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Old 14th November 2012, 01:02 PM   #161
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From, the Christian perspective, there's a couple of things going on that we have to detangle.

The first is whether good and evil are arbitrary. They're not -- that is to say, what is good and what is evil is hard-wired into the fabric of reality. It's basic and it's not directly dependent on God.

However, part of the morality that has been hardwired into the universe is that it is good to obey God and evil to disobey God. This is true because we were created to obey God. And it also means that what is good and evil is indirectly dependent on God, in that particular courses of action may be evil particularly because God forbids them or good particularly because God requires them.

One last idea -- God is not the standard for good by fiat; He is incidentally the standard for good in that His properties line up exactly with what is good. In that way, I reject the idea that it is impossible to know good and evil without God as a standard. I think you can get there in other ways.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:04 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Science can't operate without philosophy.
Sure it can. A little myopically, perhaps, but science can plod along just fine without any more than the most rudimentary of assumptions, which can be presupposed in the absence of any coherent philosophical analysis.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:15 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Science can't operate without philosophy.
"The Philosophy of Science is as important to scientists as ornithology is to birds." Some Smart Guy.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:16 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
One last idea -- God is not the standard for good by fiat; He is incidentally the standard for good in that His properties line up exactly with what is good. In that way, I reject the idea that it is impossible to know good and evil without God as a standard. I think you can get there in other ways.
You haven't read the Bible, have you?
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:18 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Sure it can. A little myopically, perhaps, but science can plod along just fine without any more than the most rudimentary of assumptions, which can be presupposed in the absence of any coherent philosophical analysis.
Naw... we call the engineering.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:18 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
You haven't read the Bible, have you?
I've read English translations of it, yes. I'm still working on my Greek.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:21 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Naw... we call the engineering.
What is it that you call the engineering?

Personally, when people are making observations and developing models to account for their observations, I call that "science." And they can do it without philosophy. Feynman's ornithology remark rings true.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:24 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Science can't operate without philosophy.
Science was developed through philosophy, but anyone can run a test of something simple like the idea that rocks fall down when you drop them.

So then you argue everyone is a philosopher?
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:28 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
Perhaps because the question - 'What has philosophy ever told us about the real world? is met with silence.
Well the answer I've gotten so far is that there seems to be some difficulty in philosophically defining the edge of a cloud.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:44 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Sure it can. A little myopically, perhaps, but science can plod along just fine without any more than the most rudimentary of assumptions, which can be presupposed in the absence of any coherent philosophical analysis.
True, one needn't know philosophy of science to do science, but you sure as hell get a lot more done! Also, a lot of the philosophy of science is so prevalent, at least within the scientific community, that people take it as a given, ignorant of the fact that it is actually philosophy.

Originally Posted by jj View Post
Science was developed through philosophy, but anyone can run a test of something simple like the idea that rocks fall down when you drop them.

So then you argue everyone is a philosopher?
No, I'm not saying that everyone is a philosopher; however, it is the philosopher who has determined what constitutes knowledge... even what constitutes science. Without this knowledge, we may be wasting precious time on fringe science or pseudoscience, or we may incorrectly identify data as evidence when it conveys no knowledge whatsoever.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:45 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
From, the Christian perspective, there's a couple of things going on that we have to detangle.

The first is whether good and evil are arbitrary. They're not -- that is to say, what is good and what is evil is hard-wired into the fabric of reality. It's basic and it's not directly dependent on God.
But wouldn't a non-Christian simply see that as your arbitrary application of the terms good and evil to what is good or evil for you, from your biased perspective? And as a Christian, wouldn't you believe that it was the Christian god who hard-wired the fabric of reality and therefore good and evil? For example, what is intrinsically evil about having other god(s) before the Christian god?

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However, part of the morality that has been hardwired into the universe is that it is good to obey God and evil to disobey God. This is true because we were created to obey God. And it also means that what is good and evil is indirectly dependent on God, in that particular courses of action may be evil particularly because God forbids them or good particularly because God requires them.
How would you demonstrate that to be true, other than by your bare assertion, to someone who doesn't believe in the Christian god or in any god(s)?

Quote:
One last idea -- God is not the standard for good by fiat; He is incidentally the standard for good in that His properties line up exactly with what is good. In that way, I reject the idea that it is impossible to know good and evil without God as a standard. I think you can get there in other ways.
You make it sound as if the Christian god is begging the question. How do you know something is good? Because god says it is. How do you know god says it is? Because it's good.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:51 PM   #172
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Back to the concerns of the OP:

Originally Posted by Arangarx View Post
... 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).
Could you tell us which is your particular God, please?
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Old 14th November 2012, 02:00 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
What is it that you call the engineering?

