Is 'Progress' Good for Humanity?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Musika, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. pluto2 Registered Senior Member

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    896
    Yes more technology and more innovation is always good.

    Progress in technology is our only hope of making this world a better place.

    Without technology we'll still be primitive stone age people hunting with spears.
     
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  3. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    On the contrary, without a sense of higher purpose or culture, advancement of technology is simply a tool for pursuing animalistic propensities and a catalyst for destroying the world. A dog does its business on four legs, and we do our business on four wheels .... but at least the dog doesn't terror-form the planet with industry and pollution just to facilitate it's convenience for life on four legs.
     
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. But where does religion give a higher sense of higher purpose and resonsibility if your answer to global warming is; "God will provide"?
    That's a false sense of pupose or responsibility, no? Unfortunately, man's intellect has outpaced his wisdom and prayer is not going to change anything.

    Who's fault is that?
     
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  7. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    In short, there is a symbiotic relationship between knowing God, knowing this world, knowing ourselves and knowing the relationship between these things. To say, "God provides", doesn't necessarily establish a clear ideal behaviour if one doesn't know themselves and one doesn't know the relationship between this world, God and the living entity. For instance a shoplifter could similarly extol the addage "Walmart provides", but that doesn't render their relationship with the provider ideal or even ethical.

    If humanity is experiencing a dearth of wisdom, it would seem that purposely disconnecting from an entity purported to be vastly superior would only further the poverty.
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Probably not the stone age. But some approximation of the totalitarian vision if 1984 is very possible and perhaps even likely. I'm not convinced that we will like the future very much, if we could know it today.

    What I most disagree with about the 'narrative of progress' isn't so much its association with technology, but just its assumption that history is a one dimensional line. There's the future and the past. The future is good, ultimately culminating in some Kingdom of (no)God. The past is evil, consisting of little more than darkness, suffering and injustice.

    Since there is only one direction in which history can move, the only choice that we have today is whether we become "progressives" moving as quickly as possible towards the coming utopia, or try to resist the inevitable and cling to evil as "reactionaries".

    I think that vision of the future holding both continual moral improvement and eventual salvation lies at the basis of much (most?) of contemporary politics. It's certainly implicit in much of atheist ideology, with its warfare between science (the good force of the future) and religion (the dark evil force of the past). It's an old idea, derived ironically not so much from science as from religious eschatology.

    My own view is that the future consists of an almost infinite number of possibilities. So time isn't so much a line as it is a tree. The future explodes into a thicket of branches, each branch multiplying similarly at each instant. Each branch represents a way that things can turn out starting at 'now'. And each branch has a thickness, corresponding to its probability. So history is more likely to unfold some ways than others.

    That leaves people in a situation that's far more complicated than merely choosing whether to move left (forward towards good) or right (backwards towards evil). We have to choose, or at least participate in choosing, which possible future we want and then figure out how to get there.

    Some futures might be wonderful, others hellish. Our problem today is that we can't see how the future alternatives turn out and we can't really tell which are which. We don't know which actions today will result in desirable changes tomorrow and which will produce something else.

    It even becomes more complex if we believe, as I do, that there is no such thing as absolute and universal good and evil, applicable to all people at all times. We do have social instincts that are presumably the same for all human beings, and that keeps most human ethics on the same page so to speak, such that the ethics of different cultures resembles each other.

    But the way that social instincts play out in detail and in practice is contingent and 'socially constructed'. Ethics differ dramatically culture to culture. (Just look at Deuteronomy, ancient Rome or Islamic Shariah.) Members of each culture are behaving in ways that its people consider good and right, even if it all seems profoundly wrong to our eyes.

    Which suggests that whatever future emerges from the unpredictable chaos of history is likely to possess an ethics very unlike our own, an ethics built upon a similar foundation of social instinct, but socially constructed by them and not by us. We are likely to perceive civilizations of the future as evil by our lights, just as we look the same to them.

    So while they might believe that history has progressed inexorably towards greater goodness (them) out of comparative darkness (us), we might not agree if we could see it. Moral values and the cultures that produce them will always look good to members of those cultures (since it's those cultures that are defining 'good' and 'evil' in their time and place). They will always perceive themselves as the good ones and judge everyone else in terms of themselves.

    Just as we are doing today with our contemporary mythology of inexorable 'progress'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Not if the "entity" were a major cause of the "dearth".
    Some people think that introducing knowledge and reason would help in these considerations - provide a means of improving our behavior in various situations, choosing to act differently and benefitting from an actually better choice.
     
