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Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 8:24amSanction this postReply
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Those who do the attacking of achievers do so because they sense the cowardiness within themselves of not being achievers themselves, and not wish to admit to it....

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Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 1:31pmSanction this postReply
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Excellent article Michael. I especially love this:

Only the post modern scientific nihilist would assert that values are unimportant, that human emotions are deterministic and materialistic, that the great achievers of the world were slaves to cravings, that knowledge has no intrinsic value, and that rational intelligent beings donít seek it because they live on earth and desire to survive and prosper on it, but only to get high.


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Post 2

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
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I understand this article differently than you do, because the neuro background and understanding I have is near automatic. It's because I know what is happening at the neurotransmitter level; and at this level, things work on a microscopic, ~millisecond-second context.

When either the media or a person equates this "opiate fix" article to "lack of volition" or "we're a bunch of atoms" or "we get high", they are not taking into account:

1) There are many, many, many other molecules involved in the brain besides "opiate pathways", all of which
2) Occurs at specific contexts (size, time, organizational, probability) and is *not equivocal* to the larger context of whole brain; and
3) Levels of complexity must be taken into account, and neurotransmitters are at the level(s) *below* neuron, and
4) It is very hard in science to refrain from working reductionistically especially if one is interested in neurotransmitters (a molecular level); however that does not automatically mean these neuroscientists are a) materialists, b) reductionists, and/or c) deterministic.

As I've said before, because neurotransmitters and other molecules do have strong *influence* in our thinking and feeling lives (if not, then LSD, Ecstasy, caffeine, heroine, etc. would be completely irrelevant to our lives), does not mean that everything is *determined* and that all neuroscientists are actually think we're getting "opiate fixes" all the time.

Because research may find that knowledge or learning involves opiate receptors-- which we *do* have (but why?)-- does not necessarily follow that it means we have no free will. And on the other hand, each one of us *is* using neurotransmitters to type words to this forum; to deny that, one might as well deny that they're alive. A life without neurotransmitters is like life without DNA (in fact, it is DNA that allows for NTs)-- our nerves do have to activate each other somehow.

There are 9 NTs I know of, each has different #s of receptors, on top of that you've got hormones, peptides, etc., on top of that you've got sensory processes that changes levels of chemicals depending on environmental events (which depends on individual responses), while at the same time there is the individual's executive (volitional) function; on top of that, automated responses like hunger, balance, heartbeat, breathing that also have an effect; there are many, many feedback systems, subsystems, etc. Neurotransmitters are also multi-aspectual: they all deal in emotion, movement, memory, emotion, cognition, etc.

The root of understanding this lies in understanding complex levels of organization. Try to think in layers of complexity, not just linearity. Try to think of functions that have a multitude (i.e., 20, 50, 1000) of variables instead of 2; then integrate them.

Today I read something that might help bring depth into this problem-that-really-isn't-a-problem:

As levels of complexity mount along the hierarchy of atom, molecule, gene, cell, tissue, organism, and population, new properties arise as results of interactions and interconnections emerging at each new level. A higher level cannot be fully explained by taking it apart into component elements and rendering their properties in the absense of these interactions. --Stephen Jay Gould


This eureka article is not offensive to me: first, because it's funneled through media and I don't take it literally as the "word of science" (I read science journals straight from the scientist's pen for that-- and even those are edited); second, because of my education; third, because I just naturally think in layers and systems.

My only concern is that media can inaccurately describe science by making complex things too simple, linear, and "sound bite-ish" when the approach just hampers science rather than helps it. (Like Feynman once said, "If I could tell it to you in 5 minutes, it wouldn't be worth the Nobel Prize"). There is usually more background, and more complex variables involved. I saw this article's topic-- and many other topics of different receptors, molecules, and systems-- as one aspect of a very great and marvelous whole. It does not seem strange to have brain functions that reward pro-survival choices. But it doesn't mean we have *no* choice in the first place.

