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Raul
11-03-2016, 12:16 PM
The moral argument for God goes like this:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

As an atheist I think there are problems with both premises. But I primarily want to ask how Christians might defend the second premise. How do you know that morality is objective in the absolute sense? How did you arrive at that conclusion? I grant that there is a sense in which morality is objective, but in what sense is it objective? Is it objective in the absolute sense, similar to, say, the laws of physics or logic? Or is it objective in the sense that all other human constructs are objective, similar to traffic laws or the laws that govern various institutions? I am interested in both how you answer this question and how you arrived at that conclusion. Because as I observe morality, it seems very much to operate like a human construct, and very much not like an objective fact about reality. What other objective, absolute fact about reality is able to vary so widely depending on the moral framework constructed? Morality seems very much dependent on the subject, which is the very definition of subjective. So I hear Christians make the claim in the moral argument for God that morality is objective in the absolute sense, and I wonder how they support that claim, when everything we observe about morality seems to indicate otherwise.

Sparko
11-03-2016, 12:25 PM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

shunyadragon
11-03-2016, 12:44 PM
From the perspective of science morality is an evolutionary construct.

shunyadragon
11-03-2016, 12:49 PM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

Morality is neither subjective nor objective There are subject and objective attributes of morality as social and cultural constraints on behavior.

Sparko
11-03-2016, 12:58 PM
oh crap, shunya is here. The thread will now devolve into a mess of incomprehensible nonsense as he spews his esoteric hoogly googly nonsense and keeps repeating himself ad nauseum.

Jim B.
11-03-2016, 12:59 PM
The moral argument for God goes like this:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

As an atheist I think there are problems with both premises. But I primarily want to ask how Christians might defend the second premise. How do you know that morality is objective in the absolute sense? How did you arrive at that conclusion? I grant that there is a sense in which morality is objective, but in what sense is it objective? Is it objective in the absolute sense, similar to, say, the laws of physics or logic? Or is it objective in the sense that all other human constructs are objective, similar to traffic laws or the laws that govern various institutions? I am interested in both how you answer this question and how you arrived at that conclusion. Because as I observe morality, it seems very much to operate like a human construct, and very much not like an objective fact about reality. What other objective, absolute fact about reality is able to vary so widely depending on the moral framework constructed? Morality seems very much dependent on the subject, which is the very definition of subjective. So I hear Christians make the claim in the moral argument for God that morality is objective in the absolute sense, and I wonder how they support that claim, when everything we observe about morality seems to indicate otherwise.

I disagree with premise 1 even though I am a theist. You can be an atheist and a moral objectivist. They're not incompatible.

I would say morality is objective not in an absolute sense the way the laws of physics are absolute, but objective in that they're not the result of choice or opinion. Some things are intrinsically bad and other things are intrinsically good. To intentionally cause something intrinsically bad without promoting a greater good or preventing a greater evil would be morally bad. Morality is premised on human life, or something relevantly like human life, so in that sense it's not absolute.

Raul
11-03-2016, 01:14 PM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

I grant that a subjective morality creates certain problems, such as how we deal with situations where one person's moral actions negatively affect another person. It isn't easy trying to figure out how we resolve that kind of conflict. Some things simplify it, of course, such as certain common moral instincts that, generally speaking, we all have as humans. But still, it is not easy, and I can agree that it would be so much nicer if morality operated more like the laws of physics, which are demonstrably an objective fact about reality. But how do you demonstrate that this is the case? My point is that when we observe morality, it operates very much like we would expect for a human construct to operate, with people able to create their own moral frameworks at will.

So unless you can somehow demonstrate that morality is in fact objective, in spite of the fact that it operates just like we would expect a subjective reality to operate, then we are forced to do the hard work of thinking through how we live with this reality. It sounds like what you are essentially saying is that you don't like it. But what we prefer the nature of morality might be is irrelevant. Demonstrate that it is what you say it is, or admit that you can't and let's talk about how we deal with the difficulties that a subjective morality presents.

seer
11-03-2016, 01:19 PM
So unless you can somehow demonstrate that morality is in fact objective, in spite of the fact that it operates just like we would expect a subjective reality to operate, then we are forced to do the hard work of thinking through how we live with this reality.

Or morality operates exactly like we would expect with sin thrown into the mix.

Sparko
11-03-2016, 01:21 PM
I grant that a subjective morality creates certain problems, such as how we deal with situations where one person's moral actions negatively affect another person. It isn't easy trying to figure out how we resolve that kind of conflict. Some things simplify it, of course, such as certain common moral instincts that, generally speaking, we all have as humans. But still, it is not easy, and I can agree that it would be so much nicer if morality operated more like the laws of physics, which are demonstrably an objective fact about reality. But how do you demonstrate that this is the case? My point is that when we observe morality, it operates very much like we would expect for a human construct to operate, with people able to create their own moral frameworks at will.

So unless you can somehow demonstrate that morality is in fact objective, in spite of the fact that it operates just like we would expect a subjective reality to operate, then we are forced to do the hard work of thinking through how we live with this reality. It sounds like what you are essentially saying is that you don't like it. But what we prefer the nature of morality might be is irrelevant. Demonstrate that it is what you say it is, or admit that you can't and let's talk about how we deal with the difficulties that a subjective morality presents.

I didn't say it was one way or another did I? I just explained what objective morality is.


But ask yourself: WHY is something like eating babies for fun actually wrong?

Adrift
11-03-2016, 01:38 PM
WLC, as you probably know, deals with questions like these all of the time. Here's a link (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/our-grasp-of-objective-moral-values) where I think he helps answer the gist of the OP:

What you’re really asking, I think, is, “Why should I think that objective moral values exist rather than that evolution has made me believe in the illusion that there are objective moral values?” And the answer to that question is, “Because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.”

This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.

That’s not to say that our senses don’t sometimes deceive us or that some people don’t have physical impairments that prevent them from accurately apprehending the world. But that doesn’t justify total scepticism about the veridicality of my senses. Analogously, our moral sense is not infallible, and in some people, like the Nazis, it is terribly twisted and blunted. But that’s no justification for general moral scepticism.

Now, of course, the objector’s claim here will be that we’ve got good evidence that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral perceptions and so gives us a good reason to doubt the deliverances of our moral sense. But is that true? Two issues arise with respect to this claim.

First, to infer that because evolution has programmed us to believe in certain values, therefore those values are not objective is a logical fallacy. This was the point I made in the article against Michael Ruse...

He goes on, of course, and it's well worth reading if you really are curious about this topic. Unfortunately over the years I've simply read too many skeptics who are not actually interested in answers, but only in asking questions. I imagine this is more of the same.

Raul
11-03-2016, 01:48 PM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

Also, the only way an absolute standard is required in order for the atheist to be justified in condemning the actions of Hitler, is if morality is indeed objective in nature. If, on the other hand, morality is subjective in nature, and operates similar to how other human constructs operate, then no absolute standard is required. This is why you must first demonstrate that morality is objective, because your critique of atheistic morality rests on that premise.

Raul
11-03-2016, 02:08 PM
I didn't say it was one way or another did I? I just explained what objective morality is.


But ask yourself: WHY is something like eating babies for fun actually wrong?

