Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Love Paradox

It seems that, recently, a great many Christian apologists try to use love as an example of a contradiction within atheism. The argument usually goes like this.
Me: I don't believe in things for which there is no empirical or scientifically testable evidence.
Theist: You don't believe in love, then?
Me: Of course I do.
Theist: I feel sorry for you if you've reduced the love for your children into mere biological processes... do you tell your kids that your love for them is only a chemical thing?
Me: No. Because, because there would be no need to tell a child that. 1) My children exist and this can be verified by anyone willing to test my claim. 2) My actions show love. 3) Love *is* a chemical reaction. 4) Love is a demonstrable emotion.
Theist: Wow. That's sad. My God is above all of those petty tests and explanations.

But... tonight, I was thinking: Is it (their god) really "above" all of those tests?
Let's look at the way people want to prove their God exists.

They almost always equate the feeling of a god's presence with a physical explanation ("burning in the bosom", peace, happiness, excitement, passion). All of those are chemical and physiological reactions. All of them are very similar to normal, human, non-supernatural feelings of love.

"Well,... my god exists because I worship him." - Isn't this a demonstration of emotion? How many times have we heard Christians say that they're undertaking a mission, or going to church, or CTR (choosing the right), or participating in religious rituals? Are those not earthly acts that demonstrate love? The truth is -theists test their love of God almost daily!! Every time they pray and then draw a conclusion about God's will or an answered prayer, they've just subjected their god to a test. And, they've also demonstrated how acts can demonstrate love. You don't see many people sitting in a church every Sunday, or going on a mission, because they're indifferent about their god. It's a demonstration of their commitment and their love. Similarly, when I perform duties and acts which or demonstrate my commitment to my child, this is an act of love.

I guess I just don't understand why I should have to prove my love for my children (or any other person) because they can't prove their God exists. It's really an illogical train of thought. I say your deity doesn't exist unless you can prove to me that he does (it's your extraordinary claim which demands evidence). You fire back with the line that "well, we don't know that "love" exists, so how can you demand evidence when you have no evidence regarding love". I would argue that love exists; we can see evidence of it, we can measure it, we can even test it. And, in fact, there's a chemical signature for love...and woe if that chemistry is off. Andrea Yates and Susan Smith come to mind. If the chemistry is out of whack, the perception of love and the acts of love become askew as well. THAT is evidence! All of it biological and chemical - REAL!
/rant

37 comments:

robd said...

I see it this way:
Love is a human emotion;
if there were no more humans, it wouldn't exist anymore.
It is as easy/difficult to prove as other emotions.

"God" is beyond human;
and is reputed to have existed before there were humans and should exist after they are gone.
Anyone try to prove that...

shaun said...

GAWD IS LOVE!!1!1!! :P

Godless Geek said...

The best thing I've ever been told regarding love is that it's impossible for me to love because god is love and since I don't accept god I can't love.

I think they were serious too, but it's hard to tell the truth from the parody sometimes.

Keith Sader said...

Even if love is only chemical, it doesn't make it any less real.

The next time your theist friends ply this argument remind them that it's so sad that diamonds are just carbon, and that water is just the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

Cogito said...

Keith's right. Love is basically an electrochemical reaction in the brain, which exists and persists because it is very useful in passing along human genes. So what?

The two relevant aspects of love, in my mind, are the subjective experience, because it feels nice, and what it makes you do, because that helps other people and improves the world. The fact that it's not magical doesn't detract from those features at all.

Calladus said...

"well, we don't know that "love" exists, so how can you demand evidence when you have no evidence regarding love"

The word that is missing here is the word, "yet". This is a constant problem with the religious - they take the position that if a part of nature is not currently understood, it will never be understood! God did it!

Remember the bumblebee argument? Intelligent Design people would bring up entomologist August Magnan's comment that according to aerodynamics (or the 'laws of flight') bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly. This was said back in the '40s and the ID crowd used it as a "proof" of God until scientists finally started really understanding insect flight over the last 5 years. And now you never hear of bumblebees brought up as a proof of God.

We can't prove that love exists yet. We can't prove that the Big Bang was a natural event yet.

The magic word isn't "God", it's "yet".

HiveRadical said...

Even if love is only chemical, it doesn't make it any less real.