For a good external realist philosophical interpretation of neurobiology and mind, I recommend John Searle. & Antonio Damasio does research on the relationship between emotion and reason.

My $.02.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 8:12pmSanction this postReply
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I don't think the label "post modern scientific nihilist" applies to all scientists. As that would be an unfair generalization. But I do know it applies to the most prominent evolutionary biologist of our times, Richard Dawkins.


RICHARD DAWKINS
Evolutionary Biologist, Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science, Oxford University; Author, The Ancestor's Tale

Let's all stop beating Basil's car

Ask people why they support the death penalty or prolonged incarceration for serious crimes, and the reasons they give will usually involve retribution. There may be passing mention of deterrence or rehabilitation, but the surrounding rhetoric gives the game away. People want to kill a criminal as payback for the horrible things he did. Or they want to give "satisfaction' to the victims of the crime or their relatives. An especially warped and disgusting application of the flawed concept of retribution is Christian crucifixion as "atonement' for "sin'.

Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software.

Basil Fawlty, British television's hotelier from hell created by the immortal John Cleese, was at the end of his tether when his car broke down and wouldn't start. He gave it fair warning, counted to three, gave it one more chance, and then acted. "Right! I warned you. You've had this coming to you!" He got out of the car, seized a tree branch and set about thrashing the car within an inch of its life. Of course we laugh at his irrationality. Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem. Is the carburettor flooded? Are the sparking plugs or distributor points damp? Has it simply run out of gas? Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist? Why don't we laugh at a judge who punishes a criminal, just as heartily as we laugh at Basil Fawlty? Or at King Xerxes who, in 480 BC, sentenced the rough sea to 300 lashes for wrecking his bridge of ships? Isn't the murderer or the rapist just a machine with a defective component? Or a defective upbringing? Defective education? Defective genes?

Concepts like blame and responsibility are bandied about freely where human wrongdoers are concerned. When a child robs an old lady, should we blame the child himself or his parents? Or his school? Negligent social workers? In a court of law, feeble-mindedness is an accepted defence, as is insanity. Diminished responsibility is argued by the defence lawyer, who may also try to absolve his client of blame by pointing to his unhappy childhood, abuse by his father, or even unpropitious genes (not, so far as I am aware, unpropitious planetary conjunctions, though it wouldn't surprise me).

But doesn't a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused's physiology, heredity and environment. Don't judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car?

Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing? Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live. My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it, just as we laugh at Basil Fawlty when he beats his car. But I fear it is unlikely that I shall ever reach that level of enlightenment.


http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins

I greatly admire Dawkins, at least I did before I read this from him. I've read the Selfish Gene, Blind Watchmaker, and several other books of his which were excellent books.

But the above words from Dawkin's is about as nihilistic as a scientist can get. And it's a disturbing and unfortunate trend in the field of science.

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Post 4

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 8:41pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks everyone for your comments.

Jenna said:
As I've said before, because neurotransmitters and other molecules do have strong *influence* in our thinking and feeling lives (if not, then LSD, Ecstasy, caffeine, heroine, etc. would be completely irrelevant to our lives), does not mean that everything is *determined* and that all neuroscientists are actually think we're getting "opiate fixes" all the time.

Because research may find that knowledge or learning involves opiate receptors-- which we *do* have (but why?)-- does not necessarily follow that it means we have no free will. And on the other hand, each one of us *is* using neurotransmitters to type words to this forum; to deny that, one might as well deny that they're alive. A life without neurotransmitters is like life without DNA (in fact, it is DNA that allows for NTs)-
Jenna, apparently I have a gift for saying things in a manner that is conducive to you interpreting in a way that is different from what I meant.  I think you misunderstand what I am saying here, or I am not being clear.  I am not saying that we have no free will because of the findings of these researches, and I am not saying that we have no free will because neurotransmitters have an effect on us.  I am saying that the way they are interpreting and presenting that data is an abdication of free will (something not possible of course, but that doesnt mean that they are not trying)  because they are saying that the neurotransmitters are the source of the emotion and activity, instead of the opposite.  As I said in this essay the mind must interact with the physical body in a material way, that way of course being drugs and hormones.  But the way this  article is presented essentialy elimates the mind from being the source of the drug and hormone release and thus the effect on the body and just asserts that the drug and hormone release are the cause of the effect on the body, with no thought being paid to the cause of the drug or hormone release.

