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Old 6th November 2012, 01:31 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by RenaissanceBiker View Post
That's very selfish of you.
Enlightened self interest.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:31 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
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.
That's not what I said at all.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:34 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
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?
I didn't say forcing, I said projecting, as in believing that our personal opinion is shared by the masses.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:37 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I guess it all comes down to how one defines "right" and "wrong". I think as I've read the replies, what I've realized is that saying that something can't be defined as right or wrong without an appeal to a higher moral authority is almost a given, because the way I'm using the words it's basically a given. I'm using "right" and "wrong" to define what is or isn't morally acceptable regardless of public opinion, which actually narrows my definitions of what can define right or wrong to something higher than man.

Further down DallasDad mentioned that it seems I'm putting things on a continuum - wrong unacceptable neutral acceptable right. Actually the way I've always viewed things is on two independent spectrums.
Right - neutral - Wrong
Acceptable to society - neutral - Not Acceptable to Society

It seems to me that you either believe in God as the decider of right and wrong and follow those two independent scales or you you believe in man/society as the definer of right and wrong in which case the continuum becomes:
Acceptable or "Right" - Neutral - Not Acceptable or "Wrong"

As to people choosing which edicts of morality to follow or not follow (from the same moral source), I think that's just how people are. As they say, nobody is perfect.
Which god?
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:42 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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?
You don't.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:46 PM   #86
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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
God's a human with a bigger tool box?
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:52 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
You don't.
That was my point exactly.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:55 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
God's a human with a bigger tool box?
I guess that's one way to put it ;p Though using the term "human" is a bit loaded. Yes, I believe God is a being like us but with infinite knowledge of how things work which creates the perception that he operates supernaturally, but actually just operates within the bounds of laws we simply do not have an understanding of.
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:56 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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).
It's OK to come to your own conclusions as long as those conclusions agree with your religions' conclusions?
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:06 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
It's OK to come to your own conclusions as long as those conclusions agree with your religions' conclusions?
Not what I said. Obviously they want you to come to the same conclusion, but they want you to get there on your own, not just take their word for it as many claim religion in general encourages.
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:09 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I guess that's one way to put it ;p Though using the term "human" is a bit loaded. Yes, I believe God is a being like us but with infinite knowledge of how things work which creates the perception that he operates supernaturally, but actually just operates within the bounds of laws we simply do not have an understanding of.

I see the strategy there. When science has chipped away at your god to the extent that it is for all practical purposes non-existent, try to attach your god to science in order to preserve any little shred of faith you have left.

Believe me, it's much more comfortable living in reality without having to always be looking for ways to make god real.

Last edited by GeeMack; 6th November 2012 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Grammar.
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:16 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
I see the strategy there. When science has chipped away at your god to the extent that it is for all practical purposes non-existent, try to attach your god to science in order to preserve any little shred of faith you have left.

Believe me, it's much more comfortable living in reality without having to always be looking for a way to make gods real.
That has nothing to do with it. I believe that truth is truth, no matter the source. I believe that both religion and science are sources of truth, and that truth cannot contradict truth. Therefore if God exists he must be bound to the same natural laws/truths as everyone else. It's not about rationalizing God with science, it's about one not precluding the other. You assume God does not exist therefore in your mind the merging of the two is rationalization, I understand that. I've never believed science and religion to be mutually exclusive modes of thought.
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:25 PM   #93
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Societies need rules to maintain stability and religions can provide authority for rules. So societies with religions can flourish and outcompete those which haven't. So religion survives by natural selection.

On the other hand you could argue that some god or other really exists and really does make the rules. But when he (or belief in him) has been around for long enough it starts to become obvious that society is picking and choosing from his rule book depending on the mores of the age. Since western society decided their favourite god had been wrong to endorse slavery, we might reasonably have expected at least a bit of grumpy smiting of anti-slavery interests, but I haven't noticed any.
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Old 6th November 2012, 02:28 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I didn't say forcing, I said projecting, as in believing that our personal opinion is shared by the masses.
Did you read the rest of my post?

You don't need to believe that your personal opinion is shared by the masses, in fact it helps if you believe the opposite. Your goal is to convince them. In the process they may convince you. Or you may not reach an agreement.

I'm not sure where this would be a problem for you.
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Old 6th November 2012, 03:46 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
That has nothing to do with it. I believe that truth is truth, no matter the source. I believe that both religion and science are sources of truth, [...]

True explanations, the truth, come about through a process of objective analysis. That cannot be said for the "explanations" offered by religion.

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[...] and that truth cannot contradict truth. Therefore if God exists he must be bound to the same natural laws/truths as everyone else. It's not about rationalizing God with science, it's about one not precluding the other.