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  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I would argue that disconnecting from a false entity that purports to be eternal and promises to "take care of things" is vastly preferable than clinging to your gun and bible and preparing to make Holy war against .....?
    Science?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  11. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    A good definition of a false entity would be attributing humans as having the capacity to "take care of things". As for the rest, playing science and religion as diametric opposites appears to be a ditch you don't have the capacity to climb out of.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, we are not made "in God's image" and "behold they have become like Us", was never said?
    And that proves God can "take care of things" or does it prove that God, like man cannot take care of things.
    The difference between science and religion isn't a ditch, it's an ocean.

    Philosophically, I agree with religious values about a ditch worth. Too many dead bodies from religious wars floating around in the rest. That just is not proof of a "supernatural' creator of any kind.

    Sure, HUMANS, the only creature EVER to incurr the wrath of a motivated supernatural being in the entire history of the universe? Give me a break....

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    To me that is more an argument of being "up the creek without a paddle".....

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    Science is my paddle.
    God is a crutch.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  13. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    4,552
    Move on and keep going is what I say.
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    It's inevitable. We are riding a dragon into the future and all we can do is cling tight and enjoy the ride.
     
  15. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    You move on once and then forever.
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Fundies inevitably, at some point in a discussion on a science forum, post illiterate hash - something that makes no sense when carefully read.
    The alternative would be acknowledging a progression in the discussion, which usually (on a science forum) would create difficulties for them.
     
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    35,743
    It might behoove you to stop using the word "God" as you did in #44↑; the confusion ought to be obvious right now—you've transgressed the boundaries of what another requires God to be.

    Thing is, I can't even say the gap you've left, that I could sail an armada through, is the proper reading of your point, but, honestly, you could pave it for them and they still won't go there because the God you describe is not theirs.

    You could try offering pie, I guess.

    No. That won't work.

    I don't know, I saw this phenomenon the other day. It's really weird what happens if you put the wrong god in front of these "atheists".

    Then again, it might be the greatest religion, ever, where adherents just get angry and yell, "Goddamnit, we're talking about my God!"

    Spaghetti.

    Not pie. Offer them spaghetti.
     
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  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    The God, Flying Spaghetti Monster has some interesting properties. It is at least equal to the Mormon God.

    The FSM crowd would be thrilled with spaghetti offerings. As long as it is not burnt.

    Could we a have a God pageant?
    The most talented God wins the prize and gets crowned God of the universe. Would be an awesome contest. Lots of miracles and wonders.

    p.s. You should see what happens when you put the wrong God before theists......

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    Actually we have seen it, throughout history. It ain't pretty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    First of all that sentence makes no sense at all. It is simply not true, but wishful thinking (and hubris).
    Second, how could your statement be true when people "knowing" God have been fighting each other over which God is the true God.
    Does not seem so symbiotic to me. Theists have been killing each other over God for a long time.
    Where is the survival advantage??
    Do religious people (theists) act differently from atheists? I haven't noticed any difference except on Sundays, when theists go to church to compare clothing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  20. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    2,491
    Alas, talking of God in the plural form ( as to have "my God", as distinct from "your God") seems to be the exclusive folly of fanatics, regardless whether they identify as atheist or theist.
     
  21. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    2,491
    Yet here you are, fully engaged in noticing many things .... or perhaps you just glossed over the apparent and obvious in your haste to regurgitate tired one-liners from your favourite atheist stand-up comedians ... here, pull my finger.
     
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Of course, the one thing that sets and keeps people apart is your religions. I refuse to participate in your silly word games, that's why I use the appropriate topical artists to expose the whole mystical mess. Spooky, spoooookeeee....

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    Keep wallowing in your self-inflicted fantasies of persecution. I don't need to pull your finger. I just need to wind you up like a little doll and you'll march to the tune of the "righteous", bible and gun in hand.
     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    As evidenced by the different scriptures that tell me if I don't believe in your exclusive god fairy tale, I'll go to hell?
    Read your religious books and history of holy wars before you accuse others of not reading.

    You see, I have tested your proposition and asked people if they believed their God was the same God in all other religions.
    And instead of hearing that it is the same god, explained differently, the answer always is that "my God is the true God and all other Gods are false. The good book tells me that".

    And it does; "Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods (plural) before Me."

    Contrary to your false claim, I do not say that at all.
    I say all scriptural gods (plural) are false, by definition.
    The religious folk are the ones being selective about it...

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    ....duh.

    Next time you lie, I'll pull your nose. Just to show you how much of a Pinocchio you have become.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019 at 3:43 PM

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