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  1. #161
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    God doesn't derive meaning, He assigns it. Things have a purpose or end insofar as He endows then with it.
    I stand corrected. Derive was, indeed, the exact wrong word. My philosophical position that all meaning is subjective is not consistent with "derived." I used the wrong word. Sentient minds assign meaning - they do not derive it. Thanks for the correction.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    You just accepted that everything is subjective, ergo you have abandoned objective reality.
    No. I have affirmed that the human experience is limited to the subjective. We subjectively experience what is objectively real. That is so obviously true to me, I don't know how it can NOT be obvious to someone else. The tree exists. The experience of "tree" that we have is a collection of electro-chemical processes in the brain. It is representational. It is a subjective experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    OK, perhaps you didn't mean precisely that, here.

    One of the problems in this discussion is that you assume that because we are all unique individuals with our subjective experience of reality, this means that morality must be also subjective.

    (That's the hypothetical you agreed to: "If morality is necessarily subjective because we all choose the values we live by, then everything is subjective, because we are all individuals with unique perspectives and experiences.")
    To be clear - if I actually did agree with that statement, then I read it too quickly. I object to "everything is subjective." I do not deny the existence of an objective reality. I believe the physical universe as well as logical and mathematical absolutes are objectively real. But things like value, meaning, and morality are entirely subjective.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    This confuses two senses of the term 'subjective' when it comes to morality.

    Objective morality= the view that there are moral values that are true regardless of what people think.

    Subjective morality = the converse of the above. There are no moral values that are true except those which people accept as true, and people accepting moral values as true makes those values true ('for them')
    And I believe the second exists, and the first does not. I have no basis for believing the first to exist - but I see the second in operation all around me, and it confirms to my experiences internally.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Both positions are completely compatible with the fact that people can, and do, individually (and 'subjectively' ) choose what moral values they hold as being true. So your observation (that even moral objectivists have to decide for themselves what morals they will live by, etc) is true but irrelevant to the question.
    Max - it's not just that they choose what they think is true (morally). it is that HOW they choose it is aligned to how they value. This is what morality is generally about.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    The more someone moves towards subjectvism in their worldview, the less basis they have for being able to communicate with others in any meaningful way. We are each locked in our unique experiences with now way to share or communicate them to others. That's a poison that will eat away all your relationships.
    So far - no problem. Indeed, it has enhanced my relationships by recognizing that we each have our unique experiences, and "what is happening for Michel is not necessarily what is happening for someone else." Your assignment of this dynamic to the class "poison" is simply wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Sure you can say that they are wrong, but your worldview only allows you to say that they are wrong according to your individual morality, and you are forced to concede that they are right according to their morality, which is just as valid for them as yours is for you. There is nothing about objective reality that you can point to to show that their actions, motives, or moral beliefs conflict with reality.

    When you argue for, or against, something in the area of morality, you aren't arguing about objective reality. When you try to convince someone on TWeb to adopt your moral views, you aren't trying to convince them that they should change from having some false belief about reality to having some true belief, because your worldview doesn't have such things.

    In your worldview, moral values are in the same (ontological??) class of values as all other values - such as that someone dislikes it when people who eat with their mouth open; or when someone thinks that blue is the best colour; or thinks that one should support the sports team in their hometown, not the one with the players you like best; or ...

    There is no difference at all, in principle, between you saying 'it is wrong to steal' and someone saying 'it is wrong to eat with your mouth open'. Ditto 'it is wrong to lie' and 'it is wrong to think yellow is better than blue'
    So first, my hearty congratulations on being the first to express this in an accurate way. As a moral subjectivist, I am not required to acknowledge that someone's moral position is as valid as mine - but I am required to acknowledge that it is as valid for them as mine is for me. The "for them/me" is important because it recognizes there is no universal measuring stick. I completely agree with the statements you have made here.

