Are Enlightenment Ideals Unequivocal Goods?

 

Empirical knowledge is knowledge based on what we observe through our senses or tools that extend our senses. Empirical knowledge, in its purity, is only knowledge which we have ourselves observed. Reason is the ability to change our thinking when provided new information by use of logic.

Both of these are hailed as the hallmark of the Enlightenment and are used to discredit Tradition and Faith.

They limit truth to only what is newly or recently observed via new technologies.

Religion, especially Christianity, is full of empirical truth, as experiential – but it is gleaned over thousands of years of many (or One’s) experiences – far longer than any one person can live or observe. Tradition also follows this long term experience by relying on the wisdom of ancestors to guide our path today (G.K. Chesterton would agree).

Hyper-individualism (another byproduct of the enlightenment) also prefers what is best or favored by one individual and rejects all impact on society as a whole. It is true that one individual will not cause long-term, societal repercussions, but many embracing the same pattern of behavior result in long-term consequences at a societal level that can affect generations as demonstrated by history. This may add weight to the idea of an individual’s Christian faith needing a community. These are effects that we, ourselves, cannot observe and are not based in reason’s new information. Here, reason and empiricism fail us.

It has long been my belief that the Bible, as a blueprint for living well, is a cosmic pattern for long term survival of the human race and civilization where honoring your father and mother (so you might live long upon the earth) is the micro version. Parents know better the long-term consequences of a child’s choices than the child does – as does the ultimate parent, our Eternal Father in Heaven, know better the trajectory of humankind.

For the inheritors of the enlightenment, history begins with Locke.

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There are 70 comments.

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  1. Flicker Inactive

    I agree with and appreciate what you say. I would add that in specific applications, such as my mother experienced with her mother, there is a time when the two spoke as equals, and then after that a time when my mother spoke and guided her own mother as a mother directs a child; for example, telling her that she can’t take her medicines according to their color and how she feels the sun is shining that day (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Nonetheless, her own mother still new more about many things in her old age that my mother never could know even then, such as what it’s like to be approaching 100, and to be waiting: living, waiting, and relying on your grown children, and knowing (or believing) that your time and usefulness has long passed.

    Their seems to be an honor that we give and will always give that goes beyond parent’s wisdom, utility or the pragmatic experience, and I think this is also what God means. And beyond that, there is something like ownership that a parent morally has over his or her child, such that might underlie God’s order to honor those from whom we physically come, of whose very flesh we are; living and independent but never really completely different in being or separate, never exactly and completely autonomous in our being, essentially living extensions of our own parents.

    God even says that He visits the sins of the father onto even his great-grandchildren. (I assume this also includes blessings.) I don’t think this as much nurture as something in the nature, something that has been acknowledged in writing as far back as I’ve been able to read about (what with people looking at a person’s lineage as a distinguisher of one’s current personality and abilities) but is only now being introduced in science as so-called epigenetics.

    While we are all individuals who will be judged and rewarded according to our own acts and thoughts, we still are very much made of our parents’ stuff.

    • #1
    • February 9, 2019, at 3:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. I Walton Member

    It’s in the nature of knowledge. We figure things out at different speeds, some folks are deep into what we call science and rely on peers and ancestors, and the best of them leave insights which accumulate at least in societies that figure the hard stuff out. Then there are the builders who have to get things right or they don’t work. The hard stuff on which it all depends are really complicated things like everyday life which take many generations and thousands, now millions of experiments, interactions but can’t be proven except over many generations and since they rest on millions of practical experiments of everyday life the proofs are vague and always changing. The only assurance we have is that if we don’t dictate from above, folks tend to get it right at least if they have faith that it all somehow matters. Amazing actually. 

    • #2
    • February 9, 2019, at 4:52 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The only assurance we have is that if we don’t dictate from above, folks tend to get it right at least if they have faith that it all somehow matters. Amazing actually. 