Personally, when people are making observations and developing models to account for their observations, I call that "science." And they can do it without philosophy. Feynman's ornithology remark rings true.
Sure they can. They do it all the time. We tend to call that "bad science" or woo. After all, I got better when X. That's the experiment, that's the data and that's the science. It's only when philosophy enters the picture and points out the paucity of explanation that you can remark, correctly, "that's not enough." We make a philosophical statement: correlation isn't causation.

Without philosophical underpinnings, science is just a kind of record keeping without rank ordering. The process of assembling many different lines of evidence into a coherent whole is a philosophical process. Why? Because we are evaluating the results based on epistemological grounds -- justifying our beliefs.
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Old 14th November 2012, 02:17 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Sure they can. They do it all the time. We tend to call that "bad science" or woo. After all, I got better when X. That's the experiment, that's the data and that's the science. It's only when philosophy enters the picture and points out the paucity of explanation that you can remark, correctly, "that's not enough." We make a philosophical statement: correlation isn't causation.

Without philosophical underpinnings, science is just a kind of record keeping without rank ordering. The process of assembling many different lines of evidence into a coherent whole is a philosophical process. Why? Because we are evaluating the results based on epistemological grounds -- justifying our beliefs.
I think this is just another attempt by philosophers to "bite off" a chunk of science and call it philosophy, as philosophy itself is increasingly recognized as self-indulgent and superfluous.
You call the process of evaluating evidence and assembling it into a coherent theory "philosophy" because you want philosophy to be important. But we can do all of this without any deeper understanding of epistomology, and without questioning the process in the ways that philosophers tend to. We can separate science from philosophy and put all the important pieces of theory-forming in with science.
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Old 14th November 2012, 02:22 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I think this is just another attempt by philosophers to "bite off" a chunk of science and call it philosophy, as philosophy itself is increasingly recognized as self-indulgent and superfluous.
You call the process of evaluating evidence and assembling it into a coherent theory "philosophy" because you want philosophy to be important. But we can do all of this without any deeper understanding of epistomology, and without questioning the process in the ways that philosophers tend to. We can separate science from philosophy and put all the important pieces of theory-forming in with science.
Recognized by whom? Also, evidence?
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Old 14th November 2012, 02:30 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I think this is just another attempt by philosophers to "bite off" a chunk of science and call it philosophy, as philosophy itself is increasingly recognized as self-indulgent and superfluous.
You call the process of evaluating evidence and assembling it into a coherent theory "philosophy" because you want philosophy to be important. But we can do all of this without any deeper understanding of epistomology, and without questioning the process in the ways that philosophers tend to. We can separate science from philosophy and put all the important pieces of theory-forming in with science.
I don't disagree, but to me it sounds like you are saying something akin to, "mathematics isn't important because we've already learned enough math to do the science we want." It may be that current trends in philosophy find little use in science, just as the fringes of mathematics may have no applications. But so what? They are different disciplines, they move where they move.

Where I disagree is that philosophy is piggybacking on science. I think the genesis worked the other way round.
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Old 14th November 2012, 03:18 PM   #177
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I haven't read through this entire thread, but here's an interview with Brian Dalton (a.k.a. Mr. Deity) about his journey from Mormonism to critical thinking. At the 35:15 mark he's asked about how you can have morality without belief in god. Again at 49:44 he's asked why not become an adulterer and drug user.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


The entire interview is worth a listen.

Steve S
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Old 14th November 2012, 03:40 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I don't disagree, but to me it sounds like you are saying something akin to, "mathematics isn't important because we've already learned enough math to do the science we want." It may be that current trends in philosophy find little use in science, just as the fringes of mathematics may have no applications. But so what? They are different disciplines, they move where they move.

Where I disagree is that philosophy is piggybacking on science. I think the genesis worked the other way round.
When we quit formulating castles in the air and began experimenting in the real world, philosophy ended and science started.
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Old 14th November 2012, 04:16 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Recognized by whom? Also, evidence?
.
Me, for one.
I consider philosophers to be societal parasites, useless for anything except being potential contributors to Soylent Green.
All their blather has led to endless suffering when one dippy has a view of something nonexistent, and is forceful about it, relative to another dippy with equally strong and different but indefensible flights of fantasy.
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Old 14th November 2012, 05:49 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
however, it is the philosopher who has determined what constitutes knowledge...
Nonsense, knowlege must be tested, confirmed, repeated, and verified. This has nothing to do with philosophy beyond Popper's idea of falsifiability.

