The point of studying ethics
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17-07-2017, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2017 04:52 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(17-07-2017 01:06 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(16-07-2017 08:54 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  That's right, but those consequences are also a matter of "personal preference". For example, I am a religious fanatic and I think I should do anything to convert people so they can have a good eternal life, you are a secularist and you think you should do anything to help people with their freedom of choice. We have totally different moral values. You see, it ultimately falls to the personal preferences, I think there is no more real substance in it.

I hope you are exaggerating when you say you'd do anything. I certainly wouldn't do anything.

Are you saying you're not a secularist? Do you not believe people should be treated equally under the law regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack of)?

I mentioned that for the sake of argument. I'm not talking about my personal preferences.

"Anything" would refer to "anything permissible according to our own personal preferences". So again, I think it will depend on our preferences.

Quote:Are you saying you're not a secularist? Do you not believe people should be treated equally under the law regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack of)?
I don't consider myself a secularist, neither non-secularist, I don't have any position in that regard. I don't believe any of them is "true". I think it's just a matter of preference of the authorities of that societies, I'll do my best to adapt my self with them if I happen to live under those authorities.

Are you a secularist?
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17-07-2017, 09:17 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2017 09:46 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(17-07-2017 01:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:06 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I hope you are exaggerating when you say you'd do anything. I certainly wouldn't do anything.

Are you saying you're not a secularist? Do you not believe people should be treated equally under the law regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack of)?

I mentioned that for the sake of argument. I'm not talking about my personal preferences.

"Anything" would refer to "anything permissible according to our own personal preferences". So again, I think it will depend on our preferences.

Quote:Are you saying you're not a secularist? Do you not believe people should be treated equally under the law regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack of)?
I don't consider myself a secularist, neither non-secularist, I don't have any position in that regard. I don't believe any of them is "true". I think it's just a matter of preference of the authorities of that societies, I'll do my best to adapt my self with them if I happen to live under those authorities.

Are you a secularist?

Yes, I'm a secularist.

What do you mean, "true"? They're not claims about reality, they are political/moral positions. Sure, you could call it preference if you like. Again, it's much more serious than what one normally calls preference. Being beheaded for not being a Muslim is rather different to favourite ice-cream.

If you're living in a country that's not secular, then you may face discrimination simply for your religious beliefs. Or for not having them. I think that's unfair, because I want things to be as equal as possible for everyone. I want them to have a good life. The thing to remember is that anyone could end up being in the minority, even if they're currently the majority. They could suddenly be strong-armed into joining another religion or else being oppressed or potentially killed in extreme cases.

The secular countries are ones which are more peaceful, happier and productive in my estimation. I wouldn't want to live in a country that wasn't, where I'd have to pretend to be something I'm not just to be given fair treatment.

So it's what I think is the most moral way for a country to be. That's what being a secularist means. Obviously if I was in a country that wasn't, I'd be campaigning for it to change. And probably getting the hell out ASAP.

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17-07-2017, 09:43 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
There's a kind of weird switcharoo going on at the moment. Britain is more secular than America in practice, whereas Britain is not technically secular, and America is. We have too many stupid traditions that do nothing (royal family, Church of England) to just admit we're secular now. And America has too many entitled Christians bullying everyone else.

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18-07-2017, 12:21 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(17-07-2017 09:17 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I mentioned that for the sake of argument. I'm not talking about my personal preferences.

"Anything" would refer to "anything permissible according to our own personal preferences". So again, I think it will depend on our preferences.

I don't consider myself a secularist, neither non-secularist, I don't have any position in that regard. I don't believe any of them is "true". I think it's just a matter of preference of the authorities of that societies, I'll do my best to adapt my self with them if I happen to live under those authorities.

Are you a secularist?

Yes, I'm a secularist.

What do you mean, "true"? They're not claims about reality, they are political/moral positions. Sure, you could call it preference if you like. Again, it's much more serious than what one normally calls preference. Being beheaded for not being a Muslim is rather different to favourite ice-cream.

If you're living in a country that's not secular, then you may face discrimination simply for your religious beliefs. Or for not having them. I think that's unfair, because I want things to be as equal as possible for everyone. I want them to have a good life. The thing to remember is that anyone could end up being in the minority, even if they're currently the majority. They could suddenly be strong-armed into joining another religion or else being oppressed or potentially killed in extreme cases.

