-Something is logically possible, which denies the very possibility that god doesn’t exist. Instead of wrestling with the claim that god doesn’t exist and showing it is false, the argument a-priori assumes that it is false. C) It relies on a confusion between epistemic and logical possibility. As a broad proposition the Necessary-god-Something needs to be treated as an epistemic possibility, leading to a weakened 1B which cannot support the rest of the argument. D) Even the weakened 1B should not be accepted. Like all Necessary postulates, that a Necessary-god-Something exists is either true in all possible worlds or not true in all possible worlds. The argument doesn’t advance the position that it is true in all possible worlds. Ontology (Greek meaning ontos, “being; that which is”; and logos meaning “discourse, study, ratio, calculation, reason”). Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. *Ontology (thingness of things) questions to define or compare and contrast thingness.* Ontology “Reality” questions/assertion: Witness gives evidence about the claim. Ontology, (understanding the thingness of things; like what is or can be real, like not god). -What is your claim? -What aspects must be there for your claim? -What makes your claim different than other similar claims? Take for instance how Religion supporters try the evaluation tactic of saying “there are peaceful Religions.” I may respond, what do you mean by Religion and what do you mean by painful or good” (asking to find the truth or as usual expose the lack of a good Ontology). To me belief ontologies address the conceptual schemas involved, at the intersection of three elements: A belief is a placeholder for a mental agreement to a offered idea, behavior or thing. We dont know what us being accurately believed and this mans all beliefs are open to challenge or they should be. Many people either have no standard to how they test or process their thinking and thus have untrustworthy and such a lack of a developed thought structure employ thinking systems with a high susceptibility to flaws, And this is where we use ontological challenging or ontological disproofs which are logical arguments posed against arguments made by an attacker/challenger to hone in and access the thinking of believing flaws, and the attacker capability to exploit a flaw. Ontological disproofs, are sophisticated ontological arguments, ontological challenges or ontological disproofs accusations that demand equally sophisticated responses, to which, many people are unprepared. Belief or argument forms should be valid, to prove them sound or unsound, strong/weak, or well defined/undefined, as weak premises must be shown to be false. By use ontological challenging, you are shining a light on its ways claimed or points proposed, outlined or arranged which equals a thing or its qualities to define it that makes the depth and fullness to a being or thing, like just what is provisional about the thing in question or offer, are the characteristics of adequate development structure and infrastructure of the ontology involved in claims or propositions as truth, fact, or knowledge? One ontological criticism focuses on the semantics that are given for quantifiers qualities used or involved as the notation of the language representations of the contents of belief talk, proposing that the qualities offered are fully alike (unequivocal) when the items or properties identified to you are likely one of the three partly unlike (equivocal). To me, ontologies are like an adequate way or web of elements involved in the thingness of things or ideas. Point by slow methodological point, is the most effective way to use ontological challenging. Ontologically challenge needs to be done, in order to develop in the other person, an ontological insecurity about what the person, place, thing, or idea are construction of and just what is being claimed, portrayed or proposed as truth, fact, or knowledge? A belief or set of beliefs, likely have a relationship between ideas of the thing expose the cracks and fissure in the conceptualizations divided up or overlap but often while a belief or set of beliefs are offered with assurance, they instead ontologically inadequate or almost completely ontologically empty. By exposing ontological vulnerabilities or weakness in a belief or set of beliefs can rise person’s sense of ontological Insecurity as the thinker realized they may not know that that know. In my way of thinking as ontological insecurity refers or relates to in an existential sense a person’s sense of “belief” deflation, discrediting, or disproving. Such an ontologically insecure thinker, may be so ontologically desperate, to stop/lower believing/accepting the level of “reality or existence” of the things or ideas they were just referring to. In contrast, the ontologically secure thinker, may be so ontologically stable in relation to ontological commitment of their fragments involved to feel a high level. Ontological arguments or Ontological commitment need to demonstrate or require demonstration of the disciplined or disordered structures but, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion. 1, 2
Philosophical atheism: uses philosophy to justify non-belief. Philosophical atheists have not shared a common set of atheism no god or gods exist views, philosophical convictions can often set them off from other groups of atheism thinkers. There are different kinds of philosophical atheists as well as many philosophical justifications for atheism. Many rationalist atheists feel that the idea of a god something as presented by the major religions is essentially self-contradictory, and that it is logically impossible that such a god something could exist. Others are atheists through skepticism, because they see no evidence that a god something exists. Of course, some people are atheists without having any particular logical argument to back up their atheism. For some, it is simply the most comfortable, common sense position to take. Philosophical atheism is different addressing one of agnosticism’s biggest objections the limit to knowledge a god something exists or agnosticism’s believed impossibility to prove the nonexistence of something. There are many counterexamples to prove the nonexistence of something. For example, it is quite simple to prove that there does not exist a prime number larger than all other prime numbers. Of course, this deals with well-defined objects obeying well-defined rules. Whether a god somethings or universes are similarly well-defined is a matter for debate. However, assuming for the moment that the existence of a god something is not provably impossible, there are still subtle reasons for assuming the nonexistence of a god something. If we assume that something does not exist, it is always possible to show that this assumption is invalid by finding a single counterexample. If on the other hand we assume that something does exist, and if the thing in question is not provably impossible, showing that the assumption is invalid may require an exhaustive search of all possible places where such a thing might be found, to show that it isn’t there. Such an exhaustive search is often impractical or impossible. There is no such problem with largest primes, because we can prove that they don’t exist. Therefore it is generally accepted that we must assume things do not exist unless we have evidence that they do. To assume that a god something exists is to make an assumption which probably cannot be tested. We cannot make an exhaustive search of everywhere a god something might be to prove that he doesn’t exist anywhere. If a god something interacts with our universe in any way, the effects of his interaction must have some physical manifestation. Hence his interaction with our universe must be in principle detectable. If a god something is essentially undetectable, it must therefore be the case that he does not interact with our universe in any way. Many atheists would argue that if a god something does not interact with our universe at all, it is of no importance whether he exists or not. A thing which cannot even be detected in principle does not logically exist. Things do not exist merely because they have been defined to do so. We know a lot about the definition of Santa Claus–what he looks like, what he does, where he lives, what his reindeer are called, and so on. But that still doesn’t mean that Santa exists. 1
Agnostic vs Ignostic?
