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  1. #81
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Not in the least - but you are welcome to try to make the case.

    ETA: Let me see if I can help you a bit. Your error is to make the assumption that "true meaning" has to be absolute/eternal. I have no problem acknowledging that my worldview does not have room for "absolute" or "eternal" meaning. Meaning will exist so long as there is a sentient mind to derive it and not a second longer. This is aligned with what you folks consider "existential nihilism."

    That does not then translate to "life is meaningless." It translates to "life does not have eternal, absolute meaning." That still leaves room for finite, subjective meaning. As long as there is a sentient mind, meaning exists.
    Carp, MM said: And yet he argues as though objective values exist and life has meaning. You said yes to the second part. But "life has meaning" is a broad statement suggesting inherent meaning. You could rightly say that life has meaning to you.
    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...

  2. #82
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Your error is to make the assumption that "true meaning" has to be absolute/eternal. I have no problem acknowledging that my worldview does not have room for "absolute" or "eternal" meaning. Meaning will exist so long as there is a sentient mind to derive it and not a second longer. This is aligned with what you folks consider "existential nihilism."

    That does not then translate to "life is meaningless." It translates to "life does not have eternal, absolute meaning." That still leaves room for finite, subjective meaning. As long as there is a sentient mind, meaning exists.
    First of all, I never said, "true meaning", but simply meaning, so that looks like another one of your classic attempts to foist a straw man on me. I'm simply using the dictionary definition of "meaning" as it relates to this context: implication of a hidden or special significance. If God doesn't exist, and we're nothing more than a random branch on the evolutionary tree, then what you see is literally what you get. There's nothing else. We are no more special or significant than a tree, or a microbe, and trying to assign any sort of hidden or special significance to our lives is as irrational as trying to derive a message out of a random swirl of leaves in the wind.

    Secondly, the problem is not that you can't find some convoluted, hoop-jumping way to convince yourself that life has "meaning" (whatever you think that might be), the problem is that you have no argument against someone who believes that it is meaningless.
    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

  3. #83
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp, I made a deductive argument for universal moral truths (whether you agree with the premises or not). Then you came back with this:

    So I assumed you were attempting to make a deductive argument because I did. I saw it as an inductive argument (which is often a fallacy) - and you agreed.
    No - I was demonstrating that anyone and put together a sound, deductive argument that is completely untrue, or cannot be shown to be true. I was attempting to show you that you simply strung together a set of premises that fit your desired conclusion, so you ended up with your desired conclusion. You didn't actually prove anything or show anything to be true.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Does not change a thing Carp, you can not account for the very thing necessary for this discussion, logical absolutes. The Theist can. And I will go further - for conceptual logical absolutes to exist, you would need a universal, immutable Mind to conceptualize and hold them.
    Account for? You mean using the principles of reason to prove the principles of reason exist? Seer - you are on a fools errand. There is a reason they are called "a priori truths." You see - you have to accept them as true in order to use them to prove they are true - and round and round you go...
    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

  4. #84
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp, MM said: And yet he argues as though objective values exist and life has meaning. You said yes to the second part. But "life has meaning" is a broad statement suggesting inherent meaning. You could rightly say that life has meaning to you.
    No - you folks are using "meaning" in that way only - which is what I have already said. Nothing has "inherent" meaning because meaning is something derived by sentience. Words have meaning because we have assigned them meaning to symbolically represent things we encounter. Our actions have meaning because we chose them to serve a particular purpose. Meaning is what a sentient mind derives or assigns. The theist wants to pretend that the only "REAL" meaning is eternal and unchanging - yet they cannot actually demonstrate the existence of anything that would actually make that makes that happen.

    So the irony, from the atheist's perspective, is that the theist is dancing around clapping themselves on the back, congratulating themselves that they have found "real meaning" in worshipping a god that doesn't exist. Meanwhile, the atheist goes through each day aware that meaning is what we bring to life - each and every day. It is the only kind of meaning that is actually "real." I am similarly amused when the moralizer calls themselves a "moral realist," and the while chasing a moral absolute they cannot even show exists, while the moral subjectivist/relativist goes about their day focused on the only form of morality that actually DOES exist and has reality.