Actually wrong according to what standard? Because we understand the subjective nature of morality, and that people have the ability to create their own moral framework, then it goes without saying that to the person who doesn't value the life of innocent children it is right, and to the person that does value the life of innocent children it is wrong. Now how that works out in the real world is another question. What percentage of the human population actually eats babies, what the rest of the world thinks of that, what people who disagree with it are willing to do to stop it, how consistent it is with the predominant pro-social and empathetic moral intuition of human nature, and many other considerations are all factors that influence how subjective morality applies in this case. But if we're just talking about what we can demonstrate about the nature of morality, aside from the question of its application in the real world, then it depends on what moral framework you are judging the action by. Unless, of course, you can demonstrate otherwise, and that, in spite of everything we observe about how morality actually operates, it is objective in nature similar to the laws if physics or logic or mathematics.

shunyadragon
11-03-2016, 03:11 PM
oh crap, shunya is here. The thread will now devolve into a mess of incomprehensible nonsense as he spews his esoteric hoogly googly nonsense and keeps repeating himself ad nauseum.

No, just the facts you choose to ignore to justify your 'objective morality agenda.'

Raul made good points also.

Raul
11-03-2016, 05:59 PM
WLC, as you probably know, deals with questions like these all of the time. Here's a link (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/our-grasp-of-objective-moral-values) where I think he helps answer the gist of the OP:

What you’re really asking, I think, is, “Why should I think that objective moral values exist rather than that evolution has made me believe in the illusion that there are objective moral values?” And the answer to that question is, “Because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.”

This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.

That’s not to say that our senses don’t sometimes deceive us or that some people don’t have physical impairments that prevent them from accurately apprehending the world. But that doesn’t justify total scepticism about the veridicality of my senses. Analogously, our moral sense is not infallible, and in some people, like the Nazis, it is terribly twisted and blunted. But that’s no justification for general moral scepticism.

Now, of course, the objector’s claim here will be that we’ve got good evidence that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral perceptions and so gives us a good reason to doubt the deliverances of our moral sense. But is that true? Two issues arise with respect to this claim.

First, to infer that because evolution has programmed us to believe in certain values, therefore those values are not objective is a logical fallacy. This was the point I made in the article against Michael Ruse...

He goes on, of course, and it's well worth reading if you really are curious about this topic. Unfortunately over the years I've simply read too many skeptics who are not actually interested in answers, but only in asking questions. I imagine this is more of the same.

I actually am interested in answers. I want to know how Christians account for this. Here are some questions that might clarify what I'm looking for. What is it about subjective realities that make them them subjective realities? Does morality possess these characteristics? What is it about objective realities that make them objective realities? Does morality possess these characteristics?

Sparko
11-04-2016, 06:17 AM
Also, the only way an absolute standard is required in order for the atheist to be justified in condemning the actions of Hitler, is if morality is indeed objective in nature. If, on the other hand, morality is subjective in nature, and operates similar to how other human constructs operate, then no absolute standard is required. This is why you must first demonstrate that morality is objective, because your critique of atheistic morality rests on that premise.

again, you don't bother to read what I wrote and just assume I was arguing that morals are objective. I explained what objective morality is. I think Adrift is right. You seem to have some agenda here and don't really care what anyone writes, and just use whatever as a launching board for your next post. If you want a blog, I am sure you can find nice free blog sites elsewhere. This site is not a blog.

Sparko
11-04-2016, 06:22 AM
Actually wrong according to what standard? Because we understand the subjective nature of morality, and that people have the ability to create their own moral framework, then it goes without saying that to the person who doesn't value the life of innocent children it is right, and to the person that does value the life of innocent children it is wrong. Now how that works out in the real world is another question. What percentage of the human population actually eats babies, what the rest of the world thinks of that, what people who disagree with it are willing to do to stop it, how consistent it is with the predominant pro-social and empathetic moral intuition of human nature, and many other considerations are all factors that influence how subjective morality applies in this case. But if we're just talking about what we can demonstrate about the nature of morality, aside from the question of its application in the real world, then it depends on what moral framework you are judging the action by. Unless, of course, you can demonstrate otherwise, and that, in spite of everything we observe about how morality actually operates, it is objective in nature similar to the laws if physics or logic or mathematics.

so you think that if someone thinks eating babies is good, then it is good? If someone says murdering people by sending an airplane into a skyscraper is good, then it is good? That there is nothing that is objectively evil?

So if I came over to your house and decided to steal your car, you wouldn't have a problem with that because stealing is just fine according to me, being a pirate and all. You wouldn't even call the police because I did nothing objectively wrong, right?

Raul
11-04-2016, 10:11 AM
again, you don't bother to read what I wrote and just assume I was arguing that morals are objective. I explained what objective morality is. I think Adrift is right. You seem to have some agenda here and don't really care what anyone writes, and just use whatever as a launching board for your next post. If you want a blog, I am sure you can find nice free blog sites elsewhere. This site is not a blog.

You are trying to cast doubt on my integrity as a way of avoiding answering hard questions. Stick to the issues, and leave the psychoanalysis to the experts.

Carrikature
11-04-2016, 10:11 AM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

You're conflating subjective with relative. This reasoning is against relative, not subjective.

ETA: Raul appears to be doing the same thing.

Carrikature
11-04-2016, 10:14 AM
WLC, as you probably know, deals with questions like these all of the time. Here's a link (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/our-grasp-of-objective-moral-values) where I think he helps answer the gist of the OP:

What you’re really asking, I think, is, “Why should I think that objective moral values exist rather than that evolution has made me believe in the illusion that there are objective moral values?” And the answer to that question is, “Because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.”

This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.

That’s not to say that our senses don’t sometimes deceive us or that some people don’t have physical impairments that prevent them from accurately apprehending the world. But that doesn’t justify total scepticism about the veridicality of my senses. Analogously, our moral sense is not infallible, and in some people, like the Nazis, it is terribly twisted and blunted. But that’s no justification for general moral scepticism.

Now, of course, the objector’s claim here will be that we’ve got good evidence that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral perceptions and so gives us a good reason to doubt the deliverances of our moral sense. But is that true? Two issues arise with respect to this claim.

First, to infer that because evolution has programmed us to believe in certain values, therefore those values are not objective is a logical fallacy. This was the point I made in the article against Michael Ruse...

He goes on, of course, and it's well worth reading if you really are curious about this topic. Unfortunately over the years I've simply read too many skeptics who are not actually interested in answers, but only in asking questions. I imagine this is more of the same.

Unsurprising that his answer is effectively "because it's self-evident".

"The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp." Except it does. You don't 'clearly grasp' something when you can't eliminate the other options. That's not how it works. I can be justified in acting as if I'm not a body in the Matrix sans 'good reason', but that doesn't speak at all to the reality of my body being in the Matrix.

Sparko
11-04-2016, 10:23 AM
You are trying to cast doubt on my integrity as a way of avoiding answering hard questions. Stick to the issues, and leave the psychoanalysis to the experts.no I am just calling it like I see it. I didn't even post that I believe in objective morality, but merely explained it. Yet you challenged me to prove it to you. You either didn't bother to read my post, or just glanced at it and posted the next step in your "script"

You also seem to be antagonistic for no reason, right from the beginning.

I used to get into deep long debates with people like you, but then I found out that you really don't care, don't read, and don't learn. That I was wasting my time, so I said, "Life is to short to continue to argue with a brick wall. Move on"

so I am done here. Enjoy yourself though. Have fun, and I hope you do learn something. I will check back from time to time to see how things are going.

Sparko
11-04-2016, 10:25 AM
You're conflating subjective with relative. This reasoning is against relative, not subjective.

ETA: Raul appears to be doing the same thing.okay, 'splain it to me.

Raul
11-04-2016, 11:00 AM
so you think that if someone thinks eating babies is good, then it is good? If someone says murdering people by sending an airplane into a skyscraper is good, then it is good? That there is nothing that is objectively evil?

So if I came over to your house and decided to steal your car, you wouldn't have a problem with that because stealing is just fine according to me, being a pirate and all. You wouldn't even call the police because I did nothing objectively wrong, right?

