Morality Without God?

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Re: Morality Without God?

#61

Post by Butterfly » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:55 pm

RickD wrote:The opening quote from Butterfly's link:
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ~ Steven Weinberg
Without religion(God), what basis does one have for calling someone "good" or "evil"?
If you had read the article you would have seen how it answers your question.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#62

Post by KravMagaSelfDefense » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:00 pm

Butterfly wrote:
KravMagaSelfDefense wrote: Hey thanks for the response. It's been a while since this thread has seen activity. I'll jump right in and see what I can comment on.

Your first argument is an interesting one. I have seen it before, so it doesn't quite convince me. The problem is that by explaining man's ability to discern right from wrong by bringing up man's self-awareness, you seem to only kick the can down the road. The next inevitable question is, "where did man get his self-awareness?" I do not see self-awareness as being properly explained by chemical reactions and atoms in motion. There is no conceivable way in which atoms in motion can combine to create a living consciousness, an independent identity, a self-aware mind. The existence of self-awareness, to me, is strong evidence against the idea that man has purely naturalistic origins.
I would also challenge the premise that self-awareness alone leads to the ability to make moral judgements. There doesn't seem to be any naturalistic or evolutionary reason why we even think of things in terms of right and wrong. Morality seems entirely arbitrary and meaningless in the evolutionary worldview. So, in a way, our ability to make moral judgements points to the fact that those judgements do mean something, that we were given this faculty in order to discern actual truths. And, of course, I hold that we were given it by God at the moment of Creation.
Thanks! I appreciate your comments :D

I can totally relate to the idea of morality being given to humans as a faculty to discern truth by a creator, but the more I dug into the roots of morality the clearer its origins became. As I mentioned in my first post, all life has consciousness, humans are only one step higher in that we have self consciousness which makes all the difference in the world, because now we can compare ourselves to others which gives life meaning. Now, the idea of meaning has been introduced into the picture, which inevitably leads to the ability to make judgments. If you want to posit the idea that your God gave man his self-consciousness that is your prerogative, but it doesn't change the fact that self-consciousness leads to morality.
I don't recall the meaning of life ever being introduced into this discussion. I would appreciate our trails of thought to remain on topic.
You repeat your earlier statement that self-consciousness leads to morality. I challenged this premise. Do you remember? Please read over my response again and reply a little more thoroughly.
KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:
So now we're touching more on the original idea of my first post, which was not necessarily how we began to discern right from wrong but whether or not right and wrong actually exist. In other words, the debate over whether or not morality is objective and subjective, instead of the debate about where man got his moral sense from.
I always challenge those who say that morality is not real to think long and hard about what they are saying. I have never met or talked to anyone who believed what you just said through and through. On the surface, you can say that morality is meaningless all day. But we all innately know otherwise.
Would you, the person behind the username Butterfly, witness the rape and murder of a little girl, and then declare to investigators and news anchors, "Morality is a concept, not an objective fact! Morality emerged out of the consciousness of man. Without the self-awareness of the human animal, morality does not exist!" Think about it. I do not think you believe what you think you do.
I do not say morality is meaningless! It is humans who give morality meaning based on our self consciousness. The rape and murder of a little girl has tremendous meaning for me because I can relate to her humanity and her gender, all because I am a self conscious being. If rape and murder was an objective moral fact that exists independently of humans, than animals would be guilty of rape and murder. Humans are the ones through their self consciousness, that give the moral meaning to rape and murder...outside of the human sphere it doesn't exist.
Well what you are referring to is subjective meaning, which isn't meaning at all. True meaning is objective meaning, and that is what you are denying. Any "meaning" that you make up in your own head based on self-consciousness is simply nonexistent. You are living in a nonexistent world.
"If rape and murder was (sic) an objective moral fact that exists independently of humans, than (sic) animals would be guilty of rape and murder."
No, no no. You've missed the point entirely. Objective laws apply only to humans because only humans are capable of understanding them. That is why I condemn a human being who deliberately kills a little girl but not a mountain lion who kills a little girl. When I said that the moral significance of rape and murder exists independently of humans, what I was saying was that it exists whether or not we believe in it, that it exists objectively.
And on the issue of the rape and murder of a little girl: the fact that you can relate to the girls' pain has no bearing on whether or not the action is moral or immoral. The fact that you can relate to the little girl's pain merely means that what is happening to her is unpleasant; you still must show that it is wrong.
KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:
The fact that morality is objective does not imply or require that man always agree on what is right or what is wrong. Where did this premise come from? I agree that there has been much moral debate over the millennia about human affairs. But it doesn't change that there ARE objective moral facts that apply to human affairs. Furthermore, most people do agree on the basic questions of morality, such as the evil of murder and thievery and the rightness of philanthropy and selflessness.
You mentioned murder, thievery and selflessness as being a few examples of objective moral facts. How would you define murder, or thievery? There are many many cases in the Old Testament that would be considered murder, or thievery by today's standards, but are approved of and allowed by the Bibles god. If something is an objective moral fact how can it change through time?
It doesn't change. What are you referring to? The fact that God takes lives in the Old Testament? I've already stated that God is beyond our understanding and that certain rules that apply to humans do not apply to God because of God's special position. It is not murder for God to take a life because he is simply ending what he owns. It is murder for a human to take a life because a human does not have the same right. Can we remove the actions of God from this discussion?
How would I define murder or thievery? I don't understand what the confusion is. Murder is the unlawful, unjustifiable premeditated killing of one human being by another, and thievery is the action of stealing another person's property. The definition game is an anti-climactic one on this count, I'm afraid.
KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:
There are countless other examples in the Bible where acts that are considered immoral by today’s standards are commanded and condoned by its God. Morality appears to come solely from the emergence of self-awareness and the ability to reason, there is no need of a “Divine Source” as the author of morality.
Well again I'd challenge the idea that morality comes from reason alone. This is very important, so read carefully: reason deals with things that are, the state of things. Morality deals with the way things should be. There is no connection between the two; they are entirely divorced from one another. You cannot reach the conclusion "killing is wrong" through logical syllogisms and proofs. There are some truths that we are all justified in recognizing, but which are not based in "reason" or rational thought process. And this applies to atheists as well as Christians.
You are giving a very narrow definition to the term reason, so you can make a distinction between morality and reason. I say no such distinction occurs. Humans can use reasoning and rational thought processes to determines the way things should be. And yes, there are certain truths that all humans recognize, but the reason they do are based on reason.

