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Old 6th November 2012, 09:43 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I don't think this one is very hard to explain even when religious. If you believe in God as the arbiter of what is right and wrong, then there really is no disconnect if God gives a blanket statement that you shouldn't do something but gives direct commandments/permission to do said act, such as killing. If I'm your boss and give a blanket "commandment" that thou shalt not use the laser printer, but then give one person permission, that's just how it is because I'm your boss. I know a laser printer is not on the same level of murder but I believe the concept holds.
.
Those changes in the commandments... as in Deuteronomy, "kill all the Amelhekites".. right after "Thou shalt not kill" do not come from a "higher authority", but from crazy hated filled old men. All of them. In every religion.
God, whichever one is yours, is muter than the Tar Baby and needs psychotics to pass on his commands.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:43 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Morality evolved. It's a brain function like happiness and sadness. There's plenty of evidence of moral behavior in the animal kingdom. No god needed.
From the perspective of there not being a God, this would have to be true. I don't personally believe in subjective/evolving morality myself, but It's not really a topic one can argue without first proving their is an objective source of morality. Even though I personally believe such a source exists, it's not something one can scientifically prove, i.e. can't prove the existence of God.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:50 AM   #43
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wrong thread. deleted.

Last edited by Aepervius; 6th November 2012 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:50 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I don't think this one is very hard to explain even when religious. If you believe in God as the arbiter of what is right and wrong, then there really is no disconnect if God gives a blanket statement that you shouldn't do something but gives direct commandments/permission to do said act, such as killing. If I'm your boss and give a blanket "commandment" that thou shalt not use the laser printer, but then give one person permission, that's just how it is because I'm your boss. I know a laser printer is not on the same level of murder but I believe the concept holds.

But then that means murder itself isn't either right or wrong. It simply means that right=doing what you are told and wrong=not doing what you are told. There is no longer any absolute right or wrong as it applies to, well, anything. It is no longer possible to say "murder is wrong". At best, all you can say is, "Murder without permission or forgiveness is wrong", which leads to people murdering each other, then claiming "God told me to" or "God will forgive me".

If you want to reduce right and wrong to simple obedience and disobedience, well, why pretend they are absolutes?
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:51 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by DallasDad View Post
You seem to be applying a continuum: wrong unacceptable neutral acceptable right. My question is why you need the outside ends? Is wrong somehow wronger than unacceptable? If so, how do you know?

Acceptable and unacceptable are good words, because they are clearly value judgments, and value judgments require an actor. Acceptable to whom? Unacceptable according to whom? The answers "society" or "your species" seem sufficient. There's no need to go leaping for absolute versions of the same judgments.

I prefer to use words that denote value judgments for things that are value judgments (murder is unacceptable), and reserve "right/wrong" to use as synonyms for "true/false" or "correct/incorrect" (1 + 1 = 3 is wrong). No power higher than agreement is required.
See my response to Foster Zygote about the continuum. I don't actually put them on the same continuum. I see what is right/wrong as independent of what is acceptable/not acceptable to society. This of course if from the perspective of someone who does believe in God. I acknowledge that without this personal bias they are really the same continuum.

After reading many of the responses it has become very clear that this type of discussion is extremely difficult since all of us come loaded with different definitions of the same terms based on our experiences.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:53 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by progressquest View Post
Welcome Arangarx. Stick around, you should have fun here.
Thanks, I think I will have fun here.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:59 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by TimCallahan View Post
I absolutely agree. Without God or any fear of God, I refrain from raping, stealing and killing. I don't say this makes me some moral paragon. In fact, I think most people refrain from gross or even petty acts of evil regardless of their belief or lack of belief in God.
That's absurd. They fear immediate punishment, not eternal damnation. This is obvious by the way they act.
Quote:
It's wrong to harm people. It's right to help them. By extension, it's wrong to harm a living thing if you can survive without doing so. It's also wrong to t=destroy the environment and to grossly pollute it. It's right to help the environment. All of these assertions I've just made seem axiomatic to me. I find them to be universally (as opposed to situationally) true, though not absolutely true (i.e. in every single case). I see all this as being true without having to believe in any sort of god.
You can be moral without god. You can be immoral with god. Get over god and you can be moral because you believe it the right thing to do, not because you will be punished ETERNALLY.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:03 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by BStrong View Post
I've had this discussion myself, and if by higher moral authority you are referring to the basic rights of man, I agree.
Well that is an interesting question in and of itself. First let me give context that I do believe that humans have basic rights, and what I say next should not be construed as anything more than discussing the point.