    Indeed, I have been the first to say that morality is a type of preference, not different in kind from a food preference or a movie preference. Seer loves to jump on this as a mechanism for trivializing "subjective morality." As I have noted many times, our preferences are rooted in what we value. We value pizza. We value life. The two lay (for most people) on pretty much opposite ends of the "value" spectrum that ranges from "trivial things I prefer/value" to "critical things I prefer/value." They are different to us in degree, but they are not ontologically different. We tend to use the word "morality" for actions related to the most critical things on that spectrum.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    So your moral worldview reduces to questions of self-interest, and nothing else. Since there is nothing external to people that we can appeal to as a basis for morality, we can only appeal to self-interest, and ultimately, our own self-interest. It's not wrong for someone else to have a conflicting moral view to ours, it's simply inconvenient to us. We're not convincing someone to change their moral views to align with ours because they are not aligned with external reality, but because it suits us better and makes our life more comfortable if others do what we want them to do.
    In general, yes. We seek to protect what we most value, and a society that shares the same moral positions we hold will best protect what we value. Because we share a great deal in common (our species, this planet, mortality, our biological needs, etc.), there is significant alignment to those things we most value, so there is significant alignment to our moral frameworks.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    There are, I'm sure, moral values that you would resort to personal violence to defend. You would (I assume) be prepared to physically harm someone who was themselves physically harming someone else, if that was what it took to stop them.
    I would hope I would have the courage to. I cannot say "yes" until I've been faced with that choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    But that is no different than physically harming someone to get them to stop eating with their mouth open, or to get them to stop wearing yellow. That is the outcome of your worldview. That is literally insane.
    Ahhh..I figured it had to happen eventually. Seer plays this game too. Grab something most of us place on the trivial end of the "value" continuum and treat it as if it were on the most valued end. Yes, in my worldview, it is possible that someone can place "chewing with your mouth closed" at the "extremely valuable" end of the spectrum. If they did, their moral code might drive them to kill someone who chews with their mouth open. We would, indeed, generally consider such a person insane, because their valuing is so extremely at odds with the rest of us. They would have to value "closed mouth chewing" over "life." If we could not talk them out of that position, we would take the usual steps to address the issue. We probably would not ignore them if they show a tendency to kill people who chew with their mouths open. We would probably isolate/separate them - probably in a facility for people with psychological disorders. If confronted by them trying to kill someone chewing with their mouth open, we would (hopefully) physically contend with them to prevent them being able to act on this belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    It's a shame that you've passed over the discussion about Tassman's moral claims, since it illustrates quite nicely why a moral subjectivist has nothing important to say about morals to anyone else.
    Moral subjectivism has nothing necessarily important to say about orals to anyone else. But let's look at your argument a bit more closely. Why is it that you think the moral subjectivist has nothing important to say? Presumably because it lacks an objective standard to appeal to. So the argument boils down to, "moral subjectivism is not good because it's not objectivism." As I have said to Seer on many occasions, this is not an argument. It simply notes that one thing is not the other. The law of identity tells us that. But you are not just reminding us that A is not B. You are trying to claim B is better than A. But you have not made that case. All you have done is remind us "A is not B."

    Yes - subjective morality provides no objective reference point. Agreed. So what? The legal system provides no objective reference point. We don't deny its utility. The general theory of relativity tells us that space and time have no objective reference point. Yet the universe continues to function quite well.

    If you are going to claim "B is better than A," you have to do more than simply remind us that "B is not A."

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Carpedm, I believe that at it's highest there is something incredibly beautiful about morality, about our moral sense. At that point there is something that calls us out of ourselves, beyond ourselves. Something transcendent. We can see it when someone does something entirely self-sacrificial, something truly altruistic. There's some thing there that we all feel deeply, that we all feel we should aspire to, given the opportunity.

    Yet that doesn't - can't exist - in your worldview. Man - each to themselves - is the sole measure of morality. There is no way, and no reason, to transcend yourself and your self-interest. Your moral horizon is circumscribed to the dimensions of your good-will and your selflessness.

    That is tragic. I hurt for your loss.
    A nice speech, but the sense of pity is not required. I'm not having a problem with finding something incredibly beautiful about morality any more than I am finding it difficult finding something incredibly beautiful about how we can create and frame laws. You see, Max, we all base morality on what we value - but that does not mean we are limited to valuing ourselves. I value life - ALL life. So it translates to my moral framework. I value happiness - not just my own - but the happiness of those around me. There is room for the transcendence you point to in a subjective moral framework. Indeed, we tend to see those around us who value things beyond themselves as valuing at a higher level - probably because their valuing includes us.

    Is there selfishness there? Of course. Pure altruism doesn't exist. We act as we do because some part of us wants to - because we derive some form of satisfaction in making that choice. No choice is ever "pure" because we are human - we are limited - we are imperfect - we are finite. We are a convoluted mess of motivations. When I feed the poor - a part of me is acting on my valuing ALL life. Part of me is experiencing delight in that grateful smile I receive from the person getting the food. That's life.

