World Full of Idiots? Transcript

The existence of the soul and its effects

[0:00] Good morning everybody, Stephen Molyneux from Free Domain, and got an email from a listener who makes the following case.
The secular model does not have God in it, so it also does not have the soul, nor the conscience, nor free will either, since those are embedded in the soul.
However, in reality, conscience and free will clearly exist.
Therefore, the secular model is clearly false and fake.
Apart from that, one reason Christianity is superior to philosophy is that idiots can't understand philosophy and the world is mostly idiots.
It's a very short, succinct and vivid argument.
And I appreciate that. I appreciate the argument.
I appreciate the criticism. and I certainly do, as always, appreciate the challenge to respond. This is a good argument which says we can judge the existence of something by its effects, even if we cannot perceive it directly.
We can't see gravity like a thing, like an object. We can't see gravity, but we see its effects and feel its effects all the time.
The argument would be, you can't see air, but we know physiologically that.

[1:18] We breathe air. Air contains oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for our eyes to function.
Therefore, the fact that our eyes are working, even though our eyes can't see air, the fact that our eyes are working means that the air exists.

[1:33] And that's good. That's good. If you're in jail cell and you can only see the shadow in the courtyard, you can't see the object casting the shadow, but you can see the shadow. Therefore, you know the object exists. exists.
You may even know some, if it's an obelisk or the statue of a man on a horse, you would have some idea.
So you don't have to perceive the thing directly to know that it exists.
You can't, I mean, black holes have not been perceived directly because their gravitational pull is so strong that even light or any other radiation can't escape its surface.
But we know that black holes exist because of the effect that they have.
You can sort of see the whirlpool being pulled off some stars if there's a black hole nearby and so on, right? So I'm fully with that.
Absolutely, there is existence by observation, and then there is existence by influence, or by effects, and perfectly valid.
Again, you see a shadow, you know that something is casting that shadow.
So, the argument is good, right? So, he's saying that only the soul can contain a conscience, and only the soul can manifest free will, and because the conscience and free will clearly exist.

[2:49] Therefore we know that the soul exists.

[2:54] Now, accepting the existence of the soul is a whole series of dominoes, right?
It is anti-materialistic in its foundation, and I don't mean that in any negative way, it just is anti-imperialistic as a fact, right?

The implications of accepting the existence of the soul

[3:07] So if you accept the existence of the soul, then you reject evolution. I mean, you have to.
You have to reject evolution because there would be no way, given that evolution is a material process based upon mortality and survivability and reproducibility, there's no way that the soul would evolve, right?
Because the soul is eternal and evolution functions on a mortal basis.
So there's no way that something that functions on mortality would develop something immortal, right? So, if you accept the existence of the soul, then you reject.

[3:44] Evolution i mean you may accept evolution in animals you may accept you certainly would accept microevolution you may even accept that evolution has something to do with how our bodies have turned out and so on but the purpose of life is not survival and reproduction the purpose of life is contained within the immortal soul now that which has a longer time frame generally has more purpose than that which has a shorter time frame right so if your purpose is to to have lunch Well, you have lunch so that you can go and study.
Why are you studying? Because you're a part of a four-year degree or a six-year degree or whatever it is. And why do you want the six-year degree?
Because you want to get a job in your field. Why do you want to get a job in your field? Because you need to make money and you want to be happy.
So the longer the time frame, the more purpose there is. And then the end purpose, of course, as Aristotle said, being happiness.

[4:34] Once you're happy, you're not happy in order to do something else.
You do things in order to be happier, to avoid unhappiness, for the most part.
So that the purpose of life if you accept the soul the purpose of life can't be material because the soul is eternal therefore the purpose of the life the longer the time frame the more purpose is embedded in it and therefore the purpose of life must be the soul right i mean the purpose of a plastic bag at the grocery store is to carry your groceries you don't carry it around for For decoration, you don't carry around because it's fun. The purpose is...
What is it? There was that book. It was a book that we read in theater school.
We made it as part of a couple of skits.
It was a clever old book by the writer of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.
And he took obscure town names and turned them into words that meant something to people.
And one of them, I remember this vividly. This is like, I don't know, close to 40 years later.
I remember this quite vividly. that there was a word called Eli, E-L-Y, Eli, and the definition was, an easy feeling you get when the handles of a heavy shopping bag begin to stretch too far.
Got to get to the car, Eli. It's a great word.

