Getting to Ought From Is

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Imwashingmypirate
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Re: Getting to Ought From Is

Post by Imwashingmypirate »

Doctor Steuss wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:26 pm
Christians make up about 63% of the US Population, yet make up about 68% of prison populations in the US.

Conversely, atheists make up about 3.1% of the US population, yet make up about 0.1% of prison populations in the US.

Curious that the people who purportedly have no basis with which to have morals seem to be better at having morals.
A lot of people convert to Christianity in prison. So is that data before conversion or after?
Imwashingmypirate
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Posts: 332
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Re: Getting to Ought From Is

Post by Imwashingmypirate »

Billy Shears wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:09 pm
A few months ago, you-know-who made a blog post about how you need religion in order to have a basis in morality. I’m sure the readers here have heard his argument several times and I won’t bother trying to paraphrase it. I responded with some references on ethics, including Sam Harris’s book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. You-know-who dismissed that book out of hand saying that it has been proven that you can’t get from “is” to “ought” and that therefore Sam Harris is a simpleton.

I’m not a fan of Sam Harris in the same way I’m a fan of, say, Sean Carroll or Steven Pinker, but I do agree with the basic premise of Moral Landscape and would like to point out the glaring fallacy of the you-can’t-get-to-ought-from-is argument, which is this:

In a strict philosophical sense, science can’t get you to what is either.

Science is based on the philosophy of methodological empiricism--we try to look at reality carefully and make inferences about the nature of reality based on those observations. This process has lead mainstream science to believe in the existence of some natural laws and models that can be used to understand, explain, and predict things. In a strict philosophical sense, any paper on science has an implicit set of unproven assumptions behind it (e.g. we assume reality exists, we assume the universe wasn’t created an instant ago, we assume there isn’t a trixter God meddling with experiments, etc.), and all scientific results are technically provisional and are based on all of those assumptions. But if better data or better explanations become available, scientific theories will be adjusted or discarded.

It seems that philosophers who get hung up on the you-can’t-get-to-ought-from-is argument don’t understand the fundamental nature of science--science doesn’t tell us what “is”, either.

On the outset, Harris clearly explains that his ethical framework is based on the assumption that ethical considerations should be based on the wellbeing of conscious beings, and he makes some strong arguments about why this assumption is a good one. Ultimately, all philosophy, including the philosophy of science, is based on a set of assumptions. Assuming that we should make ethical decisions based on promoting the well-being of conscious beings is a good assumption that fits nicely with the other assumptions science implicitly makes.
I don't really see how ethics has anything to do with science and existence. Unless it is being suggested that how we perceive existence and what is fact as the motivation for having ethics. I'd even go as far to say, religion can't really give someone a sense of ethics if they aren't capable of processing that.

I think ethics is partly what your parents teach you as being right and wrong and partly the ability to have an element of empathy and understanding of consequence.

Yes, I take my kids to church (various) to give them a little moral teaching but really I know that even asshats go to church and the teachings don't penetrate them. I know that my kids will have good morals because they have a good understanding of empathy. My son has a stronger sense of it than my daughter.
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Doctor Steuss
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Re: Getting to Ought From Is

Post by Doctor Steuss »

Imwashingmypirate wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 7:18 am
Doctor Steuss wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:26 pm
Christians make up about 63% of the US Population, yet make up about 68% of prison populations in the US.

Conversely, atheists make up about 3.1% of the US population, yet make up about 0.1% of prison populations in the US.

Curious that the people who purportedly have no basis with which to have morals seem to be better at having morals.
A lot of people convert to Christianity in prison. So is that data before conversion or after?
Well, in America about 44% of people released from prison re-offend within the first year, so if it's post conversion, that doesn't exactly bode well for the religious moral compass.
Imwashingmypirate
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Posts: 332
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:46 pm

Re: Getting to Ought From Is

Post by Imwashingmypirate »

Doctor Steuss wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 7:09 pm
Imwashingmypirate wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 7:18 am
A lot of people convert to Christianity in prison. So is that data before conversion or after?
Well, in America about 44% of people released from prison re-offend within the first year, so if it's post conversion, that doesn't exactly bode well for the religious moral compass.
Good point.

How many re-offend to get back to prison because they are institutionalised? I was once eating breakfast in a weather spoons (if you know you know) and there was a guy having a conversation with another guy. It was clear that one guy invited a homeless guy to breakfast. The homeless guy was clearly struggling with alcoholism. And he was talking about getting recalled because he wasn't coping and he was thinking to just go rob a store. The other guy was like no go to a town a couple of hours away, rob a bike and come back and do deliveries. Pretty sure if he had the money to go to another town then he could buy a second hand bike. The guy was offering him to pay for a room and can cover £300 for the night and the guy was like, no I appreciate breakfast. And I was thinking, if he's willing to buy him a room just buy him a bike instead of telling him to go rob a bike. But anyway my point is that this guy was desperate to go back to prison because it was better than being on the streets.
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