So if we find a way to keep all of society, in a safe (non-destructive to present life) and sustainable (keeps the human species from being wiped out) state in which they feel more 'love' or the chemical reactions connected to such then you'd be for it? If we could keep all the people in a kind of Matrixish paradise with enough chemicals to keep them in 'love' and 'happiness' then that wouldn't be any less 'real' because "Even if love is only chemical, it doesn't make it any less real."

HiveRadical said...

In short, if we ever reached the state where we could forsake the need to go through the motions of society (propagate and care for progeny directly) and we had items set up to enable our species to continue on while we were all in a 'real' 'paradise' (because being a chemically or electronically projected paradise would not, by keith and cogitos claims, make it any less real) then that would be a desirable state?

HiveRadical said...

Drugs are real. But that doesn't mean I want to devote my life to them. Hormones are real. But I'd like my life to be more than just hormonal interactions.

Perpetual Beginner said...

HiveRadical - how does the one lead to the other? Love is chemical (or neurochemical), why would that imply that we ought to go about adjusting our chemistry to create bliss?

Even if we could (what we don't understand yet about neurochemistry would fill libraries), it's likely to be a bad idea. Like removing pain is a bad idea. It seems like a great thing, until you look at the people who don't feel pain - like those with leprosy. Hmm.

HiveRadical said...

HiveRadical - how does the one lead to the other? Love is chemical (or neurochemical), why would that imply that we ought to go about adjusting our chemistry to create bliss?

How does one not ultimately lead to the other? Look at Japan. They've got it 'figured out.' They know it's all about chemicals. So they just fall into whatever habits facilitate the release of those chemicals. Porn for the men and materialistic filled social lifes for the women. They get all the benefits of the chemical reactions without the hassle of a family--oh wait. But what if they figured out a means to 'naturally' induce things neurochemically, as they are doing through the status quo that there exists, what if they figured out a way to sustain a population and economy without the entanglements of having to have any real family? Would you advocate that? If the chemical reactions are the same then why not? Who needs personal interaction if creating the illusion of such prompts the very same chemical reactions? Why do we need to bother with the 'real' world when our fabricated worlds can be just as neurochemically real?

I'm giving evidence that the idea that love is merely some chemical, or neurochemical, reaction inherently leads to humanity, that portion of which accepts it, to engineer it just as they try and do with other things.

You give the complexity defense. You say "what we don't understand yet about neurochemistry would fill libraries" Well I can accurately say the same thing about the global climate, yet here we are with massive swaths of educated people thinking that humankind can intelligently predict & forestall or significantly dampen through their own actions, global climate shifts. You see not knowing a vast amount about something is generally something that stops us from either pretending to know enough about it to either diagnose problems or to attempt to treat them.

Even if we could (what we don't understand yet about neurochemistry would fill libraries), it's likely to be a bad idea. Like removing pain is a bad idea. It seems like a great thing, until you look at the people who don't feel pain - like those with leprosy. Hmm.

Even your claim that we know so little should be sufficient blind spot in our current knowledge to leave open the possibility that love is more than a mere chemical reaction. That there's aspects to it that are not detectable, fundamentals that are not accessible to our measurement or capacity to comprehend.

HiveRadical said...

Possummomma,

My point in bringing in love is simply that you can only prove it exists to the degree that I can prove my God exists. If your love for your children is merely neurochemically based, and mine for my God is also, then we are even. Because if you want to get right down to it our consciousness can be seen, just as love is, to be merely a biological illusion. So there would really be no grand disparity between two organisms with a tie to each other and one organism and a significant meme. Because you can never prove that any of them really exists beyond some compilation, some organization, of neurons and chemicals. The only difference then being the amount of grey matter needed--the amount occupied by the self-referential set of instructions.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Hiveradical
Look at Japan. They've got it 'figured out.' They know it's all about chemicals. So they just fall into whatever habits facilitate the release of those chemicals. Porn for the men and materialistic filled social lifes for the women.

I find this comment racist and offensive.

Have you lived in Japan, studied the culture?

You could have made your point without resorting to bigotry. Materialism is certainly not limited to Japanese women or women in general. And neither is porn enjoyed exlcusively by Japanese or men.

It would be as bad as saying those Mormons have got it all figured out... the men just marry as many women as their desire can satisfy...and their women revell in domestic servitude?

Chris said...

