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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

  1. #1111
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I wasn't assuming that all subjectivist positions were 'equally good." I was assuming each one set its own standard for goodness. The way you describe your morality is not the way I experience my morality. When I'm deciding on what to do, I'm not looking at the world through the 'lens of my own moral framework.' I'm not even sure what that means. When I'm thinking about what to do or who to be, I'm trying to discover what is right and/or good.
    "Good" is a value judgment. It requires a valuer. "Right" is likewise a value judgment. It requires a valuer. If you want to understand how morality is subjective, start there. How do you go about determining if something is "good?" You will find that you end up at your own valuing. Good is not a concept "out there" somewhere. It is an assessment you make based on criteria you have. A thing is not "good" - it is "good for X."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Of course I can't help but look at the world through the lens of who I am, but that's far less important than what it is I'm trying to find. Like focusing on the scratches on my cornea as opposed to the Grand Canyon in front of me, it seems oddly solipsistic. There's a tacit assumption there, as I think there is with most people who don't have an overt ideology, that there is something from outside to be found rather than something from within. And I like I said, I really don't think it's a religious thing. Most moral realists are atheists. But if you don't experience it, probably no argument can make you experience it.
    I have to admit I am always slightly amused to have a form of morality that no one can demonstrate actually exists called "moral realism."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It is "wrong" how, by what criteria?
    By the criteria of the evaluator, whatever that might be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    By threatening the things that you value?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    What if another framework awakens in you doubts about whether you ought to value the things you do and instead value other things?
    Then my moral framework will likely shift. This happens all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Then you're in the realm of normativity and subjectivity starts to loosen its grip(?)
    No. I am in the realm of valuing differently. It's analogous to my wife's experience with sushi. She tried it and hated it. It was "awful." It was "bad." I took her back and started her slowly on California Rolls and other cooked sushi, then slowly introduced her to new tastes and flavors. Now she is a sushi lover and it is "great" and "good." That doesn't make her assessment "objective." It means her taste changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    The problem is we're talking about metaethics, not just about ethics. We're talking about the theoretical underpinnings of ethics. Why be moral?
    This is like asking "why prefer the good thing?" The question is backwards. What we are drawn to and find happiness we call good because we are drawn to it or see value/benefit in it. What we see as actions that protect/enhance/support what we most deeply value we call "moral" and naturally choose those actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Why follow the law?
    That is a different question. We generally follow the law because of our social contract. Some follow the law out of fear of punishment. For the religious with an authoritative model of morality (i.e., god says so), that it often also the motivation for "being moral."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    that sort of thing. For most occasions, you're right and our everyday commonalities will probably see us through. But humans are very contentious. Lots of strife and wars and stuff. Ethics and law and such will all be severely stress-tested and it's good to have a deeper theoretical understanding than just "we'll probably get by because we're so much alike and we've gotten by up to now."
    And yet, we've survived with subjective morality since the dawn of man. Jim, I doubt any two people have EVER 100% agreed on moral principles. Religions keep fragmenting (in part) over differing moral principles. Some religiously inclined so-called moral realists will attribute this man's sinful nature. Some to our inability to completely grasp the objective moral truth. Has it ever crossed your mind that this same variation can be easily explained by observing that no one has ever demonstrated the existence of an objective moral truth - and the reason for the fragmentation is because morality is actually subjective, not objective? As I noted before - it's analogous to law - not to logical or mathematical principles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It won't be enough to ignore, isolate and separate. Walling off and compartmentalizing has been too often the too-convenient solution and a big part of why things are getting worse. Morality is meant to act as a counter-force to that tendency which is becoming more and more prevalent.
    And yet, we've been doing these three things since the dawn of man. One has to ask "enough for what?" Are you expecting perfection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It hasn't been established that it's subjective, remember? That's what we're debating.
    Oh it has long since been "established" for me, Jim. It fits with my experience, aligns with what I observe around me, makes exquisite sense, and no one has ever been able to logically defend the claim that morality is objective or establish the existence of an absolute moral framework. Perhaps you are not convinced, and I leave that to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    And no, it's not clear that what you value has to be about you. You are necessarily the medium of experience but not necessarily the object of valuing.
    I would consider that statement to be nonsensical. What "I value" is exactly that: what I value. I am the valuer. I am the one assessing. It will have value to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Why be moral? Why follow the law? Where does the law derive its authority from? Don't these questions ever occur to you?
    The answer for morality and law are slightly different; the two are analogous, not equivalent. And the answer about morality is above. The answer about law will likely be slightly different for different people. Some follow the law to avoid punishment. Some out of a sense of civic duty. Some follow the law because they assume that the laws are crafted by people who know what they are doing and we will all be better of if we do. Some follow the law out of a sense of social contract (same as civil duty?).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Only some sentient minds. My cat doesn't moralize. And again, it's only certain kinds of 'ought do' and 'ought not do' actions. Yes, it's natural to rational, social minds, but so is wondering why, as in why do we do it and what does it mean?
    Agreed about the cat. It appears that a certain "degree" of sentience is required - sentience that can grasp principles (like logic and mathematics) and reflect on the self and action. And I have already noted that we tend to reserve the word "moral" for the most valued things. We value on a continuum, with some things valued profoundly (i.e., life, liberty) and other things valued trivially (i.e., shoe styles and pizza toppings). We don't tend to use "moral" for things on the "trivial" end of our valuing. But if you were to encounter someone for whom "pizza topping" is shifted to the "profound" end of the scale, you would suddenly hear expressions of moral outrage if the pizza topping is not valued similarly. Consider India and the bovine. Suddenly the common cow is "sacred" and shifted to the profound end of the spectrum, and actions with respect to the lowly cow become "moral" or "immoral."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I never said there was an 'absolute yardstick,' only that there is an objective framework. You have absolutely no evidence for anything you've asserted here, but your opinions are noted.
    Actually, I have an enormous body of life experience as evidence, Jim. However, it is not evidence that is easily conveyed to someone else, so what I really lack is a means to prove any of this to you. Can you prove to someone that you like pizza? Subjective things are difficult to prove. On the other hand, you are claiming (I think) the existence of an objective moral framework. It should be fairly easy for you to prove the existence of such a thing, and establish it as objective to all. Yet I have never seen such a proof. Odd, that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    You miss the point of the analogy again. The theist is looking at the world through the lens of her ideology and seeing it as a transparent revelation of said ideology. It's right there in front of her! You are looking at the empirical data of human behavior and institutions and hypothesizing based upon your ideology as to the causes of the data you're experiencing. For you, the causation is immediately clear. Why can't everyone see it?! It's right there! Ideologies are transparent to those inside of them.
    Yeah...not so much. Look, Jim, I was not always a moral subjectivist. I was a moral realist for most of my life. My stance slowly shifted as part of my shift from Christianity to atheism. Like so many others, I saw morality as objective and rooted in god. When you realize god doesn't exist, you find yourself having to figure out the whole morality thing. Many atheists, as you note, stay "moral realists" and find something else to root morality in. JimL roots it in "what is good for society," failing to see that there is no objective basis for "what is good for society." To make that assessment requires a metric by which "good" is measured, and that will always be subjectively selected. Tass wants to root it in evolution. I'm less clear on exactly how he sees that working, but he still seems to be clinging to morality as an objective thing, like there is "the correct moral framework out there" waiting to be discovered and aligned to - like laws of logic and mathematics.

