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  • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

    What you call "instinctive' is actually learned behaviors enforced on us by society. Children for instance, have to be taught to share. It doesn't come naturally, and in fact, it's something that even many adults struggle with. Take, for instance, the favorite target of liberals: the rich. They build financial empires on the basis of not sharing their wealth. The question is, if atheism is true, then what moral obligation do they have to do otherwise?
    No. The instinct is innate for a social species such as us to socialize and group together as communities – or tribes. This is true of the human animal as much as for our primate cousins. Rules of the community are based upon the evolution of behavior to survive as cooperative, altruistic social creatures – something we share with other intelligent social animals to a lesser extent.

    “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 Diogenes View Post
      I don't believe that there is a source for good per se as a property, whether that's God, an individual, or society. Humans are social and empathetic creatures, barring neural abnormalities, due to our biological makeup. Humans are also cognitively advanced to understand self-relation. Morality is incoherent outside a relational context. Morality, in that context, is a matter social cohesion, interpersonal well-being, and
      well-being. If you want to add in man's relation to a deity and religious cleanliness, that's fine. Again, that's still a relational context.
      I'm not a moral realist.
      I don't see anything to object to in your statement about morality, but I'm somewhat confused by the follow-up that you reject moral realism. I'll fully admit that when it comes to discussions of morality I'm weak on the technical terms, but often there seems to me to be ambiguity in the technical terminology.

      I see relational properties as real properties. Let me give an example from physics: Distance is a relational property regarding two points in space-time. Distance is very real. But because the Theory of Relativity found there is no absolute frame of reference, distance takes on a defined value when you give an observer frame of reference and specify two points in spacetime which then have a distance relation between them. Being relational is thus not contradictory with being real - the opposite in fact. It is relational property of two real objects, and therefore a 'real thing'.

      I accept you could say distance is not 'real' in the sense of being able to touch it, like a rock is 'real'. But distance is 'real' in the sense it can be measured, used, calculated, argued over, and we accept that one person's claim about the distance between two objects might be objectively right or wrong and that it can be tested by empirical tests. Someone who wrote threads on forums about how we can't use distance because its subjective and not real, would be laughed at. Distance is real and objective in some sort of meaningfully true sense of those words, even if not in the same way as a rock is.

      To my mind, morality is like distance - a real relational property. It, as you said, exists in a relational context and refers to interpersonal well-being. I don't see why that means you're not a moral realist, unless to you 'moral realism' requires the existence of morality to be real in the sense that a rock is real, and that perhaps it is floating somewhere in space like a rock that perhaps a spaceship might crash into (which would seem absurd, though I realize Plato's Forms border on this). But to me, because I liken morality to distance and see both as being measures of a relation between things, I don't like terminology suggesting it doesn't really exist, or that in and of itself its not objective (obviously distance can be measured in a huge variety of types of units (yards, meters, light years) and is subjective in that sense, and morality is the same and admits all sorts of measurement choices, but the thing being measured does itself exist and is a real relation between real objects that objectively exists).

      Comment


      • I always confused by the argument that if there is not some form of perfect lawmaker or deity with which to make an objective moral standard (though it is hard to work out what objective even means in this sense, other than it sounds important), then no morality makes sense or can be ignored as and when you feel like it.

        If you think it would be better if there was some perfect deity establishing morality, rather than it being a product of social mammals in wider society or whatever - doesn't make it true. You could argue that it would be easier or better, but unless you can show it to be the case then it doesn't mean anything and is simply an argument for the already converted.

        This is why the morality discussions go round and round in circles, because the argument is based on an unproven assumption.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
          To my mind, morality is like distance - a real relational property. It, as you said, exists in a relational context and refers to interpersonal well-being. I don't see why that means you're not a moral realist, unless to you 'moral realism' requires the existence of morality to be real in the sense that a rock is real, and that perhaps it is floating somewhere in space like a rock that perhaps a spaceship might crash into (which would seem absurd, though I realize Plato's Forms border on this). But to me, because I liken morality to distance and see both as being measures of a relation between things, I don't like terminology suggesting it doesn't really exist, or that in and of itself its not objective (obviously distance can be measured in a huge variety of types of units (yards, meters, light years) and is subjective in that sense, and morality is the same and admits all sorts of measurement choices, but the thing being measured does itself exist and is a real relation between real objects that objectively exists).
          Isn't that kind of the point. How far away is the moon? 238,900 miles? Or 384,400 kilometers? How we measure distance is arbitrary, and tokens we use are subjective. Distance is real, but defined subjectively. Morality is real but also defined subjectively.