Hives:

"Just look at Japan"? Have you ever been there, or are you just going off the image they have here in the states? I'm asking because I've been there multiple times, lived there for over a year and focused on it for my international relations program. The way you describe Japan sounds like how the west perceives them...not how they really are.

HiveRadical said...

My reference to Japan was not to say that every man there is addicted to porn or that every woman there is a materialistic socialite. But to deny that these trends are especially strong, and producing especially sharp demographic ruptures, would be to deny reality. Japan is dying. Japanese culture is set up to be decimated in the next two generations precisely because not enough of them are starting families and those who do are often not having enough children. They have a rate of between 1.25 and 1.3 children per woman per life time. Mere replacement is above that by .8.

I'm not saying Japan, nor it's people, are inherently more depraved or worse or better than any other group, I'm simply pointing out that they are more advanced in doing what, in the eyes of secularists, makes the most sense on a miro level. That being that each individual seeks to satisfy biological urges with the least commitment possible. Such leads to isolation and the coming demographic implosion. They will not, in cultural terms, ever be the contender they've been to this point because they lack the capacity to be such. They can be as innovative and capable people as there are on the planet but they can't defy natural law. They are in great part forsaking the traditional family, or the family all together, and will reap what such brings.

Just as Europe and Russia will, and eventually China.

HiveRadical said...

chris and shaun,

I've a great many friends and relatives with ties to Japan. I've a cousin who's wife is from Japan. I've not been there but I have a closer pulse on what is going on there than you think. They are dying. Culturally and Economically they are dying. Their entire system will be turned on it's head before fifty years are up. And they will not be able to do much at all to change it.

Chris said...

Hives:

Wow, impressive credentials, I can certainly see why you think you know more about Japan than your comments indicate.

First off, a little clarification: Porn is seen differently over there compared to the relatively puritan views of the West, but it's not anymore addicted to than here in America, it's just more open and accepted over there. As for the "materialistic socialite" statement, I cannot comment as I didn't have any personal experience with any Japanese women that acted like this...but it is telling that in all my time there, I never ran into anymore than I'd see here.

Japan is not dying, and your rational behind why you think so just proves you may think your finger is "on the pulse", but isn't even close to a vein. There are many reasons why Japan's replacement rate is low. First off, in case you haven't noticed, Japan is a very crowded island with very little room left to grow. It's also getting very expensive to live there, and especially expensive to live there while raising children (education, entertainment, food, bigger housing, etc). This is one of the main reasons why families in Japan are reluctant to have more than one child, if any at all. It's a massive financial burden, and considering they're reminded daily about their own overpopulation issues (as anybody who has had to make daily morning commutes on the trains can attest to, me included), they're more conscientious about adding to it than you may think.

If a family is to have multiple children, there's got to be an incentive, be it conscious on the parents part or not, or even just an overall part of the culture. This is especially true given the increased strain having a child in Japan is now compared to years before. However, like most other industrialized nations, there have been changes that modify or completely negate incentives that used to be part of the culture. For instance, in their move to an industrialized nation, a majority of the country has moved from working the farms to the cities. Children, in farming communities worldwide, used to be, and still are, "free labor". The more you had, the more hands to help around the farm. There's much less need for this now. Another incentive to have large families was the very high, compared to current, infant and child mortality rates. Currently, with the odds now in favor that your first and only kid will survive, there's less of an incentive to have multiple kids in the hope that one will survive to adulthood.

Another key reason why the replacement rate is low is because a large percentage of the population is in their retirement age (~40%), the aging population being so high in part because of the incentives to have large families that were around 50+ years ago. When you have an uneven distribution of age, you generally aren't going to have a 1-to-1 correlation between births and death. When so many are so elderly, and the birth rate is lower than it was when the elderly were being born, of course the replacement rate will go down. More old people are dying than kids being born. This does NOT mean that the country is dying.

This is not something that is unique to Japan as industrialized nations worldwide are finding themselves with lower birth rates than in years past. It's a natural outcome, and maybe one of the reasons it feels indicative of a larger problem to you is because the US is one of the few developed nations that is the exception to this trend (surprise, surprise). I will grant you that Japan is a bit “worse off” in this respect than most others, but of course one country has to be, as all countries aren't experiencing the same exact factors leading to their decline in birthrate. Japan has the unique problem of being very overcrowded as it is, and having almost no more room to expand, which is why I believe it's fairing a bit worse than other countries. Italy is fairly close to Japan, though. IIRC, if the current decrease in birthrate for Italy continues as it has been, the last Italian will be born around 2050. Are you going to claim that Italian culture is set up to be decimated in the next two generations as well? Or would you claim Liberia, who has one of (if not the most) highest birth rates, is in a better position due to the opposite reasons you believe Japan is in it's current position?