    ETA: I would also like to add that you are one of the people online that I MOST delight in having exchanges with. While we disagree, and will "cross swords" intellectually, you keep the arguments about the arguments, and seem to eschew condescension, ridicule, and personal attacks. You are keen of mind and force me to think. You are probably the person here I have most said "I stand corrected" to. As an educator, I know that a significant amount of learning (most?) happens when we make errors and have to correct them - so you're forcing me to learn! My thanks.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 06-15-2019 at 06:35 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

  2. Amen MaxVel amen'd this post.
  3. #162
    tWebber MaxVel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I stand corrected. Derive was, indeed, the exact wrong word. My philosophical position that all meaning is subjective is not consistent with "derived." I used the wrong word. Sentient minds assign meaning - they do not derive it. Thanks for the correction.



    No. I have affirmed that the human experience is limited to the subjective. We subjectively experience what is objectively real. That is so obviously true to me, I don't know how it can NOT be obvious to someone else. The tree exists. The experience of "tree" that we have is a collection of electro-chemical processes in the brain. It is representational. It is a subjective experience.



    To be clear - if I actually did agree with that statement, then I read it too quickly. I object to "everything is subjective." I do not deny the existence of an objective reality. I believe the physical universe as well as logical and mathematical absolutes are objectively real. But things like value, meaning, and morality are entirely subjective.



    And I believe the second exists, and the first does not. I have no basis for believing the first to exist - but I see the second in operation all around me, and it confirms to my experiences internally.



    Max - it's not just that they choose what they think is true (morally). it is that HOW they choose it is aligned to how they value. This is what morality is generally about.



    So far - no problem. Indeed, it has enhanced my relationships by recognizing that we each have our unique experiences, and "what is happening for Michel is not necessarily what is happening for someone else." Your assignment of this dynamic to the class "poison" is simply wrong.



    So first, my hearty congratulations on being the first to express this in an accurate way. As a moral subjectivist, I am not required to acknowledge that someone's moral position is as valid as mine - but I am required to acknowledge that it is as valid for them as mine is for me. The "for them/me" is important because it recognizes there is no universal measuring stick. I completely agree with the statements you have made here.

    Indeed, I have been the first to say that morality is a type of preference, not different in kind from a food preference or a movie preference. Seer loves to jump on this as a mechanism for trivializing "subjective morality." As I have noted many times, our preferences are rooted in what we value. We value pizza. We value life. The two lay (for most people) on pretty much opposite ends of the "value" spectrum that ranges from "trivial things I prefer/value" to "critical things I prefer/value." They are different to us in degree, but they are not ontologically different. We tend to use the word "morality" for actions related to the most critical things on that spectrum.



    In general, yes. We seek to protect what we most value, and a society that shares the same moral positions we hold will best protect what we value. Because we share a great deal in common (our species, this planet, mortality, our biological needs, etc.), there is significant alignment to those things we most value, so there is significant alignment to our moral frameworks.



    I would hope I would have the courage to. I cannot say "yes" until I've been faced with that choice.



    Ahhh..I figured it had to happen eventually. Seer plays this game too. Grab something most of us place on the trivial end of the "value" continuum and treat it as if it were on the most valued end. Yes, in my worldview, it is possible that someone can place "chewing with your mouth closed" at the "extremely valuable" end of the spectrum. If they did, their moral code might drive them to kill someone who chews with their mouth open. We would, indeed, generally consider such a person insane, because their valuing is so extremely at odds with the rest of us. They would have to value "closed mouth chewing" over "life." If we could not talk them out of that position, we would take the usual steps to address the issue. We probably would not ignore them if they show a tendency to kill people who chew with their mouths open. We would probably isolate/separate them - probably in a facility for people with psychological disorders. If confronted by them trying to kill someone chewing with their mouth open, we would (hopefully) physically contend with them to prevent them being able to act on this belief.

    It's not a game. It's the logical result of your position. You're simply special pleading for the values you personally like. Adding a bunch of people who agree with you doesn't change the fact that there is no ontological difference between those and any other ones, and it's still special pleading with appeal to popularity added on.


    Imagine a world where the majority had a bunch of bizarre and eclectic moral values - not chewing with your mouth open / only support your hometown sports teams / never wear yellow ('evil!') / never step on a crack ('break your mother's back') / stealing isn't wrong if you don't get caught at the time / etc - and enforced those with the power of the state, including fines, jail sentences and even executions. That imaginary world** is no less moral than the present one. It might even be more moral if a bigger percentage of people lived consistently by its moral codes. It's only 'different'.


