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Morality:  Objective, Subjective, or somewhere in between?
Posted: 31 July 2008 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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JHuber - 30 July 2008 08:47 PM

Atheism is just a rant and is morally ambiguous.  Atheistic morality is merely based on emotional consensus.  There could never be atheistic morality.  For example, humanism is a common term for atheism.  Most atheists, I assume, believe that adultery is immoral yet humanism implies that adultery increases the chances for more humans.  Therefore, adultery is immoral to atheism and moral to humanists.  This is a paradox.

What incredible nonsense. Religion is inherently and unquestionably immoral by its very nature. Religion is the method by which good men are led to do bad things. Adultery in our society is a violation of a personal contract, not a crime against the state, and, for many religions at many times, is no crime at all.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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danlhinz - 31 July 2008 07:03 AM

I looked more closely at the site JHuber linked. He is the only member of the forums and it’s explanation of subject-relations is nonsensical. IMO JHuber is the author of this goofy website and BS-ethics called subject-relations. He is probably trying to troll with is joke website and ridiculous claims about secular humanism. Why bother though?

Dan, you do have relatives am I right?  Why do we call them relatives?  We call them relatives because family members are subjects that are related.  This is the system we are in.  This is the system our moral rules should come from.  Human is merely a category for our species.  I don’t care if you think it is nonsensical or BS, you are in this system whether you like it or not.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 25 September 2006 10:44 AM

Morality is objective in that it is based on what is good for humans, other animals and the enviornment .

Yes but “good” is a value laden term. What type of objective “good” are you talking about?

skeptic griggsy - 25 September 2006 10:44 AM

W e see that murder, rape, stealing ,etc, harms .

Again “harm” is a value laden term. A masochist undergoing certain pain will not regard it as a harm.

skeptic griggsy - 25 September 2006 10:44 AM

Evolution caused us to inherit moral sympathy as part of our nature. It is a matter, as Kurtz is wont to say, to extend those sympathies across the planet.Bentham was right about pleasure and pain being our guides ,but that is for us normals,not psychopaths or sado-masochists.

Fair enough but Bentham’s felicitous calculus was superceded by Mills higher and lower pleasures which leads to eudaimonia. Still not an objecive basis as far as I can see.

skeptic griggsy - 25 September 2006 10:44 AM

The inter-subjectivity makes for objectivity. It is a provisional morality , not relative or absolutist, as is science and as in science, we do have disagreements .  See Michael Shermer’s ” The Science of Good and Evil.” :idea:  rolleyes  :o :D

Here we agree the notions of relative and absolute do not exhaust this space, I agree that our moral knowledge is provisional, refutable, revisable and so progressive.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 23 October 2006 10:11 AM

Neither,  but provisional and contextual . As Quentin Smith states:“So even if morality is not intrinsic to reality,but is created by humans, the mere fact that it is inter-subjectively valid among all humans, it applies to all humans, that’s a suffficiently strong       sense of objectivity to motivate and give humans reason to behave in a moral manner.” :?:  :!:  :!:

Now we disagree smile The quote implies that morality is extrinisic to reality? That means it is a fiction surely? And why “all” humans, why should the minority who reject the morality of the majority be steam rollered?

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Posted: 01 August 2008 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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dougsmith - 04 October 2007 08:04 AM
wandering - 03 October 2007 11:43 PM

I think that before we think which   actions \ people are considered bad \ good, we need to have really good definitions of the terms “bad” and “good”. I don’t know of any, so I tend to stick with Ayer’s idea that these words are more emotional than meaningful.

What about a simple Utilitarian view? “Good” actions maximize pleasure and minimize pain. “Bad” actions do the reverse. (That’s it, in a nutshell).

Or what about a Kantian view? “Good” acts could be universalized, and don’t treat people as ends in themselves. “Bad” actions cannot be universalized, and treat people as means to other ends. (In a nutshell).

There are others as well. They end up giving roughly similar answers in most cases.

I would add my spin on utilitairianism. Moral good means desires that tend to fulfill other desires and moral bad means desires the tend to thwart other desires. The advantage of this is that definitions are subjective - is Pluto a planet or not - it is what they refer to that is important. Whether one accepts such definitions of moral good and bad or not, it is still the case that desires, tend to fulfill or thwart other desires.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 29 July 2008 07:06 AM

Now, subjectivity makes for objectivity - thats the paradox.

