Basis for Atheist Morality
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13-02-2014, 01:40 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 11:18 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 09:31 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  The idea of objective morality is checkmated, not you (necessarily). If you are saying objective morality is contextual, then it's not objective. And if it were so easy to understand that slavery was wrong, then why did it persist for thousands of years by ignorant masses? If your deity gave us the power to (easily) comprehend that slavery was wrong, then why did it not occur to the majority of the idiots right up until pre-Civil War America?

I know, I know, humans have the capacity to be evil and stupid and that's not your deity's fault. He just set things in motion and what happens from there is all on us. Your special pleading grows tiresome. It's remarkable, you change threads and questions, but your special pleading remains constant.

I disagree that contextual morality cannot be objective. The context only makes morality more complicated. In my mind, objective morality means that in any situation there is a morally right answer and one (or multiple) morally wrong answers (or less right answers, if you prefer).

Think of it like adding one more variable to a math equation. The presence of the extra variable doesn't make the answer any less objective, it just means it takes one more step to get there.

So, if you know the answer, why did you ask the question?

I think you also missed a couple of other factors in there. If you were a normal person in the southern U.S. during slavery time, you might have known that slavery was wrong, but not had the influence to be able to do anything about it. You might have known it was wrong, but valued your own social position too much to refuse to own slaves and risk being an outcast. They might have convinced themselves that those in power knew better than they did. Or, as you alluded to, they may have justified owning slaves because they valued money and power over morality.

As for your 'special pleading' comments, you seem to just be saying that my 'opinion' or my 'beliefs' remain constant, with which I agree. I can assure you that people of this forum referring to my 'opinions' and 'beliefs' as a 'special pleading' are even more tiresome to me. Especially, because I spent so much time defending my positions with logical arguments. When is the last time you went to a theist or deist website and defended your beliefs against virtually everyone on that site at the same time?

Btw, atheism requires just as much of a "special pleading" as deism, and people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Objective means not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. Since you have inserted contextual into your definition that would mean there are outside factors influencing your objectivity, thus rendering your definition moot. It is no longer objective if outside forces can influence your decision. But it most certainly is subjective.

As for special pleading, if you're tired of being accused of it then stop doing it. You seem to be mistaking your beliefs and opinions with excuses. And I call bullshit on your deism. You clearly can't let go of your theist upbringing. Special time-released morality, an afterlife (because you so want there to be more than this mortal coil) and souls (because deists can make more supernatural elements you invented, and what's an afterlife without souls?) ... funny how what you want lines up so perfectly with the god you invented.

As for the other tripe you spewed, I think my fellow atheists answered you for me. Thanks guys.

Check out my atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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13-02-2014, 01:45 PM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2014 01:55 PM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 01:33 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Either way, it doesn't really matter. My question was whether you guys believe in objective morality. What you are saying is that you believe in subjective morality, or "social contract" morality. Which is all well and good, but basically all you have done is state your opinion as fact.

Your question was NOT whether we believe in objective morality. Your question was, what is the basis of morality? If you would like me to quote your OP, I can.

I do not believe in objective morality. Objective morality is a theistic bogeyman, a rhetorical device designed by theists to trap atheists into admitting they are "immoral." It is a dishonest way to engage in discussion.

Quote:I also not sure why you would bother throwing arguments about "divine command theory" against a deist.

I throw arguments about divine command theory against a theist masquerading as a deist because YOU said the creator imprinted morality on his creation (I can dig that quote up for you, too, if you'd like). So I applied that concept to your position because, brace yourself, it's completely applicable.

Now, if you'd like to stop pretending to be a deist and just admit you're a theist troll, we'll all get along a lot better.
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13-02-2014, 01:49 PM
Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 01:26 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 12:40 PM)Simon Moon Wrote:  This incorrect.

Atheism is not the belief that there is no god. Atheism is the position that the case for the existence of a god has not met it's burden of proof.

There is no such thing as 'belief in atheism'. That is an incoherent statement.

But atheism does not require an explanation for the existence of the universe without a sentient creator. "I don't know" is a perfectly reasonable response to the question, "Well, if there is no god, how did the universe get here?".