[5:52] And so, yeah, he's saying that the conscience and the free will exist.
They are shadows, in a sense, cast by the existence of the soul.
And due to the existence of conscience and the free will, we can rationally infer the existence of the soul.

Christianity as a superior alternative to philosophy

[6:08] So that is an argument, an epistemological argument, a metaphysical argument really, but it is an epistemological argument that leads to a metaphysical truth, in that it's saying that we can know the existence of the soul by the existence of conscience and free will, and therefore the metaphysical reality of the soul is established.
Established so there's a solid argument that's a good argument and he says apart from that right so he's given me an argument from epistemology and then he gives me a consequentialist argument he says apart from that one reason christianity is superior to philosophy is that idiots can't understand philosophy and the world is mostly idiots so that's an argument from consequences.

[6:49] Which is to say that if you want people to be good you have to tell them stories and you can't expect them to understand upb i mean even you the guy who came up with upb occasionally struggles with upb which is true which is absolutely true so you know if you're you're some smart guy who came up with upb and you still struggle with it then how on earth can you accept the average person right so and this i'm not trying to diminish this as argument but this goes all the way back to i mean before this what plato identified as the noble lie right the noble lie is that people People need stories, they need vivid analogies, they need metaphors because people are emotional and they run on imagery and they don't run on reason.
So for the wise people who run society, give the people easily consumable narratives and stories, which...

[7:43] The unwise become wise through a process of reality creation somewhat similar to lucid dreaming, it's sort of like if a guy wants to be a bad guy you've got the impulse to be a bad guy but let's say he has a dream wherein he does a bad does the bad thing he's contemplating and then he goes to hell and is tortured and is terrified the dream may scare him out of of doing what he's doing.
And there's a very vivid part of Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, where before Raskolnikov commits the crime, he dreams of being in Egypt, in the Nile, in Africa, in an extremely foreign place.
And that dream is kind of a warning to him that what he's contemplating is going to completely remove him from the world that he's in.
Like the murder that he's contemplating will put him on the other side of the world, will put him in an unfamiliar landscape among unfamiliar people, that he will be alienated from everything around him. It's kind of like a warning dream.
And the terrifying vision he has of the drunken men beating the horse, is the sensitivity that he had, the cruelty that he witnessed and experienced, that he will become that, and he will become the brutes who terrified him as a child.
But even worse, because he'll be murdering an old woman rather than beating a horse.

[9:09] So of course if you are targeted by a murderer or somebody wants to murder you and then you find out later that maybe the murderer writes about this and says well i was i was going to kill bob but i had this terrifying dream that after i killed bob i would be tortured and miserable and horrified and and i would go to hell and i would be tortured for eternity and you know demons would pull out my my balls through my nose using fire tongs, whatever it was, the agony. And so I abandoned the plan.
Right, then you would want Bob to have that dream.
And of course, crime and punishment was a plea to the ideological to not follow ideology into the lands where murder is justified or murder is possible and to return to Christianity.
Which was Dostoevsky's journey, of course, that he was a materialist and socialist and later in his life returned to Christianity.
That's what my father was, though not a socialist, at least not to my knowledge.
So now, to give the steel man case, so let's say that there's a guy who wants to kill Bob and the guy has two books.
He has two books on his coffee table, in his living room, the potential murderer. One book is the Bible.

A Book on Biblical Punishments and Hell

[10:28] And, or a synthesis of the Bible dealing with the Ten Commandments, right? Let's say a summary, right?
So one book is a summary of the Bible that deals with the Ten Commandments and the punishment for sinners, right? With hell and torture and torment and so on.
So he has one book. He wants to kill Baal.
He has one book, which is a summary of the biblical teachings about the Ten Commandments and the punishments for mortal sins. One book, right?
And it's full of vivid pictures and descriptions of hell, you know, all the stuff that comes out of, say, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
I just have lurid, lurid descriptions of hell. All right.
That's in one book. And he wants to kill tomorrow. Now, the other book on his coffee table is my book, Universally Preferable Behavior, a Rational Proof of Secular Ethics. Make the case.

