Morality
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26-07-2015, 05:33 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 04:30 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Therefore, in a godless world that came about by a mindless and unguided blind process, what are moral facts doing in such a world?
Evolution isn't blind, it has a decent aspect of feedback in it. That's the "natural selection" or "fitness" part of it.
The life cycle of the universe isn't unguided. Particles don't randomly move about. It is guided by the unchanging laws of physics.

How did those laws that govern it arise and why are they the way they are? Isnt the way they arose unguided and blind? Just pure luck?
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26-07-2015, 05:39 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 10:32 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Is morality objective (factual) or subjective (preference/opinion)?

If something is objective, then it is factual, that is, it is true/false independent of human taste preference or opinion. It is DISCOVERED. For example, the earth is not flat is an objective truth. It is factual. It is true regardless of human opinion. This was discovered. Even if their were no conscious beings in the universe, the earth would still not be flat, rather, the shape of sphere/ball.

If something is subjective, then its based on personal taste, preference or opinion. These are not factual. They are mind dependent. These include, food, drinks, movies, music, clothes, holiday destinations etc etc etc. There is NO RIGHT or WRONG.

Where is morality? Is it objective or is it subjective?

Lets first put it in the subjective basket. You will notice that when we look at subjective items, they all result in the same conclusion. No right or wrong. For example, if I say I prefer thick crust pizza to thin crust pizza, am I wrong for preferring that or thinking one is better than the other? No. We all know taste in food is subjective, therefore, there is no right or wrong. Its just opinion.
If I say I prefer hip hop R&B to heavy metal music, am I right or wrong to suggest one is better than the other? Neither, because they are just preferences.
These are just 2 examples. But if you put any item in the subjective basket, you will notice the conclusions are the same, that is, their is no right or wrong.

Now, lets put morality in this subjective basket. If I say I prefer to rape and cause harm to others, is this right or wrong? Well, if you are consistent, then its neither right or wrong, just like in the case of food and music.

Lets look at objective items. I gave the example of the flat earth above. Another example is the sun. The claim the sun exists is an objective truth, it is factual. If their are no conscious beings in the universe, it is still true that the sun exists.
If I say the sun doesn't exist OR the earth is flat, then I am WRONG. I am only WRONG because rights and wrongs ONLY exist in relation to objective items/facts.

Now lets put morality in the objective basket. If morality is objective, then rights and wrongs exist morally.
So, if someone says that raping a person for fun is right, then they are wrong. They are only wrong because we can compare their claim to an objective fact, ie, rape is wrong.

So, what is it? Based on experience, it appears to me, that morality is actually objective.

Lets look at an example....ASSUMING i like rape and you don't. IF I say for the past 6 months, I have had a person in my garage whom I have been raping, torturing and treating woefully, then if morality is SUBJECTIVE, then you can only reply in the same way as if you don't like a food that I like. Their is no right or wrong. Just opinion. Is this really how it is based on experience? Would we treat this case the same way as in taste of food? Experience says we don't.

Now, based on the example, if morality is objective, then and ONLY then can you say my actions are wrong, because you are comparing my actions against an objective truth.

So which one is it?

Now, notice I am speaking ontology, not epistemology. This is not about HOW we know. I can discuss that later.

Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world? Remember I said, if something is objective, it is true or false REGARDLESS of human taste preference or opinion. In fact, they are discovered. Therefore, in a godless world that came about by a mindless and unguided blind process, what are moral facts doing in such a world? Don't moral laws or truths come from a law maker or law giver?

My problem is, atheists often claim morality is subjective, but then go and criticise morality in the OT. If morality is subjective, then your claims that the morality in the OT is wrong is not factual, rather, just an opinion...no different to if I said vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate.....

The very fact atheists make moral claims, is testimony that they are claiming moral facts. But in a godless world, where do these facts come from?

Are atheists actually affirming a moral law giver everytime they make a moral claim?

We know from Anthropology 101 where human customs come from, and in general why they arise. One of the fallacies religionists claim is that without their deity, morality would not exist. The fact is that EVERY SINGLE commandment, injunction and law in the Bible existed already in ancient Near Eastern culture, and was imported into the Bible. Religion TOOK their laws from existing culture....religion didn't create morals, and neither did transcendental super genies.