If we do not believe in a higher power than ourselves that gives us rights, then what rights do any of us really have? How can one believe in inherent rights without believing that those rights have been given to us by someone/something? Why do I have any more rights than what society currently deems that I have?
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:11 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
This biggest issue with this line of argument is that it makes right and wrong arbitrary. "It is wrong because <higher power> says it is wrong" implies that the higher power could have determined that it was right, instead. If it isn't arbitrary on the part of the higher power, then it clearly has its origins elsewhere, and the higher power is just a puppet as well.

Mind you, I am a moral relativist, so as long as the determination between right and wrong can be justified, I am OK with rights and wrongs swapping places on occasion.
I agree with you up to the puppet part, it does mean that some things are arbitrarily "right" or "wrong" depending on if God currently says it is or not. I do personally believe in God, but I also believe there are eternal laws and absolute truths that apply to even God himself. I personally believe that whatever God decides is "right" or "wrong" at the time is indeed subject to these eternal laws/absolute truths. I don't believe this makes God a puppet though any more than we are puppets to the laws of nature. I don't believe God can break the laws of the universe, I just think he knows them better than we do
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:16 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
I've personally reframed this issue in a way I find much more helpful.
I think in terms of healthy/unhealthy: this in regards to physical, mental, emotional, and social well being.

Of course within this there can be differences in priority and even conflicts.
But since I don't need to be a moral perfectionist or the "good guy." I am compassionate with myself and others for all the unhealthy behavior we are weak to.

Moral Authority isn't necessary for learning to be kind.
And people addicted to Moral Authority are often very unkind.
I want to reiterate that I am not asserting that you cannot be a good person if you don't believe in God or in the context of believing in God, believing in the "right" God.

While it is true that some people who claim to follow a moral authority are often very unkind this is true of all mankind. Whether religious or not there are people who are, to put it bluntly, ********.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:19 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by truethat View Post
Hmmm my nommed essay in the TLA addresses this specifically but from the Atheist perspective:

forums.randi.org / showthread.php ?t =246903

check it out.
Thanks, I'll give it a read
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:21 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I agree with you up to the puppet part, it does mean that some things are arbitrarily "right" or "wrong" depending on if God currently says it is or not. I do personally believe in God, but I also believe there are eternal laws and absolute truths that apply to even God himself. I personally believe that whatever God decides is "right" or "wrong" at the time is indeed subject to these eternal laws/absolute truths. I don't believe this makes God a puppet though any more than we are puppets to the laws of nature. I don't believe God can break the laws of the universe, I just think he knows them better than we do

Just curious then, when you say "somethings are arbitrarily 'right' or 'wrong'", that implies that there are other things that aren't arbitrary. Can you give an example of one of these "eternal laws/absolute truths"? The murder example has already been shown to be relative, not absolute.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:30 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I've had this discussion with several people (and I'm sure this topic is not new to most skeptics) but I'm curious how people here will respond to the assertion that without a higher authority which decides what is right and wrong, there is no "right" or "wrong" only "currently acceptable to society".

Unless an individual or group of individuals accept some higher authority/power as the ultimate decider of "right" and "wrong" then the concepts really don't exist. They are merely terms joined to whatever society at the time deems acceptable or not.
The concepts do exist, and they mean whatever society at the time deems acceptable or not.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:32 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
As a bit of a side note, you know about en.wikipedia.org / wiki / Euthyphro_dilemma the Euthyphro dilemma[/url]?