4) It is very hard in science to refrain from working reductionistically especially if one is interested in neurotransmitters (a molecular level); however that does not automatically mean these neuroscientists are a) materialists, b) reductionists, and/or c) deterministic
Of course they are not all deterministic, but the way they are presenting and interpreting this data clearly is.   

I certainly do not interpret that data or the related articles in that way, I am not a reductionist or a determinist. I get the feeling you think I was concerned that this empirical study proved we have no free will, which couldnt be further from the truth.  I consider it essentially axiomatic that we have free will and none of these findings change that.  I feel I am as well aware of the complexities of the mind as any person not formally schooled in it could possibly be, and am certainly not worried about feeling I have no free will.  But what I am concerned about is that mainstream science is presenting an intrepretation of reality that completely disconnects emotions from their true causes. 

This eureka article is not offensive to me: first, because it's funneled through media and I don't take it literally as the "word of science"...My only concern is that media can inaccurately describe science by making complex things too simple
I do not take it as the word of science either, that is not the point.  The message being conveyed to the non scientific world, however, is the point, and is clearly flawed.  Any mainstream publication that approaches love and other emotions from a scientific perspective ends up this same way, at least every single one I have come across so far.  You might not go there for your science, but the vase majority of people do.  What these interpretations and articles say to people is that our emotions are the causes of our behavior.  When an emotion is the cause of action or behavior, irrespective of values, it seems to me to just teach people to whim worship every little fancy that crosses their minds.  It teaches them to be hedonistic, valueless, and goal less. 

It does not seem strange to have brain functions that reward pro-survival choices. But it doesn't mean we have *no* choice in the first place
Of course, which I am sure is why it feels good to eat when we are hungry and drink when we are thirsty and rest when we are tired.  But is the brain really rewarding for pro survival problem solving?  Is the brain capable of recognizing that?  Is a chess grand master any less apt to feel the same joy and elation and discovering a great new move (which really has no bearing on his survival) than an hunter gatherer has in figuring how to make a bow and arrow?  These things only become valuable to a person because they have chosen to value them.  Pro or anti survival problem solving behavior, in most cases, is probably a little to complicated for a instinctual or sub consciouss pattern recognition system to work out, so instead you are rewarded for resolving things that are important to you, something much easier for a brain to work out.  Does a suicidal religious zealot feel any less joy and elation at the final act of his own destruction than a great scientist or inventor does when he makes his greatest discovery?  I would bet their MRI's light up in the same way, yet one is destroying himself, the other is creating the means for a successfull productive life.

It bothers me that popular publications in the guise of science are essentially telling people that they are not in control of their emotions.  Time, National Geographic, Newsweek, etc all print this stuff.  If this is not how the mainstream scientist feels yet this is what is being promulgated on the public then they are partly at fault. 

Regards,

Michael F Dickey


Post 5

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 6:04amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Michael Dickey, for the link to the USC press release.  I printed it out for my files. This morning, I am preparing a talk that I will deliver next Tuesday titled "Question Authority." Like many Objectivists, I am initially wary of any allegedly "scientific" claim about the mind.  I believe that good science rests on good philosophy and see too little of the latter to expect the former.  That said, I still found several facets of the original thesis compelling.
"While you're trying to understand a difficult theorem, it's not fun," said Biederman, professor of neuroscience in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
"But once you get it, you just feel fabulous."

What about that predicate state, the state of mind of "not having fun while working on a hard problem."  To me, that seems like arming the trigger.  That is why, as you note, running down the street yelling "Eureka!" will not cause chemical releases in the minds of other people -- or at least not the ones under discussion.  You said that it is because they do not "care" about the problem.  True enough, but what does "care" mean, except that it is a chemical state in the brain?  In other words, they have not created the context required.

