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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

  1. #1481
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    What are you taking about?
    Like I said, you always miss the point. If you're asking about the morality of the tyrants, then ask about the tyrants, not the countries. Communist people, like athiests, are no less moral than are you.



    No, and you missed the point. There is nothing wrong or evil about those in power either, they are just doing what animals do.
    Yes, that point has been explained to you ad infinitum as well. There is nothing in the absolute sense that is right or wrong apart from it's effect upon people and society.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I have been telling you that moral truths are NOT like logical and mathematical truths from the outset, Seer. But the difference lies in the former being subjective and the latter being objective. So far, you have provided no argument for demonstrating that moral truths are anything but subjective.
    And again Carp, subjective is not relative. If the law of God exists it may be subjective to Him (Adrift would disagree) but it is not relative or ever changing, and is universal, and possibly objective if Adrift's argument is correct.

    Indoctrination: the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

    I submit it would be fairly hard for a person to "indoctrinate" themselves. I would say that is especially true of a person who specifically is looking at things critically, which is how he (I) arrived at subjectivism rather than the predominant objectivism model of most of the world.

    Look at it this way, Seer. If you walked into Nazi Germany and encountered one person who was spouting the Nazi doctrine, and another who was speaking against it - which do you think is most likely to have been "indoctrinated?" Would you accuse the one speaking against it of "indoctrinating themselves?" If you walk into a group of Moonies, and you listen to one person recite the moony doctrines/dogmas, and another person question those dogmas as "likely untrue," which would you consider most likely to be indoctrinated?

    The vast majority of humanity holds to morality as an objective exercise and teaches that in schools, families, and religious contexts. Here I stand speaking against the model. Which of us is most likely to have been indoctrinated?
    Carp you did not make up the idea subjective morality yourself, the idea simply resonated with you. It seemed (and I stress seemed) to explain what you see in the world (that is what I meant by indoctrinating yourself). And it has been a popular idea in the west for many years now. I wonder if you live 200 years ago if it would have ever occurred to you?

    Of course it's a consideration. You are arguing that we "intuititively grasp" objective moral truths. If that is the case, and there is one objectively true moral principles, logic suggests we should be intuitively grasping the same moral positions - but we clearly aren't. That response is not a proof (or even evidence) that "morality is not objective;" it is a response to your claim that moral principles are "intuitively grasped."
    That simply does not follow. If we misunderstand, or have different understandings of the Quantum world does that mean there isn't one correct answer. Besides that you already agree that moral disagreement does not disprove the idea of objective morality and moral intuition is merely an extension of that.

    The nature of morality itself. That it serves to sort behavior into "ought" and "ought not" and that this sorting is based on the relationship between the proposed (or occurred) action and how it impacts (or is intended to impact) something we subjectively value/cherish.

    If you want to see this in action, take any moral principle, and attempt to show that it is "objectively true" WITHOUT ending up at a subjectively held valuing/cherishing. I submit that you will not be able to. I submit that is the exact reason that no one here even attempts to answer that question. I submit that you cannot end up at an objectively true moral principle if it is rooted in a subjectively held valuing/cherishing.
    The law of God. That what God values is supreme, universal, authoritative and as we discussed, binding on you whether you agree or not, accept it or not. This is why I disagree with Jim B, we need an ultimate valuer for this to work. But then it does work.
    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...

  3. #1483
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    Yes, that point has been explained to you ad infinitum as well. There is nothing in the absolute sense that is right or wrong apart from it's effect upon people and society.
    If there are no absolutes then the effects on society are not absolute either.
    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...

  4. #1484
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    And again Carp, subjective is not relative.
    I did not say anything about relative. My comments have been about subjective vs. objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    If the law of God exists it may be subjective to Him (Adrift would disagree) but it is not relative or ever changing, and is universal, and possibly objective if Adrift's argument is correct.
    If god exists, and is unchanging, eternal, and omnipresent, then his moral framework would be the only example of an unchanging/eternal, omnipresent moral framework. What you have failed to show is how god's moral framework is any more binding on me that yours is. I know of no way of showing how the moral framework of one individual binds another.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp you did not make up the idea subjective morality yourself, the idea simply resonated with you. It seemed (and I stress seemed) to explain what you see in the world (that is what I meant by indoctrinating yourself). And it has been a popular idea in the west for many years now.
    No - that is not what happened. What happened is I started asking myself about how morality worked in a universe absent a god. I worked out the basics myself, and then began to read. My understanding of how morality is "subjective" does not align with the conventional philosophical view - hence Jim B's confusion when I make my arguments - and my suggestion that we find a way to distinguish between what most philosophers mean when they say "subjective" and what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I wonder if you live 200 years ago if it would have ever occurred to you?
    Since my beliefs were not formed based on a broad understanding of the classic "subjective morality" position, I would suspect the answer to this is "yes," but the fact is I doubt we'll ever know. A better question might be "how likely is it that I would have conceived of a universe with a god 200 years ago?" That was the origination point for pretty much everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    That simply does not follow. If we misunderstand, or have different understandings of the Quantum world does that mean there isn't one correct answer. Besides that you already agree that moral disagreement does not disprove the idea of objective morality and moral intuition is merely an extension of that.
    Again, I was refuting your claim that we grasp morality "intuitively," not your claim that "morality is based on objective truths." If both are true, then it should follow that our "intuition" should point us in the same direction. After all, intuition means "the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning." It suggests grasping a reality without the need for conscious thought. We "intuit" the truth of the matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    The law of God. That what God values is supreme, universal, authoritative and as we discussed, binding on you whether you agree or not, accept it or not. This is why I disagree with Jim B, we need an ultimate valuer for this to work. But then it does work.
    You have made this case many times, and it fails in all of the ways I have previously outlined. I'm not going to waste time repeating them. If you want to believe you are "bound" by your god's moral framework, so be it. If you want to believe that I am equally so bound, knock yourself out. Morality is subjective and you are going to do what you are going to do, regardless of anything I might say. You have not presented an argument, however, that makes it clear that this binding actually exists. I conclude it exists for you because you want it to.

