For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
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11-03-2014, 11:52 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 11:03 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  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...



It is possible to objectively determine that one alternative is better than another, even though we do not agree on the definition of best or worst. In economics, one might ask what is the absolute value of a dollar. You would be hard pressed to actually come up with a precise definition of the absolute value of a dollar. A dollar can only be valued in terms of the exchange one is willing to execute between dollars on products or services. Yet this inability to define exactly what a dollar does not prohibit us from determining one thing is worth more dollars than another.

Those who are moral relativists would think of morality as being somewhat like my money example, that is that morality can be determined relatively, though not absolutely.

You seem to be using the word "subjective" interchangeably with the word "relative" when in reality those are different things.
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11-03-2014, 11:54 PM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
It doesn't mean that for every situation there is best action but there can be many good actions and many bad ones. And good ones are clearly better than bad ones in terms of well being.
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12-03-2014, 01:00 AM (This post was last modified: 12-03-2014 01:04 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 11:03 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  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...
It is possible to objectively determine that one alternative is better than another, even though we do not agree on the definition of best or worst.

Not really, as doing so would require absolute knowledge of all factors involved, how they interact, and knowledge of all possible outsomes. Objectivity is something to strive for, but not currently achievable.


(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  In economics, one might ask what is the absolute value of a dollar. You would be hard pressed to actually come up with a precise definition of the absolute value of a dollar. A dollar can only be valued in terms of the exchange one is willing to execute between dollars on products or services.

Right, so the value of the dollar is subjective. It depends on whether or not both parties value it as a means of exchange, it's relative worth on the market, and any number of other factors. It's value can and does fluctuate based on these factors, making the dollar's value subjective to them. The dollar has no value to someone who refuses to accept them.

[Image: 404219-watto.jpg]

Watto rejected Republic Credits as payment for his used hyper-drive because Republic Credits had no value to him. They simply were not a valuable or as easy to deal with and exchange on an Outer Rim word like Tatooine, far from the Republic worlds of the Galactic Core where the credits originated from and derived their supposed value. The Republic Credit had no objective value, only subjective value; and it had insufficient value to Watto, and hence why he refused to accept them as payment.


(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  Yet this inability to define exactly what a dollar does not prohibit us from determining one thing is worth more dollars than another.

Even this is subjective to the context. How much a gallon of water is worth changes on whether or not you're next to a massive freshwater lake or out in the middle of a dessert. Their valuation, even if you attempt to objectively quantify them, changes. The aforementioned gallon of water will have more value in the dessert to someone who has no water, but little value to someone who already has more water then they need. The water's value is ultimately determined, is subject to, the context and circumstances. The water therefore has no intrinsic, objective, value; it only has the value we subjectively assign to it as determined by our wants and needs.


(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  Those who are moral relativists would think of morality as being somewhat like my money example, that is that morality can be determined relatively, though not absolutely.

Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it. -Wikipedia

How does your example apply to moral relativism? Generalize much?


(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  You seem to be using the word "subjective" interchangeably with the word "relative" when in reality those are different things.

They are similar, as they are being used here within context.

Subjective
-Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Relative
-Considered in relation or in proportion to something else.


If you value a well-being based morality, why is that? Is it because it was handed down to you from on high from a god? Was it reveled to you as one of the great secrets of the universe during a really good acid trip? Probably not. You most likely value it because it makes a lot of sense and you have a health sense of empathy; but your valuation of 'well-being' is dependent on your reasoning and empathy. A psychopath, one who by definition lacks empathy, would not share your valuation of well-being as the gauge of moral behavior. Animals who lack the higher cognitive functions to entertain these concepts, do not operate by them because these ideas exist outside their knowledge. This is probably why so many psychopaths and serial killers have no empathy and do not see themselves as immoral. Likewise this is why the lion is not immoral when it hunts, mauls, kills, and start to eat a gazelle. Neither you nor they can appeal to a higher 'objective' morality to support that your morality is any more correct then the others. Both moral codes are subjective, and relative to each other. You and I may value our well-being based morality, but it has no value to the lion, nor to the religious zealot who's moral compass is built around what they think their god demands of them.

