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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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Atheism And Moral Progress

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  • Originally posted by seer View Post
    No Carp, such universal moral law only exists if God exists. Since I believe God exists, I believe said laws exist. That is the bottom line, and we, as always, will devolve into arguing about the existence of God. And we have been through that a number of times.
    You're belief in god and universal objective moral laws isn't evidence that moral laws are universal objective laws punishable by their source. It's understood that it's you're belief, but if you can't produce any evidence for that belief then you are simply pushing your belief. Yes, I know, you'll want to argue that the opposing position has no evidence that morals aren't objectively sourced in a deity either, that we can't prove your assertion false. But we don't need to show that morals are not objective realities, humans are the ones who establish morals, even if they attribute them to god. It is those who attribute morals to an objective source, to a god, who are the ones who need to prove their assertion.
    Last edited by JimL; 09-13-2019, 05:35 PM.

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    • Originally posted by JimL View Post
      And I agree, Carpe. I was just using the golden rule to explain the function of moral principles in general. You don't want someone to murder you, or to rob you, then the moral against those behaviors is an absolute good for you and the society to which you belong.
      Again, your use of "absolute" is not appropriate, IMO, in this context. Philosophically, and in the context of morality, "absolute" essentially means "at all times and places." It refers to a principle that applies everywhere and everywhen without regard to context. As best I can tell, it is essentially interchangable with "universal." We believe the laws of logic and mathematics are "absolute" principles. There is no way of showing that moral principles or the golden rule have such a character. It is true that the "golden rule" appears in most human societies - but there is nothing about the rule that can be shown to have the absolute nature of a logical or mathematical fundamental, AFAIK.
      The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

      I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

      Comment


      • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
        Again, your use of "absolute" is not appropriate, IMO, in this context. Philosophically, and in the context of morality, "absolute" essentially means "at all times and places." It refers to a principle that applies everywhere and everywhen without regard to context. As best I can tell, it is essentially interchangable with "universal." We believe the laws of logic and mathematics are "absolute" principles. There is no way of showing that moral principles or the golden rule have such a character. It is true that the "golden rule" appears in most human societies - but there is nothing about the rule that can be shown to have the absolute nature of a logical or mathematical fundamental, AFAIK.
        I think that there are some morals that are absolute with respect to human societies such as the moral against murdering each other, or robbing each other etc. That's not to say that such morals are objective realities in and of themselves.

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        • Originally posted by seer View Post
          No Carp, such universal moral law only exists if God exists. Since I believe God exists, I believe said laws exist.
          There is no reason why people that don't believe what you believe should accept laws that derive from your unsubstantiated belief. Especially as most people in the world don't...and even those that do can't agree on what constitutes absolute moral law vis-a-vis the bible.
          Last edited by Tassman; 09-14-2019, 01:20 AM.
          “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.

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          • Originally posted by seer View Post
            No, the point is equal rights is just a legal fiction, there is nothing equal in nature. It is make believe.
            'Equal rights' reflect the values of a given society and are given the force of law.

            So what is your point? They were just acting as the evolutionary process created them to act. Why do you dislike what nature produces so much? And no, with materialism there is no evil. Just animals doing what animals do.
            No, they were Christians doing what Christians historically do.
            “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
              'Equal rights' reflect the values of a given society and are given the force of law.
              Right a made up idea - where do you find equal anything in nature?


              No, they were Christians doing what Christians historically do.
              That is just untrue and stupid Tass. The fact is if materialism is true we are only doing what evolutionary process created us to do. As Dawkins says: DNA just is and we dance to its music. No good, no evil just animals doing what animals do...
              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 JimL View Post
                I think that there are some morals that are absolute with respect to human societies such as the moral against murdering each other, or robbing each other etc. That's not to say that such morals are objective realities in and of themselves.
                You are saying (I think) that a truth that is subjectively true to sapient beings can be absolute in nature? How is this possible?
                The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                Comment


                • Originally posted by seer View Post
                  Right a made up idea - where do you find equal anything in nature?
                  This phrase (see emphasis), and others like it, seem to pepper your posts. It leaves the impression that somehow you think "made up ideas" are somehow bad, wrong, fiction, or false (I'm not sure which). Sometimes, sapient beings discover objective realities (i.e., the laws of physics, mathematical and logical principles, etc.), and sometimes they "make up ideas." Every single piece of technology you use throughout your day to support your life is technology that is based in "made up ideas." The legal frameworks countries devise are "made up ideas." The U.S. Constitution is a "made up idea." We make up ideas all the time.

