Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Irrationality = rejection of man's means of survival?

Rate this topic


amosknows
 Share

Recommended Posts

Rand was specifically aware that acts which arose without rational thought were purely instinctual when she called such an origin "that embalming fluid of the mind which is an emotion exempted from thought". She understood that these instinctual programs were the "secret underworld, whose verdict distorts the evidence". She also realized that avoiding these programs was not "automatic" and that people who operated without reason (animals alone) could themselves not be reasoned with when she said: "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone". Evidence that she intuitively understood that people acting on instinctual programs alone did not use rational thought prior to behavior. And that these animals could not consequently be reasoned with themselves. How then does she reach the conclusion that man's irrationality is "the rejection of man's means of survival". This would seem to be a contradiction, since behavior without rational thought would be simply instinctual and simply instinctual behavior is probably a better means toward survival then interjecting rational thought before acting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To start with, Rand is not talking about "instinct". She is talking about people acting without thinking. I have not checked all the contexts from your quotes, but she's most likely talking about evasion in all of them.

Take the example she gives with that first quote. She talks about a person who has stolen cookies, and kinda knows it is wrong, and realizes -- at some level -- that there are consequences to the stealing. Yet, he closes his mind to those "causal connections" that sit below the surface. These are not connections he is unaware of, animal-like. Rather, they're something he is aware of at a certain level, but tries to evade. That is why she calls them "the enemy you seek to defeat".

As for the broader question you raise, behavior that can be termed "instinctual" would never have led man to discover Penicillin, nor the Declaration of Independence, nor would it have led Al Gore to invent the Internet. It is really debatable whether human beings have any significant degree of animal-like automated knowledge. (If you search for "instinct", you should find a couple of threads.)

Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

since behavior without rational thought would be simply instinctual and simply instinctual behavior is probably a better means toward survival then interjecting rational thought before acting.

Behavior without rational thought cannot automatically be classified as "instinct." Instinct is defined as: "an unerring and automatic form of knowledge." Man does not have instincts.

Edited by eficazpensador
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Behavior without rational thought cannot automatically be classified as "instinct." Instinct is defined as: "an unerring and automatic form of knowledge." Man does not have instincts.

"Instinct has been variously defined as--"disposition operating without the aid of instruction or experience," "a mental power totally independent of organization," or "a power enabling an animal to do that which, in those things man can do, results from a chain of reasoning, and in things which man cannot do, is not to be explained by any efforts of the intellectual faculties." We find, too, that the word instinct is very frequently applied to acts which are evidently the result either of organization or of habit"

Source: On Instinct in Man and Animals, http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/wallace/S164.htm.

The topic was similarly discussed here (with some disagreement of opinion):

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=4198

None of which seems totally in line with what you say. Some questions for you:

Doesn't instinctual behavir often result in error? For example there are insects which will destory their own habitat.

If behavior in man without rational thought is not instinct, than (1) what is it and (2) when humans are not acting with rational thought what guides the behavior?

Also, if I were to define instincts simply as wants and desires which have their root in the satisfaction of biological needs (hunger, comfort), than aren't these triggered independent of organization and reasoning? If they are not instincts, what are they?

Thanks, Amos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To start with, Rand is not talking about "instinct". She is talking about people acting without thinking. I have not checked all the contexts from your quotes, but she's most likely talking about evasion in all of them.

Take the example she gives with that first quote. She talks about a person who has stolen cookies, and kinda knows it is wrong, and realizes -- at some level -- that there are consequences to the stealing. Yet, he closes his mind to those "causal connections" that sit below the surface. These are not connections he is unaware of, animal-like. Rather, they're something he is aware of at a certain level, but tries to evade. That is why she calls them "the enemy you seek to defeat".

As for the broader question you raise, behavior that can be termed "instinctual" would never have led man to discover Penicillin, nor the Declaration of Independence, nor would it have led Al Gore to invent the Internet. It is really debatable whether human beings have any significant degree of animal-like automated knowledge. (If you search for "instinct", you should find a couple of threads.)

What about rage? There's no evasion usually simply action. No rational thought. It's impulsive behavior. What would the classification of that be?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Instinct has been variously defined as--"disposition operating without the aid of instruction or experience," "a mental power totally independent of organization," or "a power enabling an animal to do that which, in those things man can do, results from a chain of reasoning, and in things which man cannot do, is not to be explained by any efforts of the intellectual faculties." We find, too, that the word instinct is very frequently applied to acts which are evidently the result either of organization or of habit"

Defined by whom? What is the genus and what is the differentia of this concept?