If someone thinks eating babies is good, then, according to the moral framework they've created, it's good. That is just stating the obvious. The interesting thing is that someone can just as easily create a moral framework where eating babies is wrong. This is the nature of morality. People are able to shape it at will. This is not what we would expect if it were in fact an objective fact about reality similar to the laws of physics.

If you think I am mistaken about this then tell me what you think it is about objective realities (things like the laws of physics, math, and logic) that make them objective, and demonstrate that morality possesses these attributes. Also, tell me what you think it is about subjective realities and human constructs (things like traffic laws and the rules that govern various institutions) that make them subjective, and demonstrate that morality does not possess these attributes.

Now saying that I shouldn't have a problem with you coming over to my house and stealing my car, is to misunderstand how human constructs work. Let me ask you this. Would you consider it valid if a person got pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road, and then told the police officer that he shouldn't have a problem with what the man did because, after all, there is nothing objectively wrong with driving on the left side of the road? It's a rule we made up, a human construct. Of course not. The statement "It is wrong to drive on the left side of the road" is not some kind of objective fact about reality, and yet it is granted a kind of objectivity. This is because with human constructs (things like traffic laws), absolute standards are not required. I am entirely justified, then, in calling the police if you stole my car. It doesn't have to be wrong in the absolute sense, because that is just not how human constructs operate. With human constructs, rules take on a kind of objectivity, just not in the absolute sense. Now I admit that there are obvious differences between traffic laws and moral laws like saying it is wrong to eat babies. So not all human constructs are the same. One unique aspect about prohibitions against things like murder of the innocent and eating babies is that they have to do with such fundamental aspects of human nature like empathy and a sense of justice, so that when someone breaks those rules it evokes a different kind of response than something like driving on the wrong side of the road. So we can live and let live when it comes to the British driving on the left side of the road, but when someone like Hitler starts murdering innocent human beings, we go to war. This is because although both traffic laws and morality are human constructs, they impact different levels of human nature, so that we are compelled to do in the case of Hitler what we are not compelled to do in the case of the British driving on the left side of the road.

Sparko
11-04-2016, 11:30 AM
If someone thinks eating babies is good, then, according to the moral framework they've created, it's good. That is just stating the obvious. The interesting thing is that someone can just as easily create a moral framework where eating babies is wrong. This is the nature of morality. People are able to shape it at will. This is not what we would expect if it were in fact an objective fact about reality similar to the laws of physics. then there is no objective basis to stop someone from eating babies, or murdering someone else or even you, since they are not doing anything wrong. Where do you live? And what kind of car do you have? PM me. :thumb:

Anarchy for everyone! :joy:

Raul
11-04-2016, 11:46 AM
then there is no objective basis to stop someone from eating babies, or murdering someone else or even you, since they are not doing anything wrong. Where do you live? And what kind of car do you have? PM me. :thumb:

Anarchy for everyone! :joy:

Correction. There is no ABSOLUTE objective basis to stop someone from eating babies, just like there is no absolute objective basis to stop someone from driving on the left side of the road. And yet I'm guessing you would grant that driving on the left side of the road is not some kind of objective fact about reality, and that in spite of this we are justified in obligating people to do so and holding them accountable if they don't. So I am wondering why you say that, when it comes to morality, we for some reason cannot have things like obligation and accountability in the absence of an absolute standard. Why do you say that moral anarchy is the only logical conclusion of not having an absolute moral standard, but you don't say that traffic anarchy is the only logical conclusion of not having an absolute traffic standard?

Sparko
11-04-2016, 11:51 AM
Correction. There is no ABSOLUTE objective basis to stop someone from eating babies, just like there is no absolute objective basis to stop someone from driving on the left side of the road. And yet I'm guessing you would grant that driving on the left side of the road is not some kind of objective fact about reality, and that in spite of this we are justified in obligating people to do so and holding them accountable if they don't. So I am wondering why you say that, when it comes to morality, we for some reason cannot have things like obligation and accountability in the absence of an absolute standard. Why do you say that moral anarchy is the only logical conclusion of not having an absolute moral standard, but you don't say that traffic anarchy is the only logical conclusion of not having an absolute traffic standard?

driving on one side of the road is just a convenient agreement so that we don't run into each other. It has no moral value. Not eating babies for fun is not just a convenient agreement to say, keep the human race going. It has moral implications of right and wrong. objective implications. Even if everyone in the world suddenly decided to start eating their babies for fun, it would still be morally wrong. It wouldn't suddenly become good because everyone was doing it. If you want to argue that it is good, then all that means is that you are morally bankrupt, not that it is good.

And "absolute" before "objective" is superfluous.

Raul
11-04-2016, 12:56 PM
driving on one side of the road is just a convenient agreement so that we don't run into each other. It has no moral value. Not eating babies for fun is not just a convenient agreement to say, keep the human race going. It has moral implications of right and wrong. objective implications. Even if everyone in the world suddenly decided to start eating their babies for fun, it would still be morally wrong. It wouldn't suddenly become good because everyone was doing it. If you want to argue that it is good, then all that means is that you are morally bankrupt, not that it is good.

And "absolute" before "objective" is superfluous.

Well I already granted that there is a difference between driving on a certain side of the road and not eating babies. So I agree that not eating babies is more than just a convenience. It touches some of the deepest aspects of human nature, while driving on a certain side of the road does not. But that doesn't make the statement "It is wrong to eat babies" an objective fact about reality similar the statement "2 + 2 equals 4". In fact, when we observe that, theoretically, someone is fully able to construct a moral framework where eating babies is considered right, that makes it seem subjective in nature. The very definition of subjective is that it depends on the subject, and that is exactly what we observe about morality. So how did you arrive at the conclusion that eating babies is an objective fact about reality? Because we know something about how objective realities operate. We see how things like the laws of physics, math, and logic operate, which is why we consider then to be objective facts about reality. It is because they are demonstrably so. But what is it about morality that led you to the conclusion that it, too, is an objective fact about reality?

Sparko
11-04-2016, 01:06 PM
Well I already granted that there is a difference between driving on a certain side of the road and not eating babies. So I agree that not eating babies is more than just a convenience. It touches some of the deepest aspects of human nature, while driving on a certain side of the road does not. But that doesn't make the statement "It is wrong to eat babies" an objective fact about reality similar the statement "2 + 2 equals 4". In fact, when we observe that, theoretically, someone is fully able to construct a moral framework where eating babies is considered right, that makes it seem subjective in nature. The very definition of subjective is that it depends on the subject, and that is exactly what we observe about morality. So how did you arrive at the conclusion that eating babies is an objective fact about reality? Because we know something about how objective realities operate. We see how things like the laws of physics, math, and logic operate, which is why we consider then to be objective facts about reality. It is because they are demonstrably so. But what is it about morality that led you to the conclusion that it, too, is an objective fact about reality?

If morals are subjective then we have no basis to make moral decisions about another person's actions. We have no basis for even making laws to prevent someone from eating babies for fun. You know it is wrong even if I said it was good to eat babies. You would know it is intrinsically wrong. You know that you ought not eat babies for fun. Without anyone even telling you that. If someone did eat babies for fun and thought it was good, you would say that they were evil or psychotic. They would be wrong. You know that. Arguing the opposite is just stupid.

