Objective Morality?

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Objective Morality?

#1

Post by zcaz » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:06 pm

I hear many Creationists argue that without a God, we wouldn't have "Objective Morality". What leads us to believe certain actions are right and wrong? While I do agree that we are given these right and wrongs by God, I don't believe the animal kingdom proves any less 'Moral' than us, in fact they seem to be more morally intact.

Animals mostly do what is necessary for their survival, and nothing more than that.. they don't go on random killing sprees(against their own kind) if it does not somehow benefit them like humans do. They do not abort their babies simply because they don't want to take care of them as humans do, with 93% of abortions being due to...birth control reasons, and 1.3 million babies aborted per year, I would say Humans show more negative moral values than the 'spiritless'(therefore incorruptible) animal kingdom.

Isn't this view backed up within the Bible? Didn't sin cause man to do evil deeds? So i would say on the contrary to what these certain creationists claim, that our immorality is what proves we are separate from any spiritless animal out there, not our ability to do good.

In this video below, William Lane Craig debates Lewis Wolpert and uses this argument to no avail, and ends up finding himself in a bit of trouble..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ejresKtSBg&NR=1

You can tell his back was up against the wall when he claimed animals kill their own babies off all the time. He had no prior knowledge to whether they do or not, and eventually made up a pretty hilarious lie about pet mice that he had who ate their babies, saying it was umm...awful lol! It was a shame seeing Craig in such a tough position, I love watching him debate because he brings up many great points and is very educated in how to school an atheist(haha) however I do think he needs to reinvent this argument, which would be pretty easy..

I'm just wondering, do you guys think "Objective Morality" is a good case, or do you think it's easy for evolutionists and such to pass it off as learned behavior as natural selection progresses?(In which case I come to wonder why we have become more mischievous and selfish?)

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Re: Objective Morality?

#2

Post by B. W. » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:55 am

zcaz wrote:I hear many Creationists argue that without a God, we wouldn't have "Objective Morality". What leads us to believe certain actions are right and wrong? While I do agree that we are given these right and wrongs by God, I don't believe the animal kingdom proves any less 'Moral' than us, in fact they seem to be more morally intact.

Animals mostly do what is necessary for their survival, and nothing more than that.. they don't go on random killing sprees(against their own kind) if it does not somehow benefit them like humans do. They do not abort their babies simply because they don't want to take care of them as humans do, with 93% of abortions being due to...birth control reasons, and 1.3 million babies aborted per year, I would say Humans show more negative moral values than the 'spiritless'(therefore incorruptible) animal kingdom.

Isn't this view backed up within the Bible? Didn't sin cause man to do evil deeds? So i would say on the contrary to what these certain creationists claim, that our immorality is what proves we are separate from any spiritless animal out there, not our ability to do good.

In this video below, William Lane Craig debates Lewis Wolpert and uses this argument to no avail, and ends up finding himself in a bit of trouble..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ejresKtSBg&NR=1

You can tell his back was up against the wall when he claimed animals kill their own babies off all the time. He had no prior knowledge to whether they do or not, and eventually made up a pretty hilarious lie about pet mice that he had who ate their babies, saying it was umm...awful lol! It was a shame seeing Craig in such a tough position, I love watching him debate because he brings up many great points and is very educated in how to school an atheist(haha) however I do think he needs to reinvent this argument, which would be pretty easy..

I'm just wondering, do you guys think "Objective Morality" is a good case, or do you think it's easy for evolutionists and such to pass it off as learned behavior as natural selection progresses?(In which case I come to wonder why we have become more mischievous and selfish?)
Without some sort of divine intervention it would be impossible for human beings to derive what is actually right and actually wrong as our human moral codes are all based on moral relativity and subject to the change of whim, taste, likes, and dislikes.

God solidified a universal moral code to signify what makes right-right and wrong-wrong as well as to expose what makes sin – sin. Without that, we’d be lost in a sea of relativism drowning in codes of moral diversity.

Romans 7:7, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." NKJV

The Lord sent forth a standard by which human hubris is made most apparent – gaming the law, exploiting the system so as to demand circumvention of all personal accountability and responsibility. Thus, we are found guilty, not from our own moral relative moral codes but by God who judges perfectly and sentences justly for our exploitation and gaming of the universal standards found only in God himself.

Would God want to live next door to someone who exploits and seeks to game his character for their own ends? Would anyone for that matter? How would you let them know what they were doing was wrong?
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Re: Objective Morality?