As for your post... subjective morality is an interesting topic. Your assertion that arguing that something is "wrong" requires an appeal to a higher moral authority is, partially correct, though, on one level, at least. However, the higher moral authority is best explained by evolution/biology at its base and, in something of an emergent manner, society. Society often works as a stabilizing factor to propagate and promote similar arbitrary sets of values that tend to increase the success of the society. On a different level, versions of good and evil tend to be remarkably subjective in practice, depending on the assumptions used as bases to reach the conclusion that something is good or evil. Given that they are, quite obviously, constructs, they can be freely used accurately and potentially both for the exact same actions, so long as there is reasonable justification, which generally comes from differing sets of arbitrary bases.

To reference your murder example... I do have to ask, where's the line between what counts as good or neutral killings and bad killing, which is usually what people mean when they say murder? Do you think that it has or has not changed over time or been substantially different for various societies?
Actually I have not read about the Euthyphro dilemma before. That's an interesting question/dilemma. In my opinion, I would say that for any given instance it could be either or.

As to the murder example, I don't think I really know how to say where I believe that line is. I do believe murder is wrong and morally so, not just that it's bad for myself/society. However, I'm not against capital punishment, which some see as murder. So, I don't know that I can articulate what makes me decide one thing is murder but another isn't. And yes, I think what constitutes murder has changed over time and is substantially different for various societies.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:33 AM   #55
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Our very own jreffer David Wong has a great article that touches on this subject:

Embrace The Horror
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:38 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I've had this discussion with several people (and I'm sure this topic is not new to most skeptics) but I'm curious how people here will respond to the assertion that without a higher authority which decides what is right and wrong, there is no "right" or "wrong" only "currently acceptable to society".
Your two choices, "higher authority" and "society", are identical.
The higher authority is whatever is currently acceptable to society.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:42 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Spockette View Post
You know what I love about skeptics? That we actually think about how these issues are derived. Religion wants you to turn off your mind.

I've always thought that the religionists who ask this question must be the ones who believe that human beings are inherently bad. I mean, there are so many foundations for moral judgments that don't involve God. The sociological (fitting in with the peer group), the evolutionary (need to maintain the tribe's trust), the practical (wrong leads to lack of friends or even jail), the emotional (treating others well often gives us a pleasant feeling).

I think the core nonauthoritarian reason for murder being considered wrong is a combination of the practical and the empathetic: if it's okay to kill people, then it's okay to kill ME, and I don't want to be killed.
I actually am rather religious, but my query was an honest one (not a bait attempt). I've had the discussion with people, but never with anyone that isn't religious as well or just doesn't care. I wanted to see how the assertion would hold up under scrutiny and it has actually caused me to think very carefully about assumptions I've made about how the terms "right" and "wrong" are used.

I disagree that religion by definition wants you to close your mind. Even in my religion I've been taught from a young age to reason things out for myself and to come to my own conclusions, to learn things for myself. This is taught by my religion, not just by my parents. Obviously my religion has a particular bias about what the correct conclusions are but we are still encouraged to get there (or not) on our own.

Also, I don't think people are inherently bad. I think that people are actually inherently good and are taught bad behaviors (with some exceptions...some people just seem to be rotten).
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:48 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
That's all there has ever been. The imaginary friend has no real power over our behavior.

I recently heard Kent Hovind say "without the fear of God I'd be raping, stealing, killing," and I believe he would be. That's the abysmal standard of morality people like him have. I've never been religion, and I've never been on a rampage like Hovind seems to long for.
Originally Posted by TimCallahan View Post
I absolutely agree. Without God or any fear of God, I refrain from raping, stealing and killing. I don't say this makes me some moral paragon. In fact, I think most people refrain from gross or even petty acts of evil regardless of their belief or lack of belief in God.