    I realise that it looks like 'a game' to you, and may feel offensive - argumentum ad absurdum - but your worldview requires it to be the case.





    **Awful except for the mouth open stuff. I agree with that




    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587
    Moral subjectivism has nothing necessarily important to say about orals to anyone else. But let's look at your argument a bit more closely. Why is it that you think the moral subjectivist has nothing important to say? Presumably because it lacks an objective standard to appeal to. So the argument boils down to, "moral subjectivism is not good because it's not objectivism." As I have said to Seer on many occasions, this is not an argument. It simply notes that one thing is not the other. The law of identity tells us that. But you are not just reminding us that A is not B. You are trying to claim B is better than A. But you have not made that case. All you have done is remind us "A is not B."

    Yes - subjective morality provides no objective reference point. Agreed. So what? The legal system provides no objective reference point. We don't deny its utility. The general theory of relativity tells us that space and time have no objective reference point. Yet the universe continues to function quite well.

    If you are going to claim "B is better than A," you have to do more than simply remind us that "B is not A."

    Um, it's because - in your worldview - you can't point to anything but your personal opinion as a basis for your moral criticism of others.** And you can't easily, if at all, justify why your personal opinion is more true or better than mine in any particular area where we disagree on moral values.

    Yet you're willing to use force on me to constrain me to do things how you think they should be done. Just who do you think you are? You don't really know me, apart from our limited interactions here, you don't know my circumstances, my background, my struggles, my culture, what I know and don't know, anything that would enable you to make informed and wise decisions about what is best for me. Yet you presume to tell me what I must and mustn't do, what I should value, and how I should live. How dare you! How arrogant.

    ('me' here includes everyone else.)



    **I don't do that. I point to what I believe to be objectively true about reality. I may be wrong about that, but when I make a moral criticism, I am pointing to something greater than myself, something true even if I don't want it to be that way, even if it's personally inconvenient, even if I fail to live up to it.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587
    A nice speech, but the sense of pity is not required. I'm not having a problem with finding something incredibly beautiful about morality any more than I am finding it difficult finding something incredibly beautiful about how we can create and frame laws. You see, Max, we all base morality on what we value - but that does not mean we are limited to valuing ourselves. I value life - ALL life. So it translates to my moral framework. I value happiness - not just my own - but the happiness of those around me. There is room for the transcendence you point to in a subjective moral framework. Indeed, we tend to see those around us who value things beyond themselves as valuing at a higher level - probably because their valuing includes us.

    Is there selfishness there? Of course. Pure altruism doesn't exist. We act as we do because some part of us wants to - because we derive some form of satisfaction in making that choice. No choice is ever "pure" because we are human - we are limited - we are imperfect - we are finite. We are a convoluted mess of motivations. When I feed the poor - a part of me is acting on my valuing ALL life. Part of me is experiencing delight in that grateful smile I receive from the person getting the food. That's life.

    ETA: I would also like to add that you are one of the people online that I MOST delight in having exchanges with. While we disagree, and will "cross swords" intellectually, you keep the arguments about the arguments, and seem to eschew condescension, ridicule, and personal attacks. You are keen of mind and force me to think. You are probably the person here I have most said "I stand corrected" to. As an educator, I know that a significant amount of learning (most?) happens when we make errors and have to correct them - so you're forcing me to learn! My thanks.

    I'm blushing. Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

  4. Amen Mountain Man, Adrift amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
    I agree, carpe makes me think, not in a "He makes a good point; perhaps I should reevaluate my position" sort of way but more in a "How do I best explain and defend my position?" sort of way. One of things that first attracted me to tWeb many, many years ago was to test Christian beliefs and see if they really could stand up to direct challenges from atheists. Happily, the answer has been a resounding "yes".

    And, yes, carpe does seem like a nice guy, and he and I would probably get along great if we ever met in person as long we steered clear of any topics related to politics and religion.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

  6. Amen MaxVel, One Bad Pig amen'd this post.
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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    It's not a game. It's the logical result of your position. You're simply special pleading for the values you personally like. Adding a bunch of people who agree with you doesn't change the fact that there is no ontological difference between those and any other ones, and it's still special pleading with appeal to popularity added on.
    Have you ever noticed, Max, that if we ever had a discussion about "risks to my life," few of us would even think to include "meteor strike" on that list? The possibility is there. It is a natural consequence of how the laws of the universe function that any one of us could be killed by such a thing at any moment. But it is not in our thoughts because the possibility is so remote as to be essentially non-existent. No human being in history is known to have been killed by being struck by a meteor.

