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Thread: I - an atheist - have an objective standard for Good

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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    I - an atheist - have an objective standard for Good

    "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

    Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

    Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

    This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
    Last edited by Whateverman; 07-26-2020 at 08:15 AM.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

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    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whateverman View Post
    "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

    Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

    Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

    This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
    You are defining good by the removal of evil (in this case suffering).
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    It would be easier to simply assert that "moral good" is a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics, so our intuitive sense of objective morality is not particularly difficult for the atheist to account for. Where the atheist runs face first into a philosophical brick wall is when he tries to move from "objective morality exists" to "therefore, we are obligated to act morally".
    Last edited by Mountain Man; 07-26-2020 at 08:57 AM.
    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

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Who gets to determine what is necessary or unnecessary?

    What if someone for example, thinks someone is suffering because they have a terminal disease that can drag on for years. If they kill them, they can end his suffering. So is murder good in that case?

    What if someone is suffering unconsciously? Say they are in a coma and wasting away on life support. Is it good to kill them?

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whateverman View Post
    "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

    Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

    Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

    This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
    So "good" is any action which is ultimately pleasing to the subject as opposed to "evil" which is any action which is ultimately displeasing to the subject. I would agree with that and I think that is basically in agreement with what you're saying? Yes?

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    tWebber
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    I believe God speaks to every individual by means of their conscience. Conscience has to do only with what is morally right and wrong. So yes the atheist is able to understand a degree of objective morality. It is built into every human whether we like it or not.

  7. Amen Whateverman amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Who gets to determine what is necessary or unnecessary?
    Anyone with a dictionary, and a knowledge of whether some less harmful/painful option exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    What if someone for example, thinks someone is suffering because they have a terminal disease that can drag on for years. If they kill them, they can end his suffering. So is murder good in that case?
    If we define murder as an illegal/unjust killing, then the answer becomes a question of whether the diseased person or their friends and family agree that the killing is justified. If they agree with the killer, then any suffering caused by the killing is necessary (or at least acceptable). If they don't, the caused suffering was unnecessary - and thus the killing was murder / evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    What if someone is suffering unconsciously? Say they are in a coma and wasting away on life support. Is it good to kill them?
    Is the suffering unnecessary? I can't tell from your scenario.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esther View Post
    I believe God speaks to every individual by means of their conscience. Conscience has to do only with what is morally right and wrong. So yes the atheist is able to understand a degree of objective morality. It is built into every human whether we like it or not.
    Thank you, Esther.

    As an atheist, I don't necessarily agree with everything you wrote - but that's unimportant. I created this thread because I've been lectured several times by Christians here saying that I don't have any objective standards for right/wrong, good/bad. You and I don't have to agree on the details, but as long as we both recognize their claim about me is wrong, I'm satisfied.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

  10. Amen Seeker amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    So "good" is any action which is ultimately pleasing to the subject as opposed to "evil" which is any action which is ultimately displeasing to the subject.
    No. I talked about suffering, not pleasure.

    Any action/event which causes me to suffer unnecessarily is evil. Anything which prevents that unnecessary suffering is good.

    Let's do a few shots of Wild Turkey 101. It's been a while since I drank whiskey like that, so at least the first shot is going to be painful. That suffering will have been necessary, since I'm not aware of any other method of consuming shots of 101.

    If someone literally forces me (against my will) to do shots at gun point, that suffering will have been unnecessary.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    It would be easier to simply assert that "moral good" is a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics, so our intuitive sense of objective morality is not particularly difficult for the atheist to account for.
    Just because we assert something doesn't make it so. I see no evidence that the moral good is a brute fact of nature, so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Where the atheist runs face first into a philosophical brick wall is when he tries to move from "objective morality exists" to "therefore, we are obligated to act morally".
    Different thread.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

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