What we do observe about morality is that it is objective. We see someone doing something wrong or evil and we can say "that is wrong. that is evil" even if the person claims it is good. It is the very basis of our laws against such things as stealing, killing, and harming others. We treat and know that various actions are objectively good or bad. THAT is what we "observe about morality"

If we actually observed that morality was merely a subjective view, then we would never have come up with the concept of "that is wrong, stop it" or "that is not fair!" when someone does something to you that you don't like.

shunyadragon
11-04-2016, 01:31 PM
Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

For example: We believe that gassing an entire group of people to commit genocide is evil and wrong, even though the Nazi's believed it to be good when they did it. We look at it and say that it is intrinsically evil. If it were subjective then we would have no argument against it. We could only say that our society thinks it is wrong, but it is not actually wrong, we just don't "like" that it happened. The Nazi's did like it and so for them it was just fine and moral to murder 6 million Jews. Basically do what ever you want as long as YOU think it is right, and I will do whatever I want to do that I think is right. If I eat a baby, that is my business and it is not wrong for me. You might not like it so don't eat babies.

Naturally certain morals can be intrinsically wrong, as in all cultures in history 'wrongful killing (murder)' is morally wrong. Justification of immoral acts as in Hitler murdering Jews or the Hebrew tribe ethnically cleansing their opponents does not make these acts moral. I do not believe this makes morals objective in the sense that God is necessary for the systems of human morals to exist and function in societies and cultures.

Carrikature
11-04-2016, 01:47 PM
okay, 'splain it to me.

Absolute and relative are paired. Objective and subjective are paired. Where absolute is 'always true in all cases', relative is 'true depending on initial conditions'. Where objective is 'independent of individual experience/knowledge', subjective is dependent.

The existence of the elephant is objective for the three blind men. Their knowledge of the elephant is both subjective (they experience only a piece) and relative (their experience depends on which body part they happen to be touching). Likewise, their judgment of 'hairy' or 'thin' is relative to their definition of those terms.

Raul
11-04-2016, 07:24 PM
If morals are subjective then we have no basis to make moral decisions about another person's actions. We have no basis for even making laws to prevent someone from eating babies for fun. You know it is wrong even if I said it was good to eat babies. You would know it is intrinsically wrong. You know that you ought not eat babies for fun. Without anyone even telling you that. If someone did eat babies for fun and thought it was good, you would say that they were evil or psychotic. They would be wrong. You know that. Arguing the opposite is just stupid.

What we do observe about morality is that it is objective. We see someone doing something wrong or evil and we can say "that is wrong. that is evil" even if the person claims it is good. It is the very basis of our laws against such things as stealing, killing, and harming others. We treat and know that various actions are objectively good or bad. THAT is what we "observe about morality"

If we actually observed that morality was merely a subjective view, then we would never have come up with the concept of "that is wrong, stop it" or "that is not fair!" when someone does something to you that you don't like.

All you are demonstrating is that we REGARD certain things as wrong, and that we have deeply emotional reasons for doing so. How does this place morality in the category of objective fact?

Also, as I have demonstrated, human constructs work in such a way that things are indeed regarded as objectively true. When someone gets pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road, the fact that traffic laws are a human construct in no way invalidates the police officer holding that person accountable. The person could appeal to the fact that driving on a certain side of the road isn't some kind of objective fact about reality, but he would be completely misunderstanding how human constructs work. An absolute standard is not required, because objectivity is built into it. The difference with morality is that it has as its foundation certain pro-social tendencies that are an essential part of human nature, and this evokes things like moral disgust in a way that breaking traffic rules does not. So it is not true that if morality were subjective we never would have come up with the concept of "that is wrong, stop it", because you are not taking into account how deeply embedded certain moral inclinations are to human nature. Besides, as I already pointed out, there are indeed many human constructs where we do say "that is wrong, stop it" (such as traffic laws) even though we realize that those laws are a subjective reality.

But my main point is this. You say we just "know" the statement "Eating babies is wrong" is an objective fact about reality. But we don't know that. We know that human nature has a predominant disposition to not eat babies, and that it evokes the strongest of emotional responses in us. But this is just a statement about human nature, not about whether morality is, outside of how we experience it, objective or subjective in nature. Again, we know something about how objective realities operate, and the question is, does morality exhibit the same kind of properties that lead us to the conclusion that things like the laws of physics, math, and logic are objective facts about reality? I don't think it does. In fact, quite the opposite. It has all the properties that we would expect if it were ultimately a subjective reality, with people able to create their own moral frameworks at will. And in one sense I'm with you. I'm not saying that I wouldn't prefer it if morality were more similar to the unchangeable laws of physics and logic. But I don't see that.

shunyadragon
11-05-2016, 04:28 AM
All you are demonstrating is that we REGARD certain things as wrong, and that we have deeply emotional reasons for doing so. How does this place morality in the category of objective fact?

Excellent question! Human morality in reality does not function as an objective fact. We need an answer as to where Objective morality functions as an objective fact.


But my main point is this. You say we just "know" the statement "Eating babies is wrong" is an objective fact about reality. But we don't know that. We know that human nature has a predominant disposition to not eat babies, and that it evokes the strongest of emotional responses in us. But this is just a statement about human nature, not about whether morality is, outside of how we experience it, objective or subjective in nature. Again, we know something about how objective realities operate, and the question is, does morality exhibit the same kind of properties that lead us to the conclusion that things like the laws of physics, math, and logic are objective facts about reality? I don't think it does. In fact, quite the opposite. It has all the properties that we would expect if it were ultimately a subjective reality, with people able to create their own moral frameworks at will. And in one sense I'm with you. I'm not saying that I wouldn't prefer it if morality were more similar to the unchangeable laws of physics and logic. But I don't see that.

The bold is a good comparison, but the only question would be even though based objective facts, Laws of Physics are not and logic are not necessarily 'unchangeable.'

There is no objective real world evidence that human morality is based on objective facts.

shunyadragon
11-05-2016, 04:44 AM
WLC, as you probably know, deals with questions like these all of the time. Here's a link (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/our-grasp-of-objective-moral-values) where I think he helps answer the gist of the OP:

What you’re really asking, I think, is, “Why should I think that objective moral values exist rather than that evolution has made me believe in the illusion that there are objective moral values?” And the answer to that question is, “Because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.”

What one personally percieves is relative judgement based on subjective observations, and not objective facts, nor objective evidence.

Now, of course, the objector’s claim here will be that we’ve got good evidence that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral perceptions and so gives us a good reason to doubt the deliverances of our moral sense. But is that true? Two issues arise with respect to this claim.

First, to infer that because evolution has programmed us to believe in certain values, therefore those values are not objective is a logical fallacy. This was the point I made in the article against Michael Ruse...

A real problem here with the misuse of the word 'programmed,' which reflects a misrepresentation of the scientific view of human morals and ethics. Science does not view the evolution of human morals and ethics as mechanistic programming. Actually a closer look at the proposal that an 'objective factual reality' exists is that it is a 'programming human nature' by Divine objecive morality is proposed as an rigid objective fact. There is no objective evidence that this objective factual reality exists.



He goes on, of course, and it's well worth reading if you really are curious about this topic. Unfortunately over the years I've simply read too many skeptics who are not actually interested in answers, but only in asking questions. I imagine this is more of the same.

Science and skeptics is more interested in questions and answers based on objective facts. The concept of an objective reality is not based on objective evidence nor facts

Raul
11-05-2016, 08:21 AM
Human morality in reality does not function as an objective fact. We need an answer as to where Objective morality functions as an objective fact.

I agree. I think Spark is doing a great job of demonstrating that morality is based on certain predominant pro-social tendencies that extend to very depths of human nature. I agree. But he has not demonstrated that morality is some kind of objective fact about reality, or even that this is necessary in order for morality to operate similar to how other human constructs operate, with things like obligation and accountability built into it, except in an even greater and more meaningful way because they are not built in randomly or out of mere convenience or because of practicality, but are based on certain predominant, deeply ingrained aspects of human nature.

siam
11-05-2016, 10:39 PM
I agree. I think Spark is doing a great job of demonstrating that morality is based on certain predominant pro-social tendencies that extend to very depths of human nature. I agree. But he has not demonstrated that morality is some kind of objective fact about reality, or even that this is necessary in order for morality to operate similar to how other human constructs operate, with things like obligation and accountability built into it, except in an even greater and more meaningful way because they are not built in randomly or out of mere convenience or because of practicality, but are based on certain predominant, deeply ingrained aspects of human nature.