The secular countries are ones which are more peaceful, happier and productive in my estimation. I wouldn't want to live in a country that wasn't, where I'd have to pretend to be something I'm not just to be given fair treatment.

So it's what I think is the most moral way for a country to be. That's what being a secularist means. Obviously if I was in a country that wasn't, I'd be campaigning for it to change. And probably getting the hell out ASAP.


Quote:What do you mean, "true"? They're not claims about reality, they are political/moral positions.
I mean when someone says "Secularism is right/wrong", it's like saying "I like Mondays", he/she is not informing us about anything other than the personal preference of that individual. I think these statements are not informing us about anything. So I don't bother making such claims.

Quote:Sure, you could call it preference if you like. Again, it's much more serious than what one normally calls preference.
No, preferences can have serious consequences. It doesn't make them anything more than that. "I prefer to be dead", "I prefer to be alive". These are nothing more than preferences. But they can result in very serious and different consequences.

Quote:I think that's unfair, because I want things to be as equal as possible for everyone. I want them to have a good life. The thing to remember is that anyone could end up being in the minority, even if they're currently the majority. They could suddenly be strong-armed into joining another religion or else being oppressed or potentially killed in extreme cases.
I see, again, I would call these your personal preferences. I don't see any problem if another person has a totally different set of preferences that doesn't happen to have anything in common with yours.

Consider this one, which differs with yours:
"Fairness means everyone should have the equal opportunity to attain eternal peace"

By this definition, an authority can establish special laws for non-believers to encourage them to accept the belief. So they can also be given the opportunity of eternal peace. It will serve his/her idea of fairness.

Quote:The secular countries are ones which are more peaceful, happier and productive in my estimation.
Again, I think these are your personal preferences. A believer might want to live in a country that helps him/her towards a good eternal life. He/she might care less about the things that you are talking about.

I'm using the example of a believer simply for convenience. Of course non-believers can also have contradicting preferences.
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18-07-2017, 02:08 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 02:14 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
Right, so I'm asking what your preference is. You don't have one? Would you rather live in a secular country, or a non-secular one? Remember, the "helping towards eternal life" might not be in your religion. Or do you just not want to share your preference with us? I'm not asking about "claims".

I wouldn't call discriminating against people based on belief helping them towards anything. It's just the majority forcing their beliefs on the minority. I don't know why "God" would want or need human thugs to do his will. If he wants people to have a good afterlife, surely he could just do that. This seems like a lot of pissing about by a prick of a God: giving us a brain to choose what to do, then bullying us if we don't believe a certain thing. Then punishing those who he has given a sufficiently strong will to not bow down to this bullying.

Even worse, in the non-secular countries dominated by the "wrong" religion, he allows yet more thugs to bully people into being punished by getting it wrong.

Secular countries allow people of all religions to practice it, so they can achieve whatever they want, without being bullied. In what way is discrimination helping?

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18-07-2017, 04:12 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
@nosferatu: You seem to keep alluding to the fact that morality is subjective. I agree. But if you then say it's pointless to discuss anything subjective, then that's the ethics conversations over with. Some people feel it's worthwhile discussing their subjective opinions, but if you don't, that's fine.

I mean, in some non-secular countries they frigging kill you for daring to doubt the existence of their particular brand of sky fairy. This certainly isn't helpful, because they've presumably sent those people to hell. Those that pretend to believe out of fear will also probably go to hell, because God knows some shit.

It's people presuming to be God, really. I don't know why anyone would want to live in a society where you get your beliefs dictated to you on threat of violence.

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18-07-2017, 04:24 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 04:48 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(17-07-2017 01:30 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I'm interested to know what do you think about tolerance towards contradicting moral values.

I think that only the truth is without contradictions, and that many societies tolerate far too many lies and too much hypocrisy to be truthful. Because there are so many systems, as you say, they can't all be right. So for instance, in early America people thought of their country as freedom-loving and equal, yet tolerated slavery. It took a civil war to work that out, and other conflicts over voting rights and civil rights as well.

In other words, to just go with the flow as you propose is often to tolerate lies and hypocrisy.

So I agree with Robvalue on this question. Some systems are obviously better than others, just as the present in the U.S. is better than the past in the U.S.

Moral systems should be about what is true, not about what we merely prefer to be true.
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18-07-2017, 05:54 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 05:57 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 04:24 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:30 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I'm interested to know what do you think about tolerance towards contradicting moral values.

