Friday, May 06, 2011

Why Not?


Predator Drone Court-Martialed For Afghani Civilian Deaths

According to atheists, who believe that people are merely meat machines with no free will, why not put predator drones on trial as well?

53 comments:

NC said...

Ha Ha.
I don't think other drones would be deterred:)

jewish philosopher said...

And humans are? Perhaps since we have free will?

NC said...

Animals are deterred by punishment as well. Its called behavioralism. It doesn't depend on "free will" in the classic sense. Capacity to choose, yes.

jewish philosopher said...

So perhaps not predator drones, however you would advocate legal rights, due process and a trial by a jury of his peers for cats and dogs who misbehave? Would we then establish animal prisons, varying from minimum to maximum security?

NC said...

No, don't make ad absurdum arguments. But anybody who has had a dog, particularly a large alpha male dog, must use authority, reward and punishment to propoerly manage behavior. In the wild pack animals do it themselves.

For several years we owned a black lab/great dane mix. He was very sweet, but also very dominant and territorial, in fact dangerously so. We had several unpleasant incidents with visitors, so unfortunately in the end we gave him away. But while we had him, we used choke and shock collars ("punishments" if you will) and other behavioral methods for managing his behavior.

And yes, sometimes we put dogs like that to sleep because they are too dangerous. (Even the Torah advocates that idea with a goring ox). Or we keep them caged in. That's not "punishment". its protecting people.

So in human societies punishment is just a form of negative reinforcer or to protect people.

jewish philosopher said...

OK, so regarding animals, we use training to control behavior and we destroy animals which are untrainable. There is no guilt or innocence, no civil rights or due process.

According to atheists, humans (aka "naked apes" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Ape_(book))should logically be treated in the same way.

NC said...

So basically you are acknowledging that the idea of punishing human criminals does not require a belief in a soul or free will. Your problem is just with the complexity of the criminal justice system, do I understand you correctly?

Well, why is everything in human culture so complex? We have all kinds of customs, protocols, politeness, cultural peculiarities, etc. Why is that? Anthropologists can probably answer that better than I, but I guess it has to do with our big cerebral cortex, and history.

Just think about weddings. In biblical times there were probably no such things as catering halls, engagement rings or guest lists. You just took your new wife home and had sex with her. How did it get so complicated? And look how different the customs are in every culture.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm asking: why do atheists make any fundamental distinction between a misbehaving predator drone, dog or person? Shouldn't they all be dealt with essentially the same way?

jewish philosopher said...

Of course, even the most vehement atheist admits that this would be absurd, although he can't explain why.

NC said...

I just explained why:

drone-inanimate object that isn't deterrable and has no consciousness or choice

animal-- partial system of "justice" to maintain social order, has some choice.

people-- higher intelligence and culture-- more developed justice.

Its not so hard to understand (unless you have a preconceived conclusion)

jewish philosopher said...

All three are machines, nothing more or less

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanism_(philosophy)#Anthropic_mechanism

So fix them or destroy them.

Abe said...

A definition of drone:

To proceed in a dull, monotonous manner.

NC,

The definition above is an apt description of Stein's twisted proffer.
NC, why are you arguing with an idiot?

jewish philosopher said...

The idiots are people who believe that we are soulless meat machines, no different essentially from a predator drone.

NC said...

"NC, why are you arguing with an idiot?"

He hones my rhetorical skills and only convinces me further of the fallacy of religions.

jewish philosopher said...

I thought it was just the automatic reaction of your brain chemicals to my brain chemicals.

NC said...

"I thought it was just the automatic reaction of your brain chemicals to my brain chemicals."


Could be. You're improving my brain synapses. Kind of like a chavrusa.

jewish philosopher said...

According to atheism, were are all actually zombies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie

We believe and do and say whatever we do because that's just what our brain chemicals, created by random forces of nature, make us do.

ksil said...

"According to atheism, were are all actually zombies"

"believe that we are soulless meat machines"

you should rename your blog to include either the words "red herring" or "straw man".

jewish philosopher said...

Zombie is a term used to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie

According to atheism, we are all really zombies, but we are delusional so we don't know it.

ksil said...

"describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness"

sounds like rabbinic orthodox judaism!!

LOL

jewish philosopher said...

We take responsibility for our actions; we don't claim to be soulless zombies.

ksil said...

"claim to be soulless zombies"

jewishphilosopherstrawman.blogspot.com

jewish philosopher said...

"The American philosopher Dan Dennett (1991) has possibly the clearest view on this one. He claims that we are all zombies."

http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Articles/psych01.htm

You are just ignorant of your own religion, atheism.

NC said...

"God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. "

Richard Feynman
As quoted in Superstrings : A Theory of Everything (1988) Edited by Paul C. W. Davies and Julian R. Brown

NC said...

I think the relevance of that quote to this discussion is that you focus your "proofs" of God and Judaism, on phenomena that we have yet to understand and thus claiming that they are supernatural. Yet 500 years ago we could have done the same thing: "prove" god and souls through natural phenomena which now we understand and don't need to explain supernaturally anymore. Things like infectious diseases and other illnesses, various chemical reactions, etc.

Although clearly we won't understand everything, the trend is towards more understanding, not less.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually just the opposite is true. Regarding the origin of the universe, until about fifty years ago scientists thought they knew - it always existed.

http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au/Ockham/x52t11.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady_State_theory

Now we know that's not true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

Regarding the origin of life, a century ago, it was believed that a warm little pond could do the trick.

http://www.eoht.info/page/Warm+pond+model

Today, that doesn't seem to hold much water.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/22origins.html

"Things like infectious diseases and other illnesses"

Which are still basically unpredictable, so to say God has no hand in it is faith, not science. I have twins. One has cerebral palsy, one doesn't. Know one knows why. I was performing CPR recently on an overweight 40 year male in cardiac arrest. Why did he die of heart disease and not other overweight 40 year old males? No doctor can tell you. And disease was never used as a proof of God either, to the best of my knowledge, so this comment is merely a straw man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

NC said...

" I have twins. One has cerebral palsy, one doesn't. Know one knows why. "

For the same reason that when you flip a coin, sometimes its heads and sometimes its tails. Do I have to find a divine reason for that?

I don't mean to sound cold or cruel, but that is the stark truth.

"so this comment is merely a straw man."

Mental illness or certain diseases were considered to be demons. The talmud and medieval literature are full of this. And prayers were supposed to remove them. Plagues were seen as divine punishment. So many phenomena were seen as supernatural, just as you see consciousness as stemming from a supernatural soul. That is my point.

"Actually just the opposite is true. "

That is a misrepresentation. Changing an opinion or view, due to new information, increases our knowledge, not lessen it.

Creationists always like to point to scientific change as "proof' that the knowledge is transient and therefore baseless. This represent ignorance about the scientific method.

jewish philosopher said...

"Do I have to find a divine reason for that?"

Do I have to find an atheistic reason for it?

"Mental illness or certain diseases were considered to be demons."

We know that Charles Darwin was an enthusiastic believer in hydrotherapy, a quack medical treatment of his time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Manby_Gully#The_Water_Cure_treatment

Besides believing in scientific racism.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/06/evolution-pseudoscience-of-genocide.html

Of course, that by itself doesn't prove evolution to be false.

"And prayers were supposed to remove them."

That's like saying "Writing to my Congressman is supposed to reduce taxes. I wrote but it didn't reduce." Of course, it's a little more complicated. How many people wrote for lower taxes? Who were they? What would the consequences politically of lower taxes be?

In fact, one Talmudic opinion even states "From the day on which the Temple was destroyed the gates of prayer have been closed" Berakoth 32b

http://www.come-and-hear.com/berakoth/berakoth_32.html#PARTb

"Changing an opinion or view, due to new information, increases our knowledge, not lessen it."

And it increasingly disproves atheism and supports Judaism.

NC said...

""Do I have to find a divine reason for that?"

Do I have to find an atheistic reason for it?"

What does "atheistic reason" mean? I am just talking about chance. It is you that claims that there is a divine reason for everything, I just want to know how that works when we have probabilistic explanations for things, simple or complex.

The truth of Fenyman's statement stands.

So please answer: Is there a role for god in coin tossing? Is it just "laws of nature"?

jewish philosopher said...