    And I don't subscribe to the statement "Ideologies are transparent to those inside of them." They can be, to those not willing to look for the ways in which their subjective relationship to the world may be coloring their view. But for those willing to accept that their view is colored, there are ways to help see past that "coloration." It will never be perfect - we will always experience "coloration," but if ideology was truly transparent to us, we would never have a means for changing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    FYI, I don't think it's immoral. I have a friend who is a Christian who has an MDiv and a website who doesn't believe it's immoral either and who takes a different perspective on it.
    Nice to hear/know. I am aware that there are a lot of Christians who do not have the same perspective on homosexuality as Seer and Sparko and CP and so many others here. I wasn't sure what side you came down on because I frankly know very little about your moral framework and what you value.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I like to think of morality like color. Colors depend upon creatures with visual systems in order to perceive them. If all the creatures with visual systems in the universe disappeared, all color would disappear too, unless God of course perceives color and/or is the source of color, but let's set that aside for now since you're an atheist. Color would be what's called a 'synergistic' or 'emergent' entity. It emerges out of the fusion of various factors coming together in just the right way. Despite all this, color is still 'objective' because it doesn't depend upon choice or preference. It's not up to me or anyone else what is red or blue or yellow. Those things are fixed by laws of physics and optics. It's not a subjective matter or a matter of opinion.
    So let's use "color" as an example here. Despite your statement above, the experience of color is subjective. That is why all color would disappear if all visual equipment disappeared. Your experience of color will never be exactly the same as mine. For one thing, even when looking at the same object, we cannot be in the same place at the same time making that observation. Second, "color" is a function of our brain and depends on our receivers (eyes), transmitters, (optic nerve) and processor (brain). No two of us have these things exactly the same, coloring (pun intended) our experience. What is objectively real is not "color," it is the wavelength(s) of the light that is impacting our eyes.