You say that if this theory of Biederman were correct, then we would all be autodidacts.  No, we would not.  Only those who make the effort would. Runners experience a "high."  We are not all runners.  Anyone can (or, more properly, "could") be.  Only a few make the effort to reap the reward.

That is why Ayn Rand placed such importance on the choice to think.  As I have noted in another forum topic, I am re-reading Atlas now.  Last night, I started Galt's Speech.  "... no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others."  That describes much of the world around us, created by too few individual minds and replicated by countless other beings.  In fact, on a tangent, "monkey see" experiments reveal that "Children Learn by Monkey See, Monkey Do. Chimps Don't." (Google monkey see chimps for NY Times and other articles.)  Apparently, lower primates refuse to perform useless, counterproductive steps to get rewards, wherease human children are easily drawn into irrational repetition.  That explains a lot of the world around us. 

Similarly ...
 telling people that they are not in control of their emotions. 
They are not.  They could be.  They choose not to be, or more correctly, when faced with a choice, they blanked out.  Thus we have this:
Israeli warships shelled the Beirut airport today, hitting the runway and a parking lot, the Lebanese army reported. Earlier, Israeli aircraft bombed a runway shortly after it was repaired and reopened following airstrikes Thursday. The Israeli army said Hezbollah fired 20 rockets into three towns in northern Israel today, wounding at least six people.  http://www.cnn.com/  UPDATED: 8:16 a.m. EDT, July 14, 2006
Are those the actions of rational people in control of their emotions?  To me, it is clear that, as Dawkins said, retribution, the desire to visit pain on others in response to pain caused to ourselves, is deeper than we know.


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Friday, July 14, 2006 - 8:40amSanction this postReply
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After describing Israel's retaliation, Michael asked:
Are those the actions of rational people in control of their emotions?  To me, it is clear that, as Dawkins said, retribution, the desire to visit pain on others in response to pain caused to ourselves, is deeper than we know.

So, anyone who seeks retribution is an irrational person who is not in control of his/her emotions?  BTW, isn't the phrase "rational people in control if their emotions" redundant?

Thanks,
Glenn


Post 7

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 9:51amSanction this postReply
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Being rational is not necessarily synonymous with being in control of ones emotion.  I think if it were the implication is that a rational mind could have no real esthetic sensibility.  In order to appreciate a work of art, one must give his or her emotions freedom to react.  How about humor? Imagine having to calmly deliberate on the merit of every pun or joke before deciding whether to laugh. 


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Friday, July 14, 2006 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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Michael, I would like you to elaborate on your statement "I believe that good science rests on good philosophy...".  Can you indulge me? I know this is getting a bit off subject but I'm not very linier>

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Post 9

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 10:29amSanction this postReply
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Re: Michael's post #5, above:

"Retribution" is the act of exacting justice against a wrongdoer, i.e., a response commensurate with the harm done to the victim -- a response that visits back upon the victimizer harm proportionate to what he has caused.

There are both moral and practical reasons for retribution, as I indicate in my various articles refuting anarchism. Moral, because it upholds the vital principle of causality in human relationships: that we should treat people according to the good or evil they have caused. Practical, because reflecting proportionate harm back onto a victimizer defeats his aim, which is: to gain something at someone else's expense.

In contrast to retribution, "prevention" -- the anarchists' preferred method of dealing with the threat of crime -- requires that the potential victim bear upon himself all the costs of crime (see Michael's post #19 on the thread, "An Argument for Market Anarchism"): buying alarm systems, electric fences, patrols, and generally turning his home into a high-tech fortress, and defending his person with the purchase of weapons, karate classes, body armor, armored cars, bodyguards, etc. We are not to focus on punishing criminals after the fact; we are not to reflect proportionate harm back onto evildoers; we are simply to try to make it harder for them to hurt us. And if they manage to hurt us anyway? We are simply to endure it, let them get away with it, then spend more on improving our "defenses."