There is nothing that gives 'well-being' more objective value other than our own subjective desires. Our well-being is important to us, and other's well-being is as well because of our empathy (which doesn't apply to psychopaths). In a universe filled with nothing but rocks, the 'well-being' of any sentient life would be irrelevant; it would have no meaning. Thus, morality is not objective. At best you can try to objectively evaluate the choices we make within the moral frameworks we build upon our subjective desires; at base, it's still subjective and determined by us.

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12-03-2014, 01:01 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
Is math subjective evolution?
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12-03-2014, 01:47 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(12-03-2014 01:01 AM)donotwant Wrote:  Is math subjective evolution?

Our framework that we use to interpret the universe with numbers? Yes.

But even without us and our system of mathematics, in a universe filled with nothing but rocks there would still be rocks to count; just without anyone around to do so and apply a base 10 system to them and put them into sets and call the whole endeavor 'math'.

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12-03-2014, 02:29 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
Evolution is bullying wrong?
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12-03-2014, 02:42 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(12-03-2014 02:29 AM)donotwant Wrote:  Evolution is bullying wrong?

That reads like a crossword clue. Like it kinda makes sense but really doesn't.

Are you asking if bullying is objectively 'wrong'?

No it isn't.

Would you like me to give you an example of when NOT killing a newborn baby is immoral?

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12-03-2014, 02:43 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(12-03-2014 01:00 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  It is possible to objectively determine that one alternative is better than another, even though we do not agree on the definition of best or worst.

Not really, as doing so would require absolute knowledge of all factors involved, how they interact, and knowledge of all possible outsomes. Objectivity is something to strive for, but not currently achievable.

In claiming it is not possible to evaluate one hing relative to another without knowing the absolute value of one of them, you are denying inductive reasoning is sound. You will surprise mathematicians and logicians around the world if you can actually back this claim up.

Quote:
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  In economics, one might ask what is the absolute value of a dollar. You would be hard pressed to actually come up with a precise definition of the absolute value of a dollar. A dollar can only be valued in terms of the exchange one is willing to execute between dollars on products or services.

Right, so the value of the dollar is subjective. It depends on whether or not both parties value it as a means of exchange, it's relative worth on the market, and any number of other factors. It's value can and does fluctuate based on these factors, making the dollar's value subjective to them. The dollar has no value to someone who refuses to accept them.

The points in the above section were not in dispute. However you are not paying attention to the argument about relative value. Even though money's intrinsic value may not be fixed, the relative values of one product over another can be very precisely determined.

Quote:Watto rejected Republic Credits as payment for his used hyper-drive because Republic Credits had no value to him. They simply were not a valuable or as easy to deal with and exchange on an Outer Rim word like Tatooine, far from the Republic worlds of the Galactic Core where the credits originated from and derived their supposed value. The Republic Credit had no objective value, only subjective value; and it had insufficient value to Watto, and hence why he refused to accept them as payment.

I'm just going to skip over the Star Wars gobbledygook, if you don't mind.

Quote:
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  Yet this inability to define exactly what a dollar does not prohibit us from determining one thing is worth more dollars than another.

Even this is subjective to the context. How much a gallon of water is worth changes on whether or not you're next to a massive freshwater lake or out in the middle of a dessert. Their valuation, even if you attempt to objectively quantify them, changes. The aforementioned gallon of water will have more value in the dessert to someone who has no water, but little value to someone who already has more water then they need. The water's value is ultimately determined, is subject to, the context and circumstances. The water therefore has no intrinsic, objective, value; it only has the value we subjectively assign to it as determined by our wants and needs.