#3

Post by Telstra Robs » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:50 pm

Something to look towards in my opinion are our laws against rape. If morality adheres to evolutionary principle, then would not rape, which would allow for one to increase their line, any mutations they had and thus adhere to the ideas of natural selection (survival of the fittest)? Why are there laws against rape? Then again, laws for abortion are confusing as they do not adhere to religious law or to ideas of an evolving morality (but considering that 1m people in the US are aborted each year, this could be considered as being harmful to the population from a naturally selective point of view).

Just my thoughts.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#4

Post by waynepii » Sun May 01, 2011 2:12 pm

B. W. wrote:
zcaz wrote:I hear many Creationists argue that without a God, we wouldn't have "Objective Morality". What leads us to believe certain actions are right and wrong? While I do agree that we are given these right and wrongs by God, I don't believe the animal kingdom proves any less 'Moral' than us, in fact they seem to be more morally intact.

Animals mostly do what is necessary for their survival, and nothing more than that.. they don't go on random killing sprees(against their own kind) if it does not somehow benefit them like humans do. They do not abort their babies simply because they don't want to take care of them as humans do, with 93% of abortions being due to...birth control reasons, and 1.3 million babies aborted per year, I would say Humans show more negative moral values than the 'spiritless'(therefore incorruptible) animal kingdom.

Isn't this view backed up within the Bible? Didn't sin cause man to do evil deeds? So i would say on the contrary to what these certain creationists claim, that our immorality is what proves we are separate from any spiritless animal out there, not our ability to do good.

In this video below, William Lane Craig debates Lewis Wolpert and uses this argument to no avail, and ends up finding himself in a bit of trouble..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ejresKtSBg&NR=1

You can tell his back was up against the wall when he claimed animals kill their own babies off all the time. He had no prior knowledge to whether they do or not, and eventually made up a pretty hilarious lie about pet mice that he had who ate their babies, saying it was umm...awful lol! It was a shame seeing Craig in such a tough position, I love watching him debate because he brings up many great points and is very educated in how to school an atheist(haha) however I do think he needs to reinvent this argument, which would be pretty easy..

I'm just wondering, do you guys think "Objective Morality" is a good case, or do you think it's easy for evolutionists and such to pass it off as learned behavior as natural selection progresses?(In which case I come to wonder why we have become more mischievous and selfish?)
Without some sort of divine intervention it would be impossible for human beings to derive what is actually right and actually wrong as our human moral codes are all based on moral relativity and subject to the change of whim, taste, likes, and dislikes.

God solidified a universal moral code to signify what makes right-right and wrong-wrong as well as to expose what makes sin – sin. Without that, we’d be lost in a sea of relativism drowning in codes of moral diversity.

Romans 7:7, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." NKJV

The Lord sent forth a standard by which human hubris is made most apparent – gaming the law, exploiting the system so as to demand circumvention of all personal accountability and responsibility. Thus, we are found guilty, not from our own moral relative moral codes but by God who judges perfectly and sentences justly for our exploitation and gaming of the universal standards found only in God himself.

Would God want to live next door to someone who exploits and seeks to game his character for their own ends? Would anyone for that matter? How would you let them know what they were doing was wrong?
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The concept of "objective morality" fascinates me. Assuming an objective morality exists, how do we mortal humans come to know whether any given issue is "moral" or "immoral"? Also, if OM exists, wouldn't it be constant over time and across cultures? On the other hand, if morality is a product of the human mind, would it not be likely to change over time and between cultures? Which of these hypotheses seem closer to what we see in the real world?

I think "morality" originated with a need for social animals to "get along". Getting along is necessary in order for social animals to operate cooperatively and thus benefit individually as members of a cooperative group. A wolf is a much more effective hunter as a member of a cooperative pack than by itself. It is in each pack member's best interest to abide by the rules of its pack so as not to be expelled from the pack - even if some of those rules are not in the individual's direct best instance (ie it's better for an individual to be in the pack even if it means that individual won't be allowed to breed, etc).

Humans have the intellect to refine their code of conduct (aka "morality") and incorporate such unselfish ideas as reciprocity, equal protection, and freedom as the code evolved. The rate at which of each of the various cultures' "morality" evolves tends to vary based on a number of factors, including that culture's religion(s).

