Friday, June 26, 2009

Thieves, Dreams, and Dawkins

My Weird Day

I went to the store to buy some provisions for my sick girlfriend. While in the produce isle, I spotted a elderly man putting what appeared to be produce in his jacket. In seeking some bullion, I also did some soul searching about my moral obligations.

With some quick typing on my quirty keyboard, I directed the checker to read my note, "I think the guy in the trench coat is stealing" The message was received, I payed for my groceries and left.

After caring for my girlfriend, I managed to purposefully pass by the store without peering in, but noticed a cop car parked in the corner. My walk home was filled with the contemplation of the old man's guilt and the driving force that motivated my reaction.

Later, I passed out for several hours. My dreams centered around having a broken neck and included night paralysis. A four hour affair.

My day ended with fighting with my roommate, cooking chicken noodle soup, then surfing the web. I watched a Richard Dawkins youtube video (my roommate is a rabid fan).


My roommate's description of Dawkins rivals an epiphany of logic. I can see how his thesis on neo-purpose (29:26) makes sense. My actions at the grocery store were morally driven and served a neo-purpose. Dawkins' goes on to say that neo-purpose may be subverted by virtue of it's flexibility.

One can argue the same is true of religion. It provides moral foundation to which people can realize their own neo-purpose in an environment that champions life. Of course, it can be a double-edged sword. Dawkins' decides to fault religion rather than look at it objectively. I regard it as painfully biased and unscientific.

I don't disagree with his model, but he asks that I forsake religion. Why is that necessary? Dawkins' says to me, my way describes life as without purpose. By the way, cast aside your God/religion.

I can prescribe to Dawkins' description of human evolution. However, it does not offer me values, or the fortitude to defend those values. I become the indifferent shopper. I might turn you in if I feel your stealing with change the price of my goods. That's ass-backwards to me.

1 comment:

BlindRadio said...

What's ass backward is turning in an ELDERLY man for stealing PRODUCE, simply because you feel his act affects how much you pay for your groceries. More so, if you really objected so much, why wouldn't you approach the thief as opposed to sheepishly signing it to the cashier. What if that ELDERLY man was unable to afford all his groceries, and produce was an easy thing to pocket. Or he was simply using his pockets until getting to the register. I'm not saying stealing is justified, but I never want to be in a position, where I am making moral judgments based on economic factors. (You mention moral motivation, but then comment on the cost to you in your conclusion)

Furthermore, I disagree with your understanding of neo-purpose, which applies to 'objects created' specifically for a purpose or function, as opposed to archeo-purpose which (from my understanding) is an attempt to attribute metaphysical purpose, such as for life to things.

How can you apply the concept of Purpose to an action? Actions can be motivated, but there is no object to attribute purpose to.

When Dawkins references neo-purpose being subverted, he is referring to how a tool with one purpose can have a new purpose discovered, which in time becomes subverted whereby the new use is considered its original purpose. (Cappuccino makers being used to make lattes or hot chocolate for the first time)

I agree that religion can provide moral guidance, however it is not necessary for that same morality to evolve without religion.

More so if any other idea or concept, outside religion/ faith based beliefs, had caused as much damage throughout history as religion has. As a society, we would work to discard this value. However, in the case of religion, the discarding of these, at times fear mongering, beliefs is considered wrong, because 'god has said so.'

So while religion does not have to be discarded, which is where Dawkins and I differ, how much benefit it serves our society on the whole is definitely debatable.

Very well thought out, but I'm not a fan of the morality taught by your faith.