Deconstruction, solipcism, and other such codswallop are either falsified or unfalsifiable.
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Old 14th November 2012, 06:30 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I've read English translations of it, yes. I'm still working on my Greek.
No, you haven't. If you had you'd be an atheist.
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Old 14th November 2012, 06:38 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
From, the Christian perspective, there's a couple of things going on that we have to detangle.

The first is whether good and evil are arbitrary. They're not -- that is to say, what is good and what is evil is hard-wired into the fabric of reality. It's basic and it's not directly dependent on God.

However, part of the morality that has been hardwired into the universe is that it is good to obey God and evil to disobey God. This is true because we were created to obey God. And it also means that what is good and evil is indirectly dependent on God, in that particular courses of action may be evil particularly because God forbids them or good particularly because God requires them.

One last idea -- God is not the standard for good by fiat; He is incidentally the standard for good in that His properties line up exactly with what is good. In that way, I reject the idea that it is impossible to know good and evil without God as a standard. I think you can get there in other ways.
"Hey, look, I don't make the rules," said the guy who makes the rules.
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Old 14th November 2012, 07:08 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
"Hey, look, I don't make the rules," said the guy who makes the rules.
I didn't say God didn't make the rules. I said that God's behavior following the rules is incidental rather than tautological.

An analogy might help. Say that every time James Naismith played basketball, he did a truly exemplary job of scrupulously following the rules of basketball (that he himself had developed). We could say that Naismith follows the rules; you could even tell people to look to Naismith as an example of how to play basketball correctly.

That's not the same as saying that anything Naismith does is basketball by definition. The rules are the rules and are not defined by Naismith's behavior; it may even be possible to learn and follow the rules without knowing Naismith.

Now, to complicate matters, consider a game where Naismith is the referee. Somebody could very easily get confused and think that because Naismith created the rules for basketball and everyone is doing what Naismith says, that the rules for basketball must be whatever he says. That's not true, and we know that people are obeying Naismith not because he created the rules but because he's the ref, and the rules include provisions to obey the ref.

My understanding of morality in Christianity is similar to this situation. God created morality, but morality is now a part of the universe separate from God. Nonetheless, God also has a role to play in the universe and we have moral responsibilities to Him. And He is perfectly moral not by definition but rather by His nature when compared against the objective morality.
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Old 14th November 2012, 07:12 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
No, you haven't. If you had you'd be an atheist.
If you're unaware that plenty of Christians (particularly Restorationists like me) have read through the Bible and kept their faith, I'd recommend you meet a few more people. Although I can see how self-selection bias might be at work here - you meet enough deconverts who have read the Bible and you start to assume the all who have read the Bible are deconverts. It's a common mistake.
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Old 14th November 2012, 09:22 PM   #185
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I think that attempting to ground moral truth in reason and evidence alone is futile.

The sensible Christian position is some kind of Divine Command Theory, through one's faith experience of a loving God.

The coherent skeptic atheistic position ought to be some kind of Moral Skepticism/Nihilism/Non-Cognitivism and I'll warrant that any skeptic atheist who believes otherwise is in fact believing in some kind of woo, by their own standards.

Moral Skepticism can be summarised by the following statement from Wikipedia:

Quote:
Moral skepticism divides into three subclasses: moral error theory (or moral nihilism), epistemological moral skepticism, and noncognitivism.[1] All three of these theories share the same conclusions, which are:
(a) we are never justified in believing that moral claims (claims of the form "state of affairs x is good," "action y is morally obligatory," etc.) are true and, even more so
(b) we never know that any moral claim is true.
Are there any skeptics here who are not moral skeptics? (i.e who do not share these conclusions). Any skeptics who believe that right and wrong are anything more than expressions of subjective/societal whim?

A good example of three skeptic atheists who do not hold to moral skepticism would be Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins, who have all gone on the record as believing that moral claims can in some way be 'true'.
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Old 14th November 2012, 10:15 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Nonsense, knowlege must be tested, confirmed, repeated, and verified. This has nothing to do with philosophy beyond Popper's idea of falsifiability.
Other than your claim that it has nothing to do with philosophy, you are correct. And who figured out that this is the best way to obtain knowledge? Yup... the philosophers. It's more than falsifiability... it's empiricism and methodological naturalism and parsimony and repeatability and objective reality and a large enough sample size, etc., etc.