    Morality is analogous. No two of us experience it the same way or assess action by the same framework. Our framework is influenced by our culture, religion, family, social circle, and personal experiences. The objective reality is the behavior/action we are assessing. HOW we assess it is entirely subjective. The analogy breaks down, however, when we imagine all sentient minds disappearing. With color, if all visual equipment disappears so too does color, but the wavelengths remain. With morality, if all sentient minds disappear, the concept of morality ends and so too do the actions being assessed.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It's getting late. I'll finish tomorrow!
    I'll be around.

    I have to admit to some curiosity. A few posts back I had the distinct sense you were getting irritated. Now I don't have that sense anymore. All in my mind? If not, what explains the change? I ask because I find irritation to be a common response to my posts on this site. It only happens here. I'm trying to figure out why.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  2. #1112
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Cool. So when you claim to have the right to choose how you're governed and who governs you, I'll remember that. So much for your complaints about the majority.
    Carp, I'm not making an argument for or against any particular form of government. I'm saying that any government has the AUTHORITY to enforce their laws whether you or I consent or agree with those laws or not.


    The King is stating an opinion about his right to rule over others. I am stating my position about the right of someone else to rule over me. As autonomous, sentient beings, we each have the right to make this decision for ourselves. The founders called it an "inalienable right." This might be familiar to you:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


    While I do not agree with the FFs on the basis of those rights being rooted in a "creator," I do agree with the general observation. I would have written:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are equal under law, possessing certain essential rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.


    And if you don't believe in "might makes right," why do you keep advocating for it in the moral sphere? You have made no other argument so far...
    Nonsense in our past debates you said rights were not self evident nor unalienable, and if you take God out of the picture unalienable rights go out the window and your "essential rights" is just gobbledygook with no objective meaning. And remember as the Founders said in the Declaration they were relying on Divine Providence (i.e. the control and rule of God).

    One born in the country automatically becomes a citizen - and has the option of renouncing that citizenship and going elsewhere. Same principle holds.
    Again not the point, if you break a country's laws that government has the authority and right to punish you WHETHER YOU CONSENT OR AGREE WITH THAT AUTHORITY OR NOT. Your consent makes NO DIFFERENCE.
    Last edited by seer; 08-13-2019 at 05:43 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  3. #1113
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    You just can't help yourself, can you...



    No one is claiming that "logic is merely a description of how Carpe's brain functions." (I can just hear the comments now... )

    That is how you are describing god. Therefore, if logic is simply "how god's mind works" and "God cannot act other than how his mind works," then the claim "god cannot act irrationality" reduces to "god cannot act other than how god can act."