No, I am not. Explain to me how reason and logic apply to questions of "ought." It can't be done. Logic focuses on things that are empirically or rationally discerned. Things that are. Like I asked already (but got no answer) can you get the statement "killing is wrong" from a logical syllogism or proof? This is not a rhetorical question.

Can I ask you a question? What specifically is wrong with slavery? What makes it wrong?
I am re-posting this link to an article titled An Atheistic Foundation for Objective Morality. As of yet it stands unrefuted.
I do have rebuttals for these arguments. They're nothing new to me. But honestly I would rather that the questions I put forth in this discussion be honored and replied to, which has not happened to all of them, before we open up new trails of discussion.
Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman. ~Author Unknown
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. ~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. - C.S. Lewis.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#63

Post by Icthus » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:38 pm

Butterfly wrote:I am re-posting this link to an article titled An Atheistic Foundation for Objective Morality. As of yet it stands unrefuted.
Unrefuted? That article is laughable. The author, for instance, handwaves the possibility of some psychopath enjoying ill treatment as being irrational without even considering the fact that there is no objective standard for determining a "correct" way to think or feel. His responses to possible objections are absurdly circular, referring back to the very flimsy tenets of "self-love" that are being objected to as if that answers the objection. He claims the Golden Rule is "objective" because it's something all humans tacitly agree to but then answers the objection that not everyone believes in the Golden Rule by essentially saying, "well, they're immoral since it's objective." He has no grasp of the terminology, no real familiarity with the debate, and makes no reference to the vast body of scholarship that exists on the question of morality. He doesn't even need to be refuted, since he hasn't made a legitimate challenge to any of the moral arguments Christians tend to make.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#64

Post by Butterfly » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:06 pm

Icthus wrote:
Butterfly wrote:I am re-posting this link to an article titled An Atheistic Foundation for Objective Morality. As of yet it stands unrefuted.
Unrefuted? That article is laughable. The author, for instance, handwaves the possibility of some psychopath enjoying ill treatment as being irrational without even considering the fact that there is no objective standard for determining a "correct" way to think or feel.
It seems to me that the article answers your point in a non-circular way. I didn't notice any "handwaving." He established objective morality on two principles. If you want to refute his argument, you need to show an error in one or both of his principles. Here they are:

1) Self-love: All rational beings desire the best for themselves.

