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I - an atheist - have an objective standard for Good

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  • I - an atheist - have an objective standard for Good

    "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

    Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

    Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

    This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
    Last edited by Whateverman; 07-26-2020, 11:15 AM.
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
    "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

    Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

    Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

    This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
    You are defining good by the removal of evil (in this case suffering).
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    • #3
      It would be easier to simply assert that "moral good" is a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics, so our intuitive sense of objective morality is not particularly difficult for the atheist to account for. Where the atheist runs face first into a philosophical brick wall is when he tries to move from "objective morality exists" to "therefore, we are obligated to act morally".
      Last edited by Mountain Man; 07-26-2020, 11:57 AM.
      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

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      • #4
        Who gets to determine what is necessary or unnecessary?

        What if someone for example, thinks someone is suffering because they have a terminal disease that can drag on for years. If they kill them, they can end his suffering. So is murder good in that case?

        What if someone is suffering unconsciously? Say they are in a coma and wasting away on life support. Is it good to kill them?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
          "Good" is that which reduces the unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures. The unnecessary suffering of conscious creatures is therefore "Evil".

          Suffering can be measured by MRI and other diagnostic technologies

          Necessity should be obvious. Someone who takes a nasty tasting medicine has suffered a bit, but they had to take the medicine in order to get better. Someone who is robbed suffers unnecessarily, because the thief could have gotten the money via some other slower method.

          This standard is objective in that anyone with access to the person and the aforementioned technology can look to see whether the person's suffering has lessened, and therefore, whether Good exists. The observer doesn't need to accept the standard as their own. All they need is to understand this standard, and to recognize when it's been met.
          So "good" is any action which is ultimately pleasing to the subject as opposed to "evil" which is any action which is ultimately displeasing to the subject. I would agree with that and I think that is basically in agreement with what you're saying? Yes?

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          • #6
            I believe God speaks to every individual by means of their conscience. Conscience has to do only with what is morally right and wrong. So yes the atheist is able to understand a degree of objective morality. It is built into every human whether we like it or not.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              Who gets to determine what is necessary or unnecessary?
              Anyone with a dictionary, and a knowledge of whether some less harmful/painful option exists.

              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              What if someone for example, thinks someone is suffering because they have a terminal disease that can drag on for years. If they kill them, they can end his suffering. So is murder good in that case?
              If we define murder as an illegal/unjust killing, then the answer becomes a question of whether the diseased person or their friends and family agree that the killing is justified. If they agree with the killer, then any suffering caused by the killing is necessary (or at least acceptable). If they don't, the caused suffering was unnecessary - and thus the killing was murder / evil.

              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              What if someone is suffering unconsciously? Say they are in a coma and wasting away on life support. Is it good to kill them?
              Is the suffering unnecessary? I can't tell from your scenario.
              I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Esther View Post
                I believe God speaks to every individual by means of their conscience. Conscience has to do only with what is morally right and wrong. So yes the atheist is able to understand a degree of objective morality. It is built into every human whether we like it or not.
                Thank you, Esther.

                As an atheist, I don't necessarily agree with everything you wrote - but that's unimportant. I created this thread because I've been lectured several times by Christians here saying that I don't have any objective standards for right/wrong, good/bad. You and I don't have to agree on the details, but as long as we both recognize their claim about me is wrong, I'm satisfied.
                I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JimL View Post
                  So "good" is any action which is ultimately pleasing to the subject as opposed to "evil" which is any action which is ultimately displeasing to the subject.
                  No. I talked about suffering, not pleasure.

                  Any action/event which causes me to suffer unnecessarily is evil. Anything which prevents that unnecessary suffering is good.

                  Let's do a few shots of Wild Turkey 101. It's been a while since I drank whiskey like that, so at least the first shot is going to be painful. That suffering will have been necessary, since I'm not aware of any other method of consuming shots of 101.

                  If someone literally forces me (against my will) to do shots at gun point, that suffering will have been unnecessary.
                  I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    It would be easier to simply assert that "moral good" is a brute fact of nature, like the laws of physics, so our intuitive sense of objective morality is not particularly difficult for the atheist to account for.
                    Just because we assert something doesn't make it so. I see no evidence that the moral good is a brute fact of nature, so...

                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    Where the atheist runs face first into a philosophical brick wall is when he tries to move from "objective morality exists" to "therefore, we are obligated to act morally".
                    Different thread.
                    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 37818 View Post
                      You are defining good by the removal of evil (in this case suffering).
                      In a way, yes.

                      Rather than defining it like that, though, I'm simply providing an objective standard for it; I'm not claiming that good is only the removal of unnecessary evil...
                      Last edited by Whateverman; 07-26-2020, 04:55 PM.
                      I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
                        No. I talked about suffering, not pleasure.

                        Any action/event which causes me to suffer unnecessarily is evil. Anything which prevents that unnecessary suffering is good.

                        Let's do a few shots of Wild Turkey 101. It's been a while since I drank whiskey like that, so at least the first shot is going to be painful. That suffering will have been necessary, since I'm not aware of any other method of consuming shots of 101.

                        If someone literally forces me (against my will) to do shots at gun point, that suffering will have been unnecessary.
                        Gotcha. I don't think there is much to disagree with there or that I can refute your concept, other than to say that I'm not sure I would define it as an objective standard, such as a natural or supernatural law. Good and evil in this sense would just be the terms we use to define the causes of suffering, and the preventions of the causes of suffering.
                        Last edited by JimL; 07-26-2020, 05:56 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
                          Different thread.
                          Not all. Even if I concede that atheists can account for the existence of objective morality (how they get there is largely irrelevant), then what ground have you gained when you can't also show that, therefore, humans are obligated to act morally?
                          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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JimL View Post
                            Gotcha. I don't think there is much to disagree with there or that I can refute your concept, other than to say that I'm not sure I would define it as an objective standard, such as a natural or supernatural law.
                            The word "objective" is pretty nebulous, so you were right to question this. I'm using the word as it's found in a dictionary; here's an example:
                            (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
                            "historians try to be objective and impartial"

                            The speed limit on a highway is objective, in that it's written down and displayed for everyone to see. Human opinions are not a part of how fast you can travel on it legally. In the same sense, my standard for goodness - the thing I'm told I can't have - can be seen by anyone and understood even if they don't accept the standard themselves.

                            It's not objective in the sense of it being universal/absolute, and it's not objective in terms of final authority, etc.
                            Last edited by Whateverman; 07-26-2020, 07:57 PM.
                            I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              Not all. Even if I concede that atheists can account for the existence of objective morality (how they get there is largely irrelevant), then what ground have you gained when you can't also show that, therefore, humans are obligated to act morally?
                              I've gained ground in the fact that I've proven wrong the silly claim that atheists can't have an objective standard for good.

                              I've corrected a lie. That's all.
                              I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

                              Comment

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