Science requires applying objectivity and religion requires ignoring objectivity. Trying to stuff the little shreds of what's left of your god into the realm of science is a strategy bound for failure.

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You assume God does not exist [...]

No. There is no evidence to support the proposition that any gods exist, therefore when considering the issue objectively, it is reasonable to dismiss any claims that gods do exist. It's not an assumption. It's a provisional conclusion based on objective reality.

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[...] therefore in your mind the merging of the two is rationalization, I understand that.

Positing a god which allegedly works according to natural laws, but which just happens to be outside the bounds of testing, has never been observed, and can't be measured, is exactly and definitively rationalization. And notice I'm not the one doing it.

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I've never believed science and religion to be mutually exclusive modes of thought.

Then perhaps you misunderstand what science is and how it is applied.
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Old 6th November 2012, 04:26 PM   #96
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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?
You would have to define the characteristics of the God you propose first. Otherwise, it's like nailing Jell-O to a wall.
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Old 6th November 2012, 04:48 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
That's not what I said at all.
I don't care what you said. You speak in terms of a god or gods. Without proof of same you have no case.
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Old 6th November 2012, 07:21 PM   #98
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Are you going to ignore my post?
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:49 AM   #99
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What makes a god a moral authority on objective truth? What makes your god anything more than an entity or being with abilities we would consider god like? No matter how capable you are, the idea that meaning and truth can be created rather than dictated seems a failure of reasoning to me owed to a psychological handicap.

Objective truths are descriptions of behaviors and names. The reason temperatures are hot or cold, the reason liquids do not behave as solids, these are objective reasons.

What does right or wrong have to do with that? Right or wrong seems to be nothing more than what can be approved of and what cannot be approved of through the perspective of a reasoning sentient mind which values morality.

Elevating what you disapprove of to the objective quality of inertia seems like arrogance to me. The kind of arrogance born of the anthropic principal.

Last edited by Halfcentaur; 7th November 2012 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:51 AM   #100
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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.
Yes, I understood that. Unless I misunderstood, you were saying these rights had to come from some higher authority to have genuine worth. I'm saying that's not the case. We have a good understanding of the history and development of human rights. See this Wikipedia article on the history of The European Convention on Human Rights for example.

Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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.
Yes, you can say it just fine. Of course, there may be those who disagree. In which case, there will probably be a struggle before said rights are enshrined in law (assuming you win of course).

Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
If rights are defined on a societal level, then who are we to impose our views on another society.
Who are we to do so even if we believe our version of 'rights' was dictated directly by God? I'm always going to ask you to prove it. And you've already told me you can't.

Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
Otherwise we're just projecting our opinion on the masses.
We do this anyway. Inventing a mythology to support our version of 'rights' changes nothing.

Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I do believe in basic human rights...I'm just trying to get some good clarification on where people believe these rights come from.
As explained previously, we know where they came from. They came from us. The history of the development of human rights is there for all to see...no God required.
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Old 7th November 2012, 07:13 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
That has nothing to do with it. I believe that truth is truth, no matter the source. I believe that both religion and science are sources of truth,
In what way is religion a source of truth?
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Old 7th November 2012, 07:35 AM   #102
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Can you give any example of a moral precept that has demonstrably come directly from this 'higher authority' rather than a religious leader/society?
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Old 7th November 2012, 08:10 AM   #103
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Why does society have such a poweful ability to shape what it's citizens feel is right or wrong?

How can something like an opinion over abortion be so divided if moral truth is intrinsic? Why would we be able to judge what is true or not true if it is intrinsic? Evidently many who argue that there are intrinsic moral truths claim humans innately recognize these truths. Yet they are not universal in our many cultures. Even the most universal are not uniform by any means.

What we do see of universal morality systems is but the most basic of concepts which have numerous inconsistencies when compared with each of our many cultures, which is what you would expect to see from an emergent naturally developed sense of right or wrong.

I suppose the only excuse a religious Christian could claim for this tapestry of conflicting morality is the free will canard. We wouldn't want to be forced like robots to know what's right or wrong, that would just be cruel and unjust of a god apparently, unlike the whole pain and suffering thing, which serves a mysterious purpose it's not necessary to question, pain and suffering.

If right and wrong are intrinsic, what are some of these intrinsic qualities? What is subjective morality and what is objective? Could you give me examples of both?
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Old 7th November 2012, 09:48 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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.