It's wrong to harm people. It's right to help them. By extension, it's wrong to harm a living thing if you can survive without doing so. It's also wrong to t=destroy the environment and to grossly pollute it. It's right to help the environment. All of these assertions I've just made seem axiomatic to me. I find them to be universally (as opposed to situationally) true, though not absolutely true (i.e. in every single case). I see all this as being true without having to believe in any sort of god.
While there are some people like this, I don't think this applies to religious people in general. If I did not believe in god, I know that I would do certain things that I don't do now, but I'm pretty sure that most or all of what I would do is not wrong by society's standards.

Sometimes I wonder if people who say things like Kent Hovind literally mean what they say or if they're using an extreme example to make the point that without a defining source of morality, there really is no morality, only what you can or can't get away with.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:54 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
And yes, it is entirely possible to label someone's actions as wrong without the appeal to any higher authority. I probably do it at least half a dozen times a day. Its merely an expression of your own personal opinion. The problem is how you then convince others to share your view - the least possible convincing way to attempt it being the 'because God says so' justification
I wasn't trying to say that you "can't" in the literal sense. I was simply trying to say what you're saying. If you don't have an agreed upon source of moral authority, then it's all just personal opinion.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:59 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
If we do not believe in a higher power than ourselves that gives us rights, then what rights do any of us really have? How can one believe in inherent rights without believing that those rights have been given to us by someone/something? Why do I have any more rights than what society currently deems that I have?
We have rights because we (meaning everybody involved) conceived of them, declared them to be so, fought for them, and/or had them enshrined them in law.

These rights (usually) underpin society's concept of justice and/or morality. And sometimes override society's concept of justice and/or morality to protect the interests of an individual (for example - the right to an abortion).

There is no need to invoke an omniscient entity to justify these rights. Neither is it necessary to wonder where they came from. We already know where they came from.

As for wanting some reason to believe in them...why not decide for yourself whether or not such rights are worthwhile? Why do you need a fictional entity to feel justified in supporting them?

You (quite clearly) have a brain. Use it. Maybe you'll even find a flaw, resolve it, assert it publically, and contribute to the future evolution of human rights.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:12 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I wasn't trying to say that you "can't" in the literal sense. I was simply trying to say what you're saying. If you don't have an agreed upon source of moral authority, then it's all just personal opinion.
Given that you cannot speak directly to God even if He does exist then you don't have a source of moral authority regardless - you have either your own opinion or the opinion of someone else.

The only real question is how we should come to agreement on which opinion makes sense for society.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:13 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
From the perspective of there not being a God, this would have to be true. I don't personally believe in subjective/evolving morality myself, but It's not really a topic one can argue without first proving their is an objective source of morality. Even though I personally believe such a source exists, it's not something one can scientifically prove, i.e. can't prove the existence of God.

It's not a matter of "proof". We are not talking about a maths equation.

The relevant issue is "evidence".

All known evidence shows that every single discovery and explanation ever found by objective science, is completely contrary to claims of a supernatural God.

So there’s an absolutely vast amount of evidence. Literally a trillion billion scientific discoveries and explanations. And every single one of them contradicts claims of any God
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:14 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I wasn't trying to say that you "can't" in the literal sense. I was simply trying to say what you're saying. If you don't have an agreed upon source of moral authority, then it's all just personal opinion.
Well, obviously.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:17 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Verklagekasper View Post
That doesn't mean though that "right" or "wrong" just depended on what's currently acceptable to society. There is empathy common to us which is neither dictated by a god nor by public opinion and which determines right and wrong. The believe that right or wrong must come from higher authority presupposes that everyone is a sociopath. But even if the world was full of sociopaths and one could then make them believe in a higher authority, the outcome wouldn't necessarily be "right", as the ones steering planes into buildings demonstrated.
I don't think it presupposes that everyone is a sociopath at all. For me the implications are less on what people will do if they don't believe in God (again, I think people are inherently good) and more the hypocritical stances of many people regarding rights/morality.

Really this brings me to what I think was part of the reason I had this discussion with some people in the first place. Take the topic of homosexual marriage. Many people, mostly religious, are opposed to homosexual couples being allowed to marry. Many people are not. What I find entirely hypocritical are the people who at the same time a) claim there is no moral authority, morality is subjective and b) that the people who are opposed to homosexual marriage are "wrong". (Yes there are hypocrites on both sides, I am merely talking about one particular instance that applies to this conversation).

