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Morality Without Religion


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#41 Tirian

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:36 AM

The only objective foundation which I accept for moral laws is the evolutionary imperative.


I wonder what that actually means? With the word imperative I guess you mean that something is absolutely necessary, required or unavoidable. But what on earth could be an imperative moral law given the current evolutionary theory?

I would say nothing!

Human religion. The same place you got the idea of Thor, Krishna, YHWH and all the other gods from. People tell stories and create abstract concepts. Just because we can imagine things, however, that doesn't mean that there's any objective basis for those things. Imagine an invisible pink unicorn. Where did that idea come from?


Just because you can imagine something, like driving a nice car, does not mean that there can't be an objective basis for those things. Sometimes you actually have to justify why you don't believe in things. Believing that there are no right or wrong would be an excellent example where you would need to justify your amoral viewpoint.

It's one starting point, and certainly the foundation for C.S. Lewis' argument in Mere Christianity, but that doesn't make it valid. The biggest flaw in this argument is the fact that moral laws vary widely from one society to another. Pretty much the only "universal" laws are those which equate "good" with "the survival and success of our tribe," and "bad" with "damage or destruction to our tribe." Aside from that, everything is up for grabs.


Well I don't assume you could back up any of the claims that morality is so vastly different from one society to another. Lewis wrote (in 1944 I think) something called the illustrations of the Tao that debunks what you are claiming. There is also a web site about universal moral codes at http://www.universal...m/sources.html. So why are those persons claims false (at least they wrote books about it) and your claim true?

#42 Xanifred

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:31 AM

Didn't I actually state that "oh you wrote "mechanism", however in light of no other process of accountability and your complete insistance in laws keeping people accountable then one can only conclude that this is your foundation of moral accountability... Unless you can provide something else as a foundation, (despite it not being brought up before)." That was your cue to state what you actually think is a foundation of accountability, rather than laws, even though the only thing you have brought up as per accountability was only human law..... Hence why I figured it was your foundation of accountability since you've not mentioned anything else.

No, that was called "poisoning the well." You admit in a back-handed fashion that I did not actually say that laws are the foundation of morality (at least, in this one post), without admitting that this is a strawman of your making, and has been all along. Then, in order to head off any attempt on my part to dismantle your strawman and clarify my position, you imply that any foundation I might offer as the basis of morality is somehow illegitimate because it was not "brought up before."

If conversation were all about winning, rather than communicating, then your tactics would make perfect sense. It's pretty obvious that you're not interested in an honest discussion - you only want to score points. Therefore you use blatantly disingenuous tactics such as ad-hom dismissals, straw-man arguments, and poisoning the well. You may feel that you are somehow doing Jesus a service by being clever and deliberately obtuse, but in reality what you're doing is demonstrating that Christians are really no different from anyone else. I may as well be discussing politics with a secular opponent.

When you demonstrate an actual desire to understand my viewpoint, and to clarify yours, we can have a conversation. Until then, I prefer not to play your silly games.

#43 gilbo12345

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:57 AM

No, that was called "poisoning the well." You admit in a back-handed fashion that I did not actually say that laws are the foundation of morality (at least, in this one post), without admitting that this is a strawman of your making, and has been all along. Then, in order to head off any attempt on my part to dismantle your strawman and clarify my position, you imply that any foundation I might offer as the basis of morality is somehow illegitimate because it was not "brought up before." If conversation were all about winning, rather than communicating, then your tactics would make perfect sense. It's pretty obvious that you're not interested in an honest discussion - you only want to score points. Therefore you use blatantly disingenuous tactics such as ad-hom dismissals, straw-man arguments, and poisoning the well. You may feel that you are somehow doing Jesus a service by being clever and deliberately obtuse, but in reality what you're doing is demonstrating that Christians are really no different from anyone else. I may as well be discussing politics with a secular opponent. When you demonstrate an actual desire to understand my viewpoint, and to clarify yours, we can have a conversation. Until then, I prefer not to play your silly games.


How in the world did you get "poisoning the well" from this. All I have done is QUOTED where you stated that legal implications are how your brand of morality enforces moral accountability. You continually refered to this so I understood it to be your foundation of moral accountability within your brand of morals. I then demonstrated how such a thing is inadequate... You then state that it wasn't the foundation, I accepted this and then asked you to provide what would be the foundation, (even though you spoke of nothing else before hand), essentally I am being nice and giving you a 2nd chance to change your story. Despite the fact that you made no other claims about accountability, (meaning my assumption about legal accountability being your foundation of accountability was a fair one).

Therefore I don't know where this tirade of accusations has come from. I'd like you to quote me and demonstrate where I've made such things or I'd ask you to reprive your slanderous accusations.