Quote:
Deconstruction, solipcism, and other such codswallop are either falsified or unfalsifiable.
There is some bad philosophy; I have never denied this--one of my favorite episodes of The Atheist Experience has the hosts totally destroy a caller due to his "inane, philistine solipsism." But if you think Philosophy only consists of Metaphysics, you do not understand Philosophy.

Full disclosure: I'm neither a fan of Metaphysics nor Epistemology (I tend to accept the empiricist's argument without much ado), but am deeply fascinated with Ethics and Political Philosophy.
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Old 14th November 2012, 10:22 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Democracy Simulator View Post
Are there any skeptics here who are not moral skeptics? (i.e who do not share these conclusions).
Me. I'm an atheist and a moral realist.

ETA: I do not self-identify as a skeptic... not sure if that's relevant to your comment.
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Last edited by Merton; 14th November 2012 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Not a skeptic
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Old 14th November 2012, 11:59 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I didn't say God didn't make the rules. I said that God's behavior following the rules is incidental rather than tautological.

An analogy might help. Say that every time James Naismith played basketball, he did a truly exemplary job of scrupulously following the rules of basketball (that he himself had developed). We could say that Naismith follows the rules; you could even tell people to look to Naismith as an example of how to play basketball correctly.

That's not the same as saying that anything Naismith does is basketball by definition. The rules are the rules and are not defined by Naismith's behavior; it may even be possible to learn and follow the rules without knowing Naismith.

Now, to complicate matters, consider a game where Naismith is the referee. Somebody could very easily get confused and think that because Naismith created the rules for basketball and everyone is doing what Naismith says, that the rules for basketball must be whatever he says. That's not true, and we know that people are obeying Naismith not because he created the rules but because he's the ref, and the rules include provisions to obey the ref.

My understanding of morality in Christianity is similar to this situation. God created morality, but morality is now a part of the universe separate from God. Nonetheless, God also has a role to play in the universe and we have moral responsibilities to Him. And He is perfectly moral not by definition but rather by His nature when compared against the objective morality.
That is a good analogy because it highlights the idea that at some level, the rules are malleable and attached to a judging authority.

"Look here God. Right here. You see where these rules are inconsistent and lead to consequences that contradict the spirit of the game?"
"Well, yes, of course I do, I'm omniscient."
"How about you change those?"
"But then it wouldn't be the same game at all."
"This game sucks."
"Five years in the penalty box for you. Here, have a bit of cancer. And while you're in there, how about you praise my holy name a bit more?"

Miracles are just such bending of the rules. As are indulgences. The game is rigged.
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Old 15th November 2012, 02:49 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
From, the Christian perspective, there's a couple of things going on that we have to detangle.
This may be the Christian perspective but its largely nonsense.

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The first is whether good and evil are arbitrary. They're not -- that is to say, what is good and what is evil is hard-wired into the fabric of reality. It's basic and it's not directly dependent on God.
First of all you will need to back your assertion that good and evil are not arbitrary with evidence. If the are 'hard wired' into the physical universe then your going to have to explain what physical phenomenon causes (or might cause) them and how it might be measured. Also given that God created the universe they are still entirely dependent on God in any case

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However, part of the morality that has been hardwired into the universe is that it is good to obey God and evil to disobey God. This is true because we were created to obey God. And it also means that what is good and evil is indirectly dependent on God, in that particular courses of action may be evil particularly because God forbids them or good particularly because God requires them.
So God created something and made it a rule that it's good to obey him and bad not to? Is he really that in need of an ego massage? That doesn't make good and evil 'not arbitrary' then. Quite the opposite.

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One last idea -- God is not the standard for good by fiat; He is incidentally the standard for good in that His properties line up exactly with what is good. In that way, I reject the idea that it is impossible to know good and evil without God as a standard. I think you can get there in other ways.
He created the universe so if good and evil line up with his properties that's not incidental. That's deliberate and arbitrary. It's also pretty much circular reasoning.
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Old 15th November 2012, 03:46 AM   #190
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I think all of your responses are addressed by my basketball analogy. The argument isn't circular at all, any more than it's circular for me to create the rules to a new game and then also claim I follow those rules when playing the game.
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Old 15th November 2012, 04:34 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I think all of your responses are addressed by my basketball analogy. The argument isn't circular at all, any more than it's circular for me to create the rules to a new game and then also claim I follow those rules when playing the game.