No, it depends on what is meant by subjectivity and objectivity. There are different meanings to these terms and too much moral debate is equivocating over these meanings. If you define moral objectivity as independent of human interests, goals, desires etc. then there is no morality - but that is the fault of that definitional practice. Similarly if one defines moral subjectivity as anything that is dependent upon goals, desires and so on then then it it s not objective - but that is just another definitional practice. I am guessing we have all debated or read enough about this to realize that neither works. The title of this thread encapsulates this semantic muddle.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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JHuber - 30 July 2008 08:47 PM

Atheism is just a rant and is morally ambiguous.  Atheistic morality is merely based on emotional consensus.  There could never be atheistic morality.  For example, humanism is a common term for atheism.  Most atheists, I assume, believe that adultery is immoral yet humanism implies that adultery increases the chances for more humans.  Therefore, adultery is immoral to atheism and moral to humanists.  This is a paradox. 

I hope you were joking <.<

Actually, Atheists have time and time again been proven more “moral” by Theists, even by Theistic standards.

How many atheists have killed in the name of Science?
How many atheists have stood outside churches laughing at Christians and calling them Worshipers of the Imaginary Friend?
How many atheists have persecuted people simply because of something as superficial as race, sexual orientation, or even religion?

How many Christians killed in the name of God?
See: Unitarian Church shooting
How many Christians stood outside and protested anything non-Christian?
Well, here’s one. (“God loves us, but hates you!” What?!)
How many Theists persecuted people simply because of something as superficial as race, sexual orientation, or even religion?
See link above

Edit:
Here’s a bonus.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJM7mxIhVK4&NR=1
(One says: “THANK GOD FOR IEDs” <shame at my fellow Americans>)
I’m not saying ALL atheists are squeaky-clean, but generally speaking, atheists keep to themselves or use science to discuss things scientifically.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 08:50 AM by Doc_Prospect ]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Doc_Prospect - 01 August 2008 08:46 AM
JHuber - 30 July 2008 08:47 PM

Atheism is just a rant and is morally ambiguous.  Atheistic morality is merely based on emotional consensus.  There could never be atheistic morality.  For example, humanism is a common term for atheism.  Most atheists, I assume, believe that adultery is immoral yet humanism implies that adultery increases the chances for more humans.  Therefore, adultery is immoral to atheism and moral to humanists.  This is a paradox. 

I hope you were joking <.<

Actually, Atheists have time and time again been proven more “moral” by Theists, even by Theistic standards.

I’m not saying ALL atheists are squeaky-clean, but generally speaking, atheists keep to themselves or use science to discuss things scientifically.

No, I wasn’t joking.  I’m not challenging atheists, I’m challenging atheism.  There are too many environmental variables to account for in claiming atheists are more moral than theists.  I respect the point of your reply but it can be argued until the oceans dry up.

I’m aware that atheists use science to discuss things scientifically which brings up a point I read recently.  This was written by Jerome Groopman who is the Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard, “DNA technology can craft a cure for a cancer or produce a weapon of bioterrorism.  It is only a person’s application of science that takes on a moral dimension.  In that light, an atheist creates his or her own precepts in the absence of God.  A believer looks to religious texts for guidance in what is right and what is wrong.  Right and wrong, for both, do not come from physics or chemistry or biology…”  This is an excellent point but it is ironic because physics and anthropology tell us that God does not exist. 

When I was a kid, I told myself when I grow up I’m going to figure this out.  So I did.  http://subjectsandrelations.com
It contains the objective definitions of right and wrong as well as good and bad which is what faithlessgod was discussing above.  It is common to us all, everyone has relatives, which is what danlhinz failed to recognize on his own.  It is what the classical philosophers were trying to figure out which you can see here http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relations-medieval/.  It contains objective reasons for morality as I explained in previous posts of this thread.  It does not refer to God, yet it isn’t atheism or humanism either.  I believe it is the solution to this problem and this is a problem worth solving.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 11:45 PM by JHuber ]
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Posted: 02 August 2008 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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JHuber - 01 August 2008 11:18 PM
Doc_Prospect - 01 August 2008 08:46 AM
JHuber - 30 July 2008 08:47 PM

Atheism is just a rant and is morally ambiguous.  Atheistic morality is merely based on emotional consensus.  There could never be atheistic morality.  For example, humanism is a common term for atheism.  Most atheists, I assume, believe that adultery is immoral yet humanism implies that adultery increases the chances for more humans.  Therefore, adultery is immoral to atheism and moral to humanists.  This is a paradox. 