2) The Golden Rule: There is no objective reason to prefer one over another. This is the principle of moral symmetry, commonly known as "fairness" or "justice." An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions.

He refuted your "psychopath" argument by stating that "Psychopaths are not rational if they want bad things done to themselves. This objection fails because it contradicts the first principle of self-love." Are you saying that psychopaths are rational?

He said nothing about any "correct way to think or feel." He was talking about the objective fact that some things are better or worse for people. Are you saying that there is no rational way to determine if something is objectively good or bad for a person? I mean, is it impossible to say that raping children is bad for them? It seems to me that all rational people could agree about what constitutes the well being of an individual.

So the first question that needs to be answered is this: Do you agree with his first principle of self-love? Do all rational beings desire the best for themselves?
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Re: Morality Without God?

#65

Post by Butterfly » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:31 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:You do understand that without an objective GOOD, there is NO golden rule.
The golden rule is 100% subjective and it is subjective to what is viewed as good and good is subjective to what the individual believes to be good and how good is defined.
You've got me confused. First you say that there needs to be an objective good in order for the Golden Rule to exist, and then you say the Golden Rule is subjective??

The Golden Rule is drawn solely from the human sphere of self consciousness, it does not need an objective good in order to exist. As a rational self-aware being you know what it means to be treated right as a human, so if you apply that same standard in how you treat others you are practicing the Golden Rule, without the need for an outside divine source who imposes rules and laws.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#66

Post by B. W. » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:54 pm

Butterfly wrote:Yes, there are people who hate themselves, but as a general rule people do not hate themselves unless they have been instructed to do so by their religion, or have some form of mental disease.
Not true – you just broke the golden rule – you falsely judge. Also, People falsely judge themselves as righteous all the time. No one is immune. This false Judgment causes the breakdown of the golden rule – no one, not even yourself can live by it… as you just so proved.
B. W. wrote:Without an objective guide from an outside source revealing what and why wrong is wrong and what makes good - good. You are only left with subjective moral slavery....Subjective morality is true and promotes what is defined as sin in the bible - missing the mark-warping and twisting truth (gaming the system so to speak). Subjective morality needs objective moral standard to instruct what is right and wrong. Subjective mortality cannot decide what even good is…
In response to this you wrote:
Butterfly wrote: Having an outside source for morality does nothing but justify people who want to impose their religious doctrines upon others, by saying that morality comes from their God. There are people from all walks of life that despise themselves and the only thing that can ever change them is when they start loving themselves. Self hatred is a disease that ends in the ultimate destruction of that life, which is the reason we know it is aberrant behavior…
Problem is, people love only themselves and no one else – you just demonstrated a form of hate – which again breaks the Golden Rule. So I pose to you that unbridled self love brings ultimate destruction upon many human beings just as much as self hate does.

You cannot impose the Golden Rule based upon what your sole idea of what self love should be for others anymore than anyone else can do so to you. Difference with true biblical Christianity is that it just offers a choice, and leaves a person to decide for his or her self, and respects that decision.

Other Religions, well just do not do that. In India, the peace loving Hindus burn Christians alive, hack them to death with blades, kill, and torture Christians - as do the Muslims do to all, even their own.