    And you cannot even show that this being exists - so the point is somewhat moot anyway.
    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

  5. #1485
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    If there are no absolutes then the effects on society are not absolute either.
    Don't even know what you mean by that. Could you give an example?

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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Right and they often do it with wide spread domination, rape, even murder. Just like humans.
    Of course, just like humans can behave. Chimps and humans are closely related after all. Your point?

    And?
    "And", the reality is our need as a social species to live in community whatever form of governance we adopt: tyrannical, monarchical, theocratic or democratic etc. There’s no alternative means for our survival as a species.

    How we do it is up to the societies in which we live. According to the Human Development Index secular nations like Norway do it more equitably than theist nations. But maybe, in “your world” equal rights are a bad thing.

    So what? In your world it was the evolutionary process that caused us to be religious, and all the consequences that followed. Again nothing evil or wrong here - just animals acting as the process created them to act.
    Define “evil” and “wrong”. Was it “evil” that the Christian powers enslaved tens of thousands of Africans, destroyed the culture of Native Americans and discriminated against blacks during the Jim Crow era? Or that King Leopold of Christian Belgium maintained a brutal, murderous regime in the Congo etc. etc. etc. It’s not just the atheist’ leaders like Stalin or Mao, you are always quoting, who can be truly nasty.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    Don't even know what you mean by that. Could you give an example?
    Then I have no idea what your point is... what do you mean by this: There is nothing in the absolute sense that is right or wrong apart from it's effect upon people and society.

    You are suggesting that the effect on society is absolute in the sense of right or wrong. Why?
    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    "And", the reality is our need as a social species to live in community whatever form of governance we adopt: tyrannical, monarchical, theocratic or democratic etc. There’s no alternative means for our survival as a species.

    How we do it is up to the societies in which we live. According to the Human Development Index secular nations like Norway do it more equitably than theist nations. But maybe, in “your world” equal rights are a bad thing.
    No, the point is equal rights is just a legal fiction, there is nothing equal in nature. It is make believe.


    Define “evil” and “wrong”. Was it “evil” that the Christian powers enslaved tens of thousands of Africans, destroyed the culture of Native Americans and discriminated against blacks during the Jim Crow era? Or that King Leopold of Christian Belgium maintained a brutal, murderous regime in the Congo etc. etc. etc. It’s not just the atheist’ leaders like Stalin or Mao, you are always quoting, who can be truly nasty.
    So what is your point? They were just acting as the evolutionary process created them to act. Why do you dislike what nature produces so much? And no, with materialism there is no evil. Just animals doing what animals do.
    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    If god exists, and is unchanging, eternal, and omnipresent, then his moral framework would be the only example of an unchanging/eternal, omnipresent moral framework. What you have failed to show is how god's moral framework is any more binding on me that yours is. I know of no way of showing how the moral framework of one individual binds another.
    The same way the laws of the land are binding on you even if you disagree with them. The State has the authority to enforce them.



    No - that is not what happened. What happened is I started asking myself about how morality worked in a universe absent a god. I worked out the basics myself, and then began to read. My understanding of how morality is "subjective" does not align with the conventional philosophical view - hence Jim B's confusion when I make my arguments - and my suggestion that we find a way to distinguish between what most philosophers mean when they say "subjective" and what I mean.
    Right absent a god, morality would be relative. Subjective does not necessarily mean relative. If all men, by some quirk of nature, believe that picking your nose was immoral, that belief would not be relative, but it would still be subjective, and universal.

    Since my beliefs were not formed based on a broad understanding of the classic "subjective morality" position, I would suspect the answer to this is "yes," but the fact is I doubt we'll ever know. A better question might be "how likely is it that I would have conceived of a universe with a god 200 years ago?" That was the origination point for pretty much everything.
    Come on Carp, we both grew up about the same time, from the sixties on moral relativism was in the air, you could not escape it.

    Again, I was refuting your claim that we grasp morality "intuitively," not your claim that "morality is based on objective truths." If both are true, then it should follow that our "intuition" should point us in the same direction. After all, intuition means "the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning." It suggests grasping a reality without the need for conscious thought. We "intuit" the truth of the matter.
    Sorry Carp, that just doesn't follow. Since we are flawed moral beings our intuitive sense of right or wrong is often tainted or ignored by our selfish desires. I have seen that intuitive sense in very young children that have not had a lot of cultural indoctrination. This is an innate moral sense.