    The logic is fairly straightforward - and the statement is shown to be a tautology. It ultimately says nothing. It's like saying "green is green" or "the walking man is walking."
    No, this all depends on how you word it. To say that God is perfectly and immutably rational is not a tautology.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Take the current debate around same sex intimacy. My position is that it is morally neutral - subject to the same moral evaluations as opposite-sex intimacy. Seer's position (and possibly yours?) is that it is immoral. My reasoning is grounded in my valuing for life, privacy, and love. I cannot see any argument that suggests love is better/worse between two people solely on the basis of their genetic make-up (XX vs. XY). Seer's position is grounded in "that's what the bible says." His core value is "obeying his god" and he believes the bible is this god's word and his specific interpretation of that bible is the correct one. I once tried to convince him (and others) of the inconsistency of saying "OK between Bob and Pat but not OK between Sam and Chris" when the only difference between the two is the genetic make-up of the participants. In other words rooting morality in genetics is simply not supportable. But I was wrong. The basis of their prohibition was not genetics - it was "what does the bible say." The only way I could possibly sway them is to a) convince them not to value their god (unlikely), b) convince them their god does not require this type of obedience (also unlikely), c) convince them that the bible is not this god's word (still unlikely), or d) convince them that the bible does not say what they think it says (still unlikely). In other words, I don't have a prayer of swaying their moral position on this topic. That leaves me with ignore (which is fine most of the time), isolate/separate (which is happening naturally since we only know one another online) and/or contend (which I do in the voting both, and by working hard to convince the next generation not to adopt a moral position I find immoral).
    FYI, I don't think it's immoral. I have a friend who is a Christian who has an MDiv and a website who doesn't believe it's immoral either and who takes a different perspective on it.
    For the record, as I've previously explained to carpedm here, this is not usually how Christians on this forum deliberate and resolve moral issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    ...I don't think I've ever heard anyone [on TheologyWeb] start or end a discussion with "because the bible says so." Very few people here are that black and white fundamentalist in their thinking. Most people here spend great amounts of time reading their Bibles in light of deep theological and philosophical deliberation. They don't simply say, "I believe it because they Bible says it." They ask "why do I believe what I believe," or "why is this in my Bible, what was God's ultimate intention or goal here?"

  5. #1115
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp, I'm not making an argument for or against any particular form of government. I'm saying that any government has the AUTHORITY to enforce their laws whether you or I consent or agree with those laws or not.
    And you are wrong, Seer. Our government has the authority (i.e., right AND power) because we consent. If we did not consent, it would not have the right, even if it did have the power.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Nonsense in our past debates you said rights were not self evident nor unalienable, and if you take God out of the picture unalienable rights go out the window and your "essential rights" is just gobbledygook with no objective meaning. And remember as the Founders said in the Declaration they were relying on Divine Providence (i.e. the control and rule of God).
    My position about "inalienable" has never changed. Inalienable means "unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor." There is no such right. But that does not mean there are no basic rights that every human being claims for themselves and, in order to be consistent, must grant to others as well. Life - liberty - pursuit of happiness are among these. I don't need a "god" to give me these rights - I claim them for myself. You don't have to respect them or even agree that I have them. They do not have to have "objective meaning" to have "meaning." This has already been established. And you an call them gobblygook all day long if you wish, but I will defend them when I need to.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Again not the point, if you break a country's laws that government has the authority and right to punish you WHETHER YOU CONSENT OR AGREE WITH THAT AUTHORITY OR NOT. Your consent makes NO DIFFERENCE.
    If I break a country's laws, and I am willingly in that country - then I have consented and the government has the right and power (hence the authority) to punish me. If I have no consented, then the government has the power but not the right - so it lacks the authority. Not a single thing you have said refutes this. You simply keep asserting, over and over again, that they have the authority - ignoring what gives the government it's authority )the consent of the governed), reducing authority to "power." Repeating it over and over again does not solve your problem, or show your argument (such as it is) to be correct. It simply shows you to be tenacious (as Adrift accurately pointed out) but lacking any real argumentation substance.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    No, this all depends on how you word it. To say that God is perfectly and immutably rational is not a tautology.
    You have missed the argument by quite a lot. I suggest you go back and reread it.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    For the record, as I've previously explained to carpedm here, this is not usually how Christians on this forum deliberate and resolve moral issues.
    Adrift, you're not really making a strong differentiator. The position is still rooted in "because the bible says so." Some more introspective people will still try to figure out "what is god's intent here?" but that will not cause them to EVER (in my experience) say, "that doesn't make any sense - this claim in the bible HAS to be wrong." Instead, they will find a way to justify "what the bible says" so they can hold that moral position. At least, that is my experience here, on this forum.