    But this is essentially what the person arguing for subjective morality almost always ends up heading for. The incidence of someone valuing "not seeing chewed food" above "life" is almost non-existent; but out it comes, as if it were a perfectly common appearance.

    If you encounter a person who values this way, and so sees it to be perfectly acceptable to kill someone over it, you hauling out your bible and pointing to the absence of such a moral code there will do pretty much nothing to convince them either. Your appeal to a moral code they have not adopted will not help you one whit. You will end up doing the same thing I have to do: ignore (probably not), isolate/separate, or contend.

    That is what any two people will end up doing when they do not agree on a moral precept.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Imagine a world where the majority had a bunch of bizarre and eclectic moral values - not chewing with your mouth open / only support your hometown sports teams / never wear yellow ('evil!') / never step on a crack ('break your mother's back') / stealing isn't wrong if you don't get caught at the time / etc - and enforced those with the power of the state, including fines, jail sentences and even executions. That imaginary world** is no less moral than the present one. It might even be more moral if a bigger percentage of people lived consistently by its moral codes. It's only 'different'.
    So let me insert the words that you, like Seer, omit in your sentence. What you are actually saying is, "That imaginary world is no less objectively moral than the present one." To that I say, "correct, it's not." Because morality is subjective, there is no objective standard, so there is no way to make the objective statement, "that world is more/less moral than this one." You have to specify the moral framework from which the assessment is being made - then you can make the assessment. And you are back to "subjective moralism is worse because it's not objective." You can make the claim if you wish - but you will have to do more than assert it to convince. From what I can see, all you are doing is reminding us that subjective is not equal to objective, and then claiming that is a basis for declaring it worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    I realise that it looks like 'a game' to you, and may feel offensive - argumentum ad absurdum - but your worldview requires it to be the case.
    I am not "offended" in the least, Max. I wish it were possible to convey how useless the line of argumentation is, but my experience is that the moralist who subscribes to morality as objectively based is somehow not wired to see that. I have never found a way to successfully convey the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    **Awful except for the mouth open stuff. I agree with that
    You and me both. I have sometimes been tempted to pick up my phone and camera app and just let them watch themselves...

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Um, it's because - in your worldview - you can't point to anything but your personal opinion as a basis for your moral criticism of others.** And you can't easily, if at all, justify why your personal opinion is more true or better than mine in any particular area where we disagree on moral values.
    Semi-correct. The nature of morality is rooted in sorting actions based on what we value. So if I encounter someone with a differing moral code, two things are possible:

    1) We value differently so we then reason to differing moral codes.
    2) We value the same but one of us has made an error of reasoning and arrived at differing moral codes

    The first is a challenge. To align the moral codes requires us to convince the other person to value differently. My discussion with Seer (and others) about homosexuality is a good case in point, and has taught me the futility of approaching the argument as I have approached it.

    The second is easier. If we value similarly and one of us has made a rational error in reasoning to a moral position, then it should be possible to uncover the error and align the positions.

    If neither can be done, then we are back to ignore, isolate/separate, and/or contend (as we always have been).

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Yet you're willing to use force on me to constrain me to do things how you think they should be done. Just who do you think you are? You don't really know me, apart from our limited interactions here, you don't know my circumstances, my background, my struggles, my culture, what I know and don't know, anything that would enable you to make informed and wise decisions about what is best for me. Yet you presume to tell me what I must and mustn't do, what I should value, and how I should live. How dare you! How arrogant.

    ('me' here includes everyone else.)
    I am another human on this planet doing what all of the other humans on this planet do every day. When moral frameworks do not align and cannot be aligned - we ignore the issue if we consider it fairly trivial. We isolate/separate for more serious things. We contend for the most serious issues.

    Example: You believe it is immoral to have sex outside of marriage, I believe it is morally neutral. The difference does not impact our day-to-day lives and I can still join you for a beer (well, a seltzer - I stopped drinking some time ago).

    Example: You believe it is immoral to be in a same-sex marriage, I believe it is perfectly moral. If I have friends in that marriage, I will probably not be including you on any invitations to gathering in my home when same-sex couples are present. If you insist on being vocal about it, I probably will cease to include you in my circle of friends.