    When it comes to governing society, you need to treat each person as an individual under the laws you pass. But when it comes to determining policy, you can not pretend that each person has no impact on the people around them.

    There DO exist better ways to govern than treating us as individual economic units, capable of being sent hither and to at the whims of economic winds. Humans do not work that way. We are tied to each other, our families, our communities. Our traditions, morals, and values under-gird that truth, as they show how we are connected and model the impact we have on others.

    More localized control is better, but also choosing policies that recognize us as more than simple producers is also necessary. Capitalism and Socialism both have that in common, that they view the worker as an economic unit. (Because they are economic policies)

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t build on a capitalist economy, but that our policies can’t be purely economic.

    • #3
    • February 9, 2019, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I find myself increasingly hostile to the term “Enlightement.” It’s difficult to think of a more propagandistic term.

    In my view, there were two principal Enlightemnents, one atheisic materialist, and one theistic.

    I think that the theistic side was almost exclusively Protestant Christian, and this is the strand that led to the US and just about all of the good things about life in the modern world. The main proponents were Locke, the American Founders, Kant to some degree, and Abraham Lincoln.

    The atheistic materialist side led to the Reign of Terror, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The main proponents were Hegel, Marx, Lenin, and lesser figures such as Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault.

    I think that if one starts with the atheistic view, the post-modernists (like Derrida and Foucault) are actually correct in their conclusion that there is no basis for any moral code, and probably wise (from a selfish standpoint) to use manipulation of language in deceptive ways as their route to power. I say this because the other route to power is physical, and I don’t think many post-modernists look like Conan the Barbarian.

    For this reason, I answer the OP by saying that I do not believe that “Enlightenment Ideals” are unequivocally good. The ideals on the atheistic side are almost unequivocally bad. Even the few good things that they purport to believe in, like “equality” or “liberty,” turn out to be twisted in practice to the point that they are unrecognizable.

    I must concede that there are plenty of decent people taking the atheistic view, and generally acting pretty well. This describes most Libertarians and Conservatarians. But I don’t think that they have a rational foundation for their moral view, which probably explains the general unpopularity of their position. I think that they have generally incorporated the Protestant Christian values prevalent in our society in the late 20th Century, without understanding the basis for those values. They depart from those values in relatively minor ways, or at least ways that seem relatively minor compared to the Left. I do speak from experience about this, as it was my personal position prior to Christian conversion at age 36.

    • #4
    • February 9, 2019, at 8:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    The atheistic materialist side led to the Reign of Terror, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The main proponents were Hegel, Marx, Lenin, and lesser figures such as Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault.

    I really should have mentioned Voltaire and Rousseau, too.

    • #5
    • February 9, 2019, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Larry3435 Member

    Stina, I think your description of the Enlightenment is a straw man, but you are correct about one thing. One of the effects of Enlightenment Ideals is that people obtained the freedom to worship (or not) as they choose. It is undoubtedly true that this changed the monolithic nature of religion which had prevailed in most countries, where everybody followed (or pretended to follow) the same faith. And I suppose it is gratifying if one can receive reinforcement for one’s beliefs by surrounding oneself only with people who believe (or pretend to believe) the same things. On the other hand – endless wars, mayhem, intolerance and inquisitions seem to follow as a matter of course. So shows history, and so show the places where that kind of thinking still rules (e.g., the Islamic world).

    So I guess Enlightenment Ideals are not necessarily an unequivocal good, but on balance I sure do like them better than anything that preceded them, or any of the we-all-must-think-the-same Utopian schemes that the left has dreamed up since then. My observation of history is that when people are told that they must sacrifice their individual freedom for the “good of society,” they get neither freedom nor a good society.

    • #6
    • February 9, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. HeavyWater Inactive

    It has long been my belief that the Bible, as a blueprint for living well, is a cosmic pattern for long term survival of the human race and civilization where honoring your father and mother (so you might live long upon the earth) is the micro version.