Even if the answer is currently unknown, that does not mean that 'god did it' becomes the next best answer by default.

Agnosticism and atheism are NOT mutually exclusive positions.

Atheism/theism concerns what one believes or doesn't believe. Agnosticism/gnosticism concerns what one claims to know, or what is knowable.

You do understand the difference between 'belief' and 'knowledge', right?

I have heard the semantics about agnostic atheists, etc. So I don't need them repeated. Here is the dictionary definition of atheism:

1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
2
a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Here is the dictionary definition of agnosticism:

ag·nos·tic noun \ag-ˈnäs-tik, əg-\
: a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

When I use atheism in that context I am talking about gnostic atheism (which is included as definition 2b above in the Encyclopedia Britannica definition). Gnostic atheism is very much a belief. That should require no explanation and seems implied in your comment.

If you are an agnostic atheist that's fine. In that case, you are not using a "special pleading", because you are just saying "I don't know".

You should remember, however, where my statement came from. It was in response to someone telling me I was "special pleading" even when I have explained over and over on these forums that I am not (and why I am not). I'm courteous in these forums. I act towards others with civility. I just get annoyed sometimes that some people on here don't seem to believe in reciprocity in that regard, and instead insist on repeating accusations that having nothing to do with the current discussion and are only meant as ad hominem attacks.

P.S. I still disagree with your "burden of proof" comment. I believe that the burden of proof always lies on the person trying to convince someone to change their views.

"Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known.[1][2][3]"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

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13-02-2014, 01:49 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 12:30 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 11:37 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  You cannot prove that slavery was actually meant to be the correct moral decision since it was accepted as normal behavior for centuries. It could just be your own moral compass that views the practice as wrong. making things up as we go along just to make your God valid and accountable for good morals decisions. Maybe it is us humans with the good compass and it is God steering us to the immoral thoughts - just sayin you cannot prove this concept to be false.

Ummm, yeah, I definitely can. If you work under the assumption that God exists and objective morality exists, then God created that objective morality. In what reality would it make any sense for God to create moral good and evil, instill in humankind to revere good, and yet be evil?

In this reality! You can't even wrap your head around the question without making assumptions up front (3 of them), and then answering my question with another ambiguous question. If you are a diest, where is your proof or instruction that God wants you to revere the good, and not the bad or evil (as we humans label it)?

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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13-02-2014, 03:13 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
If we can understand that the universe is headed toward death by entropy. And we also know that we contribute far more entropy than order to the universe. And if lookingforanswers' claim of there being an objective morality is true. Then is our continued existence an immoral act?

"time must die that we may live"
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13-02-2014, 03:32 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 12:43 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 10:31 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  1. Yes, there would just be no humans to be moral or immoral. Think of it like math or geometry. Even if there were no true right angle triangles in existence, the pythagorean theorem would still be sound.

An interesting take on it that I wasn't expecting. Let's take it from question 1.

Are other species subject to the same objective morality? What about rat mothers who eat their young if the litter is too large? Or sea otters raping baby seals to death, often drowning them in the process? Or male lions killing young cubs so they can impregnate the female with their own genes? There are a myriad such examples from the natural world which would be morally abhorent if carried out by a human.

You can mathematically prove Pythagoras's theorem because Maths is precise and is not open to interpretation like morality. Are there any objective proofs about morality that are not open to interpretation or which pertain to a specific species?

Those are some interesting questions.

The question of other species is difficult because my interpretation of objective morality includes provision for context. Certainly, the context of being of a different species is something that changes the analysis of what is right and what is wrong.

I think my limitation in answering the question is that I don't really know that much about animal intelligence levels. It is possible that the formula I mentioned before (which I definitely don't take to be determinative) would also have to have a provision for intelligence level inserted in. If an animal lacks the intelligence level to understand morality and make moral decisions, is it fair to hold it against them? To me, it seems like it would be as if you were blaming the wind for the damage of a hurricane. That having been said, if an animal has the level of intelligence required to understand morality, then I see no problem with the animal being held to moral standards (albeit in the context of the differences required by being of a different species).