A "disposition operating without the aid of instruction or experience" could apply variously to instincts, reflexes, or the physical actions of non-conscious particles. You don't define something by saying what it *isn't*. So that one gets thrown out the window.

"A mental power totally independent of organization" could refer to dreaming, seizures, or imagination--you again, you don't define what something is by saying what it *isn't*. That one's out the window. None of these "definitions" explain what an instinct *is* only that it doesn't have this or that trait, which is completely useless cognitively, like defining a plant as "not an animal". Well, it's not a ROCK either, so how does that help you?

What about rage? There's no evasion usually simply action. No rational thought. It's impulsive behavior. What would the classification of that be?

Rage is an emotion, not an action, a feeling, not a behavior. It may *motivate* some bad behavior in some people who can't be bothered to control themselves, but that still doesn't make it a behavior any more than lightning is an electrocution because the one sometimes causes the other.

This terrible epistemological sloppiness on your part really make it utterly pointless to engage in any kind of discussion with you. You haven't made a single valuable or even coherent statement since you joined this forum. Learn mental rigor and you might say something worth listening to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about rage? There's no evasion usually simply action. No rational thought. It's impulsive behavior. What would the classification of that be?

I'm not sure that is the case. Man's ability to think, even on a minimal or irrational level, is very fast. The burden is on you to make the case that a person reacting to a situation with rage is not thinking at all between the situation and the resulting action taken being based on some "instinct". With the minds ability to make lightning fast evaluations, I think that is a tough case to make.

Also, impulsive behavior /=/ instinctual behavior which is largely demonstrated by the observation that impulsive behavior is frequently inconsistent from one event to the next. One would expect "instinctual" responses to be similar in virtually each and every instance. A lion doesn't chase down and sink his teeth into his prey one time and the chase down his prey and play with it the next time.

Rather, impulsive reactions (I think) tend to more emotion-based responses. For example, a person gets angry about a situation, briefly considers it (The "mf" just hit me) and then responds quickly by slamming his fist into the guys face. Even so, the basis for that emotion (which drove the response) is something that just didn't appear magically, it is something that typically developed as a result of the person having various experiences which affected a given value or values he holds. Emotions do not just develop from vapors or some ethereal plane. There is nothing about impulsive behavior that inherently suggests it is behavior driven by an inate or automatic knowledge that was 'pre-wired' into the person's brain.

Edited by RationalBiker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Defined by whom? What is the genus and what is the differentia of this concept?

A "disposition operating without the aid of instruction or experience" could apply variously to instincts, reflexes, or the physical actions of non-conscious particles. You don't define something by saying what it *isn't*. So that one gets thrown out the window.

"A mental power totally independent of organization" could refer to dreaming, seizures, or imagination--you again, you don't define what something is by saying what it *isn't*. That one's out the window. None of these "definitions" explain what an instinct *is* only that it doesn't have this or that trait, which is completely useless cognitively, like defining a plant as "not an animal". Well, it's not a ROCK either, so how does that help you?

Rage is an emotion, not an action, a feeling, not a behavior. It may *motivate* some bad behavior in some people who can't be bothered to control themselves, but that still doesn't make it a behavior any more than lightning is an electrocution because the one sometimes causes the other.

This terrible epistemological sloppiness on your part really make it utterly pointless to engage in any kind of discussion with you. You haven't made a single valuable or even coherent statement since you joined this forum. Learn mental rigor and you might say something worth listening to.

First off, it wasn't my definition. If you took the time to read it you would have realized that it was from another source and was used as an example. Second, if you really wished to offer something to this thread (any kind of substantive comment) you could have offered your own definition. Instead you attacked the definition on the grounds that it could have multiple meanings - which nevertheless does not change it's intended meaning in the context for which it was offered. So we can throw whatever you said out the window as well.

Rage is an emotion, however (once again) in the context of my statement it is apparently clear (especially based upon some of the more substantive replies) that it was used as (and implied to be) a precursor to involuntary, unconscious, automatic negative behavior. If instinctual behavior is an unconscious, involuntary, automatic response to stimuli, than isn't the emotion rage instinctual?

Since there was another commenter who took the time to comprehend the sentence and respond accordingly, I'd have to ask you to do the same: learn mental rigor and drop the emotional tirades and maybe we could have some sort of a intelligent discussion. Because so far you have done here is offer intellectual dishonesty and nothing but a personal attack. The question is here again for you to answer - as are the questions above.