Unbridled Self Love is delusional. It feels good to hate, have no moral standards other than what delusional self love indicates and justifies. This kind of self love breaks the Golden Rule while claiming it follows it to the letter.
Butterfly wrote: As I have said previously, morality does not need to come from a source outside of ourselves...all that is needed is a self awareness and a realization that all humans should be treated in the same manner as ones self wishes to be treated. Of course there are always people who abuse themselves and others, but that would be true no matter where one thinks morality comes from. Even Christians who believe that morality is given by God know that there are abusers who call themselves Christians. In the Bible itself God is portrayed many times as acting immorally, which shows that the only true standard of measure for morality comes from treating others as you wish to be treated, not by following a set of arbitrary rules given in a religious text. .
Again you show a complete missunderstanding of what Biblically based Christianity actually teaches based on people who hijack it. You have hijacked the Golden Rule to justify bigotry, have you not? Look again at what I wrote…
B. W. wrote:Morality cannot be founded upon feelings alone that are used to determine what is right and what is wrong. An objective standard is needed to help define why good is good and why bad is bad.
What you cited to me so far is not based on truth or reason but rather the emotionalism of self love to impose your idea of the Golden Rule should be for everyone. Would this not make one just as guilty as any other religious husker?

Let me try to explain it to you simply: The Golden Rule – no person can live to that standard, not even you. All have missed it and fallen short of the Glory of God and need someone outside themselves to save them from such warped twisted self love that uses the Golden Rule to set a standard none can live by. In this, The Golden Rule does what it is supposed to – expose sin in the human heart. Awake us to what defines sin as sin and how far we all have fallen from God's objective Golden Rule. The Golden Rule was posed to humanity as our tutor in order to bring us to Christ Jesus who set's us free from delusional self love and self hate.
Butterfly wrote:There is no objective standard outside of the human experience to define good and bad. The Muslims have their Koran, the Christians have their Bible, the Hindus have their Vedas...who's to say which is right?
How do you determine which is true – which one actually offers you a choice, and allows you to decide on your own, and respects you even if you reject the truth: Much different than all others. Hmmm, Live by the Golden Rule? Respect Christ’s Offer and Us who believe in Him.

How often do you break your own contrived Golden Rule?
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Re: Morality Without God?

#67

Post by Icthus » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:41 pm

Butterfly wrote:Do you agree with his first principle of self-love? Do all rational beings desire the best for themselves?
The answer is no. Not all rational beings desire what is best for themselves. They desire what they desire. A perfectly rational person might say, "I would rather be famous than live a long life" and then go out and do a bunch of idiotic stunts to become famous though it eventually leads to his death. Would that be desiring the best for himself?

The problem with saying that everyone wants what is best for them is that there is no objective standard by which to judge what is "best" for someone. For instance, you might argue that being killed is bad for you, but some people might wish to die and have perfectly rational reasons (like that they live in constant, excruciating pain) for doing so. What about those that put others before themselves and strive to help others at the expense of their own well-being? Technically, they don't desire what is best for themselves.

Aside from all that, though, I don't even have to refute the author's two premises because they don't even form a logical argument. Even if I were to accept his first principle, the second is obviously invalid. Part of it states, "An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions." How on Earth can that form a logical argument? Since he is arguing for a source of objective morality, he can't just claim something to be objectively moral in his principles and expect us to let it slide through. If he could demonstrate that principle 2 contained objective morality, then he wouldn't even need another principle. That would be an argument in and of itself. The problem is that he just slaps the word "objectively" onto it without proper justification.

And the two principles are left completely unconnected. It is simply assumed that "everybody wants what's best for them" plus "The Golden Rule claimed to be objective without any proof" equals "The Golden Rule has been proven to be objective."

I repeat, this is not a serious argument. It is not a logical argument. It is not the kind of thing that any professional philosopher worth his salt would take seriously. If you read the literature on morality with or without God, you will not hear this argument defended seriously, and I promise you it is not because no one has thought of it yet. Trust me when I say that arguments such as this on "Bible Wheel" from lay skeptics are not worth defending, and if this argument (supposedly simple as it is) had even a grain of credibility, there would be scholars flocking to defend it and finally put to rest these silly questions of morality that have only plagued humanity for thousands of years.

If you wish to continue defending this argument, I won't argue with you further, but I dare you to go to the nearest major university, gather all the philosophy professors together and tell them that you've found the key to a naturalistic objective morality. I've been ridiculed enough for my own ignorance in years past to know that professional scholars hate to be treated condescendingly by unqualified amateurs.