As to your last question, I would say that there likely is a formula which could be used for objective morality. Probably the best model is some form of amended utilitarian model.

I think that the subjectivity aspect comes from issues with quantifying the variables in the equation. That having been said, I don't think that means that there is not an objective answer. The issue is the fact that, at present, we have to rely upon the testimony of others with respect to things like pain levels. While this is not measurable today, it seems like medical science likely will get to that point somewhere in the future. Will we be able to read someone's intention in the future? Maybe. If we could measure the amount of pain and pleasure caused by an action, as well as the intentions of all parties, I think this would likely give us an objective basis to prove an action to be moral or immoral. If you add in an accurate reflection of the creature's intellectual capacity to understand morality, I think you could then translate that model between species.

Remember, just because we can't accurately measure something yet, does not mean that there is not an objective basis. There was a long time in human history before people could detect radio waves, radiation, etc, and those things were still there.

If you work on the assumption that an intelligent creator exists, it seems to follow that he would likely be able to accurately measure the pain or pleasure caused by an action, as well as the intention of the being committing the action and the intellectual capacity of that being to understand morality. After all, who could know our inner workings better than our creator. For now, we may have to work from estimates but, for the most part, we seem to be getting better and better as a species at figuring out the factors and formula for how something becomes moral or immoral.
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13-02-2014, 03:46 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 03:32 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If you work on the assumption that an intelligent creator exists
BY THE WAY.. you still haven't given me a good reason to support to your assumption.

JUST GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON to support your far-fetched,absurd assumption just one and maybe then i'll consider your God thingy seriously.

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
Wishful thinking is not evidence
Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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13-02-2014, 03:47 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 03:32 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If you work on the assumption that an intelligent creator exists, it seems to follow that he would likely be able to accurately measure the pain or pleasure caused by an action, as well as the intention of the being committing the action and the intellectual capacity of that being to understand morality. After all, who could know our inner workings better than our creator. For now, we may have to work from estimates but, for the most part, we seem to be getting better and better as a species at figuring out the factors and formula for how something becomes moral or immoral.

I think the concept and discussion are interesting and worth exchanging ideas, but why are many of your posts started with "the assumption that a creator exists"? I am just asking why there is this need for a creator to be involved? It is like no other option can be entertained by your mind. Exploring morality without the creator aspect may provide more insight than you think. It just appears to me you are clinging to something that is based on wishful thinking rather than evidence, and there is a concerted effort to make it all workout in that regard.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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13-02-2014, 03:53 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 01:45 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Now, if you'd like to stop pretending to be a deist and just admit you're a theist troll, we'll all get along a lot better.

It's nice to see your true colours TwoCult.

It's funny how a few of the people on this forum have abandoned their civility as soon as they realize that they can't back up their own beliefs with enough logic to sell me on their answers. I guess some people just like to lash out at those who hold different opinions. It's funny how many people like to think they are open-minded because they hold a certain set of beliefs, and yet close their minds to the possibility that they may be wrong.

I'm grateful that some of the others on this page are a little more courteous, or my view of atheists might have taken a bigger hit.
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13-02-2014, 03:53 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(13-02-2014 03:47 PM)Timber1025 Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 03:32 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If you work on the assumption that an intelligent creator exists, it seems to follow that he would likely be able to accurately measure the pain or pleasure caused by an action, as well as the intention of the being committing the action and the intellectual capacity of that being to understand morality. After all, who could know our inner workings better than our creator. For now, we may have to work from estimates but, for the most part, we seem to be getting better and better as a species at figuring out the factors and formula for how something becomes moral or immoral.

I think the concept and discussion are interesting and worth exchanging ideas, but why are many of your posts started with "the assumption that a creator exists"? I am just asking why there is this need for a creator to be involved? It is like no other option can be entertained by your mind. Exploring morality without the creator aspect may provide more insight than you think. It just appears to me you are clinging to something that is based on wishful thinking rather than evidence, and there is a concerted effort to make it all workout in that regard.

Careful, you're getting precariously close to saying he is special pleading ... He doesn't like that. Wink

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