Even when some moral values are a part of human nature---humans still have the capacity to accept or reject their inherent nature. Therefore, consent (free-will) is an important aspect whether morality is divinely or humanly constructed.....?....

shunyadragon
11-06-2016, 05:01 AM
Even when some moral values are a part of human nature---humans still have the capacity to accept or reject their inherent nature. Therefore, consent (free-will) is an important aspect whether morality is divinely or humanly constructed.....?....

Given the objective evidence of human morality and social behavior in history the question of whether human morality and the question of free will the science demonstrates that human morality is constructed through evolution, and humans as such do not construct their own morality. The question of whether the basis of human morality is an 'Objective Morality' with a Divine origin cannot be objectively supported. It is possible, likely through natural evolution that the nature of human morality has a Divine origin, but beyond this it is a matter of belief and a religious assumption.

shunyadragon
11-06-2016, 05:26 AM
I agree. I think Spark is doing a great job of demonstrating that morality is based on certain predominant pro-social tendencies that extend to very depths of human nature. I agree. But he has not demonstrated that morality is some kind of objective fact about reality, or even that this is necessary in order for morality to operate similar to how other human constructs operate, with things like obligation and accountability built into it, except in an even greater and more meaningful way because they are not built in randomly or out of mere convenience or because of practicality, but are based on certain predominant, deeply ingrained aspects of human nature.

I agree the bold, the logical problem I brought up before is that the nature of our 'human morality' is that human morality is as it is, and we cannot objectively demonstrate or compare what human morality would be with God and a world without God.

Raul
11-06-2016, 08:04 AM
Even when some moral values are a part of human nature---humans still have the capacity to accept or reject their inherent nature. Therefore, consent (free-will) is an important aspect whether morality is divinely or humanly constructed.....?....

I'm not sure what free will has to do with the question of whether morality is divinely or humanly constructed, but I agree with your point that, even though human nature has a certain pro-social bent to it, we are still able to act contrary to that. We are not constrained by our evolutionarily-derived makeup. We can choose to exercise the innate empathy we've inherited from our primate ancestors, but we can, technically, choose to reject it. This is why I think other atheists are wrong when they try to use our evolutionary makeup as a reason why morality is objective. Like you said, it still comes down to our choice to follow or deny our natural tendencies, which is why I think morality is fundamentally subjective (even though it becomes objective once we construct a moral framework that has certain values built into it that can serve as the foundation). My main point in bringing up our evolutionary makeup is to say that it simplifies the task of constructing a realistic moral framework that works for everyone, because as humans we all share certain deeply-rooted tendencies. This means that the theist is wrong to say that just because morality is subjective that means moral anarchy. It fails to take into account the pro-social bent of human nature, as well as the many other factors that go into how subjective morality plays out in the real world.

siam
11-06-2016, 06:58 PM
I'm not sure what free will has to do with the question of whether morality is divinely or humanly constructed, but I agree with your point that, even though human nature has a certain pro-social bent to it, we are still able to act contrary to that. We are not constrained by our evolutionarily-derived makeup. We can choose to exercise the innate empathy we've inherited from our primate ancestors, but we can, technically, choose to reject it. This is why I think other atheists are wrong when they try to use our evolutionary makeup as a reason why morality is objective. Like you said, it still comes down to our choice to follow or deny our natural tendencies, which is why I think morality is fundamentally subjective (even though it becomes objective once we construct a moral framework that has certain values built into it that can serve as the foundation). My main point in bringing up our evolutionary makeup is to say that it simplifies the task of constructing a realistic moral framework that works for everyone, because as humans we all share certain deeply-rooted tendencies. This means that the theist is wrong to say that just because morality is subjective that means moral anarchy. It fails to take into account the pro-social bent of human nature, as well as the many other factors that go into how subjective morality plays out in the real world.

"realistic" moral framework---Putting aside that "realistic" may need defining, whether the "source" of moral instincts is imparted by Divine(One God) or "Nature" (evolution), the application of it in a social framework/organization requires a "human" construction. (laws, rules, and approved behaviors). Such a construction also requires the approval/assent of the majority of the society if it were to be (justly) implemented.....regardless of the "source" of moral values/instincts.
So then, what difference would it make by positing either Divine or Nature as the source?....Perhaps in 2 ways? 1) Authority/Anarchy. 2)Principles.
---If we were to presume that Divine (One God) is a constant/unchanging force above/beyond "Human" then it becomes easier to argue that the authority presumed in such moral principles are not based on the whims of a human--- leader, monarch, government, priesthood --- subject to arbitrary change. Therefore, it becomes much easier to argue for moral principles that are consistent/constant.
---If we were to presume that the Divine (One God) is the creator of all humanity and therefore all are of equivalent worth, then it becomes much easier to argue for Just principles, and reciprocity. Without a robust concept of Equality, ---the main value from which our sense of moral principles emerge---justice and reciprocity---would not work as well....

We humans are ingenious and can work things out to "our" convenience whichever premise (Divine/Nature) we may hold to.... If we were to presume "Nature"---an evolutionary, and therefore changing "Nature" as a source for moral principles then necessarily we will need to also posit that our moral values change. And this is what many "Modernists" presume---that our moral values evolve/progress for the better over time. (to regress is not an option as that would mean moral values are of no consequence) To premise Nature as the source also means that we accept the idea of the survival of the fittest (evolutionary process) which means a hierarchy (not inherent equality). Thus, such a framework necessarily justifies the idea that some human beings are "naturally" privileged over others....(selected by "Nature"). Such a bias somewhat weakens the principles of Justice and reciprocity....?.......

Whichever premise we choose as a theoretical starting point---moral values, in the social context, must be constructed and approved by human beings/members of that society---which means that ultimately, the responsibility for the benefits or harm rests on human beings.

siam
11-06-2016, 07:08 PM
Given the objective evidence of human morality and social behavior in history the question of whether human morality and the question of free will the science demonstrates that human morality is constructed through evolution, and humans as such do not construct their own morality. The question of whether the basis of human morality is an 'Objective Morality' with a Divine origin cannot be objectively supported. It is possible, likely through natural evolution that the nature of human morality has a Divine origin, but beyond this it is a matter of belief and a religious assumption.

Just some thoughts...
"modern" science demonstrates this because it presumes "Nature" as the source? If science labelled the "source" not as Nature but as Divine/One God ---then it would conclude differently. It is only about labels? moral values are abstracts after all.....?....But when it comes to philosophy---then the premises would make a difference?

shunyadragon
11-07-2016, 03:42 AM
Just some thoughts...
"modern" science demonstrates this because it presumes "Nature" as the source? If science labelled the "source" not as Nature but as Divine/One God ---then it would conclude differently.

This is misleading as far as Methodological Naturalism is concerned. The only thing that Science presumes is that "Nature," our physical existence is universally consistent, which the process of falsification by scientific methods confirms. Science remains justifiably neutral to whether God is the 'source' or not.



It is only about labels? moral values are abstracts after all.....?....But when it comes to philosophy---then the premises would make a difference?

Labels are important here. I believe in God, and God is the 'Source' and Creator of All existence, but by the evidence Creation is by natural methods, or there are contradictions in Theist claims, that would falsify their view of God. God and the nature of our physical existence should not be in contradiction. This is a consistent problem with ancient religious world views.