I think that only the truth is without contradictions, and that many societies tolerate far too many lies and too much hypocrisy to be truthful. Because there are so many systems, as you say, they can't all be right. So for instance, in early America people thought of their country as freedom-loving and equal, yet tolerated slavery. It took a civil war to work that out, and other conflicts over voting rights and civil rights as well.

In other words, to just go with the flow as you propose is often to tolerate lies and hypocrisy.

So I agree with Robvalue on this question. Some systems are obviously better than others, just as the present in the U.S. is better than the past in the U.S.

Moral systems should be about what is true, not about what we merely prefer to be true.

Right, yeah. If someone can provide a good grounding for why their morals system is the way it is, then I can respect it. Some people are honest enough to admit they are simply self-serving and don't get involved with ethics at all. Obviously I don't like that (although if they are genuinely a psychopath they can't help it) but at least they've come clean. A well-built society can still help guide amoral (or even immoral) people to behave in a reasonable way most of the time.

It becomes difficult when it's based on religion. I don't deny that some people truly believe in their fairy tales, and so they may genuinely believe that certain horrible things they do are for the best. My response to this is to try and educate people, try to encourage less insular societies, to discourage indoctrination and promote sensible discussion. Simply ranting and raving at them might make us feel all superior, but it won't change anything. We need to try to understand each other and reach common ground. It may take time before that's even possible, but it's a goal worth pursuing in my opinion.

I agree with Harris this time, in that it's a "war of ideas". But the fighting takes the form of discussion. I don't like abandoning all responsibilty because "it's all just opinions". Sure it is, but I'll keep on trying to make the case why I think my opinion is worth considering. Suffering in various forms is real, and I hope most people with some empathy would want to minimize it.

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18-07-2017, 09:21 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 04:24 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:30 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I'm interested to know what do you think about tolerance towards contradicting moral values.

I think that only the truth is without contradictions, and that many societies tolerate far too many lies and too much hypocrisy to be truthful. Because there are so many systems, as you say, they can't all be right. So for instance, in early America people thought of their country as freedom-loving and equal, yet tolerated slavery. It took a civil war to work that out, and other conflicts over voting rights and civil rights as well.

In other words, to just go with the flow as you propose is often to tolerate lies and hypocrisy.

So I agree with Robvalue on this question. Some systems are obviously better than others, just as the present in the U.S. is better than the past in the U.S.

Moral systems should be about what is true, not about what we merely prefer to be true.

Quote:Moral systems should be about what is true, not about what we merely prefer to be true.
You seem to be suggesting that there is an objective morality and we must seek it, right? Otherwise I can't understand what "Moral systems should be about what is true" would mean.
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18-07-2017, 09:47 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 11:16 AM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 02:08 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Right, so I'm asking what your preference is. You don't have one? Would you rather live in a secular country, or a non-secular one? Remember, the "helping towards eternal life" might not be in your religion. Or do you just not want to share your preference with us? I'm not asking about "claims".

I wouldn't call discriminating against people based on belief helping them towards anything. It's just the majority forcing their beliefs on the minority. I don't know why "God" would want or need human thugs to do his will. If he wants people to have a good afterlife, surely he could just do that. This seems like a lot of pissing about by a prick of a God: giving us a brain to choose what to do, then bullying us if we don't believe a certain thing. Then punishing those who he has given a sufficiently strong will to not bow down to this bullying.

Even worse, in the non-secular countries dominated by the "wrong" religion, he allows yet more thugs to bully people into being punished by getting it wrong.

Secular countries allow people of all religions to practice it, so they can achieve whatever they want, without being bullied. In what way is discrimination helping?

Quote:so I'm asking what your preference is. You don't have one?
I don't have one. This is honest.

I see that you are trying to demonstrate that a non-secular idea involving the Judo-Christian God would be inconsistent, It's a good approach, but I think there are inconsistencies in other systems also. Furthermore, inconsistency doesn't show that a system cannot be preferable and/or useful. For example there are serious inconsistencies in scientific theories (Special Relativity vs. Quantum Mechanics for example), but it is a very useful system and many prefer to benefit from it despite the fact that there are contradictory propositions in it.

Except from the inconsistency argument, do you have any more objections other than the fact that a non-secular system does not match your personal preferences?

In general I think your attempt for justifying secularism cannot be futile, I think there is no way to establish that a certain preference is "better" when we have no objective measure to evaluate the preferences.
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