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Restarting the Morals Debate


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#1 ManhattanProject

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:14 AM

Hey all!
I know all atheists believe in relativistic altruism. So I was reading a book and I found this little bit on Morals and I would like to share it with you guys and see what you think......

".....Wilson says that social morals have evolved because the "cooperative" moreals helped humans survive together. But this assumes an end - survival - for evolution, when Darwinism, by definition, has no end because it is a nonintelligent process. And even if survival is granted as the end, Darwinists cannot explain why people knowinly engage in self-destructive behavior (i.e., smoking, drinking, drugs, suicide, etc.) Nor can Darwinists explain why peopl often subvert their own survival instincts to help others, sometimes to the point of thier own deaths. We all know that there are nobler ends than mere survival :soldiers sacrifice themselves for their country, parents for their children, and, if Christianity is true, God sacrificed his Son for us. Fourth, Wilson and other Darwinists assume that survival is a good thing, but there is not real good without an objective Moral Law. In fact, this is the problem with pragmatic and utilitarian ethical systems that say "do what works" or "do whatever brings the greatest good." Do what works toward whose ends - Mother Teresa's or Hitler's? Such ethical systems must smuggle in the Moral Law to define what ends should work toward and what really is the greatest "good" Finally, Darwinists cannot explain why anyone should obey any biologically derived "moral sentiment." Why shouldnt people murder, rape, and steal to get what they want if there is nothing beyond this world? Why should the powerful "cooperate" with the weaker when the powerful can survive longer by exploiting the weaker? after all, history is replete with criminals and dictators who have lengthened their own survival precisely because they have disobeyed all "moral sentiments" in their repression and elimination of their opponents."

(Taken from I dont have enough faith to be an atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek)

#2 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:47 AM

That's all well and good, but none of it matters. It's people that establish their own moral values, whether they attribute them to some punishment-dealing god or to their own altruism. There is no god coming down to inform us that he will punish us if we are bad. We made all that up. So it's people making their own morals, one way or the other.

~~ Paul

#3 ManhattanProject

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:56 AM

That's all well and good, but none of it matters. It's people that establish their own moral values, whether they attribute them to some punishment-dealing god or to their own altruism. There is no god coming down to inform us that he will punish us if we are bad. We made all that up. So it's people making their own morals, one way or the other.

~~ Paul

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If it is humans making their own morals, you might wanna read the first post again.......
God made the moral law and instilled it in us

#4 Guest_Calipithecus_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 10:10 AM

".....Wilson says that social morals have evolved because the "cooperative" moreals helped humans survive together. But this assumes an end - survival - for evolution, when Darwinism, by definition, has no end because it is a nonintelligent process.

The fact that evolution does not have ends doesn't preclude organisms from having them. If the chances for individual survival are enhanced by living in cooperative groups, evolution may stumble upon traits that favor such an arrangement. That social environment then becomes as critical a part of the individual's environment as are temperature and humidity.

Darwinists cannot explain why people knowinly engage in self-destructive behavior (i.e., smoking, drinking, drugs, suicide, etc.)

Darwinian explanations for such things would begin with noting that the human central nervous system employs the same system of rewards and punishments as seen in other animals. Smoking, drinking, and drugs may mimic certain electro-chemical brain states which, in the absence of those substances, constitute rewards for behaviors that favor survival or reproduction in some way. Suicide may simply be a cost incurred in administering such a system.

Nor can Darwinists explain why people often subvert their own survival instincts to help others, sometimes to the point of their own deaths.

It is rather less difficult to explain if it is assumed that the 'others' are fairly close relatives. In the ancestral environment in which our brains evolved, and from which time has yet permitted virtually no deviation, this was a pretty safe assumption.

#5 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:07 AM

If it is humans making their own morals, you might wanna read the first post again.......
God made the moral law and instilled it in us

That's just a story we made up in an attempt to enforce the morals that we also devised. It's just us, one way or the other.

~~ Paul

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:46 AM

Since atheism hasn't anything to do with evolution, shouldn't we move this to the age of the universe forum or something?

#7 Method

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:53 AM

And even if survival is granted as the end, Darwinists cannot explain why people knowinly engage in self-destructive behavior (i.e., smoking, drinking, drugs, suicide, etc.)


I look around and it seems that these behaviors are not keeping human society from working. We look at narcotic abuse, alcoholism, and suicide as immoral, do we not? We are talking about morals, not actions. Society, as a means to a better society, look on these activities as immoral. Because of this these types of behavior are curbed compared to the absence of a moral code.

In fact, this is the problem with pragmatic and utilitarian ethical systems that say "do what works" or "do whatever brings the greatest good." Do what works toward whose ends - Mother Teresa's or Hitler's?


Well, which one works? The most prosperous nations are not run by totalitarian regimes. It would seem that an altruistic, democratic, free society is the best solution for human society.

We all know that there are nobler ends than mere survival :soldiers sacrifice themselves for their country, parents for their children, and, if Christianity is true, God sacrificed his Son for us.


And what are these people sacrificing themselves for? Their families and societies. This is kin selection, the survival of your genes and in the case of human societal evolution, the survival of your memes.

