Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
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14-04-2015, 09:36 AM
Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
So, I've gotten myself into yet another debate on moral absolutism. This one is taking the form of asking where inalienable rights come from, and if they even exist. Still, it is playing out exactly the way my last two debates on morality have.

They always go pretty much this way:

Me: I don't believe morality is absolute because I don't see what would cause it.

Them: If morality comes from you, then it is just subject to change. It's just opinions.

Me: Correct, but that doesn't stop people from collectively holding similar opinions.

Them: But if it comes from you, it's just chemicals in your brain. It's all meaningless.

Me: Sort of. We take what meaning we want from it.

Them: Is murder wrong, Rob?

Me: Objectively, no. That being said, that doesn't stop almost everyone from subjectively disagreeing.

Them: But it's just opinions! Is slavery wrong, Rob?

Me: Again, objectively, no. Also, note that it wasn't that long ago that society thought that it was okay.

Them: But then anyone could change their opinion! They could just decide rape is okay!

Me: Yes, but thankfully we seem to be moving away from that.

Them: But it's all just opinions! None of it matters!

Me: We've been over this. It matters as much as each of us wants it to.

Them: Is pedophilia wrong, Rob? What would you think if someone raped your kid?

Me: [Image: skeptical-sm_zps59fc1324.png]



But yeah, that's pretty much how they all go. They loop between stating things that I ultimately agree with, and then asking if atrocious things are wrong. So, they'll start stating things that I believe are true, but... that's as far as it goes. Ever. So far as I can tell, they find what I'm saying so ridiculous that they don't feel the need to counter. The best I can guess, they're implying one of two things:

1) They personally find this distasteful and prefer a world with objective morality. Fine, but that's just wishful thinking. Reality doesn't conform to the wishes of individuals.

2) They believe that if morality were subjective that people would be out raping and stealing and killing left and right. I don't know why they believe this, but I'm just guessing it. Who knows? They sure as hell aren't telling me!

What gets more annoying is any time I see that this is happening and start pressing them to further explain themselves... they never do! I don't know if they just don't grasp the topic at hand, find me so stupid that they don't want to waste their time, or if they can tell that they're about to walk into something that would require an actual defensible position. Fucking fuck.

Does anyone else have any similar experiences? Have you gotten them to actually explain their position beyond this?



I think I may have found a theistic topic I hate more than flood apologetics. Yay.
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14-04-2015, 09:40 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
We've had the debates on the forum.. go look up posts by Tomasia as he comes around every so often with talks dancing around these points every so often.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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14-04-2015, 10:15 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
Perhaps counter with -If the bible told you to kill someone would you do it?

Of course the bible does, and the Israelites did. Gasp

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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14-04-2015, 10:18 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
Yeah, the two things that really grind my gears are the anti-science jokers, and the "can't be moral or good without god" imbeciles. One of my opinions is that theists just have a hard time viewing anything contrary to what they believe in their own mind to be "right" and "wrong". Kind of sad that the ability to think about alternate views is utterly impossible for the faithful. This is why they ask those questions about slavery, rape and murder being bad, since they of course think it is bad. But when you shed light on the fact that moral codes concerning these acts have changed throughout human history (thankfully we evolve) goes right over their head without even a critical thought as to why.

Also, it appears they think human minds are incapable of making these determinations of good and bad actions. Goes to the whole "I am not worthy" aspect of religion I guess. Need that over-arching babysitter to keep everything making sense and enforcing the rules.

“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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14-04-2015, 10:30 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
Perhaps you should point out that you have killed, raped and enslaved exactly as many people as you wanted to.

And what's with this 'just opinion' and 'just chemicals'?

It shows a real lack of understanding of 'is' vs. 'ought' and the difference between 'physical' vs. 'intentional'.

I think it's that they are not grasping it but it could be the other options that you described. You're right, it's hard to tell.

Consider

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14-04-2015, 11:11 AM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2015 11:35 AM by Adrianime.)
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
Robbypants, this so reminded me of a pretty important moment of my life. I have two moments in my life that really drove me to anti-theism. One of them was the realization that Christians believed "belief" was the key to heaven (not being a good person, which is what I thought they believed before that). The other was a conversation I had with a girl about fate/destiny. My conversation with her was really similar to your conversation described above, but with the roles reversed.

It went something like this:
Her: Everything that happens is god's will, no matter what a person goes through it is part of their destiny.
Me (in actual disbelief): Oh, you really believe in destiny? Like actually?
Her: Yes.
Me: So what about when terrible things happen to people, you consider that part of their destiny?
Her: Yes.
Me: So god's will is to have terrible things happen to people who don't deserve it?
Her: Yes, it's part of his plan.
Me (trying to get her to see how ridiculous what she is saying is): So an innocent 5 year old is attacked by a wolf and dies, that is their fate?
Her: Yes.
Me (in disbelief again): Really? So a goodhearted, Christian woman, who has praised the lord all her life, and lives only for god and others gets raped by her father. That's her destiny?
Her: Yes.
Me (one last try to see if she even has a single shred of mental sovereignty): Okay..A child in a wartorn country is found by soldiers, brutally mutilated, raped, and then killed. According to you, this is what is MEANT for this child?
Her: Yes.

This is the gist of a conversation I had in college over instant messenger with a girl I was trying to get close to for dating purposes. Needless to say, this is the last conversation I had with her.

Edit: To tie it into the actual topic, it's interesting that Christians/religious folk can use "objective morality" to justify the terrible things that happen in the world despite the supposed goodness of their supposed god. Apparently, god's will = morality. But god's will = everything that happens. So everything is moral? I don't get how they resolve these ideas in their head.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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14-04-2015, 11:11 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
The way I handle it is purely Biblical.

The Bible never condemns slavery. You do. On what basis do you condemn slavery?
The Bible imposes the death penalty for breaking the sabbath. You don't. On what basis do you reject the death penalty for rejecting the sabbath?

Make them defend their damn holy book instead of putting you on the defensive over stupid semantics.

Religion is proof that invisible men can obscure your vision.
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14-04-2015, 11:36 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
I agree with TwoCultSurvivor. It is better to create a situation in which they have to defend their indefensible absolute moral position that morality can only come from god. They are so doxastically closed to any other position, that they can not fathom any other moral argument. If you are going to keep on engaging them on this, it certainly would be more fun to go after their moral view.
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14-04-2015, 11:38 AM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
(14-04-2015 09:36 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I think I may have found a theistic topic I hate more than flood apologetics. Yay.

Funny; I've always seen it more as a libertarian line of, ah, "argument"...

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14-04-2015, 12:43 PM
RE: Moral absolutism debates. Ugh.
It's not that I haven't said a lot of these things to absolutists before. The part that gets me banging my head is how it always falls in the pattern of asking me which things are objectively wrong, then stating things that I flat-out agree with, and just... repeating.

They say something, I agree, and they restate it in a different way. So far as I can tell, they find the notion so weird that they feel simply stating it is a refutation in and of itself. I don't agree with them, but I wish they'd say it. I have to flat-out ask them if they feel that if morality were subjective if people would behave less morally, and they never actually bite. It's like they carry on 80% of a debate and either leave or go on an infinite loop.

I'm trying to get one guy right now to explain where intrinsic rights come from and how he knows they exist, and he's busy saying I'm the one being argumentative. He then goes on to "disprove me"... by saying things I 100% agree with. I cannot fathom how he sees this as a refutation. He just refuses to answer my questions, states things I agree with, then bitches that I'm being argumentative. What this is I don't even
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