Additionally you failed to actually address my post and put forth the actual foundation of accountability for your brand of morals... Don't think that making accusations will make people forget that you didn't even tackle the issue which is a glaring ommission at this point, since it paints the picture that these accusations were merely used as a diversionary "tactic".


(Also its ironic that your reply contains your own measure of ad hominems... meaning its a little hypocritical)

#44 Mike Summers

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

There is a fairly widespread belief among theists that without God, there can be no morality. According to this belief, there is nothing to stop atheists from raping babies and eating kittens. This is not only incorrect, but it serves to put theists in a very bad light indeed. Here's why: First of all, enlightened self-interest provides a perfectly sound faundation for moral behavior. I want to live in a world where people treat each-other kindly, don't steal each-other's stuff, and respect one-another's feelings, both physical and emotional. There are two things I can do to make the world more kind and respectful - I can ask other people to act in a kind, respectful manner; and I can do so myself. Of these two options, the more powerful by far is my own actions. If I tell other people to be decent to each-other but I am not decent myself, why should anyone listen to me? But if I am a decent human being, then I am teaching by example already. Adding words to the equation merely serves to reinforce what my actions are already saying. So, if I want to live in a world like the one I describe, my course of action is clear: I must act morally, and teach moral behavior. What's more, I actively want to be a decent human being. I feel better about myself whenever i do right by another person, and I feel bad when I harm others. Studying other tribal species leads me to believe that this drive towards co-operation and respect is innate to Homo Sapiens, having evolved as a necessary part of being a tribal species. Theists, OTOH, appear to believe that if there were no God watching them 24/7, they would immediately run out tosteal, kill, rape and pillage. I hear constantly that only God can provide a moral foundation, and without God we are free to do anything. So apparently the only thing keeping theists from going on a horrific rampage of brutality and lust is a cosmic morality policeman watching over their shoulders. Frankly, theists often come across as envious when they say that atheists have no morality. The Golden Rule exists in nearly every culture in the world, with good reason. It provides, as I have described above, a rational basis for secular morality. One need not believe in gods to see that acting like a decent human being is a win/win for everyone.

There is a fairly widespread belief among theists that without God, there can be no morality. According to this belief, there is nothing to stop atheists from raping babies and eating kittens. This is not only incorrect, but it serves to put theists in a very bad light indeed. Here's why: First of all, enlightened self-interest provides a perfectly sound faundation for moral behavior. I want to live in a world where people treat each-other kindly, don't steal each-other's stuff, and respect one-another's feelings, both physical and emotional. There are two things I can do to make the world more kind and respectful - I can ask other people to act in a kind, respectful manner; and I can do so myself. Of these two options, the more powerful by far is my own actions. If I tell other people to be decent to each-other but I am not decent myself, why should anyone listen to me? But if I am a decent human being, then I am teaching by example already. Adding words to the equation merely serves to reinforce what my actions are already saying. So, if I want to live in a world like the one I describe, my course of action is clear: I must act morally, and teach moral behavior. What's more, I actively want to be a decent human being. I feel better about myself whenever i do right by another person, and I feel bad when I harm others. Studying other tribal species leads me to believe that this drive towards co-operation and respect is innate to Homo Sapiens, having evolved as a necessary part of being a tribal species. Theists, OTOH, appear to believe that if there were no God watching them 24/7, they would immediately run out tosteal, kill, rape and pillage. I hear constantly that only God can provide a moral foundation, and without God we are free to do anything. So apparently the only thing keeping theists from going on a horrific rampage of brutality and lust is a cosmic morality policeman watching over their shoulders. Frankly, theists often come across as envious when they say that atheists have no morality. The Golden Rule exists in nearly every culture in the world, with good reason. It provides, as I have described above, a rational basis First of all lets back track a little to establish a foundation. I believe we have more or less some modicum of free choice. You seem to agree with that. Are we on te same page? Many evo/ atheists do not believe that we are free enough to have “morality” come into the issue. You seem to be an exception from the conclusions you come to in your original post.

In the sense you use them morality and religion are synonyms. They hae the same core meanings. Take a simple “moral agreement” between two people approaching an intersection with a stop light. If both agree to choose to submit to the convention of the stoplight, they would behaving morally. Thus if it were you and me, I would agree to stop on red so you could go through the intersection on green. If the light were green for me you would choose to stop and let me go through the intersection unencumbered. That is an example of a moral/ religious transaction.

In my view we are all autonomous beings that make moal/ religious decisions (including God). Yes,all people make this or other similar decisions whether God, you or I exist or not.

Morality exist by agreement between two people and governs their transactions.