    Example: You believe it is perfectly moral to take anything that is in anyone's possession because all things should be held communally and god forbids the concept of "personal possessions." I will again isolate you from my circle of friends, but if you insist on acting on your beliefs and taking my things, I will eventually invoke law enforcement and seek to have you punished and/or incarcerated. If we were not in a society, but rather were two individuals "out in the woods" with this difference, I probably would have to resort to booby-trapping my land and letting you know there are lethal booby traps to prevent you taking my possessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    **I don't do that. I point to what I believe to be objectively true about reality. I may be wrong about that, but when I make a moral criticism, I am pointing to something greater than myself, something true even if I don't want it to be that way, even if it's personally inconvenient, even if I fail to live up to it.
    From my perspective, Max, you are doing nothing of the kind. What you are doing is pointing to the moral frameworks documented by other men and claiming them to be "the objective standard." Well - they are objective to you in that they were the moral frameworks of other people, but they are not "the objective standard." They are just someone else's moral framework set down on paper (or papyrus, as it may be). And you have adopted that particular framework because of how you value.

    There is no moral framework anyone can point to that was not subjectively conceived by the mind of a sentient being and documented by the hand of a sentient being. There is no basis for thinking any of these is "objectively real" any more than there is a basis for believing there is an objective standard for laws.

    This is an error Seer continually makes: he tries to align moral principles with logical and mathematical ones. But moral principles have little in common with logical and mathematical principles, so his argument reduces to "moral principles are like logical principles, so if logical principles are objectively real/true, then moral principles are as well." That's like me saying, "people are like cars, so if cars have four tires, people have four tires." If we are going to make an analogy, the two things we are equating need to have at least a few things in common.

    Moral principles are like legal principles. Both govern actions. Both show variation from community to community. Both show enormous similarity from community to community. No one argues that "legal principles" are rooted in an "objective standard," or calls laws "meaningless" because two states, countries, nations might have different legal structures. So I have to wonder why they make this claim for moral principles.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    I'm blushing. Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
    I have my moments. One thing that TWeb is forcing me to face is my tendency to become defensive when someone says something about me that is untrue or reflects badly on me. It gives me a venue to exercise letting people say/think what they will about me, and moving on without having to convince them I'm not X and am Y instead. It is a skill I am not good at. I know, cognitively, that what someone says about me does not alter who and what I am. But my self-defense mechanism kicks in far more frequently than I like. But I am getting a LOT of practice here!

    And I am slowly getting better at it. Maybe, someday, I'll achieve perfection!

    ETA: Oh yeah - and I'm wordy. That one DOESN'T seem to be improving...
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 06-15-2019 at 09:24 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

  8. #165
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    I agree, carpe makes me think, not in a "He makes a good point; perhaps I should reevaluate my position" sort of way but more in a "How do I best explain and defend my position?" sort of way. One of things that first attracted me to tWeb many, many years ago was to test Christian beliefs and see if they really could stand up to direct challenges from atheists. Happily, the answer has been a resounding "yes".

    And, yes, carpe does seem like a nice guy, and he and I would probably get along great if we ever met in person as long we steered clear of any topics related to politics and religion.
    Isn't it interesting. That was actually my original reason for joining TWeb - only about atheist beliefs. And I too am happy to report that the answer has been a resounding "yes."

    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

  9. #166
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    To some people, the little girl walking to her death at Auswitchz was valueless. Certainly the Nazi's assessed her as such. To herself, she had life and value. To most of the rest of us, she was valuable because she is a member of our species, a part of the greater whole, and because we can see the potential she has a a thinking, feeling human being. Until someone somewhere sees something as valuable - it has no value.
    She is too pressed in by the walls of the fear and death to even consider things like value and meaning. A child victim put in those sorts of circumstances does not make their own meaning. They don't consider their own value. I find it impossible that you can't see that. And like so many before her, the farmer and his small family working his fields who are raped and wiped out when the Mongols invaded his village, the widow who dies alone and childless in Provins, the peasant who contracts the plague and dies in an alley in Istanbul, once they're gone and everyone's forgotten them, in your world they are no longer valuable. They no longer have worth. And that's a despicable position to hold. And no, the concept of innate value is NOT meaningless. Not when you come to the realization that we are imagers of the creator of the universe. We have value because God values us.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I never said you did. This is a misunderstanding of my posts on your part. As I said - I don't think you are getting what I am saying.
    Oh brother (we need a face palm emoticon) Dude. You broke up that entire response apparently not understanding what it was addressing. I...I don't even know what to say at this point. Again, it seems like you're skimming over these posts as fast as possible, and not even reading what people are saying to you.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Actually - except for humorous exchanges - I generally eschew emoticons that are designed to belittle. I'm not claiming perfection, mind you - I generally eschew emotional outbursts in writing - but I have managed to have a few here. I might in a discussion with someone. The rolling eyes is simply meant to belittle. The same is true of and a variety of other emoticons. Many of the people here simply struggle with having a discussion that is civil and adult. You are among the better of that group. I frankly was surprised to see you using the emoticon. As for preaching - I don't consider a simple call for civility "preaching," if you do, then
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Yeah...I'm sure an editorial will make your case for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Right - I "hate the rich."
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Boy - you just love those references.
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    What a load of partisan tripe...
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Talk about "spin"
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I don't use these often - but...
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    As for "snowflakes," every time I hear that word I cannot help but to
    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Sorry...but that very idea actually earns an