Epistemological atheism: highlights a branch of philosophy that deals with determining what is and what is not true, and why we believe or disbelieve what we or others do. On one hand, this is begging the question of having the ability to measure “truth” – as though there is an “external” something that one measures against. Epistemology is the analysis of the nature of knowledge, how we know, what we can and cannot know, and how we can know that there are things we know we cannot know. In Greek episteme, meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and logos, meaning “discourse, study, ratio, calculation, reason. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. In other words, it is the academic term associated with study of how we conclude that certain things are true. Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. From this atheist orientation, there is no, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any “external” something so there can be no god-concept. Many debates between atheist and theists revolve around fundamental issues which people don’t recognize or never get around to discussing. Many of these are epistemological in nature: in disagreeing about whether it’s reasonable to believe in the existence of a god something, to believe in miracles, to accept revelation and scriptures as authoritative, and so forth, atheists and theists are ultimately disagreeing about basic epistemological principles. Without understanding this and understanding the various epistemological positions, people will just end up talking past each other. it’s common for Epistemological atheism to differ in what they consider to be appropriate criteria for truth and, therefore, the proper criteria for a reasonable disbelief. Atheists demand proof and evidence for other worldviews, yet there is no proof and evidence that atheism is true. Also, despite the abundant evidence for Christianity and the lack of proof and evidence for atheism, atheist reject the truth of Christianity. *Epistemology (knowledge of things) questions to explode or establish and confirm knowledge. Epistemology “Truth” questions/assertion: Lawyer searches for warrant or justification for the claim. Epistemology, (understanding what you know or can know; as in you do have and thing in this reality to know anything about this term you call god, and no way of knowing if there is anything non-naturalism beyond this universe and no way to state any about it if there where). -How do know your claim? -How reliable or valid must aspects be for your claim? -How does the source of your claim make it different than other similar claims? I may respond, “how do you know that, what is your sources and how reliable they are” (asking to find the truth or as usual expose the lack of a good Epistemology) Atheists refuse to go where the evidence clearly leads. In addition, when atheist make claims related to naturalism, make personal claims or make accusations against theists, they often employ lax evidential standards instead of employing rigorous evidential standards. For the most part, atheists have presumed that the most reasonable conclusions are the ones that have the best evidential support. And they have argued that the evidence in favor of a god something’s existence is too weak, or the arguments in favor of concluding there is no a god something are more compelling. Traditionally the arguments for a god something’s existence have fallen into several families: ontological, teleological, and cosmological arguments, miracles, and prudential justifications. For detailed discussion of those arguments and the major challenges to them that have motivated the atheist conclusion, the reader is encouraged to consult the other relevant sections of the encyclopedia. Arguments for the non-existence of a god something are deductive or inductive. Deductive arguments for the non-existence of a god something are either single or multiple property disproofs that allege that there are logical or conceptual problems with one or several properties that are essential to any being worthy of the title “GOD.” Inductive arguments typically present empirical evidence that is employed to argue that a god something’s existence is improbable or unreasonable. Briefly stated, the main arguments are: a god something’s non-existence is analogous to the non-existence of Santa Claus. The existence of widespread human and non-human suffering is incompatible with an all powerful, all knowing, all good being. Discoveries about the origins and nature of the universe, and about the evolution of life on Earth make the a god something hypothesis an unlikely explanation. Widespread non-belief and the lack of compelling evidence show that a god something who seeks belief in humans does not exist. Broad considerations from science that support naturalism, or the view that all and only physical entities and causes exist, have also led many to the atheism conclusion. 1234
Ethical atheism: heavily involved and utilizes ethical thought and standards to navigate atheism or the humanism that is likely to follow such an ethical awareness. Ethical atheism strives to utilize the strong force of ethics and ethical challenge to address the many issues that not only arise in combating the fanatical promotion of harmful myths but ethical ways to positively navigate all of life’s real struggles or options to behave in interactions with others. God claims all totally lack a standard of meeting any warrant or justification in their burden of proof, thus the claim as offered debunks itself as any kind of viable claim. Would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false, and once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that certain beliefs are epistemically unfounded which compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence, realizing that belief. To me, belief in gods is intellectually flawed and dishonest compared to the evidence of the natural world being not only explainable on every level as only natural, but also there is not a shred of anything supernatural and every claim tested ever has time and again debunked such nonsense. If anything supernatural or paranormal was provable, the believers would have taken James Randi’s famous million-dollar challenge, or they would have gone and got their Nobel Prize in proving the supernatural or open up a 100% faith-based prayer and miracles hospital. Where the cure for anything and everything is guaranteed because “prayer and miracles works” and the only education was being a religious or spiritual leader. Prove it or it is not really worthy for true belief and if there was actual scientific proof it would silence us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics forever. However, nothing of the sort has ever happened. List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal or supernatural woo-woo go back to at least 1922 with Scientific American. But it did not stop there instead there has been many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal or supernatural with some reaching over a million dollars yet as of February 2016, not one prizes have been claimed. Therefore, belief in supernatural or paranormal are not realistic nor are they reasonable. And what’s even crazier is it’s nonsense and they act like it is us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics that have to disprove something they have never proved. I do think critical thinkers and thinkers who are intellectually honest should follow something close to “The Ethics of Belief” or they are likely not honest thinkers. “The Ethics of Belief” was published in 1877 by philosopher William Kingdon Clifford outlined the famous principle “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” Arguing that it was immoral to believe things for which one lacks evidence, in direct opposition to religious thinkers for whom “blind faith” (i.e. belief in things in spite of the lack of evidence for them) was seen as a virtue. To me, it comes down to the question, would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false? And once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence. The act of believing, just because one wants to believe, when everything contradicts the belief is intellectually unethical or deluded. Beliefs are directly connected to behavior, behavior is directly involved in ethics, and ethics requires involvement in social thinking which requires us to mature or discipline our beliefs. Ethics of Belief: sufficient evidence to support belief. An honest thinker would want to know what is sufficient evidence for the reliability and validity to support belief. According to the legal decision in 1950, evidence is sufficient when it satisfies an unprejudiced mind. Sufficient evidence can be said to reference the evidence of such value as to support the belief. The word sufficient does not mean conclusive. Conclusive evidence is evidence that serves to establish a fact or the proven truth of something. To me, the test for belief analysis in relation to the offered evidence attempting to affirm the belief, would be is it sufficient evidence such as, could any rational addresser of the belief in question to find the essential elements of the issue sufficiency evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt. it is reasonable to require a greater level of evidence proportional to the importance of the belief or the external effects of the belief. – IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF LUCILLE CRUSON STATE LAND BOARD V. LONG, ADM’R, ET AL. OREGON SUPREME COURT. ARGUED JUNE 13, 1950 REVERSED AUGUST 29, 1950 *538538 APPEAL FROM CIRCUIT COURT, LINN COUNTY, VICTOR OLLIVER, JUDGE. Someone asked why would a critical thinker follow another old book from 1877? Well the age of