I assume your attacks are based upon your power and status as an administrator. To that I offer you this:

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)" - Ayn Rand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that is the case. Man's ability to think, even on a minimal or irrational level, is very fast. The burden is on you to make the case that a person reacting to a situation with rage is not thinking at all between the situation and the resulting action taken being based on some "instinct". With the minds ability to make lightning fast evaluations, I think that is a tough case to make.

Also, impulsive behavior /=/ instinctual behavior which is largely demonstrated by the observation that impulsive behavior is frequently inconsistent from one event to the next. One would expect "instinctual" responses to be similar in virtually each and every instance. A lion doesn't chase down and sink his teeth into his prey one time and the chase down his prey and play with it the next time.

Rather, impulsive reactions (I think) tend to more emotion-based responses. For example, a person gets angry about a situation, briefly considers it (The "mf" just hit me) and then responds quickly by slamming his fist into the guys face. Even so, the basis for that emotion (which drove the response) is something that just didn't appear magically, it is something that typically developed as a result of the person having various experiences which affected a given value or values he holds. Emotions do not just develop from vapors or some ethereal plane. There is nothing about impulsive behavior that inherently suggests it is behavior driven by an inate or automatic knowledge that was 'pre-wired' into the person's brain.

I thank you for the most thoughtful reply to any of my posts to date. I sense an enormous negative vibe from being here So I utterly appreciate your response - thoughtful, and insightful and useful as well.

I would agree - it would be difficult to determine the level of thought involved in a rage filled negative behavior. However, on your second point. I think rational thought and consciousness gives we humans the ability to change our behavior from instinctual to moral. So you actually make that point in he lion example. A human can act like an animal (sink his teeth in to the prey) or act like a human (play with the prey). This is a choice that animals can not make.

My only point was that's it is possible that impulsive behavior could have it's roots in instinctual programs. Your point on the source of the emotion is well taken - I hadn't thought about that. I'll give it some thought. Although my initial reaction is that rage in animals is also predicated on external stimuli.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about rage? There's no evasion usually simply action. No rational thought. It's impulsive behavior. What would the classification of that be?
Well, there are two very different responses to that.

First, let me accept your terms, with rage being an irrational behavior. That does not change my earlier comment. Since you quoted Rand, I was pointing out that Rand was referring specifically to evasion. She was not referring to all non-rational behavior as one class, nor was she referring to "instinct" (if it is something real, then it would be only one category of non-rational behavior).

By mentioning rage, you're basically asking: "What about this other type of non-rational behavior?" Well, what of it? For the sake of argument, let's say there are 5 categories of non-rational behavior, and that evasion is one such category. I was pointing out that Rand was referring to evasion, not to any of the other non-rational behaviors.

Secondly, I don't accept the characterization of rage as not being based on rational thought. That is not an essential. It may, or it may not. Surely there are times when it is very reasonable to be angry, and times when it is completely unreasonable. Not only are emotions often reasonable, but they are also an essential part of human nature. Emotions are an essential part of the mechanism by which we savor life, enjoy it, and value it. Negative emotions are also useful, just as it is useful when our skin feels pain and we know we must act.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree - it would be difficult to determine the level of thought involved in a rage filled negative behavior. However, on your second point. I think rational thought and consciousness gives we humans the ability to change our behavior from instinctual to moral.

I think you're missing the point. You're so caught up in your theory of instinctual behavior in humans that you do not see the meaning of what people actually try to communicate with you because you interpret what they say according to your theory that human beings have instincts (which no one here agrees with).

Text is kinda hard to read tones from, so I'll just add this is said in a nice tone. I'm trying to point out something helpful to you.

Human beings do not have instinct at all, they do not have automatic knowledge. We have a bunch of reflexes, automatic sensations, and emotions that arise automatically as calculations based on our subconscious ideas. Why is this not an instinct? Because those ideas did not come to be in your mind from mother-earth. They are there because at some point in your life you put them there. Even the most simple example about food - the sensation of hunger alone needs to be learned to be associated with food. In other words, at some point as a baby and child you learned the connection between hunger and food. And as an adult, whenever you're hungry you immediately think of food. This association is not an instinct, but a result of previous learning.