I see little to indicate existence of OM. The ethic of reciprocity (aka "Golden Rule") does provide a fairly good "objective" test of a culture's morality but it is the product of the human mind, not any outside agency.
Last edited by waynepii on Sun May 01, 2011 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Objective Morality

#5

Post by DannyM » Sun May 01, 2011 2:57 pm

I wouldn't confuse reciprocity with being altruistic. Reciprocity is about a mutual 'give and take.' Altruism is a regard for others as a principle of action. It is an unselfish concern for other people, and comes from the Italian altrui, which literally means 'somebody else'. Reciprocity has nothing to do with altruistic behaviour.
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Re: Objective Morality

#6

Post by waynepii » Sun May 01, 2011 7:16 pm

DannyM wrote:I wouldn't confuse reciprocity with being altruistic. Reciprocity is about a mutual 'give and take.' Altruism is a regard for others as a principle of action. It is an unselfish concern for other people, and comes from the Italian altrui, which literally means 'somebody else'. Reciprocity has nothing to do with altruistic behaviour.
Well, I guess "unselfish" might be a better choice. (change made)

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Re: Objective Morality

#7

Post by DannyM » Mon May 02, 2011 5:50 am

waynepii wrote:
DannyM wrote:I wouldn't confuse reciprocity with being altruistic. Reciprocity is about a mutual 'give and take.' Altruism is a regard for others as a principle of action. It is an unselfish concern for other people, and comes from the Italian altrui, which literally means 'somebody else'. Reciprocity has nothing to do with altruistic behaviour.
Well, I guess "unselfish" might be a better choice. (change made)
Well, that's upto you to judge for yourself. But I hardly think a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' policy can be called unselfish when there are obviously selfish motives involved.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#8

Post by jlay » Tue May 03, 2011 11:03 am

I think "morality" originated with a need for social animals to "get along".
There are too many examples contrary to this. Aminals fighting over mating rights. Sometimes to the death. Fighting over territory and pecking order. Also, abandoning their old and dying. If anything, what we consider moral would often be contrary to the natural. therefore there must be a standard above natural causes. These savage behaviors are common in the more advanced social animals.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#9

Post by waynepii » Wed May 04, 2011 6:33 am

jlay wrote:
I think "morality" originated with a need for social animals to "get along".
There are too many examples contrary to this. Aminals fighting over mating rights. Sometimes to the death. Fighting over territory and pecking order.
Very little intra-species conflict (territorial, hierarchical, mating rights, etc.) results in serious injury or death. Considering the weaponry sported by some species, this shows a remarkable level of restraint. Of the cases where death or serious injury does result, many, if not most, are the result of accident.

Why is this? How is it "survival of the fittest"? In some species, the loser still has value to the group, the group still benefits from the loser's presence and the loser still benefits from being a member of the group. The group does not benefit from true life and death conflict - in too many cases, even the "winner" would be seriously injured. The group can not afford to have two of its strongest members maimed or killed. Hence, intra-group conflict is usually ritualized and quite blood-less.

That is not to say that all intra-group relationships are benign. In some cases, these relationship can seem horrific to our highly civilized view, but there is a code of conduct to which members of each species adheres. Some examples:
  • When a dominate male lion is replaced, he is seldom killed - although his cubs may be (to bring their mother(s) back into estrus).
  • Nomadic species routinely abandon individuals who are unable to keep pace with the group.
  • Defective offspring are killed.
Note that each of these (and most other examples of "immoral" animal behavior) were routinely practiced by humans. In some cultures, they still are.
Also, abandoning their old and dying. If anything, what we consider moral would often be contrary to the natural. These savage behaviors are common in the more advanced social animals.
When an individual becomes a liability to the group, they are abandoned.
Therefore there must be a standard above natural causes.
Non-nomadic species are better able care for their injured until they recover or die and many non-nomadic social species do not abandon injured members of the group. Humans are now largely non-nomadic and have developed ways to treat many illnesses and injuries. The human intellect makes it feasible to treat more diseases and injuries, and it also evolves the code of conduct.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#10

