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Is Murder Wrong If There Is No God?
Posted: 02 May 2017 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Rubrics that are shared with students before they begin constructing their products are good because then the students understand what they need to do in order to get the grade they want, and when we lay out the criteria it prevents arbitrary subjective grading (e.g., this “looks like” a 75%). Rubrics also help facilitate the discussion with the students as to why they got the specific grade they received. It’s all about “accountable” education.

Going back to my Philosophy teaching days, “Making a Judgement (such as “judging” a student’s essay to be a 75%),” means you have decided something has met, failed to meet, or approximated a criteria. The criteria may be explicit, as in a rubric, or implicit, but it’s there. Making the criteria explicit is always favorable, which is why rubrics are important – for the reasons I outlined above.

And this model extends to content area taught to students. Consider the example of the ethical question of whether murder is objectively wrong if there is no God:

When we make “judgements,” such as the judgement that “murder is wrong,” we make those judgements by applying either explicit or implicit criteria.

For instance, when an elementary school teacher is making a judgement as to what grade a child gets on a narrative piece of writing that the child has submitted, the teacher applies a rubric judging such things as effective use by the child of such things as:

Ideas—the main message
Organization—the internal structure of the piece
Voice—the personal tone and flavor of the author’s message
Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning
Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the language
Conventions—the mechanical correctness
Presentation—how the writing actually looks on the page

Similarly, when a mixed martial arts judge tries to determine which fighter wins the match, they judge the fighters respective performances against such criteria as striking, grappling, and aggression.

The problem with moral judgements is that it is hard to get non-subjective criteria. In terms of murder, our culture in our time judges murder to be wrong, but other cultures in other times have approved of such things as cannibalism and feeding the Christians to the lions for sport. If we are not to just adapt an arbitrary “holier than thou” attitude from the point of view of our time, individual biases, and culture, the question is what right do we have to judge others that have a different worldview than we do?

If we are not to have moral relativism, we need to establish what the objective criteria is for judging that murder is wrong.

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Posted: 03 May 2017 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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john76 - 02 May 2017 06:25 PM

Rubrics that are shared with students before they begin constructing their products are good because then the students understand what they need to do in order to get the grade they want, and when we lay out the criteria it prevents arbitrary subjective grading (e.g., this “looks like” a 75%). Rubrics also help facilitate the discussion with the students as to why they got the specific grade they received. It’s all about “accountable” education.

Going back to my Philosophy teaching days, “Making a Judgement (such as “judging” a student’s essay to be a 75%),” means you have decided something has met, failed to meet, or approximated a criteria. The criteria may be explicit, as in a rubric, or implicit, but it’s there. Making the criteria explicit is always favorable, which is why rubrics are important – for the reasons I outlined above.

And this model extends to content area taught to students. Consider the example of the ethical question of whether murder is objectively wrong if there is no God:

When we make “judgements,” such as the judgement that “murder is wrong,” we make those judgements by applying either explicit or implicit criteria.

For instance, when an elementary school teacher is making a judgement as to what grade a child gets on a narrative piece of writing that the child has submitted, the teacher applies a rubric judging such things as effective use by the child of such things as:

Ideas—the main message
Organization—the internal structure of the piece
Voice—the personal tone and flavor of the author’s message
Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning
Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the language
Conventions—the mechanical correctness
Presentation—how the writing actually looks on the page

Similarly, when a mixed martial arts judge tries to determine which fighter wins the match, they judge the fighters respective performances against such criteria as striking, grappling, and aggression.

The problem with moral judgements is that it is hard to get non-subjective criteria. In terms of murder, our culture in our time judges murder to be wrong, but other cultures in other times have approved of such things as cannibalism and feeding the Christians to the lions for sport. If we are not to just adapt an arbitrary “holier than thou” attitude from the point of view of our time, individual biases, and culture, the question is what right do we have to judge others that have a different worldview than we do?

If we are not to have moral relativism, we need to establish what the objective criteria is for judging that murder is wrong.

But you’ve ruled out the possibility that morality IS relative. The problem is, just because it’s relative doesn’t mean anything goes. And morality can change over time. Maybe a thousand years ago the circumstances that made murder wrong are different from today. The harder problem is, how to get people to understand morality just ain’t that simple. Unfortunately we’re just not there yet.

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Posted: 25 May 2017 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Morality is subjective- there are few things that are always wrong.  Murder is one act that is very easy to justify… unless the word “murder” means an unjustified killing, which by definition is wrong.  But if we’re talking about a general statement like “killing another human”, then it can be the most moral act possible in a situation.

The task of judging is especially difficult when judging societies distant from us in time and space. A society where killing is done for reasons we find immoral needs to be judged by their circumstances, not ours.

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It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.  Edmund Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons

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Posted: 25 May 2017 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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3point14rat - 25 May 2017 02:22 PM

Murder is one act that is very easy to justify… unless the word “murder” means an unjustified killing, which by definition is wrong.

That is the definition of “murder.”

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Posted: 26 May 2017 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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DarronS - 25 May 2017 03:54 PM
3point14rat - 25 May 2017 02:22 PM

Murder is one act that is very easy to justify… unless the word “murder” means an unjustified killing, which by definition is wrong.

That is the definition of “murder.”