I hope you were joking <.<

Actually, Atheists have time and time again been proven more “moral” by Theists, even by Theistic standards.

I’m not saying ALL atheists are squeaky-clean, but generally speaking, atheists keep to themselves or use science to discuss things scientifically.

No, I wasn’t joking.  I’m not challenging atheists, I’m challenging atheism.  There are too many environmental variables to account for in claiming atheists are more moral than theists.  I respect the point of your reply but it can be argued until the oceans dry up.

If I understand you correctly and we are talking in terms of how people apply technology to say that atheism is moral or immoral, then my point remains because people apply religious text for immoral acts far more frequently than an atheist will employ science to immoral actions, and, in fact, theists use the fruits of scientific labor to both persecute (see: Dark Ages and Modern times, from murder to ostracism) and circumvent science as well as the idea collective morality. For example: A radical blowing up a church is not science being immoral, that is theistic immorality. An army of God invading a nation simply because they believe the land to be theirs is still theistic action, even if they use the tools of science. Simply put: Atheism avoids immorality because it IS immorality. Theists circumvent morality because God allows them to justify immorality as morality. Is that a little bit clearer?

As for your statement on humanism: of course! At our very core, marriage is a useless institution (whoa whoa whoa, don’t even think about assuming I don’t believe marriage is good) because it inhibits the survival of our species as it limits the number of humans (Survival by numbers). So why is marriage so common? Because we have evolved with a frontal lobe that allows us to reason logically within our society’s rules which constantly encourage cooperation and responsibility. In fact, it is because of theism that marriage is so popular as theism has taken root everywhere. Now, to counter humanism, the union of man and woman caring for the child yields better, more efficient, more survivable humans which progresses the species even further than numbers alone. Marriage is simply the evolved idea that quality is better than quantity, if we’re talking about theoretical humanism. wink

(Btw, that chart was very good)

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If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter
—George Washington

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Posted: 02 August 2008 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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JHuber - 01 August 2008 11:18 PM

No, I wasn’t joking.  I’m not challenging atheists, I’m challenging atheism.  There are too many environmental variables to account for in claiming atheists are more moral than theists.  I respect the point of your reply but it can be argued until the oceans dry up.

The argument is based on experience.

http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/mmoh.htm

“Somehow word of William’s plan (to not pray) got to the school board before he got to class the next day, and the principle locked the door of William’s classroom and preventing William from joining his classmates inside. (Can you imagine?!) For the next week, William was bodily, physically prevented from attending class in the morning, as teachers and board members ambushed him in the hallways and physically restrained him from attending class.

Until one day he managed to evade the teachers by out-sprinting them, and attended morning class. When the ritual was about to be enacted, he stood up and objected.

This was the day the beatings, death threats, vandalisms, economic sanctions, and terrorism started. William was beaten by his school mates constantly, while the school board and his teachers did nothing. One day he was beaten by about a dozen boys while the principal himself stood no more than twenty feet away, saying and doing nothing. When his mother picked him up from school, his face and shirt were covered in dried blood.

A lynch mob of boys showed up at the Murray house, demanding that Madalyn “give up” William to the mob, which of course she refused. The Police Department was given the names of the boys who were beating William and making death threats, but they did nothing.

The Murray house and car was constantly vandalized. They were spat upon when they went out in public. They were called all manner of vile names”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madalyn_Murray_O’Hair

“O’Hair was the voice and face of atheism in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s and, therefore, was a highly controversial figure. Her son, William, described her as, “profane and vulgar,” and said his mother had several grotesque statues of mating animals displayed in her home. In a 1965 interview with Playboy, she claimed religion was “a crutch” and an “irrational reliance on superstitions and supernatural nonsense.”