Post by jlay » Wed May 04, 2011 9:23 am

Note that each of these (and most other examples of "immoral" animal behavior) were routinely practiced by humans. In some cultures, they still are.
And there in lies the problem for you Wayne. Routinely? So if these behaviors are in humans, and they are consistent with other social species, then how can a secular humanists justify any moral outrage when they are committed? Doesn't seem consistent.
Why is this? How is it "survival of the fittest"? In some species, the loser still has value to the group, the group still benefits from the loser's presence and the loser still benefits from being a member of the group. The group does not benefit from true life and death conflict - in too many cases, even the "winner" would be seriously injured. The group can not afford to have two of its strongest members maimed or killed. Hence, intra-group conflict is usually ritualized and quite blood-less
Are you trying to make a point relevant to the moral argument? If so, please clarify what you are asking.
When an individual becomes a liability to the group, they are abandoned.
Perhaps the US military should ammend the practice to 'never leave a man behind.'
Non-nomadic species are better able care for their injured until they recover or die and many non-nomadic social species do not abandon injured members of the group. Humans are now largely non-nomadic and have developed ways to treat many illnesses and injuries. The human intellect makes it feasible to treat more diseases and injuries, and it also evolves the code of conduct.
Couple of things here. 1st you presuppose that codes of conduct evolve. I would say that the burden is on you to prove this. 2ndly, a species nomadic state seems irrelevant to whether something is objectively right or wrong. Is it right to care for injured people? And is it wrong to not care for them? It sounds to me as if you see this as simply convenience. I have been involved in the care of many a dying relative. It was never convenient, I assure you.

Wayne before I engage you any further. Just what exactly has changed since you last posted here at G&S?
Jac no longer is a member here, and by and large he was the best at addressing the moral argument. You were involoved in lengthy discussions as best I remember.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#11

Post by waynepii » Wed May 04, 2011 7:31 pm

jlay wrote:
Note that each of these (and most other examples of "immoral" animal behavior) were routinely practiced by humans. In some cultures, they still are.
And there in lies the problem for you Wayne. Routinely? So if these behaviors are in humans, and they are consistent with other social species, then how can a secular humanists justify any moral outrage when they are committed? Doesn't seem consistent.
Not a problem at all, the codes of conduct of most human societies have evolved over time. Examples:
  • Human sacrifice used to be practiced routinely and was a major "sacrament" of some religions, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
  • Cannibalism used to be practiced by some religions, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
  • Slavery used to be practiced routinely, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
  • Torture used to be practiced routinely, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
  • etc.
Some of these changes (slavery, torture, ... ) happened quite recently, well within the christian era.

Animals generally lack the ability to evolve their codes of conduct.
Why is this? How is it "survival of the fittest"? In some species, the loser still has value to the group, the group still benefits from the loser's presence and the loser still benefits from being a member of the group. The group does not benefit from true life and death conflict - in too many cases, even the "winner" would be seriously injured. The group can not afford to have two of its strongest members maimed or killed. Hence, intra-group conflict is usually ritualized and quite blood-less
Are you trying to make a point relevant to the moral argument? If so, please clarify what you are asking.
I was explaining how the behaviors I described are consistent with "survival of the fittest". In the case of social animals, success of the group is a significant factor in the survival of the individuals making up the group.
When an individual becomes a liability to the group, they are abandoned.
Perhaps the US military should ammend the practice to 'never leave a man behind.'
First off, that was describing codes of conduct related to some non-human species. Secondly, do you think that the Army didn't leave men behind before they had the resources to get seriously wounded or dead soldiers off the battlefield? Do you think they still wouldn't leave their dead or seriously wounded behind if bringing them along seriously impaired the ability to complete the mission?
Non-nomadic species are better able care for their injured until they recover or die and many non-nomadic social species do not abandon injured members of the group. Humans are now largely non-nomadic and have developed ways to treat many illnesses and injuries. The human intellect makes it feasible to treat more diseases and injuries, and it also evolves the code of conduct.
Couple of things here. 1st you presuppose that codes of conduct evolve. I would say that the burden is on you to prove this.
I never claimed the codes evolve except for those of human societies. For humans, see my first answer in this post.
2ndly, a species nomadic state seems irrelevant to whether something is objectively right or wrong. Is it right to care for injured people? And is it wrong to not care for them? It sounds to me as if you see this as simply convenience. I have been involved in the care of many a dying relative. It was never convenient, I assure you.
You're right, it is irrelevant to whether a code of conduct is objectively right or wrong, merely that the code is beneficial to the species to which it applies. Nomadic human societies abandoned sick or injured members, at least until their technology advanced such that bringing them along no longer imperiled the group. Those who claim existence of an objective morality (beyond such philosophical concepts originating from the human intellect such as the Golden Rule) need to prove its existence.
Wayne before I engage you any further. Just what exactly has changed since you last posted here at G&S?
A number of personal and business issues limited the amount of time available for posting here for a year or so. At least for a while, I now have a bit more time.
Jac no longer is a member here, and by and large he was the best at addressing the moral argument. You were involoved in lengthy discussions as best I remember.
I'm sorry to hear that, I hope he's alright.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#12