I'll take an extreme example, murder. I would wager that religious or not most sane people feel that murder is wrong/bad/unacceptable. Whether simply because "God said so" or "it's counter productive to the survival of the species", I'm pretty sure most of us are opposed to it. I will assert however that you cannot argue that murder is actually "wrong" without an appeal to a higher moral authority.
That's true. It seems trivially true, though, and has more to do with the dictionary definition of moral than how people actually behave. Like most species that live in communities, we've evolved an innate sense of what works well enough to keep us thriving as a species, so whether we rationalize it as the greatest good for the community, the dictates of a god, an inbuilt conscience, or whatever, it still controls our behavior.

Religion claims to have absolute definitions of morality, but in practice, people change religions and religions change. One can take a snapshot of a moment in time and say that a particular person is behaving in a particular way because his religion dictates certain eternal truths which he believes in, but come back 10 years later and either the religion or the person may have changed, so in practice, he may be behaving just as sincerely according to different standards then. The eternalness is just a comforting illusion.
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Old 7th November 2012, 09:55 AM   #105
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I'll respond to more posts including ones I missed, sorry Halfcentaur, as soon as I get more time. Been busy
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Old 7th November 2012, 10:06 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
That's true. It seems trivially true, though, and has more to do with the dictionary definition of moral than how people actually behave. Like most species that live in communities, we've evolved an innate sense of what works well enough to keep us thriving as a species, so whether we rationalize it as the greatest good for the community, the dictates of a god, an inbuilt conscience, or whatever, it still controls our behavior.

Religion claims to have absolute definitions of morality, but in practice, people change religions and religions change. One can take a snapshot of a moment in time and say that a particular person is behaving in a particular way because his religion dictates certain eternal truths which he believes in, but come back 10 years later and either the religion or the person may have changed, so in practice, he may be behaving just as sincerely according to different standards then. The eternalness is just a comforting illusion.
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Tens of thousands of people have been killed over that sentence... For not saying in Protestant countries and for saying it in Catholic countries. ALL of those deaths were **** on by the old fart in Rome adding it.
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Old 7th November 2012, 10:17 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
I'll respond to more posts including ones I missed, sorry Halfcentaur, as soon as I get more time. Been busy
Heh - I don't envy you one bit given the volume of replies. It reminds me of a certain Bible story: Daniel 6:16
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Old 7th November 2012, 10:28 AM   #108
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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?


Sure ... how about all the evidence which has lead us to understand evolution?

The idea of gods in general, and the Christian God in particular, comes to us from thousands of years ago at a time when people were completely ignorant of almost everything in the material world around them.

They were certainly ignorant of the apparent "fact" that humans evolved from earlier ape species. And that those ape species themselves evolved from much earlier forms of all types, eventually leading back to the first molecular aggregates’ which might be described as a border-line between living vs. non-living.

Do you want to say that is not evidence against the existence of God? Because it's certainly very direct evidence to show that the origin of the God claim was entirely wrong when it was originally based (as it indeed was) on the belief that God had directly made man via an unexplained miracle.

Beyond that ... all known scientific discoveries are incompatible with belief in things happening due to inexplicable miracles from and unseen creator. That's true because the scientific discoveries are explained (in vast detail), and none of the explanations include any miracles or invisible supernatural gods at all.

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Old 7th November 2012, 10:52 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
Why does society have such a poweful ability to shape what it's citizens feel is right or wrong?
Empathy, emergence and a herd instinct.

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How can something like an opinion over abortion be so divided if moral truth is intrinsic? Why would we be able to judge what is true or not true if it is intrinsic? Evidently many who argue that there are intrinsic moral truths claim humans innately recognize these truths. Yet they are not universal in our many cultures. Even the most universal are not uniform by any means.
As a materialist, I think moral truth is intrinsic, so I'd answer the question by saying that it's similar to skin color -- variation within a circumscribed envelope of possibilities. That gets you your cake and eating it too. The intrinsic is genetic and then that gets shaped by environment -- both the predictable and variation as well. Yummy cake.

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What we do see of universal morality systems is but the most basic of concepts which have numerous inconsistencies when compared with each of our many cultures, which is what you would expect to see from an emergent naturally developed sense of right or wrong.
But we also see that just any old thing isn't possible as well. Hence the pairing of an intrinsic base, but room for different applications in the specifics.

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I suppose the only excuse a religious Christian could claim for this tapestry of conflicting morality is the free will canard. We wouldn't want to be forced like robots to know what's right or wrong, that would just be cruel and unjust of a god apparently, unlike the whole pain and suffering thing, which serves a mysterious purpose it's not necessary to question, pain and suffering.
Perhaps the innate part is the ability to recognize what constitutes an agreeable morality. In that framing, wisdom from religious texts (and morality) isn't so much learned as discovered and recognized as worthwhile.