There is a reason why anarchists have come to reject retribution. It's because they have discovered that to be objective, proportionate, and thus just, forcible retaliation against criminals requires a government: a final arbiter of law and the use of force. So rather than accept government (horrors!), they are logically compelled to reject retribution.

In rejecting retribution, Michael -- like most contemporary anarchists -- is actually rejecting any just, proportionate response to evil -- because that is exactly what "retribution" means. Calling retribution "irrational" -- or equating it with "vengeance" (which is personal, emotion-driven, and often DISproportionate retaliation) -- amounts to calling justice itself irrational. It amounts to writing justice out of the list of Objectivist virtues...and Ragnar and Judge Narragansett out of Atlas Shrugged.

Note that the moral priority for anarchists is not really the protection of the individual right to life, but rather, the obliteration of government. Note that in any case in which the protection of individual rights requires a government, they are happy to sacrifice those rights in order to get rid of government. And note that in any case in which someone (or some nation, like Israel) seeks self-defense through retribution and retaliation, anarchists inevitably denounce him as an "aggressor."

Exaggeration? Go to anarchist scum-sites such as LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com, and observe who they constantly attack as "aggressors," and who they sympathize with as "victims." The moral inversion you will see is utterly consistent with the preceding argument.
(Edited by Robert Bidinotto
on 7/14, 10:36am)

(Edited by Robert Bidinotto
on 7/14, 10:39am)


Post 10

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 11:01amSanction this postReply
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My appraisal of media coverage of science is that it is way too simplistic of a complex matter-- and not a scientist's actual viewpoint.

The news interpretation is not on the scientists' shoulders; the misrepresentation of neuroscience is usually on media and pop cultural viewpoints of it. I think we agree on that. But I was trying-- and obviously failing to do, so I'll try again-- is that media interpretation is not necessarily scientific interpretation-- even if the media is pro-science.

It's the "stupidified" sound-byte thing that I dislike, which media so loves. General media/news coverage pretends we're all a bunch of sensationalistic, reactionary/instinctual apes with the attention span of a housefly. We're not, and this is coming from someone who used to make ads for a living.

Which is why I wrote my second to last paragraph as a general summation/conclusion of the material covered in my previous paragraphs. So if there is anything more worthwhile to focus on out of my longer than usual post, focus on the second to last paragraph.

Michael, I think most of the time we agree but since we think differently, it gets in the way. You go in through the front door, but I tend to circle around to sneak in from the back windows, yet we're still talking about the same house.


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Friday, July 14, 2006 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply
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Well said Robert.

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Post 12

Monday, July 17, 2006 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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John quoted the following passage from Richard Dawkins --
Ask people why they support the death penalty or prolonged incarceration for serious crimes, and the reasons they give will usually involve retribution. There may be passing mention of deterrence or rehabilitation, but the surrounding rhetoric gives the game away. People want to kill a criminal as payback for the horrible things he did. Or they want to give "satisfaction' to the victims of the crime or their relatives. An especially warped and disgusting application of the flawed concept of retribution is Christian crucifixion as "atonement' for "sin'.

Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software.
-- and dismissed it out of hand.

I too disagree with Dawkins rejection of "punishment" as an appropriate response to crime, but not with his rejection of retribution, which is an inappropriate basis for punishment. There is no rational justification for the concept of "atonement." Deterrence is the only legitimate rationale for punishment. Dawkins likens punishment to the absurd spectacle of a driver beating his car, because it won't start. While I certainly don't endorse the punitive beating of convicted criminals, I don't think this analogy is remotely applicable. The purpose of punishment is to motivate criminals and would-be criminals to refrain from committing crimes lest they suffer the consequences. Inanimate objects, like cars, don't operate on the basis of motivation; they are not goal directed entities concerned with consequences. Dawkins, of all people, should know this. As a zoologist, he should be well aware that, unlike automobiles, animals including human beings, respond to incentives.