The laws of nature are simply the more common manifestations of God's will; they have no life of their own.

natschuster said...

Scientists ask how we go from the stochastic world of quantum physics to our deterministic world. Maybe this is the point where G-d assumes an active role.

Ksil said...

"Maybe this is the point where G-d assumes an active role."

Yep, that sounds like a scientific method!!!

Hahahahahahaha

natschuster said...

Ksil:

When people mention the Scientific Method, I get a little confused because every textbook I've taught from has a different explanation of description of the Scientific Method. It makes me wondewr if there even is such a thing.

And I think that saying maybe
G-d intevenes somewhere makes just as much sense, and has as much basis as multiverse, a perfectly vialid scientific theory.

JRKmommy said...

Getting back for a moment to the "animal justice" comments...the comparison isn't 100% absurd.

One of the ongoing debates in religion and social science is about morality, and to what extent humans have a unique capability for moral reasoning.

One of the unacknowledged downsides of the argument that X group "couldn't help themselves and can't be expected to act rationally under their conditions" is that it effectively strips group X of their humanity. I'd rather acknowledge that people have chosen to do evil, because then we acknowledge that they are indeed capable of making a choice, and the possibility exists that they have the theoretical ability to choose to do good as well.

Ksil said...

"maybe zeus, santa claus, thor intevenes somewhere makes just as much sense......."

Further, to go from that, to he decided to talk to a few wandering nomads in the desert and give them a book is just a leap to large to make.

Its made up!!!!

jewish philosopher said...

I think it's just as likely as the truth being revealed to some third class Victorian paleontologist.

natschuster said...

Ksil:

If the perfectly scientifc theory of multiverse is true, then there must exist a universe where the Exodus and the Revelation took place. Why can't it ber our universe? This is all perfectly scientific. Look it up.

NC said...

Are you blocking me?

ksil said...

"I think it's just as likely"

you think its just as likely? okkkaaaayyyy....not very rational, but okay.

still, keep that irrationality to yourself, no reason to harass others

although i feel bad for your kids, they are not being given a choice, as you had

Avi Bitterman said...

"According to atheists, who believe that people are merely meat machines with no free will, why not put predator drones on trial as well?"

You would definitely put it on trial indeed. The drone should be inspected thoroughly and if the verdict is that it can not function as we intend, then it is in our best interest to dismantle it, or at the very least keep it secured where it can not cause further harm. The same thing applies to humans criminal meat machines who have no free will. We don't want them harming us, so we do what we need to to prevent that from happening. Oh and by the way, our choosing to do that to criminals is not an act of free will either :)

jewish philosopher said...

"so we do what we need to to prevent that from happening"

Why were Nazi war criminals hanged? In did 1946, we hardly needed to worry about them creating another Holocaust? And why are regular street criminals released? We know that many will commit additional crimes?

Rather we punish people for making an evil choice, which according to atheism is nonsense.

NC said...

"Why were Nazi war criminals hanged? "

Revenge. Its a human emotion. Animals do it too. Plus, a deterrence to others.

"And why are regular street criminals released? "

We shouldn't! But the jails are overcrowded and underfunded. Plus, at least here in Israel, the benches are dominated by liberals who give light sentences even to rapists or murderers, thinking that they can be "fixed".

"And I think that saying maybe
G-d intevenes somewhere makes just as much sense, and has as much basis as multiverse, a perfectly vialid scientific theory."

Nathan, your comments really reflect a novice understanding of the method and philosophy of science. Multiverse and string theory are just working hypotheses at this point, and are far from being considered truth, and have absolutely no practical implications. But in any case you are mixing apples and oranges by using the ideas of science to describe god and the supernatural, which by definition are not addressed by science. Science is the study of the natural world.

However, any claims made by religion about the natural world ARE subject to scientific scrutiny. If I could prove a naturalistic or deterministic basis for consciousness, it would still not disprove JP's soul/free will theory. It would just make them extraneous and silly. You would still be free to choose whether you believe them or not.

I can demonstrate that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, but you can still believe in evil spirits or demons if you want. Now we know that's nonsense, but can I prove that demons and evil spirits DON'T exist?

