Morality
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27-07-2015, 05:34 AM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 07:16 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world?

It's an illusion, brought along by our own human disposition, a sort of side affect. Morality may in fact be subjective, but we're disposed to speaking of it as objective, as if there are actual duties and obligations, that when a man tells another that slavery is wrong, he is claiming an ought, speaking of a transgression. The man may now know any better, but he is just articulating an illusion not anything real.

There are variety of such illusions, and it's hard to argue that they don't exists. We may be not only intuitive moral realist, but also dualist, and think we live in a teleological world. Children believe that pointy rocks, are there for porcupines to scratch their backs on. These things all appear like common sense, like looking outside and thinking the world is flat, that the sun is moving around the earth. That the body and mind are two separate substances, but it's all just faults in our wiring, to believe those things that seem so immediate to us are real, not recognizing the mirage.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...philosophy
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27-07-2015, 06:11 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Is morality objective (factual) or subjective (preference/opinion)?

I'd say subjective, but only from the standpoint that I see nothing making morality objective. If there's no source for objective morality, then it seems it'd have to be subjective, by definition.


(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  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.

You left out part of how subjective morality works. It doesn't just start and stop at opinions. It involves the majority of a population sharing similar values and then forcing others to abide by them. There's no requirement to prove objective right/wrong in this paradigm.

Now, you might want to say "but Rob, what if the society believes in detestable things?". That's a good question, and I'm actually about to get to that...


(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  So, what is it? Based on experience, it appears to me, that morality is actually objective.

No, based on experience, it appears to be subjective. Note how some societies are cool with slavery and some aren't.

The only rules people seem to be able to agree on across all cultures are the ones that are necessary to keep a society together and functioning. You can't have people living in close proximity with each other if they're constantly attacking and stealing from each other. So, understandably, when it comes to "morality", pretty much everyone shares these views. As soon as you step outside of the need to keep society together, you get into all the subjective claims. The ones where cultures disagree:
  • Slavery is good.
  • Shellfish are an abomination.
  • It is right to mutilate the genitals of males.
  • It is right to mutilate the genitals of females.
  • Polygamy is okay.
  • Masturbating is bad.
  • It is allowed to capture wives/concubines during war.
  • When a husband dies, his wife is killed with him.
  • It is proper to sever the fingers and heads of non-believers.
  • Women should be killed if they lose their virginity before they're married.
  • Rape victims should be killed if they don't protest.
I could keep going, but you get the point.

Now, I will grant one exception to the rule I stated above. We also seem to share a near universal revulsion for certain things, and those things tend to get worked into "morality" as well. The most common one I can think of is incest.


(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world?

I don't think it does.

It looks like you're running an Argument from Adverse Consequences to claim that because we're not running around killing each other constantly, that morality must be objective.


(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  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?

Personally, I just talk about things being right or wrong as a short-hand because people understand that without me getting into a 45-minute discussion on the nature of morality. If some random person and I both agree stealing is wrong, I don't really want to get into a debate as to whether or not I can hold that opinion without believing in YHWH.
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27-07-2015, 06:20 AM
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 05:34 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world?

It's an illusion, brought along by our own human disposition, a sort of side affect. Morality may in fact be subjective, but we're disposed to speaking of it as objective, as if there are actual duties and obligations, that when a man tells another that slavery is wrong, he is claiming an ought, speaking of a transgression. The man may now know any better, but he is just articulating an illusion not anything real.

There are variety of such illusions, and it's hard to argue that they don't exists. We may be not only intuitive moral realist, but also dualist, and think we live in a teleological world. Children believe that pointy rocks, are there for porcupines to scratch their backs on. These things all appear like common sense, like looking outside and thinking the world is flat, that the sun is moving around the earth. That the body and mind are two separate substances, but it's all just faults in our wiring, to believe those things that seem so immediate to us are real, not recognizing the mirage.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...philosophy

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I heard there are pills for that.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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27-07-2015, 06:57 AM
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 06:20 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-07-2015 05:34 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  It's an illusion, brought along by our own human disposition, a sort of side affect. Morality may in fact be subjective, but we're disposed to speaking of it as objective, as if there are actual duties and obligations, that when a man tells another that slavery is wrong, he is claiming an ought, speaking of a transgression. The man may now know any better, but he is just articulating an illusion not anything real.

There are variety of such illusions, and it's hard to argue that they don't exists. We may be not only intuitive moral realist, but also dualist, and think we live in a teleological world. Children believe that pointy rocks, are there for porcupines to scratch their backs on. These things all appear like common sense, like looking outside and thinking the world is flat, that the sun is moving around the earth. That the body and mind are two separate substances, but it's all just faults in our wiring, to believe those things that seem so immediate to us are real, not recognizing the mirage.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...philosophy

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I heard there are pills for that.