Your response in the above paragraph is really a jumble of confused concepts and terminology. Now you are confusing subjectivity with differences in context. Water in a desert is worth more because of its relative scarcity. The different value placed on water is not an example of subjectivity, but a matter of a different set of circumstances and facts different context.




Quote:
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  Those who are moral relativists would think of morality as being somewhat like my money example, that is that morality can be determined relatively, though not absolutely.

Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it. -Wikipedia

How does your example apply to moral relativism? Generalize much?



So you can quote from wiki. Great. Your response indicates you think you've made some poignant argument, but there's no there there. You didn't read or pay attention to the first sentence in the definition of moral relativism you quoted, describing each school of thought on moral relativism as concerning "the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures". The cultural context would be compared to the currency in my analogy. Lets also not get lost in the weeds analyzing how perfect this analogy is. My point was to give an example of being able to objectively measure the relative value of something using a standard that is not absolute.

Quote:
(11-03-2014 11:52 PM)BryanS Wrote:  You seem to be using the word "subjective" interchangeably with the word "relative" when in reality those are different things.

They are similar, as they are being used here within context.

Subjective
-Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Relative
-Considered in relation or in proportion to something else.


If you value a well-being based morality, why is that? Is it because it was handed down to you from on high from a god? Was it reveled to you as one of the great secrets of the universe during a really good acid trip? Probably not. You most likely value it because it makes a lot of sense and you have a health sense of empathy; but your valuation of 'well-being' is dependent on your reasoning and empathy. A psychopath, one who by definition lacks empathy, would not share your valuation of well-being as the gauge of moral behavior. Animals who lack the higher cognitive functions to entertain these concepts, do not operate by them because these ideas exist outside their knowledge. This is probably why so many psychopaths and serial killers have no empathy and do not see themselves as immoral. Likewise this is why the lion is not immoral when it hunts, mauls, kills, and start to eat a gazelle. Neither you nor they can appeal to a higher 'objective' morality to support that your morality is any more correct then the others. Both moral codes are subjective, and relative to each other. You and I may value our well-being based morality, but it has no value to the lion, nor to the religious zealot who's moral compass is built around what they think their god demands of them.

There is nothing that gives 'well-being' more objective value other than our own subjective desires. Our well-being is important to us, and other's well-being is as well because of our empathy (which doesn't apply to psychopaths). In a universe filled with nothing but rocks, the 'well-being' of any sentient life would be irrelevant; it would have no meaning. Thus, morality is not objective. At best you can try to objectively evaluate the choices we make within the moral frameworks we build upon our subjective desires; at base, it's still subjective and determined by us.

I didn't say I valued a "well-being" based morality. I am not prepared to accept Sam Harris's hypothesis. And by the way, what point are you actually trying to argue here? I'm getting lost in your colorful word salad here. You claim upthread you agree with Harris and then make an argument that seems intended to shoot his ideas down.

If you pay close attention to what I wrote, I also did not say I was embracing objective morality. Harris brings an interesting idea to the debate that from an assumed hypothesis and induction we can objectively determine morality. I think he is right on the induction part of his argument--that we can objectively weigh one moral choice against another to determine which choice is more moral. However his particular framework has potentially serious flaws, so I can't just embrace his ideas whole cloth.
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12-03-2014, 02:44 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
(12-03-2014 02:42 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(12-03-2014 02:29 AM)donotwant Wrote:  Evolution is bullying wrong?

That reads like a crossword clue. Like it kinda makes sense but really doesn't.

Are you asking if bullying is objectively 'wrong'?

No it isn't.

Would you like me to give you an example of when NOT killing a newborn baby is immoral?

I want evolution to explain why bullying is wrong.
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12-03-2014, 02:48 AM
RE: For those atheists that believe in objective morality, can you prove it?
Quote:Would you like me to give you an example of when NOT killing a newborn baby is immoral?
This is easy.
1 - Kill the baby.
2 - Let baby suffer from some horrible disease and die after several years of torment.
I choose 1.

It goes for every choice where other option is much more horrible then the first.
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