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Absurdity of Morality Apart From God

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
    I find it odd you're willing to segregate ideology and practice when it comes to communism and Stalin but you're not willing to do the same for Christianity.
    Without necessarily agreeing I'm doing this, I think it's worth noting that there are significant differences.

    When talking about Communism, we're largely doing it from the perspective of trying to design our own political system. We're thinking about what the optimal political system might be and whether our countries' current systems could be improved by the addition of any new ideas of principles. Political systems are able to be changed and tinkered with fairly easily, and one could easily imagine some Western nation introducing, for example, the socialist idea of democracy in the workplace, and having employees automatically own shares in the businesses they worked at and getting to vote on the senior management etc. Or they might implement tax-payer funded universal healthcare. In general, single ideas and single laws can easily be taken from one political system and slotted into another to create a hybrid. So when we look at Communism in the USSR we tend to not be particularly interested in repeating the whole of it, but instead looking at the details of "what worked and what didn't? What might we want to retain and what might we want to reject?" In that context an analysis of "Stalin killed people, therefore all possible forms of communism and every single idea contained therein is evil" is... just moronic. It's not an interesting nor intelligent thing to say.

    When we're talking about Christianity it's different. Christians worldwide largely believe whatever it is they personally believe, and virtually nothing any of us say is likely to change that. So instead of designing and optimizing a system like is the case with political science, when we look at Christianity, we're studying a phenomena we don't have much control over. So it's more interesting and useful to look at what the effects of that phenomena have been in the past and what sort of behaviors it creates. Usually the question being asked in a secular or apologetics context is not "what changes would be make to optimize Christianity?" but something like "is Christianity, as it exists in the present, a beneficial or harmful force in society?" The questions tend to presume an inability to directly alter Christianity and focus on assessing it as it currently exists or has existed in the past (i.e. a present and past focus), while political science discussions tend to focus on the future and on optimizing our political systems by the inclusion of specific ideas and thus presuppose the ability to be very selective about what ideas we do or don't include (i.e. a future focus). The different time-focuses of those discussions mean historical events tend to be more relevant in discussions on Christianity and it's history and less relevant in discussions on possible communist systems.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Tassman View Post

      Scientific FACTS are NOT “interpreted”, they are falsified or verified.

      The human animal is a primate, this is not in dispute scientifically.

      “Primate, in zoology, any mammal of the group that includes the lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans. The order Primates, with its 300 or more species, is the third most diverse order of mammals, after rodents (Rodentia) and bats (Chiroptera)”.

      https://www.britannica.com/animal/primate-mammal

      “Human” is NOT an abstract concept. See above.

      This is all based upon category errors.

      The "pre-scientific era" is NOT a myth, it is demonstrable fact of the state of knowledge of the natural world prior to the emergence of modern science during the Renaissance. “The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed the views of society about nature”. Wikipedia
      I agree---but

      --If "facts" are not interpreted---then how did scientific racism emerge?
      Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.[1][2][3][4] Historically, scientific racism received credence throughout the scientific community, but it is no longer considered scientific.[2][3] Dividing humankind into biologically distinct groups is sometimes called racialism, race realism, or race science by its proponents.

      Scientific racism employs anthropology (notably physical anthropology), anthropometry, craniometry, and other disciplines or pseudo-disciplines, in proposing anthropological typologies supporting the classification of human populations into physically discrete human races, some of which might be asserted to be superior or inferior to others. Scientific racism was common during the period from the 1600s to the end of World War II
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism

      --"empirical evidence" was interpreted so that it justified division and "classification of human populations"
      the same way that landmasses on earth are divided and classified into "Nations"....these are "ideas" ---toolkits which human beings use to make sense of the world.

      --The classifications of primates and rodents are also "ideas" . Some say we are all "rodents"---
      Mice and men share about 97.5 per cent of their working DNA, just one per cent less than chimps and humans. The new estimate is based on the comparison of mouse chromosome 16 with human DNA.

      The new work suggests that neither genome has changed much since we shared a common ancestor 100 million years ago.


      Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article...#ixzz6ndd6X0rA

      --if we are all rodents, why (on what basis), does science place different value on rodent and human?

      Renaissance (1300 CE)---Yes---this is one story---and I do not disagree----BUT...the Renaissance would not have occurred without the "scientific revolution" of the Islamicate period....which brought---among other things---the scientific method and its instruments....
      ...and...the Islamicate period owes a debt to the previous civilizations for example...in medicine....