As far as morality goes, yes, there are abstractions, but the nature of morality is consistent with the natural evolution of the behavor of humans. The issue is whether the abstraction of the claim of a Divine origin 'Objective Morality' justifies and argument for the existence of God. The bottom line is that it does not.

Sparko
11-07-2016, 06:25 AM
Naturally certain morals can be intrinsically wrong, as in all cultures in history 'wrongful killing (murder)' is morally wrong. Justification of immoral acts as in Hitler murdering Jews or the Hebrew tribe ethnically cleansing their opponents does not make these acts moral. I do not believe this makes morals objective in the sense that God is necessary for the systems of human morals to exist and function in societies and cultures.We haven't even gotten to God and if he is necessary for objective morals. Just objective morals do exist. Explaining them would be a further debate.

Sparko
11-07-2016, 06:28 AM
Absolute and relative are paired. Objective and subjective are paired. Where absolute is 'always true in all cases', relative is 'true depending on initial conditions'. Where objective is 'independent of individual experience/knowledge', subjective is dependent.

The existence of the elephant is objective for the three blind men. Their knowledge of the elephant is both subjective (they experience only a piece) and relative (their experience depends on which body part they happen to be touching). Likewise, their judgment of 'hairy' or 'thin' is relative to their definition of those terms.ok and how was my explanation wrong then?

shunyadragon
11-07-2016, 06:49 AM
We haven't even gotten to God and if he is necessary for objective morals. Just objective morals do exist. Explaining them would be a further debate.

Actually, your sidestepping the actual theological argument for 'Objective Morality,' which is the real issue, for a nebulous vague poorly defined concept of 'objective morality.'


Objective refers to believing some actions are intrinsically wrong, even if certain people don't believe it is.

It is possible to believe some actions are 'intrinsically' wrong even if certain people don't believe it is' (ie the Nazis) within a naturally evolved system. Not believing in the immorality of wrongful death (murder) would be counter productive to the natural evolution of morality. The world ultimately judged and condemned the Nazis for their immoral crimes against humanity.

By definition human morality is neither 'objective' nor 'subjective.' It remains the fact that you cannot demonstrate a world of human morality that is in some way 'objective' and another world that is supposedly 'subjective,' because in reality human morality is simply as it is throughout history.

Carrikature
11-07-2016, 07:54 AM
ok and how was my explanation wrong then?

You use subjective where the correct word is relative. A society deciding that eating babies is good only makes it a moral good in a relativistic system, same with flying planes into buildings or bombing buildings.


And to be fair, and reiterate, Raul has been far worse about this misuse of terminology. Pretty much every time he uses the word 'subjective', he's actually meaning 'relative'.

Carrikature
11-07-2016, 07:58 AM
By definition human morality is neither 'objective' nor 'subjective.' It remains the fact that you cannot demonstrate a world of human morality that is in some way 'objective' and another world that is supposedly 'subjective,' because in reality human morality is simply as it is throughout history.

This is simply not true. You could pretty easily show common precepts (golden rule being a perfect example) that occur time and again throughout history and point to these as facets of an objective morality that various civilizations have hit upon. A given civilization's moral code would be a subjective interpretation of the objective morality that governs all humans.

Look at the concept of harm. No one would hold that harm is a good thing, yet we have differing ideas on what actually constitutes harm. Objective morals (harm is bad) implemented subjectively (this is harm but that is not).

Sparko
11-07-2016, 08:33 AM
You use subjective where the correct word is relative. A society deciding that eating babies is good only makes it a moral good in a relativistic system, same with flying planes into buildings or bombing buildings. still not getting it. How is that not subjective? Give me an example of subjective v objective using eating babies for fun. and then an example of absolute v relative using the same example. Maybe then I can understand your objection to what I said.

The Thinker
11-07-2016, 09:13 AM
Or morality operates exactly like we would expect with sin thrown into the mix.

If by "sin" you mean "an evolved social primate species that has the evolutionary ingrained tendencies for a social hierarchy, tribalism, a territorial nature, selfishness but also the capability of being altruistic and empathetic due to being a social species," then sure. We behave exactly like we would expect if that was true.

Jim B.
11-07-2016, 10:35 AM
I actually am interested in answers. I want to know how Christians account for this. Here are some questions that might clarify what I'm looking for. What is it about subjective realities that make them them subjective realities? Does morality possess these characteristics? What is it about objective realities that make them objective realities? Does morality possess these characteristics?

I would say that subjective realities are true by virtue of being experienced and believed in; this is what makes them true. Objective realities are true independent of what I or anyone else experience or believe. At one time, possibly everyone believed the earth was flat, but the truth of the earth's shape was independent of beliefs. At one time, the consensus opinion was that owning another person against their will was morally premissible, but it can't be that the moral status of slavery would keep shifting as consensus opinion about it shifts. The truth-making features of morality are not opinion or belief, imo ;)

shunyadragon
11-07-2016, 11:11 AM
This is simply not true. You could pretty easily show common precepts (golden rule being a perfect example) that occur time and again throughout history and point to these as facets of an objective morality that various civilizations have hit upon. A given civilization's moral code would be a subjective interpretation of the objective morality that governs all humans.

Look at the concept of harm. No one would hold that harm is a good thing, yet we have differing ideas on what actually constitutes harm. Objective morals (harm is bad) implemented subjectively (this is harm but that is not).

You actually have missed my previous posts. I have said that human morality has both 'objective and 'subjective' aspects. What you are describing is some of the objective aspects of human morality. The relative nature of human morality from culture to culture over time is the reality of the evolving nature, diversity, and what may be called individual interpretations and choices of human morality. What I object to is a morality that is defined as specifically 'objective' in the sense of what is described as a Divine Objective morality.

Jim B.
11-07-2016, 11:15 AM
I grant that a subjective morality creates certain problems, such as how we deal with situations where one person's moral actions negatively affect another person. It isn't easy trying to figure out how we resolve that kind of conflict. Some things simplify it, of course, such as certain common moral instincts that, generally speaking, we all have as humans. But still, it is not easy, and I can agree that it would be so much nicer if morality operated more like the laws of physics, which are demonstrably an objective fact about reality. But how do you demonstrate that this is the case? My point is that when we observe morality, it operates very much like we would expect for a human construct to operate, with people able to create their own moral frameworks at will.

Can we really create our own moral framework at will? How can you change what you think is right and wrong at will? Different cultures can have different moral frameworks, but it's legitimate to ask if that framework is right or not. We couldn't legitimately ask that about a culture's style of decoration, say.

Just because people can have differing opinions about something does not mean that there is not a fact of the matter.


So unless you can somehow demonstrate that morality is in fact objective, in spite of the fact that it operates just like we would expect a subjective reality to operate, then we are forced to do the hard work of thinking through how we live with this reality. It sounds like what you are essentially saying is that you don't like it. But what we prefer the nature of morality might be is irrelevant. Demonstrate that it is what you say it is, or admit that you can't and let's talk about how we deal with the difficulties that a subjective morality presents.

My moral system is that my amusement is the greatest moral good, and that torturing small kids gives me the greatest amusement. Is this a matter of choice that other people cannot say is wrong, like how I decorate my house or wear my hair? Why should other people's opinions carry more weight than my opinion that torturing children is what I ought to do?

shunyadragon
11-07-2016, 11:52 AM
I would say that subjective realities are true by virtue of being experienced and believed in; this is what makes them true. Objective realities are true independent of what I or anyone else experience or believe. At one time, possibly everyone believed the earth was flat, but the truth of the earth's shape was independent of beliefs. At one time, the consensus opinion was that owning another person against their will was morally premissible, but it can't be that the moral status of slavery would keep shifting as consensus opinion about it shifts. The truth-making features of morality are not opinion or belief, imo ;)

I agree with this in principle. In terms of the evolution of human behavior the Objective realities, or aspects, would be those foundation morals that are necessary for human survival such as the moral reality of wrongful death (murder) common to all cultures throughout the history of humanity.