I would suggest, since you claim to have some indirect ties to Japan, to actually consult them first. There's a lot more to this than you claim, and your own theory is so far off the mark, it's rather insulting.

Poodles Rule said...

Sean said:

And neither is porn enjoyed exlcusively by Japanese or men.

I would agree, I am a pastey white American woman and I like porn.

Cogito said...

hiveradical, you've completely misunderstood the prove God/prove love issue. No one is questioning that you love (your idea of) god. Your love of something imaginary is no proof that it's real.

The argument PM is referring to is this conversation:

Atheist: Well, there's not enough evidence to convince me this god thing exists.
Theist: Oh yeah, well, you can't prove love exists, but you believe in that! (i.e., "Sure, I'm irrational, but your beliefs are just as dumb as mine!")

The answer is that love is not an objective entity like a chair or a station wagon. It's a feeling, and the associated actions, which nearly every human in history has personally experienced and observed. That is all that's required to "prove" its existence. And unlike a theist trying to convince someone their god exists, I don't care if someone doesn't believe my love for my child exists, because subjective experience is practically the whole point.

In fact, if more theists took that attitude about their gods, I think the world would be a better place.

Finally, as to the bizarre references to Japan and neurochemicals, what exactly is your point? You seem to be meandering and simply trying to tarnish monism with a correlation to lower population. ???

AlisonM said...

Yeah, I don't get that whole argument, either. I mean, fear is a chemical and neurological reaction, too. We can see brain activity that shows up consistently among people who are experiencing fear, and also observe physical reactions - increased heart rate, perspiration, increased breathing, and so on. Fear, an emotion just like love, is experienced by all human beings and can be shown to exist. However, that is in no way proof that monsters under your bed exist. Yes, you fear them, perhaps even to a crippling degree. Given evidence that they don't exist might not even quell your fear - they disappear when the lights are on, or when someone else is in the room, or when the covers are lifted up. You can still be absolutely convinced that the monsters are under the bed, but you cannot PROVE that there are monsters under the bed. Regardless, there is plenty of evidence that you fear them.

Now apply that to love - you love your children, or your spouse, your parents, your pet, whatever. When you think about the object of your love, you experience a reaction that can be measured with various types of brain scan. Depending on how you are thinking of that loved one, there will also be measureable physical reactions. This, however, offers no evidence whatever of the existence of the loved one. It is completely separate. You could love your dead grandmother, or a character in a book, or a deity. When thinking of a nonexistent entity that you love, there will also be evidence of a neurochemical reaction. Again, the emotion is a separate, individual thing, which cannot be used as evidence for the existence or non-existence of the loved one.

We can offer evidence (let's stop short of "proof" for the scientists and philosophers out there) that our children, spouses, pets, and relatives do, or did, exist. Our emotions towards them would not be included among the pieces of evidence, because they are irrelevant. Something exists or doesn't exist regardless of whether or not it inspires an emotional reaction in another creature. The fact that people love god doesn't prove god exists. The fact that people who do not believe in gods feel love is evidence that gods are not necessary for love to be experienced.

The entire argument has no basis whatever.

Vincent said...

"I feel sorry for you if you've reduced the love for your children into mere biological processes"

Well, I feel sorry for you if the only way you can love your child is by making up a story about some superbeing that will punish you if you don't and reward you if you do.

(and there's nothing "mere" about it)

Allyson said...

(and there's nothing "mere" about it)

Agreed! The more time I spend in the sciences, the more amazed I am at how biology works. I am completely in awe of the ways in which the human body and mind function. Maybe I won't understand everything about how cognition and biology work (it won't even be all explained in my lifetime!) but to me nothing is more amazing than the ways in which biological processes generate the emotions and ideas that allow us to thrive.

Perpetual Beginner said...

I'm consistently amazed at people who think that because we have a physical foundation for something, it makes it less important or less real. Love is produced by (or produces) neurochemical reactions - therefore this cheapens love? Huh? What a bizarre way of looking at things. The sun is not less wonderous because it's a real, physical ball of hot plasma rather than Ra floating up in the sky, or Apollo with his chariot.