I agree with you conclusions in you op. Those are the conclusions that I came up wih also.
However, identifying as an atheists has disadvantages. The term “atheist” means more to others that atheists surmise. There is no standard in writing as to what an individual atheist may believe. He or she may believe in the dog eat do version of survival of the fit or be “nice’ like you. On the other hand the teachings of Jesus Chris can be easily explored in a writing. I identify as a Christian and therefore with others that so identify there is a certain amount of trust that is prevalent between two people with known similar outlooks morality.

As for further exploration of personal philosophy/ religion go to skysite.org and scroll down to “reason and emotion” on the right side of your screen. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell the same.”for secular morality. One need not believe in gods to see that acting like a decent human being is a win/win for everyone.

First of all lets back track a little to establish a foundation. I believe we have more or less some modicum of free choice. You seem to agree with that. Are we on te same page? Many evo/ atheists do not believe that we are free enough to have “morality” come into the issue. You seem to be an exception from the conclusions you come to in your original post.

In the sense you use them morality and religion are synonyms. They hae the same core meanings. Take a simple “moral agreement” between two people approaching an intersection with a stop light. If both agree to choose to submit to the convention of the stoplight, they would behaving morally. Thus if it were you and me, I would agree to stop on red so you could go through the intersection on green. If the light were green for me you would choose to stop and let me go through the intersection unencumbered. That is an example of a moral/ religious transaction.

In my view we are all autonomous beings that make moal/ religious decisions (including God). Yes,all people make this or other similar decisions whether God, you or I exist or not.

Morality exist by agreement between two people and governs their transactions.

I agree with you conclusions in you op. Those are the conclusions that I came up wih also.
However, identifying as an atheists has disadvantages. The term “atheist” means more to others that atheists surmise. There is no standard in writing as to what an individual atheist may believe. He or she may believe in the dog eat do version of survival of the fit or be “nice’ like you. On the other hand the teachings of Jesus Chris can be easily explored in a writing. I identify as a Christian and therefore with others that so identify there is a certain amount of trust that is prevalent between two people with known similar outlooks morality.

As for further exploration of personal philosophy/ religion go to skysite.org and scroll down to “reason and emotion” on the right side of your screen. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell the same.”

#45 Xanifred

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:00 PM

First of all lets back track a little to establish a foundation. I believe we have more or less some modicum of free choice. You seem to agree with that. Are we on te same page? Many evo/ atheists do not believe that we are free enough to have “morality” come into the issue. You seem to be an exception from the conclusions you come to in your original post.

I don't think we have enough information to resolve the free will/predestination question. My favorite quote on the subject, and one i agree with, is that we should act as if we have free will.

In the sense you use them morality and religion are synonyms. They hae the same core meanings. Take a simple “moral agreement” between two people approaching an intersection with a stop light. If both agree to choose to submit to the convention of the stoplight, they would behaving morally. Thus if it were you and me, I would agree to stop on red so you could go through the intersection on green. If the light were green for me you would choose to stop and let me go through the intersection unencumbered. That is an example of a moral/ religious transaction.

That's a very strange use of the word "religious." It's certainly not what I would consider religious.

In my view we are all autonomous beings that make moal/ religious decisions (including God). Yes,all people make this or other similar decisions whether God, you or I exist or not. Morality exist by agreement between two people and governs their transactions.

Ok then, we're on the same page here.

I agree with you conclusions in you op. Those are the conclusions that I came up wih also. However, identifying as an atheists has disadvantages. The term “atheist” means more to others that atheists surmise.

Unfortunately, you are correct. Many people are of the erroneous opinion that 'atheists' believe there is no god, and that the existence of god or gods is an impossibility. But all the word really means is "not a theist." In other words, gods are among the many, many things I don't believe in, because I haven't seen any evidence of their existence. In my mind, gods and unicorns and fairies all belong in the same category.

There is no standard in writing as to what an individual atheist may believe.

That's because atheism is merely a lack of belief in gods. People who don't believe in gods can believe in all sorts of other stuff, like conservatism or liberalism, or homeopathy or whatever.

On the other hand the teachings of Jesus Chris can be easily explored in a writing. I identify as a Christian and therefore with others that so identify there is a certain amount of trust that is prevalent between two people with known similar outlooks morality. As for further exploration of personal philosophy/ religion go to skysite.org and scroll down to “reason and emotion” on the right side of your screen. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell the same.”

The thing is, "Christian" generally means "one who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ (as found in the Gospels)." And since one of those teachings is that there is a god, and another is that there is a heaven and a hell, I don't identify as a Christian at all. I like what Jesus said about loving your enemies, and doing good to those who abuse you, and all the other stuff about treating people decently and not being a pompous ass (my paraphrase). But the god stuff? Nope. Gods, miracles, angels, devils, heaven, hell - that's all in the faeries and unicorns category, I'm afraid.