    It’s not clear that the Bible is a blueprint for living well. The Bible includes Genesis 6 through 9 where God decides to eliminate all of his creation except for 8 human beings (including Noah) and pairs of animals.

    There’s also Luke 14:26 where Jesus says,

    Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

    This contradicts Exodus 20:12

    Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    Faith isn’t a good way of separating true claims from false claims. Science works better.

    If one looks at human rights on many of the highly religious nations in the Islamic world, which do put a high priority on faith, it’s clear that advancements in human rights requires a willingness to reject bad ideas even if these bad ideas are tradition-based.

    • #7
    • February 10, 2019, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. HeavyWater Inactive

    The term Enlightenment can be very confusing because, on the one hand, it is often argued that the Enlightenment gave us representative democracy to replace rule by the Divine Right of Kings and the Enlightenment gave us emancipation to replace chattel slavery.

    But the Enlightenment also has been found guilty of giving us Marxist-Leninist regimes and Nazi Germany instead of representative democracy and freedom.

    So, rather that get into a semantic and historical debate over which good things and which bad things should be attributed to the Enlightenment, I’d rather us talk about the need to subject ideas to critical examination and debate.

    The problem with religion is that it is considered blasphemy to take a critical approach to many religious ideas. So, if a religion has a bad idea embedded within it, people are discouraged from challenging it.

    The only way a religion can start out with horrible ideas built into its holy book and improve over time is for the people of that religion to decide to ignore certain ideas in the holy book, to subordinate their holy book to their critical faculties.

    In the scientific world, a scientist can challenge a bad idea, even if this bad idea has been around for thousands of years, like the Earth being the center of the solar system.

    We need more science, reason and critical thinking. We need less religion and we need less reliance on faith.

    Faith is what a person relies on when the evidence doesn’t justify their belief.

    • #8
    • February 10, 2019, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. TGR9898 Coolidge

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    The atheistic materialist side led to the Reign of Terror, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The main proponents were Hegel, Marx, Lenin, and lesser figures such as Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault.

    I really should have mentioned Voltaire and Rousseau, too.

    Jonah Goldberg points out that there were multiple Enlightenments, separated by time, location & ultimately fundamental philosophy.

    I agree with his shorthand for determining the quality of a particular Enlightenment: “If it’s not Scottish, it’s CRAP”

     

    • #9
    • February 10, 2019, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Al Sparks Thatcher

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It has long been my belief that the Bible, as a blueprint for living well, is a cosmic pattern for long term survival of the human race and civilization where honoring your father and mother (so you might live long upon the earth) is the micro version.

    It’s not clear that the Bible is a blueprint for living well. The Bible includes Genesis 6 through 9 where God decides to eliminate all of his creation except for 8 human beings (including Noah) and pairs of animals.

    There’s also Luke 14:26 where Jesus says,

    Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

    This contradicts Exodus 20:12

    Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    As phrased above, I don’t necessarily see a contradiction. “Whoever comes to me…” isn’t the same as “Whoever stays with me…”

    And of course you’re quoting translations.

     

    • #10
    • February 10, 2019, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. HeavyWater Inactive

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It has long been my belief that the Bible, as a blueprint for living well, is a cosmic pattern for long term survival of the human race and civilization where honoring your father and mother (so you might live long upon the earth) is the micro version.

    It’s not clear that the Bible is a blueprint for living well. The Bible includes Genesis 6 through 9 where God decides to eliminate all of his creation except for 8 human beings (including Noah) and pairs of animals.

    There’s also Luke 14:26 where Jesus says,

    Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

    This contradicts Exodus 20:12

    Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    As phrased above, I don’t necessarily see a contradiction. “Whoever comes to me…” isn’t the same as “Whoever stays with me…”

    And of course you’re quoting translations.

    My criticism of some religions is that if there is a bad idea woven into its holy book, it’s difficult to get rid of it because anyone who advocates getting rid of this bad idea is considered a heretic, deserving of being punished in some way.