HiveRadical said...

chris,

I'm well aware of all the factors you mentioned, and a few more (socialism being a significant one). And yes I'd say that Italian culture will be decimated in the next 50 years. The mirage and shadow projection of such will certainly continue, but it will be as authentically Japanese or Asian as fortune cookies are 'authentically' Asian or Chinese.

It's odd that you say that porn is more available over there, more open, yet you seem to think that has no or insignificant correlation to it's consumption. That seems, in my view, rather odd. I mean would you pretend that if illicit drugs were legalized or made significantly more accessible that their use would remain static? It's just silly that you think a culture can be outwardly more saturated with porn and NOT have a higher incidence of consumption of it.

Do you see any significant climb upward in birth rates any time soon? If so what do you see as the impetus of such? Do you think someone will just flick a governmental valve and the incentive to have children will overcome the incentives NOT to have kids? As the economy shrinks with the demographics is there going to come a time soon where, on a micro-economic level, it's more advantageous to have kids?

For the most part your response was 'well it's happening all over the industrialized nations' as if that was some kind of reasuring response. I know of not a single state in this demographic implosion mode that has any redeeming prospects beyond motivation to find some dramatic fixes to the bind quick. If you think pressure is all a nation needs to succeed then you likely see Japan's condition as just peachy. I see a nation with schools emptying and a geriatric service community that hasn't a prayer of any kind of satisfactory capacity to help or provide adequate services to anyone below a certain line of affluence. There is no reason to think that societally young men and women will decide they've been wrong all this time to indefinitely forestall marriage. Do you see things getting significantly enough more advantageous to change the overwhelming tide of singlehood that is the predominate condition among the nation's younger half?

HiveRadical said...

hiveradical, you've completely misunderstood the prove God/prove love issue. No one is questioning that you love (your idea of) god. Your love of something imaginary is no proof that it's real.

You've missed my argument. If they are BOTH in the head (love or something you claim to be imaginary or a delusion) then they are effectively the same things, they are memes built around biological mechanics.

My point is that, as I pointed out in the other post to Jack, what makes the meme and mechanics tying you to your biological offspring any different than that which ties me to what you would merely see as a meme and, likely, an ailment?

I accent this with Dawkin's Blind Watchmaker (BW) in the equation. If my set of biological processes and memes lands me a larger representation in the gene pool and a greater longevity then what makes the 'love' on your end any more significant or important or real, in the ultimate scheme of things, than mine? You find yours a correct and acceptable path to continue the species--why not mine? I could argue that both your claim to consciousness and your claim to love are no more real than my foundational memes AND potentially less fit to survive through the rigors of the BW. If that's the case then why should my, more 'fit' combination of memes and biological 'illness' (many have hinted that belief in God is tied to mental deficiencies, delusions etc.) If love is viewed through the same eye piece it too can be seen as some disorder/irregularity/delusion that the BW selected for and favored through the generations. You are all okay with that because you accept it as having survived long enough through evolution--will you do the same if belief in God reaches a similar level? If a belief in God proves, in the craziness of natural selection, to aid the survival of those who abide it would your ideology then have to accept it as as real and as acceptable as 'love' is?






Atheist: Well, there's not enough evidence to convince me this god thing exists.
Theist: Oh yeah, well, you can't prove love exists, but you believe in that! (i.e., "Sure, I'm irrational, but your beliefs are just as dumb as mine!")


That's not quite what's said in actuality. It's not "I'm irrational, but your beliefs are just as dumb as mine." rather it's "You accept things as acceptable and normal and you abide with these things even though you see the connections they create as being no more substantive than the connections made by a drug addict to their corresponding object of addiction. Why do you have double standards? Why are chemically induced states of one kind acceptable and others not? Plenty of people have killed in the name of their love for spouse or child or lover. If life is what is valued then the chemical backings of 'love' as held by you have been as detrimental, if not more so, to life and it's continuation as has been religion IF NOT MORE SO. Domestic crimes, familial disputes and problems arising from lover's conflicts underly a VAST array of insanity in society--so why do you accept this as acceptable and another item, which has fundamentally the same biological, psychological and physiological backings (in your view) as has love? Why is one viewed as a 'reality' and the other as a 'malfunction'?