The biggest problem with the basketball analogy is that while your choice to follow the rules is not arbitrary, the rules themselves are. This leads back to the issue of good and evil being arbitrary. It further fails when you have Jesus breaking those rules, particularly the one about stealing (pigs, donkeys, and the like).
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Old 15th November 2012, 04:57 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
The biggest problem with the basketball analogy is that while your choice to follow the rules is not arbitrary, the rules themselves are. This leads back to the issue of good and evil being arbitrary.
I'm not sure what you mean by "arbitrary;" good and evil are very clearly dictated by the nature of the universe in which we live.
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Old 15th November 2012, 05:44 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by "arbitrary;" good and evil are very clearly dictated by the nature of the universe in which we live.

Sorry but can you clarify for me... do you think the universe actually cares about good or evil?
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Old 15th November 2012, 05:55 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
Sorry but can you clarify for me... do you think the universe actually cares about good or evil?
The universe isn't conscious, and so doesn't "care" about anything. But things in the universe exist objectively. Red and blue exist objectively. So do good and evil.
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Old 15th November 2012, 05:59 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
The universe isn't conscious, and so doesn't "care" about anything. But things in the universe exist objectively. Red and blue exist objectively. So do good and evil.
Right. Thanks.
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Old 15th November 2012, 06:06 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
The universe isn't conscious, and so doesn't "care" about anything. But things in the universe exist objectively. Red and blue exist objectively. So do good and evil.
Can you give some examples of universal good and evil?
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Old 15th November 2012, 06:21 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
The universe isn't conscious, and so doesn't "care" about anything. But things in the universe exist objectively. Red and blue exist objectively. So do good and evil.
But red and blue do not exist objectively.
What we call 'red' and 'blue' is how our brain relays the signals from our optical nerves when they get hit by certain wavelengths, which can even vary a bit between persons. There is no way to show that the way my brain interprets red is the same way yours does.
Then there is the whole bit about direct emission spectra and subtraction spectra where bits of the whole spectrum get absorbed and we see the residue of reflection of white.

But at least we can to some extent quantify wavelengths and then correlate it to an effect.
What experiments show objective good and evil?

Because from where I sit I cannot think of a single action that I would call evil that large segments of the world would call good and vise versa.
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Old 15th November 2012, 06:50 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
But red and blue do not exist objectively.
Sure they do. "Red" and "blue" can be defined either as light within certain wavelengths or as light that activates the red and blue cones in the human eye. "Red" and "blue" may only be meaningfully defined in terms of animal vision, but the definitions are neither arbitrary nor subjective.

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Because from where I sit I cannot think of a single action that I would call evil that large segments of the world would call good and vise versa.
If your definitions are so consistent with everyone else's, what's the difficulty?
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Old 15th November 2012, 07:30 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Sure they do. "Red" and "blue" can be defined either as light within certain wavelengths or as light that activates the red and blue cones in the human eye. "Red" and "blue" may only be meaningfully defined in terms of animal vision, but the definitions are neither arbitrary nor subjective.



If your definitions are so consistent with everyone else's, what's the difficulty?
Ok, at what wavelength does blue stop being blue? Bearing findings like this blog in mind
http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedai...olor-differ-3/

And for the second part, my apologies, I ment to type I couldn't think of a single thing that I would call good that others would not call evil, I forgot a negative in there

But what experiments show the existence of objective evil/good?
Its nice to say its encoded in the universe, but how exactly? is there a quantum good particle?
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Old 15th November 2012, 08:05 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I think all of your responses are addressed by my basketball analogy. The argument isn't circular at all, any more than it's circular for me to create the rules to a new game and then also claim I follow those rules when playing the game.
The problem is the next part, where you say the rules are independent of you and objective, despite you having made the rules and retaining the unilateral ability to change them at any time (and have done so several times in the past), which is pretty much the opposite of both of those terms.

I don't think it's circular reasoning, because circular reasoning is an actual (but fallacious) argument.

You're saying black is white.

[ETA] Oh, and declaring yourself above the rules as part of the rules, can't forget that. God would be a monster if judged on the same basis as us mortals, but he's God, the rules say he gets the benefit of the doubt, and also that doubting is itself against the rules.

Last edited by Beelzebuddy; 15th November 2012 at 08:16 AM.
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