    Within an environment of freedom speech and freedom of thought, then people can begin the process of evaluating various religious ideas and determining whether these ideas are helpful or harmful.

    If that’s enlightenment, I’m for it.

    As for Marxism-Leninism, to criticize the ideas of Marxism-Leninism was to get one subjected to punishment, even if the criticisms had validity.

    • #11
    • February 10, 2019, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Al Sparks Thatcher

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    As for Marxism-Leninism, to criticize the ideas of Marxism-Leninism was to get one subjected to punishment, even if the criticisms had validity.

    Religions, including Christianity, have been guilty of that. The punishments could be just as severe. And some sects of Christianity and Judism, I’d argue the stronger ones, still engage in severe forms of excommunication or shunning for straying.

    There is no penalty for straying in the mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, and the result is they have more people leaving. And of those that stay, they don’t follow the rules. How many Roman Catholics, those from Western countries anyway, follow their strictures on birth control? Really they openly flout them.

    It makes for a weaker Church (I say this as an outsider looking in).

    On the other hand, Mormons have a much stronger community because they enforce their rules and are freer in excommunicating members who stray (again as an outsider looking in). That includes violating their rules on chastity. They also have no problem shaming members who don’t tithe, and don’t participate in their religious community the way they expect.

    Mainline Western Christians emphasize the carrot and ignore the stick. Human societies need both to behave and if you limit the stick to the secularm or atheistic philosophies, it looks like you end up with tyranny.

    My argument has weaknesses. Islam isn’t atheistic, obviously. And even during the worst abuses of Christianity, there was a separation of Church and State, though it was a weaker separation, with the King crowned by an official of the Church.

    • #12
    • February 10, 2019, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Max Grossmann Inactive

    One can certainly disavow the enlightenment, or at least some aspects of it, but what is the alternative societal plan? While the alternatives may solve some problems, they will create others. And why should anyone be allowed to create diktats on what is more of a problem than something else, when spontaneous order is able to establish its own list of priorities? 

    I also take issue with the assertion that markets ostensibly replace prior virtues, when in fact these virtues just become voluntary. Hence, whoever wishes to uphold certain virtues in his dealings is still allowed to do so. Of course the present system does not allow this, e.g. with religious bakers, but that is not a result of capitalism but in fact the opposite: statism and government intervention. Markets have no incompatibility at all with morality.

    Hence, the shift to the enlightenment and the market economy represent more of a departure from theocracy and other -cracies than an abandonment of societal norms altogether. As far as they are mutually beneficial, norms will be upheld. And why would we uphold the others?

    • #13
    • February 10, 2019, at 2:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    Stina, I think your description of the Enlightenment is a straw man

    Is the straw man that individualism doesn’t seek to atomize the individual from those around him?

    Our founding began with the principles that the morals we accept have an effect on society. But the world we live in now rejects that philosophy and sees nothing wrong with introducing an ever more diverse cast of moral values into their immediate surroundings.

    That is atomizing the individual.

    • #14
    • February 11, 2019, at 5:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Max Grossmann (View Comment):

    One can certainly disavow the enlightenment, or at least some aspects of it, but what is the alternative societal plan? While the alternatives may solve some problems, they will create others. And why should anyone be allowed to create diktats on what is more of a problem than something else, when spontaneous order is able to establish its own list of priorities?

    I also take issue with the assertion that markets ostensibly replace prior virtues, when in fact these virtues just become voluntary. Hence, whoever wishes to uphold certain virtues in his dealings is still allowed to do so. Of course the present system does not allow this, e.g. with religious bakers, but that is not a result of capitalism but in fact the opposite: statism and government intervention. Markets have no incompatibility at all with morality.

    Hence, the shift to the enlightenment and the market economy represent more of a departure from theocracy and other -cracies than an abandonment of societal norms altogether. As far as they are mutually beneficial, norms will be upheld. And why would we uphold the others?