#8 chance

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:15 PM

ManhattanProject I will attempt to answer, re the statements of Darwinian theory cannot explain:

".....Wilson says that social morals have evolved because the "cooperative" moreals helped humans survive together. But this assumes an end - survival - for evolution, when Darwinism, by definition, has no end because it is a non-intelligent process.

Why is that an unreasonable assumption? Just because the mechanistic process is unintelligent, that does not preclude an intelligent solution evolving. All reasonably complex animals have some intelligence, without intelligence animals would be limited to life forms like worms.

And even if survival is granted as the end, Darwinists cannot explain why people knowinly engage in self-destructive behavior (i.e., smoking, drinking, drugs, suicide, etc.)

the biological evolution is only part of the equation social evolution is equal if not more important. The destructive vices of smoking, drinking, drugs you listed are caused (in part) by a predisposition to chemical dependency. In a very competitive world (social Darwinian pressure) there are those that find escape in drugs. But mere experimentation with drugs pressure or not can be enough to become hooked because of evolutionary traits that were an advantage in our past, come back to haunt us in the present.

can Darwinists explain why peopl often subvert their own survival instincts to help others, sometimes to the point of thier own deaths.

Most animals (with a brain) protect there young to the detriment of themselves. Even if the parent is killed in the process there is a small but not insignificant chance that the infant will survive. This is standard Darwinian theory.
Humans and some other animals take this behaviour one step further and take the maternal instinct beyond protection of your own kin and extend it to relatives, colony, friends, neighbourhood, race or nation. It all depends on who you empathises with.

As for suicide I would suspect that the victim is under extreme stress where logical solutions are beyond them.

and, if Christianity is true, God sacrificed his Son for us.

That’s an interesting twist, it would imply that God sees mankind more important than an individual relative, of course that analogy will break down if one considers that an everlasting afterlife, makes the temporary existence on earth rather insignificant.

Fourth, Wilson and other Darwinists assume that survival is a good thing, but there is not real good without an objective Moral Law.

don’t and the qualitative statement of ‘good’ with survival, they are completely different. Basic Darwinian biological survival can and does get along without morals. Social Darwinism however is different.

In fact, this is the problem with pragmatic and utilitarian ethical systems that say "do what works" or "do whatever brings the greatest good." Do what works toward whose ends - Mother Teresa's or Hitler's? Such ethical systems must smuggle in the Moral Law to define what ends should work toward and what really is the greatest "good"

Indeed what does work better Hitler’s or Mother Teresa's? with our evolutionary history there can be no doubt that Mother Teresa's is superior. A trusting society will prosper better than a mistrusting one.

Finally, Darwinists cannot explain why anyone should obey any biologically derived "moral sentiment." Why shouldnt people murder, rape, and steal to get what they want if there is nothing beyond this world? Why should the powerful "cooperate" with the weaker when the powerful can survive longer by exploiting the weaker? after all, history is replete with criminals and dictators who have lengthened their own survival precisely because they have disobeyed all "moral sentiments" in their repression and elimination of their opponents."

The simple answer to why is because of the punishment that may or will befall the perpetrator. People (and other animals) are tempted to push the moral boundaries when they believe they ‘may get away with it’. You, me, everyone, is a criminal at some level, there are no exceptions.

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:19 PM

That's all well and good, but none of it matters. It's people that establish their own moral values, whether they attribute them to some punishment-dealing god or to their own altruism. There is no god coming down to inform us that he will punish us if we are bad. We made all that up. So it's people making their own morals, one way or the other.

~~ Paul

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What Holy Scripture is that written in?

Terry

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:27 PM

Since atheism hasn't anything to do with evolution, shouldn't we move this to the age of the universe forum or something?

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I agree that this topic probably needs to go somewhere else, but its false to say that atheism has nothing to do with evolution.

Evolution is a materialistic worldview that does not allow the supernatural any influence in the explantion of anything from the origin of the universe to the origin of life. Everyone has a desire to understand the world we live, and for atheists, evolution is the hat trick.

Dr. Richard Dawkins of England says that evolution permits him and others to be "intellectually fulfilled atheists."


www.answersingenesis.org/docs2/4342news7-7-2000.asp

Terry

#11 Guest_Calipithecus_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 04:47 PM

...it's false to say that atheism has nothing to do with evolution.

I consider the matter to be entirely subjective. Since creationism holds that the existence of God is necessary to explain the diversity of life, any explanation which does not include God threatens to undermine that foundation -- so the statement could justifiably be considered true for the creationist who is unable to find any other reasons to postulate the existence of God. For him, atheism has everything to do with evolution -- and this is just as true of anyone who places his desire to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist" ahead of all else.

But it doesn't work the other way around. Darwinism itself is metaphysically neutral; it does not depend on either accepting or denying the existence of God.

#12 OC1

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 06:21 PM

its false to say that atheism has nothing to do with evolution.


The Roman Catholic Church has no problem with evolution as a scientific explanation for the physical origins of life and modern man. The RCC sees no conflict between evolution and religion.

The Pope is not an atheist. The RCC uses the same book you do, and worships the same god.

#13 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 06:59 PM

What Holy Scripture is that written in?

