An Essay on the Moral Argument
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18-07-2017, 04:54 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(17-07-2017 04:12 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:41 PM)Dr H Wrote:  >How do you define a moral belief as "objective"? What real evidence is there?<

As someone stated previously, harmfulness.
"Harm" in what sense?

Quote:Torturing innocent children purely for the fun of it, is objectively harmful, thereby immoral. Real evidence verifies the harmfulness of this.
You have designated the act as harmful, but you have not demonstrated anything about the morality of the act. What is the evidence that it is immoral to cause "harm"?

Morality is context-dependent, and therefore not objective. Stealing a loaf of bread from the baker does harm to the baker, but giving it to a starving child does good for the child. The question of whether the harm or the good is greater in that situation is entirely subjective.

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18-07-2017, 04:55 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(17-07-2017 04:24 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I don't know is the answer to your questions, because your scenarios allow for ambiguity, and multiple perspectives.
As do most moral choices.

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18-07-2017, 05:00 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 07:50 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Society has to have rules,
Society has rules; that's what makes it a "society".
But those rules are neither objective, nor permanent; they change all the time.

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18-07-2017, 05:24 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 04:54 PM)Dr H Wrote:  You have designated the act as harmful, but you have not demonstrated anything about the morality of the act. What is the evidence that it is immoral to cause "harm"?

Using the previous definition offered here. Needlessly causing harm is immoral by definition.

I haven't designated the act as harmful. The act is objectively harmful. And by definition this means it's immoral.

You haven't demonstrated how this is subjective, or what aspect of this statement can be rendered as subjective.

Quote:Morality is context-dependent, and therefore not objective.

Again context-dependent doesn't negate objective morality, it negates absolute morality. A scientific truth might be true given particular conditions (a context), but not true given other conditions. This doesn't make it subjective.

In order for morality to be subjective it can't be right or wrong, regardless of context. The answer to whether Justin Bieber is good looking, is neither right or wrong. You and I can disagree on what the best movie this year is, without either of us be factually incorrect. But if you disagreed that torturing innocent babies just for the fun of it is immoral, you would be factual incorrect.

Quote:Stealing a loaf of bread from the baker does harm to the baker, but giving it to a starving child does good for the child. The question of whether the harm or the good is greater in that situation is entirely subjective.

Nope. Again relative doesn't equal subjective. If give a particular set of condition, a context, if the action is objectively wrong, then objective morality exists. Regardless if in other conditions, and context the answer might be different.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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18-07-2017, 05:29 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 05:00 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Society has rules; that's what makes it a "society".
But those rules are neither objective, nor permanent; they change all the time.

Our perspectives or reality, our worldview, our conceptions of truth change all the time. Change doesn't make it subjective. In fact I would suggest before you level more charges against objective morality, consider if the same can be said about our conceptions of truth as well. If it can, but doesn't negate objective truth, then you should keep that in mind when forming your criticism about objective morality.

In fact in regards to morality, we don't tend to see these changes like we might subjective changes in musical preferences, or food, or fashion. We speak of morality as moral progression, regression, etc... or in other words as an objective thing, and not a subjective thing.

If a society regressed to the point that they recreate the monstrosity of the holocaust, this change wouldn't be akin to a vintage fashion trend. But as something gone terribly array, a failing, a brokenness etc. Our most basic views of morality, that which compose our moral language, our predominant beliefs, betray a subjectivist perspective all the way down.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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19-07-2017, 04:22 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 05:24 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 04:54 PM)Dr H Wrote:  You have designated the act as harmful, but you have not demonstrated anything about the morality of the act. What is the evidence that it is immoral to cause "harm"?

Using the previous definition offered here. Needlessly causing harm is immoral by definition.
By whose definition?

Quote:I haven't designated the act as harmful. The act is objectively harmful. And by definition this means it's immoral.
Question begging.

Quote:You haven't demonstrated how this is subjective, or what aspect of this statement can be rendered as subjective.
You haven't given evidence that your claim has a factual basis.
Without a factual basis claims of objectivity are specious, at best.

Quote:Again context-dependent doesn't negate objective morality, it negates absolute morality. A scientific truth might be true given particular conditions (a context), but not true given other conditions. This doesn't make it subjective.
Again: give an example of a "moral truth" with evidence supporting that it is indeed factual and therefore true.
You are talking around your point, but you refuse to address it directly.

Quote:In order for morality to be subjective it can't be right or wrong, regardless of context.
No. Whether it is judged "right or wrong" depends on the context.

Quote:The answer to whether Justin Bieber is good looking, is neither right or wrong. You and I can disagree on what the best movie this year is, without either of us be factually incorrect.
Matters of aesthetics are not moral matters.

Quote:But if you disagreed that torturing innocent babies just for the fun of it is immoral, you would be factual incorrect.
You have yet to give any evidence of the claim to factuality.

Quote:Dr H: Stealing a loaf of bread from the baker does harm to the baker, but giving it to a starving child does good for the child. The question of whether the harm or the good is greater in that situation is entirely subjective.
Quote:Nope. Again relative doesn't equal subjective.
The situation is relative; the moral assessment is not; it is subjective.


Quote: If ... the action is objectively wrong, then objective morality exists.
You have not demonstrated, nor even answered, whether the act of stealing is objectively wrong.

Is it?

If yes, what is the factual basis for that claim? Without a factual basis, you cannot establish that the claim is objectively true.
To establish a factual basis requires hard evidence. I await your hard evidence.

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19-07-2017, 04:32 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 05:29 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 05:00 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Society has rules; that's what makes it a "society".
But those rules are neither objective, nor permanent; they change all the time.

