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Is Secular Extremism the greatest threat to the World? Watch

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    (Original post by heineken)
    These were not 'secular' societies.
    But Stalin, Mao, etc. were secularists and proud to be known as atheist Marxist-Leninists and Hitler was also a secularist. It is obvious to anyone who analyses the basis for morality that if you make the laws and you equate morality with your laws then you are "freed" to do anything. This is why secular extremists are as bad as, or worse than, religious extremists.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    But Stalin, Mao, etc. were secularists and proud to be known as atheist Marxist-Leninists and Hitler was also a secularist. It is obvious to anyone who analyses the basis for morality that if you make the laws and you equate morality with your laws then you are "freed" to do anything. This is why secular extremists are as bad as, or worse than, religious extremists.
    Again, those you mentioned were not secular.
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    (Original post by heineken)
    Again, those you mentioned were not secular.
    Stalin and Mao both repressed religion and were true Marxists in this sense. Stalin was a professed atheist. Hitler was a rationalist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religi...f_Adolf_Hitler ). How does this make them non-secular?

    However, notice above that I am not condemning secularism or religion. The condemnation is of extremism. Hearing the word of God as absolute truth or believing that the law equates to the only possible "morality" are extremist. Those who do not doubt are not fit to lead and are dangerous.
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    (Original post by Black Magic)
    The potential danger of AI is not yet fully known but the logic of humans being the ultimate root cause of every problem makes sense. This is not the current greatest threat to the world though as the technology hasn't yet fully developed and the destruction that it could cause at the moment is limited.
    But people are getting ahead of the game by behaving like organic AIs. They believe that all is governed by simple reason and analyse the world purely pro grammatically.
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    A similar thing in my mind is how the most logical, internally consistent political ideology is libertarianism, but you would need to be a total sociopath to seriously want it put into place.

    Back to the topic at hand, I certainly wouldn't call this secular extremism, it's more something working on a totally different set of principles to a human. Religion, ideas in religion are a product of humans and human thought (get real lol). The core issue is that humans have empathy and see value in human life whereas machines may not do.
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    (Original post by SonOfTheGun)
    A similar thing in my mind is how the most logical, internally consistent political ideology is libertarianism, but you would need to be a total sociopath to seriously want it put into place.

    Back to the topic at hand, I certainly wouldn't call this secular extremism, it's more something working on a totally different set of principles to a human. Religion, ideas in religion are a product of humans and human thought (get real lol). The core issue is that humans have empathy and see value in human life whereas machines may not do.
    Nicely put: "The core issue is that humans have empathy and see value in human life whereas machines may not do."

    However, there is another issue that is evident in the way that many people consider that AIs will be equivalent to human beings, believing that consciousness and feelings are algorithmic. They believe themselves to be
    simply organic AIs. This viewpoint is secular extremism. The discussion above about morality is just one aspect of how this viewpoint affects politics.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    Stalin and Mao both repressed religion and were true Marxists in this sense. Stalin was a professed atheist. Hitler was a rationalist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religi...f_Adolf_Hitler ). How does this make them non-secular?

    However, notice above that I am not condemning secularism or religion. The condemnation is of extremism. Hearing the word of God as absolute truth or believing that the law equates to the only possible "morality" are extremist. Those who do not doubt are not fit to lead and are dangerous.
    Actually from around 1940 the USSR and Stalin collaborated with the Orthodox Church and though officially against religion as state policy there were lots of tacit mutual agreements between the two.

    Also- I think it's a stretch to say that Hitler was a rationalist secularist. Whilst I see where you're coming from ie eugenics and such most of his theories on race and the Aryan superman were unscientific nonsense and were treated religiously by hitler and his disciples.

    Whilst I'd consider myself a Marxisti think Marx was wrong to suggest his theory as scientific, when I think there needs to be a degree of falsifiability to any scientific theory. That said, I don't think his overall theory has been disproven as there has yet to be an advanced post capitalist communist state.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    Actually from around 1940 the USSR and Stalin collaborated with the Orthodox Church and though officially against religion as state policy there were lots of tacit mutual agreements between the two.

    Also- I think it's a stretch to say that Hitler was a rationalist secularist. Whilst I see where you're coming from ie eugenics and such most of his theories on race and the Aryan superman were unscientific nonsense and were treated religiously by hitler and his disciples.