In terms of the view of some Theists they are Divine Objective realities are true independent of what I or anyone else experiences or believes.

Both are possible.

Raul
11-08-2016, 10:48 AM
I would say that subjective realities are true by virtue of being experienced and believed in; this is what makes them true. Objective realities are true independent of what I or anyone else experience or believe. At one time, possibly everyone believed the earth was flat, but the truth of the earth's shape was independent of beliefs. At one time, the consensus opinion was that owning another person against their will was morally premissible, but it can't be that the moral status of slavery would keep shifting as consensus opinion about it shifts. The truth-making features of morality are not opinion or belief, imo ;)

I agree that morality is not based on opinion or belief. At least, I would say it's not that simple. There may be some less important moral issues where that is the case, but saying it is based on opinion or belief doesn't account for our deep sense of moral disgust. What does account for this, I think, is human nature. Because we have inherited certain pro-social tendencies from our primate ancestors, things such as empathy and a sense of justice, and because these inclinations extend to the very depths of who we are, we experience such a strong emotional response when this is violated. Interestingly, other animal species each have their own sense of right and wrong informed by the unique natures that they possess. My main concern, though, is not so much whether you think morality is objective or subjective, but what reasons you give to support your claim either way. So in your case, you think morality is some kind of objective fact about reality. So what is it about what we observe about morality that leads you to that conclusion?

shunyadragon
11-08-2016, 11:05 AM
I would say that subjective realities are true by virtue of being experienced and believed in; this is what makes them true. Objective realities are true independent of what I or anyone else experience or believe. At one time, possibly everyone believed the earth was flat, but the truth of the earth's shape was independent of beliefs. At one time, the consensus opinion was that owning another person against their will was morally premissible, but it can't be that the moral status of slavery would keep shifting as consensus opinion about it shifts. The truth-making features of morality are not opinion or belief, imo ;)

Another example of the evolution of morality that has a natural objective foundation is the evolution of the 'family,' sexual morality such as modesty, and contracts of marital relationships. There is considerable variation throughout history and between cultures, but the underlying objective evolutionary theme is the need for cooperation within a community to raise children safely to adulthood in a species that has a long slow maturation of its individuals. In other words the evolution of the human species must develop limiting morals concerning sexuality, and the maintenance of a stable family unit.

shunyadragon
11-08-2016, 03:40 PM
This is simply not true. You could pretty easily show common precepts (golden rule being a perfect example) that occur time and again throughout history and point to these as facets of an objective morality that various civilizations have hit upon. A given civilization's moral code would be a subjective interpretation of the objective morality that governs all humans.

Look at the concept of harm. No one would hold that harm is a good thing, yet we have differing ideas on what actually constitutes harm. Objective morals (harm is bad) implemented subjectively (this is harm but that is not).

I thought it would be relevant to this what I posted in another thread which reflects my view that morality itself is neither objective nor subjective, but morality has both objective and subjective attributes.



7. Mixed Positions: A Rapprochement between Relativists and Objectivists?
Discussions of moral relativism often assume (as mostly has been assumed here so far) that moral relativism is the correct account of all moral judgments or of none. But perhaps it is the correct account of some moral judgments but not others or, more vaguely, the best account of morality vis-à-vis these issues would acknowledge both relativist and objectivist elements. Such a mixed position might be motivated by some of the philosophical questions already raised (recall also the suggestion in the section on experimental philosophy that some people may be “meta-ethical pluralists”). On the empirical level, it might be thought that there are many substantial moral disagreements but also some striking moral agreements across different societies. On the metaethical plane, it might be supposed that, though many disagreements are not likely to be rationally resolved, other disagreements may be (and perhaps that the cross-cultural agreements we find have a rational basis). The first point would lead to a weaker form of DMR The second point, the more important one, would imply a modified form of MMR (see the suggestions in the last paragraph of section 4). This approach has attracted some support, interestingly, from both sides of the debate: relativists who have embraced an objective constraint, and (more commonly) objectivists who have allowed some relativist dimensions. Here are some prominent examples of these mixed metaethical outlooks.

David Copp (1995) maintains that it is true that something is morally wrong only if it is wrong in relation to the justified moral code of some society, and a code is justified in a society only if the society would be rationally required to select it. Since which code it would be rationally required to select depends in part on the non-moral values of the society, and since these values differ from one society to another, something may be morally wrong for one society but not for another. Copp calls this position a form of moral relativism. However, he believes this relativism is significantly mitigated by the fact that which code a society is rationally required to select also depends on the basic needs of the society. Copp thinks all societies have the same basic needs. For example, every society has a need to maintain its population and system of cooperation from one generation to the next. Moreover, since meeting these basic needs is the most fundamental factor in determining the rationality of selecting a code, Copp thinks the content of all justified moral codes will tend to be quite similar. For instance, any such code will require that persons's basic needs for such things as physical survival, self-respect and friendship be promoted (these are said to be necessary for minimal rational agency). The theory is mixed insofar as the rationality of selecting a code depends partly on common features of human nature (basic needs) and partly on diverse features of different societies (values). Whether or not justified moral codes (and hence moral truths) would tend to be substantially similar, despite differences, as Copp argues, would depend on both the claim that all societies have the same basic needs and the claim that these needs are much more important than other values in determining which moral code it is rational for a society to select.

It is worth reading the whole reference to understand more about moral relativists versus moral objectivists.

The following selection from the reference reflects what I have proposed for a long time on this topic. Morality has subjective and objective elements.

"But perhaps it is the correct account of some moral judgments but not others or, more vaguely, the best account of morality vis-à-vis these issues would acknowledge both relativist and objectivist elements. Such a mixed position might be motivated by some of the philosophical questions already raised (recall also the suggestion in the section on experimental philosophy that some people may be “meta-ethical pluralists”)."

I do believe morality within and between cultures, and often relates to individual choices concerning morals functions in a relativist way.

Jim B.
11-09-2016, 02:02 PM
I agree that morality is not based on opinion or belief. At least, I would say it's not that simple. There may be some less important moral issues where that is the case, but saying it is based on opinion or belief doesn't account for our deep sense of moral disgust. What does account for this, I think, is human nature. Because we have inherited certain pro-social tendencies from our primate ancestors, things such as empathy and a sense of justice, and because these inclinations extend to the very depths of who we are, we experience such a strong emotional response when this is violated. Interestingly, other animal species each have their own sense of right and wrong informed by the unique natures that they possess. My main concern, though, is not so much whether you think morality is objective or subjective, but what reasons you give to support your claim either way. So in your case, you think morality is some kind of objective fact about reality. So what is it about what we observe about morality that leads you to that conclusion?


I just lost a long post. I'll try to reconstruct the major points:

The question is whether what we take to be moral is that way because it's adaptive or the other way? If it's the first, then how do we distinguish between adaptive behaviors we might approve of morally from those we would condemn? Criticism is an essential part of moral thought, imo, both of oneself and one's own group as much as of others, but the ability to think critically about behavior would be undermined if it all comes down to what is adaptive vs. what is not.

As far as other species, I tend to doubt that they're capable of morality. The behaviors you refer to may be pre-moral sentiments at best.