To explain more how emotions come from ideas; Humans obviously have automatic emotional mechanisms. We feel sad when we lose a value, we feel happy when we achieve a value, we feel angry at injustice. So far this is all automatic. But notice that different people feel emotions in response to different things. One man can see a dog and feel affection and another person can feel fear (whereas if it was an instinct all humans would react the same way). The reason for this is because people judge their environment differently. One man got bitten by a dog, and therefore fears dogs, another had a loyal pet-dog and is thus fond of dogs. So the emotion they feel, though calculated quickly and automatically, is based on their subconscious ideas (not on some instinct).

So now to attend to your question: since a man does not have instincts, his only way of survival is to think and learn the nature of reality. If you have ever seen the show "Survivorman" on the Science channel, you'll see this clearly. Even to catch simple prey or build himself a shelter to make it through the night, the guy has to think so much and know so much, that it becomes clear how without reason it is practically impossible to survive. There is no instinct there to save him. Just pure thinking (and acting accordingly).

Granted, after you have learned something, after investing some thought into it, it can become a habit. And then you don't need to think so much every time you do that action.

But without that initial process of thinking and learning, you'd be lost. And in every day life, the amount of things we need to think about in order to succeed at a task is above what we have already automatized. So without being rational it is not possible to survive.

Hope I was helpful. Good Luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're missing the point. You're so caught up in your theory of instinctual behavior in humans that you do not see the meaning of what people actually try to communicate with you because you interpret what they say according to your theory that human beings have instincts (which no one here agrees with).

Text is kinda hard to read tones from, so I'll just add this is said in a nice tone. I'm trying to point out something helpful to you.

Human beings do not have instinct at all, they do not have automatic knowledge. We have a bunch of reflexes, automatic sensations, and emotions that arise automatically as calculations based on our subconscious ideas. Why is this not an instinct? Because those ideas did not come to be in your mind from mother-earth. They are there because at some point in your life you put them there. Even the most simple example about food - the sensation of hunger alone needs to be learned to be associated with food. In other words, at some point as a baby and child you learned the connection between hunger and food. And as an adult, whenever you're hungry you immediately think of food. This association is not an instinct, but a result of previous learning.

To explain more how emotions come from ideas; Humans obviously have automatic emotional mechanisms. We feel sad when we lose a value, we feel happy when we achieve a value, we feel angry at injustice. So far this is all automatic. But notice that different people feel emotions in response to different things. One man can see a dog and feel affection and another person can feel fear (whereas if it was an instinct all humans would react the same way). The reason for this is because people judge their environment differently. One man got bitten by a dog, and therefore fears dogs, another had a loyal pet-dog and is thus fond of dogs. So the emotion they feel, though calculated quickly and automatically, is based on their subconscious ideas (not on some instinct).

So now to attend to your question: since a man does not have instincts, his only way of survival is to think and learn the nature of reality. If you have ever seen the show "Survivorman" on the Science channel, you'll see this clearly. Even to catch simple prey or build himself a shelter to make it through the night, the guy has to think so much and know so much, that it becomes clear how without reason it is practically impossible to survive. There is no instinct there to save him. Just pure thinking (and acting accordingly).

Granted, after you have learned something, after investing some thought into it, it can become a habit. And then you don't need to think so much every time you do that action.

But without that initial process of thinking and learning, you'd be lost. And in every day life, the amount of things we need to think about in order to succeed at a task is above what we have already automatized. So without being rational it is not possible to survive.

Hope I was helpful. Good Luck.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Without getting in to the specifics of your post, first I don't disagree with much of what you say. Obviously survival changes when reason is entered in to the equation. Second, most Evolutionary psychologists agree that animals have a predisposition for numerous instincts (stealing, hoarding, killing, selfish behavior, reproductive, numerous emotions (fears)), and that as humans so do we. If your premise is wrong (humans do not have instincts) than your conclusions are wrong.

I find it hard to believe that any rational person could think that animals come hard wired, that evolution is real, that we evolved, and yet that somehow we were un-wired as a result of an ability to become rational creatures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there are two very different responses to that.

First, let me accept your terms, with rage being an irrational behavior. That does not change my earlier comment. Since you quoted Rand, I was pointing out that Rand was referring specifically to evasion. She was not referring to all non-rational behavior as one class, nor was she referring to "instinct" (if it is something real, then it would be only one category of non-rational behavior).

By mentioning rage, you're basically asking: "What about this other type of non-rational behavior?" Well, what of it? For the sake of argument, let's say there are 5 categories of non-rational behavior, and that evasion is one such category. I was pointing out that Rand was referring to evasion, not to any of the other non-rational behaviors.