          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 eider View Post
            My community will answer 'yes' as I would.
            Your answer assumes that one ought to always do what is best for one's community, but on what basis do you make that assumption? I can think of any number of scenarios where it would be in one's own best interests to act in a way that is not best for their community. And why shouldn't they? What obligation do they have to do otherwise?
            Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
            But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
            Than a fool in the eyes of God


            From "Fools Gold" by Petra

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Stoic View Post
              Similarly, when I run into someone who thinks that morality couldn't exist without a God...
              I never said that morality can't exist without a God. Indeed, I would be willing, for the sake of argument, to accept the premise that objective morality exists as a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics. What I actually said is that moral obligation can not exist without a supreme moral lawgiver, who I happen to believe is God, because what moral obligation could possibly exist in a universe that is governed entirely by random natural forces? Other people might expect you to act a certain way -- for instance, if you had an excess of something they needed, they would expect you to share -- but what if you act otherwise? In an atheistic universe, there can be no rule that says you ought to act one way as opposed to another.

              For example, suppose you saw an atheist friend of yours stealing money. You scold him saying, "Dude! Stealing is objectively immoral!" He smiles and says, "Yes, it is objectively immoral, but since I have no obligation to only do what is objectively moral, I steal with a clear conscience."
              Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
              But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
              Than a fool in the eyes of God


              From "Fools Gold" by Petra

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                Your answer assumes that one ought to always do what is best for one's community, but on what basis do you make that assumption? I can think of any number of scenarios where it would be in one's own best interests to act in a way that is not best for their community. And why shouldn't they? What obligation do they have to do otherwise?
                Would you like to give an example.?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                  No. The instinct is innate for a social species such as us to socialize and group together as communities – or tribes. This is true of the human animal as much as for our primate cousins. Rules of the community are based upon the evolution of behavior to survive as cooperative, altruistic social creatures – something we share with other intelligent social animals to a lesser extent.
                  No, it is not innate. Children need to be taught to share, to tell the truth, to cooperate with others, etc.

                  But even if you want to reject this premise, we can all think of times in our lives when our first inclination is to put our own interests ahead of others. The question is, what obligation do we have to reject that inclination?
                  Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                  But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                  Than a fool in the eyes of God


                  From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                    No, it is not innate. Children need to be taught to share, to tell the truth, to cooperate with others, etc.
                    How true. I have three young grand children living in my house.
                    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 Mountain Man View Post
                      I never said that morality can't exist without a God. Indeed, I would be willing, for the sake of argument, to accept the premise that objective morality exists as a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics. What I actually said is that moral obligation can not exist without a supreme moral lawgiver, who I happen to believe is God, because what moral obligation could possibly exist in a universe that is governed entirely by random natural forces? Other people might expect you to act a certain way -- for instance, if you had an excess of something they needed, they would expect you to share -- but what if you act otherwise? In an atheistic universe, there can be no rule that says you ought to act one way as opposed to another.

                      For example, suppose you saw an atheist friend of yours stealing money. You scold him saying, "Dude! Stealing is objectively immoral!" He smiles and says, "Yes, it is objectively immoral, but since I have no obligation to only do what is objectively moral, I steal with a clear conscience."
                      Now it seems that you are claiming that society cannot impose moral rules upon its members, which to me seems very obviously wrong, even if morality is purely subjective.

                      Perhaps you could make yourself more clear. Maybe it's the word "obligation" that means something different to each of us.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                        Now it seems that you are claiming that society cannot impose moral rules upon its members, which to me seems very obviously wrong, even if morality is purely subjective.

                        Perhaps you could make yourself more clear. Maybe it's the word "obligation" that means something different to each of us.
                        Society can impose whatever rules it wishes, of course, but what obligates you to follow those rules?

                        As for what moral obligation is, Craig provides, I think, the best answer:

                        [W]e should distinguish between moral values and duties. Values have to do with whether something is good or bad. Duties have to do with whether something is right or wrong. Now you might think at first that this is a distinction without a difference: “good” and “right” mean the same thing, and the same goes for “bad” and “wrong.” But if you think about it, you can see that this isn’t the case. Duty has to do with moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do. But obviously you’re not morally obligated to do something just because it would be good for you to do it. For example, it would be good for you to become a doctor, but you’re not morally obligated to become a doctor. After all, it would also be good for you to become a firefighter or a homemaker or a diplomat, but you can’t do them all. So there’s a difference between good/bad and right/wrong. Good/bad has to do with something’s worth, while right/wrong has to do with something’s being obligatory.

                        https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writ...ments-for-god/

                        [C]onsider the nature of moral obligation. What makes certain actions right or wrong for us? What or who imposes moral duties upon us? Why is it that we ought to do certain things and ought not to do other things? Where does this 'ought' come from? Traditionally, our moral obligations were thought to be laid upon us by God's moral commands. But if we deny God's existence, then it is difficult to make sense of moral duty or right and wrong, as Richard Taylor explains,

                        "A duty is something that is owed . . . . But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as duty in isolation . . . . The idea of political or legal obligation is clear enough . . . . Similarly, the idea of an obligation higher than this, and referred to as moral obligation, is clear enough, provided reference to some lawmaker higher . . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. This does give a clear sense to the claim that our moral obligations are more binding upon us than our political obligations . . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? . . . . the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart form the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone."