    More respect for value added from tradition and faith would be a good start.

    For all the laughs of the Libertarian Party’s ineffectuality, libertarianism has been heavily influential in both parties to some degree.

    The result has been disconnected people, fractured communities, and increased government from people ill suited to having no societal structure or expectation.

    See Al Sparks’ comment on the strength of communities that enforce values. You don’t have to be a part of those communities. But if you want to be a part of them, here are the rules. Those who enforce them are stronger than those that don’t. 

    Yes, there are extremes, but we are currently living in the opposite extreme.

    • #15
    • February 11, 2019, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Larry3435 Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    Stina, I think your description of the Enlightenment is a straw man

    Is the straw man that individualism doesn’t seek to atomize the individual from those around him?

    The straw men are, among other things, that the Enlightenment is not just about the scientific method. Nor does the scientific method require anyone to reject the accumulated wisdom of the past or to abandon belief in any set of moral values. And I don’t know what you mean by “atomize” the individual. Nothing in Enlightenment values calls on anyone to disassociate from family, church, friends, or civic institutions. Does “atomizing” individuals mean that they are allowed to make their own decisions, rather than blindly following (or pretending to follow) rules that are mandated by some central authority (whether that authority be church or state)? If so then yes. Enlightenment values do give individuals a lot of autonomy, including freedom of religion, speech, and thought. And if you are opposed to that, and want to use the derisive term “atomizing” to describe it, then I call on you to name even one society that has been better off for being under some form of centralized and mandatory control, rather than valuing the individual. And, by the way, have you read Hayek? 

    Our founding began with the principles that the morals we accept have an effect on society.

    I don’t think that is an accurate description of our founding at all. In fact, our founding was based very much on Enlightenment principles, and both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights embody those principles. Indeed, if you knew nothing of the Enlightenment I think I would refer you to those two documents to summarize what it was about.

    But Stina, you haven’t really told us what you want. Do you want a state mandated religion? Do you want to abolish the right of individuals to think, write, and speak about their views of morality? You are bemoaning our society because these freedoms supposedly lead to the so-called “atomization” of the individual. So tell me about your Utopian society, where differences of opinion are not allowed. Who is going to decide what everyone must believe (or pretend to believe) and how are they going to enforce it?

    • #16
    • February 11, 2019, at 6:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Max Grossmann Inactive

    Stina (View Comment):
    More respect for value added from tradition and faith would be a good start.

    Apparently, there is no such value. If there were, we would promptly revert to a more traditional, faith-based system. Some people have massive private gains from faith and tradition, and it is well within their rights to exhibit such. But why should someone who sees no value in them have to pay obeisance to what is to them arcane rituals, or be killed (because that is what government amounts to)?

    You have ostensible knowledge of a better system, but you never define it. So what is your proposal? How should society be organized?

    • #17
    • February 11, 2019, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    I don’t think that is an accurate description of our founding at all.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -John Adams
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_adams_391045

    • #18
    • February 11, 2019, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Max Grossmann (View Comment):
    You have ostensible knowledge of a better system, but you never define it. So what is your proposal? How should society be organized?

    This isn’t about reorganizing society. It is asking philosophical questions. The purpose wasn’t to come up with policy prescriptions, but to challenge how we view the enlightenment philosophies.

    Are they so good they need no limiting principles? Larry sounds like he thinks yes. I think no. I think there exists an extreme that we are currently living in. Our current philosophy says homogeneity (not talking about race) is bad because it views each person as part of a whole when each person is an individual.

    But by forcing diversity, you remove the right of people to freely associate.

    John Adam’s quote is a corollary to my point that without a common structure of mores and values among a society, we lose our freedom. We lose trust, we lose common ground, and we demand government to enforce that which my neighbor refuses to recognize.

    Consider the free press, the lies the media has propagated, the lives it has been hellbent on ruining with those lies and consider that society is a lot less sympathetic to free speech. We have no overarching morals saying “I shouldn’t do this.” It is only what is legal. And if that is the only question we care to ask before we do something, than nothing will be legal.