      Ancient Indian medicine, or the Vedic tradition, encouraged the balance of body, mind and spirit between 3000 B.C.E. to about 800 B.C.E. They had knowledge of surgery and even the beginnings of plastic surgery were founded here.[11]

      Ancient Egyptian medicine was quite advanced for c. 2500 B.C.E. They had a solid understanding of anatomy because human dissection did not have the taboo much later Christian societies experienced.[11] There are a few medical texts that have been preserved to the present that help us understand the medical practices of ancient Egypt.


      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimaristan

      --Bimaristan = hospital.
      Like modern hospitals, these 9th century hospitals were sectioned according to patient needs and the hospitals also had pharamacy and surgeries...etc.

      Islamic hospitals were subdivided into departments for surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, mental illness, and systemic diseases. The systemic disease department was designated for general illnesses that did not fall into categories of other departments.[24] In some hospitals, they were further divided into subsections to address the needs of the patient depending on the symptoms. Examples include, but are not limited to, infections, fevers, and digestive issues. Hospital staff was not limited to physicians. Much like today's hospitals, they also relied on pharmacists, nurses, sanitary inspectors, supervising specialists, secretaries, and superintendents. The superintendents, or in Arabic, sa'ur, ensured that hospitals met certain standards in addition to managing the entire hospital institution.[24] Pharmacists produced drugs as means for treatment of the hospitals' patients; they relied on a knowledge of chemistry,
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimaristan



      also---Yes humans are more intelligent/creative....but other animals are "superhuman"...for example, a hippo has far more muscle than humans, elephants have better hearing, a horse runs faster, an eagle has better vision....etc....our categorizations and divisions are a toolkit to make sense of the world and therefore these ideas are based on OUR convenience/perceptions of the world.

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by siam View Post

        I agree---but

        --If "facts" are not interpreted---then how did scientific racism emerge?
        [I]Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.[1][2][3][4] Historically, scientific racism received credence throughout the scientific community, but it is no longer considered scientific.[2][3] Dividing humankind into biologically distinct groups is sometimes called racialism, race realism, or race science by its proponents.
        There is no “scientific racism” other than the pseudo-scientific attempts of the likes of Hitler or the KKK to justify discrimination based upon bogus concepts of racial hierarchy. Racism originated as tribalism, whereby human evolution (and that of all primates) began as small groups. This as opposed to the mass societies which developed in later eras and now dominate worldwide. But where sadly, prejudice and discrimination are still directed against those who are different.

        “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Starlight View Post
          Indeed, I live in a pretty non-religious country which doesn't even give lip-service to religion the way Norway does - about 50% of people in the census here report no religion, and all our elected leaders in the past 20 years have been openly non-religious. And yet, here in New Zealand, we routinely rank the least corrupt nation on earth, and tend to be passionate about human rights, peace, equality, etc. I would say we are extremely moral as a nation, holding very strong values, and that the vast majority of people here think in (negative) moral terms when they think / read about the US currently.

          I was thinking recently about what exactly the moral values dominant in New Zealand tend to be, and I think the answers that most readily come to mind are "kindness" and "fairness".

          And an American historian who visited New Zealand was so shocked during our elections by how the word "fairness" was in the mouths of every politician where he was used to hearing the word "freedom" from US politicians, that he wrote a book about it:
          I couldn't agree more about everything you say re the estimable NZ. It's right up there with the Scandinavian countries and Australia (ahem) on the Happiness Index and the Human Development Index in terms of community economic equity and social fairness.

          I also think "be considerate of others" and "equality" are solid contenders for core New Zealand moral values, but I think those are pretty much covered within the concepts of kindness and fairness and are other ways of saying the same thing.

          One way in the past I've framed the basics of moral thinking are exactly against this evolutionary background of survival. In survival terms it's an absolutely key issue on encountering another human whether that person is going to attack / hurt you or help you. Due to evolution that threat-assessment is automatically done by the brain at a level so fundamental that even those who would want to avoid it cannot. Even those who stick their fingers in their ears and chant "I don't believe in athiestic morality" nonetheless automatically always assess everyone around them for positive/negative intentions toward others, searching out the threats, and narrowing in on those who are detect as not valuing others as possible threats. Working out who has positive intentions toward you and wants to help you, and working out those with negative intentions who want to hurt you, is just something humans fundamentally do and is a product of evolution.

