What does “moral responsibility” have to do with the development and function of Hitler’s brain?

MissingChurchill has made a comment on Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins on Free Will: Monday, June 7, 2010 3:59 PM

The “second kind of behavior” is far more complex, less predictable, engages more of the brain, incorporates information, and predicts consequences.

However, on the athiest view, the “second kind of behavior”–despite being “more complex”–is JUST AS physically determined as a reflex. Physical determinism, however complex the factors, absolutely undermines the notions of rationality and moral responsibility.

So much for attacking the religious as morally or intellectually inferior.
UnseenStrings replied: Most atheists are just as screwy as most religious folk when it comes to the notion of free will. Just because the atheist has developed a skeptical view in regard to the wild and sometimes crazy claims concerning supernatural beings does not mean the average atheist is skeptical concerning the religious Dogma of Free Will. Of course, there are physical explanations this phenomena occurs. It doesn’t happen by magic

There are physical explanations “more complex” behaviors occur too. No magic!

Also, you’ve engaged in an oversimplification and exaggeration fallacy. The processes of the eyes are just as physical as is a reflex too. But so what? A computer with it’s purely physical non-biological systems can be designed to solve problems and choose between options. Nothing non-physical/magical happens when the computations and problem solving are done by a biological computer of sorts. And “moral responsibility” is an idiotic term for explaining physical processes. It only adds confusion

And oh MissingChurchill, it would be the epitome of stupidity to claim religious folk are morally or intellectually inferior when one is not ignorant to the fact of psychological causality. One would realize that much intelligence can be wasted in ignorance when the need for illusion is great, but intelligence exists. One would realize that morals are herd phenomena determined by the sentiments of the masses and the pressures of peers. Herd expectations (morals) would exist without any holy book
MissingChurchill has made a comment on Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins on Free Will: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:30 AM


We agree then.

You said, “It would be the epitome of stupidity to claim religious folk are morally or intellectually inferior when one is not ignorant to the fact of psychological causality.”

My point exactly. We need only then insert names…like “Dawkins” for example…the epitome of stupidity.

But then again, “Dawkins” has no control of his physically determined stupidity. It would be like holding him responsible for the size of his nose.
UnseenStrings replied: Well, MissingChurchill, in the “Free Will for Dummies” video I did accuse Richard of being a hypocrite, and I guess hypocrisy is a form of stupidity. Richard had a word he liked better. He called it inconsistent. And of course, a hypocrite is certainly inconsistent. But I felt that if we called inconsistent believers “hypocrites” then we ought to call our inconsistencies, “hypocrisies” too.

Define Richard and define the physically determined aspects of himself and tell me how they differentiate?

Do you suppose that brain cells have little souls and as the cells die, the tiny souls go to heaven or hell? Is that your explanation of Alzheimer’s disease? Why does the functions and health of the supposed nonphysical “mind” directly correlate to the health and function of the physical brain? Could a computer have control over it’s “physically determined stupidity” but a biological brain not have such control, or vice versa? Can a computer EVER be designed that could match human intelligence?

Yes, MissingChurchill, holding Richard responsible for the mindset he developed would be equivalent to holding him responsible for the size of his nose. Paul-Henri Thiry (Baron) d’Holbach (8Dec1723–21Jan1789) pointed this out in his work titled, “The System of Nature” back in 1770, which is available for free on the Internet if you care to search. In fact, as previously stated, so called “moral responsibility” is nothing more than than herd/pack/group expectations and the instinct to conform.
MissingChurchill has made a comment on Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins on Free Will: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 9:39 AM


I really have no argument with YOU other than that physical determinism leads to absurdities that I (and most people) do not accept (e.g. Hitler was no more responsible for the holocuast than he was for the color of his mustache). While YOU claim to accept those implications, most atheists I’ve encountered do NOT.

But we seem to agree on my point that atheism itself refutes the choice weapon of most “new atheists” (i.e. claiming moral/intellectual superiority).
UnseenStrings replied: No. You see, atheism is merely the disbelief in a god, nothing else. Some atheists believe in life after death. Some believe in reincarnation. Some believe in spirits and ghosts. Some are capitalists, some communists. Quite a few believe in the religious Dogma of Free Will. And the religious person and atheist suffering from the illusion of free will tend to be judgmental, prejudiced, and feel intellectually superior to individuals who think differently, and morally superior to nonconformists.

Whereas the person who realize psychological causality is real tends not to be judgmental and prejudiced, nor to feel intellectually and morally superior. How can one feel intellectually and morally superior when one realizes the difference between himself and the other person is the result of necessary intellectual stimulation received during critical stages, the moral lessons learned, the nutritional needs met, and other factors that contribute to the individual’s psychological development?

Almost every religion has a version of the Golden Rule. The Dogma of Free Will circumvents that rule. The Dogma of Free Will is a justification to feel spiteful and morally superior. The Dogma of Free Will justifies hatred and bitterness. Yet, free will is an illusion. If you’d been born in Nazi Germany, you would have grown up to think and act pretty much like everyone else during that time and in that place. But you suppose and pretend differently because you believe in the Dogma of Free Will.
MissingChurchill has made a comment on Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins on Free Will: Thursday, June 10, 2010 11:12 AM

I agree with much of what you say. I would put it as Desmond Tutu does: “But for the grace of God, there go I.” I agree that I could have been born and raised in the Hitler-Jugend…where I differ is that I believe that EVEN IF I had been raised in the HJ, I would STILL be responsible for my actions in a way that I am NOT responsible for my hair color. I don’t deny physical and environment factors; I just don’t go as far as denying moral responsibility altogether.
UnseenStrings replied: Where I differ from you is I realize so called “moral responsibility” is irrelevant in regard to the genetic-environmental interaction that developed the individual’s brain to its existing neuroanatomy and chemo-physiological state. No one bitches and whines and moans and groans about moral responsibility when a brain damaged person commits a horrible act. Instead we lock him away to protect society and try to treat his ailment. Hitler’s behavior was just as causally determined as such a person.

In fact, Hitler was a social phenomena that probably developed partially as a result of the way Germany was treated after WWI. Come on, surely you are intelligent enough to see that Hitler came to power because he was saying what the masses wanted to hear. His perception was shared by the majority of the German People. Hitler didn’t grab The People by the throat and force them to do his bidding. He wanted to “straighten-up” Germany, get rid of the riftraff, and make it again a world superpower.

Here is a fact that can’t be overstressed: When parents blame their kids for “bad” thoughts and behavior, then the parents will tend to mentally and physically abuse the kids instead of looking for the root cause of the child’s maladjustment. When we suppose the individual is morally responsible for the development of the neuroanatomy and physiological chemistry of his brain, then we will be too ignorant to take steps to prevent the development of such individuals as Ted Bundy and Adolf Hitler.


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