(Note to self: Stop getting in fights with people. It doesn't do to get angry, and your English often suffers.)
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Re: Morality Without God?

#68

Post by Butterfly » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:24 pm

KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:I don't recall the meaning of life ever being introduced into this discussion. I would appreciate our trails of thought to remain on topic.
You repeat your earlier statement that self-consciousness leads to morality. I challenged this premise. Do you remember? Please read over my response again and reply a little more thoroughly.
I didn't say "the meaning of life", but rather having self-consciousness, is what gives life meaning which gives humans the ability to make judgments without the need of a divine source. Your challenge of my premise consisted of "There doesn't seem to be any naturalistic or evolutionary reason why we even think of things in terms of right and wrong.", and "Morality seems entirely arbitrary and meaningless in the evolutionary worldview." You hold to the idea that we are given our ability to make judgments from God without giving any solid reason for that idea, whereas I have shown that the ability to make judgments can come solely from human self consciousness.

KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:Well what you are referring to is subjective meaning, which isn't meaning at all. True meaning is objective meaning, and that is what you are denying. Any "meaning" that you make up in your own head based on self-consciousness is simply nonexistent. You are living in a nonexistent world.
"If rape and murder was (sic) an objective moral fact that exists independently of humans, than (sic) animals would be guilty of rape and murder."
No, no no. You've missed the point entirely. Objective laws apply only to humans because only humans are capable of understanding them. That is why I condemn a human being who deliberately kills a little girl but not a mountain lion who kills a little girl. When I said that the moral significance of rape and murder exists independently of humans, what I was saying was that it exists whether or not we believe in it, that it exists objectively.
And on the issue of the rape and murder of a little girl: the fact that you can relate to the girls' pain has no bearing on whether or not the action is moral or immoral. The fact that you can relate to the little girl's pain merely means that what is happening to her is unpleasant; you still must show that it is wrong.
You need to qualify what you mean by "objective laws", because laws that govern the physical world apply to all things that exist in the world. If you are referring to objective moral laws when you speak of rape and murder, then I agree that those moral laws exists whether or not an individual believes in it. What I must reiterate though, is that I believe that moral laws can exist without the need of a divine source.

KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:It doesn't change. What are you referring to? The fact that God takes lives in the Old Testament? I've already stated that God is beyond our understanding and that certain rules that apply to humans do not apply to God because of God's special position. It is not murder for God to take a life because he is simply ending what he owns. It is murder for a human to take a life because a human does not have the same right. Can we remove the actions of God from this discussion?
How would I define murder or thievery? I don't understand what the confusion is. Murder is the unlawful, unjustifiable premeditated killing of one human being by another, and thievery is the action of stealing another person's property. The definition game is an anti-climactic one on this count, I'm afraid.
What I'm referring to is the conflict of morals contained in the Bible. Saying God is beyond our understanding is a convenient way to avoid the question of why God can say murder is wrong on one hand, yet turn around and slaughter people by the millions. I have heard the argument that God can take life because he created life, so many times...I am growing weary of those lame words. Using that kind of logic a person can excuse anything, no matter how horrendous by merely saying "Gods ways are higher than ours". It seems like what you are saying is that God's moral laws that apply to humans (contained in the Bible), are different than the moral laws he applies to himself (also contained in the Bible)...and he expects humans to understand this?


KravMagaSelfDefense wrote:No, I am not. Explain to me how reason and logic apply to questions of "ought." It can't be done. Logic focuses on things that are empirically or rationally discerned. Things that are. Like I asked already (but got no answer) can you get the statement "killing is wrong" from a logical syllogism or proof? This is not a rhetorical question.

Can I ask you a question? What specifically is wrong with slavery? What makes it wrong?
The questions of "ought" implies an "ought giver" which you posit as God. I posit that humans "ought" to do what is right, because right has been established as a moral law, defined in the Golden Rule, which I have shown does not need an "ought giver".