evidence or thinking is relevant if it is reasonable. Saying it’s age is old is not a refutation of its arguments. Moreover, it could be said that for ethical atheism applied logically “to me” in general ethics must be equally applied or the concept of ethics has no ethical meaning to begin with. Ethical atheism could be seen as thinking that if the idea of god implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation against of human rights, dignity, and liberty. Therefore ethical atheism holds a necessarily requirement to disbelief in order to end such unethical thinking and to end a god only morality enslavement of mankind. Ethical atheism holds all to ethical standards therefor if god did exist, it would be necessary to abolish him so we could be freely utilize human rights, dignity, reason and justice. Ethical atheism promotes atheism because it is both the logical and the ethical position to take in a world where religious people fly planes into skyscrapers, blow themselves up on crowded busses, and do all sorts of horrible things in the name of an imaginary sky monster. As an atheist ethicist, I am not just an Atheist (disbelieving claims of gods), an Antitheist (seeing theism as harmful) and an Antireligionist (seeing religion as untrue and/or harmful). Also as an atheist ethicist I value and require reason and evidence to support beliefs or propositions as well as am against all pseudohistory, pseudoscience, and pseudomorality. Why are gods even concerned with belief, as if they truly wanted it so bad they would be real and being more than just mental projections of which they are now they would show themselves and we all would believe. Therefore we can rightly conclude with no evidence of them at all, that belief in god(s) is the thing people do when playing at reality is valued more than understanding the actual natural only nature of reality. 1 23456
Evidential atheism: thinks that whether or not belief in a divine being is epistemically acceptable will be determined by the evidence. I intend to treat “evidence” in a broad sense including a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises. (Also note that one could be an evidentialist theist.) The evidentialist theist and the evidentialist atheist may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically. 1
Ignostic atheism: ignosticism is similar to agnosticism, but where agnosticism is the claim that you can’t know something (god), ignosticism is the claim that, if the definition of something (god) is incoherent, then it can’t be meaningfully discussed, and if the definition of something (god) is unfalsifiable, then it has no meaning. Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts. Ignosticism could possibly be one of the best argument against god concepts ever as it sees all efforts surrounding existence of a God concept semantically twisting the definition of God to mean that which is incomprehensible. If God is incoherent then the experiences believers attribute to God are by extension unintelligible and therefore meaningless. In which case you void any and all purported experiences of God because you couldn’t comprehend them. Ignostic atheism holds two interrelated views about to reject all God concepts. They are as follows: 1) The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed. 2) If the definition provided is unfalsifiable, the Ignostic atheist takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of a God concept is rendered meaningless thus must stay refuted. As with any topic, and especially in the realm of the supernatural and woo, the subject of any debate should be coherently defined. If one offers a clear definition of an entity, then in order to take a position whether it exists or not the definition of the entity must be one in which its existence can be falsified (there is a rational and logical method by which we can test the existence of the subject as it has been defined). Few theists ever offer a clear definition of God. The few who do offer a definition almost never offer one in which the existence of that God could be tested. The rare falsifiable definition offered regarding God’s existence is easily falsified. And so as with any subject (such as the existence of almost all supernatural entities) debate about the existence of God is, for the far majority of such conversations, pointless. 123Investigative atheism: investigative atheism may take some interest in showing how the skeptical theistic way of reasoning, brought into the larger flow of total evidence skepticism, can be used to expose certain additional sources of doubt about theism sufficient to prevent overhasty migration to theism on the part of those left unconvinced by atheism. Moreover, and more positively, it can be used to inspire a greater openness to new religiously-relevant investigative results in the future. With these thoughts in mind, let’s add two more skeptical theses to our list: We have no good reason for thinking that the arguments from horrors or hiddenness against theism we know of are representative, relative to the property of (potentially) constituting a successful proof that theism is false, of the arguments from horrors or hiddenness against theism there are. And we have no good reason for thinking that the possible goods we know of are representative, relative to the property of consistency with a person being axiologically ultimate, of the possible goods there are but are always investigating and open. 1
Logical atheism: logical atheism holds that the various conceptions of gods, such as the personal god, are ascribed logically inconsistent qualities. Such atheists present deductive arguments against the existence of God, which assert the incompatibility between certain traits, such as perfection, creator-status, immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, transcendence, personhood (a personal being), nonphysicality, justice, and mercy. Logical arguments for atheism attempt to show that the concept of god is self-contradictory with some known fact. These incompatible-properties arguments attempt to demonstrate a contradiction in the concept of God. If an argument of this type were successful, it would mean that the existence of god is utterly impossible; there is a 0% probability that gods exists. 12
Materialistic atheism: materialists most likely value physicalism and may say that morality and concepts of god evolved thus extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence so god is not reality nor is such myths authoritative. Atheists are usually materialists of some sort, rejecting the idea that there exists anything independent of the workings of matter and energy. Materialism often entails atheism unless a person believes in a purely physical god, but atheism does not entail materialism. It may be hard to believe in a god in a materialistic philosophy, but an atheistic philosophy need not be materialistic. Materialistic atheism could involve an individualistic thinking earthier consciously or subconsciously to fulfill a survival of the fittest “things” or “needs” (to consume or accumulate) in order to “survive” are a value physicalism requires since you are the only thing you can count on, knowing no god is waiting to help. 1
Metaphysical atheism: metaphysical atheism can include any doctrines that hold to a atheistic metaphysical monism (the homogeneity of reality). Only a metaphysical atheism is based on absolute metaphysical atheism thus subscribe to some degree of physicalism, and explicitly deny the existence of non-physical beings most notably gods. Metaphysical atheism may be either: a) absolute — an explicit denial of God’s existence associated with materialistic monism (all materialistic trends, both in ancient and modern times); b) relative — the implicit denial of God in all philosophies that, while they accept the existence of an absolute, conceive of the absolute as not possessing any of the attributes proper to God: transcendence, a personal character or unity. Relative atheism is associated with idealistic monism (apantheism, pantheism, panentheism, deism). Metaphysical atheism could be the view that a god exists but doesn’t have a mind, which is basically a special type of deism. One important distinction is precisely whether an atheist can be a deist or pantheist. One view of atheism is that no gods can exist. Another view is merely that personal gods don’t exist. 1
Naturalist atheism: naturalist atheism is the philosophical doctrine that the observable physical world is all there is thus there can be no god. Most philosophers of science adhere strictly to this view and positively deny that any supernatural or miraculous effects or forces are possible thus one is almost required to hold a view of atheism. Naturalist atheists are driven by the humility lacking desire to plumb the depths of reality, to know what objectively exists, to understand how things fundamentally work, and to have maximally transparent explanations of phenomena. Naturalist atheism thus is a philo-scientific way of knowing what can justifiably believe which gets us reliable beliefs about the world. Naturalist atheism can be called a philo-scientific epistemology because it combines openness to philosophical critique with a reliance on scientific criteria of explanatory adequacy as vetted by that critique and the actual practice of science. Naturalist atheism holds that science and philosophy are continuous, interpenetrating and collaborative in our investigation of reality; neither is foundational to the other. Naturalist atheism mainly wants not to be deceived by supernatural or divine being claims, or to make errors of logic or method or assumptions when understanding the world which leave open the possibility of a God’s existence. 1
Do you believe in god?
