On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
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16-03-2017, 05:51 PM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 05:25 PM)JesseB Wrote:  ... I take it by your response that you forgot to read the first few sentences....

I did, a few times actually, but I wasn't sure what it was or how I was suppose to respond to it. Instead I reserved my reply to the morality points.

Quote:Also... your lack of concern for your species suggests a very underdeveloped awareness of your lack of importance, and the reality that your species can (and at this rate likely will) go extinct sooner rather than later. Fact is your species will go extinct one way or another regardless. So perhaps concern for others and empathy are pointless to you. If that is so I pity you. And yes you are a psychopath if you really think this.

My lack of empathy, or marginal level of empathy, outside my friends, family, community, has nothing nothing with underdeveloped awareness, it just my biology. In fact it has much to do with the fact that I have a strong group of friends, close family, and community, which make it difficult to be all that empathetic to those outside of that.

And in my experiences those that seem to have an egalitarian perspective on empathy, lack strong personal relationships, and humanity becomes a sort of displacement for that, but in a rather shallow, and half rooted sort of way. I'm sorry to offend you, but if there's a conflict between the well being of my community, and that of the greater society, or humanity as a whole, my community comes first. I'd sacrifice the rest of the world for that close net circle that I love in a heart beat.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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16-03-2017, 06:02 PM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2017 06:38 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 05:51 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  And in my experiences those that seem to have an egalitarian perspective on empathy, lack strong personal relationships, and humanity becomes a sort of displacement for that, but in a rather shallow, and half rooted sort of way. I'm sorry to offend you, but if there's a conflict between the well being of my community, and that of the greater society, or humanity as a whole, my community comes first. I'd sacrifice the rest of the world for that close net circle that I love in a heart beat.

Very strange for someone who claims to be a "Christian" ... Christianity has always said the more one loves, the more one has more love to give away. Yet another fraudulent thing about Rotten Tomato.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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16-03-2017, 06:29 PM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 05:51 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(16-03-2017 05:25 PM)JesseB Wrote:  ... I take it by your response that you forgot to read the first few sentences....

I did, a few times actually, but I wasn't sure what it was or how I was suppose to respond to it. Instead I reserved my reply to the morality points.

Quote:Also... your lack of concern for your species suggests a very underdeveloped awareness of your lack of importance, and the reality that your species can (and at this rate likely will) go extinct sooner rather than later. Fact is your species will go extinct one way or another regardless. So perhaps concern for others and empathy are pointless to you. If that is so I pity you. And yes you are a psychopath if you really think this.

My lack of empathy, or marginal level of empathy, outside my friends, family, community, has nothing nothing with underdeveloped awareness, it just my biology. In fact it has much to do with the fact that I have a strong group of friends, close family, and community, which make it difficult to be all that empathetic to those outside of that.

And in my experiences those that seem to have an egalitarian perspective on empathy, lack strong personal relationships, and humanity becomes a sort of displacement for that, but in a rather shallow, and half rooted sort of way. I'm sorry to offend you, but if there's a conflict between the well being of my community, and that of the greater society, or humanity as a whole, my community comes first. I'd sacrifice the rest of the world for that close net circle that I love in a heart beat.

You don't offend me, being a psychopath doesn't frighten me or bother me. It is what it is. It's not so much biology (or maybe it is who the fuck knows for sure), I'm not that way. It seems I Just happen to have far more empathy than you...

Also your position on the surface may seem reasonable, but your lack of concern for other humans outside your group is a threat to your group. It's kinda sad you can't see why.

(I take that back, some of your poorly based arguments offend me a little, only cause I expect more effort)

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-03-2017, 06:30 PM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 06:29 PM)JesseB Wrote:  
(16-03-2017 05:51 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I did, a few times actually, but I wasn't sure what it was or how I was suppose to respond to it. Instead I reserved my reply to the morality points.


My lack of empathy, or marginal level of empathy, outside my friends, family, community, has nothing nothing with underdeveloped awareness, it just my biology. In fact it has much to do with the fact that I have a strong group of friends, close family, and community, which make it difficult to be all that empathetic to those outside of that.

And in my experiences those that seem to have an egalitarian perspective on empathy, lack strong personal relationships, and humanity becomes a sort of displacement for that, but in a rather shallow, and half rooted sort of way. I'm sorry to offend you, but if there's a conflict between the well being of my community, and that of the greater society, or humanity as a whole, my community comes first. I'd sacrifice the rest of the world for that close net circle that I love in a heart beat.