          Everyone, consciously or subconsciously, spends quite a lot of brainpower trying to gauge the intentions and values of others and searching out whether they are positive or negative towards you and others around you. Since I would tend to say that "morality" is nothing but "valuing others" I would describe this as a 'moral assessment' of others that everyone makes day in and day other, even people who don't want to call valuing others as "morality" still do this assessment. It's not something they can escape from just because they make a thread to try to pretend atheists can't have morality. Such assessments of the values and intentions of others are utterly intrinsic to human nature as a product of evolution in a competitive and aggressive environment which has created structures in the human brain that automatically assess others for positive/negative intentions and values toward others. That is why valuing others is a fundamental universal moral code, which everyone automatically checks for adherence to. Even those who choose to call something else 'morality' still check for adherence to this moral code, they can't help but do so. And it is, of course, rational that they do so, because early detection of someone with negative intentions toward you is obviously in one's self-interest, and equally detection of someone with positive intentions toward you can bring benefits
          Oh certainly, in survival terms it's an absolutely key issue on encountering another human whether or not that person is going to harm you. This also applies to other animals or creatures - or even in assessing whether or not a creek or risky natural formation is safe to negotiate.

          The evolutionary basis of morality is in my view is a product of Natural Selection in as much as it lends itself to our survival as a species – as opposed to individual survival. We developed the capacity for cooperation, altruism and empathy because recognizing the pain and hurt in others stops us, for the most part, from harming them. Unless our empathy and communal bond is broken in some way, it helps us avoid killing each other and allows us to value life and maintain the cohesive society essential for our survival as a social species.








          “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

          Comment


          • #95
            Originally posted by Starlight View Post
            Humans can, of course, have different opinions about what has worth. But all attributions of worth come from humans [assuming no alien civilizations for a moment]. So if you didn't have humans there wouldn't be any attributions of worth. So to the extent that anything in the universe is viewed as having worth that is a product of humans viewing it as having worth to them.

            In your own worldview attributions of worth can come from God as well. That is simply adding one being with a mind to billions of beings with a mind who also attribute worth. So your own addition of God adds a negligible amount to the picture.

            Beings with minds are the ones who attribute worth to things and thus the sources of the idea of worth. If none of them existed, the universe would be worthless/meaningless, but once one of them is in the universe and finding worth and meaning in things, then worth and meaning exist because they're creating it.

            I think your confusion is arising because you're getting hung up on attributions of worth as compared to 'objective' worth. 'Objective' worth doesn't exist, period. It's a complete fantasy on your part, and it doesn't even make sense in English to speak about it. Worth is a relational quality that exists between two things - a mind attributing worth and the object to which it is being attributed. Someone attributing worth to something creates worth because worth is the value that object has within the mind of that person. Humans thus create worth by attributing worth to things, as would God if he were to exist. Saying things are 'worthless' if there are people attributing worth to them is a factually false statement, unless you mean it is worthless to you.
            How does any of this get you to inherent worth? Inherent worth would not depend on differing value judgements. In my world the Jewish child had worth whether the Nazis or the child herself didn't assign value.That is because it is grounded in God's immutable moral character. A certain and immovable reality.
            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by seer View Post
              How does any of this get you to inherent worth?
              It depends on the meaning of inherent. In previous discussions I have asked what 'inherent' means in this context, and been told 'intrinsic' and directed to a philosophy encyclopedia discussing intrinsic vs extrinsic value which explains that some things have extrinsic value because they are given value by another, whilst things that give them that value have intrinsic value. Hence, if humans are the ones giving extrinsic value to other things in the world, they have intrinsic value in themselves.

              Inherent worth would not depend on differing value judgements.
              It's a fact that humans ascribe value to things. That fact doesn't depend on different value judgments. Everyone agrees that humans perform such ascriptions of value, and hence agree that valuations originate with humans.

              That is because it is grounded in God's immutable moral character.

              So you reject human personal views because they're subjective and arbitrary, only to arbitrarily and subjectively seize on God's personal views. You don't seem to realize that's just as subjective as any other.

              Comment


              • #97
                Originally posted by seer View Post

                How does any of this get you to inherent worth? Inherent worth would not depend on differing value judgements. In my world the Jewish child had worth whether the Nazis or the child herself didn't assign value.That is because it is grounded in God's immutable moral character. A certain and immovable reality.
                If humans had inherent worth, they would have worth independent of God's existence. Human worth being a product of God's mind means it's subjective, thus not objective nor inherent.
                Last edited by Diogenes; 02-27-2021, 03:18 PM.
                “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

                -Ghandi (Disputed)

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                  It depends on the meaning of inherent. In previous discussions I have asked what 'inherent' means in this context, and been told 'intrinsic' and directed to a philosophy encyclopedia discussing intrinsic vs extrinsic value which explains that some things have extrinsic value because they are given value by another, whilst things that give them that value have intrinsic value. Hence, if humans are the ones giving extrinsic value to other things in the world, they have intrinsic value in themselves.
                  That is silly, you are just making stuff up. How does the fact that we can extrinsically value something show that we have inherent value? It doesn't.