What is a god? Are you asking me if magic exists? Well my answer as an ignostic atheist is, first prove the actuality of simple magic before you try too ask anyone about the possibility of some supreme magic.
by Lawrence Lerner
It is standard intelligent design creationist jargon to deliberately confuse and misuse the terms ontological (philosophical) naturalism andmethodological naturalism. The former is the view that nothing supernatural exists – a point which may engender heated debate among theologians and philosophers but is irrelevant to the pursuit of science. Methodological naturalism is not a “doctrine” but an essential aspect of the methodology of science, the study of the natural universe. If one believes that natural laws and theories based on them will not suffice to solve the problems attacked by scientists – that supernatural and thus nonscientific principles must be invoked from time to time – then one cannot have the confidence in scientific methodology that is prerequisite to doing science. The spectacular successes over four centuries of science based on methodological naturalism cannot be gainsaid. On the other hand, a scientist who, when stumped, invokes a supernatural cause for a phenomenon he or she is investigating is guaranteed that no scientific understanding of the problem will ensue. Here is an example. Let us imagine a geocentrist astronomer in the era of Newton. Newton uses his dynamics to account for the perturbation of the elliptical orbit of Mars around the Sun due to the gravitational influence of Jupiter, and cranks out numbers that are quickly verified by astronomical observation. The entire exercise makes no sense to the geocentrist, who (a) on the basis of the central importance of mankind in the eyes of God, does not grant the ellipticity of the orbit of Mars around the Sun but insists that the Earth be the center of the universe; (b) insists that the orbits of the planets (and the Sun) are guided by angels. The intelligent design creationist arguments may be couched more subtly and elusively than this geocentric view, but they are of the same kind. As for the phraseology, “not designed,” there is here a slipping around the need to define the term “design.” Living things certainly have organs and systems that are best described in terms of Aristotle’s “final cause” – that is, the function which their form enables them to accomplish. But design can mean either of two things. It can mean the form itself, without reference to the way that the form came to be. No one doubts that the wings of birds are admirably designed to the function of flight, in this sense of design. What the intelligent design creationists are after, however, is the other meaning of design – the end-product of the work of a designer. Intelligent design creationists often hide the essentially theological nature of this meaning by insisting that the designer might have been some space aliens and not the God of their scriptures. But they do not maintain this position when addressing sympathetic church groups of their own or similar persuasion. Ref
“”If a philosopher or social scientist were to try to encapsulate a single principle that yoked together the intellectual process of [civilization], it would be a gradual dismantling of presumptions of magic. Brick by brick, century by century, with occasional burps and hiccups, the wall of superstition has been coming down. Science and medicine and political philosophy have been on a relentless march in one direction only — sometimes slow, sometimes at a gallop, but never reversing course. Never has an empirical scientific discovery been deemed wrong and replaced by a more convincing mystical explanation. (“Holy cow, Dr. Pasteur! I’ve examined the pancreas of a diabetic dog, and darned if it’s NOT an insulin deficiency, but a little evil goblin dwelling inside. And he seems really pissed!”) Some magical presumptions have stubbornly persisted way longer than others, but have eventually, inexorably fallen to logic, reason and enlightenment, such as the assumption of the divine right of kings and the entitlement of aristocracy. That one took five millennia, but fall it did. —Gene Weingarten
|The majority of scientists do not believe it is possible to combine methodological naturalism with theistic or supernatural philosophical belief systems. Even in the United States, a majority of scientists embrace full philosophical naturalism — although a significant minority (40%-45%) describe themselves as “theistic evolutionists” or hold other religious beliefs. Methodological naturalism has become an important buzz word in the culture wars with the anti-science movement. The battle hinges around intelligent design and creationism advocates who claim the theory of evolution is a religion. The modern form of this started with Phillip Johnson and his publication of Darwin on Trial where he not only created a list of repeatedly refuted creationist claims but also tried to put forward the idea that teaching evolution was a violation of the establishment clause of the United States Constitution. Johnson’s main argument centered around confounding philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism and claiming that teaching evolution was an endorsement of philosophical naturalism and thus impinged on the religious beliefs of students. Eugenie Scott described Johnson’s error in her review:
While Johnson and the creationists may have started the ball rolling it is the intelligent design advocates that have really embraced the rhetoric surrounding the evils of methodological naturalism. The Discovery Institute (“DI”) as the primary public relations firm for “ID” has been beating this drum in every possible direction. The DI claims many things all at once, and the fact that they may contradict each other never seems to bother them. They just like to throw a bunch of bullshitout there and see what sticks. They claim that:
All of these arguments together are pretty self-defeating, but they are also wrong individually. Methodological naturalism is a cornerstone of science, embraced by both practitioners and philosophers of science. There is always disagreement in philosophy, and that includes philosophy of science. The fact that intelligent design doesn’t talk about the designer is a major hit against it as a hypothesis, and it certainly doesn’t save it from violations of methodological naturalism. The value of methodological naturalism comes from the ability to quantify, measure, and study the causes of phenomena. Intelligent design removes our ability to predict, measure and quantify, whether the intelligent designer is supernatural or an alien. The questions that evolution answers are rooted as firmly in empirical evidence and methodological naturalism as any other science. Arguments that claim it is not are really holdover ideas from creationists, who like to claim that unless it’s directly observed in a laboratory, “it’s not science”. Sometimes the DI likes to mix in issues of morality and ethics, and claims evolution address those questions, but this is simply the naturalistic fallacy. Finally, the last argument that evolution is a religion is the same old Johnson argument — all over again — that Scott and others have had to address ad nauseum. Ref
This article was originally published in Philo, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall-Winter 2000), pp. 7-29.
SCIENTIFIC VIEWS OF NATURALISM
Since methodological and philosophical naturalism are founded upon the methods and findings, respectively, of modern science, philosophical naturalism is bound to take into account the views of scientists. As Hilary Kornblith asserts, “Philosophers must be … modest … and attempt to construct philosophical theories which are scientifically well informed.” Arthur Strahler, a geologist who has taken particular interest in the claims of supernaturalists to be able to supersede naturalistic explanations of the world, points out the essentiality of naturalism to science: The naturalistic view is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts without the impetus or guidance of any supernatural agency. The naturalistic view is espoused by science as its fundamental assumption.” Clearly, the first statement refers to philosophical naturalism. Strahler’s point in the second statement, however, is that science must operate as though this is true. So philosophical naturalism serves minimally as a regulative, or methodological, principle in science, for the following reasons given by Strahler: [S]upernatural forces, if they can be said to exist, cannot be observed, measured, or recorded by the procedures of science—that’s simply what the word “supernatural” means. There can be no limit to the kinds and shapes of supernatural forces and forms the human mind is capable of conjuring up “from nowhere.” Scientists therefore have no alternative but to ignore the claims of the existence of supernatural forces and causes. This exclusion is a basic position that must be stoutly adhered to by scientists or their entire system of evaluating and processing information will collapse…. To find a reputable scientist proposing a theory of supernatural force is disturbing to the community of scientists. If the realm of matter and energy with which scientists work is being influenced or guided by a supernatural force, science will be incapable of explaining the information it has collected; it will be unable to make predictions about what will happen in the future, and its explanations of what has happened in the past may be inadequate or incomplete. This is clearly a methodological objection to supernaturalism on Strahler’s part. Introducing supernatural explanations into science would destroy its explanatory force since it would be required to incorporate as an operational principle the premise that literally anything which is logically possible can become an actuality, despite any and all scientific laws; the stability of science would consequently be