Murder is wrong, the same as slavery is wrong, because it violates the Golden Rule.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#69

Post by RickD » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:29 pm

Butterfly wrote:
Having an outside source for morality does nothing but justify people who want to impose their religious doctrines upon others, by saying that morality comes from their God.
Butterfly, this statement breaks your "golden rule" that you claim to live by. You wouldn't want me to misrepresent your beliefs, would you? Well, you just misrepresented mine. I believe the basis for objective morals is God. Yet, I don't want to impose my "doctrines" upon you or anyone else. I may give you my opinion, or my reason for what I believe, but it's not my place to impose my beliefs on you. You are free to choose your own beliefs.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#70

Post by RickD » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:59 pm

Butterfly wrote:
Murder is wrong, the same as slavery is wrong, because it violates the Golden Rule.
First, what is your definition of murder? There seems to be some confusion here, to what exactly constitutes murder.

Second,Butterfly, did you know that some American slaveowners used what could be understood as the golden rule to justify owning slaves?
One example is that defenders of slavery argued that the institution was divine, and that it brought Christianity to the heathen from across the ocean. Slavery was, according to this argument, a good thing for the enslaved.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Morality Without God?

#71

Post by Butterfly » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:05 am

Icthus wrote:
Butterfly wrote:Do you agree with his first principle of self-love? Do all rational beings desire the best for themselves?
The answer is no. Not all rational beings desire what is best for themselves. They desire what they desire. A perfectly rational person might say, "I would rather be famous than live a long life" and then go out and do a bunch of idiotic stunts to become famous though it eventually leads to his death. Would that be desiring the best for himself?
So your concept of "perfect rationality" includes doing idiotic things for vain glory leading to death? That explains a lot about why I don't understand your posts. We apparently have very different concepts of "perfect rationality."
Icthus wrote: The problem with saying that everyone wants what is best for them is that there is no objective standard by which to judge what is "best" for someone. For instance, you might argue that being killed is bad for you, but some people might wish to die and have perfectly rational reasons (like that they live in constant, excruciating pain) for doing so. What about those that put others before themselves and strive to help others at the expense of their own well-being? Technically, they don't desire what is best for themselves.
I don't have trouble judging the basics of what is best for my fellow human beings. Everyone needs food, shelter, care, love ... And Jesus didn't seem to have much trouble in this regard when he instructed his followers to obey the Golden Rule. He didn't say anything like what you are saying. He told us it was second only to loving God. You seem to be saying it is totally meaningless.
Icthus wrote: Aside from all that, though, I don't even have to refute the author's two premises because they don't even form a logical argument. Even if I were to accept his first principle, the second is obviously invalid. Part of it states, "An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions." How on Earth can that form a logical argument? Since he is arguing for a source of objective morality, he can't just claim something to be objectively moral in his principles and expect us to let it slide through. If he could demonstrate that principle 2 contained objective morality, then he wouldn't even need another principle. That would be an argument in and of itself. The problem is that he just slaps the word "objectively" onto it without proper justification.
His article says that those two principles "define" objective morality. He didn't present it as a "logical argument" in the form of a syllogism. He said it was a "foundation" for objective morality. Perhaps you didn't read it closely enough to understand what he was trying to get at? I get the impression you simply want to reject his proposition without even understanding it. Your comments are not helping me see his error.

You quote his statement ""An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions." That sounds like a definition to me, not a "logical argument." He presented it after defining what makes the Golden Rule objective. He said:

The Golden Rule: There is no objective reason to prefer one over another. This is the principle of moral symmetry, commonly known as "fairness" or "justice." An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions.

Do you see that word "objective"? It looks like that's why he thinks the rule is objective. And then he explains it is based on the principle of "moral symmetry" and goes on to explain that it is objective like the symmetry laws of physics. So I really don't get the impression that you got sufficiently past your bias to even understand what you are rejecting.
Icthus wrote: I repeat, this is not a serious argument. It is not a logical argument. It is not the kind of thing that any professional philosopher worth his salt would take seriously. If you read the literature on morality with or without God, you will not hear this argument defended seriously, and I promise you it is not because no one has thought of it yet. Trust me when I say that arguments such as this on "Bible Wheel" from lay skeptics are not worth defending, and if this argument (supposedly simple as it is) had even a grain of credibility, there would be scholars flocking to defend it and finally put to rest these silly questions of morality that have only plagued humanity for thousands of years.
Well, it doesn't help me to just say that philosophers don't take it seriously. Can you give me a link to support your assertion? My brother is a tenured professor of philosophy at a Christian college and I discuss these things with him frequently. We discussed that article and he challenged some points but found no fundamental error. All he could say is that philosophers have different opinions about these things and its a very involved topic. The truth is that philosophers have not dealt much with the Golden Rule. Take a look at this long review which says that "Moral philosophy has barely taken notice of the golden rule in its own terms despite the rule's prominence in commonsense ethics."
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Re: Morality Without God?

