If we agree there is a reality, then surely your sensory input has no bearing on the objective truth of that reality... I do not give credence to the idea that reality does not exist
But why do you not give credence to the idea that reality does not exist. For example you cannot prove that reality is real or not real, so an agnostic approach to the reality of reality should be the most reasonable?
Don't get me wrong, I'm with you, I believe reality is real. But you have to have reasons for why you believe this? For example I think therefore I am is, when you think about it, quite profound. If you were not, could you think that you were?
For me many data points all point in the direction that reality is real but the majority of my reasons boil down to Occam's razor or the above quote from Descartes.
Also I would say sensory input is as a result of reality. If reality were different then sensory input would likewise be different. Evolution has seen to this because it has selected (via natural selection) organisms who's sensors and comprehension is closer to reality on the level in which they operate. For example quantum mechanics is incomprehensible (currently), no one knows how it works they just know that it does. It is logical that our brains would struggle to understand quantum mechanics as it is at a level we don't experience directly. It is also pretty amazing, to me, that we are so adaptable that we can chip away at such understanding and come up with practical results (ie your computer wouldn't exist without quantum mechanics).
whereby the implementation of our values is separated from the values themselves. We cannot measure the actual values
If there is no objective 'right' then yes all goals are equal. And we agreed there is no objective 'right' so therefore all goals are equal. But I want to make two points.
1. Your goals are not equal to yourself. All outcomes are not equal to yourself. For example you could argue philosophically that all experience is the same, if you are in a prisoner of war camp or living with your family it's all the same. Personally I don't buy into that, but you might?
2. Goals can be selected against via natural selection. This does not make them 'wrong' but it does make them not exist. So it is possible to measure goals against outcomes. Granted you can say well to exist or not to exist it's all the same objectively (not subjectively of course) and I agree. But still at the end of the day if you don't exist then, while there is nothing 'wrong' with that, you aren't in a position to argue right or wrong.
because we are not necessarily dealing with a goal which leads to another goal in a casual manner which can be measured by science. These are goals where the only causality is personal interpretation, goals that are important without reason and measurements
Can you give me some examples of said goals?
This is where some people start to feel the need to elevate their view above others using what means possible, reject the causal link that surely exists for some between bullying and their personal satisfaction. Or to force their prioritisation of things on others, using philosophical arguments like "if everyone did that then it wouldn't be sustainable" or whatever crap people spout.
But we have already agreed that it is perfectly reasonable to defend your own interests? It's totally valid for me to criticise behaviour which I believe to be harmful to my goals? I just can't claim an objective truth.
Demonising behaviour that deviates from your priorities, discrediting methodologies that require things you disagree with and so on? Talking about a rational person who thinks for himself as being also kind, empathetic and essentially ideal? Speaking about someone who would destroy the world as deranged and misguided in a hypothetical
If there is no objective right or wrong then I can't demonise people objectively. I can certainly discredit them though from a subjective view? I said someone might be misguided or damaged or unhappy and you see that as demonisation? If being unhappy is the same as being happy then it isn't demonising someone to say they are unhappy.
And yes I believe that a person who thinks for themselves is more likely (note more likely, not certain) to come to outcomes which I would generally approve of. Again this is not unreasonable of me, by your own arguments. I also believe that many people doing things which I would generally disagree with are indeed damaged in various ways. For example I had a good friend, when I was 10, whose parent was abusive to him. He did not grow up to be a well adjusted happy person. Now of course you can argue a free thinking, happy individual is the same as physiologically damaged unhappy person. My only argument is that they are not the same to themselves.
you are asserting that my goal as a human is to have my needs/wants met and you have no basis for this, that is a matter of free will.
But real life goals are complex. As you pointed out you may highly endanger your life to achieve a goal you feel is more important to you. In the case of war for example you are endangering your life in order to paradoxically save your life (and the lives of your loved ones).