I am busy taking mid terms and writing papers today, but here is a paper I wrote on this subject several years ago.

Moral Theology is the study of how persons live in response to what God has done for them (Mueller 221).

Morality is concerned with human conduct but goes to a deeper level of personhood, such that our conduct is a reflection of who we are, a reflection of our character (Mueller 221).

Ethics can be defined as a discussion of the formation of human conduct… How responsible human beings capable of critical judgment should live using reflection on fundamental issues in description of concrete cases (Mueller 221).

Conscience is the voice of God written in our hearts, in accordance with the second Vatican Council. Natural law is considered one of the major sources of moral theology and answers the question: how do I know what is good or evil? Christians believe that natural law has been a factor in our decisions of what is morally right and wrong, good and evil (Mueller 222 – 227).

“This people who may personally and individually be moral and good people and have no intention of conflict and harm on others often share a Christian theory called the collective guilt “social sin.” (Mueller 257). The depths that theists go to fabricate the conception of sin knows no bounds, here you can be a good person yet you still have “social sin”. John Paul II said that social sins are “collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations or blocks of nations” (Mueller 258). Social sin becomes personal sin of individuals through complicity, indifference, or reluctance of those in a position to exert influence for change who do not do so (Mueller 258).

Catholic social teaching looks to gospel teaching to form the moral foundation the Catholic approach to questions of social justice. And assist the disciple in the ongoing task of reflecting on the challenge of Jesus in the sermon on the Mount and in discerning what it means in a consumer, technological, and globalized society to be poor in spirit and to embrace a sorrowing and the lowly (Mueller 260).

Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Additional philosophies with ancient roots include those such as skepticism and virtue ethics. Greg M. Epstein states that, "much of ancient Far Eastern thought is deeply concerned with human goodness without placing much if any stock in the importance of gods or spirits. Other philosophers have proposed various ideas about how to determine right and wrong actions. An example is Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative: "The idea that actions can only be considered moral if they could be imitated by anyone else and produce good results."

A variety of positions are apparent regarding the relationship between religion and morality. Some believe that religion is necessary as a guide to a moral life. This idea has been with us for nearly 2,000 years. There are various thoughts regarding how this idea has arisen. For example, Greg Epstein suggests that this idea is connected to a concerted effort by theists to question nonreligious ideas: "conservative authorities have, since ancient days, had a clever counter strategy against religious skepticism—convincing people that atheism is evil, and then accusing their enemies of being atheists.

Others eschew the idea that religion is required to provide a guide to right and wrong behavior. Interestingly the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics states that religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other". Some believe that religions provide poor guides to moral behavior.

Popular atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, writing in The God Delusion, has stated that religious people have committed a wide variety of acts and held certain beliefs through history that are considered today to be morally repugnant. He has stated that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis held broadly Christian religious beliefs that inspired the Holocaust on account of antisemitic Christian doctrine, that Christians have traditionally imposed unfair restrictions on the legal and civil rights of women, and that Christians have condoned slavery of some form or description throughout most of Christianity's history. Dawkins insists that, since Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Bible have changed over the span of history so that what was formerly seen as permissible is now seen as impermissible, it is intellectually dishonest for them to believe theism provides an absolute moral foundation apart from secular intuition. In addition, he argued that since Christians and other religious groups do not acknowledge the binding authority of all parts of their holy texts (e.g., The books of Exodus and Leviticus state that those who work on the Sabbath and those caught performing acts of homosexuality, respectively, were to be put to death.), they are already capable of distinguishing "right" from "wrong." (Boghossian 248).

The well-known passage from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, "If God is dead, all is permitted," suggests that non-believers would not hold moral lives without the possibility of punishment by a God. This is absurd as all one has to do is look at Denamrk or Sweden to see that these largely atheist areas enjoy being at the top tier of civilization. This is broken down in great detail in a book by Phil Zuckerman, "Society without god".

Phil Zuckerman, associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in California, in his article, "Is Faith Good For Us" states the following: "A comparison of highly irreligious countries with highly religious countries, however, reveals a very different state of affairs. In reality, the most secular countries-those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics-are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations-wherein worship of God is in abundance-are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute."