    I am aware of many Christians who do not hold the bible in the same fundamentalist view, and see it as a collection of books written by different people in different times and even different places, so capable of containing contradiction and conflict that needs to be reasoned through. Many of those will see passages about homosexuality as a record of the mindset at the time, and turn to passages about love, acceptance, etc. as the key messages. Some of these positions have taken root and even whole sects have become accepting of same-sex marriages and intimacy. Those sects would be denounced by most I have encountered here as "defying the word of god" (i.e., "what the bible says").

    I was frankly surprised by JimB's statement about same-sex relationships. I think he might be the first Christian I've encountered on this site that voiced that moral position.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  8. #1118
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Adrift, you're not really making a strong differentiator. The position is still rooted in "because the bible says so." Some more introspective people will still try to figure out "what is god's intent here?" but that will not cause them to EVER (in my experience) say, "that doesn't make any sense - this claim in the bible HAS to be wrong." Instead, they will find a way to justify "what the bible says" so they can hold that moral position. At least, that is my experience here, on this forum.

    I am aware of many Christians who do not hold the bible in the same fundamentalist view, and see it as a collection of books written by different people in different times and even different places, so capable of containing contradiction and conflict that needs to be reasoned through. Many of those will see passages about homosexuality as a record of the mindset at the time, and turn to passages about love, acceptance, etc. as the key messages. Some of these positions have taken root and even whole sects have become accepting of same-sex marriages and intimacy. Those sects would be denounced by most I have encountered here as "defying the word of god" (i.e., "what the bible says").

    I was frankly surprised by JimB's statement about same-sex relationships. I think he might be the first Christian I've encountered on this site that voiced that moral position.
    You're wrong. And what's horrifying about how wrong you are is that you actually attended a couple years of seminary and still came away with this wrongheaded belief (I'm constantly amazed at how unChristian your Christian background was). While I don't doubt that a number of Christians do voice their morality in so many words "because the bible says so," you're simply not going to find that fundamentalist type of moralizing among Christian philosophers, theologians, students, and introspective laymen like the ones you'll find on Theology web forums. That's typically NOT how it works. Rather these sorts of people tend to have great sensitivity to the intrinsic value of life, and a deeply held moral intuition well before they ever picked up a Bible. Heck, for some thinkers, their moral worldviews were shaped in some ways by adherence to a previous faith, or no faith at all. What the Bible often does for many Christians is help contextualize some of the how, where, and why. But it doesn't stop there of course, the Bible is part of a rich and complex tapestry of an overall moral and ethical worldview. If you truly think the moral and ethical worldviews of Augustine of Hippo, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Stanley Hauerwas, and the like boil down to "because the bible says so," then I highly suggest seeing if you can get your money back from that seminary you attended.

    The second paragraph of your post is you just soapboxing, and doesn't really have much to do with the current discussion.

    JimB is far from the only Christian on this forum who has voiced this particular moral position since you've been on a member of this site. Sam, and kiwimac come immediately to mind, though I know there are a few other posters here who hold similar views. And before the crash when we had more than a dozen regular members, it was a fairly commonly espoused view.
    Last edited by Adrift; 08-13-2019 at 11:57 AM.

  9. Amen Jim B. amen'd this post.
  10. #1119
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Morality is not like logic or mathematics, or even the laws of physics. If every sentient mind in the universe ceased to be - a thing would still be itself. If every sentient mind in the universe ceased to be - a solar system with four solid planets and four gas planets would still have eight planets in all. If every sentient mind in the universe ceased to be - objects with mass would still have a gravitational attraction to one another that is proportionate to their mass and the distance between the objects. But if every sentient mind in the universe ceased to be - there would be no actors and the entire concept of morality would cease to exist. As previously noted - morality is like law - it is not like logic, mathematics, or even the basic operational principles of the universe.
    You're setting up a "straw man argument" in which it's either absolute unchanging moral principles or moral subjectivism. As I've said repeatedly, those aren't the only alternatives.


