Blog Wars, or "Why don't Y'all Get a Thread'?
Okay, there are a couple problems here. Iíve already refuted a couple of these points and concede on a lot of the rest - but it doesnít matter because the things I agree with donít prove your argument. So, a quick recap and then Iíll tackle it point by point:
My thesis is that the idea that numerous, diverse cultures all coming to the exact same conclusion is irrational. If culture is a major defining factor of morality then we should see at least a few outliers coming to the conclusion that murder (malicious killing of a human being) sans caveat (justification) is morally acceptable. We have agreed that no such cultures exist.
We have further agreed that not all cultures behave rationally or in their best self interest. If they did, your case would be made, but the fact that they donít supports my position.
That culture can influence moral behavior/ideology is not in dispute. That culture defines morality is. This shows influence, granted, but does not establish that morality is necessarily defined by culture. Anyone can claim the sun is blue. A culture could inexplicably conclude that the sun must be blue despite not appearing blue. The sun is not influenced by what we think about it, even if all our kids start drawing pictures of blue suns.Originally posted by Chris
But to your point, okay, multiple factors can influence cultural ideas. No prob there.
Iíll grant this - but now you need to establish those factors and show that the probability is indeed so low that the statistical improbability is overcome.Originally posted by Chris
OkayÖ ( Animal morality? Animals arenít moral actorsÖ)Originally posted by Chris
This is an individual factor, not a cultural one. I grant sane humans donít want to be killed - but that would also be true of not wanting to be killed by cars - so why donít we see streets lined with barriers to keep cars from accidentally running over people? If this is so overwhelming a factor we should see it just as strong in other areas. We do see self-preservation but we donít see every culture/society regarding personal safety as overriding. To get where you are going, we should see exactly that.Originally posted by Chris
Itís a non-issue for our purposes - you need something that makes the probability of a culture accepting murder overwhelmingly low. By your own admission this doesnít get us there and Iíd argue while it might decrease probability somewhat its counterpart, selfishness, cancels that out.Originally posted by Chris
And people kill loved ones all the time - in fact the likelihood in any murder is that the victim knew the killer and usually had a close or strong relationship with them. We humans can be hurt most deeply by our loved ones and are ironically more likely to kill a loved one than a stranger. This does not reduce the probability of murder being morally acceptable - it does the exact opposite.Originally posted by Chris
Um, Chris, I already disproved this. Societies presently exist and are sadly stable that tolerate murder. They do not do so sans caveat, thatís true, because sane human beings require justification for their acts - but my argument is that is because morality is objective. In a morally relative world justification should not be a psychological need - yet we see it in even the most murderous of cultures/societies.Originally posted by Chris
Iím pretty sure Chris accepts the same premise but for the viewing audience Ďjustificationí or Ďcaveatí in this instance is not necessarily the same thing as a legitimate justification. Most would accept self-defense as legit justification (and no, self defense isnít murder, itís just the easiest example) but would not accept stealing the victimís shoes as just cause.
This is your best argument and itís pretty good. But it rests on the false assumption that all cultures will act in their own best self -interest (that they will be rational). Nazi Germany self-destructed because it turned on a segment of its own population. The examples of repressive and oppressive cultures are numerous. Such cultures can be stable and survive long periods. They also use the repressed/persecuted elements as labor - often involved in agriculture. Can you think of a better way to poison people than to be harvesting and processing - even cooking - their food? Trust isnít what keeps the oppressors safe - terror is. So to can less discriminately murderous cultures develop along Ďmutual self-interestsí to either police laborers or insulate themselves. Yes, it means subcultures develop but virtually all cultures have subcultures so that isnít a problem for my argument.Originally posted by Chris
I grant that in a rational society this factor does indeed reduce the probability of murder being regarded as acceptable - but since my contention all along has been that most cultures would not regard murder as acceptable even in a morally relative world this does not defeat my argument. I do not agree that this would reduce the probability sufficiently low such that we would see no outliers - I explained why above.
This is demonstrably false - South America. Surprisingly stable, yet volatile and with astronomically high murder/violence rates.Originally posted by Chris
Granted, but again it really doesnít reduce the probability that much.Originally posted by Chris
Even with the points Iíve granted would reduce the probability combined, there is not enough here to reduce probability that low given that we see counter examples in most of those cases. Granted they arenít perfect (they all function with caveat) but they donít need to be. You now need to show why caveat would affect the probabilities sufficiently - otherwise, the counter examples disprove the points and thereby the thesis.