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If right and wrong are intrinsic, what are some of these intrinsic qualities? What is subjective morality and what is objective? Could you give me examples of both?
One intrinsic quality would be universalism. Whatever I hold to be right and wrong, I believe it should apply beyond my own sphere. Another is a sense of eternally so -- that while I might be mistaken, once a true feature of morality is discovered (wrong to murder, say) it is forever right and was always right, extending both forward and backwards in time. Another intrinsic feature is that context matters at least as much as the action described -- so that doing thing A in one set of circumstances is wrong, but in another, thing A might be OK.

Objective can be had by observing the moral decisions people actually make. It can be studied in a black box fashion if you like: we don't get to see what underlies the activities, but we can observe what those activities are, measure them, record them, analyze them and so on.
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Old 8th November 2012, 07:45 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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.
Hence why it's a dilemma. On closer inspection, though, there are a couple quite relevant points that can be pointed out, once one understands it. First of all, it boils down to "Is morality determined by authority or not?" If it is, it is intrinsically subjective, as there's, literally, no relevant difference between one's brother, one's parent, a stranger, one's king, or one's god, except for the power that they wield over the person in question. That said, sufficiently stable, consistent, and widespread imposed morality can be considered to be effectively the same as objective morality, even if it's technically not. If it's not, it can be objective, but does not remotely need to be. For it to be objective, then, though, it needs to be part of the basic nature of reality. Otherwise, it will be subjective.


Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
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.
That what is viewed as murder is substantially different in different contexts is an indication that there is not actually an objective morality, whether actual or effective. There have been attempts to work-around this (and other unwanted issues raised by the Euthyphro Dilemma) by a number of theists, postulating a variety of potential reasons, but every one that I've seen has failed, when actually put into context and the obfuscation removed.

That said, I think I'll address your statement that "you do believe that murder is wrong and morally so, not just that it's bad for yourself/society" a bit. By definition, murder tends to be morally wrong, by whichever standards are considered relevant. Utilitarian reasons, like the ones that you pointed out, are simply the easiest to point out, and given the nature of evolution, were likely worked into human (and various other animals') psychology for those utilitarian reasons. That doesn't mean that they have to be the only reasons, but it does mean that one really don't need to go further, if one isn't seeking to add unnecessary assumptions to why things are the way they are.

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.
Believing in an objective morality, whether actual or effective, can certainly be a comforting thought when it is in agreement with the believer. The relevant evidence, though, does not support it, which leaves us with the, admittedly, far less stable and comforting subjective nature of morality. As I noted, society does quite a bit to make it much more stable and thus more comforting, though.
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Old 8th November 2012, 08:17 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Do you want to say that is not evidence against the existence of God?
I do! Partially, at least. It is definitely evidence against a quite a few god concepts, certainly including most of the ones related to the Abrahamic versions of "God," but not all, annoyingly. More generally, it is evidence that the reasons used to attempt to justify belief in some form of god were, at the very least, sometimes quite bad ones. Combined with other, somewhat similar pieces of evidence, that sometimes very quickly rises into much, much higher levels of likely frequency.

Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Beyond that ... all known scientific discoveries are incompatible with belief in things happening due to inexplicable miracles from and unseen creator. That's true because the scientific discoveries are explained (in vast detail), and none of the explanations include any miracles or invisible supernatural gods at all.
And I'd say that that's a slight misrepresentation of methodological naturalism. It's not that they're incompatible, like you're trying to say, but rather that methodological naturalism pointedly excludes unfalsifiable and untestable explanations of all kinds, because they are simply not useful for understanding how reality actually works. That said, I'm not aware of any decent evidence that does support any miracles or supernatural gods, visible or invisible.
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Old 8th November 2012, 08:36 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Believing in an objective morality, whether actual or effective, can certainly be a comforting thought when it is in agreement with the believer. The relevant evidence, though, does not support it, which leaves us with the, admittedly, far less stable and comforting subjective nature of morality. As I noted, society does quite a bit to make it much more stable and thus more comforting, though.
I disagree. I think it's a common misconception that moral relativism gets a leg up over realism because some subjective values exist. Nor is it necessary for people to recognize these moral truths, as Halfcentaur stated. All that is required is that some objective values exist, whether or not they are recognized in practice.