[11:18] Now, in this mind experiment, if you had to bet, bet if you had to bet on which book would make him more likely to give up the murder, if you had to bet on which book would be more likely for bob to give up on his ideas of murder would it be the lurid descriptions of hell and demons and eternal punishment and so on and rejection by God and trapped in a lake of fire, having demons pee streams of acid into your eyeballs for eternity, those lurid tales of punishment, would they be more likely, to have Bob abandon his ideas of murder?
Or would me be warbling about, well, murder can never be universally preferable behavior because it's asymmetrical and therefore self-contradictory is a proposition.

[12:12] Boy, nothing's better than waking up in the morning and mocking your greatest work. But, you know, let's do our man the case, right?
We're going to make it fair. Or to make it even more vivid, you're Bob, this guy wants to kill you, and you can beam one book into Bob's hands, right?
Or into Bob's environment if you don't want to make it that vivid, right?
Would you beam UPB or Lurid descriptions of hell for murderers?

Lurid Descriptions of Hell vs. Abstract Moral Philosophy

[12:41] I mean, I wrote UPP, and in general, I mean, I wouldn't say it's a tough call, but in general, odds are probably that the lurid descriptions of hell, eternal hell for murderers, would be more likely to dissuade him from the killing than my work on abstract moral philosophy, right?
So that's, which book would you rather he have in his hands if he wants to kill you?
I think most people would choose the lurid tales of hell, as opposed to the syllogistical format of UPB.
He would probably find UPB kind of annoying.

Vivid Stories vs Analytical Syllogisms in Moral Arguments

[13:17] So that's the argument. You want people to not do evil.
Therefore, they need vivid stories, not abstract analytical syllogisms, right?
I think we can all sort of follow that argument.
So again, just sort of give his argument.
Conscience and free will only exist in the soul. Conscience, free will exist in the world, therefore the soul exists.
They are the shadows cast by the soul, therefore we know that the soul exists.
And Christianity beats philosophy because people are motivated by emotions, punishments, rewards, stories, analogies, drama.
They're motivated by narrative, not by reason.
Not by reason. so let's let's again very concise and very good and well phrased and compact argument sorry concise and compact look at me overstating concision so good good arguments good arguments now what what can we say in response what can we say in response right so it does exist and it's superior.
Now, of course, as I said before, the problem with basing morality on religion is the out of skepticism or materialism or atheism or agnosticism or a different religion.

[14:45] That's the problem. It's morality with an asterisk.
Now, because religious morality cannot be proved scientifically, materially, synergistically, because religious morality cannot be proved, it must escalate.
Listen, we've all, those of us who've had explosive or aggressive parents, parents, we all know that the more wrong the parent is, or the less able the parent is to prove the argument, the more aggressive the parent becomes.

[15:19] Or if not a parent, maybe a girlfriend, a lover, or something like that, right?
The more wrong they are, the more hostile and aggressive they become.
Now, of course, people who are religious very, very much want people to be good, and I respect and appreciate that, particularly in the realm of Christianity.
However, there is an out, which is you just don't believe.
Now, because there's an out and you don't believe, you have to take Pascal's wager and escalate the punishment to the point where anybody with any rational capacity for cost-benefit analysis is going to accept the religious arguments or the religious morals, not because they've been proven, but because the consequences of rejecting them are so terrible, eternal, eternal punishment, right?
The consequences of not accepting the arguments It's so terrible that it becomes rational to accept the argument.
So, obviously, most people understand this.
Just a brief analogy that if you say to someone, I want you to wager a dime.
If you wager a dime and win, you get a billion dollars.
If you don't wager the dime, I'll shoot you in the kneecap.
Well, people are going to wager a dime because the rewards are so high and the punishments are so dire that they're going to wager the dime.

[16:41] If you raise the rewards and raise the punishments, then you don't have to make the empirical, rational, objective kind of argument, right?
That's just, and it's one of the reasons why you would raise the stakes so high, is because you can't make an objective argument.
So, that's inevitable, and people would say, well, you have to make the stakes high because people aren't rational, whereas my argument would be, you have to make the stakes high because the argument isn't rational.
But again, I understand that most people are dealing with morality in the short term, right? They're dealing with morality in the short run.
They want people to stop raping, assaulting, stealing, killing, right? They want to stop that now.
And they're trying to divert the course of highly traumatized, impulsive, violent, and destructive people.
And how do you deal with people already committed to violence?
Well, with more violence, right? How do you deal with people already committed to violence?
Well, what choice do you really have other than more violence?
I mean, if somebody is coming up to strangle you, then you have to use violence to prevent him from strangling you, right? This is the legal right of self-defense and so on, right?