Or maybe it's time to stop the pills.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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27-07-2015, 08:38 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 02:49 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  GwoG -

In court, we had to file a motion to prohibit them from demanding a religious oath of me when I testified... and they did it anyway... accidentally, of course! I had to stand there with my hand in the air and refuse to swear to God, then ask the judge to administer a godless "affirmation", which the judge made a big show of having to rifle through his book of legal procedure to find, as though it was such a rare occasion that the Affirmation is used in place of the Oath (there are only a couple of words in difference, so I know it was a deliberate show). Appellate courts ruled it "harmless error", even though it happened in front of a jury that contained two preacher's wives and a priest.

The police computer expert also "accidentally" mentioned the name of my blog, which contained the word "Atheist", and read an excerpt from a passage where I viciously attacked Mother Teresa for her stance on contraception, taking it out of context in a way that would have required me to read the whole attack-article on MT in order to put it back into full context, in order to make it sound like I was saying I believed in willfully defying the drug laws. The appellate courts ruled this "harmless error" as well.

But remember, folks, there's no harm in a little religion in this country! Rolleyes

Actually, I would be very excited to have a little religion in this country. I imagine that with a little religion we could make quite a bit of progress!
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27-07-2015, 08:51 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 07:13 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 06:27 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  ...
Basically, nihilism requires you to "get over yourself." You have to realize that it is not even a fact that humans should exist, let alone behave in any certain way.

Hi Matt. I'm curious as to why you posted this video again. Did you not see the criticism of it from the previous thread?

If you did reply to my criticism, my apologies for missing it.

Any chance you could give a little more detail in you criticism? Then I'd be happy to criticize your criticism. Laugh out load
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27-07-2015, 09:07 AM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 09:14 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 08:38 AM)epronovost Wrote:  I didn't participated much in the thread where you might have posted that video before and it's now the first time I see it. I must admit this is a very bad case for moral nihilism. The author seems to think that kindness, generosity or selflessness is an action and thus a fact while these things are moral judgement on action not actions themselves. His idea that value cannot be derived from facts is also dubious at best. It implies that we cannot judge the usefulness of actions, or their merit or their intelligence. Basically it denies that we can judge things according to logical, consistent standards which is false. Morality is only one of the human construct that is based on standards (hopefully logical standards). The fact that human should or should not exist is irrelevant to a discussion about morality. How they should behave can be logically debated if you decide what are the standards by which every action shall be judge and these standards don’t need to be the same for all types of actions (for example, the standards for killing other humans aren’t necessarily the same than those for acquiring goods.)

Or, you just can't accept the fact that your preferences (you might call them moral convictions) don't lead you to any kind of truth.

"Rape and murder just for fun seem so wrong, so they must actually be wrong."

You're trying to make a connection that simply doesn't exist. It seems like you're trying to say, "I don't like x, therefore x is wrong," but it simply doesn't follow. Now, on the other hand if you realize the disconnect between not liking x, and x being wrong (the whole "you can't get an ought from an is" thing Hume was talking about), then your beliefs are compatible with moral nihilism.

The real absurdity is a belief that because you don't like something, that it might be because that thing is inherently (or even subjectively or contextually) wrong.
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27-07-2015, 09:48 AM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 04:56 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 05:29 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 05:12 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Thanks for the welcome.

Neither? Can you explain that further? Thanks

I'll be happy to. And will do so later today.
...
Short answer though... My objection to the objective vs. subjective dichotomy is a semantic one.

Sorry to take so long to reply. It's been a long day. I've just enjoyed room service and the 2 inch think pork chop I have just devoured can only be described as ... immoral Laughat

So, I've read through everyone else's replies and although I don't agree with some nuances, in some cases, the general gist of my intended answer has been addressed already... Reltzik, in particular was the closest.

So just a little to add (technical definition boring stuff) ...
The term 'morality' has become, over the last century or two, less meaningful. When talking about modern systems of Governance it's just a distraction. Even when discussing incentives/penalties that would be effective / useful to change behaviours, social and financial carrots and sticks are enough nowadays ... the moral incentive is only useful when referring to out-dated religious systems.

Even the terms 'relative' and 'absolute' aren't that useful anymore; I think that even theologians / apologists have realised this as they appear to have adopted the term 'objective' instead of 'absolute'... with the exception of Islam, of course.

In Governance (doing the right thing; doing things right) systems, the terms 'objective' and 'subjective' are reserved for descriptions of metrics (alternatively we might say 'quantitative' and 'qualitative').
So, we can say that for example, an honour killing is objectively wrong ... but only once we have established an ethical framework (axiology), by which to measure this rightness or wrongness, that incorporates principles such as well-being and equality.

These principles are obviously subjective and relative, but it adds nothing to describe them as such. Of more use is to assess the goals (oughts) that relate to these principles and nowadays these goals are categorised as either intrinsic or contextual.

Personally, I can't see a good argument for the existence of intrinsic ethics / cultural goals but I'm willing to listen to arguments for their existence.

Good governance / decision making is about negotiating between different stakeholder value interests by assessing and getting the balance right between realising benefits at an optimal resource cost while optimising risk. It is also about having processes in place by which will enable good governance.