Say what?

That's all well and good, but none of it matters. It's people that establish their own moral values, whether they attribute them to some punishment-dealing god or to their own altruism. There is no god coming down to inform us that he will punish us if we are bad. We made all that up. So it's people making their own morals, one way or the other.


~~ Paul

#14 Guest_Yehren_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 07:32 PM

I agree that this topic probably needs to go somewhere else, but its false to say that atheism has nothing to do with evolution.

Evolution is a materialistic worldview that does not allow the supernatural any influence in the explantion of anything from the origin of the universe to the origin of life.


Nope. It's a scientific theory. It is acknowledged by people of many different worldviews, most of them Christian.

Everyone has a desire to understand the world we live, and for atheists, evolution is the hat trick.


For marxists, it's politics. That doesn't mean that politicians are marxists.

Dr. Richard Dawkins of England says that evolution permits him and others to be "intellectually fulfilled atheists."


I suppose so. God could, if He chose, be unambiguously obvious to all men. He chose not to do so, which lets Dawkins be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Has to do with free will, I suppose. At any rate, evolution has nothing whatever to do with atheism, any more than metallurgy does.

#15 lionheart209

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:34 AM

Hey all!
            I know all atheists believe in relativistic altruism. So I was reading a book and I found this little bit on Morals and I would like to share it with you guys and see what you think......

".....Wilson says that social morals have evolved because the "cooperative" moreals helped humans survive together. But this assumes an end - survival - for evolution, when Darwinism, by definition, has no end because it is a nonintelligent process. And even if survival is granted as the end, Darwinists cannot explain why people knowinly engage in self-destructive behavior (i.e., smoking, drinking, drugs, suicide, etc.) Nor can Darwinists explain why peopl often subvert their own survival instincts to help others, sometimes to the point of thier own deaths. We all know that there are nobler ends than mere survival :soldiers sacrifice themselves for their country, parents for their children, and, if Christianity is true, God sacrificed his Son for us. Fourth, Wilson and other Darwinists assume that survival is a good thing, but there is not real good without an objective Moral Law. In fact, this is the problem with pragmatic and utilitarian ethical systems that say "do what works"  or "do whatever brings the greatest good." Do what works toward whose ends - Mother Teresa's or Hitler's? Such ethical systems must smuggle in the Moral Law to define what ends should work toward and what really is the greatest "good" Finally, Darwinists cannot explain why anyone should obey any biologically derived "moral sentiment." Why shouldnt people murder, rape, and steal to get what they want if there is nothing beyond this world? Why should the powerful "cooperate" with the weaker when the powerful can survive longer by exploiting the weaker? after all, history is replete with criminals and dictators who have lengthened their own survival precisely because they have disobeyed all "moral sentiments" in their repression and elimination of their opponents."

(Taken from I dont have enough faith to be an atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek)

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 02:06 PM

I've never understood atheists and morals. The bottom line with atheists is that whatever the majority in a society determines is morally acceptable, so in the end, anything can be morally acceptable. E.g. sodomizing guests to your town, like they did in Sodom.

Terry

#17 Red Wizard of Thay

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 02:16 PM

The bottom line with atheists is that whatever the majority in a society determines is morally acceptable, so in the end, anything can be morally acceptable. E.g. sodomizing guests to your town, like they did in Sodom

That's total nonsense. I know several atheists, and they do NOT have the attitude that whatever the majority accepts = moral.

For instance, the majority frowns on the rights for G*ys to marry, yet the vast majority of atheists do not feel that it is immoral.

Even though not directed at me, I find 92g's post rather insulting. Making such generalized claims of atheists amounts to a broad ad hominem.

#18 chance

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 02:59 PM

I've never understood atheists and morals.  The bottom line with atheists is that whatever the majority in a society determines is morally acceptable, so in the end, anything can be morally acceptable.  E.g. sodomizing guests to your town, like they did in Sodom.

Terry

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Theoretically you are correct, but in practice bad moral behaviour is self destructive so we don’t do it. Just because something is possible that does not make it a good choice.

Individuals often are the voice of reason in a society that is less than moral, e.g. would slavery have ever been abolished if individuals never spoke against the majority, or status quo?

#19 The Debatinator

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 03:02 PM

Theoretically you are correct, but in practice bad moral behaviour is self destructive so we don’t do it.  Just because something is possible that does not make it a good choice. 

Individuals often are the voice of reason in a society that is less than moral, e.g. would slavery have ever been abolished if individuals never spoke against the majority, or status quo?

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Morals usually overlay all laws of all societies. Before Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, they could do whatever they wanted to women and G*ys. That certainly wasn;t helpful and all here must agree that it was wrong.

#20 Wally

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:13 PM

I've never understood atheists and morals.  The bottom line with atheists is that whatever the majority in a society determines is morally acceptable, so in the end, anything can be morally acceptable.  E.g. sodomizing guests to your town, like they did in Sodom.

Terry

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I think I’ll let someone a little smarter than me answer that.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy,
education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would
indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of
punishment and hope of reward after death.
-- Albert Einstein

There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great
many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease
to behave.
--Louis Kronenberger




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