[18:01] If a man is advancing on a woman, his wife, say, with a gun, saying, I'm going to kill you, and raises the gun, she can shoot him.
She can push him down the stairs.
She can whatever, right? She can do whatever is necessary to survive.
So, because the world is, I mean, we sort of look at the development of religious belief systems, because the world is already full of highly traumatized victims of child abuse, who are already committed to violence, you can't wait, right?
You can't wait. A man who is starving finds no use in planting seeds, because he's going to die. He's going to be dead.
He's going to be dead long before the seeds grow into food that he can eat.
I think we all get and follow and understand all that.

[18:51] So religion is trying, and nobly so in many ways, particularly, of course, Christianity.
Religion is striving to solve the problem of immediate violence and because it is so it has to solve the problem of immediate violence it has to use in many ways right bribery and or positive rewards rewards and punishments but redundant rewards and punishments in order to stave off the immediate violence so i will certainly accept and i'd sort of have to think Think about it more, but, or maybe that's just, you know, me not wanting to concede a point could be one of the two, but I will certainly accept that most people, and probably wisely too, would rather the guy who wants to kill them be handed a copy of Descriptions of Hell for Murderers rather than UPB, and that it was most likely that the Descriptions of Hell for Murderers would be more likely to start the murder.

[19:52] With the caveat, of course, that if the potential killer was highly secular and really interested in logic and morality, maybe, you know, obviously the odds would be fairly low.
It's probably a very passionate and impulsive individual.
So I accept that. I accept that.
And of course, in a situation where a murder is going to happen tomorrow, UPB is not of great value.
You i mean i would accept that and in fact not only would i accept that i've made that case for years made that case for years because a philosophy is about prevention not cure.

[20:33] You've heard me use this analogy a zillion times is that if someone has a heart attack if someone is having a heart attack there's no point calling a nutritionist or a personal trainer or a dietitian or right if a fat person is having a heart attack there's no point going on a diet you have to go to the hospital and you have to get your heart attack dealt with right you don't call the dietician you don't call the personal trainer you don't sit there and figure out how you can reform your dietary habits what you do is you call an ambulance right now the problem is though of course that that if you use threats, right, if you use rewards and punishments to try and prevent immediate evils, you end up with a system of rewards and punishments that's inflicted on children that guarantee future evils.

[21:26] Very foundational point so forgive me if i i hope you'll forgive me if i repeat it if you try to deal with immediate evils with punishments and rewards you end up with a model of punishment and rewards that's inflicted on children which guarantees future evils because instead of reasoning with children which will have them grow up with the capacity to negotiate and with with empathy and virtue and confidence and all those good things, you instead reward and punish children.

[22:00] Which crushes their capacity for empathy and choice and free will and virtue, and they become both fearful and aggressive, which guarantees to some portion of society future evils.
They will grow up to become aggressive and violent and either support aggression in the non-acceptable sense in direct criminality, or they will grow up to support aggression in the, quote, acceptable sense, which is current views of social organization and the role of coercion by states and so on, right?
So that's the problem. That's the problem.
To take an extreme example that is just an analogy, if a woman is being aggressed against, she's a single mother, she gets some boyfriend who's really nasty, and she's home with her daughter, Her little daughter is maybe sort of five years old.
She's home with her daughter, and she hears a pounding at the door.

[22:57] Her boyfriend is drunken and violent and angry about something or other.
He's probably misunderstood something.
He comes in with a gun, and he's going to shoot the mother, and then the mother grabs a knife and stabs the boyfriend so that he doesn't shoot her or shoot her, her daughter, or both, or whatever. Right.