Again what if my belief in God and the corresponding memes I have in connection with it make me more fit in terms of the BW/Natural Selection? Isn't that when variations can change from deformities and ailments to vital components of survival?


The answer is that love is not an objective entity like a chair or a station wagon. It's a feeling, and the associated actions, which nearly every human in history has personally experienced and observed. That is all that's required to "prove" its existence. And unlike a theist trying to convince someone their god exists, I don't care if someone doesn't believe my love for my child exists, because subjective experience is practically the whole point.

You again miss this. I claim that God is only affirmable to each person on a fundamentally subjective level, I also don't care if you don't think God exists. I would think my asserting that there are fundamentals underlying ultimate subjective feeling would be MORE in line with your world view. You say that love, on one hand, is a feeling, subjective. Yet you also claim that ultimately it is entirely OBJECTIVE in it's mechanizations. That is all I'm claiming with God. I'm claiming that individually we can only reach him subjectively, but that does not undo an objective reality underlying it. You simply seem to want to take it further by limiting what can and cannot be the underlying objective mechanics. You say they are massively complex, what we don't know about it could fill libraries, yet you cling to your subjective hunch that you could build enough libraries to hold what we don't know. And why do you hold to this? Subjective whim.

In fact, if more theists took that attitude about their gods, I think the world would be a better place.

You are saying that if more people said "There is a finite amount of information to be had on this topic" despite the fact that they are no where near being able to demonstrate the veracity of such an assertion, that the world would be better off. What proof do you have of this? None really.

Finally, as to the bizarre references to Japan and neurochemicals, what exactly is your point? You seem to be meandering and simply trying to tarnish monism with a correlation to lower population. ???

My point there is that, in following the 'wisdom' of the secular world Japan is becoming less fit, they will pass on very little genetically, culturally and economically. If you're good with leaving the future to Natural Selection then there's no big worry. But if you're content to do that then why argue anything? Why strive to pass on progeny and empower them with the capacity to do the same indefinitely? If you feel your memes are all you want to attempt to pass on then get them out there and hope for the best, if they help humanity and that makes you feel happy then go for it. I want my progeny to literally go on forever. That's where I get happiness and satisfaction, in aiding them, in whatever way possible, to both survive and be happy and pass that on to the next generation and so on and so on forever.

Matthew said...

I mean would you pretend that if illicit drugs were legalized or made significantly more accessible that their use would remain static? Well, considering that is generally what has happened in countries that have legalized, at least marijuana, sure... why not?

It's just silly that you think a culture can be outwardly more saturated with porn and NOT have a higher incidence of consumption of it. Because regardless of availability, people will still do what is in line with their values.

Besides, your pissing in the wind here. I'm going to throw out the assumption that most atheists have little to no problems with porn. You need to convince us that there is an actual problem with it. Or hell, even your assertion that a lower birth rate is bad would be nice.

HiveRadical said...

vincent, allyson and perpetual beginner--


That's great that it's wonderful and awe inspiring to you. It is to me also. But existance for me is more than an elaborate entropic firework show with it's 'ooohhh's and 'aaahhhhh's and then it's silence at the end. If that's all it's for, the 'awe' factor then there are plenty of instances I can see where the 'awe' factor looses it's appeal.

I think the most interesting thing is the paralelles one can draw between 'isn't nature amazing' and the 'play harps and worship god forever' thing. The only significant difference in the acts is the time issue. Both of them, as presented by their corresponding voices, are rather shallow in my view. I get far more out of being a part of the continuance of life and joy and creation and the fighting of entropy than I get out of merely the 'awe' factor.

Matthew said...

My point is that, as I pointed out in the other post to Jack, what makes the meme and mechanics tying you to your biological offspring any different than that which ties me to what you would merely see as a meme and, likely, an ailment? Because we can SEE our kids. We can observe a direct correlation between our actions of love and their's. It's testable and more importantly it's reproducible.

HiveRadical said...

matthew--

You present to me that either being considered 'overweight' or being diagnosed with 'anorexia' or 'bulimia' is inherently a bad thing and I'll attempt to show you why porn and a the current trends in birth rates are bad.

Matthew said...

Hive--

How about providing actual proof for your assertions instead of mindless blather? Each item you named has dramatic and observable ill effects on the body, potentially leading to death. Golly that was easy. Your turn.