#72

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:45 am

BryanH wrote:
Are you asking me if what is viewed as moral today is the same as 500 years ago, or 1000 years ago?
Certainly the answer is no.
Argument can be made that we are more OR less moral than in the past.
Certainly the "golden rule" does NOT apply in all parts of the world, certainly not equally.
What baffles me the most is that all people who believe in this "objective morality" fail to see that people are very subjective beings. God imposing objective rules on subjective beings, well, kind of irrational, don't you think? And that not mentioning that God created us so subjective in the first place.

But anyways Paul, let me ask you something:

If God made you choose between killing your own child and killing someone's else child? Which one would you kill?
Of course people are subjective, that is why they need to distinguish between "should" and "ought".

I am not sure how to respond to your question my friend, I can't see how God would ask me to kill my own child or the child of another...I mean...I guess I can come up with "worse case scenarios" but I am pretty sure that since I was coming up with them, they would have some inherent bias to "justify" whatever my decision would be, so...

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Re: Morality Without God?

#73

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:51 am

Butterfly wrote: It seems to me that the article answers your point in a non-circular way. I didn't notice any "handwaving." He established objective morality on two principles. If you want to refute his argument, you need to show an error in one or both of his principles. Here they are:

1) Self-love: All rational beings desire the best for themselves.

2) The Golden Rule: There is no objective reason to prefer one over another. This is the principle of moral symmetry, commonly known as "fairness" or "justice." An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions.
1), define what is "best for themselves"?
Does what is "best for me" = morally correct? No, of course not.
We can go down the list of what people have done thinking it was best for them, that was morally horrific.

2) Fairness and Justice is subjective, who defines what is fair and just?
You say that: An action is objectively moral if and only if a person would want to be subjected to his or her own actions

Not only does that make morals SUBJECTIVE to what a person THINKS is best for them, it also puts what the individual thinks is best for them AHEAD of what may be best for others.

Seems like "short term morals" or "ends justifies the means" morals.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#74

Post by Icthus » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:27 am

Butterfly wrote:Well, it doesn't help me to just say that philosophers don't take it seriously. Can you give me a link to support your assertion? My brother is a tenured professor of philosophy at a Christian college and I discuss these things with him frequently. We discussed that article and he challenged some points but found no fundamental error. All he could say is that philosophers have different opinions about these things and its a very involved topic. The truth is that philosophers have not dealt much with the Golden Rule. Take a look at this long review which says that "Moral philosophy has barely taken notice of the golden rule in its own terms despite the rule's prominence in commonsense ethics."
I don't see how that argument helps you. Though it admits that the Golden Rule hasn't been discussed much "in its own terms" it later gives a whole host of reasons why it usually isn't deemed worth bothering with. It also says "The articles notes the rule’s highly circumscribed social scope in the cultures of its origin and its role in framing psychological outlooks toward others, not directing behavior" which doesn't exactly suggest that it is objective morality. In fact, the article doesn't even come close to agreeing with the idea that the Golden Rule is A) perfect, B) Objective morality, or C) a principle rather than a rule. It specifically focuses on it's narrow, ethnic origins and notes several reasons why it tends to fall apart.

I promised myself I wouldn't argue anymore, though. So peace out. I do like the Golden Rule by the way. I just don't think it's objective.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Morality Without God?

#75

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:51 am

It is very important to understand that, because we already do have a notion of "absolute morals", given to us by religion, we CAN ( at this point) have an "absolute moral" without God.
Sort of not need a "law giver" when one already has the Law.
That said, not having an absolute moral being to "reference" or not having the "authority" behind the absolute moral, does rightly lead one to question WHO decides what is moral.

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