    There are times when I find the whole thing very amusing.
    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. #85
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    First of all, I never said, "true meaning", but simply meaning, so that looks like another one of your classic attempts to foist a straw man on me.
    We shall see. I am writing this line before reading the rest of your post. You have nothing but my word to go on, but I am going to predict, before this discussion is over, you will assert that any meaning that ends is not "true" or "real" meaning - or is simply arbitrarily selected and is "meaningless." Your argument will reflect that only eternal/unchanging "meaning" is "real" or "useful" or "actual" or relevant in some way. Let's see how this unfolds...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    I'm simply using the dictionary definition of "meaning" as it relates to this context: implication of a hidden or special significance.
    I am truly curious as to why you jumped to the third listed definition, and ignored the first two. The one you selected is the definition of "meaning" in such a context as "the mother gave the children a look fraught with meaning." (i.e., that look that only a parent can give and a child immediately knows this is not going to be good... )

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    If God doesn't exist, and we're nothing more than a random branch on the evolutionary tree, then what you see is literally what you get. There's nothing else. We are no more special or significant than a tree, or a microbe, and trying to assign any sort of hidden or special significance to our lives is as irrational as trying to derive a message out of a random swirl of leaves in the wind.
    Except that a human is sentient - and a tree is not. A human has a mind that can derive meaning. We are experiential beings that can formulate languages, convey sentiment, experience feelings, and assign meaning. A tree cannot. So we are not "the same" and sentience makes an enormous difference.

    And - BTW - you just went where I predicted you would go. A finite, limited being that is the product of "random" mutation (though the term "random" is misapplied there) cannot derive true or actual meaning. It's irrational. Except, of course, it's not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Secondly, the problem is not that you can't find some convoluted, hoop-jumping way to convince yourself that life has "meaning" (whatever you think that might be), the problem is that you have no argument against someone who believes that it is meaningless.
    Why do I need to make an argument?

    If I choose to spend my life in service because it has meaning to me, then it has meaning to me and enough said. It doesn't have to have meaning to anyone else. If someone else finds it meaningless, then presumably they will choose something else. That someone does not find "meaning" in what I find to be meaningful makes not one whit of difference, and does not reduce or eliminate the fact that it has meaning to me one whit.

    Unless, of course, you are trying to argue that the only REAL meaning is what is universally agreed upon to have meaning - what is absolute - what is eternal - which is pretty much what I predicted you would be arguing. See above...
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 06-12-2019 at 04:56 PM.
    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

  6. #86
    tWebber
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    seer and carpedm, didn't you guys start a thread in another area of the forums a while ago so you could have your endless moral relativism debates without causing lengthy derails on the subject in unrelated threads?

  7. #87
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    seer and carpedm, didn't you guys start a thread in another area of the forums a while ago so you could have your endless moral relativism debates without causing lengthy derails on the subject in unrelated threads?
    Yes. It turned out to be a mess, so it was abandoned. Anyway - I started this thread - so no one can complain if it gets derailed.

    Besides, the subject matter is morality-related.
    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. Amen Mountain Man amen'd this post.
  9. #88
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I am truly curious as to why you jumped to the third listed definition...
    Because, as I noted, it's the definition "as it relates to this context".

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Except that a human is sentient - and a tree is not. A human has a mind that can derive meaning. We are experiential beings that can formulate languages, convey sentiment, experience feelings, and assign meaning. A tree cannot. So we are not "the same" and sentience makes an enormous difference.
    So what? If God doesn't exist then sentience is nothing more that an accident of evolution and doesn't confer any "hidden or special significance". You're just picking an arbitrary attribute that we happen to possess and begging the question that it makes us inherently special.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Why do I need to make an argument?
    It's not that you need to, it's that you can't. Tell me, how would you talk an existential nihilist, who believes that people who claim to have found meaning are either dishonest or deluded, out of putting a bullet in his head? Especially seeing how you have no rational basis to disagree with him?
    Last edited by Mountain Man; 06-12-2019 at 06:31 PM.
    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

  10. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  11. #89
    tWebber MaxVel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    No - you folks are using "meaning" in that way only - which is what I have already said. Nothing has "inherent" meaning because meaning is something derived by sentience. Words have meaning because we have assigned them meaning to symbolically represent things we encounter. Our actions have meaning because we chose them to serve a particular purpose. Meaning is what a sentient mind derives or assigns. The theist wants to pretend that the only "REAL" meaning is eternal and unchanging - yet they cannot actually demonstrate the existence of anything that would actually make that makes that happen.