It becomes completely apparent in their attitudes and statements that they don't just disagree with people who are against homosexual marriage but actually see them as immoral people denying them their rights. Well if morality and what is right/wrong is subjective to the whims of society and evolution, then people are being completely hypocritical in doing anything more than disagreeing with the other side's stance. Implying they are somehow wrong, bad, or denying some sort of right they have is contradictory to believing in a subjective morality. It's not actually wrong for them to be denied marriage until society as a whole decides it is.

This is not an argument that homosexuals should not be allowed to be married, it's just an example of why I started thinking about this topic so much in the first place.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:18 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Why do I have any more rights than what society currently deems that I have?
Why would you let society tell you what rights you have?
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:21 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
What I find entirely hypocritical are the people who at the same time a) claim there is no moral authority, morality is subjective and b) that the people who are opposed to homosexual marriage are "wrong". (Yes there are hypocrites on both sides, I am merely talking about one particular instance that applies to this conversation).

It becomes completely apparent in their attitudes and statements that they don't just disagree with people who are against homosexual marriage but actually see them as immoral people denying them their rights. Well if morality and what is right/wrong is subjective to the whims of society and evolution, then people are being completely hypocritical in doing anything more than disagreeing with the other side's stance. Implying they are somehow wrong, bad, or denying some sort of right they have is contradictory to believing in a subjective morality.
Why? Believing morality is subjective doesn't mean you believe it's defined by society. It could mean you believe it's defined by one of the various ethical systems, or by your own personal preference.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:21 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Recovering Agnostic View Post
This. It's all very appealing to talk about a higher power telling us what to do, but given the huge amount of disagreement between even the people who believe that to be true, what practical use would it be? Anyone advancing an argument like this should be made to define exactly what they mean by it:

How do we objectively determine the instructions of the higher authority? Show your working. Please answer with particular reference to slavery, circumcision and dietary laws, and variations in the "absolute moral code" over time.

Even if they can give a halfway convincing answer to that question, it will probably involve an appeal to the few things religions tend to agree on (don't murder, don't steal, etc), so the next question is how they know whether that moral code arose because of God, or because of basic community survival needs. And then, as mentioned above, there's Euthyphro.

Like the majority of apologetics, it only looks good until you subject it to examination, when it just crumbles away.
Once I know how to word it properly I will probably have to qualify my OP some more because it has become apparent to me that the way I was using "right" and "wrong" in my original post actually presupposes the existence of God in the first place.

Scientifically speaking, I don't think there is any way to to even show there is a subjective moral authority that exists, let alone get everyone to agree to it.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:31 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Really this brings me to what I think was part of the reason I had this discussion with some people in the first place. Take the topic of homosexual marriage. Many people, mostly religious, are opposed to homosexual couples being allowed to marry. Many people are not. What I find entirely hypocritical are the people who at the same time a) claim there is no moral authority, morality is subjective and b) that the people who are opposed to homosexual marriage are "wrong". (Yes there are hypocrites on both sides, I am merely talking about one particular instance that applies to this conversation).

Ah, now your questions make a lot more sense. Part of the problem is that there are two definitions of "wrong" in this case: a personal opinion as to what is right and wrong, and the public opinion. It isn't hypocrisy, just a conflict in usage. To use a less loaded example, I believe eating bacon is "right", however, many cultures feel it is "wrong". In this case, both statements can be true in that my personal morality allows the eating of bacon, but laws in other places may not. In this case, if I were to move to a certain Muslim country, it would be in my best personal interest to accept the cultural "wrong" and abstain from bacon. The other option would be to convince the Muslims, using reason and science, that the eating of bacon is "right", so that my personal morality and the cultural morality once again align.

That is essentially what is happening with the topic of same-sex marriage, and it appears that in most Western nations, the cultural morality is indeed changing.