Arangarx, I think your criticism of moral relativism is valid. I am an atheist, but I believe an objective (not absolute) morality exists and is derived from our biological condition. I'm not sure you would call this a "higher authority" due to the implication of agency carried by that phrase, but it is an objective basis for moral values. I also think it's critical for a moral code to follow Kant's categorical imperative: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction."
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Old 8th November 2012, 08:37 AM   #113
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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).
That's far more a consequence of subjective morality, regardless, and is thus a slightly different usage of "wrong" than those who claim to come from a position of objective morality are using it. Namely, it is wrong in that case because it is opposed to the values that they hold and support, not because there is some absolute standard of right and wrong that they're comparing the action to. Thus, it's not really hypocritical so long as they aren't conflating the two reasons to consider it "wrong." Of course, in this particular instance, there's another level of "wrong" present, and that's that the arguments made against homosexual marriage have a strong tendency to be factually wrong. In addition to that, those that aren't factually wrong tend to be completely irrelevant.
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Old 8th November 2012, 08:49 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I disagree. I think it's a common misconception that moral relativism gets a leg up over realism because some subjective values exist. Nor is it necessary for people to recognize these moral truths, as Halfcentaur stated. All that is required is that some objective values exist, whether or not they are recognized in practice.

Arangarx, I think your criticism of moral relativism is valid. I am an atheist, but I believe an objective (not absolute) morality exists and is derived from our biological condition. I'm not sure you would call this a "higher authority" due to the implication of agency carried by that phrase, but it is an objective basis for moral values. I also think it's critical for a moral code to follow Kant's categorical imperative: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction."
Hmm. I disagree that morality derived from our biological condition is truly objective. I do agree that morality based on our biological condition tends to be reasonable, valid, and relatively stable, given why our biological condition is generally the way it is. Admittedly, I am also somewhat curious about how you deal with sociopaths, psychopaths, and various other biological conditions and their effects on what you consider to be an objective base for morality.
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Old 8th November 2012, 09:00 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Admittedly, I am also somewhat curious about how you deal with sociopaths, psychopaths, and various other biological conditions and their effects on what you consider to be an objective base for morality.
Well, I believe ethics comprises the natural rights granted by autonomy and additional rights that secure one's political equality (together referred to as human rights), so I'm not sure what about sociopaths would require explanation.
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Old 8th November 2012, 09:10 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Well, I believe ethics comprises the natural rights granted by autonomy and additional rights that secure one's political equality (together referred to as human rights), so I'm not sure what about sociopaths would require explanation.

I would still consider this to be subjective, as the argument then slides over to determining who qualifies for those rights. This is certainly something that has changed over time, and is the main issue when discussing the ethics of something like abortion.
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Old 8th November 2012, 09:34 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
I would still consider this to be subjective, as the argument then slides over to determining who qualifies for those rights. This is certainly something that has changed over time, and is the main issue when discussing the ethics of something like abortion.
I'd say it's not subjective because every human would qualify for these rights by the nature of this argument. The idea here is that sentience is an emergent property of the brain that engenders autonomy, therefore all sentient creatures ought to have natural rights. The additional rights I mentioned before also apply equally to all humans as a consequence of our species' sapience. These additional rights change as our biological needs are mitigated through technological innovation, but they are still derived from our ever-changing biological condition.
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Old 8th November 2012, 10:03 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I'd say it's not subjective because every human would qualify for these rights by the nature of this argument. The idea here is that sentience is an emergent property of the brain that engenders autonomy, therefore all sentient creatures ought to have natural rights. The additional rights I mentioned before also apply equally to all humans as a consequence of our species' sapience. These additional rights change as our biological needs are mitigated through technological innovation, but they are still derived from our ever-changing biological condition.

What about non-sapient humans, such as those with extreme brain damage? Are they "human" right from conception, or when brain activity is registered? This also leads back to the issue with psychopaths, in that their lack of recognition of the sapience of others influences their actions.
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Old 8th November 2012, 10:18 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
What about non-sapient humans, such as those with extreme brain damage? Are they "human" right from conception, or when brain activity is registered? This also leads back to the issue with psychopaths, in that their lack of recognition of the sapience of others influences their actions.
They're always human, but because of their disability, cannot participate in contract law--one must understand a contract before accepting it. I still don't see how psychopaths fit in though: their lack of empathy doesn't justify any doubt on the objective existence of sapience... does it?
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Old 8th November 2012, 10:35 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
They're always human, but because of their disability, cannot participate in contract law--one must understand a contract before accepting it.

And what is ethics but a social contract? And you didn't address the issue of when a fetus should be considered a human for the purposes of morality.

Quote:
I still don't see how psychopaths fit in though: their lack of empathy doesn't justify any doubt on the objective existence of sapience... does it?

It shows that the recognition and acknowledgement of sapience is subjective, so how are we to tell that the "normal" acceptance of sapience is correct? This is the underlying issue when dealing with the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Is it immoral to torture an AI device?
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