                  So you reject human personal views because they're subjective and arbitrary, only to arbitrarily and subjectively seize on God's personal views. You don't seem to realize that's just as subjective as any other.
                  How would God's view be arbitrary? It would be the most non arbitrary absolute thing possible.

                  Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                    If humans had inherent worth, they would have worth independent of God's existence. Human worth being a product of God's mind means it's subjective, thus not objective nor inherent.
                    I did not bring up the inherent worth thing - Star did. I have said that man's worth is transcendent and absolute since it depends on God's immutable character.
                    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by seer View Post
                      That is silly, you are just making stuff up. How does the fact that we can extrinsically value something show that we have inherent value?
                      Let's be very clear that the person making silly stuff up here is you. You keep talking "inherent value" as if it's obviously a real thing, when you are just totally making it up.

                      How would God's view be arbitrary?
                      I have my views, my neighbor has his views, and God has his views. God, if he exists, is simply one mind among many. About the only difference is that he has a bigger stick. If you want to say "God will hurt you if you don't pay attention to his views", well okay, that's not very nice but it might be a reason to care about his views. Otherwise his views don't matter a whit more than my neighbor's.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                        Let's be very clear that the person making silly stuff up here is you. You keep talking "inherent value" as if it's obviously a real thing, when you are just totally making it up.
                        Where did I say anything about inherent value except in response to you? You are the one making the case for inherent value - and badly...

                        I have my views, my neighbor has his views, and God has his views. God, if he exists, is simply one mind among many. About the only difference is that he has a bigger stick. If you want to say "God will hurt you if you don't pay attention to his views", well okay, that's not very nice but it might be a reason to care about his views. Otherwise his views don't matter a whit more than my neighbor's.
                        Except God's view of our worth is absolute and certain, so our worth is absolute and certain.
                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                          Norway no longer has Norse value system due to Christianity. Attributing Norway's current state to lack of religiosity is, at the least, ignorance.
                          Merely noting the fact that the largely irreligious Norway – as with many other irreligious nations – rank higher on the UN Human Development Index and Human Development Report in terms of social justice and financial equity than overtly religious nations such as the USA.

                          I'm not discounting human social evolution, but of cultures I listed, Christianity has the most equality. Aristotle was fine with Greek slavery. Seneca was fine with Roman slavery. Hinduism has a caste system. Confucianism had relational hierarchies. Christianity had Gregory of Nyssa who was not fine with slavery. The New Testament had a prominent female merchant and a deaconess.
                          So has Christianity been fine with slavery - for centuries: “Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

                          And despite the Christian deaconess and female merchant, women have been subjugated to men throughout most of Christian history: Ephesians 5:22 “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord”.

                          Equality has been despite Christianity, NOT because of it.

                          Please, though, keep not addressing the OP.
                          Already addressed. Morality is rational in terms of survival of the human species as a social animal – the gods came later.
                          “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                            Already addressed. Morality is rational in terms of survival of the human species as a social animal – the gods came later
                            I am going to take issue with that comment. It is highly possible that religious beliefs [as in beliefs in forces above and beyond human control] are linked to early humans and the need for survival and subsistence. Nor do we have the slightest idea what the "morality" of our distant forebears might have been. Various early human clans may have practised behaviours that we now consider highly immoral.

                            However, these might have been deemed necessary for the survival of the group.
                            "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                              So has Christianity been fine with slavery - for centuries: “Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.
                              You keep acting like slavery is immoral, when its moral category is only a matter of opinion. In other words your objection is meaningless.

                              Last edited by seer; 02-28-2021, 06:22 AM.
                              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                                Merely noting the fact that the largely irreligious Norway – as with many other irreligious nations – rank higher on the UN Human Development Index and Human Development Report in terms of social justice and financial equity than overtly religious nations such as the USA.

                                Correlation =/= causation. If you want an actual "overtly religious nation", you'll have to go to the Middle East (sans Israel), Africa, and Asia.



                                So has Christianity been fine with slavery - for centuries: “Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

                                And right after that verse:

                                23 Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,[k]24 since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve[l] the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.

                                k. Colossians 3:23 Gk not for men
                                l. Colossians 3:24 Or you are slaves of, or be slaves of
                                Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                                And despite the Christian deaconess and female merchant, women have been subjugated to men throughout most of Christian history:
                                Humans aren't very good at ideological constancy.



                                Ephesians 5:22 “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord”.



                                For the context, again:

                                21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

                                22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

                                25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body.[b]31 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.


                                b. Ephesians 5:30 Other ancient authorities add of his flesh and of his bones

                                The dynamic in the Bible isn't mere submission. It's much more complex and more spiritual than temporal.

                                But yeah, let's cherry-pick the Bible to support our position, just like the people we're complaining about.
                                “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

                                -Ghandi (Disputed)

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