This is why I believe there is no such thing as a higher notion of right and wrong.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:32 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Take the topic of homosexual marriage. Many people, mostly religious, are opposed to homosexual couples being allowed to marry. Many people are not. What I find entirely hypocritical are the people who at the same time a) claim there is no moral authority, morality is subjective and b) that the people who are opposed to homosexual marriage are "wrong". (Yes there are hypocrites on both sides, I am merely talking about one particular instance that applies to this conversation).

It becomes completely apparent in their attitudes and statements that they don't just disagree with people who are against homosexual marriage but actually see them as immoral people denying them their rights. Well if morality and what is right/wrong is subjective to the whims of society and evolution, then people are being completely hypocritical in doing anything more than disagreeing with the other side's stance. Implying they are somehow wrong, bad, or denying some sort of right they have is contradictory to believing in a subjective morality. It's not actually wrong for them to be denied marriage until society as a whole decides it is.
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I don't see any hypocrisy there. It's entirely possible to consider there is no absolute supernatural source of morality and yet consider those people who oppose homosexual marriage as 'wrong' - I am such a person.

First off, consider the reasoning behind the argument. 'Because God says so' is not a sound argument, particularly when you consider that not only does God not exist, but even if He did exist there's no reason to compel others to follow his instructions.

Second, consider the motivation for the argument. It boils down to little more than a dislike of homosexuals.

Third consider the result of the argument. It denies people rights and causes real harm to them.

So we have a group of people causing harm to others for no good reason other than a dislike of their bedroom practices. I can call that wrong and nasty and immoral without the need for any supernatural entity to help me.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:34 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
But then that means murder itself isn't either right or wrong. It simply means that right=doing what you are told and wrong=not doing what you are told. There is no longer any absolute right or wrong as it applies to, well, anything. It is no longer possible to say "murder is wrong". At best, all you can say is, "Murder without permission or forgiveness is wrong", which leads to people murdering each other, then claiming "God told me to" or "God will forgive me".

If you want to reduce right and wrong to simple obedience and disobedience, well, why pretend they are absolutes?
Well, a lot of what is "right" or "wrong" is probably not absolute in the eternal scheme of things, you're right. For some reason I cannot find the edit button for my OP, so I can't add to it for people coming later to the conversation.

Basically, I do realize now that my premise presupposes the existence of God and the "God says so" definitions of "right" and "wrong" (not surprisingly, even though I was trying to avoid it).
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:42 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
While there are some people like this, I don't think this applies to religious people in general. If I did not believe in god, I know that I would do certain things that I don't do now, but I'm pretty sure that most or all of what I would do is not wrong by society's standards.

Sometimes I wonder if people who say things like Kent Hovind literally mean what they say or if they're using an extreme example to make the point that without a defining source of morality, there really is no morality, only what you can or can't get away with.
So, societies that don't have the Christian god have no morality? Really? That's silly. Most of the planet is NOT Christian. So, by your position, they are all immoral. It's either that or ANY belief in ANY god is better than none, which reduces it back to human wishful thinking.

Morality is not dependent on belief in any god. Buddhist are among the most moral group of people I know, and they don't believe in your Christian torture pit.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:48 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Just curious then, when you say "somethings are arbitrarily 'right' or 'wrong'", that implies that there are other things that aren't arbitrary. Can you give an example of one of these "eternal laws/absolute truths"? The murder example has already been shown to be relative, not absolute.
Outside of my religious context, I think I will be hard pressed to give you an example of something I consider an absolute truth I just don't have enough of an understanding in any field of science to make any scientific based claim that something is absolutely true. So no, I cannot.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:57 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by megaresp View Post
We have rights because we (meaning everybody involved) conceived of them, declared them to be so, fought for them, and/or had them enshrined them in law.

These rights (usually) underpin society's concept of justice and/or morality. And sometimes override society's concept of justice and/or morality to protect the interests of an individual (for example - the right to an abortion).

There is no need to invoke an omniscient entity to justify these rights. Neither is it necessary to wonder where they came from. We already know where they came from.