destroyed. While methodological naturalism is a procedural necessity for science in its study of the natural world, it is also the rule for philosophical naturalism since the naturalist world view is constrained—and thereby stabilized—by methodological naturalism. Strahler ventures onto the turf of philosophical naturalism when he points out how supernaturalism’s lack of methodology renders it metaphysically sterile, in effect pointing out the inseparable connection between epistemology and metaphysics: In contrasting the Western religions with science, the most important criterion of distinction is that the supernatural or spiritual realm is unknowable in response to human attempts to gain knowledge of it in the same manner that humans gain knowledge of the natural realm (by experience)…. Given this fiat by the theistic believers, science simply ignores the supernatural as being outside the scope of scientific inquiry. Scientists in effect are saying: “You religious believers set up your postulates as truths, and we take you at your word. By definition, you render your beliefs unassailable and unavailable.” This attitude is not one of surrender, but simply an expression of the logical impossibility of proving the existence of something about which nothing can possibly be known through scientific investigation. Although I am generally in agreement with Strahler, I differ with him on one point. Although it is logically impossible to prove the existence of something about which nothing can be known at all, it is not logically, but procedurally, impossible to prove the existence of something about which nothing can be known through scientific investigation. Scientific investigation is a procedure based on an empiricist epistemology. The fact that there is no successful procedure for knowing the supernatural does not logically preclude its being known at all, i.e., through intuition or revelation. The problem is that there is no procedure for determining the legitimacy of intuition and revelation as ways of knowing, and no procedure for either confirming or disconfirming the supernatural content of intuitions or revelations. My objection notwithstanding, Strahler is making an essential point which the philosophical naturalist also makes: the methodology of science is the only viable method of acquiring reliable knowledge about the cosmos. Given this fact, if there is no workable method for acquiring knowledge of the supernatural, then it is procedurally impossible to have knowledge of either a supernatural dimension or entity. In the absence of any alternative methodology, the metaphysical claims one is entitled to make are very strictly limited. The philosophical naturalist, without making any metaphysical claims over and above those warranted by science, can demand from supernaturalists the method that legitimizes their metaphysical claims. In the absence of such a method, philosophical naturalists can not only justifiably refuse assent to such claims, but can deny—tentatively, not categorically—the existence of the supernatural, and for the same reason they deny the existence of less exalted supernatural entities like fairies and ghosts: the absence of evidence. Strahler makes another point that is important to the understanding of philosophical naturalism: the metaphysical adequacy of supernaturalism is inversely proportionate to the explanatory power of science. The more science successfully explains, the less need or justification there is for the supernatural as an explanatory principle. Strahler, quoting E. O. Wilson, asserts that the explanatory power of science diminishes the metaphysical adequacy of supernaturalism by explaining even religion: Most importantly, we have come to the crucial stage in the history of biology when religion itself is subject to the explanations of the natural sciences … sociobiology can account for the very origin of mythology by the principle of natural selection acting on the genetically evolving material structure of the human brain. If this interpretation is correct, the final, decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon…. However, many people reject the application of scientific method to the phenomenon of religion and, though they adopt the methodology of naturalism to inquire about a natural entity or object or to solve a practical problem, they simultaneously assent to existential claims about the supernatural. Sterling Lamprecht, in Naturalism and the Human Spirit, says that some philosophers “accept a kind of empiricism for purposes of scientific procedure and practical affairs, but all the time hold that the existences and occurrences thus empirically found require some further ‘explanation’ to make them ‘satisfactory’ or ‘intelligible.’” These philosophers hold that what is learned scientifically must still be explained from within a more comprehensive, non-naturalistic metaphysics, in effect adopting the supernatural as a causal explanation. Strahler, however, in his remarks about using the supernatural as a causally explanatory principle while simultaneously acknowledging the sufficiency of scientific method to provide causal explanations of the natural world, maintains that using the supernatural as an additionalcausal explanation is logically contradictory as well: A specific event of history in a specific time segment must fall into either (a) divine causation or (b) natural causation. Our logic is as follows: ‘If a [divine, supernatural causation], then not b [natural causation]. If b, then not a.’ To follow with the proposal ‘Both a and b‘ is therefore not logically possible. Moreover, one cannot get out of this bind by proposing that God is the sole causative agent of all natural causes, which in turn are the causative agents of the observed event. This ‘First Cause/Secondary Cause’ model, long a standby of the eighteenth-century school of natural theology … adds up to 100 percent supernatural creation. Consider the analogy of cosmic history as an unbroken chain [of causal explanations] made from all possible combinations of two kinds of links, a [supernatural cause, as in religion] and b [natural cause, as in science]…. When a theist declares any link in the chain to be an a-link (whereas all the others are b-links), an element of the science set has been replaced by an element of the religion set. When this substitution has been accomplished, the entire ensuing sequence is flawed by that single antecedent event of divine creation and must be viewed as false science, or pseudoscience. The reason that replacement of a single link changed the character of all ensuing links is that each successor link is dependent upon its predecessor in a cause-effect relationship … that divine act can never be detected by the scientist because, by definition, it is a supernatural act. There exists only the claim that such an act occurred, and science cannot deal in such claims. By the same token, science must reject revelation, as a means of obtaining empirical knowledge. Under the theistic model, according to Strahler, any recognition of natural causation is logically nullified by the simultaneous assertion of supernatural intervention, either actual or merely possible. Even while differing with Strahler on the logical impossibility of invoking both natural and supernatural explanations—it is logically conceivable if the supernatural and natural causes operate at different ontological levels—one must recognize that invoking supernatural explanations is illegitimate because of the procedural impossibility of ascertaining the facticity of the supernatural cause itself, not to mention its intervention in the chain of natural causes. This points to the metaphysical implications of methodological naturalism: if supernatural causal factors are methodologically permissible, the cosmos one is trying to explain is a non-natural cosmos. Conversely, if only natural causal factors are methodologically and epistemologically legitimate as explanations, then only a naturalist metaphysics is philosophically justifiable. Let us consider now the comments of Wesley Elsberry, in “Enterprising Science Needs Naturalism”: While the subjective appreciation of a role for supernatural causation may be important to personal fulfillment, it does not afford a basis for objective knowledge, nor can it be counted as a means of comprehending the universe in a scientific manner…. I will connote “naturalism” as “proposing only natural mechanisms for physical phenomena” rather than “asserting that only natural mechanisms have existence.”