    No. First, because morality is rooted in what we value, I can come to a "wrong" moral position by flawed reasoning on what I value, adopting a moral position that actually harms what I value rather than affirming it. Second, if what I value shifts, then a moral position I previously held as "right" can become "wrong" and will shift accordingly. This can also happen if the relationship between things I value shifts (i.e., I value life above liberty - but then an experience causes me to value liberty above life).
    You're moving the goalposts now. You said that whatever one's subjective position happened to be was one's moral position. Now you're saying that one can be 'wrong' about one's subjective position, that your reasoning can be flawed or what you value can change. If your reasoning can be flawed, then this is a deviation from subjectivism because you're admitting that there are rational criteria beyond your subjective reaction that your subjective reaction 'ought' to be judged by. Your sliding now into an "Ideal Observer" theory of morality. In other words, you're suggesting to take your immediate desires and judge them in the light of reasons and rationality, so that you end up not with what you want but with what you ought to want in the light of reason and calm reflection. If it's all subjective, why is your immediate reaction less valid than your reasoned reflection? Why not 'go with your gut'? In the second case, if your values shift, does that mean that before they shifted, those values didn't represent your 'true' subjective position? And can't your values always shift in the future? So how can you tell when they've shifted into their permanent position and when you're in your 'true' subjective state? If your values are always subject to shifting, you will never be in that state.


    Sorry, Jim, but this is just false. If I say "same-sex intimacy is morally neutral" and you say "same-sex intimacy is always immoral," then we have a moral disagreement about same sex intimacy. Why we disagree may vary - but we are disagreeing on a moral position, and can do so in a subjective moral world. Indeed, we do so every day.
    No, because according to subjectivism, we are not arguing about same-sex intimacy at all, but our subjective reactions to it. How can there be a genuine disgreement about the moral issue itself when the assumption going in is that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' on any moral issue beyond individual subjective responses? It would be like arguing over whether it feels hot in here or not, or whether licorice is a pleasant flavor.



    Now who's begging the question...
    No, my point followed from the argument I just made. If what i just said is right, if subjectivism precludes moral disagreement, then subjectivism isn't really a moral theory at all but rather a psychological tendency masking itself as a moral theory.



    So murder is a bad choice, because "murder is wrong" a tautology. Murder is wrong by definition. The term "murder" means "an illicit (or wrongful) killing." So "murder is wrong," by substitution, becomes "an illicit (or wrongful) killing is wrong." That is a tautology. It doesn't actually tell us which act constitutes a murder.
    Okay, murder is a bad choice, but then anything would be a bad choice since I don't believe in absolute, exceptionless moral principles other than maybe one. What about "Killing an innocent person." (?)

    I think we agree that someone to evaluate whether or not a particular act is moral/immoral does not make morality subjective. All I need is a moral framework, and I can make that evaluation. Indeed, I can say "sex between Chris and Pat (two men) is immoral to Seer," because I know Seer's moral stance on this. I can say "sex between Chris and Pat (two men) is morally neutral to Carpe," because I know Carpe's moral stance on this. That type of assessment is subjective, and NOT what is meant by noting that morality is subjective. When I say morality is subjective, I mean arriving at a particular moral framework is always a subjective act. There is no universally objective moral framework to which we should all be subscribing. It doesn't exist - has never been shown to exist - and doesn't NEED to exist.
    You're interpreting it in a way that's very prejudicial to your case. Again, you're begging the question. Why can't we phrase it in a more neutral way that avoids question begging? For instance, "Seer believes..." "Carpe believes..." Arriving at a particular moral framework is a subjective act just as arriving at a belief set about the physical world is a subjective act (Please note: no further analogy between morality and the physical world is intended beyond this analogy!!!)
    But that doesn't mean that they are not normative and are not necessarily aiming at some frame of reference beyond satisfying their own subjective conditions.

    Whether it does or doesn't exist is what we're debating. BTW, who has the burden of proof? What evidence and/or argument has ever been offered in favor of subjectivism other than "It's there all around us!" And who gives a fig whether it NEEDS to or not? I care about whether it DOES or not.

  11. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    You have missed the argument by quite a lot. I suggest you go back and reread it.
    So again: God is perfectly and immutably rational - is that a tautology? If not that is all we are saying.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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