    You're a hypocrite carpedm9587. Stop waving your finger at people who use emoticons. No one cares what you think about them, and they're not going to stop using them anyways. You use them as much as everyone else does. And using an eyeroll emoticon is not some great evil anyhow. No one is saying your breath stinks, or that you're a moron, or that your mother wears army boots when using an eyeroll emoticon. No one cares when you use them either (except when you're being a hypocrite about it). In real life, in a civil conversation, I would still reserve the right to roll my eyes at something I find you said that I thought was ridiculous or beneath you. Eyerolling does not necessarily end civility, and it doesn't make people childish for doing so. And who said that conversation had to be civil around here anyways? While I think that people should work at genial conversation when possible, and while I disapprove of posters changing other's names, calling one another stupid, or otherwise denigrating one another, sometimes we get heated on this forum. And that's okay. For instance, I find you pretty frustrating to dialog with for a variety of reasons. I think you're a sharp guy, but a sharp guy who is often very mixed up. And while I could stop replying to you altogether (and I have and do refrain myself from replying as often as I'd like), sometimes I hope beyond hope that I can change your mind, or help you see (what I believe is) your own folly (to my own folly no doubt). I'm not going to cuss you out, but I reserve the right to be frustrated and to express that with eyeroll emoticons.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    My best explanation for why so many atheists hold this bizarre "subjective meaning is an illusion" position is that they have marinated in theism and it has skewed their thinking. If someone has an alternate explanation for how they can hold such a self-refuting position - I'm all ears.
    We've offered a couple. Subjective meaning really is an illusion, and people like Rosenberg, who are twice the atheist you are, think that atheists unnecessarily hold onto subjective meaning in order to wake up in the morning, but that a real atheist can finally admit that subjective meaning is an illusion and still live a perfectly fine life as happy nihilists.
    Last edited by Adrift; 06-15-2019 at 11:24 AM.

  10. #167
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Oh brother (we need a face palm emoticon)
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

  11. #168
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Thanks. I suppose that'll do, but I was thinking something more subtle. Like a resigned Patrick Stewart palm on forehead emoticon or something.

  12. #169
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Thanks. I suppose that'll do, but I was thinking something more subtle. Like a resigned Patrick Stewart palm on forehead emoticon or something.
    facepalm3.gif

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

  13. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  14. #170
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    She is too pressed in by the walls of the fear and death to even consider things like value and meaning. A child victim put in those sorts of circumstances does not make their own meaning. They don't consider their own value. I find it impossible that you can't see that. And like so many before her, the farmer and his small family working his fields who are raped and wiped out when the Mongols invaded his village, the widow who dies alone and childless in Provins, the peasant who contracts the plague and dies in an alley in Istanbul, once they're gone and everyone's forgotten them, in your world they are no longer valuable. They no longer have worth. And that's a despicable position to hold. And no, the concept of innate value is NOT meaningless. Not when you come to the realization that we are imagers of the creator of the universe. We have value because God values us.
    Wow. This really appears to bother you. Adrift - you are making an argument from outrage or incredulity. It doesn't really carry a lot of weight. How the person "feels" when they are in such desperate straights does not alter the reality of the situation: until the mind ceases to be, it has freedom of choice and freedom to assign value and meaning. That some people can do that when facing the most horrific circumstances and others cannot does not change the reality of the situation.

    As for people having no value after they are dead, the best we can say is "they had value." Perhaps something they did continues to influence and impact others, and those people will assign value to that. The person who is dead is no more. They can no longer assign value to themselves or anything else. I loved my father dearly. Much of what he taught me continues to have value for me. But my father does not exist anymore except in the memories of him I (and others) hold, and the cause/effect ripple his life had on his surroundings. Like the ripple from a stone tossed in a pond, those will spread outward until the fade from notice - as will mine when I am gone.