A study by Gregory S. Paul, entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look," was done and the study's conclusion was that there was an inverse relationship between religion and poor societal health rates. What that means is that the higher the level of religious belief in a country, the lower the level of societal health (more violent crimes, suicides, teen pregnancies, etc.).

So it seems that a plethora of evidence exists to show that not only do we not need religion in our lives to be good humans, but that having it in our lives can be counter-productive and unhealthy.

Works cited

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Boghossian, Peter. A Manual for Creating Atheists. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing, 2013. Print.

Zuckerman, Phil. Society without god: What the least religious nations can tell us about contentment. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

Who decides what are good human beings? If there is no objective baseline, then who decides it? What are they comparing it against?

Consider a game of tennis, but there is no baseline...When the ball is hit, one player screams that the ball is out, the other says no its in....
Who is right or wrong if there is no objective baseline to compare it against?
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26-07-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:33 PM)Hambone Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 04:30 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Evolution isn't blind, it has a decent aspect of feedback in it. That's the "natural selection" or "fitness" part of it.
The life cycle of the universe isn't unguided. Particles don't randomly move about. It is guided by the unchanging laws of physics.

How did those laws that govern it arise and why are they the way they are?
Don't know how those laws arose, don't assume there is a reason why they are the way they are?
(26-07-2015 05:33 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Isnt the way they arose unguided and blind? Just pure luck?
Don't know. Perhaps the laws of physics couldn't have been anything different. I don't assume that they are either arbitrary or selected for a purpose.
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26-07-2015, 05:53 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:39 PM)Hambone Wrote:  ...
Consider a game of tennis, but there is no baseline...When the ball is hit, one player screams that the ball is out, the other says no its in....
Who is right or wrong if there is no objective baseline to compare it against?

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26-07-2015, 06:04 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:16 PM)Hambone Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 04:40 AM)KnowtheSilence Wrote:  Based on how you seem to be using the terms, I'd say morality is objective. Personally, I try to avoid using the objective/subjective distinction when talking about morality since it can be both, either, or neither depending on exactly what you mean by those terms and what part of morality we're talking about. But since you're being pretty clear in how you're using it, I'll risk an answer and hope that you aren't going to attach any weird baggage to it.

As far as how this can accounted for in an atheistic worldview, well, there are different ways I can approach this, and I'm not sure which is best. I currently lean towards ethical naturalism, but I haven't landed on a particular flavor yet and am still doing some reading to figure out which is best, but I also need to look into non-naturalism and give it some thought. So I'm not really well-versed enough in the stuff to give you the answers your looking for, but I'm willing to give it a go if there are any specific point you want to delve into. And if you'd like to see a professional delve into this without needing to buy any books, check out philosopher Dan Fincke's blog, Camels with Hammers, in particular his defenses of moral realism and his explanation of his meta-ethical theory, empowerment ethics. He's also pretty approachable if you have any questions.

Can you give reasons why you lean towards ethical naturalism? Thanks.

Simply put, it makes sense and doesn't require me to believe in anything that I think is unlikely. The theories that I find most convincing (various forms of utilitarianism, virtue ethics, desirism, Fincke's empowerment ethics, Carrier's goal theory) fall into that category. The part that gets tricky for me is that most of these theories seem to be saying the same things, just approaching them from slightly different angles and/or slightly different focuses.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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26-07-2015, 06:22 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:39 PM)Hambone Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 10:32 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  We know from Anthropology 101 where human customs come from, and in general why they arise. One of the fallacies religionists claim is that without their deity, morality would not exist. The fact is that EVERY SINGLE commandment, injunction and law in the Bible existed already in ancient Near Eastern culture, and was imported into the Bible. Religion TOOK their laws from existing culture....religion didn't create morals, and neither did transcendental super genies.

I am busy taking mid terms and writing papers today, but here is a paper I wrote on this subject several years ago.

Moral Theology is the study of how persons live in response to what God has done for them (Mueller 221).

Morality is concerned with human conduct but goes to a deeper level of personhood, such that our conduct is a reflection of who we are, a reflection of our character (Mueller 221).