I just don't see the point in adopting beliefs without compelling objective evidence.

#46 Mike Summers

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:07 AM

I think atheism is awfully arogant when it ventures to say who can exist and who can't. However it was Dante that brought the idea of hell into Christianity.to convince pagans to convert. Original Christianity of Christ's disciples did not believe in Bible says the dead know nothing not that thehy roast forever in an ever burning hell.

Moreover, belief in God is harmless and is certainly no worse in belief in nothing. One can't condemn an ideology because people don't practice it correctly.

As far as adopting beliefs without compelling evidence, people do t all the time. I like the idea of there being a God which in most cases is synonymous with love. And creationism is more practical than evolution any day., Evo if it did happen is obsolete. It has been replaced by intelligence and creativity.

#47 gilbo12345

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:58 AM

The only objective foundation which I accept for moral laws is the evolutionary imperative.


Despite the fact that there is no good or evil in nature. A lion doesn't "murder" a zebra or "rapes" a lioness...

Meaning that the "evolutionary imperative" is a baseless "foundation", additionally you have yet to explain the foundation of accountability relating to this. When a lion rapes a lioness how is that lion held accountable?

#48 jonas5877

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:18 AM

Despite the fact that there is no good or evil in nature. A lion doesn't "murder" a zebra or "rapes" a lioness... Meaning that the "evolutionary imperative" is a baseless "foundation", additionally you have yet to explain the foundation of accountability relating to this. When a lion rapes a lioness how is that lion held accountable?

Is it good or bad if a lion kills and eats your son? Is it evil? Is it nothing?

I think we are mixing up definitions. There is good and bad as they relate to consequences, and there is moral good and moral evil.

I would say that a lion eating your son would be a bad event for you but a morally neutral event. Whereas a person killing another can be bad and morally neutral (self defense or war) or it can be bad and morally evil (murder). I guess there is the possibility that killing someone else could even be morally good.

All social creatures have some "moral" code of conduct in their relationship with their pack, herd or tribe. Those codes of conduct do not extend to other species, normally. Humans tend to extend their moral code of conduct beyond their own tribe because of our extensive ability to empathize with others.

I don't think it is appropriate to say that a hurricane is evil per se. It causes suffering and results in bad consequences. If it could be stopped by someone and that person refuses to stop it, would that be morally wrong? Maybe, from our point of view. However, if you believe that God provided us with a moral code of conduct, why would you think that He intended to apply that code of conduct to himself or the other two? Perhaps those moral codes only apply to human interactions. They certainly don't apply to human-to-other-species interactions.

He is God. He can do as He pleases, including making most humans to be fuel to brighten the fires of hell on a nice crisp heavenly morning.

What this has to do with morality without religion is anybody's guess.

#49 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:56 AM

Is it good or bad if a lion kills and eats your son? Is it evil? Is it nothing? I think we are mixing up definitions. There is good and bad as they relate to consequences, and there is moral good and moral evil. I would say that a lion eating your son would be a bad event for you but a morally neutral event. Whereas a person killing another can be bad and morally neutral (self defense or war) or it can be bad and morally evil (murder). I guess there is the possibility that killing someone else could even be morally good. All social creatures have some "moral" code of conduct in their relationship with their pack, herd or tribe. Those codes of conduct do not extend to other species, normally. Humans tend to extend their moral code of conduct beyond their own tribe because of our extensive ability to empathize with others. I don't think it is appropriate to say that a hurricane is evil per se. It causes suffering and results in bad consequences. If it could be stopped by someone and that person refuses to stop it, would that be morally wrong? Maybe, from our point of view. However, if you believe that God provided us with a moral code of conduct, why would you think that He intended to apply that code of conduct to himself or the other two? Perhaps those moral codes only apply to human interactions. They certainly don't apply to human-to-other-species interactions. He is God. He can do as He pleases, including making most humans to be fuel to brighten the fires of hell on a nice crisp heavenly morning. What this has to do with morality without religion is anybody's guess.


So you understand what I am getting at but fail to see the point.... Rather you go off on a tangent which has nothing to do with what I am stating here.

If you agree that a lion doing what it does naturally is morally neutral then that demolishes Xanifred's claim that his objective foundation of morals stems from the evolutionary imperative... Since if that is morally neutral how can it be any form of foundation for morals (let alone objective), since being neutral means that there is no good or bad with which to distinguish actions by. Therefore merely claiming evolution (or something to that effect) as a foundation for morals is a patently absurd notion.

