For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
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11-03-2014, 06:42 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
Like beauty, morality has a "sense" - it is not 'objective' to some sort of absolute external standard but there are natural selection pressures which lead to qualities we associate with "moral goodness" eg natural selection can promote empathy, cooperation, solidarity, benevolence, care & love and social regulatory pressures to maintain cooperation and punish individual violators.

In the above pictures of external beauty most people would "sense" the bottom picture is more beautiful than the top picture. There are biological reasons for this - we can go into detail but selection pressures may favor the tone of skin, youth, symmetry, teeth & looks of well being & health etc...

However - what if a child was abused by the "beautiful lady" in the picture below - and has profound negative associations with white, blue eyed, silky skinned, blondes ? They may grow to like the large goofy teeth of the lady above as see them as beautiful ?
Likewise a psychopath may have totally distorted sense of morality and see "beauty" in torturing and cooking children and then eating them for lunch ?

If natural selection favored torturing children for fun and eating them we would be extinct. Therefore there are objective reasons why evolution selects for characteristics we consider to be moral - they are essential for social survival & reproduction.
A society filled with murderers and thieves will be unstable and not last long - concepts such as property will become meaningless and relationships could not last, you may get murdered at any moment by anybody. So we OBJECTIVELY must have moral rules for society to flourish. However this does not mean that morality has some absolute external standard "outside human brains" - ultimately morality is both biologically, psychologically and socially constructed.

However there are "objective measures" for what we consider moral behaviors to be because without the concept of causing suffering to others any form of morality would be meaningless. Whilst causing suffering & pain can be subjective - there are objective neurological pathways and criteria for the manifestation of pain & suffering - the substrate is our nervous system and brains and there are many similarities throughout the biological world especially with our relatives the great apes.
(morality is more complex than just causing suffering or pain, because it is clearly OK for a surgeon to operate but not for a psychopath to torture for fun - so some consequentialist and intention aspects are crucial to moral reasoning and can be OBJECTIVE. Eg did the surgeon intend to heal the person or was he having fun with the scalpel to see how much pain can be inflicted ? This is an objective question with a clear answer (usually for most people)

I hate this dichotomy with morality being either some absolute objective standard or "subjective" as if anything goes. Atheists are often accused by fundamentalist theists with the "all is permitted" stance by quoting Ivan Karamazov: "If God is dead, all is permitted" - this is sheer nonsense.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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11-03-2014, 06:57 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
Quote:I hate this dichotomy with morality being either some absolute objective standard or "subjective" as if anything goes. Atheists are often accused by fundamentalist theists with the "all is permitted" stance by quoting Ivan Karamazov: "If God is dead, all is permitted" - this is sheer nonsense.

I have been guilty of this. :'(
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11-03-2014, 10:35 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 01:35 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 01:32 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  1. I don't know of any self proclaimed atheist that claims the existence of an objective morality, and so far as I know we don't have anyone on the forums that espouses such a view.

2. So far as I can tell objective morality does not exist, at best we can try to objectively measure our options along a subjective scale (otherwise known as ethics)

3. With your actions you are failing miserably at convincing the more even-keeled members of the forums that you are anything but the troll Taq is accusing you of being.


Drinking Beverage

Doesn't Harris argue for such?

Not even fucking close. I take it that you've never actually watched his TED Talk or any of his other presentations?

Harris argues for a secular morality based around suffering, with those actions that eliminate or reduce suffering being more moral, and those that increase or add to suffering being less moral. He argues that science can be used to help compare our choices along this continuum objectively, but basing his moral landscape on suffering is a subjective valuation; his secular morality is ultimately subjective, he just argues that science can help us make more objective choices. To one who does not recognize suffering as a gauge of morality, Harris' work means little to them.





For fuck's sake, you continue to fall farther into Troll territory. You could have answered your own question with a quick Google search and less than 5 minutes of your time. You either do know you were misrepresenting him, or you didn't care enough to check yourself; neither speaks well of you. Dodgy

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11-03-2014, 10:40 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 04:42 PM)Miss Meng Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 04:41 PM)Chas Wrote:  Ummm, no. Nature intends nothing; nature has no intent, no purpose, no direction, no goal.

Our brains/minds evolved patterns of thought and feeling that aided survival better than others.

Is this the current, official propaganda, Chas? Do I get a medal if I tow the line like you? Laugh out load

~ Miss Meng

*toe

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11-03-2014, 10:42 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
The closest thing that I can come up with that resembles objective morality (right vs. wrong) is our legal system, with respect to where you reside. I think it's safe to say we can all agree that murder, stealing, fraud, rape etc is "wrong." While we view it as our justice system, it still serves as a possible case for objective morality, from a secular set of standards.

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11-03-2014, 10:43 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 04:50 PM)Charis Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 12:59 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  Can you show me how morals acquire the ability to leap out of your brains, or of any other brain for that matter, and become an 'object'? If so, by what process does this occur?

I am getting the most hilarious, albeit violent, mental pictures right now. The movie "Alien" comes to mind...

...Or John Carpenter's "The Thing"....

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11-03-2014, 10:45 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
You people fail extremely hard at moral questions. How is suffering subjective if we depend on laws of physics?
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11-03-2014, 10:51 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2014 10:54 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 04:49 PM)donotwant Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 04:45 PM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  It doesn't matter what morality is about it is based on subjective feelings&desires.