Chris said...

You're well aware of the other factors I mentioned, yet you tried to make it out as if the only, or at least main, reason why Japans birth rate is declining is due to the their satisfing "biological urges with the least commitment possible"? This seems more than a bit dishonest on your part, as the other factors listed aren't exactly small asides that can easily be overlooked to instead focus on your own perception of moral and family decay. You can't focus on just one factor and expect to be taken seriously, you need to look at the larger picture, the interplay between all the different factors involved, and that also includes not just looking at the current figures and assuming that they'll stay constant for half a century with no change in any of the factors contributing to the figures. If you looked at the figures a few decades ago, you'd have seen that Japan was expanding. Is this the case now, not even 50 years ago? No, things changed. These numbers are always in flux, responding to new influences on the culture / country, be it from the inside or outside.

As for the porn comment, you're putting words in my mouth. I was responding to your comment that Japanese men are addicted to porn. I saw your clarification that you didn't mean all Japanese men, but you still thought it was more of an issue there that you had to mention it. I said that porn over there is more open and accepted, but that I saw no indication that they are more addicted to it than we are. I did NOT say, however, that it doesn't mean that there's more consumption. Consumption does not equal addiction. So of course it would seem odd I said that. When you put words in someones mouth that they didn't say, of course they'd sound inconsistent.

Honestly, if you're going to speak as if you have something to say about the dismal future of Japan, I'd really like to know what credentials you have that give you the right to forcast so much doom and gloom to an entire nation and culture and expect to be taken seriously about it. So far you've told me you have some rather indirect ties to Japan at best. Did you ever study this? Have you ever had personal experience with the culture in question, giving you experience enough to judge how the entire culture will respond to this change in population? Have you seen this situation happen in the past, with similar factors involved?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I had to spend last night in the hospital. So, I'm just getting home and am freakin' exhausted. BUT- Hive... from the bit I've read, it's clear to me that you are completely missing the point and are borderlining on "bigot".

Jack Jackal said...

Ah, love. Big Love, all that Catholic lovin', all mixed in with the ubiquitous neighborly lovin'. You've gotta love that some people think they have it all figured out. But some hardly get any lovin’ at all, all the while chasing it down in strange and fantastical places.

Cogito said...

PMomma, I hope you are OK! As the lolcats say: Hospital - Do Not Want!

Hiveradical, it sounds like we both made assumptions about the other's beliefs that are wrong. I assumed you were arguing for the objective existence of your god, and wanted to convince me to believe in it too. I see you view your belief as a subjective experience that cannot be communicated to another (at least not in a way to engender similar belief). Hurray! That's all I was saying when I said the world would be better if more theists thought like that. The issues of finite knowledge and unfilled libraries were not in my post, but Perpetual Beginner's.

Now for your assumption. For some reason you assume I give a toss about natural selection and the biological fitness of individuals. I really don't. I mean, I'd like the human race as a whole to survive as long as possible, and for individuals I'd like their lives to be as long and happy as possible, but I have no eugenicist leanings or concerns about whether love or religion or whatever makes one more evolutionarily fit.

Anyway, I think at this point in human history, science, and rational government and diplomacy are more influential in the survival of the species and the happiness of individuals than the forces of natural selection on the individual.

Anonymous said...

As noted, the simple fact is that love does not physically exist - it's a label we put on a set of emotions we have.

Theists are welcome to make that analogy, but I don't think comparing what they claim to be a real entity to an abstraction helps their case much.

But if you claim god is real, you have to - by analogy - compare it to existent objects, like a chair.

HiveRadical said...

"How about providing actual proof for your assertions instead of mindless blather? Each item you named has dramatic and observable ill effects on the body, potentially leading to death. Golly that was easy. Your turn."

Well can you present any child molester or serial rapest that's never had a problem with porn? Many anorexics and bulemics can go much of their lives if they're carefull and exercises 'protected' weight maintenance regimens, with little or no problem. Again I'd like to see a single rapist or prostitute serial killer or molester that hasn't had significant pornography problems

HiveRadical said...

If she by chance sees this, as I just noticed the update, I hope the best for Possummomma. That she can feel better and recover. I hope all her family can overcome all related distress.

All disagreements aside, I hope pain is minimized for all involved, especially with Possummomma, through whatever means can best achieve that for all.