Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
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13-04-2017, 06:08 AM (This post was last modified: 13-04-2017 06:12 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
"If I don't have an authority figure telling me what is right and wrong, I can't use my own brain to decide."

The word "wrong" is too vague to have any meaning on its own. If we define it to mean "against the common good" or "contrary to a peaceful society" or "bad for wellbeing" then most people would be pretty happy signing on for murder being wrong. This flid would have to argue pretty hard to state otherwise.

But if "wrong" means "what an authority tells me is wrong", then indeed, nothing is wrong without that authority. It's just a really stupid and circular way to decide it. He would also have to add that murder would be "right" if God said it was.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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13-04-2017, 06:08 AM
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 06:06 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Actually I'm pretty sure that moving something is not creating something. Tongue

It's kind of a creation, since your body actually turned a product into something completely different.

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13-04-2017, 06:12 AM
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(12-04-2017 08:48 PM)Rachel Wrote:  I thought this topic had been put to bed long ago, but leave it to the loony right wing to breathe new life into this zombie topic.

Founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine Michael Shermer is striking back against the attack on atheism made by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager, in the recent video ‘If There Is No God, Murder Isn’t Wrong’.

In the Prager video, Prager claims that without God, all morality is mere opinion – and therefore murder isn’t wrong. He begins by asking viewers: “I’m sure you think murder is wrong, but how do you know?”

In a video response called ‘If There Is No God, Is Murder Wrong?’, posted today on the Skeptic Magazine’s YouTube channel, Shermer – a well-known atheist and former evangelical Christian, tackles Prager’s simplistic assessment of religion and morality.
“Dennis Prager claims that ‘without God, there can be no objective morality.’ Although this is what many people believe, it is wrong for four big reasons," says Shermer, who is also a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.

“The argument that our morals come from God is what philosophers and theologians call Divine Command Theory – that we follow God’s command, no matter what. But this theory doesn’t hold up. For example, if murder is wrong because God said it is wrong, what if God said it was okay? Would that make murder right? Of course not!”

Shermer, who once attended the Church of Christ institution Pepperdine University with the intent of becoming a theologian, then goes on to make his second critique of the controversial video – based on the Either-Or Fallacy.

“The Either-Or Fallacy means that we have to choose between a God-based absolute morality, where there’s clear distinctions between right and wrong, and a godless relative morality, where right and wrong are just opinions.”

Shermer points out that all societies throughout history and around the world today (even secular ones) have sanctions against murder.

“That’s because, if there were no proscription against murder no social group could survive, much less flourish. All social order would break down. We can’t have people running around killing each other.”

Shermer, who also has a monthly column in Scientific American Magazine, then argues against Prager’s claims by stating that the religious source of morality is unreliable.

“Divine Command Theory implies that people get their morality from God. But how? Most people don’t see burning bushes, hear the voice of God, nor receive chiseled stone tablets from the Almighty. So where do these ideas about right and wrong come from?”

“If God has reasons why murder is wrong, why don’t we just base our proscriptions against murder on those reasons and skip the divine middleman?" Shermer added.

Shermer continues his critique by asking viewers this question:
“Most religious people say that they get their morality from their Holy Book. The problem with this is that God apparently dictated different moral commands for different religions, so which one is right?”

Shermer’s last point of rebuttal is his assertion that ‘absolute morality corrupts absolutely’.
“The belief in absolute morality inexorably leads to the conclusion that anyone who believes differently has departed from God’s truth, and thus is unprotected by our moral obligations,” Shermer says.

“Historically this absolutism led to crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, religious wars, and genocides — all in the name of God. Today, it’s why suicide bombers shout out Allahu Akbar — God is Great. These Islamic terrorists also believe in absolute God- given morality, and they act accordingly.”

Shermer wraps his 7-minute video by concluding that morality is not absolute – but neither is it relative.

“We get our morality from our parents, peers, mentors, teachers, books, and culture, and we listen to that still small voice within—our moral conscience.”

http://www.skeptic.com/downloads/press/I...1-2017.pdf

"Murder" is a legal term, as defined by human law, in varying degrees, ("first degree" , "manslaughter" etc), not a moral one. "Taking a human life" is often approved by the gods, even taking the lives of innocent infants (in the Bible). It's dependent on the circumstances. As said above, the idiotic ignorant comment of Prager requires no comment or refutation. Prager knows neither the law nor the texts he pretends to speak from.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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13-04-2017, 06:13 AM
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
I agree it doesn't, but it's a good example of why "objective morality" is such a dumb concept; especially when it's decided by decree.