#50 jonas5877

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:32 AM

So you understand what I am getting at but fail to see the point.... Rather you go off on a tangent which has nothing to do with what I am stating here. If you agree that a lion doing what it does naturally is morally neutral then that demolishes Xanifred's claim that his objective foundation of morals stems from the evolutionary imperative... Since if that is morally neutral how can it be any form of foundation for morals (let alone objective), since being neutral means that there is no good or bad with which to distinguish actions by. Therefore merely claiming evolution (or something to that effect) as a foundation for morals is a patently absurd notion.

How does a lion doing what it does naturally affect human morals regardless of how they developed?
If I read him right, Xanifred is saying that the objective foundation of morals was survival. Some creatures have survived better by developing means of working together and developing social interactions. Behaviors that smooth out those interactions have become the framework for our moral systems. Lions have behaviors that allow them to work together within their pride.
Maybe there is no objective good or bad (morally speaking) by which we distinguish actions by....at least outside our own species. That does not mean we cannot have relative good and bad moral values by which we can run our societies. Absolute and objective morals are not necessary for a moral framework to be established any more than an absolute zero velocity is necessary for us to measure velocities.

#51 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

How does a lion doing what it does naturally affect human morals regardless of how they developed? If I read him right, Xanifred is saying that the objective foundation of morals was survival. Some creatures have survived better by developing means of working together and developing social interactions. Behaviors that smooth out those interactions have become the framework for our moral systems. Lions have behaviors that allow them to work together within their pride. Maybe there is no objective good or bad (morally speaking) by which we distinguish actions by....at least outside our own species. That does not mean we cannot have relative good and bad moral values by which we can run our societies. Absolute and objective morals are not necessary for a moral framework to be established any more than an absolute zero velocity is necessary for us to measure velocities.


If you had read further xanifred claimed objectivity as before he stated that he did not believe in subjective morals since doing so allows for there to be no moral truths meaning anything is permissable, ergo your claim here is not relating to what Xanifred has been attempting to demonstrate, its merely your own spin on it.

Now Absolute and objective morals are indeed necessary for the same reasons which have already been highlighted to you earlier in this thread, (must we repeat every single point since when we do you seem to just ignore it and then bring it up again at a later date). If the morals were subjective then there is no reason for anyone to claim anything as evil or good since by being subjective its merely up to the "eye of the beholder" meaning the rapist and murderer literally do nothing wrong / evil becasue according to their view their actions are justified. The logical continuation of this is that laws cannot be made since everything is subjective and therefore nothing can be agreed upon as per right an wrong, thus society breaks down and chaos takes over. Therefore objective morality is VERY important.

#52 jonas5877

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:56 AM

1. If you had read further xanifred claimed objectivity as before he stated that he did not believe in subjective morals since doing so allows for there to be no moral truths meaning anything is permissable, ergo your claim here is not relating to what Xanifred has been attempting to demonstrate, its merely your own spin on it.

2. Now Absolute and objective morals are indeed necessary for the same reasons which have already been highlighted to you earlier in this thread, (must we repeat every single point since when we do you seem to just ignore it and then bring it up again at a later date). If the morals were subjective then there is no reason for anyone to claim anything as evil or good since by being subjective its merely up to the "eye of the beholder" meaning the rapist and murderer literally do nothing wrong / evil becasue according to their view their actions are justified. The logical continuation of this is that laws cannot be made since everything is subjective and therefore nothing can be agreed upon as per right an wrong, thus society breaks down and chaos takes over. Therefore objective morality is VERY important.


1. Ah! Ok then I disagree with him about morals being objective.

2. You have shown nothing at all except your contention that morals must be objective or we cannot punish criminals. That is absurd. Humans are not required to act according to your logic. Just because we cannot say that something is objectively evil or objectively good, doesn't mean we cannot criminalize a behavior based on its effect on society. Humans can act in concert to punish behaviors that are considered distructive to the fabric of their society. They don't have to justify their determination of what is wrong behavior by pointing to objective moral guidlines.

Sure, if punishment for rape and murder were not enforced, society would break down and chaos would take over. However, that would happen only for a time. Humans would ban together in small groups to protect themselves. Within those groups, behaviors that help the group would be rewarded and behaviors that hurt the group would be punished. This type of thing has happened before with, for instance, the fall of the Roman Empire.

Your argument for objective morals seems to hinge on the idea that we have a conscience that usually has most people condemning behaviors like rape and murder. Is that conscience influenced by God and thusly connected to the objective morals of which you speak, OR is the conscience influenced by the empathy that most people have combined with the idea that we would not like us or our loved ones hurt? That is a question the I don't have the evidence to answer definitively. I know we have a conscience. I know humans have empathy for others to varying degrees. I also know that almost all humans do not like to have themselves or their loved ones hurt.
I don't know there is a God and I don't know there are objective morals.