                        It follows that moral obligations and right and wrong necessitate God's existence. And certainly we do have such obligations. Speaking recently on a Canadian University campus, I noticed a poster put up by the Sexual Assault & Information Center. It read: "Sexual Assault: No One Has the Right to Abuse a Child, Woman, or Man." Most of us recognize that that statement is evidently true. But the atheist can make no sense of a person's right not to be sexually abused by another. The best answer to the question as to the source of moral obligation is that moral rightness or wrongness consists in agreement or disagreement with the will or commands of a holy, loving God.

                        https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writ...-for-morality/
                        Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                        But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                        Than a fool in the eyes of God


                        From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                          Society can impose whatever rules it wishes, of course, but what obligates you to follow those rules?
                          The same question could be asked about legal obligations too, couldn't it?

                          Society can pass laws against murder, and can threaten me with death or life imprisonment if I violate those laws, but what really obligates me to follow them?

                          Is there no such thing as legal obligation? Do you need a God in order to have legal obligations?

                          As for what moral obligation is, Craig provides, I think, the best answer:

                          [W]e should distinguish between moral values and duties. Values have to do with whether something is good or bad. Duties have to do with whether something is right or wrong. Now you might think at first that this is a distinction without a difference: “good” and “right” mean the same thing, and the same goes for “bad” and “wrong.” But if you think about it, you can see that this isn’t the case. Duty has to do with moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do. But obviously you’re not morally obligated to do something just because it would be good for you to do it. For example, it would be good for you to become a doctor, but you’re not morally obligated to become a doctor. After all, it would also be good for you to become a firefighter or a homemaker or a diplomat, but you can’t do them all. So there’s a difference between good/bad and right/wrong. Good/bad has to do with something’s worth, while right/wrong has to do with something’s being obligatory.

                          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writ...ments-for-god/

                          [C]onsider the nature of moral obligation. What makes certain actions right or wrong for us? What or who imposes moral duties upon us? Why is it that we ought to do certain things and ought not to do other things? Where does this 'ought' come from? Traditionally, our moral obligations were thought to be laid upon us by God's moral commands. But if we deny God's existence, then it is difficult to make sense of moral duty or right and wrong, as Richard Taylor explains,

                          "A duty is something that is owed . . . . But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as duty in isolation . . . . The idea of political or legal obligation is clear enough . . . . Similarly, the idea of an obligation higher than this, and referred to as moral obligation, is clear enough, provided reference to some lawmaker higher . . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. This does give a clear sense to the claim that our moral obligations are more binding upon us than our political obligations . . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? . . . . the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart form the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone."

                          It follows that moral obligations and right and wrong necessitate God's existence. And certainly we do have such obligations. Speaking recently on a Canadian University campus, I noticed a poster put up by the Sexual Assault & Information Center. It read: "Sexual Assault: No One Has the Right to Abuse a Child, Woman, or Man." Most of us recognize that that statement is evidently true. But the atheist can make no sense of a person's right not to be sexually abused by another. The best answer to the question as to the source of moral obligation is that moral rightness or wrongness consists in agreement or disagreement with the will or commands of a holy, loving God.

                          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writ...-for-morality/
                          I have to say that I'm not surprised that Craig thinks that moral obligations could not exist without a God. But that really means no more to me coming from him than it does coming from you.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Stoic View Post
                            The same question could be asked about legal obligations too, couldn't it?

                            Society can pass laws against murder, and can threaten me with death or life imprisonment if I violate those laws, but what really obligates me to follow them?

                            Is there no such thing as legal obligation? Do you need a God in order to have legal obligations?
                            Exactly. What obligation or duty do you have to obey human authorities? Assuming atheism is true, can the random natural forces that created the universe really be a source of moral obligation?

                            (And that's without even getting into the question of which human authorities should you feel obligated to!)
                            Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                            But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                            Than a fool in the eyes of God


                            From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              Exactly. What obligation or duty do you have to obey human authorities? Assuming atheism is true, can the random natural forces that created the universe really be a source of moral obligation?

                              (And that's without even getting into the question of which human authorities should you feel obligated to!)
                              Okay, so you think there needs to be a God in order for legal obligations to exist.

                              I guess there's really nothing more that we need to talk about.

                              Comment


                              • Assuming atheism is true, can the random natural forces that created the universe really be a source of moral obligation?-MM

                                That is a good question.

                                Comment

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