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13-04-2017, 12:44 PM
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 06:12 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Prager knows neither the law nor the texts he pretends to speak from.

Given it's Prager, that wouldn't be a hard to believe thing. Have a Baptist in law who posts his Prager U things all over Facebook.

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13-04-2017, 01:32 PM
RE: Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
Funny how the biblical god murders 250 million people in the bible because he simply can't bring himself to forgive others. I've forgiven other people throughout my life. And I did it without asking for a sacrifice, or threatening to torture them over a fire for an extended length of time. I simply forgave them and went on with my life.

The god of the bible can't do this. He simply can't forgive others without asking for a bloody sacrifice. Nor does he take responsibility for anything he created, he simply passes the buck onto his creations. Yet somehow believers have been brainwashed/trained/deluded into believing he's the center point of all morality. It's amazing.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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13-04-2017, 04:45 PM
Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 05:30 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(12-04-2017 08:48 PM)Rachel Wrote:  Prager claims that without God, all morality is mere opinion...


Classic non sequitur. Not worth considering further.

The premise that morality is God-driven relies on the unproven claim that God exists.


It's even worse than that. They claim that god-driven morality is objective morality. That simply isn't so. Command morality states that because god said it, it's all good and moral and whatnot. But what if god changes its mind? If god can change its mind, then morality must be subjective according to the dictates of the deity, which might change.

Now, if this deity can't change its mind, then there is a limitation not only to its power, but it also implies that the deity gets its marching orders from another entity, further implying that the Judeo-Christian god (or insert the god of your choice) isn't at the top of the supernatural food chain.

Therefore, the claim that morality, objective or subjective, must flow from a god is specious and riddled with problems.

It should be troubling to any believer that the Hebrew storm god YHWH set its commands to its followers and then proceeded to violate those laws. It told the Hebrews not to kill and then proceeded to kill on a grand scale and ordered even more deaths and bragged about them. The usual explanation is that since this god created mankind, we are subject to its whims, even to our annihilation. To me this shows the personal debasing which happens in the mind of a true believer.
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13-04-2017, 04:47 PM
Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 05:40 AM)abaris Wrote:  I wonder why such a simplistic out of the ass statement is even in need of being refuted.


Because the mind of the true believer requires moral superiority over us filthy heathens, even if they have to make it up.
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13-04-2017, 04:52 PM
Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 06:08 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  "If I don't have an authority figure telling me what is right and wrong, I can't use my own brain to decide."

The word "wrong" is too vague to have any meaning on its own. If we define it to mean "against the common good" or "contrary to a peaceful society" or "bad for wellbeing" then most people would be pretty happy signing on for murder being wrong. This flid would have to argue pretty hard to state otherwise.

But if "wrong" means "what an authority tells me is wrong", then indeed, nothing is wrong without that authority. It's just a really stupid and circular way to decide it. He would also have to add that murder would be "right" if God said it was.


The implication when the believers use this argument is that, without the belief of an all-powerful deity watching over everyone to mete out punishment as it sees fit, the believer would instantly turn into a mass murderer. If all that stands between a believer and a career as an infamous mass murderer is that silly belief, it's fine with me if they just go on believing.
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13-04-2017, 04:53 PM
Michael Shermer refutes Dennis Prager's "If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong."
(13-04-2017 01:32 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Funny how the biblical god murders 250 million people in the bible because he simply can't bring himself to forgive others. I've forgiven other people throughout my life. And I did it without asking for a sacrifice, or threatening to torture them over a fire for an extended length of time. I simply forgave them and went on with my life.

The god of the bible can't do this. He simply can't forgive others without asking for a bloody sacrifice. Nor does he take responsibility for anything he created, he simply passes the buck onto his creations. Yet somehow believers have been brainwashed/trained/deluded into believing he's the center point of all morality. It's amazing.


Yes, isn't it interesting that you are a more moral person than YHWH, from whom or what all morality flows?
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