So, without convincing evidence for a God or objective morals, I believe that the development of moral rules is caused by human empathy and the desire to keep us and our loved ones safe. However, I am leaving the other option open because I cannot absolutely say that God or objective morals don't exist.

You, of course, differ in your conclusions because you believe in a Christian God and His objective morality, whatever that is.

#53 gilbo12345

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:19 AM

1. Ah! Ok then I disagree with him about morals being objective. 2. You have shown nothing at all except your contention that morals must be objective or we cannot punish criminals. That is absurd. Humans are not required to act according to your logic. Just because we cannot say that something is objectively evil or objectively good, doesn't mean we cannot criminalize a behavior based on its effect on society. Humans can act in concert to punish behaviors that are considered distructive to the fabric of their society. They don't have to justify their determination of what is wrong behavior by pointing to objective moral guidlines. Sure, if punishment for rape and murder were not enforced, society would break down and chaos would take over. However, that would happen only for a time. Humans would ban together in small groups to protect themselves. Within those groups, behaviors that help the group would be rewarded and behaviors that hurt the group would be punished. This type of thing has happened before with, for instance, the fall of the Roman Empire. Your argument for objective morals seems to hinge on the idea that we have a conscience that usually has most people condemning behaviors like rape and murder. Is that conscience influenced by God and thusly connected to the objective morals of which you speak, OR is the conscience influenced by the empathy that most people have combined with the idea that we would not like us or our loved ones hurt? That is a question the I don't have the evidence to answer definitively. I know we have a conscience. I know humans have empathy for others to varying degrees. I also know that almost all humans do not like to have themselves or their loved ones hurt. I don't know there is a God and I don't know there are objective morals. So, without convincing evidence for a God or objective morals, I believe that the development of moral rules is caused by human empathy and the desire to keep us and our loved ones safe. However, I am leaving the other option open because I cannot absolutely say that God or objective morals don't exist. You, of course, differ in your conclusions because you believe in a Christian God and His objective morality, whatever that is.



We have already been over this many times.... A simple re-read of the thread (or the moral one which you were active in before) would yield a sufficient refutation to your claims of subjective morality.



Under the guidelines of subjective morality a person's morals is solely defined by their own viewpoint therefore inevitably claims of what is or not moral will collide and contradict each other. What one person thinks is immoral another can think is moral or morally neutral, etc. Therefore from this how can anyone institute any form of legal system when its based on a subjective basis of right and wrong, (even Xanifred could understand that, hence his claim in that subjective morals are absurd).

You may assert that we have the potential to "criminalize behavior based on its effect on society", however if under a subjective system of determination how can you determine if the effect is "good" or "bad", if its subjective then there is no definitively bad or good behaviour to base the effects on society therefore your "logic" fails. Since if you wish to claim that morals are subjective then ensure that the foundation for such is also subjective, since you seem to be using an objective basis of what is good for society and then claim that its subjective...

Lets run through some examples

Killing homeless people
some may claim its bad because its killing people
some may claim its good because its getting rid of the people who would not give back to society

Mandatory killing of children with incurable diseases
some may claim its bad because its killing children
some may claim its good because its cleaning the genepool of all these bad mutations

Killing of people at Retirement age (senilicide)
some may claim bad because its killing people's grandparents
some may claim its good because its getting rid of people who are no longer of use to society, (some eskimo tribes used to practice this for this reason)

Segregation and sterilisation of people with genetic diseases (eugenics)
some may claim its bad because it violates basic human rights
some may claim its good because it ensures that the genetic diseases are not passed on thus strengthening the future of the human race, (survival of the fittest).

Slavery
some may claim its bad because it violates basic human rights
some may claim its good because it gives society a cheap workforce to do the mundane work.


Under a subjective moral framework none of these issues could ever be resolved since both good and bad sides have their arguments for stipulating why such a thing is good or bad.

#54 jonas5877

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:11 AM

We have already been over this many times.... A simple re-read of the thread (or the moral one which you were active in before) would yield a sufficient refutation to your claims of subjective morality. Under the guidelines of subjective morality a person's morals is solely defined by their own viewpoint therefore inevitably claims of what is or not moral will collide and contradict each other. What one person thinks is immoral another can think is moral or morally neutral, etc.


So? What the majority thinks is right or wrong will typically prevail if everything else fails. Most countries have instituted laws that protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority but those laws only protect the rights that the majority agree are appropriate. There is no "right" to kill whoever you want just because you think it is the moral thing to do.