Most of JP's arguments against skepticism and atheism consists of challenges to prove that something DOESN'T exist or DIDN'T happen. Prove a negative. It like trying to disprove a conspiracy theory. Prove that god doesn't exist, that there is no hell, no free will, that there was no revelation at Sinai, etc. Since all of these things are untestable it is a stacked argument, but the burden of proof is really on he who claims that something does exist or did happen.

Anonymous said...

"Rather we punish people for making an evil choice, which according to atheism is nonsense."

No, we punish people for committing acts that have harmed other individuals and violated the stated principles of our country. We punish the act and its consequences, not the choice.

Besides, you yourself have claimed that the Nazis were performing god's will by killing us. You think it was a good and merciful thing that god did, sending us a sign of our terrible sin. Why do you criticize the atheist for not calling evil the same acts that you say are good?

jewish philosopher said...

"Revenge. Its a human emotion. Animals do it too."

Animals also commonly practice cannabalism.

http://discovermagazine.com/photos/31-cannibalism-the-animal-kingdoms-dirty-little-secret

Would you recommend that I barbeque my neighbors this year for
Memorial Day Weekend? (I read this joke recently "Someone asked me,
'Do you like children?' I said 'Of course, they taste just like
chicken.'")

"Plus, a deterrence to others."

The Nuremburg Trials don't seem to have ended genocide, unfortunately.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history#1951_to_2000

"Most of JP's arguments against skepticism and atheism consists of
challenges to prove that something DOESN'T exist or DIDN'T happen."

No. My challenges are more like: common sense tells me to assume that
things are what they appear to be until very strong evidence proves
otherwise. "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks
like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test

Atheists insist that we imagine that we have free will, however we
really don't. We imagine that living things are designed however
really they aren't. The Jews claim to have received the Torah at
Sinai, but really didn't etc etc.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2011/02/lame-duck-why-atheism-fails.html

natschuster said...

NC:

Multiverse, by definition deals with supernatural stuff. Scientists have no problem with that. Quantuim physics has some rellay weird stuff, too. All perfectly scientific.

jewish philosopher said...

"We punish the act and its consequences, not the choice."

So punish predator drones too.

"Besides, you yourself have claimed that the Nazis were performing god's will by killing us."

No. God commanded them not to do it. Had they listened to God, then the Holocaust could have happened by other means, for example a plague. 

Anonymous said...

"So punish predator drones, too"

Sure. If one doesn't do it's job then dismantle it.

"God commanded them not to do it."

Really? God talked to the Nazis? All of them or just one? How come they didn't listen?

NC said...

Nathan--

Weird is not supernatural.

JP-

Yes, so deterrence is imperfect. Nothing new there. I think that most of the IRS code was written with deterrence in mind. Nothing to do with souls.
And even the Torah speaks of punishment as a form of vengeance from God.

"Animals also commonly practice cannibalism."

So? My point was to demonstrate that "justice" and "vengeance" is not unique to humans.

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks
like a duck, then it probably is a duck"

And every religion is the world that ever existed satisfied that criterion for its believers. I'm sure that Greek Gods seemed like common sense to people of that place and time.

jewish philosopher said...

"Sure. If one doesn't do it's job then dismantle it."

So if a psychologist declares that you aren't doing your job, we should dump you in a woodchipper.

"Really? God talked to the Nazis?"

Did the governor of New York State talk to you personally and tell you not to kill people? When He gave the Torah He gave seven commandments to all mankind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Laws_of_Noah

"My point was to demonstrate that "justice" and "vengeance" is not unique to humans."

My point is that simply because animals do something doesn't mean it should be encouraged.

"I'm sure that Greek Gods seemed like common sense to people of that place and time."

And they were wrong. Just like Holocaust deniers are wrong, evolutionists are wrong and drug addicts who think drugs us happy are wrong.

http://drugsmakemehappy.com/

NC said...

All my latest pearls of wisdom were lost :(

jewish philosopher said...

Blogger has been have problems lately, right?

Nc said...

Yea, lots of things have been erased.

natschuster said...

NC:

When I said weird, I meant that it violates the laws of nature that we are familiar with.