You don't offend me, being a psychopath doesn't frighten me or bother me. It is what it is. It's not so much biology (or maybe it is who the fuck knows for sure), I'm not that way. It seems I Just happen to have far more empathy than you...

Also your position on the surface may seem reasonable, but your lack of concern for other humans outside your group is a threat to your group. It's kinda sad you can't see why.

(I take that back, some of your poorly based arguments offend me a little, only cause I expect more effort)

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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17-03-2017, 01:14 AM (This post was last modified: 17-03-2017 01:28 AM by Glossophile.)
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
I feel like we're going around in circles. Tomasia is either honestly missing or deceptively evading my point. Tomasia, if we define "good" as that which fosters the well-being of sentient creatures and prevents them from suffering unnecessarily, any course of action can be evaluated relative to that definition with a far greater degree of objectivity than you seem to think. Perfect, absolute, math-like objectivity? Perhaps not, but definitely close enough to render your comparisons to personal aesthetic judgments utterly absurd. What bits of subjectivity may remain are negligible. In fact, looking for absolutes in anything besides mathematics is probably a time-wasting fool's errand. If we are so focused on trying to reduce morality to an equation, we may be kept from taking real action to prevent what we can already condemn as evil with overwhelming confidence.

Once again, if I rape and torture someone for my own sadistic amusement, it is not merely a matter of opinion that this creates unnecessary suffering. If the tears and anguished cries don't convince you, we could hypothetically scan the person's brain. Is my victim a sentient creature? Yes. Is my victim suffering? Yes. Is this suffering necessary, in the sense that it serves some proportionally much greater good? No. Therefore, what I'm doing is evil. Done. End of story. Practically no subjectivity to speak of.

Now, you can argue that my definition is itself subjective, and in an ultimate sense, it probably is. But in the realm of morality, the best we can hope for is a universal consensus on what "good" and "evil" mean, and like I said, I doubt there is a culture or individual in the world whose sense of morality cannot be reduced to a single core objective: maximal well-being and minimal suffering. That core can easily be obscured by layers of ideology and/or misinformation, which can vary widely, but what lies beneath those layers is at least mostly the same for all of us. Preventing the next Holocaust is not a matter of persuading the next Hitler to assume an entirely different objective as the underlying directive of his moral compass. It is instead a matter of persuading him that the actions he would otherwise take do not truly serve that objective.

The utmost evil is simply refusing to critically examine one's beliefs about what behaviors will best accomplish the shared goal that universally defines "good."

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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17-03-2017, 06:38 AM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 06:29 PM)JesseB Wrote:  You don't offend me, being a psychopath doesn't frighten me or bother me. It is what it is. It's not so much biology (or maybe it is who the fuck knows for sure), I'm not that way. It seems I Just happen to have far more empathy than you...

Also your position on the surface may seem reasonable, but your lack of concern for other humans outside your group is a threat to your group. It's kinda sad you can't see why.

(I take that back, some of your poorly based arguments offend me a little, only cause I expect more effort)

Judging that I love my family, friends, community, and have a great deal of empathy for them, this would exclude me from being a psychopath. And secondly empathy is selective. It's why we empathize with some characters, people, better than we do with others. We love our children more so than we love other people's children, etc..This doesn't make us psychopath, it just a part of being human. In fact humans are tribal. That's not psychopathy that's just basic human nature.

And no I can rationally consider threats to my group, and act accordingly to mitigate those threats. My actions, and policies I support might in turn benefit not only my group but groups outside of it as well. Such as in considerations of the economy, or climate change, or selecting political representatives.

If you want to present a supposed threat on my group, by my lack of concern for those outside of it, I would like to hear it.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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17-03-2017, 07:17 AM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(17-03-2017 01:14 AM)Glossophile Wrote:  tomasia, if we define "good" as that which fosters the well-being of sentient creatures and prevents them from suffering unnecessarily, any course of action can be evaluated relative to that definition with a far greater degree of objectivity than you seem to think. Perfect, absolute, math-like objectivity?