Therefore from this how can anyone institute any form of legal system when its based on a subjective basis of right and wrong, (even Xanifred could understand that, hence his claim in that subjective morals are absurd). You may assert that we have the potential to "criminalize behavior based on its effect on society", however if under a subjective system of determination how can you determine if the effect is "good" or "bad", if its subjective then there is no definitively bad or good behaviour to base the effects on society therefore your "logic" fails. Since if you wish to claim that morals are subjective then ensure that the foundation for such is also subjective, since you seem to be using an objective basis of what is good for society and then claim that its subjective...

Sure, every thing is black and white. If morals are subjective then they are completely without foundation....riiight. I never said morals don't have any foundation. That foundation is the belief that everyone has that they would like to remain alive, be relatively safe and have certain control over their life. That belief is extended to the people we love by our empathy (understanding how they feel by extension of our own feelings for ourself). The morals of a group are not about what an individual determines is morally good but what the group can agree is morally good. I don't want to be killed and neither do most people so the majority agrees that killing of others within the group requires some sort of retribution. The same with rape. The majority of humans have extended those ethics to the whole human race. That is actually a recent development. It wasn't that long ago that the majority of Americans believed that different races should be given different rights.

Lets run through some examples Killing homeless people some may claim its bad because its killing people some may claim its good because its getting rid of the people who would not give back to society Mandatory killing of children with incurable diseases some may claim its bad because its killing children some may claim its good because its cleaning the genepool of all these bad mutations Killing of people at Retirement age (senilicide) some may claim bad because its killing people's grandparents some may claim its good because its getting rid of people who are no longer of use to society, (some eskimo tribes used to practice this for this reason) Segregation and sterilisation of people with genetic diseases (eugenics) some may claim its bad because it violates basic human rights some may claim its good because it ensures that the genetic diseases are not passed on thus strengthening the future of the human race, (survival of the fittest). Slavery some may claim its bad because it violates basic human rights some may claim its good because it gives society a cheap workforce to do the mundane work. Under a subjective moral framework none of these issues could ever be resolved since both good and bad sides have their arguments for stipulating why such a thing is good or bad.

These things have been dealt with by the majority of the population in that the laws of most countries don't allow these things to occur. The laws can be changed by voting people. Even the Constitutions of countries can be changed by vote. These things are not made legal because most people don't want them to happen to their loved ones, so they agree that it shouldn't be allowed to happen to anyone. The ability of humans to empathize with others in their society is the basis for the morals of that society. It is subjective to an extent but not completely subjective. What's wrong with having morals based on the collective feelings of the many?

#55 gilbo12345

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:24 AM

1. So?

2. What the majority thinks is right or wrong will typically prevail if everything else fails.

3. Most countries have instituted laws that protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority but those laws only protect the rights that the majority agree are appropriate.

4. There is no "right" to kill whoever you want just because you think it is the moral thing to do.

5. Sure, every thing is black and white.

6. If morals are subjective then they are completely without foundation....riiight. I never said morals don't have any foundation.

7. That foundation is the belief that everyone has that they would like to remain alive, be relatively safe and have certain control over their life.

8. That belief is extended to the people we love by our empathy (understanding how they feel by extension of our own feelings for ourself). The morals of a group are not about what an individual determines is morally good but what the group can agree is morally good. I don't want to be killed and neither do most people so the majority agrees that killing of others within the group requires some sort of retribution. The same with rape. The majority of humans have extended those ethics to the whole human race. That is actually a recent development. It wasn't that long ago that the majority of Americans believed that different races should be given different rights. These things have been dealt with by the majority of the population in that the laws of most countries don't allow these things to occur. The laws can be changed by voting people. Even the Constitutions of countries can be changed by vote. These things are not made legal because most people don't want them to happen to their loved ones, so they agree that it shouldn't be allowed to happen to anyone. The ability of humans to empathize with others in their society is the basis for the morals of that society. It is subjective to an extent but not completely subjective. What's wrong with having morals based on the collective feelings of the many?


1. So if there is no agreement on what is right and wrong then there is no basis for fair laws. Nor would there be a basis for moral duties or for moral accountability.

2. And?

3. And what about when the majority is the oppressed masses and its the minority who control all?

4. In a subjective moral view there is. Have you watched those CSI shows where they find out the bad guy who murdered someone and then as they are hauled away they start saying about how they were forced to do it by some circumstance... THIS is subjective morality in play. These people felt, (within their own reasoning and judgement) that the circumstances allowed the use of deadly force.

5. For most things it is

6. Oh they have a foundation, a subjective foundation... Which isn't a solid one.

7. And that foundation has been the foundation of many of the reasons why those murders take place on the CSI shows... If killing someone else allows you to be alive / keep your job / get a promotion / get money etc then under your foundation here killing people is a moral thing to do. Would you like to change your foundation?

