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Benjamin McLean

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Real ethics is prescriptive, not descriptive.

As I explain in my video on "The Abolition of Man" instinct cannot provide any foundation for ethics as everything we say about instinct is descriptive not prescriptive. It discusses only what we actually do, not what we ought to do and ethics is the question of what we ought to do. http://youtu.be/Z60lncsXQrE?t=2m52s

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  • Apr 16 2012: > "Tell me exactly where do I suggest that we should forget reason before developing our ethics. That I can point to the "environments" or "circumstances" that lead to our evolution of some basic instincts does not mean that I suggest in any way that in order to develop our ethics we should forget reason. Does it?"

    Ethics being reducible to animal instincts doesn't leave room for saying we "should" do anything. That's the problem.

    > "That I can recognize our origins, our evolutionary history, our relationship with the rest of nature, does not mean I propose the dismissal of reason either. Does it?"

    You do seem to have embraced a theory that excludes any possibility of reason itself being not merely useful but true. Evolution could only provide useful, not true.
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      Apr 16 2012: Benjamin,

      Show me exactly where did I reduce ethics to animal instincts. The reduction only happens in your straw-man, not in the science. So, for the N+1 time: finding basic instincts towards empathy, for example, and explanations about how these developed through evolutionary history does not mean that we have all it takes for ethics to develop within those instincts. It just means finding basic instincts underlying our tendencies and the possibility for those principles that you love as axioms. Clear enough now? There is much more to ethics than the instincts below its roots. Ethics is still a long way forward (or upward, whatever).

      Reading Plantinga instead of science won't help you much if you are going to discuss evolution (if you got Plantinga's argument directly from him, who knows, it could have been a third source). To discuss evolution you have to understand science. Philosophy about science without the proper scientific knowledge is mere mental masturbation.

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