… Science is incompetent to examine those conjectures which cannot be tested in the light of inter-subjective experience or criticism. The assertion that “only natural mechanisms have existence” is equivalent to the claim that “no supernatural causes exist.” That is an example of proving a negative, and can only be regarded as a statement of faith, since it requires omniscience on the part of the claimant…. humans cannot establish a supernatural cause by experimental reproduction of that cause. No human is capable of producing a supernatural cause…. natural and supernatural causation are confounding: suspected supernatural causation may simply be due to currently indiscernible natural causes. Because of the confounding nature of the interaction, the only way to establish supernatural causation is through the elimination of all natural alternatives. This is simply another case of proving a negative, which is an intractable problem…. Elsberry’s point is a methodological one: in explaining the natural world, one can not invoke the supernatural because of its methodological inaccessibility, and no successful method other than the naturalistic one is available in scientific explanation. However, Elsberry’s methodological point has metaphysical implications. If supernatural causation as a methodological principle “does not afford a basis for objective knowledge,” the implication is that methodological naturalism does afford one. If supernatural causation cannot be “counted as a means of comprehending the universe in a scientific manner,” the implication is that methodological naturalism can be so counted upon. And comprehending the universe in a scientific manner is the goal of philosophical naturalism. Steven Schafersman, also a scientist, makes the same point as Elsberry: [N]aturalism is a methodological necessity in the practice of science by scientists, and an ontological necessity for understanding and justifying science by scientists…. The alternative to naturalism is supernaturalism…. [T]he foundations of science … will not be epistemologically reliable unless naturalism is either true or assumed to be true, since by not doing so, part of reality will remain unexplained and unexplainable. Schafersman’s point here is that, given the (procedurally but not logically) necessary exclusivity of methodological naturalism in science, any view of the cosmos other than a naturalistic one becomes unjustifiable. The philosophical naturalist would expand upon this by adding that given the procedurally necessary exclusivity of methodological naturalism in science and the unavailability of any other workable method for grounding any claims with existential import, any metaphysical view of the cosmos other than the naturalistic one is epistemologically unjustifiable. The point is not that supernaturalism is logically impossible; rather, the point is that, from both an epistemological and a methodological standpoint, supernaturalism has not proved its mettle, whereas methodological naturalism has done so consistently and convincingly. Supernaturalism has not provided the epistemology or the methodology needed to support its metaphysics, whereas naturalism has, although the invitation to supernaturalism to do likewise is a standing one, as Schafersman indicates: “except for humans, philosophical naturalists understand nature to be fundamentally mindless and purposeless…. Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of supernatural mind and purpose in nature; the only requirement would be the demonstration of its existence and mechanism, which is up to the supernaturalist to provide. We are still waiting.” Ref
THE THINKER’S GUIDE TO SCIENTIFIC THINKING
By DR. RICHARD PAUL and DR. LINDA ELDER
Based on Critical Thinking Concepts & Principles
Why Scientific Thinking? The Problem: Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated. A Definition: Scientific thinking is that mode of thinking — about any scientific subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. The Result: A well cultivated scientific thinker: • raises vital scientific questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely; • gathers and assesses relevant scientific data and information, using abstract ideas to interpret them effectively; • comes to well-reasoned scientific conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards; • thinks openmindedly within convergent systems of scientific thought, recognizing and assessing scientific assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and • communicates effectively with others in proposing solutions to complex scientific problems. Scientific thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities as well as a commitment to developing scientific skills, abilities, and dispositions. Ref
I wish to promote common sense, thus challenge thinking that is flated or in error and bad behaviors as well as promote positive humanism and wish for human flourishing as people have dignity and what they may believe has no dignity. And, as far as what I want when it comes to beliefs, Yes it matters what you believe, do you have an ethical thinking standard? I wish to inspire an ethics of belief, such as, only believing that which is justified containing a high standard of accuracy. Such firm footing of accuracy is what all well justified beliefs stand on or they will likely fall. Yes, I wish to inspire a strong ethics of belief, which is needed in one’s thinking repertoire to add in increased accuracy of beliefs, ensuring one is not fooled. We should be thoughtful in our belief acquisition, be open in our belief maintenance, and intellectually honest in our belief relinquishment.
Formal axiology (science of value) is a foundation upon which a scientific revolution of scientific morality can be attained or at least furthered. To position humanism even secular humanism or to say there can be a scientific morality can come one day, is not an account of a current fact or a true justification of not just how one lives there life or even believes that life should be lived but what empirical or philosophical evidentiary validation is offered? If you want to read about “Formal Axiology” check out this link. Formal Axiology, the science of value, has the distinctive difference of being based on deductive reasoning, a method by which concrete applications & interpretative detail are deduced from axioms, definitions and postulates. Hartman’s “Axiom of Value” provided us with a formal mathematical norm which can be applied to any field of study to structure the value parameters of that field, and then it weighs or measures individuals or teams against that scientific norm. Dr. Leon Pomeroy in his book, The New Science of Axiological Psychology (Pomeroy, 2005), has shown that formal axiology is also empirically valid. Value Science in a Nutshell: Science = Reason + Empiricism, “Formal Axiology” the science of value. Hartman was a philosopher who used the tools of reason, logic and mathematics to build his theory. He was not a committed empiricist and never tested the reliability and validity of his theory or the HVP. For this reason Dr. Leon Pomeroy had little interest in Hartman when Albert Ellis brought his work to my attention. Without plans or preparation, seven years later, fate intervened. Hartman’s friend, the Mexican psychiatrist Salvatore Roquet, M.D., demonstrated the HVP and convinced me to take another look at it and the theory behind it. The mathematical model Hartman used is “set theory.” Dr. Leon Pomeroy accepted it as a first approximation revealing the architecture of “value logic” or “value grammar” implicit in the mind’s native cognitive processing of values and valuations. Dr. Leon Pomeroy appreciated that this approach to values was an exploration of a world where no one had gone before. It was a creative frame of reference that struck me as “ripe” for empirical testing. Hartman called his theory “formal axiology.” This retained the old philosophical concept of “axiology.” Although understandable, Dr. Leon Pomeroy found it a bit confusing as a scientist. Because Hartman had developed a “new axiology,” he called his theory “formal” axiology to distinguish it from the philosophy of axiology. This invited more confusion among those who are not philosophers. No matter, the “new axiology” or “formal axiology,” is grounded in mathematics which distances it from the philosopher’s axiology. This precise construction of theory and HVP-testing inspired several Hartman students to become entrepreneurs marketing The Hartman Value Profile (HVP) to individuals and corporate clients. It also inspired them to view the theory in a way Dr. Leon Pomeroy found unacceptable. Ref
I have questions for someone believing all morality is subjective
How is moral knowledge possible? This question is central in moral epistemology and marks a cluster of problems. The most important are the following.
To me, some of our issues grasping the ontology of morality is our limited all or nothing, either or, and black or white thinking. Such as people saying morality is objective or subjective. They are both right. Again to me, morality is both, qualities that are subjective and has qualities that are objective. It is not either or, that is a false dichotomy of the ontology of morality. To understand the point I am making, think of love is it absolutely subjective? Yes and no we can experience love subjectively but even though this fact is true it is also simultaneously that it is also a fact that love the feeling can be said to be expressed in some universal ways as to which we can see love actions in others and in animals. It’s this fact that the feeling of love biologically inspires common and distinct universal behaviors that is objective, which is similar to what I am saying about morality. What we call truth is a “value judgment” of what we believe is the reality of the case. So, a claim of truth then like all claims needs some type supporting justification. The claim of truth’s integrity requires testing of what the theme of the offered truth involves, if validly justified it should not be distrusted. However, if the claim of truth’s integrity is not justified then the term “Truth” has not been itself attacked rather it’s the using the word “Truth” that cannot substantiate the term that it should be distrusted because it is seemingly in error or a lie-pseudo truth. Therefore, the user/claimer of the improper use of the word “Truth” but believe in and promote pseudo-truth because it does not have a sound basis in logic or fact demonstrate the validity and reliability of their truth assertion. So, I love truth, its claims of the term “Truth” with no justification that I can’t stand, because such claims are pseudo-truth. It’s like how science as a term is quite corrupted by pseudoscience right? Yes and No. Yes, because fake science is believed as real science where the user/claimer of the improper use of the word “Science” believe in and promote pseudo-science but because it does not have a sound basis in logic or fact demonstrate the validity and reliability of their truth assertion. However, we can know science from pseudoscience as the term is given other methodological structure to which to evaluate then prove true science or prove a claim as not science and in fact pseudoscience so to do we sadly have to methodological structure to prove a claim as not truth and in fact pseudo-truth.