                  Why is "made up idea" a thing you seem to find repugnant for some reason?

                  For the record, there are many "equals" both in nature and in "made up ideas." The atomic weight of all atoms of the same element are "equal." The distance between the sun and the earth can be "equal" at different points in time (though it is constantly changing). And sapient beings can "make up" the idea that we wish to live in a society where all people are considered "equal" under the law. It is absolutely a "made up idea." I happen to like that idea, and think it is a good way to structure a society. Most Americans agree. I dare say most sapient beings would agree. Even a "made up" idea can be a good one.
                  Last edited by carpedm9587; 09-14-2019, 07:55 AM.
                  The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                  I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                    You are saying (I think) that a truth that is subjectively true to sapient beings can be absolute in nature? How is this possible?
                    I'm not suggesting that morals are absolute in nature, morals are not things that exist in themselves, but morals can be absolute in that as laws they serve the best interests, "the good," of human societies.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by JimL View Post
                      I'm not suggesting that morals are absolute in nature, morals are not things that exist in themselves, but morals can be absolute in that as laws they serve the best interests, "the good," of human societies.
                      Again, Jim, you are using the word "absolute" in a sense that I do not think you can support/defend. And we have already had the discussion about your use of "good." You are attempting to carve out absolute and objective claims for words that represent things that are clearly subjective. "Good" does not exist in nature and is never intrinsic to a thing (idea, object, etc.). It is an assessment by a valuer. What is "good" to one may well not be "good" to another, making the word relative and subjective. I do not see how you escape this reality.

                      Bottom line, you cannot assess "good" without specifying "to whom" and "as measured by what metric?" The former makes it relative. The latter, I believe, makes it subjective.
                      The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                      I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                        Again, Jim, you are using the word "absolute" in a sense that I do not think you can support/defend. And we have already had the discussion about your use of "good." You are attempting to carve out absolute and objective claims for words that represent things that are clearly subjective. "Good" does not exist in nature and is never intrinsic to a thing (idea, object, etc.). It is an assessment by a valuer. What is "good" to one may well not be "good" to another, making the word relative and subjective. I do not see how you escape this reality.

                        Bottom line, you cannot assess "good" without specifying "to whom" and "as measured by what metric?" The former makes it relative. The latter, I believe, makes it subjective.
                        But we are not speaking of individuals, the subjectivity of individuals, we're speaking of societies, groups of people, and what is "good" for societies, for communities of people, which has nothing to do with the subjective beliefs of individuals. The moral against murder and theft, afaics, is always a "good," is always benificial for society.
                        Last edited by JimL; 09-14-2019, 09:41 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by JimL View Post
                          But we are not speaking of individuals, the subjectivity of individuals, we're speaking of societies, groups of people, and what is "good" for societies, for communities of people, which has nothing to do with the subjective beliefs of individuals. The moral against murder and theft, afaics, is always a "good," is always benificial for society.
                          Jim - a society does not assess anything. Individuals do. And individuals will assess what is "good" for a society on the basis of subjective preferences and subjectively selected metrics. Most of the Christians on this site believe "alignment with the word of god" is the best metric, so they will assess the modern movement to accept same-sex intimacy as "bad for society." I do not find that to be a good metric and prefer to assess the society in terms of equitable treatment of all under the law and acceptance of people even if they are different, so I welcome the shift. Some use the metric "the health of the economy" to determine what is "good for society" so they hate any efforts to regulate that will negatively impact the economy. I don't place money/economy above all and am content with modest growth if it means we can continue to push forward with ecological and climate-related initiatives, and ensure that future generations will have a healthy environment and planet, because I believe those are in the long-term best interests of our society.