He continues:
Concepts like blame and responsibility are bandied about freely where human wrongdoers are concerned. When a child robs an old lady, should we blame the child himself or his parents? Or his school? Negligent social workers? In a court of law, feeble-mindedness is an accepted defence, as is insanity. Diminished responsibility is argued by the defence lawyer, who may also try to absolve his client of blame by pointing to his unhappy childhood, abuse by his father, or even unpropitious genes (not, so far as I am aware, unpropitious planetary conjunctions, though it wouldn't surprise me).

But doesn't a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused's physiology, heredity and environment.
But if, as Dawkins concedes, blame and responsibility can be assigned to antecedent conditions, then there is absolutely no reason that it cannot also be assigned to the acting agent himself. If the antecedent conditions, despite being determined by still earlier conditions, are themselves blameworthy causal agents, then why isn't the acting agent himself, despite being determined by his environment and heredity, also a blameworthy causal agent? Why cannot he too be held responsible for his actions? Dawkins should know that, despite being determined by their heredity and environment, animals themselves respond to punishment and rewards, so why is it such a stretch for him to think that human beings do also? In fact, if we were to adopt his deterministic paradigm, we could say that punishment is itself one of the antecedent conditions determining a criminal's future behavior!

He continues,
Don't judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car?
No, because we need to know whether or not a person comprehends the meaning of his action; otherwise, punishing him for it will be pointless and ineffectual. In order to deserve punishment for a crime, a person must know what he is doing when he commits it. Suppose, for example, that he is drugged and manipulated into committing a crime that he is not aware of. He is not responsible for such a crime, because he didn't knowingly choose it -- because it isn't a reflection of his moral character. But if he does knowingly choose it (even if his propensity to criminal behavior is due to his bad upbringing and his environment) then it does reflect on his moral character -- on his moral values and choices -- and he is responsible for it. In that case, punishing him can serve as a deterrent to his committing future crimes, as well as a deterrent to others who have similar criminal inclinations. Nevertheless, Dawkins persists,
Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions [that human beings are not responsible for their actions]? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing? Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution.
Nonsense. Dawkins is a superb evolutionary biologist, but he needs to recognize that philosophical concepts like blame and responsibility, are not a product of evolutionary hardwiring.
Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live.
Question: Is Dawkins responsible for this allegedly "truer analysis of what is going on in the world?" And if not, how can he claim to know that it's a truer analysis? Conversely, if he is responsible for it, then are we not responsible for having constructed one that is less true? Can we not be blamed for our "false" idea, just as he is credited for his "truer" one? It would seem that Dawkins is committed to the concepts of responsibility and blame even to assert that they are illegitimate concepts.

Dawkins' comments indicate how even scientists as brilliantly insightful as he is can be tragically mistaken when they attempt to apply their science to an area in which it is inapplicable. F.A. Hayek had a similar objection to what he termed "scientism," which is the attempt to apply a certain scientific approach to a discipline (like economics) that does not accommodate it.

- Bill


Post 13

Monday, July 17, 2006 - 1:14pmSanction this postReply
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Bill well said.

Post 14

Thursday, July 20, 2006 - 1:43amSanction this postReply
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Bill,

=================
Deterrence is the only legitimate rationale for punishment.

=================

On the contrary, retribution (the righting of wrongs) is the only legitimate rationale for punishment.


=================
The purpose of punishment is to motivate criminals and would-be criminals to refrain from committing crimes lest they suffer the consequences.
=================

The objective purpose of punishment is to right wrongs (ie. to exact justice).


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In that case, punishing him can serve as a deterrent to his committing future crimes, as well as a deterrent to others who have similar criminal inclinations.
=================

Deterrence is a side-issue. Righting wrongs is what is primary to justice in this world.

Any Dawkins' talk of child molesters being a product of evolution is irrelevant. Child molesters are wrong, even if their genes had help lead them to it.

Ed
[there is no dispensation to objective reality]


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