Secondly, I don't accept the characterization of rage as not being based on rational thought. That is not an essential. It may, or it may not. Surely there are times when it is very reasonable to be angry, and times when it is completely unreasonable. Not only are emotions often reasonable, but they are also an essential part of human nature. Emotions are an essential part of the mechanism by which we savor life, enjoy it, and value it. Negative emotions are also useful, just as it is useful when our skin feels pain and we know we must act.

Why would rage have a rational component in humans but not in animals?:

Man and the higher animals, especially the primates, have some few instincts in common … similar passions, affections, and emotions, even the more complex ones, such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude and magnanimity; they practise deceit and are revengeful; they are sometimes susceptible to ridicule, and even have a sense of humour… ‘The Descent of Man’, published 1871 (2nd ed., 1874) by Charles Darwin; Ch. 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, it wasn't my definition. If you took the time to read it you would have realized that it was from another source and was used as an example.

This is even worse, because it makes it even *more* difficult for anyone to answer your questions or engage in any useful discussion with you. If you want something useful, give YOUR definition, what the heck good does it do to say "this other person defines it this way but I'm not talking about that"?!

Second, if you really wished to offer something to this thread (any kind of substantive comment) you could have offered your own definition. Instead you attacked the definition on the grounds that it could have multiple meanings - which nevertheless does not change it's intended meaning in the context for which it was offered. So we can throw whatever you said out the window as well.

If the definition can have multiple meanings, it's a bad definition because it doesn't define what you're dealing with--it's epistemologically sloppy and completely useless. A good definition has to *give* you the context (up to a point)--which just saying "it's not this or that" does not do.

Rage is an emotion, however (once again) in the context of my statement it is apparently clear (especially based upon some of the more substantive replies) that it was used as (and implied to be) a precursor to involuntary, unconscious, automatic negative behavior. If instinctual behavior is an unconscious, involuntary, automatic response to stimuli, than isn't the emotion rage instinctual?

It's not "clear" to them, they're just willing to indulge you by supplying the information, context, and validity that you have failed to supply. I don't indulge people until they've demonstrated that they have some clue what the hell they're talking about, and thus that talking to them is actually going to register.

Since there was another commenter who took the time to comprehend the sentence and respond accordingly, I'd have to ask you to do the same: learn mental rigor and drop the emotional tirades and maybe we could have some sort of a intelligent discussion. Because so far you have done here is offer intellectual dishonesty and nothing but a personal attack. The question is here again for you to answer - as are the questions above.

Since the sentence is incomprehensible without self-supplied context, how can you or they know that they actually comprehended what you "meant"? I haven't seen you using any definitions that I would consider valid, so nothing you say has yet to have any cognitive status whatsoever. I'm just refusing to pretend that you've said something when, in fact, you haven't.

Edited by JMeganSnow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Without getting in to the specifics of your post, first I don't disagree with much of what you say. Obviously survival changes when reason is entered in to the equation. Second, most Evolutionary psychologists agree that animals have a predisposition for numerous instincts (stealing, hoarding, killing, selfish behavior, reproductive, numerous emotions (fears)), and that as humans so do we. If your premise is wrong (humans do not have instincts) than your conclusions are wrong.

I find it hard to believe that any rational person could think that animals come hard wired, that evolution is real, that we evolved, and yet that somehow we were un-wired as a result of an ability to become rational creatures.

I find it difficult to believe that a rational person would say "we have instincts because animals do, even though humans are patently different from animals in an obvious and fundamental way and no verifiable instinctive behavior has EVER been observed in humans".

We think humans don't have instincts because no one has ever been able to find instinctive behavior in humans. (Every single behavior that ANYONE has EVER called an instinct has obvious exceptions that prove it is NOT instinctual.) Behavioral psychology consists entirely of saying "birds engage in X behavior (which is instinctive) and some humans sometimes engage in a behavior which might be construed as being similar by a sufficiently active imagination, therefore that behavior must be instinctive", which is a complete abandonment and rejection of anything resembling science.

You may as well say "I can't believe any rational person would say that living creatures exist when the only physical components that exist are non-living and this so-called life must come from non-living components". It is equally a non sequitur and lacking in any rational foundation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it hard to believe that any rational person could think that animals come hard wired, that evolution is real, that we evolved, and yet that somehow we were un-wired as a result of an ability to become rational creatures.
I don't know of anyone who believe that man became "unwired" as a result of an ability to become rational. The correct position is that man by becoming unwired, man became rational. Rationality and instinct are mutually incompatible.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why would rage have a rational component in humans but not in animals?