Don’t say “we” , because “we” all don’t define good along those lines. There’s a variety of moral philosophies that don’t define good along those lines such as virtue ethics that defines it in terms of character, or those concerned more with intentions than actions and their consequences. Your definition primarily represents a consequentialist position, shared perhaps by you and maybe other secular humanist. 


You can make a measurable criteria for any subjective preference. We can go about defining what constitute as a beautiful women, with height, weight, bone structure requirements etc… And even though the criteria is objectively measurable, what constitutes as good looking is still subjective. Subjective preferences, don’t mean that there’s no objective criteria that goes into those preferences, in fact we might say there is some criteria for every persons subjective preferences, regardless if they outlined them or not. It’s why Spotify is able to make prediction about music I might like, based on my library, etc…. Or my wife is able to pick out a outfit I’d like wear, or restaurant that I’m likely to find phenomenal.

And just because you are able to gather a group together that agrees with your criteria, doesn’t make it any less subjective. 

You may point out that if I sold my xbox I’d be able to feed an entire family in some foreign village for a year. You calculations may all be accurate here, and I can agree that they are objectively accurate. But don’t expect me to give up my xbox. Because I, like most of us, care more about our video game systems, and the entertainment they provide us, than some starving, malnourished foreigners.

Quote:Once again, if I rape and torture someone for my own sadistic amusement, it is not merely a matter of opinion that this creates unnecessary suffering. If the tears and anguished cries don't convince you, we could hypothetically scan the person's brain. Is my victim a sentient creature? Yes. Is my victim suffering? Yes. Is this suffering necessary, in the sense that it serves some proportionally much greater good? No. Therefore, what I'm doing is evil. Done. End of story. Practically no subjectivity to speak of.




Your situation involves creating suffering for the sake of one’s sadistic amusement, mine involves avoiding relieving suffering for sake of non-sadistic amusement. Is the latter evil, or bad as well? Some people might say it is, other might say it’s not. Is it subjectively evil or bad? Unlike in your example, in which you claim it’s objectively evil. 

Evil is a value judgement, not a statement of fact. What if you take a nihilist who doesn’t believe in good or bad, or right and wrong. Though he believes that we should have laws in place to punish rapists, primary to insure his own safety, and those whom he cares about, but doesn’t believe it’s evil, is he objectively wrong? 

He can agree on the facts of the situations, that the person raped the women for his own sadistic pleasure, that the victim suffered, yet hold that its not evil. Does that mean he got his facts wrong? Is he objectively wrong, like we might say a man who claims the earth is flat?

Quote:, I doubt there is a culture or individual in the world whose sense of morality cannot be reduced to a single core objective: maximal well-being and minimal suffering.




Would you say that about other animals as well, that there’s not a single chimpanzee whose morality can’t be reduced to “maximal well-being and minimal suffering”? Or a singe cat, or mouse? etc…



And whose maximal well-being is this core morality concerned with? For humanity? For all living creatures? For one’s self? One’s tribe?

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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17-03-2017, 07:18 AM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
Subjective doesn't always mean arbitrary.

Before you've set any parameters whatsoever, morality is arbitrary. But the fact that we evolved together means that we have a big overlap regarding what we value. Once it's been agreed that human wellbeing is important at a mimimum, morality is still subjective but certainly not arbitrary. Wellbeing is open to interpretation as a concept, but you still have to guage your actions against the very real effects on other people. This can be as basic as what they tell you about your actions.

Religious morality is still subjective. You have to pick a religion, then pick a version of that religion (or make your own up), then interpret whatever texts or myths are in place, and finally settle on your own ideas from this. (Of course, they tend to bear a shocking resemblance to what the person already considered moral and immoral in the first place, making the whole exercise one of pointless confirmation bias.) So there is no moral highground. They can claim their morality is unchanging, but I don't consider that a good thing. We're very imperfect beings, and refusing to learn, adapt and improve is not a good quality. If morality, to a certain person, is just about pleasing some external observer, then I'd argue with them that this is a very poor way of setting goals. It's also completely selfish, looking for personal rewards.

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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17-03-2017, 08:57 AM
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(16-03-2017 05:51 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(16-03-2017 05:25 PM)JesseB Wrote:  ... I take it by your response that you forgot to read the first few sentences....

I did, a few times actually, but I wasn't sure what it was or how I was suppose to respond to it. Instead I reserved my reply to the morality points.