Objective morality is like a married bachelor,it simply doesn't follow.

Well if that's your definition of objective then maybe.
What I am talking is morality which is not relativistic.

An objective morality would be one that exists outside of us and is not subject to us.

For an example, if killing was to be considered to be objectively wrong, then it would be wrong because this outside source says so; and we cannot appeal to it. It would be always wrong in all times and all places.

The instant you apply a caveat to it, it is no longer objective. If you allow for killing in self defense, it's now subjective. If you don't hold medical professionals accountable for the risk inherent in dangerous but necessary medical procedures, it's now subjective. Do you make other allowances for other accidental causes of death? Do you make exceptions for lawful acts of war? If so, the rule against killing is either no longer objective; or you are no longer holding yourself to that standard.

Take a less sever example. Is lying moral or immoral? If lying is objectively immoral, then lying is wrong at all times and all places; even if the Gestapo visit your home looking for the Jewish family hiding in your attic. I would argue that the moral thing to do would be to lie your ass off, because if you do not then you know that those you are harboring will be killed for all the wrong reasons. If your objective morality tells you that lying is bad, do you tell the truth and reveal the presence of those whose life are in your hands? If you do, does that make you implicated in the objectively wrong killing of those refuges you were hiding?

That is the problem with objective morality; it attempts to paint the world in black and white, when we clearly live in a world filled with shades of grey. Objective morality is a ill defined blunt instrument ill-suited for helping humans navigate the real world of morality and ethics.

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11-03-2014, 10:54 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 10:51 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 04:49 PM)donotwant Wrote:  Well if that's your definition of objective then maybe.
What I am talking is morality which is not relativistic.

An objective morality would be one that exists outside of us and is not subject to us.

For an example, if killing was to be considered to be objectively wrong, then it would be wrong because this outside source says so; and we cannot appeal to it. It would be always wrong in all times and all places.

The instant you apply a caveat to it, it is no longer objective. If you allow for killing in self defense, it's now subjective. If you don't hold medical professionals accountable for the risk inherent in dangerous but necessary medical procedures, it's now subjective. Do you make other allowances for other accidental causes of death? If so, the rule against killing is no longer objective.

Take a less sever example. Is lying moral or immoral? If lying is objective immoral, then lying is wrong at all times and all places; even if the Gestapo visit your home looking for the Jew hiding in your attic. I would argue that the moral thing to do would be to lie your ass off, because if you do not then you know that those you are harboring will be killed for all the wrong reasons. If your objective morality tells you that lying is bad, do you tell the truth? If you do, does that make you implicated in the objective wrong killing of those refuges you were hiding?

That is the problem with objective morality; it attempts to paint the world in black in white, when we clearly live in a world filled with shades of grey. Objective morality is a ill defined blunt instrument ill-suited for helping humans navigate the real world of morality and ethics.
By objective I mean moral or immoral in situation X.
For instance if my lying in situation X will result in person A getting tortured for 10 years with no good reason then it would be immoral for me to lie. And it would be immoral in this situation no matter in which point of time it arises(until laws of physics change so that torture is no longer painful or harmful).
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11-03-2014, 11:03 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2014 11:09 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 10:54 PM)donotwant Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 10:51 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  An objective morality would be one that exists outside of us and is not subject to us.

For an example, if killing was to be considered to be objectively wrong, then it would be wrong because this outside source says so; and we cannot appeal to it. It would be always wrong in all times and all places.

The instant you apply a caveat to it, it is no longer objective. If you allow for killing in self defense, it's now subjective. If you don't hold medical professionals accountable for the risk inherent in dangerous but necessary medical procedures, it's now subjective. Do you make other allowances for other accidental causes of death? If so, the rule against killing is no longer objective.

Take a less sever example. Is lying moral or immoral? If lying is objective immoral, then lying is wrong at all times and all places; even if the Gestapo visit your home looking for the Jew hiding in your attic. I would argue that the moral thing to do would be to lie your ass off, because if you do not then you know that those you are harboring will be killed for all the wrong reasons. If your objective morality tells you that lying is bad, do you tell the truth? If you do, does that make you implicated in the objective wrong killing of those refuges you were hiding?

That is the problem with objective morality; it attempts to paint the world in black in white, when we clearly live in a world filled with shades of grey. Objective morality is a ill defined blunt instrument ill-suited for helping humans navigate the real world of morality and ethics.
By objective I mean moral or immoral in situation X.
For instance if my lying in situation X will result in person A getting tortured for 10 years with no good reason then it would be immoral for me to lie. And it would be immoral in this situation no matter in which point of time it arises(until laws of physics change so that torture is no longer painful or harmful).

If it's situationally dependent, then it is subjective. There might be an objective answer as to which option is more or less moral in any given choice; but that all depends upon the situation. Your choice and it's morality is subject to the situation at hand. We can attempt to objectively gauge our options, but the basis is still subjective. Using suffering as a gauge of morality is subjective; it is not valued by those following a form of divine command theory, they do not value suffering as a gauge of morality and it simply does not factor into what they consider moral or immoral.

Also if your lying gets the person tortured for 10 years, but your telling the truth gets them killed (and they are innocent); is your lying now still considered immoral? Or has your evaluation changed? If it has, then you're operating on subjective morality. If your basic choice didn't change regardless of whether this was 1940's occupied Poland or 1960's deep south of the United States, it is not now magically objective...

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