What Makes Human Beings Special?

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What Makes Human Beings Special?

#1

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:08 am

What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#2

Post by RickD » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:44 am

Human value is subjective.


Value only exists in the human mind.

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#3

Post by Kenny » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:49 am

Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
If you asked me whose life is more valuable; my brother’s, or yours; I could claim that all humans are equal, but my reaction of harm done to my brother vs my reaction of harm done to you would expose this claim as untrue. The fact is, because I have built an emotional relationship with my brother that I have not with you means I find my brother’s life more valuable than I do your own; even though I doubt your sibling would agree.

If you ask me whose life I believe is more valuable; a fellow human I have not met vs a dog I have never met, because I have an emotional relationship with a fellow human that I do not have with a dog means I find my fellow human’s life more valuable; even though I doubt my dog would agree.

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#4

Post by Hortator » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:44 pm

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Nothing, we are an ugly bag of mostly H20 hurdling through space on a rock whose existence is a biological and astronomical mistake. Image

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#5

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:37 pm

Kenny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
If you asked me whose life is more valuable; my brother’s, or yours; I could claim that all humans are equal, but my reaction of harm done to my brother vs my reaction of harm done to you would expose this claim as untrue. The fact is, because I have built an emotional relationship with my brother that I have not with you means I find my brother’s life more valuable than I do your own; even though I doubt your sibling would agree.

If you ask me whose life I believe is more valuable; a fellow human I have not met vs a dog I have never met, because I have an emotional relationship with a fellow human that I do not have with a dog means I find my fellow human’s life more valuable; even though I doubt my dog would agree.
Thanks Kenny, for the thoughtful response.

I doubt you'd disagree with then, obviously, that the value you place on humans is subjective to yourself? Further, it doesn't appear rationally grounded, but emotionally so and based upon your sentiment and feelings in relationship. I'd encourage you to explore why you are intrinsically wired to feel such ways, that human lives do have value, for the significance of such I think is lost on many who do not believe in God.

As for myself, I believe all human life has value because God loves and values each of us. We value other human life because God has implanted His values in us, which are more or less embraced over the course of our lives. Obviously, we love some more than others, but as you allude to we also realise if we're taken out of the picture that no other human has the right to harm another because they have intrinsic value, that is, value that is innately had. Such provides a rational grounding that isn't based upon a value as fickle as being dependant upon one or more human lives, but an immovable and unshifting value.

I don't expect us to agree obviously, since we have different views of the world. You presented how human value works in your worldview. I'm merely here presenting how human value is had within my own Christan worldview. At the end of the day, I feel it satisfies much of what I, what we, intuitively and emotionally seem to believe, so it seem most suitable and practical to not constradict such with my beliefs hence my belief in God.
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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#6

Post by Nils » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:28 pm

Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
Kurieuo,
I try to understand why you think it is difficult to see how human value is grounded on a materialistic world view. To me it is simple. I value myself. I value my relatives, my friends and most persons I know. Besides those emotional feelings I intellectually can figure out that if I want to live in a society that is good to me and my offspring, now and in the future, it is important to support a moral that emphasises that all humans have equal value. Do I need to explain why that is important?

The view that human have equal value is thus a human convention and is expressed in different national documents as well in the UN declaration of human rights. Some think that it is based religious doctrines but it can also be based on rational reflections about which values are important to get a good society.
Nils

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#7

Post by Nils » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:37 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
If you asked me whose life is more valuable; my brother’s, or yours; I could claim that all humans are equal, but my reaction of harm done to my brother vs my reaction of harm done to you would expose this claim as untrue. The fact is, because I have built an emotional relationship with my brother that I have not with you means I find my brother’s life more valuable than I do your own; even though I doubt your sibling would agree.

If you ask me whose life I believe is more valuable; a fellow human I have not met vs a dog I have never met, because I have an emotional relationship with a fellow human that I do not have with a dog means I find my fellow human’s life more valuable; even though I doubt my dog would agree.
Thanks Kenny, for the thoughtful response.

I doubt you'd disagree with then, obviously, that the value you place on humans is subjective to yourself? Further, it doesn't appear rationally grounded, but emotionally so and based upon your sentiment and feelings in relationship. I'd encourage you to explore why you are intrinsically wired to feel such ways, that human lives do have value, for the significance of such I think is lost on many who do not believe in God.
I think I have similar sentiments as Ken, like most humans. The reason why we have these sentiments is that they are beneficial to individuals that live in groups and accordingly favoured by evolution. With our rationality we can widen the scope further, beyond what evolutions has achieved.
As for myself, I believe all human life has value because God loves and values each of us. We value other human life because God has implanted His values in us, which are more or less embraced over the course of our lives. Obviously, we love some more than others, but as you allude to we also realise if we're taken out of the picture that no other human has the right to harm another because they have intrinsic value, that is, value that is innately had. Such provides a rational grounding that isn't based upon a value as fickle as being dependant upon one or more human lives, but an immovable and unshifting value.
Even if the value I am talking about is subjective, that doesn't mean that it is fickle or capricious. On the contrary, it is based on feelings that are supported by evolution and on solid theorising and social experiments (history) on what's best for a society, i.e. humans that live in a society.
I don't expect us to agree obviously, since we have different views of the world. You presented how human value works in your worldview. I'm merely here presenting how human value is had within my own Christan worldview. At the end of the day, I feel it satisfies much of what I, what we, intuitively and emotionally seem to believe, so it seem most suitable and practical to not constradict such with my beliefs hence my belief in God.
I understand that you, because you believe in God, are satisfied with a god-based value. I also, being a materialist, am satisfied by a value that is human based, because I think that is based in evolution, history, and reason.