Regarding needs/want/free will/value, call it what you will. If you are an unconscious robot (and to some extent we all are, Sam Harris for example argues we are 100% robots and free will is an illusion, an argument I don't buy into) then needs/wants/value doesn't come into it. So it is only to the extent that you have free will that you can apportion value to goals. This is by no means straightforward as the biggest motivators for actions are emotions (which are not conscious). In the end it's a hard to distinguish mess even if you do believe there is free will.
So certain needs you can't psychologically ignore. For example you could decide to starve yourself to death. Now this is a possible thing to do, but it's hard and not everyone could do it. Same goes for many and varied things, food, warmth, love, sex etc. So it would be better to describe a human as an unconscious need machine with a sliver of free will and consciousness able to partially steer the boat.
So the question remains as to what that free will 'wants'. Now when I say your goal is your wants, what I mean is that you want what you want. I don't know how it could be otherwise. To me this describes humans well, but I am open to differences of opinion?
a lie can be useful. In practical terms, we must make our own judgements on the matter.
I already agreed with that. My point was that in general it is better to be closer to the truth than further away from the truth (this is not the same thing as lying). For example if you know the truth will get you killed then it's better to lie. My point is that you have to know when a lie is of benefit, in order to know that then you must know the truth.
much of what you said contradicts my own understanding and without evidence, it is difficult to take seriously.
Please be more specific. I confess to not being an expert, but I don't believe I have said anything that goes against the biological consensus (although I likely expressed it badly). We have already agreed that it is better to be closer to the truth than further away if your goal is survival (that was my number one point). Now I never once said our goal 'should' be survival. All I said is that if it isn't then that will likely effect your chances of survival and hence your chances of existence. By which I return to my earlier point that we are a product of our environment (or a product of reality).
I am saying that many variables exist in evolution such as natural selection and free will
I am not sure why you categorise free will and natural selection in this manner. For example you have the free will to jump off a cliff and this would naturally select against that kind of implementation of free will. It is not a case of either/or?
All actions regarding my will are of my own volition
I am not convinced. There is an interesting book called the psychology of persuasion which talks about unconscious influence. Take for example the famous parable of the sour grapes, this is an example of something who didn't achieve what they wanted then deciding that they did not in fact want it. Sour grapes works both ways (I call in sweet grapes) as in you get something you don't want but you then decide you do want it.
Also to be somewhat more complex. As I understand the way our brain works when you think things neural pathways are created. Once created it becomes easier to think the same thing and harder to think of something else. Hence the extreme difficulty of changing ones mind. Now for example my wife has been brought up believing that cold weather causes colds. This is a common belief. Of course it's wrong in all but the most superficial way. Germs cause colds, and cold weather can increase the life span of germs on things like door handles. But even though the germ theory is a scientifically recognised fact my wife still doesn't believe it is true, she can't shake the beliefs she was brought up with (and she is far from alone in this). So let us imagine that logically she agreed and decided (using free will) to change her mind. This is a non trivial task, her neural pathways are all setup to believe one thing so she must (not consciously of course) create new pathways and stop using the old ones.
So long story short, I don't agree that we are entirely free no.
To give another (perhaps silly example) I had a waking dream some time ago. I decided to jump off of a tall building because it seemed like a good opportunity to do so. I then stepped to the edge of the tall building (it being a dream there was instantly one there). I could then not jump off because I was afraid. In real life this happens too, we don't know how we will react in extreme circumstances. Would you jump into the sea to save a child, you might like to think so but in reality maybe you couldn't. Likewise each time it happened again you still wouldn't 'know' what you could or couldn't do, regardless of what you wish you could do.
I believe that we like to think of ourselves as individuals, but I'm not convinced really. I think we are more like a collective. Sometimes we can 'beat' our nature and sometimes we do not. And we cannot perfectly predict when we can't or when we can. We do not perfectly know ourselves, indeed it is quite easy to somewhat grasp schizophrenia by simply thinking very hard about the strangers in your head.
Unknown means unknown.