    Whilst I'd consider myself a Marxisti think Marx was wrong to suggest his theory as scientific, when I think there needs to be a degree of falsifiability to any scientific theory. That said, I don't think his overall theory has been disproven as there has yet to be an advanced post capitalist communist state.
    I would argue that a state that derives its morality from reason will always give rise to someone who transcends reason. Someone who says "So what" when confronted with a set of laws - a state "morality" - that are made by his/her own gang. Marxism will inevitably end in a Stalin or Mao, a Nietzscherite superman. History demonstrates the truth of this analysis.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    I would argue that a state that derives its morality from reason will always give rise to someone who transcends reason. Someone who says "So what" when confronted with a set of laws - a state "morality" - that are made by his/her own gang. Marxism will inevitably end in a Stalin or Mao, a Nietzscherite superman. History demonstrates the truth of this analysis.
    I don't believe in morality but j do believe that there can be a rational right and wrong.

    For instance if somebody stabbed you, you might think that this person would be evil or immoral, but this is not a satisfactory reason for reprimation as what we determine to be good or evil depends on where we are standing say that time- child sacrifice in Aztec society was a social good for instance.

    The person that stabbed you would be wrong without having to draw forth from a notion of morality.

    As in:

    There is no rational reason as to why he has stabbed you (if say you had been attacking him it may have been justifiable)

    He has caused visible harm to you

    He has also probably caused psychological trauma to both of you.

    He has caused a host of criminal damages eg police and court costs

    He has disturbed public order

    As such his behaviour is wrong and is harmful to himself and wider society.

    Simply labelling such behaviour as evil is unsatisfactory as very few people willingly regard themselves and their actions as evil. What matters is empirical evidence.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    Nicely put: "The core issue is that humans have empathy and see value in human life whereas machines may not do."

    However, there is another issue that is evident in the way that many people consider that AIs will be equivalent to human beings, believing that consciousness and feelings are algorithmic. They believe themselves to be
    simply organic AIs. This viewpoint is secular extremism. The discussion above about morality is just one aspect of how this viewpoint affects politics.
    That's an interesting idea, if people don't believe in a metaphysical soul then by corollary were are all organic AIs.


    The sensible way of reconciling this is to value everything based on its ability to feel, if a machine were created which could feel pain and sadness it would make sense to give that machine the same rights as a human.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    I don't believe in morality but j do believe that there can be a rational right and wrong.

    For instance if somebody stabbed you, you might think that this person would be evil or immoral, but this is not a satisfactory reason for reprimation as what we determine to be good or evil depends on where we are standing say that time- child sacrifice in Aztec society was a social good for instance.

    The person that stabbed you would be wrong without having to draw forth from a notion of morality.

    As in:

    There is no rational reason as to why he has stabbed you (if say you had been attacking him it may have been justifiable)

    He has caused visible harm to you

    He has also probably caused psychological trauma to both of you.

    He has caused a host of criminal damages eg police and court costs

    He has disturbed public order

    As such his behaviour is wrong and is harmful to himself and wider society.

    Simply labelling such behaviour as evil is unsatisfactory as very few people willingly regard themselves and their actions as evil. What matters is empirical evidence.
    These are all reasons why the action has created a victims and offended against the law. However, suppose I am not afraid and don't give a fig for your laws or your feelings. Suppose I have the courage to be a Superman and rise above your puny attempts to cage me. I can intimidate the police and any jury (as any major gangster will confirm). Why should I, a budding Stalin, care about moral action, what is intrinsic to the universe that should make me be moral?
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    (Original post by SonOfTheGun)
    That's an interesting idea, if people don't believe in a metaphysical soul then by corollary were are all organic AIs.

    The sensible way of reconciling this is to value everything based on its ability to feel, if a machine were created which could feel pain and sadness it would make sense to give that machine the same rights as a human.
    Although it is straying away from politics into philosophy, try to explain this view of the screen in front of you. Begin by looking in a mirror. Notice that you cannot see your eyes move. Your eyes perform saccades and experience is updated at the end of each saccade. Your visual experience is a virtual reality in your brain. If it were not it would be crazily juddering around with every eye movement!

    Now return to the screen. There are simultaneous events such as the white background which shows you are multi-channel and the channels are united somehow. Just look at the geometry of this experience, if you close one eye you see the world as if projected and at a point. This is a peculiar geometry indeed given that only one thing can be at a point and that it is obvious that nothing flows within your experience into the point. Experience has some strange geometry and is not composed of flows at all (although the data was collected by flows into the senses). It is a virtual reality in the brain that has the geometry of events laid out around a point but with nothing flowing from the events to the point.

    Notice that immediate experience is about geometry, about form more than function and this geometry is not an algorithm although it may have been generated by neural algorithms ready to become experience.

    We are not like computers, our immediate experience is something entirely different - some strange trick of modern physics that is as yet unfathomed.