Quote:Also... your lack of concern for your species suggests a very underdeveloped awareness of your lack of importance, and the reality that your species can (and at this rate likely will) go extinct sooner rather than later. Fact is your species will go extinct one way or another regardless. So perhaps concern for others and empathy are pointless to you. If that is so I pity you. And yes you are a psychopath if you really think this.

My lack of empathy, or marginal level of empathy, outside my friends, family, community, has nothing nothing with underdeveloped awareness, it just my biology. In fact it has much to do with the fact that I have a strong group of friends, close family, and community, which make it difficult to be all that empathetic to those outside of that.

And in my experiences those that seem to have an egalitarian perspective on empathy, lack strong personal relationships, and humanity becomes a sort of displacement for that, but in a rather shallow, and half rooted sort of way. I'm sorry to offend you, but if there's a conflict between the well being of my community, and that of the greater society, or humanity as a whole, my community comes first. I'd sacrifice the rest of the world for that close net circle that I love in a heart beat.

Sounds pretty selfish to me.
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17-03-2017, 12:02 PM (This post was last modified: 17-03-2017 12:41 PM by Glossophile.)
RE: On the Circularity of Presupposing God's Goodness
(17-03-2017 07:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Don’t say “we” , because “we” all don’t define good along those lines.

I know. That's why I said, "...if we define 'good,' as..." Did you not notice the word "if" at the beginning? That was me asking you to temporarily grant my premise just for the sake of argument. Surely you're capable of that.

(17-03-2017 07:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  And even though the criteria is objectively measurable,...

So you do get my point after all!

(17-03-2017 07:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  ...what constitutes as good looking is still subjective.

I addressed this in the paragraph that starts off with, "Now, you can argue that my definition is itself subjective,..."

Your XBox scenario raises an interesting question. Although refusing to sell it in order to feed starving Africans fails to increase well-being, it also fails to increase suffering. In other words, it does not add to the suffering that was already there. You are not sabotaging African agriculture or deliberately undermining those charity efforts that do occur in wealthier parts of the world.

A decent argument could be made that your XBox scenario is morally neutral at worst. The question at the heart of the matter is this. Does mere inaction count as negative action? There is clearly room for debate here.

Ultimately, though, if you did decide to sell your XBox and use the proceeds to feed starving children, virtually everyone on the planet would agree, even if only implicitly, that doing so was a good deed (as opposed to a neutral or bad one). This is that underlying universal consensus that I'm talking about.

(17-03-2017 07:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  What if you take a nihilist who doesn’t believe in good or bad, or right and wrong. Though he believes that we should have laws in place to punish rapists, primary to insure his own safety, and those whom he cares about, but doesn’t believe it’s evil,...

[...]

And whose maximal well-being is this core morality concerned with? For humanity? For all living creatures? For one’s self? One’s tribe?

"Primary [sic] to insure his own safety and those whom he cares about." That's the linchpin. Even your nihilist seeks to maximize the well-being and minimize the suffering of himself and at least a subset of other sentient creatures. He may not use the labels "good" and "evil," but the criteria that he's using to derive the need to punish rapists, for instance, is still essentially the same as those invoked by someone who's more willing to speak in those terms.

In fact, if there is any significant point of variation in the underlying universal core of morality, I think you've just hit upon it. It lies in how broadly we cast our nets of moral consideration. Yet even here, it is quite plausible that those moral systems which privilege an exclusive in-group are distinguished from more inclusive ones largely by an underestimation of out-group sentience. If that's the case, then the apparent variation again lies not in the core moral imperative but in how the moral agents in question understand the world around them. I think this view is reasonably well-supported. After all, if you want to commit genocide, you must first dehumanize (i.e. reduce the perceived sentience of) the target group.

(17-03-2017 07:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Would you say that about other animals as well, that there’s not a single chimpanzee whose morality can’t be reduced to “maximal well-being and minimal suffering”? Or a singe cat, or mouse? etc…



Every living thing seeks its own well-being and avoids its own suffering. It takes a social species to extend that goal beyond oneself, and it takes a rational species to make sophisticated judgments as to how that objective is best accomplished based on its understanding of how the world works. Humans are the most social and the most rational species that we know of, so although some other animals are indeed capable of some degree of moral behavior, the human moral capacity is the richest and most nuanced.

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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