Our perspectives or reality, our worldview, our conceptions of truth change all the time. Change doesn't make it subjective.
Changing the subject. Your "it" refers to "perspectives of reality, worldview, etc."
Your "it" is not my "they: I was speaking about rules, and specifically the rules of society, which are, essentially, the society's ethical code. Those rules are, and therefore that code is, subjective. They are based on an ever-changing context, and altered to suit.

Quote:In fact I would suggest before you level more charges against objective morality, consider if the same can be said about our conceptions of truth as well. If it can, but doesn't negate objective truth, then you should keep that in mind when forming your criticism about objective morality.
I have not criticized objective morality; I maintain that it does not exist.
You have yet to demonstrate otherwise.

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19-07-2017, 06:28 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(12-07-2017 03:08 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  In preparation for hopefully making a YouTube video on the Moral Argument, I decided to compile and summarize my thoughts on the subject into a sort of essay. I wrote it as if I were addressing a Christian, and I tried to write in a fairly colloquial style, though that has proven difficult at times when discussing such lofty topics. It is still a rough draft, so I'm sharing it here and inviting anyone who's so inclined to provide their opinions and feedback. I hope at least some of you find it interesting and perhaps even useful.

I have to say I am perplexed by your post and by your essay.

In your post you say that you wrote it as though you were addressing a Christian. However, you begin your essay by quoting from Exodus and then Leviticus.

I gave up on religion at about age 11, before I actually gave any thought to what it was about. My parents were Church elders in the local United Church of Canada which was an amalgamation of Methodist and Presbyterians, I think. I never had it explained to me, at any point, what "God" was, nor did anyone ever read to us, at Sunday school, from the Old Testament. We were told stories about Jesus riding a donkey, feeding the poor and giving the Sermon on the Mount.

That would be a common experience of most Protestants. The moral philosophy which I took from Christianity is based on the Beatitudes and from the Chapters in Matthew beginning with "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".
The rest of the Christian story, in the Synoptic Gospels is about Jesus' life so one tends to detach that from the moral teaching. The story of Jesus' prosecution and crucifixion combines with Jesus' statement that he has come to fulfill the Old Testament teachings to explain why Christians don't follow the Old Testament.

So, I'm not sure where you are going with your argument. My understanding was that the Old Testament was the holy book of the Jewish faith and I'm not sure why you would say you are addressing the essay to a theoretical Christian. It seems you are addressing it to a Jewish person. In my experience of Christianity, the passages you have cited would be referenced, by most Christians, as Judaic, and examples of how not to behave. The OT is a back drop to Christianity, a primer on the corruptness and wickedness of Judaism which Jesus came to rid the world of...which is why there is this antagonism in Christianity against Judaism, which you might have heard of. lol

I suppose I'm just intrigued by your conception of what Christianity is, because it doesn't conform to anything I know. Granted many so-called Christians are homophobic and recite the Old Testament, but that's just people cherry picking ideas to support their own predispositions. If one takes the moral ideas in Christianity as a starting point, then one has, surely, to disregard ideas and moral positions which are inconsistent, which would speak against homophobia and beating slaves with a rod, etc. Yes, no?
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19-07-2017, 07:26 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(18-07-2017 05:00 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 07:50 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Society has to have rules,
Society has rules; that's what makes it a "society".
But those rules are neither objective, nor permanent; they change all the time.


There are societies, and then there are societies and then there are societies. Not all societies are a like..The Daesh caliphate society is different from Sweden. Some scieties are based on ideologies, some have a more pragmatic morally based foundation.

Changing to a more ethical basis that eschews moral failure, such as racism or religious based immorality is a change for the better.

One must avoid the fallacy of false equivalency.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

Cheerful Charlie
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19-07-2017, 07:30 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(19-07-2017 06:28 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I suppose I'm just intrigued by your conception of what Christianity is, because it doesn't conform to anything I know. Granted many so-called Christians are homophobic and recite the Old Testament, but that's just people cherry picking ideas to support their own predispositions. If one takes the moral ideas in Christianity as a starting point, then one has, surely, to disregard ideas and moral positions which are inconsistent, which would speak against homophobia and beating slaves with a rod, etc. Yes, no?
Yes and no ;-)

Fundamentalists, who are quite influential culturally in the US, hew to a literalist interpretation of scripture that would rather ignore or attempt to resolve inconsistent moral positions in the Bible, than to just eliminate them. It would be sacrilege to them to "disregard" even the smallest part of scripture. Even less inerrantist Christian thinkers often appeal to scripture to support their ethical shibboleths of choice. So because these moral dictums, however obviously factually wrong or internally inconsistent they may be, are there to appeal to, and are commonly appealed to, it's necessary to counter them.

On the other hand, as you point out, liberal Christians, non-devout or non-practicing cultural Christians, etc., may be fine with seeing the Bible as a flawed book and then following some system of cherry-picking the parts they find defensible (you see, the cherry-picking charge cuts both ways), or even ignoring it altogether in favor of some secular basis of morality, which is effectively what we atheists do.

But in doing so, you are departing from the historic creeds that define Christianity, that state that Jesus is divine, the scriptures are the very word of god and to be taken seriously as such, that there is divine punishment from which we must be redeemed through repentance, and so forth. We are addressing actual belief in some commonly accepted definition of orthodox Christianity, not the loosely-held belief that there's some useful moral ideas in the Bible that can inspire us and that we can crib from. Folks like you are live-and-let-live types who have their private beliefs and leave others to theirs, and would not imagine imposing your morality on others (beyond, you know, not wanting to be murdered and such). So you don't represent the potential harm to societal consensus morality that a truly Biblical moralist would. So we don't really need to address your approach to the authority of scripture.
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