Moral absolutes
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28-01-2016, 09:12 AM
Moral absolutes
After listening recently to Matt Dillahunty on this subject, I got to wondering precisely what "moral absolutes" believers (or non-believers) might propose. In other words, what moral position might be so clear-cut that everyone agrees on it.

Thou shall not kill is obviously problematic, even if we allow for the common Christian assertion that it refers only to murder. According to Merriam-Webster, murder is the crime of deliberately, or unlawfully, killing a person or people, sometimes with the added frisson of malice aforethought.

It's pretty easy to come up with situations in which knowingly killing even an innocent person might be "moral" — say, for example, that a terrorist is holding a dirty bomb and hostages inside a building, and taking her out will result in the death of innocents, though far fewer than if the bomb is allowed to go off.

Thou shall not steal is easy to debunk, so I won't bother here. Ditto with false witness, adultery, and so on. Some might say hitting a child is always, absolutely morally wrong, but again one can see exceptions.

I thought "Rape is always wrong" might be an absolute, and for me, personally, I think it is. But what about a situation in which survival of the species was at stake - say, there is one fertile female left alive after an apocalypse, and she does not wish to propagate any more creatures who would one day bring down more destruction, or bring new individuals into a world of suffering (which strikes me as a perfectly moral position)? I still think that person's autonomy is more worthy of regard than the goals of the "community," certainly when it requires violence against her.

Even Dillahunty, who uses "wellbeing" as a yardstick for what should be considered "moral," falls short, in my opinion: Is it "moral" to raise tens of millions of highly intelligent animals - pigs, which have the cognitive abilities of a three-year-old human and obviously can suffer - because it promotes the "wellbeing" of humans who like to eat bacon?

I guess my point is, despite Christians' frequent yammering and teeth-gnashing about moral relativism, I don't think I see any "moral" position that's absolute. Curious to hear any proposals for a true absolute moral.

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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28-01-2016, 09:33 AM
RE: Moral absolutes
Morality is not a laundry list of specific behaviors or actions, it is an over-arching concept, albeit not precisely defined, hence it might be possible to say that "the" moral absolute is to aspire to being moral, and not point to any single laundry list item as inviolate.
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28-01-2016, 09:38 AM
RE: Moral absolutes
I Personally think morality can only exist in a system that accepts it (in general). No objective morality. I haven't taken my shower for the day though so I'm just a zombie talking.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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28-01-2016, 09:44 AM
RE: Moral absolutes
Can you find something every developed person, like I mean not infant who can't answer you, out of all 7 billion of us can agree to some moral universal agreement? I don't think you can for sure.

Even if you can, take the human scope to a broader potential range. We are all still developed and taught in the same manners more or less based on our societal upbringings. People bought up in other manners without the creeds of social support may not share the types of values we all happen to view or at least understand to similar degrees. (I'm sure a certain poster would put up a frequent proclaimed concept)

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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28-01-2016, 09:44 AM
RE: Moral absolutes
I agree, no absolutes except rape. Rape is never correct, even at the expense of the species. First, in your analogy one female could not repopulate the earth, genetically impossible. Secondly, say there were 50 females and they didn't want to reproduce and the human race would become extinct. It would still be a immoral absolute to rape them. Once you make the decision to force intercourse for any reason, even breeding to survive, you have in fact demoralized the human female to an animal of burden and demoralized the male to an animal predator.

That is absolutely immoral.

We are either humans with the capacity for moral behaviors or we are immoral animals. Rape is never moral.

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28-01-2016, 12:03 PM
RE: Moral absolutes
(28-01-2016 09:44 AM)Heatheness Wrote:  I agree, no absolutes except rape. Rape is never correct, even at the expense of the species. First, in your analogy one female could not repopulate the earth, genetically impossible. Secondly, say there were 50 females and they didn't want to reproduce and the human race would become extinct. It would still be a immoral absolute to rape them. Once you make the decision to force intercourse for any reason, even breeding to survive, you have in fact demoralized the human female to an animal of burden and demoralized the male to an animal predator.

That is absolutely immoral.

We are either humans with the capacity for moral behaviors or we are immoral animals. Rape is never moral.

What about torturing children for fun? There are cases when that's the right thing to do? (or at least there are cases when it's not wrong?)

For the record, I don't believe that any actions are right or wrong.

Atheists are very divided about morality. DLJ and others don't want to acknowledge it, but there are many atheist moral realists out there.
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28-01-2016, 12:07 PM
RE: Moral absolutes
(28-01-2016 09:44 AM)Heatheness Wrote:  First, in your analogy one female could not repopulate the earth, genetically impossible. Secondly, say there were 50 females and they didn't want to reproduce and the human race would become extinct.

Yes, good points. And yes, we are in agreement that rape is always wrong.

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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28-01-2016, 12:12 PM
RE: Moral absolutes
I'll add one more thing....

My view is that all of morality is nothing more than preference, and while it would be my preference that no women are raped and no children tortured, if I had to choose one, I'd rather see a woman raped than a child tortured.
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28-01-2016, 12:20 PM (This post was last modified: 28-01-2016 12:26 PM by Heatheness.)
RE: Moral absolutes
(28-01-2016 12:03 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(28-01-2016 09:44 AM)Heatheness Wrote:  I agree, no absolutes except rape. Rape is never correct, even at the expense of the species. First, in your analogy one female could not repopulate the earth, genetically impossible. Secondly, say there were 50 females and they didn't want to reproduce and the human race would become extinct. It would still be a immoral absolute to rape them. Once you make the decision to force intercourse for any reason, even breeding to survive, you have in fact demoralized the human female to an animal of burden and demoralized the male to an animal predator.

That is absolutely immoral.

We are either humans with the capacity for moral behaviors or we are immoral animals. Rape is never moral.

What about torturing children for fun? There are cases when that's the right thing to do? (or at least there are cases when it's not wrong?)

For the record, I don't believe that any actions are right or wrong.

Atheists are very divided about morality. DLJ and others don't want to acknowledge it, but there are many atheist moral realists out there.

So you are amoral. Then, I have no way to converse with you on this subject because your position is so foreign to me as to be incomprehensible.

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28-01-2016, 12:22 PM
RE: Moral absolutes
(28-01-2016 12:12 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'll add one more thing....

My view is that all of morality is nothing more than preference, and while it would be my preference that no women are raped and no children tortured, if I had to choose one, I'd rather see a woman raped than a child tortured.

Talk about Sophie's Choice.....

I would agree that "don't torture children for fun (or any reason)" is a pretty solid one. I'd rather extend it to, "Don't torture innocents for fun." Then we run up against the "wellbeing" question - should it be defined only in human terms, or is it OK to torture non-human animals for fun (say, bullfights, bear-baiting) or profit and preference (the above example of American hog farming — literally 99% of hogs raised in America are "produced" in truly horrific factory farming conditions, as are the vast majority of poultry, and virtually no cattle or sheep, all of which (except for veal calves) are pasture raised ... I went to ag school and worked for years in ranching).

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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