    Research shows toddlers understand right from wrong at just 19 months

    https://www.psychologicalscience.org...19-months.html

    Babies can actually tell good from evil, even as young as 3 months old

    https://www.cnn.com/2014/02/13/livin...ooper-parents/



    You have made this case many times, and it fails in all of the ways I have previously outlined. I'm not going to waste time repeating them. If you want to believe you are "bound" by your god's moral framework, so be it. If you want to believe that I am equally so bound, knock yourself out. Morality is subjective and you are going to do what you are going to do, regardless of anything I might say. You have not presented an argument, however, that makes it clear that this binding actually exists. I conclude it exists for you because you want it to.

    And you cannot even show that this being exists - so the point is somewhat moot anyway.
    And what do you mean show that God exists? No one here seems to have any idea what evidence for God would actually look like.
    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...

  10. #1490
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    The same way the laws of the land are binding on you even if you disagree with them. The State has the authority to enforce them.
    We've been around this horn enough. Your opinion is duly noted. As soon as you can actually show how one being's moral framework is "binding" on another's, let me know. Until then, your argument is rejected as unsupported.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Right absent a god, morality would be relative. Subjective does not necessarily mean relative. If all men, by some quirk of nature, believe that picking your nose was immoral, that belief would not be relative, but it would still be subjective, and universal.
    Subjective morality: the position that moral principles are governed by personal beliefs, opinions, and ideas.
    Relative morality: the position that moral principles are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint.
    Universal morality: the position that moral principles are true or false everywhere and everywhen for everyone.

    Morality is both relative and subjective with or without a god. If your god exists, then his moral principle are relative to him and governed by his beliefs, opinions, ideas. Mine are relative to me, and governed by my opinions, ideas, and beliefs. Specifically, they are rooted in what I most highly value/cherish.

    As for universal, there is no moral principle you can name that can be shown to be universal to even existing sapient beings, never mind all past and future sapient beings, so the speculation is essentially meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Come on Carp, we both grew up about the same time, from the sixties on moral relativism was in the air, you could not escape it.
    I'm not going to waste my time on your speculations which you cannot show to be true and I cannot show to be false. It's speculation - nothing more. And you have no basis for such an absolute position.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Sorry Carp, that just doesn't follow. Since we are flawed moral beings our intuitive sense of right or wrong is often tainted or ignored by our selfish desires. I have seen that intuitive sense in very young children that have not had a lot of cultural indoctrination. This is an innate moral sense.

    Research shows toddlers understand right from wrong at just 19 months

    https://www.psychologicalscience.org...19-months.html

    Babies can actually tell good from evil, even as young as 3 months old

    https://www.cnn.com/2014/02/13/livin...ooper-parents/
    OK - I'll accept your observation about intuition being potentially flawed. My argument did indeed suggest a "perfection" to intuition that cannot be justified given our limited natures. But your arguments do not make your case. With respect to the 19-month old, by that age the child is stewing in a culture - has picked up language - and developed an understanding of what pleases and displeases its care givers. As for the 3-month old, it stands to reason that any being with any sapience whatsoever is going to begin moralizing to some degree. Since morality is about actions that impact what we value, even the 3-month old can associate "slamming" and "hitting" with pain and unpleasantness, and begin that process of sorting. Is this a form of "intuition? I guess I can accept that word. It simply describes how our sorting of morality can sometimes be subconscious. It doesn't make make morality "objective" or "absolute" or "universal." It simply points to the reality that we share a great deal in common.

    I'm curious, did you actually read the articles you linked? The second one discusses shows how very small babies tend to divide the world into us/them and commonly want "them" to be kept away or punished - a behavior we (hopefully) unlearn as we mature and take on more of influence of our cultures. Some people, of course, never outgrow this stage.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    And what do you mean show that God exists? No one here seems to have any idea what evidence for God would actually look like.
    Seer, you cannot seem to articulate any compelling evidence for the existence of this god. I am familiar with this "what evidence would you accept" argument as a way to avoid providing the evidence that convinces you. It's part of a broader strategy you appear to use regularly: avoid the question and ask more questions of your own. That puts you in control of the discussion without ever having to actually respond to what is asked.

    All anyone here has been asking is, "what evidence is convincing to you." Then we can assess whether or not we also find it compelling/convincing. But instead of providing it, you want everyone to define for you what evidence would be "acceptable." Personally, I would find any piece of evidence that cannot be explained via any known principles governing the function of this universe and is logically sound to be "compelling." I would find "evidence" that is equivocal, has an alternative explanation, or has logical flaws to be uncompelling.

    I'll make a prediction. Instead of actually beginning to provide the evidence you find compelling - something we used to call "witnessing" when I was Christian - you will instead jump on the attributes of evidence that I would find compelling/uncompelling and either go back to the nature vs. supernatural argument, or otherwise find a reason why you cannot begin providing the list of things that convinces you that this god of yours actually exists.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 09-13-2019 at 06:56 AM.
    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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