[23:17] She used self-defense. Let's assume that she has used self-defense in a morally valid way.
And she has saved her life, and she saved her daughter's life.
Right? But, of course, now the daughter is, and the mother, highly traumatized. Right?
The mother's had to stab someone and kill them, and the daughter has witnessed this.
Now, to sort of inject me into the narrative, or philosophy into the narrative, let's say, that this woman had called me up did a call-in show and said you know there's his boyfriend he's got these red flags you know he's pretty aggressive he's violent he's yelled at waiters he's you know thrown things at the guy behind the counter at the movie theater because he didn't get enough popcorn and he was you know viciously beaten as a child he has head injuries like whatever it is that would i would be like well it may not be the wisest thing to to date him and we would sort of We go through all of that, and we go through her susceptibility to men like that based on her own history and so on, right?
Now, of course, if she calls me or someone like me, and she says, my boyfriend is breaking into my house, he has a gun, and he says he's going to kill me, I can't do anything.
So philosophy is about prevention, not cure. But the immediacy of coercion lends people to be more likely to be desperate for immediate cures at the expense of future peace.

The Flawed Belief That Most People Are Idiots

[24:40] So, when he says that religion is superior to philosophy because most people are idiots and can't understand philosophy, well, I don't believe that most people are idiots.
I believe that most people, these days in particular, are amoral advantage seekers.
And one of the ways that you gain great advantage in modern society is to pretend to be moral.
To pretend to take the latest NPC thing and put it on your bio on social media and to say all the right things and to not ever say the wrong things.
One of the ways that corruption is rewarded, highly rewarded.
Corruption is highly rewarded these days.
And integrity, honesty, virtue, truth, and science are all viciously punished.

[25:35] Has been so constituted as the old argument that the devil runs the world the world has been so constituted that the corrupt flourish and the honest are banished this is an old it's an old story it's an old story i don't believe that people are idiots i don't believe that people are idiots because if people are idiots why are they all doing the same thing right why are they They're all doing, if people were idiots, they'd be behaving randomly.
They're not. They're clearly understanding what is necessary to at least survive, if not flourish, in a material sense.

[26:16] And they're doing that. So they're not idiots.
When you pass a law, people change their behavior. They're not idiots.
When you raise taxes, people pay the additional taxes. I mean, for the most part, they're not idiots.
Do what is necessary to survive. You could say that's a kind of cunning or whatever, but that is, so they're not idiots.
So, do people need moral stories in order to be good?
Well, I do believe that moral stories, let's say heaven and hell, that they will change people's behavior.
But the problem is it guarantees future immorality by setting up a punishment and reward system that then is inflicted upon children. So that's a problem. Very big.

The Impact of Success on Religious Morality

[27:04] And of course, the religious stories are easy to combat through material bribery.
Morality survives on scarcity and limitation. I mean, story-based morality survives on scarcity and limitation.

[27:21] The problem is that when a society becomes successful, it can use the power of the state to redistribute income, which removes scarcity from people, therefore it removes their need for morality from a story sense, and therefore they become agnostic, atheist, materialist, spiritualist, whatever, mystical, and they don't believe in the religious injunctions.
They don't believe in the religious morality anymore.
Of course, we can see this, I hope I don't need to prove that to you, just look around the world, right?
So there's always an exit ramp to this kind of stuff.
So if you say idiots can't understand philosophy the world is mostly idiots even if we were to accept that philosophy makes people wiser and you don't need to be brilliant to understand philosophy i've talked about philosophy with with my daughter when she was very little and you know obviously she's smarter than the average bear but it wasn't brilliant when she was two or three years old right so i mean no one is i think and i've done the abcs of upb philosophy for, kids that you can get that at just do a search for that and yeah i've talked to people of average to even below average intelligence about philosophy over the course of my life and And I've not noticed any particular barrier to the transmission of reasonable ideas.

[28:44] I mean, if people were too dumb to reason, they couldn't survive, right?
So you just have to find a way to hook into the empirical wisdom or reason that keeps them alive and transmit that way.
So this question then, of course, is when he says, in reality, conscience and free will clearly exist.

The Questionable Existence of Conscience and Free Will

[29:04] The problem here is the word clearly, right? So the problem is the word clearly.
And the other problem is the word exists. Two other problems are with conscience and free will, which are undefined, right?
So he says, in reality, conscience and free will clearly exist.
So that's sophistry, right? In reality primes you to think of things that are real. Conscience and free will clearly exist.
Clearly insofar as it's self-evident. It's self-evident.
Or it would be a self-detonating statement to deny that they exist, right?
So if I say words have no meaning, I've used words to communicate meaning, saying that words have no meaning, that's a self-detonating argument, right?
If I talk to you and say you don't exist, well, if you don't exist, why would I be talking to you? That would make no sense.
If I say that the senses don't have the capacity to transmit information, but the only way I can communicate this to you is through the senses, right? We can't mind-merge.
Therefore, I'm using the senses to transmit information to say that the senses cannot transmit information.
So that would be a self-detonating statement. So what he's saying, I think, he's not making the case, but he's saying that to deny the existence of conscience and free will is a self-contradictory statement.
But that's not a self-detonating statement in and of itself. Now.