How do you even know that animals experience rage? Did they *tell* you? Or were they simply evidencing behavior that, *in a human* would draw you to conclude that the *human* was angry?

All knowledge of emotions derives from the conceptualizing of *human* behavior integrated with your own mental experience. Human behavior and animal behavior cannot be equated because it should be immediately obvious that humans do at least *something* that animals *don't* do, otherwise we couldn't even be having this discussion. Drawing conclusions about the mental states of one thing (animals) based on another thing (humans) that have obviously different mental faculties is a no-good way to do science.

Based on my own experiences, I suspect, but do not know, that animals do experience emotional sensations in a *similar* fashion to humans. However, it has also universally been my experience that no animal could tie an emotional state to, say, getting a speeding ticket, because they have no conceptual faculty and cannot understand the meaning of that. They can only understand meaning that can be reached on the level of a sensation (e.g. ow, that hurts!) or a perception (e.g. ow, it hurts when the human hits me!).

Human emotions do not *necessarily* have a rational component, but they *can* have a rational component and thus that fact must be taken into account if you wish to have successful dealings with humans, just as you must take into account the fact that the mayonnaise has been sitting in the warm sun for six hours. It's *possible* that there are no malign bacteria growing in there and you could still eat it, but do you *really* want to risk it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it hard to believe that any rational person could think that animals come hard wired, that evolution is real, that we evolved, and yet that somehow we were un-wired as a result of an ability to become rational creatures.

On the other hand, I find it hard to believe a rational person would believe humans have instincts when our survival, both as individual entities and as a collection of entities, requires an evaluation of a very complex level of interacting variables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it hard to believe that any rational person could think that animals come hard wired, that evolution is real, that we evolved, and yet that somehow we were un-wired as a result of an ability to become rational creatures.

I can see where you're coming from, but consider the following three ideas:

1. we do have a lot in common with lower animals. And many things in humans are automatically "wired". Our emotional mechanisms are the same as animals', stuff like learning to walk and balance ourselves, automatic sensations, and more. However, just because we have a lot in common does not mean we must have everything in common.

2. According to your logic that due to evolution, we must have great similarity to our ancestors, we should have great difficulty explaining how lions have instinct, since they developed from fish who developed from single cell creatures, which do not have instincts (but different methods of survival), and therefore, they should be the same too.

3. The correct method to judge is primarily to observe reality. In this case, observe man. See what kind of animal he is. It can be beneficiary to use hypotheses to know what to look for, but not to use hypothesis as source of knowledge. I mean, given that lower animals have certain internal organs and given the genetic nature of evolution, it makes sense to suspect to find certain internal organs and systems (like blood circulation), but it does not make sense to say "they must be there because of the nature of evolution".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the other hand, I find it hard to believe a rational person would believe humans have instincts when our survival, both as individual entities and as a collection of entities, requires an evaluation of a very complex level of interacting variables.

Not hard if you believe that reason was not always an available methodology and that instincts were once the primary mode of operation for we humans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not hard if you believe that reason was not always an available methodology and that instincts were once the primary mode of operation for we humans.

And what's the evidence for this? Is there *evidence* of humans--HOMO SAPIENS humans--who lived exclusively by the use of instinct?

Making up claims out of whole cloth is just silly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not hard if you believe that reason was not always an available methodology and that instincts were once the primary mode of operation for we humans.

How do you argue with someone who says "oh I know you define humans as rational animals, but I'm still right because humans are not rational animals because at some point there were these other entities, who died long ago, who were not rational animals, but they are connected to us because we evolved from them."?

Without the law of identity I can prove anything by association. It's easy to believe that you can't possibly be typing at your keyboards, because everybody knows that at some point we humans were single-cell creatures, and our primary mode of operation was photosynthesis. So there you go, RationalBiker, q.e.d.: the reason why you like your bike is because you need to stay in the sun for energy.

The fact is that WE were never apes. We were born sometime during the end of the 20th century, and we do have reason available. They (apes 1 million years ago), were whatever they were. There is no logical connection between what they are and what we are. You are manufacturing that connection, by not distiguishing between them and we, but rather saying we were alive 1 million years ago.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not hard if you believe that reason was not always an available methodology and that instincts were once the primary mode of operation for we humans.

Yea, I guess one can believe pretty much whatever they want. However, they can only know that which is fact. Believe away...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...