8. And what if the majority thought that rape was good, would it be moral then?

#56 jonas5877

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

1. So if there is no agreement on what is right and wrong then there is no basis for fair laws. Nor would there be a basis for moral duties or for moral accountability. 2. And? 3. And what about when the majority is the oppressed masses and its the minority who control all? 4. In a subjective moral view there is. Have you watched those CSI shows where they find out the bad guy who murdered someone and then as they are hauled away they start saying about how they were forced to do it by some circumstance... THIS is subjective morality in play. These people felt, (within their own reasoning and judgement) that the circumstances allowed the use of deadly force. 5. For most things it is 6. Oh they have a foundation, a subjective foundation... Which isn't a solid one. 7. And that foundation has been the foundation of many of the reasons why those murders take place on the CSI shows... If killing someone else allows you to be alive / keep your job / get a promotion / get money etc then under your foundation here killing people is a moral thing to do. Would you like to change your foundation? 8. And what if the majority thought that rape was good, would it be moral then?

A subjective foundation is not a solid as you want but it is still a foundation. It cannot be classified as "no foundation".

If the majority thought rape was good, neither you nor I would consider it moral. If the majority thought rape was good does that mean you or I would be required to perform rape? US society (majority of the people) believe that aborting a baby is more morally good than forcing a woman to complete a pregnancy. Does that mean we should make women get abortions if they find themselves pregnant out of wedlock? Your morality is still your own.
Do you exceed the posted speed limit on purpose when you drive? You have determined that getting somewhere faster is more morally good than obeying the law.

I don't understand your comment about the minority oppressing the majority unless you are talking about a ruling class like a tyrannical royalty. The law that prevent the majority from oppressing the minority are to prevent violating the rights (determined by that society) of that minority. Anti-sodomy laws were recinded in the US because they interferred with the rights of a minority. Slavery was abandoned because it violated the rights of a minority. If the laws of my country were to fall exactly in line with the laws of the Bible, then freedom of religion would have to be removed from the Constitution. That would prevent some people from having a freedom that almost all Christians want to have for themselves. What they want for themselves, they must allow for others in order to be moral by Christian or most other people's standards.

So the foundation is a paraphrase of what Jesus said don't do those things to others that you don't want done to you or your loved ones. It is subjective because we don't all want the same exact things but there are many things that almost all humans find objectionable if it is done to them.

#57 gilbo12345

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:48 AM

1. A subjective foundation is not a solid as you want but it is still a foundation. It cannot be classified as "no foundation".

2. If the majority thought rape was good, neither you nor I would consider it moral.

3. If the majority thought rape was good does that mean you or I would be required to perform rape?

4. US society (majority of the people) believe that aborting a baby is more morally good than forcing a woman to complete a pregnancy.

5. Does that mean we should make women get abortions if they find themselves pregnant out of wedlock?

6. Your morality is still your own.

7. Do you exceed the posted speed limit on purpose when you drive? You have determined that getting somewhere faster is more morally good than obeying the law.

8. I don't understand your comment about the minority oppressing the majority unless you are talking about a ruling class like a tyrannical royalty. The law that prevent the majority from oppressing the minority are to prevent violating the rights (determined by that society) of that minority. Anti-sodomy laws were recinded in the US because they interferred with the rights of a minority. Slavery was abandoned because it violated the rights of a minority.

9. If the laws of my country were to fall exactly in line with the laws of the Bible, then freedom of religion would have to be removed from the Constitution. That would prevent some people from having a freedom that almost all Christians want to have for themselves. What they want for themselves, they must allow for others in order to be moral by Christian or most other people's standards. So the foundation is a paraphrase of what Jesus said don't do those things to others that you don't want done to you or your loved ones. It is subjective because we don't all want the same exact things but there are many things that almost all humans find objectionable if it is done to them.


1. Read what I wrote....

"6. Oh they have a foundation, a subjective foundation... Which isn't a solid one."

Its a bit suss that you cut this part out and then seek to infer I said otherwise...

2. Thus destroying the "majority rules concept"

3. According to your "majority rules concept" then yes

4. See 3

5. See 3

6. Hence the problem since if you seriously believe that everyone has their own morality then social norms, (thus society itself), cannot be created since every person is different and will therefore have different behaviour and deem different behaviour as acceptable and moral.

7. ????

8. It was in response to what you said, read what you wrote then read my reply.

9. Have I discussed Christianity? All I am saying is that there is objective moral values and that atheism cannot account for this, a point which is yet to be refuted.




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