MORALITY: values, morals, and ethics
To me “morals, values, and ethics” as we standardly think of them are not the same and often are contradictory. Thus, unless they are justified they are not a compilation of truth, other than one’s chosen thinking idea of reality.
I would like to offer my understanding of how I see the layout of morality, values, morals and ethics as I see them. I see the term “morality” proper as the main moniker to a philosophic group (values, morals and ethics) or a main heading that involves the subheadings of values, morals and ethics. Values, morals, and ethics, in a basic observational way should be understood as falling under branches expressing different but similar thinking and behavioral persuasion. Values are the internal catlist often motivating our thinking and behaviors. Such as, a value of all human life, would tend to motivate you to not wantonly end human lives. Just as a lack of value for all human life, may tend to motivate you to not have an issue with the wanton ending of human lives. Morals to me, are the personal persuasion that you value, such as having a desire for truthfulness. Then we have ethics and we know this is a different branch of the morality tree, as there is business ethics/professional ethics but not really business morals or professional morals; other than one’s self chosen persuasion which may be adopted from business ethics/professional ethics. Ethics are as I have expressed our social universal prescriptions/persuasions public morality whereas morals to me are personal morality. Therefore, we can hold others to universal ethics standards (public morality) and not our moral proclivities that are not universal on others, as morals are for us (personal morality).
To better grasp a naturalistic morality to me, one should see the perspective of how there is a self-regulatory effect on the self-evaluative moral emotions, such as shame and guilt. Broadly conceived, self-regulation distinguishes between two types of motivation: approach/activation and avoidance/inhibition. one should conceptually understand the socialization dimensions (parental restrictiveness versus nurturance), associated emotions (anxiety versus empathy), and forms of morality (proscriptive versus prescriptive) that serve as precursors to each self-evaluative moral emotion.
Babies & Morality?
“They believe babies are in fact born with an innate sense of morality, and while parents and society can help develop a belief system in babies, they don’t create one. A team of researchers at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center, known as The Baby Lab, showed us just how they came to that conclusion.” Ref
Axiological Morality Critique of Pseudo-Morality/Pseudomorality?
Chumash Indians With a 13,000 year History Show us Caring for Others is Civilized Humanity
Before the arrival of the so-called civilized foreigners, there were no locks on our doors; in fact, there were seldom even doors. There was little emphasis on private property instead things where valued more for the good of the community. There was no poor, no hungry while others ate. All were involved and cared for, no one had to beg. Nature and others where respected taking only what one needed without creating pollution and yet when the white man came they claimed we were uncivilized.
The painting above is an artist’s depiction of Chumash Village from and outdoor display in town of Lompoc, Ca. drawn by Robert Thomas and a Team of Local Artists.
The Chumash Indians? Chumash (“Chu mash), a label chosen by an Anglo anthropologist, comes from the word used by the Coastal Chumash for either the Santa Cruz (Mi-tcu-mac) Indians or the Santa Rosa (Tcu-mac) Indians. The Chumash in the Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties were extremely peaceful. The Chumash homeland lies along the coast of California, between Malibu and Paso Robles, as well as on the Northern Channel Islands. In the pre-contact era, the Chumash were never one, discreet linguistic or cultural entity but did have regional federations. Each Chumash regional group—Barbareno, Ynezeno, and Ventureno (Eastern Coastal); Obispeno and Purisimeno; Island Chumash; and Interior Chumash—has its own self-designation.
The Chumash are sometimes referred to as the Santa Barbara Indians. The Chumash were organized by village rather than by tribe. The Chumash was a Matriarchal Linear Society. The female Chumash ran and organized the settlements through group decisions, councils, and a ‘Wot’, chieftain. Matriarchal Linear (or Lineage) means that the family name stays on the mother’s side. Males married into the females’ family. Coast villages maintained patrilineal descent groups. Each contained three or four captains, one of whom was head chief. ‘Wot’s’ were often male and they would lead activities beyond the settlement. Women could inherit the position of ‘Wot’ head chief. A ‘Wot’ chief’s formal power was limited to leading in war, presiding at ceremonies, and granting hunting permissions.
The Chumash did not waste any part of any animal they killed, or any plant they pulled from the earth. They lived according to “nature’s time”, and believed that man’s greed and desire for supremacy could eventually lead to his downfall. This is true with many Native American families. While the Chumash were very peaceful reasons for war mainly included trespass, or defense (interior Indian peoples occasionally attacked the Coastal Chumash). Rules of engagement were highly formalized. In general, however, the Chumash seldom engaged in actual warfare. The 1824 revolt against the Mexicans stands out as the major historical conflict. Before the Mission Period, the Chumash lived in 150 independent villages with a total population of about 18,000-20,000 people.
Ironically, the Chumash are now a people without land to call their own, as most Chumash bands have not, with the exception of the Santa Ynez Samala band, yet made the list of federally recognized tribes. Once a thriving culture, the Chumash, as did other Native American tribes, succumbed to Spanish conquistadors and American colonists.
If you don’t think different you will not behave different, if you have never lived different it is hard to see things differently thus unknowingly or not bound by limited encapsulation. This issue of equality needs more than a voice of reason; it needs the momentum of action and more action.
Here is some thoughts inspired by Chumash ethics and their belief in the reciprocity of social life, and the worldview of the people. If one observed the virtues which belonged to the rays of the sun, shining the same upon everyone offering its light to all plant, animal, human, alike without distinction. They too would have noble feelings about helping others, striving to be like a ray of connected virtues offering their caring light equally to all of the world. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
I hope I am always strong enough to put my morality at the forefront in all I do, so much so, that it is obvious in the ways I think and behave.
People are fond of asking vary deep exploitive questions about complex issues in life but then want very simplistic universal generalizations about them or they usually don’t understand, misunderstand, don’t follow the reasoning/rationale, or just reject the answer or conclusion outright because it’s too complex or simply undesirable.
To me, often morality can be generally thought to start in an emotional driven response or realization that is then hopefully navigated with emotional intelligence, social awareness and rational thought to reach a just morally responsible response. We start with biological impulses that are responses to stimuli that can produce a sensation that can produce emotions and these emotions start the process that can be found to be involved in morality (moral/ethical reasoning). Power Authority Oppression
Limiting the power to a point in authority, maximize the potential for oppression. This is referring to the need for greater inclusion of many instead of the exclusion driven only by the few. Moreover, how this greater inclusion can be adopted is non hierarchical political structure and more direct democracy. Such as a “Heterarchy” which is a system of organization where the elements of the organization are unranked (non-hierarchical) or where they possess the potential to be ranked a number of different ways. Definitions of the term vary among the disciplines: in social and information sciences, heterarchies are networks of elements in which each element shares the same “horizontal” position of power and authority, each playing a theoretically equal role.