Ethics can be defined as a discussion of the formation of human conduct… How responsible human beings capable of critical judgment should live using reflection on fundamental issues in description of concrete cases (Mueller 221).

Conscience is the voice of God written in our hearts, in accordance with the second Vatican Council. Natural law is considered one of the major sources of moral theology and answers the question: how do I know what is good or evil? Christians believe that natural law has been a factor in our decisions of what is morally right and wrong, good and evil (Mueller 222 – 227).

“This people who may personally and individually be moral and good people and have no intention of conflict and harm on others often share a Christian theory called the collective guilt “social sin.” (Mueller 257). The depths that theists go to fabricate the conception of sin knows no bounds, here you can be a good person yet you still have “social sin”. John Paul II said that social sins are “collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations or blocks of nations” (Mueller 258). Social sin becomes personal sin of individuals through complicity, indifference, or reluctance of those in a position to exert influence for change who do not do so (Mueller 258).

Catholic social teaching looks to gospel teaching to form the moral foundation the Catholic approach to questions of social justice. And assist the disciple in the ongoing task of reflecting on the challenge of Jesus in the sermon on the Mount and in discerning what it means in a consumer, technological, and globalized society to be poor in spirit and to embrace a sorrowing and the lowly (Mueller 260).

Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Additional philosophies with ancient roots include those such as skepticism and virtue ethics. Greg M. Epstein states that, "much of ancient Far Eastern thought is deeply concerned with human goodness without placing much if any stock in the importance of gods or spirits. Other philosophers have proposed various ideas about how to determine right and wrong actions. An example is Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative: "The idea that actions can only be considered moral if they could be imitated by anyone else and produce good results."

A variety of positions are apparent regarding the relationship between religion and morality. Some believe that religion is necessary as a guide to a moral life. This idea has been with us for nearly 2,000 years. There are various thoughts regarding how this idea has arisen. For example, Greg Epstein suggests that this idea is connected to a concerted effort by theists to question nonreligious ideas: "conservative authorities have, since ancient days, had a clever counter strategy against religious skepticism—convincing people that atheism is evil, and then accusing their enemies of being atheists.

Others eschew the idea that religion is required to provide a guide to right and wrong behavior. Interestingly the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics states that religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other". Some believe that religions provide poor guides to moral behavior.

Popular atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, writing in The God Delusion, has stated that religious people have committed a wide variety of acts and held certain beliefs through history that are considered today to be morally repugnant. He has stated that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis held broadly Christian religious beliefs that inspired the Holocaust on account of antisemitic Christian doctrine, that Christians have traditionally imposed unfair restrictions on the legal and civil rights of women, and that Christians have condoned slavery of some form or description throughout most of Christianity's history. Dawkins insists that, since Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Bible have changed over the span of history so that what was formerly seen as permissible is now seen as impermissible, it is intellectually dishonest for them to believe theism provides an absolute moral foundation apart from secular intuition. In addition, he argued that since Christians and other religious groups do not acknowledge the binding authority of all parts of their holy texts (e.g., The books of Exodus and Leviticus state that those who work on the Sabbath and those caught performing acts of homosexuality, respectively, were to be put to death.), they are already capable of distinguishing "right" from "wrong." (Boghossian 248).

The well-known passage from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, "If God is dead, all is permitted," suggests that non-believers would not hold moral lives without the possibility of punishment by a God. This is absurd as all one has to do is look at Denamrk or Sweden to see that these largely atheist areas enjoy being at the top tier of civilization. This is broken down in great detail in a book by Phil Zuckerman, "Society without god".

Phil Zuckerman, associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in California, in his article, "Is Faith Good For Us" states the following: "A comparison of highly irreligious countries with highly religious countries, however, reveals a very different state of affairs. In reality, the most secular countries-those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics-are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations-wherein worship of God is in abundance-are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute."

A study by Gregory S. Paul, entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look," was done and the study's conclusion was that there was an inverse relationship between religion and poor societal health rates. What that means is that the higher the level of religious belief in a country, the lower the level of societal health (more violent crimes, suicides, teen pregnancies, etc.).

So it seems that a plethora of evidence exists to show that not only do we not need religion in our lives to be good humans, but that having it in our lives can be counter-productive and unhealthy.