In the same Playboy interview, O’Hair gave a lengthy list of alleged incidents of harassment, intimidation and even death threats against her and her family for her views. She read several profane letters she received in the mail, with content including one that said, “You will be killed before too long. Or maybe your pretty little baby boy. The queer-looking bastard. You are a bitch and your son is a bastard.” In response, O’Hair told the interviewer, “Isn’t that lovely? Christine Jorgensen had to go to Sweden for an operation, but me they’ll fix with faith – painlessly and for nothing.” She stated that she left Baltimore not from fear of prosecution for assaulting police officers, but because of persecution from Baltimore residents, including receipt of mail containing photos smeared with feces, the strangulation of her son Bill’s pet kitten, and the stoning of her home by neighborhood residents, which she claimed caused her father’s fatal heart attack.”

As a side note, I used to assume that Mr (Fred) Rogers was an atheist because he was such a nice, kind man. I was surprised to find out he was an ordained Presbyterian minister. If only they were all like him.

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Posted: 02 August 2008 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I want to see the argument for objective morality. I cant even find an explanation for that argument ... other than god or some other supernatural explanation. I want a naturalist object morality.

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Posted: 02 August 2008 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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danlhinz - 02 August 2008 05:36 PM

I want to see the argument for objective morality. I cant even find an explanation for that argument ... other than god or some other supernatural explanation. I want a naturalist object morality.

ISTM it is composed of equal parts of self interest and empathy.

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Posted: 02 August 2008 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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danlhinz - 02 August 2008 05:36 PM

I want to see the argument for objective morality. I cant even find an explanation for that argument ... other than god or some other supernatural explanation. I want a naturalist object morality.

There has been a lot of work on morality from within a broadly naturalist perspective. One place to begin is HERE, although one can also simply learn about utilitarianism/consequentialism, Kantianism or Aristotelian ethics.

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Posted: 02 August 2008 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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dougsmith - 02 August 2008 08:03 PM
danlhinz - 02 August 2008 05:36 PM

I want to see the argument for objective morality. I cant even find an explanation for that argument ... other than god or some other supernatural explanation. I want a naturalist object morality.

There has been a lot of work on morality from within a broadly naturalist perspective. One place to begin is HERE, although one can also simply learn about utilitarianism/consequentialism, Kantianism or Aristotelian ethics.

I consider my self utilitarian, but I do not think it is objective. Some people may say that actions that have the best consequences do not make the most moral philosophy.

I can not do a scientific experiment showing that one philosophy is better then the other without first measuring it by some “values” i can not scientifically prove those values to be the right ones. I will remain utilitarian but that is because of my personal value of wanting the “best consequences” I cannot prove that wanting the best consequences is the best value.

The problem seems to be that all value systems require a value that requires an infinite regress, circular logic, or begs the question.

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Posted: 03 August 2008 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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danlhinz - 02 August 2008 08:50 PM

I consider my self utilitarian, but I do not think it is objective. Some people may say that actions that have the best consequences do not make the most moral philosophy.

Well, you may be right that utilitarianism isn’t the correct moral philosophy, but that wouldn’t be because people disagree with it. People disagree about all sorts of things, and often those who disagree are wrong. (E.g., about evolution and creationism). And neither is it the case that universal agreement guarantees accuracy. So leave aside the question as to whether or not people agree with it.

Assuming we can come up with some objective gauge of pleasure and pain (perhaps by some sort of neuroscience), it looks to me like utilitarianism could potentially provide us with objective criteria for right and wrong actions. Again, these might not be the right criteria, but at least they would be objective.

danlhinz - 02 August 2008 08:50 PM

I can not do a scientific experiment showing that one philosophy is better then the other without first measuring it by some “values” i can not scientifically prove those values to be the right ones. I will remain utilitarian but that is because of my personal value of wanting the “best consequences” I cannot prove that wanting the best consequences is the best value.

The problem seems to be that all value systems require a value that requires an infinite regress, circular logic, or begs the question.

There is a gap between “is” and “ought”. If you are looking for some sort of description of the way the world is to tell you how you ought to act, you will never find it. So yes, any ethical system depends on certain basic facts which must themselves be self-supporting. But the same is true of any logical system. Deductive and inductive logic depend upon certain axioms which themselves cannot be called into question from within the system, and which cannot be supported by anything from outside, either. If you want to question why Modus ponens is true, there is nothing that can be said to support it that does not involve, in your words “an infinite regress, circular logic, or begg[ing] the question”.

So moral logic, if there is such, is in exactly the same position as is any other form of logic.

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