    So my question is: is there a limiting principle to the enlightenment? Without one, we break the bonds that form strong communities and societies. That is what we have done and logically, they follow from the principles of enlightenment in the extreme. 

     

     

    • #19
    • February 11, 2019, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Larry3435 Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    I don’t think that is an accurate description of our founding at all.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -John Adams
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_adams_391045

    Yeah, I know the quote. Nice rhetoric for a politician trying to get followers. But I ask again, what is it that you want to do? Shall we round up all the immoral and irreligious people and ship them off somewhere? Or do we toss out the Constitution – what, with it being inadequate and all? And if we do toss it out, what replaces it?

    • #20
    • February 11, 2019, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    I don’t think that is an accurate description of our founding at all.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -John Adams
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_adams_391045

    Yeah, I know the quote. Nice rhetoric for a politician trying to get followers. But I ask again, what is it that you want to do? Shall we round up all the immoral and irreligious people and ship them off somewhere? Or do we toss out the Constitution – what, with it being inadequate and all? And if we do toss it out, what replaces it?

    You can start with supporting policies that limit the degradation.

    Stop adding to it. We do not need more immigration from places that do not share the values this country was built on.

    Recognize that where we can tolerate one or two aberrations, supporting policies that make it easier for many on-the-edge to fall off that edge makes our society weaker. Question more voraciously why society should want to regulate something before removing a boundary that has existed in advanced societies for centuries. It might exist for a very sound reason.

    Figure out the difference between freedom and libertinism.

    • #21
    • February 11, 2019, at 7:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It has long been my belief that the Bible, as a blueprint for living well, is a cosmic pattern for long term survival of the human race and civilization where honoring your father and mother (so you might live long upon the earth) is the micro version.

    It’s not clear that the Bible is a blueprint for living well. The Bible includes Genesis 6 through 9 where God decides to eliminate all of his creation except for 8 human beings (including Noah) and pairs of animals.

    There’s also Luke 14:26 where Jesus says,

    Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

    This contradicts Exodus 20:12

    Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    Faith isn’t a good way of separating true claims from false claims. Science works better.

    If one looks at human rights on many of the highly religious nations in the Islamic world, which do put a high priority on faith, it’s clear that advancements in human rights requires a willingness to reject bad ideas even if these bad ideas are tradition-based.

    You might want to brush up on the concept of hyperbole. It’s actually quite useful in literature and politics, as a certain current President sometimes demonstrates.

    It can lead to misunderstanding, of course, but my impression is that such misunderstanding is usually deliberate. Except with Germans, perhaps, who I’m told have little or no understanding of the related concept of sarcasm.

    Science has nothing, whatsoever, to say on the topic of morality. You can’t derive an ought from an is. We’ve know this since Hume, well over 200 years ago, but somehow it never seems to get through to those brilliant Science guys.

    • #22
    • February 11, 2019, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Science used to be considered just one tool for finding truth, alongside philosophy and religion. 

    They tended to be pursued by the same people, as well.

    • #23
    • February 11, 2019, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. HeavyWater Inactive

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Science has nothing, whatsoever, to say on the topic of morality. You can’t derive an ought from an is. We’ve know this since Hume, well over 200 years ago, but somehow it never seems to get through to those brilliant Science guys.

    The “you can’t derive an ought from an is” argument simply leaves with competing ideas as to what we ought to do.

    Ought the Israelites put a man to death for gathering wood on the sabbath? The God of the Bible says they should.

    Ought the Israelites slaughter infants and children? The God of the Bible says they should.

    Ought women be silent in Church? The New Testament says they should.

    Should the 9-11 terrorists fly planes into the twin towers to kill thousands of people in order to glorify God? Their interpretation of Islam says they should.

    While chemistry and physics can not directly produce a moral framework, reasoning and reflection can assist in the project of deciding what is right and what is wrong.