[30:26] The conscience but i assume that he would say that the conscience is that which makes you uneasy when you go against morality now we could say that the conscience is that which makes you uneasy, when you go against your moral values or you go against some npc script or something like that but that would just be fear of consequences right people want to tell the truth they're just frightened to tell the truth, fear of consequences.
So that would be fear of punishment, not really conscience.
Fear of external punishment. Conscience is the internal punishment, right? The Macbeth stuffy can't sleep after he kills the king.
So conscience is the internal suffering that occurs when you violate moral rules.
Now, of course, for Christianity, other religions, it would be when you violate the Ten Commandments, God's moral rules, and so on.
For my approach to philosophy, it would be that the conscience is that which makes you uneasy when you violate a standard you exist which is upb which is upb so if you're a thief you want property rights for yourself but you violate the property rights of others so that's you you both affirm property rights and deny property rights and those kinds of contradictions are just they create a tangle and an unhappy area of your mind.

Conscience and Free Will Exist, Sociopaths as Counterexample

[31:48] So conscience and free will clearly exist. Well, the conscience.
But if you say that the conscience is the internal uneasiness that people have when they violate God's moral rules, well, that's, I mean, there are without a doubt.
I mean, this is not even my theory. I mean, there is like 1% to 2% of people in the world, or at least in the West, are sociopaths.

[32:09] Seem to experience any uneasiness they fear consequences right but they don't experience any internal uneasiness for the violation of moral rules they have become traumatized and fragmented to the point where will and action and effect and success are the only things they value and they don't seem to i mean at least by all tests by all reports like you show normal people horrifying scenes of torture and they recoil their blood pressure goes up the cortisol is to release adrenaline fight or flight the whole thing right you show people without a conscience sees things that doesn't bother them at all the blood pressure doesn't go out it doesn't doesn't bother them so that's sort of a a reality does free will exist well i don't know what he means by existence right it could be probably because because there is a soul and the soul contains free will and therefore sorry because the soul contains free will everyone has a soul therefore therefore everyone has free will, right? That would be the syllogism, right?
The soul has free will, everyone has a soul, therefore everyone has free will, right?

[33:11] Objects that exist contain matter, people are objects that exist, therefore people contain matter, right?
That's basic syllogism, right? And 100%, right?
But I don't know what free will, there's no definition of free will, and there's no proof of its existence.
There is also, of course, the problem that That there are certain classifications of personality disorders.
I mean, that there are people who have problems and there are people who are problems.
There are people who have disorders, like they are a functional person, but they have some anxiety or depression or whatever.
And then there are people whose personality is the disorder, borderline and sociopath and so on.

Lack of Free Will in Individuals without Ego Strength

[33:50] Impossible to cure or i don't know you say highly difficult because i'm sure there are exceptions but they don't seem to have the same sort of free will functioning or processing that other people have because they are their own standard they don't have the observing ego to compare proposed actions to ideal standards whatever they do is right whatever is best for them is the good and there is no other good that they can examine because they don't have the ego ego strength to view themselves from outside their own ego.
So the ego is the good, and therefore they have no free will.
If free will is our ability to compare proposed actions to ideal standards.

[34:27] Then we can accept that people without the ability to compare proposed actions to ideal standards don't have free will.
I mean, that's so logistic, right? If free will is our ability to compare proposed actions to ideal standards people who lack this ability don't have free will lack this capacity and i think we accept that in many ways i mean that's what prisons are for right prisons are for people who can't exercise the choice to not commit crime at least it's fairly certain that they will repeat right they don't they're not apologetic they don't have and they they talk about their desire to do it again they don't accept that anything they did is wrong and therefore you put them in prison because they don't they've demonstrated that they have no effective choice to, not be a criminal. They have no effective choice.
You know, they think it's cool, they want to join the gang again, they think that anybody who obeys the law is a sucker and prey to be exploited and, you know, they revel in their crimes and so on.
They have no practical choice to not commit crime.