    So I agree, if a machine is simply algorithmic it cannot contain feelings like you or I and is just a potentially dangerous device if it is an AI. More disturbing is that there are people who really believe they are organic AIs!
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    These are all reasons why the action has created a victims and offended against the law. However, suppose I am not afraid and don't give a fig for your laws or your feelings. Suppose I have the courage to be a Superman and rise above your puny attempts to cage me. I can intimidate the police and any jury (as any major gangster will confirm). Why should I, a budding Stalin, care about moral action, what is intrinsic to the universe that should make me be moral?
    I fail to see why this would not be the case under moral laws as opposed to essentially positivist ones.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    I fail to see why this would not be the case under moral laws as opposed to essentially positivist ones.
    You are saying that a person who could act amorally might act amorally under any moral system or law. Good point. I certainly didn't account for that in the posts above..

    I was focussing on the logical point that a person could use reason to work out that reason does not give laws any deeper significance than signs that say "danger, risk of falling" or "beware of the dog". If we use algorithms to control and understand the world then, if we are strong, we will end up amoral.

    Your riposte seems to be: Why are you singling out the AI world when you could be strong and end up amoral whatever the truth about the universe.

    My reply is to single out the universe that has a moral code that is part of you, of your mind. memories and dreams. In this universe you could not simply shrug off your morals. If you could then you would not be you.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)

    I was focussing on the logical point that a person could use reason to work out that reason does not give laws any deeper significance than signs that say "danger, risk of falling" or "beware of the dog". If we use algorithms to control and understand the world then, if we are strong, we will end up amoral.

    Your riposte seems to be: Why are you singling out the AI world when you could be strong and end up amoral whatever the truth about the universe.

    My reply is to single out the universe that has a moral code that is part of you, of your mind. memories and dreams. In this universe you could not simply shrug off your morals. If you could then you would not be you.
    Are you saying that we are born with morals-IE the 'noble savage' idea?

    Or are you saying that we develop a morality as we experience the world?


    Apologies if I'm being dim and missing your point ...
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    Are you saying that we are born with morals-IE the 'noble savage' idea?

    Or are you saying that we develop a morality as we experience the world?

    Apologies if I'm being dim and missing your point ...
    Largely the latter. That true morality rests in our own moral code, not in laws, and that breaking our own code breaks a bit of ourselves. I say "largely" because some people also derive their moral code from religious sentiment etc. as well as personal experience.

    If breaking our personal code breaks us then it is a far more serious matter than simply deciding we dont like a law. In fact, although we can ignore our own code that act of rebellion against ourselves creates a different person.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    Largely the latter. That true morality rests in our own moral code, not in laws, and that breaking our own code breaks a bit of ourselves. I say "largely" because some people also derive their moral code from religious sentiment etc. as well as personal experience.
    But this code is shaped by our experiences and therefore is determined mostly by our environment therefore not freely chosen so that an individual perspective as well as what we may call 'free will' is completely illusory.


    The way I see life is like a book- the first few chapters and the ending (you dying) are predetermined as is to some extent the cast and locations. There are generally things you can do that will try and make your story better for you- IE live healthily, stand up for yourself etc) and as well as this there are basic core needs which we need in order to function (Maslows hierarchy of needs) these are do universal and based on a rationalistic view of the world with no need for spiritual interpretation.


    If breaking our personal code breaks us then it is a far more serious matter than simply deciding we dont like a law. In fact, although we can ignore our own code that act of rebellion against ourselves creates a different person.
    I'm not sure what you're getting at here- my gran was massively against gay marriage and now she is actually in favour after being present at a gay wedding- is she a different person? I don't think so.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    But this code is shaped by our experiences and therefore is determined mostly by our environment therefore not freely chosen so that an individual perspective as well as what we may call 'free will' is completely illusory.

    The way I see life is like a book- the first few chapters and the ending (you dying) are predetermined as is to some extent the cast and locations. There are generally things you can do that will try and make your story better for you- IE live healthily, stand up for yourself etc) and as well as this there are basic core needs which we need in order to function (Maslows hierarchy of needs) these are do universal and based on a rationalistic view of the world with no need for spiritual interpretation.
    This is a good description of the secular world view.: determinism with no "meta narratives". Lyotard is the philosopher who sums this up most succinctly and the modern secular view is probably best described as "Postmodernism".

    I'm not sure what you're getting at here- my gran was massively against gay marriage and now she is actually in favour after being present at a gay wedding- is she a different person? I don't think so.
    It seems to me that if a person had a moral code that was based on what they believed to be the truth (a meta-narrative in Lyotard's terminology) then a large change in moral outlook would be a change in the person. However, few British people, except extremists, believe that their ideas about morality are grounded in a truth.

    If your Gran was like most of her neighbours she probably felt some visceral distaste for gays which was corrected once she had more contact with the idea and the people. The change in her moral code was minor because it was not fixed in the first place. However, she did change as a person - you are now proud of her for being different.