                          The moral prohibition against random killing (murder is a poor choice because it self-defines as bad) and theft is not objectively for the good of society - it is for the good for a society that values life and personal property, respectively. If a society does not, then these things will not be perceived as "good." A society comprised of individuals who value money above life might disagree with your prohibition against killing. A society that does not have the concept of personal property will not have a prohibition against theft. A society that see power, virulence, or honor as demonstrated by successful theft will not have your prohibition against theft (see the concept of "counting coup" among Native Americans, which includes this concept related to theft as well as other "acts of bravery").

                          You cannot find a "good" for society that is "objectively" good. It is good TO someone based on someone's selected metric. You are trying to create an absolute/objective "good" where such a thing cannot exist. You are looking from the perspective of your OWN personal preferences, and declaring them to be "objectively good." It doesn't work that way.
                          The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                          I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by seer View Post
                            Right a made up idea - where do you find equal anything in nature?
                            We find equality in the evolved values of a given society. The US Civil Rights Act is an example just as is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are not universal laws as such. Universal laws don’t exist except within the “made-up idea” of Law-giver deity. Rather they are the product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior for humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals.

                            That is just untrue and stupid Tass. The fact is if materialism is true we are only doing what evolutionary process created us to do.
                            But “materialism” is NOT true according to you. So how do you explain the history of Christian violence with regard to the Christian enslavement of tens of thousands of Africans, the destruction of Native American culture and systematic discrimination against blacks during the Jim Crow era, etc. etc. etc.
                            “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
                              We find equality in the evolved values of a given society. The US Civil Rights Act is an example just as is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are not universal laws as such. Universal laws don’t exist except within the “made-up idea” of Law-giver deity. Rather they are the product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior for humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals.
                              Tass, equal rights are not necessary for human survival, and haven't been for most of our history. And you talk about evolved values as if there are objectively better or worse values - which there are not in your world.



                              But “materialism” is NOT true according to you. So how do you explain the history of Christian violence with regard to the Christian enslavement of tens of thousands of Africans, the destruction of Native American culture and systematic discrimination against blacks during the Jim Crow era, etc. etc. etc.

                              First Tass, the majority of Christian through most of History had nothing to do with slavery, second it was largely Christians that took down slavery in the West. Third, discrimination and racism are not New Testament principles - just the opposite, and you know that. And it is not like slavery is an evil in your world - just animals doing what animals do - why do you dislike nature so much?
                              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 carpedm9587 View Post
                                Jim - a society does not assess anything. Individuals do. And individuals will assess what is "good" for a society on the basis of subjective preferences and subjectively selected metrics. Most of the Christians on this site believe "alignment with the word of god" is the best metric, so they will assess the modern movement to accept same-sex intimacy as "bad for society." I do not find that to be a good metric and prefer to assess the society in terms of equitable treatment of all under the law and acceptance of people even if they are different, so I welcome the shift. Some use the metric "the health of the economy" to determine what is "good for society" so they hate any efforts to regulate that will negatively impact the economy. I don't place money/economy above all and am content with modest growth if it means we can continue to push forward with ecological and climate-related initiatives, and ensure that future generations will have a healthy environment and planet, because I believe those are in the long-term best interests of our society.

                                The moral prohibition against random killing (murder is a poor choice because it self-defines as bad) and theft is not objectively for the good of society - it is for the good for a society that values life and personal property, respectively. If a society does not, then these things will not be perceived as "good." A society comprised of individuals who value money above life might disagree with your prohibition against killing. A society that does not have the concept of personal property will not have a prohibition against theft. A society that see power, virulence, or honor as demonstrated by successful theft will not have your prohibition against theft (see the concept of "counting coup" among Native Americans, which includes this concept related to theft as well as other "acts of bravery").

                                You cannot find a "good" for society that is "objectively" good. It is good TO someone based on someone's selected metric. You are trying to create an absolute/objective "good" where such a thing cannot exist. You are looking from the perspective of your OWN personal preferences, and declaring them to be "objectively good." It doesn't work that way.
                                So, leaving aside the asserted communities that don't value personal property, I don't believe there are any such people, but leaving that aside for the moment, you wouldn't agree then that the moral against murder, or random killing if you will, or theft for instance, or rape etc etc. is a "good" when it comes to being in the best interests of society as a whole?

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