A closed mind will never truly win a battle of free thought.
I am always open to valid and reliable facts. in fact, it’s the easiest way to get me to open my thinking and get me to amend, correct or change anything I think or believe. 🙂
I posted this on facebook and this is a sample of what transpired:
Challenger #1, I think this blog post presents a false dichotomy: either one seeks truth through Authoritarian or Anti-authoritarian means. I think most of us have sought truth through the authority of our teachers and text books as kids in school; as we’ve grown older we tend to rely less on those authorities, but in some cases we still seek via Authoritarian means. For me, truth seeking is a Bayesian process of weighing hypothesis against reality. However, there are many subjects which may impact ones Bayesian reasoning for which one does not have the time/energy to investigate so we rely on the knowledge of “experts” who have spent time and energy investigating those matters.
Damien Marie AtHope, Thanks for your thoughts, you address interesting ideas but the issue you are addressing sounds a bit different that I was trying to say is doing an appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, so to limit one’s thinking to an appeal to authority is thinking strategy as a logical fallacy.
Challenger #2, it’s only a fallacy of the authority to which one is appealing is Not an authority in the field in question. For instance, if one’s argument is that, “Well even Richard Dawkins says the Big Bang proves the universe had a finite beginning,” (I’m making up the quote), that would be an appeal to authority fallacy because Dawkins is not an astrophysicist. However, if one quoted Krauss on this issue, it would not be fallacious. in a field for which I have no training, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to rely on experts and the consensus among experts.
Damien Marie AtHope, But even if I as an anti-authoritarianist were to accept an appeal to the scholarly articles on any scientific studies are valid only on the evidence and have nothing to do with the scientists or researchers. Just as if one wants to overturn any previous believed scientific theory it’s the evidence not in any way the person presenting it.
Challenger #1, Hmmm, I never got the impression that this post was about the logical fallacy known as: appeal to authority. However, when regarding the appeal to authority as a fallacy: if the the authority in question has made statements of an opinionated matter then I have to agree with Damien. However, if the appeal is to something the authority claimed based on the evidence and the current body of knowledge then I don’t think that would be considered a fallacy.
New respondent, Very succinct explanation of what divides believers from non-believers.
An argument from authority (Latin: argumentum ad verecundiam), also called an appeal to authority, is a common type of argument which can be fallacious, such as when an authority is cited on a topic outside their area of expertise or when the authority cited is not a true expert.
Carl Sagan wrote of arguments from authority:
One of the great commandments of science is, “Mistrust arguments from authority.” … Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.
Appeal to Authority Fallacy
Historically, opinion on the appeal to authority has been divided – it has been held to be a valid argument about as often as it has been considered an outright fallacy. John Locke, in his 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, was the first to identify argumentum ad verecundiam as a specific category of argument. Although he did not call this type of argument a fallacy, he did note that it can be misused by taking advantage of the “respect” and “submission” of the reader or listener to persuade them to accept the conclusion. Over time, logic textbooks started to adopt and change Locke’s original terminology to refer more specifically to fallacious uses of the argument from authority. By the mid-twentieth century, it was common for logic textbooks to refer to the “Fallacy of appealing to authority,” even while noting that “this method of argument is not always strictly fallacious.” In the Western rationalistic tradition and in early modern philosophy, appealing to authority was generally considered a logical fallacy. More recently, logic textbooks have shifted to a less blanket approach to these arguments, now often referring to the fallacy as the “Argument from Unqualified Authority” or the “Argument from Unreliable Authority”. However, these are still not the only recognized forms of appeal to authority. For example, a 2012 guidebook on philosophical logic describes appeals to authority not merely as arguments from unqualified or unreliable authority, but as arguments from authority in general. In addition to appeals lacking evidence of the authority’s reliability, the book states that arguments from authority are fallacious if there is a lack of “good evidence” that the authorities appealed to possess “adequate justification for their views.” And there are other recognized fallacious arguments from authority. Among them, the “Fallacies” entry by Bradley Dowden in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that “appealing to authority as a reason to believe something is fallacious […] when authorities disagree on this subject (except for the occasional lone wolf)” The “Fallacies” entry by Hans Hansen in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy similarly states that “when there is controversy, and authorities are divided, it is an error to base one’s view on the authority of just some of them.” However, Hansen’s entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does not appear to share Dowden’s exception regarding “lone wolf” dissenting authorities.
Fallacious arguments from authority can also be the result of citing a non-authority as an authority. These arguments assume that a person without status or authority is inherently reliable. The appeal to poverty for example is the fallacy of thinking a conclusion is more likely to be correct because the one who holds or is presenting it is poor. When an argument holds that a conclusion is likely to be true precisely because the one who holds or is presenting it lacks authority, it is a fallacious appeal to the common man. A common example of the fallacy is appealing to an authority in one subject to pontificate on another – for example citing Albert Einstein as an authority on religion when his expertise was in physics. The attributed authority might not even welcome that authority, as with the “More Doctors Smoke Camels” ad campaign. However, it is also a fallacious ad hominem argument to argue that a person presenting statements lacks authority and thus their arguments do not need to be considered. As appeals to a perceived lack of authority, these types of argument are fallacious for much the same reasons as an appeal to authority.
Inaccurate chromosome number
In 1923, leading American zoologist Theophilus Painter declared, based on poor data and conflicting observations he had made, that humans had 24 pairs of chromosomes. From the 1920s to the 1950s, this continued to be held based on Painter’s authority, despite subsequent counts totaling the correct number of 23. Even textbooks with photos showing 23 pairs incorrectly declared the number to be 24 based on the authority of the then-consensus of 24 pairs. This seemingly established number created confirmation bias among researchers, and “most cytologists, expecting to detect Painter’s number, virtually always did so”. Painter’s “influence was so great that many scientists preferred to believe his count over the actual evidence”, to the point that “textbooks from the time carried photographs showing twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, and yet the caption would say there were twenty-four”. Scientists who obtained the accurate number modified or discarded their data to agree with Painter’s count.
An integral part of the appeal to authority is the cognitive bias known as the Asch effect. In repeated and modified instances of the Asch conformity experiments, it was found that high-status individuals create a stronger likelihood of a subject agreeing with an obviously false conclusion, despite the subject normally being able to clearly see that the answer was incorrect. Further, humans have been shown to feel strong emotional pressure to conform to authorities and majority positions. A repeat of the experiments by another group of researchers found that “Participants reported considerable distress under the group pressure”, with 59% conforming at least once and agreeing with the clearly incorrect answer, whereas the incorrect answer was much more rarely given when no such pressures were present. Scholars have noted that the academic environment produces a nearly ideal situation for these processes to take hold, and they can affect entire academic disciplines, giving rise to groupthink. One paper about the philosophy of mathematics for example notes that, within mathematics,
If…a person accepts our discipline, and goes through two or three years of graduate study in mathematics, he absorbs our way of thinking, and is no longer the critical outsider he once was…If the student is unable to absorb our way of thinking, we flunk him out, of course. If he gets through our obstacle course and then decides that our arguments are unclear or incorrect, we dismiss him as a crank, crackpot, or misfit. Ref
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