The same processes (as vehicles for enabling policies) would be applicable irrespective of desired outcome(s) and the stakeholder environment (political, economic, social, technological) would influence these desired outcomes.

In a biological systems, these processes are evolutionary (genetic and memetic).

tl;dr version:
Objective / subjective ... meh!
Are there any examples of intrinsic (as opposed to contextual) ethics? Good question. Consider

(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  ...
Don't moral laws or truths come from a law maker or law giver?
...

Well, no. By definition.

A key tenet of Islam is that whatever Allah does, says, approves of, is right.
Even we, as disbelievers, are such because of the will of Allah.

Therefore, Allah does not give a shit about what we consider to be wrong or right ... our will is subordinate to Allah's.

The upshot of this doctrine is that Islam is a deterministic (and worse, pre-determined; fatalistic) religion... no free will.

It is therefore a non-ethical system. Islamic scholars (the cool ones) are still arguing over how to crow-bar in some ethics whereas the christians found the dodge with the ol' Eden/Eve/Snake ruse.

Bucky, GWoG, Banjo or another of TTA's esteemed atheologians will remind me who came up with that ... was it Augustine, Anselm? I can't recall.

Anyway, it's this non-moral fatalism was why we heard of US soldiers in Iraq who found mothers holding dead children in bombed buildings saying "It is Allah's will". (FFS!)

This means, of course, that Mo's buddies a few centuries ago, realised that it did not matter who they slaughtered, raped, pillaged because they were, by definition, abiding to Allah's will.

In other words ... a moral law giver gives us moral / ethical pronouncements or worse, licence to do anything in their name. We have no say in it. It's non-moral, non-ethical, we would not be responsible for our actions.

It is the will of Allah!

Dodgy

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27-07-2015, 10:01 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 09:14 PM)Hambone Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 05:46 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Don't know how those laws arose, don't assume there is a reason why they are the way they are?
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.

I catch little bits and pieces of what is being discussed on morality, but I want to comment on this one specific claim you are making about "random chance" because I don't think you understand what the word "random" means when it comes to natural patterns, laws, constants, and the universe in general.

Random doesn't mean "by chance" nor is it synonymous with luck. Random means no discernible pattern and as a consequence, no known cause or if a cause is even necessary. More often than not, what we see as random is the result of the complex interactions between multiple variables with positive and negative feedbacks.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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27-07-2015, 04:25 PM
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 09:07 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 08:38 AM)epronovost Wrote:  I didn't participated much in the thread where you might have posted that video before and it's now the first time I see it. I must admit this is a very bad case for moral nihilism. The author seems to think that kindness, generosity or selflessness is an action and thus a fact while these things are moral judgement on action not actions themselves. His idea that value cannot be derived from facts is also dubious at best. It implies that we cannot judge the usefulness of actions, or their merit or their intelligence. Basically it denies that we can judge things according to logical, consistent standards which is false. Morality is only one of the human construct that is based on standards (hopefully logical standards). The fact that human should or should not exist is irrelevant to a discussion about morality. How they should behave can be logically debated if you decide what are the standards by which every action shall be judge and these standards don’t need to be the same for all types of actions (for example, the standards for killing other humans aren’t necessarily the same than those for acquiring goods.)

Or, you just can't accept the fact that your preferences (you might call them moral convictions) don't lead you to any kind of truth.

"Rape and murder just for fun seem so wrong, so they must actually be wrong."

You're trying to make a connection that simply doesn't exist. It seems like you're trying to say, "I don't like x, therefore x is wrong," but it simply doesn't follow. Now, on the other hand if you realize the disconnect between not liking x, and x being wrong (the whole "you can't get an ought from an is" thing Hume was talking about), then your beliefs are compatible with moral nihilism.

The real absurdity is a belief that because you don't like something, that it might be because that thing is inherently (or even subjectively or contextually) wrong.

You don't answer to my main critique of that video, you simply repeated your position with slightly different words.

My first objection was about the fact that we don't explain thieving his wrong thus you must not rob people. That's a biased view of an action. It's a fallacious, because it smuggle the conclusion in the premise. You don't analyse the real action thus you can't understand the implication, the logical process behind morals and ethic surrounding that type of action. Of course from that point of view moral nihilism seems logical, but that's because of a faulty premise. The real action when we talk about robbing is the action of acquiring goods. The ethical debate is what are the good methods to acquire goods and the wrong ones and on what basis do we determine that. What is going to be the barometer? Then we assign name to those different types of acquisition for example gifting, buying, stealing, blackmailing, exchanging, etc. Morals are thus dependant on a context and can be subjective from time to time.

My second problem was that moral nihilism also forces us to deny our capacity to interpret or form judgement about pretty much everything. It denies any form induction or deduction which prevent any form of scientific advance or even basic observation. Here is an example, fact: I feel a chair under my two ass cheeks and holding my back so I ought to be sitting on it. Did I just successfully determined an ought from an is? If so did I just defeated the premise of moral nihilism?
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