Works cited

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Boghossian, Peter. A Manual for Creating Atheists. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing, 2013. Print.

Zuckerman, Phil. Society without god: What the least religious nations can tell us about contentment. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

Who decides what are good human beings? If there is no objective baseline, then who decides it? What are they comparing it against?

Consider a game of tennis, but there is no baseline...When the ball is hit, one player screams that the ball is out, the other says no its in....
Who is right or wrong if there is no objective baseline to compare it against?

Simple, sociology teaches these concepts at the fundamental level. Self preservation and safety is the basis. Lets go back to hunter gatherer time....it didn't take long to figure out that ones odds for survival were greatly increased if we stick together in groups, hunt in packs, protect each other....it also doesn't take a genius to figure out that as we started to build bigger tribes, groups, villages, towns, etc...that the basis of self preservation and safety is a tier one concern. It would be frowned upon to put it lightly, if you stole my food, raped my wife or children, or killed one of my family....these type of actions would be considered against everyones self preservation and safety...thus banned...thus SOCIETY dictates what is acceptable behavior, and this evolves with time. No made up god/s needed at all. No BS "ten commandments" which are so obviously written by a group of empowered, ignorant patriarchal men.....thou shalt not rape? ....nope, not on there, thou shalt not enslave other humans? ...nope, not on there, and surely the all knowing god knew that would be a problem...but no...the MEN that created the ten commandments were more concerned with pressing matters like thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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26-07-2015, 08:59 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 04:27 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  One could say government is mirror of people which are governed by it and I think it's apt saying - neither gov nor people here are much concerned with freedom or healthy society so what they want it's what they got.

In any democracy, the governed get the government they deserve.
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26-07-2015, 09:04 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 08:59 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 04:27 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  One could say government is mirror of people which are governed by it and I think it's apt saying - neither gov nor people here are much concerned with freedom or healthy society so what they want it's what they got.

In any democracy, the governed get the government they deserve.

Deserved? Maybe. Voted for? Sometimes.
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26-07-2015, 09:14 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:46 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 05:33 PM)Hambone Wrote:  How did those laws that govern it arise and why are they the way they are?
Don't know how those laws arose, don't assume there is a reason why they are the way they are?
(26-07-2015 05:33 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Isnt the way they arose unguided and blind? Just pure luck?
Don't know. Perhaps the laws of physics couldn't have been anything different. I don't assume that they are either arbitrary or selected for a purpose.

If there is no reason that arose or the way they are, then the laws themselves came about by a blind unguided process. Random chance.
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26-07-2015, 09:19 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 06:22 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 05:39 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Who decides what are good human beings? If there is no objective baseline, then who decides it? What are they comparing it against?

Consider a game of tennis, but there is no baseline...When the ball is hit, one player screams that the ball is out, the other says no its in....
Who is right or wrong if there is no objective baseline to compare it against?

Simple, sociology teaches these concepts at the fundamental level. Self preservation and safety is the basis. Lets go back to hunter gatherer time....it didn't take long to figure out that ones odds for survival were greatly increased if we stick together in groups, hunt in packs, protect each other....it also doesn't take a genius to figure out that as we started to build bigger tribes, groups, villages, towns, etc...that the basis of self preservation and safety is a tier one concern. It would be frowned upon to put it lightly, if you stole my food, raped my wife or children, or killed one of my family....these type of actions would be considered against everyones self preservation and safety...thus banned...thus SOCIETY dictates what is acceptable behavior, and this evolves with time. No made up god/s needed at all. No BS "ten commandments" which are so obviously written by a group of empowered, ignorant patriarchal men.....thou shalt not rape? ....nope, not on there, thou shalt not enslave other humans? ...nope, not on there, and surely the all knowing god knew that would be a problem...but no...the MEN that created the ten commandments were more concerned with pressing matters like thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.

And here it is.......is their any obligation to promote the flourishing of the human species and maximise happiness? Who imposed this obligation?

Their are no obligations in the animal kingdom. We see torture, rape, killing for sport etc etc. Why would you think all of a sudden their are these obligations and duties on human beings that aren't their for animals? Who imposed these?

To suggest that there are these obligations and duties imposed on humans would be illusory.
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