Post by neo-x » Thu May 05, 2011 2:27 am

Here is the real problem, Objective morality only exists as long as the pre-requisite for it is given and that is God. If there is a God, then objective morality exists.
First off, that was describing codes of conduct related to some non-human species. Secondly, do you think that the Army didn't leave men behind before they had the resources to get seriously wounded or dead soldiers off the battlefield? Do you think they still wouldn't leave their dead or seriously wounded behind if bringing them along seriously impaired the ability to complete the mission?
First I think Jilay meant, never to leave a soldier behind enemy lines, regardless if the mission was a success or not. I think you are mixing objective morality with strict value theory. It is irrelevant if the army left soldiers behind enemy lines, if it was necessary that doesn't mean they reached this decision following morality guidelines which in turn can't prove that there is no objective morality. Behavior in general can not be the foundation for arguing that "Objective morality does not exist" or vice versa. The existence of OM and the practice of OM are two different things.

The need for relative morality only arises when a social system expands or divides. Why religions think there is objective morality? because God is the highest authority and because religion is never designed for groups of people. It always serves a single group (and for that matter any system with a unified belief will.), that is why all religions convert people before accepting them. Theocracy rather than democracy, and in their own context that is how it will all end (even if you take Christianity for example). The morality that religion claims always serve its followers because they are tied by common creed. Only when the need of more than one group of people are to be satisfied socially, is when relative morality kicks in. You can't compare the two, because the conditions for matching the two are not equal.

As I said, as long as there is a God, OM exists since in the religious model he is the highest authority and all relativity is with respect to God. If you do not accept the idea of a God than there is no objective morality.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#13

Post by waynepii » Thu May 05, 2011 4:47 am

neo-x wrote:Here is the real problem, Objective morality only exists as long as the pre-requisite for it is given and that is God. If there is a God, then objective morality exists.
First off, that was describing codes of conduct related to some non-human species. Secondly, do you think that the Army didn't leave men behind before they had the resources to get seriously wounded or dead soldiers off the battlefield? Do you think they still wouldn't leave their dead or seriously wounded behind if bringing them along seriously impaired the ability to complete the mission?
First I think Jilay meant, never to leave a soldier behind enemy lines, regardless if the mission was a success or not. I think you are mixing objective morality with strict value theory. It is irrelevant if the army left soldiers behind enemy lines, if it was necessary that doesn't mean they reached this decision following morality guidelines which in turn can't prove that there is no objective morality. Behavior in general can not be the foundation for arguing that "Objective morality does not exist" or vice versa. The existence of OM and the practice of OM are two different things.

The need for relative morality only arises when a social system expands or divides. Why religions think there is objective morality? because God is the highest authority and because religion is never designed for groups of people. It always serves a single group (and for that matter any system with a unified belief will.), that is why all religions convert people before accepting them. Theocracy rather than democracy, and in their own context that is how it will all end (even if you take Christianity for example). The morality that religion claims always serve its followers because they are tied by common creed. Only when the need of more than one group of people are to be satisfied socially, is when relative morality kicks in. You can't compare the two, because the conditions for matching the two are not equal.

As I said, as long as there is a God, OM exists since in the religious model he is the highest authority and all relativity is with respect to God. If you do not accept the idea of a God than there is no objective morality.
I understand where the concept of "objective morality" comes from. My problem with OM is that way too many people claim they know what OM says is "right" & "wrong" but cannot give a clear and definitive answer as to just how they gained their knowledge of what is right & wrong according to OM.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#14

Post by Byblos » Thu May 05, 2011 5:16 am

waynepii wrote:I understand where the concept of "objective morality" comes from. My problem with OM is that way too many people claim they know what OM says is "right" & "wrong" but cannot give a clear and definitive answer as to just how they gained their knowledge of what is right & wrong according to OM.
You are conflating two different things. Whether or not objective morality exists (an ontological statement) has nothing to do with how we come to know right from wrong (an epistemological statement).
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Re: Objective Morality?

#15

Post by waynepii » Thu May 05, 2011 7:39 am

Byblos wrote:
waynepii wrote:I understand where the concept of "objective morality" comes from. My problem with OM is that way too many people claim they know what OM says is "right" & "wrong" but cannot give a clear and definitive answer as to just how they gained their knowledge of what is right & wrong according to OM.
You are conflating two different things. Whether or not objective morality exists (an ontological statement) has nothing to do with how we come to know right from wrong (an epistemological statement).
OK, prove that OM exists (an ontological statement). Those who claim OM exists then use its presumed existence as the basis of their view of right and wrong.

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