As for wanting some reason to believe in them...why not decide for yourself whether or not such rights are worthwhile? Why do you need a fictional entity to feel justified in supporting them?

You (quite clearly) have a brain. Use it. Maybe you'll even find a flaw, resolve it, assert it publically, and contribute to the future evolution of human rights.
I hope you didn't read what I said to be that we don't have inherent rights, I believe we do.

My point is that if rights are completely societally driven, then you can't say someone has any rights that they have not already been given. If rights are defined on a societal level, then who are we to impose our views on another society. We claim that some country or culture is denying x or y group their basic human rights or what have you, but if their society doesn't see them as basic human rights, then what society do they belong to that we can claim they are denying some agreed upon rights? Mankind in general? I guess that's about the only fallback point we can go to, but then we have to prove that the majority of mankind believes that x or y is actually a right. Otherwise we're just projecting our opinion on the masses.

ETA: Like I said, I do believe in basic human rights and I personally believe that presented the question the majority of humankind would also agree. So even on that level, God aside, I think mankind agrees on certain human rights in general. I'm not playing devil's advocate per say, I'm just trying to get some good clarification on where people believe these rights come from.

Last edited by Arangarx; 6th November 2012 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:03 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Otherwise we're just projecting our opinion on the masses.
Sadly, this seems to be the religious mindset that somehow this is all about asserting your position more forcefully than the alternative.

An alternative approach would be to convince the masses that your position is superior via evidence, sound logical argument and discussion.

If you can't back your position up with any of these things then maybe it isn't worthy of foisting on others?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:06 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
It's not a matter of "proof". We are not talking about a maths equation.

The relevant issue is "evidence".

All known evidence shows that every single discovery and explanation ever found by objective science, is completely contrary to claims of a supernatural God.

So there’s an absolutely vast amount of evidence. Literally a trillion billion scientific discoveries and explanations. And every single one of them contradicts claims of any God
I won't ask for a full list, but can you give me an example of evidence that actually contradicts the existence of a God?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:08 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I hope you didn't read what I said to be that we don't have inherent rights, I believe we do.

My point is that if rights are completely societally driven,
Who says they are?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:11 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by godless dave View Post
Why would you let society tell you what rights you have?
It just doesn't make sense for rights to be defined on an individual level (meaning by the individual for the individual), that would lead to anarchy. Otherwise a person might decide they have the "right" to take whatever they want or the "right" to kill. If I am allowed to decide what my rights are on my own, then my rights are whatever I want.

Last edited by Arangarx; 6th November 2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:12 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Outside of my religious context, I think I will be hard pressed to give you an example of something I consider an absolute truth I just don't have enough of an understanding in any field of science to make any scientific based claim that something is absolutely true. So no, I cannot.
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Science doesn't do that. It leaves room for any fact to be modified or found to be in error.
The absolutes of religious thoughts are not scientific, and cannot be defended using science.
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:19 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I won't ask for a full list, but can you give me an example of evidence that actually contradicts the existence of a God?
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One might go to "created in His image", and look at the long proven line of evolution that generated humans.
With all the design faults all humans have.
The evidence for a lack of the need for a creator goes all the way back to the Big Bang, which like all scientific thought can be modified or found to be in error.
Where in the natural course of things would a soul be inserted into emerging humanity?
Why only humans?
Is the soul nothing more than a thought that becomes a useful tool to scare people into behaving the way someone wants them too, usually for the benefit of the soul inventor?
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:28 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
It just doesn't make sense for rights to be defined on an individual level (meaning by the individual for the individual), that would lead to anarchy. Otherwise a person might decide they have the "right" to take whatever they want or the "right" to kill. If I am allowed to decide what my rights are on my own, then my rights are whatever I want.
Yes. And you will find that asserting some of those rights leads you to conflict with other people. And if you have an ounce of self-awareness, you realize that other people might take the same approach. So you start thinking about what the implications would be if each person thought of their rights the same way you do. So then you start thinking about rights that each person should have, whether that person is you or someone else, and develop your concept of rights that way.
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