[35:29] So, like, all they have is justifications, right? If you can invent your own justifications that everything you do is right, then you really don't have free will.
Because everything you do is right and good because you want to do it.
And I remember meeting a guy, just to give you an example of what I'm talking about.
And I try to, I mean, a lot of the stuff I talk about comes from sort of empirical experience.
I met a guy who was, he was making fun of a smoker, like, why, why, why would you smoke?
I mean, you're so, it's bad for you and, and it's, it's weak-willed and like, he was very superior, right?
And then later, I saw him, he was holding a cigarette, and he was opining to someone that smoking is fun, it's good for the brain, it's enjoyable as long as you don't go too far.
It's, you know, people who don't allow themselves any pleasure are stuck up and stifled and square and like all that kind of stuff, right?
So you see, he was superior when he was not smoking, and then he was superior when he was smoking.

[36:29] Everything he does is right he has no capacity really to compare proposed actions

Lack of Free Will in Intellectually Impaired Individuals

[36:34] to ideal standards because everything he does is right and if you define everything you do with right and good you have no uh no free will this is the ultimate hedonism right whatever gives me pleasure, so and of course if if you suffer it's got to be other people's fault other people like the only reason you would suffer in this mindset is that other people are bad so there are of course also people whose intelligence is so low and you know this is with great sympathy and and sorrow But there are people, it could be brain injuries, could be some sort of illness, it could be some problem with their upbringing, it could be something genetic.
So their intelligence is too low for abstractions.
Their intelligence is too low for abstractions, and they're not morally responsible.
And generally, they're taken care of by a compassionate society.
It's not their fault, right? right? I mean, some kid who gets, I don't know, meningitis or whatever, and it hits the brain and carves away chunks of their brain, and they're not left with much functioning.
So do they have a conscience? Do they have free will?
No, not really. And again, it's with great sympathy and so on, right?
So in reality, conscience, free will exist. I certainly accept that there are people who have a conscience and there are people who have free will.
It's not universal. And that That is not a theory, that is an established fact, or at least as established a fact as brain examinations can provide.

[37:54] That's the old, the stand, was it the stand? With Stephen King, where there was a guy who was mentally handicapped, and yet there was a part of him that was rational, and it was like, I'm God's character name, like I'm God's version of this character name.

[38:11] So, when he says conscience and free will exist, and they're embedded in the soul, I understand that.
I understand that the conscience is something that you would argue, I think, and of course I'm no theologian, but I would argue something like this, putting on my theological hat, and I would say that the conscience is maladaptive to individual survival because it involves self-sacrifice and it involves restraint of particular pleasures and so on, right?
So the fact that we have non-hedonistic aspects of our personality means that we have a conscience, and because it couldn't have evolved that way, it has to be implanted in there by God.
Now, of course, reciprocal altruism for genetically proximate groups, children and tribes and packs and gatherings and whatever, right, pods, self-sacrifice for the sake of genetic proximity is observed all over the place in nature.
So the idea that we wouldn't self-sacrifice without a conscience is not the case.
Or as a famous geneticist once said, you know, I would sacrifice myself for...
Children, half of my cousins, a quarter of my second cousin, like something like that, right?
I mean, it's sort of funny calculation about it's all sort of based upon genetic preferences.
So my argument would be that our conscience, in a sense, is the shadow cast by the value that rational empiricism has in our brains.

[39:38] Rational empiricism gives us tools, weapons, hunting, it gives us property rights, it gives us farming, agriculture.

[39:46] Technology, science, like it's all of these great things and so we can't deny the value of rational and universal empiricism and one of the shadows cast by the unarguable value in our minds of rational and universal empiricism is the conscience which says that our values which are so valuable must be rational and universal and therefore we will feel uneasy violating rational and universal standards i mean we would certainly feel uneasy violating rational and universal standards in the physical world right now i mean there's other than lemmings which is i think maybe somewhat of a myth i don't know but other than lemmings human beings or creatures in general don't run off the edge of cliffs so if you were to say well i really want to experience flying through this canyon now it's true that gravity has been universal and consistent throughout the course of my life but i'm going to give it a shot and see if i flap my arms hard enough whether i can just fly right so you wouldn't do well you would fall to severe injury and probably death right so thinking that the principles of matter and energy are not absolute and universal gets you killed and then once we find concepts and particular moral concepts to be of value then violating those is a shadow cast by the fact that we know that violating universal physical principles we have uneasiness even when when we contemplate violating universal physical principles.