    • #24
    • February 12, 2019, at 1:40 AM PDT
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  25. HeavyWater Inactive

    Stina (View Comment):

    Science used to be considered just one tool for finding truth, alongside philosophy and religion.

    They tended to be pursued by the same people, as well.

    Quite often in religion, a prophet receives a revelation, an assertion regarding the divine is made and, if enough people accept the prophet’s assertion, people are punished severely for challenging the ideas of the prophet.

    Even if the ideas of the prophet or holy book are bad ideas, people are told not to question or disagree.

    In science people are allowed to conduct experiments and conduct tests in an effort to separate mere assertion from fact. In philosophy people are allowed to develop different ideas.

    • #25
    • February 12, 2019, at 1:56 AM PDT
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  26. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Science used to be considered just one tool for finding truth, alongside philosophy and religion.

    They tended to be pursued by the same people, as well.

    Quite often in religion, a prophet receives a revelation, an assertion regarding the divine is made and, if enough people accept the prophet’s assertion, people are punished severely for challenging the ideas of the prophet.

    Even if the ideas of the prophet or holy book are bad ideas, people are told not to question or disagree.

    In science people are allowed to conduct experiments and conduct tests in an effort to separate mere assertion from fact. In philosophy people are allowed to develop different ideas.

    There are truths about different things that people ponder.

    Science is only used to answer the question “how does the world work?” It does not answer “what is the meaning of life”, “why do we exist?”, and concerns over death. Those are only answered through philosophy and religion.

    Your constant smearing of the religious is incredibly tiresome.

    • #26
    • February 12, 2019, at 4:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Larry3435 Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    I don’t think that is an accurate description of our founding at all.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -John Adams
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_adams_391045

    Yeah, I know the quote. Nice rhetoric for a politician trying to get followers. But I ask again, what is it that you want to do? Shall we round up all the immoral and irreligious people and ship them off somewhere? Or do we toss out the Constitution – what, with it being inadequate and all? And if we do toss it out, what replaces it?

    You can start with supporting policies that limit the degradation.

    Tell me the policy, and I’ll tell you whether I support it. All of your answers tend to be very vague. You mentioned immigration specifically, but I don’t understand how that relates to your point about Enlightenment values. Personally, I favor limited and merit-based immigration, and I don’t see any conflict between that position and Enlightenment values.

    Figure out the difference between freedom and libertinism.

    Is that directed at me, specifically? Do you have some reason to believe that I’m a libertine? I assure you, I’m not. But I am pretty sure I know the difference between freedom and libertinism. Freedom allows people to make choices about their lives. Libertinism is one of the choices a person might make – and a very poor choice at that. Do you have a way to force people to make only good choices? If so, I repeat my same two questions: Who will decide what choices are “good,” and how would you enforce it?

    Stina, although you haven’t come right out and said so, it seems to me that the specific Enlightenment value to which you object is freedom of religion. Would our society be improved if everyone vowed fealty to your religion, whatever that is? Let’s pretend that this could be done without force or wars (it couldn’t, but let’s just pretend). Even then, would it be worth throwing out the rest Enlightenment values? Democracy rather than monarchy and tyranny? Far, far more material well-being than ever existed in the history of the world? Longer and healthier lives? A much deeper understanding of the physical universe? Far fewer women and babies dead in childbirth? Do you not value these blessings of the Enlightenment?

    Even if you had the magical power to cause everyone in the country to follow your faith, and only your faith (without needing to kill all the dissenters), would it really be worth the cost if you also had to give up all these benefits to get there?

    • #27
    • February 12, 2019, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    Stina, although you haven’t come right out and said so, it seems to me that the specific Enlightenment value to which you object is freedom of religion

    I didn’t want the discussion to revolve around policies, which is why I am vague about it.

    It isn’t freedom of religion or my religion that is at issue.