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#8

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:06 pm

Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
Kurieuo,
I try to understand why you think it is difficult to see how human value is grounded on a materialistic world view. To me it is simple. I value myself. I value my relatives, my friends and most persons I know. Besides those emotional feelings I intellectually can figure out that if I want to live in a society that is good to me and my offspring, now and in the future, it is important to support a moral that emphasises that all humans have equal value. Do I need to explain why that is important?

The view that human have equal value is thus a human convention and is expressed in different national documents as well in the UN declaration of human rights. Some think that it is based religious doctrines but it can also be based on rational reflections about which values are important to get a good society.
Nils
Nils, I don't buy your grounding for human value, sorry.

First, the value I was getting at which I elaborated upon in my response to Kenny that you also responded to, was intrinsic value. Your responses confuse intrinsic human value somewhat with extrinsic.

Second, there are better secular responses that attempt to deal with this issue more seriously, particularly in the prolife scene (for example, read over this discourse to see it isn't so simple as you make out). Clearly, they provide more elaborate and sophisticated responses for treating human life as valuable, intrinsically so.

Yet, I've never seen the intrinsic value we all tend to attach to human life properly grounded in a secular worldview, I don't believe it can be. It is something often just accepted de facto, that is, without rational justication.
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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#9

Post by Nils » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:33 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:What makes human beings special? I'm not talking as in our higher intelligence or the like, but rather valuable.

Morality is often discussed here on the board, but it seems a question like this is often skirted around. As I see, the answer to this question forms a basis to a morality we hold to for human beings. For, if humans are not valuable, human life is insignificant, then it can be taken for any reason.

I dare say noone at this board Christian or otherwise believes there is nothing wrong with any or all human life being snuffed out. We might differ on when it is acceptable for human life to be taken (i.e., inutero, very elderly or sick), but at some point I expect we all draw a moral line and consider human life valuable. So then what gives human life value that we ought to respect it?

Being Christian, I can anticipate the Christian response. However, from a non-Christian more Atheistic leaning view of the world, it seems to me rather difficult to ground human value.
Kurieuo,
I try to understand why you think it is difficult to see how human value is grounded on a materialistic world view. To me it is simple. I value myself. I value my relatives, my friends and most persons I know. Besides those emotional feelings I intellectually can figure out that if I want to live in a society that is good to me and my offspring, now and in the future, it is important to support a moral that emphasises that all humans have equal value. Do I need to explain why that is important?

The view that human have equal value is thus a human convention and is expressed in different national documents as well in the UN declaration of human rights. Some think that it is based religious doctrines but it can also be based on rational reflections about which values are important to get a good society.
Nils
Nils, I don't buy your grounding for human value, sorry.

First, the value I was getting at which I elaborated upon in my response to Kenny that you also responded to, was intrinsic value. Your responses confuse intrinsic human value somewhat with extrinsic.
Yes, in some way. See below.

Second, there are better secular responses that attempt to deal with this issue more seriously, particularly in the prolife scene (for example, read over this discourse to see it isn't so simple as you make out). Clearly, they provide more elaborate and sophisticated responses for treating human life as valuable, intrinsically so.
The philosophy of intrinsic and extrinsic value, especially related to morality, is a very complex matter and I know I should do much more reading to be able to align my view with the different philosophical discussion. I am leaning towards pragmatism and Koorsgaard but this is only prelminarily.
Concerning prolife I have a quite different view than you seem to have, but let us leave that now.

To start with you view. You say you have intuitions and feelings that every human has an intrinsic value - (that is not dependent of any instrumental use). You believe in God and you also say that God loves all humans and that gives them an intrinsic value. Now, if there is no God but one human that loves all other humans, does that give all humans an intrinsic value? You may say that there is no such human but even it there is none (we don't know) does that really matter? The intrinsic value can't depend on the existence of one specific (all loving) human. So it seems that defining intrinsic by being loved is shallow, more or less ad hoc.

I have a materialistic world vies as you know. Therefore my view is that we create intrinsic values - we attach the value of intrinsicality to a person. We do that because we think that a necessary condition for a welfare society is that persons are held valuable per se. Compare this with J. L. Mackie's slogan: Inventing right and wrong. That a human being is objectively intrinsic valuable I find as queer at the idea that a human being is objectively moral responsible. Without a society and culture there is no intrinsicality. How could it be? During the evolution, when did that property occur and why? It is difficult to assume that it occurred gradually and equally difficult to understand how it could occur momentarily to all humans. (I'm talking from a secular point of view).
Yet, I've never seen the intrinsic value we all tend to attach to human life properly grounded in a secular worldview, I don't believe it can be. It is something often just accepted de facto, that is, without rational justication.
That is to a large extent dependent on what you mean by "rational justification" (and by "intrinsic value"). What are the criteria for "rational justification"? I can't find a better rationality than to implement the values of human dignity and intrinsic value.

Much more could be said but I stop here

Nils

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#10

Post by Nessa » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:58 pm

The fact we can ask his question makes us special

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#11

Post by Blessed » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:45 am

Your value to others.
Your gifts (parable of the talents) and way you make other people feel.

Dare say my value to others is limited and the rest is sorely lacking. I am not special. The only person who thinks I'm special is my mommy.
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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#12

Post by Nessa » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:03 pm

The parable of the lost sheep....

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#13

Post by RickD » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:17 pm

Blessed wrote:
The only person who thinks I'm special is my mommy.
What about that cute blonde college student with the bubble butt?

:esurprised:
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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#14

Post by RickD » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:18 pm

Nessa wrote:The parable of the lost sheep....
Enough with the kiwi sheep jokes.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: What Makes Human Beings Special?

#15

Post by Nessa » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:23 am

RickD wrote:
Nessa wrote:The parable of the lost sheep....
Enough with the kiwi sheep jokes.
I can almost time your jokes by my watch.... 1..2..3... and he replies...

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