This world we live in.. -  My Vision of Enlightened Society (57 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Lionheart16 DelphiPlus Member Icon1/1/05 1:56 PM 
To: All  (1 of 6) 
There is a deep connection between two important human endeavors that many people have often overlooked—that between science and civility.

It would help to remember the social impact of the Enlightenment movement on our society.  The rise of reason dispelled human darkness and brought in a new age of human rights.  It also transformed human government.  In this day and age when religious fanaticism has once again raised its ugly head, we must bring back the antidote of reason.

Some people say that science cannot solve all human problems.  In fact, quite a few problems are created by science and technological development.  But the rational/scientific approach is very powerful in at least one critical area—the pursuit and verification of truth.  The great advantage of this approach is that science doesn’t take sides.  Thus, there is a close connection between science, justice and fairness.  I deem it an uncivilized society when human beings are forced to accept certain rules without justification. 

The scientific approach to life says that no one is obliged to believe in or support something unless it is substantiated by reason and evidence.  Thus, if someone proposes to criminalize certain behavior, that person would have to present a strong case that such behavior is indeed harmful and the corrective action would not bring more harm than good.  Similarly, if some politician suggests that we should go and invade another country, we must demand clear evidence that such military action is justified and is in our best interest.  Every rule or policy proposal should be treated as a hypothesis.  A hypothesis that needs to be vigorously scrutinized and tested.

Thus, in a civilized society, unless something is substantiation based on reason, we should have no obligation to support it.  Otherwise, we’d just be living under a theocracy, governed by dogmas and faith-based rules.  In addition, in case of any dispute, the final arbiter should always be the judge of science.  I believe that this is the very foundation of an enlightened society.  Anything else would simply be barbarism.

A new dark age has dawned upon us.  It is high time to reassert the rule of reason.

  • Edited 1/1/2005 1:59 pm ET by Ken (Lionheart16)
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From: Tarty (RAVENGIL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host1/3/05 10:24 PM 
To: Lionheart16 DelphiPlus Member Icon  (2 of 6) 
 9198.2 in reply to 9198.1 

My vision of an enlightened society:

1. TV is looked down upon and rarely, if ever, watched.

2. "Preschool" is mandatory for every child and has no focus at all on academics. Instead, tolerance, responsibility, and respect for all creatures and the enviroment are the lessons.

3. Children are not allowed to graduate high school until they have achieved a 12th grade reading level.

3. Leaders of countries talk out differences, and if no conclusion can be reached, they themselves fight a duel, in a closed arena, to the death! Huzzah! (then the people get to decide what happens next)

4. No more "mental institutions". Those deemed mentally unsound are given the best health care available, in supportive group homes.

5. Spiritual leaders are seen as advisors only, and are never thought of as infallible.

6. Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe dolls are outlawed.

I could think of a lot more, and yes some of these are tongue-in-cheek.

~~I deem it an uncivilized society when human beings are forced to accept certain rules without justification.  ~~~

People accept the dogma because that is what feels like "truth" to those folks. People who believe that Bush represents morality, really believe that. And they would argue to the death with you over the belief that they have never been "forced" to believe such.

~~Similarly, if some politician suggests that we should go and invade another country, we must demand clear evidence that such military action is justified and is in our best interest.~~~

B-b-but the President is fighting for OUR freedom! Again, we have blind faith and trying to reason with people who have this blind faith gets us nowhere. We're "commies" "unpatriotic", or we just plain hate our country.

The way to change this is to start with education, of the very young. A total revamping of our educational system... but that would be one hell of a fight.

Yes, in theory, all that you have said makes a lot of sense. In practicality, it seems nearly impossible in light of where we are now.



From: Lionheart16 DelphiPlus Member Icon1/3/05 11:31 PM 
To: Tarty (RAVENGIL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (3 of 6) 
 9198.3 in reply to 9198.2 

<<Yes, in theory, all that you have said makes a lot of sense. In practicality, it seems nearly impossible in light of where we are now.>>


Well, the dream of an enlightened society may never be realized.  But it is good to have a dream and something to fight for.  As Confucius said, "We do it even though we know it is impossible."  That gives one meaning of life. :)


From: Tarty (RAVENGIL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host1/4/05 12:02 AM 
To: Lionheart16 DelphiPlus Member Icon  (4 of 6) 
 9198.4 in reply to 9198.3 

I was walking to the train station after work this afternoon and on the streets of L.A., the Libertarians had a table set up and were handing out flyers and newspapers and asking people to sign petitions.

And I got to thinking.... There are so many little groups out there that want change, and they all think they can bring it about if they can just reach enough people, but it isn't going to happen.

This country is seriously flawed. The election process is a farce, and the next president is already determined before the first voter steps into the booth. None of these little groups is going to bring about change alone.

What we need is for all these groups, the Libertarians, the Greens, every liberal faction out there, to get together and have some serious protests. I'm talking on a "Berkely in the 60's" scale, or the Freedom Marches of M.L.K.

They got things done and they made changes.

And I thought about approaching the people at the table and telling them what I thought needed to happen, but it was pouring out and I was cold and tired. Maybe I will stop tomorrow.....


From: Bluehawk (Bluehawk9)1/4/05 7:53 AM 
To: Tarty (RAVENGIL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (5 of 6) 
 9198.5 in reply to 9198.4 

What is Truth (with a capital "T")?

Each ideological - and religious - group has some part of the answer. If their entire message was false, few would buy into it. But unfortunately, Truth (with a capital "T") is such a slippery thing.

Perhaps there are some women who really would make the best possible choice on the potentially life-altering decision of whether to have an abortion or not with a 24 hour waiting period. Perhaps giving money to some faith-based charities really is the best way to assist some of those in need (not least of all, because they might be more comfortable getting help from what they perceive as a more compassionate entity than an impersonal governmental agency). Maybe we DO pay too much in taxes (though I'm not even going to start in on how and where to begin cutting, or what expenditures need to be eliminated in order to help balance the budget). Maybe, just maybe, part of what the Right is saying is, well, right.

The problem with applying Aristotelian-derived 'logic' as the slasher of the Gordian knot is that most people use logic to justify decisions and choices that are initially made from an 'irrational' emotional basis. 'Logic' is just another God, a bigger version of, "My dad can beat up your dad." It's 'logical,' so I must be right. Far more than YOUR foolish, illogical answer. But please bear in mind there were once many logical arguments in favor of continuing slavery - at least among those who benefitted directly or indirectly from the institution. And those who argued for its abolition were considered irrational in many quarters.

Logic requires postulates. Potential postulates are infinite. The necessity of choosing which ones to use to construct your argument by necessity eliminates part of the 'Truth' (with a capital "T"). By making a choice, you pre-determine your outcome - whether consciously or not. But you cannot begin without choosing.

Logic is a means, not an end. It is a potentially useful tool. And like all tools, it can cause unintended injury - even to the momentarily-careless user. A chain saw is more effective than a penknife (or even a herring) in cutting down a tree. But it's a lot more dangerous to use.

All I know is that I cannot truly know. But still, I must do the best I can. That's the challenge...


  • Edited 1/4/2005 10:17 pm ET by Bluehawk (Bluehawk9)

From: Tarty (RAVENGIL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host1/4/05 10:00 AM 
To: Bluehawk (Bluehawk9)  (6 of 6) 
 9198.6 in reply to 9198.5 
Thanks for that.
I hope Ken sees it

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