    To me, the biggest enlightenment value I find a problem is individualism from a policy level. The individual was about the law – you are only held responsible for your own actions. But we have moved it into policy. Examples: SSM- it doesn’t affect you, so why oppose it? But it does affect society as a whole. Well, what evidence have you? How does this one person affect society as a whole? One person doesn’t (see the OP), but many people making that same choice do.

    Another example: adopting economic policies that assume nomadism to find work. That works for exceptional people, but if everyone were exceptional, no one would be. Assuming that everyone is detached enough to move at the slightest economic wind change is based in a false idea of the average person, who doesn’t view himself detached. This is what I consider atomization – breaking the person down to a fundamental economic unit.

    None of these are about you. I don’t know most of your personal politics (just that we tend to agree on some things).

    The parts about religion go with tradition – that there exist truths that we can not readily observe in immediate time, but that the wisdom passed down to us from many generations of trial and error should be able to inform us that some things are not good and others are.

    A very obvious example (from my religion as happenstance) is the tower of babel, where a group of people with common knowledge achieve something great, but when they are diversified, they can not communicate or work together, so they break apart.

    • #28
    • February 12, 2019, at 6:33 AM PDT
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  29. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Also, it isn’t just my religion that I see as a repository for wisdom, it is just the one i am most familiar with.

    The Chinese cut to the chase and worshipped their ancestors (their source of wisdom).

    The Hindus note you can’t do much to change who you are in this life, but you can live your best where you are, and maybe the next life will see you better off. Hats off to that bit of wisdom. And they worship those they believe have achieved that perfect life, seeking to emulate them.

    I worship Christ and seek to emulate him. Believing him to be God, I seek his wisdom. The old testament is anecdotal stories from one nation, the choices they made, and the consequences of those stories. They don’t always make good choices, often leading to disaster. Sometimes, we wonder if it was really a bad idea…

    Like God ordering the Israelites to kill everyone in the taking of a land.

    Anyone here know what the biggest complaint about the wars from the last 2 decades was? How long and drawn out they were? How we probably lost more people in the drawn out war than we would have by quickly squashing it?

    And it should also be a warning that if you find effective war that distasteful, maybe you should rethink your reasons for fighting it.

    • #29
    • February 12, 2019, at 6:47 AM PDT
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  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Science has nothing, whatsoever, to say on the topic of morality. You can’t derive an ought from an is. We’ve know this since Hume, well over 200 years ago, but somehow it never seems to get through to those brilliant Science guys.

    The “you can’t derive an ought from an is” argument simply leaves with competing ideas as to what we ought to do.

    Ought the Israelites put a man to death for gathering wood on the sabbath? The God of the Bible says they should.

    Ought the Israelites slaughter infants and children? The God of the Bible says they should.

    Ought women be silent in Church? The New Testament says they should.

    Should the 9-11 terrorists fly planes into the twin towers to kill thousands of people in order to glorify God? Their interpretation of Islam says they should.

    While chemistry and physics can not directly produce a moral framework, reasoning and reflection can assist in the project of deciding what is right and what is wrong.

    Your first sentence is correct; your last sentence is wrong, and contradicts your first. The secular rationalist/atheistic materialist position leads to Post-Modernism. It leads inevitably to the conclusion that there is no morality, only preferences.

    There’s a technical, psychological term for a person who doesn’t believe in right and wrong. Psychopath.

    Thus, reliance on pure reason leads to a psychopathic ideology.

    Most people who purport to rely on pure reason don’t appear to be psychopaths, and it seems to me that the reason for this is that something inside them is unwilling to follow their arguments to the terrible, logical conclusion. Or, as I think Nietzche stated, they behave decently not out of virtue, but out of fear.

    We are left with competing revelations, or nothing.

    Your examples from the Bible are misunderstandings, taken out of context and without an appreciation of the circumstances. I do not think that it would be productive to try to explain.

    • #30
    • February 12, 2019, at 7:53 AM PDT
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