I think the question is regarding any killing of another person, not only ‘murder’.  So that’s how I answered, with that note showing I was differentiating the general idea of killing from the specific word ‘murder’ mistakenly (I think) used in the question.  I know I have often used a word and then later realised it was understood differently than I intended.  Usually I’m in the wrong but since I knew what I meant I didn’t catch it until the response makes it obvious.

Religious people live in a split-brain world where they claim absolute morality on one hand and common sense relativism on the other.  This question seemed to float in the middle, so maybe my assumption about the word ‘murder’ is wrong.

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It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.  Edmund Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons

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Posted: 26 May 2017 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Then the question should have been worded differently. Murder has a specific meaning.

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Posted: 26 May 2017 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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DarronS - 26 May 2017 07:01 AM

Then the question should have been worded differently. Murder has a specific meaning.

Murder may have a specific meaning, but that doesn’t mean we can therefore answer the OP’s question. If murder of the unjustified killing of a person, or as the dictionary says, the unlawful killing, then what does that say about someone who were to have killed Hitler? I’m assuming it was against the law to kill the Fuhrer, so that would have been wrong? my point is, it’s a simple question at first glance, but really not that simple.

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Posted: 26 May 2017 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 May 2017 09:55 AM
DarronS - 26 May 2017 07:01 AM

Then the question should have been worded differently. Murder has a specific meaning.

Murder may have a specific meaning, but that doesn’t mean we can therefore answer the OP’s question. If murder of the unjustified killing of a person, or as the dictionary says, the unlawful killing, then what does that say about someone who were to have killed Hitler? I’m assuming it was against the law to kill the Fuhrer, so that would have been wrong? my point is, it’s a simple question at first glance, but really not that simple.

There’s a big difference between illegal and unjustified.

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Posted: 26 May 2017 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 May 2017 09:55 AM
DarronS - 26 May 2017 07:01 AM

Then the question should have been worded differently. Murder has a specific meaning.

Murder may have a specific meaning, but that doesn’t mean we can therefore answer the OP’s question. If murder of the unjustified killing of a person, or as the dictionary says, the unlawful killing, then what does that say about someone who were to have killed Hitler? I’m assuming it was against the law to kill the Fuhrer, so that would have been wrong? my point is, it’s a simple question at first glance, but really not that simple.

We’re looking at the Hitler case wth the benefit of hindsight. Assassinating Hitler early in the Nazi regime would have been justified from our viewpoint, but at the time only someone who could reliably predict the future could justify it morally. Later on when it became apparent that Hitler was responsible for millions of deaths one could make an argument that killing him would be morally right, but one could also make the same argument about GW Bush and Dick Cheney. Where would you draw the line?

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Posted: 27 May 2017 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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This sounds like another “if a tree falls in the forest . . .” question.

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[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

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Posted: 10 June 2017 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I think the correct course of action to take in the event one person kills another person is to look at the context of the situation and determine if it was an act of murder, then apply the appropriate punishment. We don’t need to rely on objective morality to make the act of evaluating an incident easy. Complicated actions such as taking the life of another human being should have some effort put into understanding the appropriate response.

Rather than saying “Murder is unjustified killing” we could say “This instance of one person killing another was determined to be unjustified, therefore it is murder”

technically the two could be considered the same, but one is subjected to semantic arguments, the other implies a thought out understanding of the situation prior to labeling the actions and applying moral judgement.

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Posted: 14 June 2017 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Atheist_Twin - 10 June 2017 11:47 AM

I think the correct course of action to take in the event one person kills another person is to look at the context of the situation and determine if it was an act of murder, then apply the appropriate punishment. We don’t need to rely on objective morality to make the act of evaluating an incident easy. Complicated actions such as taking the life of another human being should have some effort put into understanding the appropriate response.

Rather than saying “Murder is unjustified killing” we could say “This instance of one person killing another was determined to be unjustified, therefore it is murder”

technically the two could be considered the same, but one is subjected to semantic arguments, the other implies a thought out understanding of the situation prior to labelling the actions and applying moral judgement.

Yup.  Context is everything.  Laws for punishment can only be guidelines, never hard and fast rules.  You simply cannot make a blanket law that you look to for absolute guidance- you gotta look at all circumstances and think impartially.

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It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.  Edmund Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons

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Posted: 15 June 2017 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Don’t you guys watch “Law & Order” reruns at all?  smile

There are specific guidelines built into the legal codes, outlining the difference between simple manslaughter or first and second degree murder, including whether it was premeditated, or done in the heat of the moment, or through “depraved indifference”.

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Posted: 18 June 2017 08:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Is Murder Wrong If There Is No God?

In many countries murder seems justifiable if there is belief in a God.

p.s. In many countries murder is committed in the name of God.  Now riddle me that one.

[ Edited: 19 June 2017 01:46 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 19 June 2017 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I remember when I was about 12 or so asking my Baptist Sunday School teacher why, if God commands us not to kill, He himself had no problem killing all the Egyptian soldiers who tried to follow Moses across the Red Sea?  Not to mention the Israelites that he later killed by plagues when they questioned Moses’ orders.  Take it from me, Baptist Sunday School teachers do not like these kinds of questions.

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Posted: 25 June 2017 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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A fundamental requirement of many animal societies is cooperation. Optimizing function of cooperating members benefits the society. Eliminating contributing members disrupts the function of society. Disapproval of murder discourages eliminating functional members of a society. Societies that disapprove of murder have a positive “fitness point” in their evolutionary favor.

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