    This thread started with the problem of not having any foundation for a moral code, of not having a true moral code rather than a code that is relative. If morality has no foundation in a meta-narrative, such as a God, and if mechanistic reasoning is used then "morality" becomes equated with the law. If this is the definition of morality then morality can change freely with the whims of the powerful.

    We should be concerned about this change in society. If postmodernism is taken as a foundation for society we are in deep s**t. The fundamental axioms of postmodernism are that there are no truths and we all have our own narratives. In other words it is absurd because it holds itself to be false because there are no truths. However, postmodernism is indeed mechanically rational and leads to the sort of morality that is implemented by biological AIs.
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    (Original post by newpersonage)
    This is a good description of the secular world view.: determinism with no "meta narratives". Lyotard is the philosopher who sums this up most succinctly and the modern secular view is probably best described as "Postmodernism".

    It seems to me that if a person had a moral code that was based on what they believed to be the truth (a meta-narrative in Lyotard's terminology) then a large change in moral outlook would be a change in the person. However, few British people, except extremists, believe that their ideas about morality are grounded in a truth.

    If your Gran was like most of her neighbours she probably felt some visceral distaste for gays which was corrected once she had more contact with the idea and the people. The change in her moral code was minor because it was not fixed in the first place. However, she did change as a person - you are now proud of her for being different.

    This thread started with the problem of not having any foundation for a moral code, of not having a true moral code rather than a code that is relative. If morality has no foundation in a meta-narrative, such as a God, and if mechanistic reasoning is used then "morality" becomes equated with the law. If this is the definition of morality then morality can change freely with the whims of the powerful.

    We should be concerned about this change in society. If postmodernism is taken as a foundation for society we are in deep s**t. The fundamental axioms of postmodernism are that there are no truths and we all have our own narratives. In other words it is absurd because it holds itself to be false because there are no truths. However, postmodernism is indeed mechanically rational and leads to the sort of morality that is implemented by biological AIs.
    I am not familiar with lyotard- but from a wiki scan of his page and what you have said of his thought it is not compatible with mine as he rejects universal thought whereas it is central to my position.

    Whilst I do see society and individuals as largely determined and do not believe in 'meta narratives' I do hold that there are universal truths and that empirically we can uncover these. E.g smoking damages the lungs, harming people causes massive psychological damage to you and victims as well scut her negative consequences.

    Morality has always changed with the powerful or popular opinion. Universal science and the laws of cause and effect has no bias.

    These observations can be explained and are rationally consistent whereas something like 'sin' is wrought with complications and contradictions which lead to the degradation of the good itself.

    I think the belief in superstition, dogma and ignorance are far greater concerns.

    Inb4 Stalinism you can empirically prove that his regime was bad using evidence and Is thus universally wrong. Morality is relative to the person so Stalinisms evil is relative to the whims if your chatacter
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    ...
    Whilst I do see society and individuals as largely determined and do not believe in 'meta narratives' I do hold that there are universal truths and that empirically we can uncover these. E.g smoking damages the lungs, harming people causes massive psychological damage to you and victims as well scut her negative consequences.

    Morality has always changed with the powerful or popular opinion. Universal science and the laws of cause and effect has no bias.

    These observations can be explained and are rationally consistent whereas something like 'sin' is wrought with complications and contradictions which lead to the degradation of the good itself.

    I think the belief in superstition, dogma and ignorance are far greater concerns.

    Inb4 Stalinism you can empirically prove that his regime was bad using evidence and Is thus universally wrong. Morality is relative to the person so Stalinisms evil is relative to the whims if your chatacter

    A universal system of truths is a meta-narrative. However, I agree totally when you say: "Universal science ..has no bias". I think we do not yet know enough to understand the nature of being human and hence answer the problem of what we are and our actual role in the universe. The reason I didn't agree totally with the "laws of cause and effect" being without bias is that this is a live issue in modern physics.

    On the topic of religious versus secular extremism, in the UK today the media and political establishment are dominated by secular ideas. The media and Establishment have the power and many of them are secular extremists: journalists who were trained in post-structuralism and politicians with an arts background who did PPE at uni.



    As an aside, here is an insight into how secular extremists think. Postmodern philosophers would point out that there are only relations between events and these relations are arranged to satisfy the fragmented narratives of those who finance science. Science is a social construction - or so the narrative runs - and composed of the fragmented narratives of those who construct it.

    Postmodernism attempts to drive a stake further into the heart of science by questioning "time". The reason that philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett, believe that people are biological AIs is that they believe that our brains move from one defined state to another, in the same way as the state of a digital computer changes from one clock pulse to the next. Furthermore these states correspond to instants of our lives and we only have the instant. According to the narrative this means that we cannot be sure of anything and our current reality is a social construction - we can only know the records that are presented to us.
 
 
 
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