    So the irony, from the atheist's perspective, is that the theist is dancing around clapping themselves on the back, congratulating themselves that they have found "real meaning" in worshipping a god that doesn't exist. Meanwhile, the atheist goes through each day aware that meaning is what we bring to life - each and every day. It is the only kind of meaning that is actually "real." I am similarly amused when the moralizer calls themselves a "moral realist," and the while chasing a moral absolute they cannot even show exists, while the moral subjectivist/relativist goes about their day focused on the only form of morality that actually DOES exist and has reality.

    There are times when I find the whole thing very amusing.

    It's interesting to hear an atheist's perspective on things. That said, you're begging the question rather a lot here. (Not that theists don't do that either, mind you)

    I doubt you can demonstrate that God doesn't exist, and I doubt that you can even demonstrate that a Christian cannot be rationally justified in believing that God exists. I don't think that it can be demonstrated (in the sense of 'undeniably prove') that God does exist, so IMHO it's possible to be a rational and reasonable atheist (at least for now), just as one can be a rationally justified Christian. But pointing and cackling at the 'other side' for not being able to demonstrate as true something that you can't demonstrate is false is unproductive.


    Elsewhere you said something that makes me wonder if by 'subjective morality' you mean something like the idea that everyone chooses the moral values that they live by, and hence they are subjective. I'd like to point out that that is completely compatible with the Christian's position, which is that there are moral values that are true and real irrespective of what people think about them. So your second paragraph is completely begging the question, in that it assumes that there is no meaning other than what we humans create ourselves, and no moral truths other than those we choose to value.

    I notice the subjectivity that you hold to in morality slowly creeping to other areas (as I previously said it would). How long before you abandon objective truth in everything? I think that's the ultimate outcome of your present beliefs. 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. Who can say that what you experience when you see 'green' is what I experience when I see 'green'? I'd hate to see you end up a complete subjectivist, because (a) it's false, and (b) it's unliveable and will destroy your relationships and your life.


    Lastly, my main objection to your position on morality is not that I think I can prove or demonstrate to your satisfaction the existence of objectively true moral values, but that you yourself don't live as if what you believe is true is actually true. That is, you act as if morality is objective (in your arguments for your moral values, the language you use, and the effort you put in to arguing). I think others here have the same objection, so your response above in the second paragraph rather misses the point.

    If you have time or inclination, look at the most recent pages of the 'Buttgeig v Trump' thread where Tassman has run smack into the same problem.
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

  12. #90
    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    And I distinguish between what a person believes and what a person is in practice. A person may say "I'm a communist" all they want, but if they start a private business, work to make as much money as they can in the free market, have employees they pay a pittance to so they can line their pockets, and trades on the stock exchange, I'm going to say they are a communist in belief (because that's what they tell me) and a capitalist in behavior (because that is what they do).

    Likewise, the moral absolutist/objectivist can be that in belief (which Seer clearly is) but they cannot be that in practice, because there is no avenue for doing so and the very nature of morality precludes it. No matter how you cut it, the person gets in the way. Seer is choosing which, of a wide selection, "absolute" moral framework he is aligning with. Seer is imposing his interpretation on the specific framework he is attempting to align with. Seer is the one that values god, which is his entire rational for adopting this framework. We cannot escape the fact that individuals derive moral frameworks on the basis of what they value. Every singe one of us does it - whatever we might call ourselves.
    And none of the above precludes morality from being objective, or, if there is an absolute moral framework, people from being able to discover and align their own moral values with that framework. Based on the fact that I've never seen you sufficiently demonstrate your view that morality is by nature subjective I can only conclude that this is simply you begging the question.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    And it doesn't work anyway. The distinction I am drawing is between belief and behavior. The atheist believes there is no god, and their behavior should match that belief. Using my logic, if you encounter an atheist who is going to church regularly, praying to god, and following the precepts of a given religion, then their behavior does not align with their expressed classification. They may claim to be atheist in belief, but they are theist in behavior.


    Likewise, Seer (and all so-called "moral realists") may claim this belief and actually have it - but they cannot live it. Their actions and choices are all relative/subjective. They simply cannot escape it. It is analogous to the person that believes they are a dog. They may fervently believe it, but they cannot escape the reality that they are actually human.
    Your comparisons with an atheist who is living like a theist, or the person who believes they are a dog is simply not valid. You've in no way shape or form been able to show that it's impossible for an absolute moral framework to exist, or, if it exists, that it's impossible to find out how that moral framework looks like and choose to adopt it.

  13. Amen Adrift, Cerebrum123, MaxVel amen'd this post.

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