    I cannot subscribe to your "value because god values us" notion, for obvious reasons. And frankly, even if this god existed and valued me, my own valuing does not necessarily align with this being's any more than it does with yours. I understand the position of "eternal value" because you believe (I presume) that god is eternal and the human soul is eternal (at least in the forward direction). I believe you are misguided in that belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Oh brother (we need a face palm emoticon) Dude. You broke up that entire response apparently not understanding what it was addressing. I...I don't even know what to say at this point. Again, it seems like you're skimming over these posts as fast as possible, and not even reading what people are saying to you.
    I read each post from start to end so I get the big picture, then I reread and begin responding as I go. That is my habit. Your responses seem to clearly misunderstand what I was saying. Apparently you think the same of my responses. I'm not sure where to go from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    You're a hypocrite carpedm9587. Stop waving your finger at people who use emoticons. No one cares what you think about them, and they're not going to stop using them anyways. You use them as much as everyone else does.
    No. Adrift, you just posted 8 examples of places where I have slipped up and not met my own standards. I believe I was clear that I am not perfect and have failed to meet those standards on several occasions. I have posted thousands of times in the past year. I wish I could find the exact number, but I can't. Perhaps the site doesn't track it. You will find that my rate of using these kinds of emoticons in a pejorative way is significantly below that of others. I would like it to be zero, just as I would like my "flames" to be zero. The fact is, if I am tired or stressed, my defenses are lower and I behave in ways I do not myself approve of. The best I can say is, when I'm back in form, I own it and apologize. I cannot claim to be perfect.

    Meanwhile, I reject the implication that only a perfect person can call out childish or inappropriate behavior. If that were true, no one could ever call it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    And using an eyeroll emoticon is not some great evil anyhow.
    I didn't say it was a "great evil," so you're building a strawman. I actually didn't say what it was, but actually questioned whether anyone here could post without using them. They are common fare for many - though I have to acknowledge that you are on the lower end of the users (along with me). There are others who dot their posts with them like candy. I find it childish and immature. When I use them I am being childish and immature. No hypocrisy involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    No one is saying your breath stinks, or that you're a moron, or that your mother wears army boots when using an eyeroll emoticon. No one cares when you use them either (except when you're being a hypocrite about it). In real life, in a civil conversation, I would still reserve the right to roll my eyes at something I find you said that I thought was ridiculous or beneath you. Eyerolling does not necessarily end civility, and it doesn't make people childish for doing so.
    I would consider you rude if you engage in an eyeroll in a face to face discussion as well, unless it was being used in jest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    And who said that conversation had to be civil around here anyways?
    I tend to prefer it, especially when the discussion is a serious one. I find treating one another with a degree of respect is actually a good thing. Color me odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    While I think that people should work at genial conversation when possible, and while I disapprove of posters changing other's names, calling one another stupid, or otherwise denigrating one another, sometimes we get heated on this forum. And that's okay. For instance, I find you pretty frustrating to dialog with for a variety of reasons. I think you're a sharp guy, but a sharp guy who is often very mixed up. And while I could stop replying to you altogether (and I have and do refrain myself from replying as often as I'd like), sometimes I hope beyond hope that I can change your mind, or help you see (what I believe is) your own folly (to my own folly no doubt). I'm not going to cuss you out, but I reserve the right to be frustrated and to express that with eyeroll emoticons.
    And I reserve the right to question if people can engage in a more adult fashion. And with that, I think this has received more than enough attention. It has garnered more back and forth and research than the simple one-sentence post merited, IMO. I'll leave the last word on this topic to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    We've offered a couple. Subjective meaning really is an illusion, and people like Rosenberg, who are twice the atheist you are, think that atheists unnecessarily hold onto subjective meaning in order to wake up in the morning, but that a real atheist can finally admit that subjective meaning is an illusion and still live a perfectly fine life as happy nihilists.
    And I have explained that I find that explanation to be self-refuting. The person articulating it has to use language to articulate it - which is an entirely subjective construct in which meaning is assigned - and no one questions its existence. The penny is an arbitrary thing whose value is arbitrarily assigned (and changed almost daily), largely based on opinion. No one suggests the penny is unreal. So the argument "maybe it actually IS that way" is, on its face, false. The attempts to show that it is not have simply not passed muster. That the symbol represents an objectively real thing does not alter the fact that the meaning assigned to the symbol is being assigned in an arbitrary, subjective manner - and is perfectly real - albeit subjectively.
    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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