I think there's a basis for the objectivity of morality based on what we observe. Take truth-telling for example. I think it's grounded in the nature of rational discourse, which I don't see as peculiar to human evolutionary history or anything similar facts. The possibility of rationality is based on a norm of truthfulness. Even lying is parasitic on the assumption of truthfulness. Fairness is also something that doesn't seem peculiar to us. If you look at it from a Rawlsian perspective, the veil of ignorance, it also appears grounded in the nature of reason and sociality in general and not in any particular evolutionary story.

shunyadragon
11-11-2016, 01:09 PM
I just lost a long post. I'll try to reconstruct the major points:

The question is whether what we take to be moral is that way because it's adaptive or the other way? If it's the first, then how do we distinguish between adaptive behaviors we might approve of morally from those we would condemn? Criticism is an essential part of moral thought, imo, both of oneself and one's own group as much as of others, but the ability to think critically about behavior would be undermined if it all comes down to what is adaptive vs. what is not.

As far as other species, I tend to doubt that they're capable of morality. The behaviors you refer to may be pre-moral sentiments at best.

I think there's a basis for the objectivity of morality based on what we observe. Take truth-telling for example. I think it's grounded in the nature of rational discourse, which I don't see as peculiar to human evolutionary history or anything similar facts. The possibility of rationality is based on a norm of truthfulness. Even lying is parasitic on the assumption of truthfulness. Fairness is also something that doesn't seem peculiar to us. If you look at it from a Rawlsian perspective, the veil of ignorance, it also appears grounded in the nature of reason and sociality in general and not in any particular evolutionary story.

I believe you are highly over stating objections to the 'evolutionary' role in the nature of human behavior, and morality. There is more than sufficient evidence for the evolution of human behavior and morality. The science of evolution in human behavior is not a 'story.'

Jim B.
11-13-2016, 12:51 PM
I believe you are highly over stating objections to the 'evolutionary' role in the nature of human behavior, and morality. There is more than sufficient evidence for the evolution of human behavior and morality. The science of evolution in human behavior is not a 'story.'

Sorry. I'm afraid you misread my post. I accept the evolutionary role in the development of human traits. I meant "story" in the sense of "account."

shunyadragon
11-13-2016, 08:18 PM
Sorry. I'm afraid you misread my post. I accept the evolutionary role in the development of human traits. I meant "story" in the sense of "account."

This is not clear, neither is your previous post.

Jim B.
11-14-2016, 10:40 AM
This is not clear, neither is your previous post.

What is not clear? I've never questioned evolution. I am questioning to what extent and in what way evolution is an 'explanation' for morality.

shunyadragon
11-15-2016, 05:24 AM
What is not clear? I've never questioned evolution. I am questioning to what extent and in what way evolution is an 'explanation' for morality.

This as a matter of fact is questioning the role of evolution in the nature of of behavior and morals of humans without giving specifics of what you believe is a problem. I saw a touch of sarcasm in your post in the reference to a 'story.' Despite many unanswered questions concerning the nature of human behavior, the science of evolution does provide an adequate explanation.

In contrast I believe God is ultimately the Creator of everything, and determined the nature of human behavior and morality, and evolution at present gives an adequate explanation in terms of the physical process involved.

Jim B.
11-15-2016, 11:07 AM
This as a matter of fact is questioning the role of evolution in the nature of of behavior and morals of humans without giving specifics of what you believe is a problem. I saw a touch of sarcasm in your post in the reference to a 'story.' Despite many unanswered questions concerning the nature of human behavior, the science of evolution does provide an adequate explanation.

In contrast I believe God is ultimately the Creator of everything, and determined the nature of human behavior and morality, and evolution at present gives an adequate explanation in terms of the physical process involved.

I agree with your last paragraph. Evolution gives an adequate explanation of the physical process involved. My point was that it hasn't been established that evolution can explain everything about the content of cultural evolution. As you yourself say, God would play some explanatory role as to why there is an evolutionary process to begin with. But even setting God aside, since my point didn't really depend on there being a God, even if evolution is the necessary condition for human life and culture, what argument is there that it is also the sufficient condition? Are physics and maths explainable only in terms of our evolutionary development? How could this be established? If everything about what we are and do can be fully accounted for evolutionarily, how could we even know this fact?

"Story" is commonly used in philosophy to mean "account." It wasn't meant sarcastically.

Carrikature
11-22-2016, 01:14 PM
still not getting it. How is that not subjective? Give me an example of subjective v objective using eating babies for fun. and then an example of absolute v relative using the same example. Maybe then I can understand your objection to what I said.

There's not an objective example for 'fun', since 'fun' is an emotional assessment. "Eating babies is fun" is a subjective statement. "Eating babies is good" is a relative statement that relies on the axiom "Fun things are good things" and combines it with the subjective belief that "eating babies is fun". For it to be absolute, you'd have to somehow establish that the claims "fun things are good things" AND "eating babies is fun" are true for all people in all instances.

I'll see if I can come up with a better example.

Sparko
11-22-2016, 01:20 PM
There's not an objective example for 'fun', since 'fun' is an emotional assessment. "Eating babies is fun" is a subjective statement. "Eating babies is good" is a relative statement that relies on the axiom "Fun things are good things" and combines it with the subjective belief that "eating babies is fun". For it to be absolute, you'd have to somehow establish that the claims "fun things are good things" AND "eating babies is fun" are true for all people in all instances.

I'll see if I can come up with a better example.

By "fun" I meant unnecessarily. As opposed to you coming up with an example of having to eat dead babies in order to survive starving or something like that.

Carrikature
11-23-2016, 01:54 PM
By "fun" I meant unnecessarily. As opposed to you coming up with an example of having to eat dead babies in order to survive starving or something like that.

Ok. That makes the relative/subjective thing easier to explain, then. "Eating babies for fun is good" is a relative statement. It relies on some set of axioms that not everyone holds. "Eating babies is fun" is a subjective statement. It relies on how you feel about the act.

shunyadragon
11-28-2016, 08:21 PM
I agree with your last paragraph. Evolution gives an adequate explanation of the physical process involved. My point was that it hasn't been established that evolution can explain everything about the content of cultural evolution.

You're at best arguing from ignorance here. Not all the questions are, of course, not answered concerning the evolution of cultures, morals and ethics, but the Evolutionary Ethics discipline in science provides an adequate explanation for human behavioral evolution.



As you yourself say, God would play some explanatory role as to why there is an evolutionary process to begin with. But even setting God aside, since my point didn't really depend on there being a God, even if evolution is the necessary condition for human life and culture, what argument is there that it is also the sufficient condition? Are physics and maths explainable only in terms of our evolutionary development? How could this be established? If everything about what we are and do can be fully accounted for evolutionarily, how could we even know this fact?

The belief in God as the 'Source' of the evolutionary processes is part of my 'belief' as a Baha'i in the principle of the 'Harmony of Science and Religion'. As far as I am concerned science can eventually pretty much describe human behavior in terms of evolution, no problem.

Again your argument is tainted with arguing from ignorance.

First we do not know the conclusions of science as facts. Facts are the objective pieces of information that are used to falsify hypothesis in this case. he hypothesis that development of culture, morals and ethics are part of the evolutionary process of primates resulting in the human species. It is a work in progress, but indeed falsifiable based on the evidence of the progressive evolution of human nature from the simple and primitive to the complex culture, morals, and ethics of the human nature.

Well actually the development of the knowledge of Physics and Math can possibly explained by evolutionary processes. I may go into more of this in a later post, but again your arguing from ignorance here.

Hint: Neolithic humans even our relative including Neanderthals used primitive understanding of Physics and Math to function in the real world. Our primate relatives have used simple experimental Physics logic to develop primitive tools to acquire food.

Carrikature
12-02-2016, 04:34 PM
My point was that it hasn't been established that evolution can explain everything about the content of cultural evolution.

Why would we expect evolution to explain everything about the content of cultural evolution?