[41:14] So a kid who burnt his hand in a fire.

[41:17] If he thinks of putting his hand in a fire again, he's going to feel uneasy because he knows fire is still going to burn and it's still going to injure him, it's still going to be painful, it's still going to be bad for him, could get an infection, could die, whatever.

The Evolution of Conscience and Morality

[41:27] So we have an uneasiness about violating universal physical properties and principles, and therefore we have, as the shadow cast by that, an uneasiness in violating all abstract principles, including morality.
So, I think that would be the conscience and that would have evolved.
So, we didn't evolve in a sense for morality, but morality is the inevitable consequence of us abstracting general principles of interacting with material reality for the sake of enhanced survival.
Yes, free will and conscience are valid things. We see them in society, valid concepts and so on. They're not universal.
And the problem is, of course, that if you say that conscience and free will exist because of the soul, the soul has no empirical evidence, and you can flourish by disbelieving in the soul, then people can wave away your moral arguments by waving away the mystical root of those arguments, right?
So if you say conscience and free will are in the soul, then someone can wave away these things, at least in their own mind, by waving away the concept of the soul.

[42:36] Of course, we see this in the modern world. People no longer believe in God as much, and therefore they have become moral relativists and subjectivists, and morality is used only as a tool of social control and enemy destruction, as has been the case for most of human history.
Morality was invented to punish dissent. It was not invented to pursue virtue, but to punish disobedience.
Usually to the ruling classes but to whoever right to parents of course you're a bad kid if you disobey your parents now just sort of to go back to the concept of how upb helps the world become more moral well of course the foundational argument for upb is about parenting well once people are already traumatized by decades of abuse and bribes and punishments and so on right then the chances of them becoming rational objective virtuous and logical i mean it's certainly there, but it's certainly lower.

UPB and its Application to Parenting

[43:25] But if you can convince parents, and certainly people before they become parents is even better, but if you convince parents that UPB applies to parenting, you don't initiate the use of force or fraud against your children.
You don't say things that aren't true, and you don't initiate the use of force, and part of the initiation of force would be threatening to abandon your children or neglecting your children because they can't survive without your attention.
So UPB applies to parenting, and through UPB applying to parenting, we prevent the creation of criminals and we prevent the creation of violent people as fewer and fewer violent people are present in society society has much less of a need for the reward punishment metric that characterizes a society that needs to restrain a lot of criminals right if you know it's the old story of like some little town called school it's not something some Some little town in Ireland prior to the murder. Some little town that's almost no crime.
There's almost no crime in there. I've actually lived in these communities.
There's almost no crime. It's wild.

[44:27] High crime environment, right? And so what do you do? Do you lock your doors?
No. Do you have alarm systems?
No. Do you have bars on the window? No. Do you have guns? Do you have, right?
Do you have emergency training for your family? Should criminals break into the house?
Can you keep valuables in your house? All of these things are true.
You don't lock your cars. You don't lock your doors. You can leave stuff lying around.
It's there when you get back. There's a high trust society, low crime society.
So you don't need countermeasures to crime when there's little to no crime.

[44:57] And the state is a big counter to measure to crime. So the way we outgrow the state is to reduce the prevalence of criminals. The way we do that is applying UPV to parenting, to childhood, right?
This is a case I've made before, but maybe you haven't heard it in a while.
So saying the world is idiots, full of dangerous idiots, and therefore we need the reward punishment metric of heaven and hell.
Well, it perpetuates a cycle because it validates infinite rewards, infinite punishments, which when translated to childhood, creates trauma, which produces more criminals.
So anyway i hope this helps i really you know it's a great a great email and and thank you, the email comes from what's the big idea so and and that's great i really it's a great great concise heaven's sake what is this it took 10 seconds to read and 52 minutes to 53 minutes to look at but that's you know that's the response i want to talk about other things thank you so much of course for your questions comments and issues i look forward to your emails, and you can always email me at host at with questions and comments.

Ending Remarks and Invitation for Questions and Comments

[45:57] Thank you so much, everyone. Have a wonderful day. Lots of love.
I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

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May 2024

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