Morality Without God?

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#616

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:38 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:You are stating an opinion Spock, no more, no less and all the "yelling" to the contrary doesn't change that.
Sorry.
As well you should be "sorry" to utter such words. I am not "yelling" at all. I have presented a theory based on logic and fact which is consilient with the entire body of scientific knowledge. You would do well to address the argument and quit with the irrelevant comments.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#617

Post by Butterfly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:39 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Your "moral code" sounds totally subjective in as much as it relies upon your own private interpretation of Christ's teachings the totally subjective "experience" of the Holy Spirit which is indistinguishable from your own feelings.
Yes, of course it is subjective.
Just like yours is.
That you don;t get that makes me think that you either don't get it or you like to look of your argument on the screen.
I've said it a few times, in regards to humans, ALL moral codes/theories are subjective.
The ONLY objective moral,if there is one, is GOD because he is GOD.
Okay, but that is just an ASSERTION... y:-/
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Re: Morality Without God?

#618

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:39 pm

jlay wrote:
This is why I went to some length to define the meaning of objectivity.
Subjectively. :pound: Sorry, couldn't resist.
I too am sorry you couldn't resist. Your comment adds nothing to our understanding of the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#619

Post by RickD » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:54 pm

Butterfly wrote:
Spock wrote:
RickD wrote:I'm confused! :?

With all this blather, absolute morality without God still hasn't been proven?
What are you talking about? It has been proven, and no one yet has refuted a word I wrote in the proof.
Yes, you have shown in your proof that morality can exist whether or not a god exists, but all WLC has done is assert that morality cannot exist without god.
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Butterfly, no one here is saying morality can't exist without God. You and Spock are saying that Objective morality can exist without God. And, you haven't proven it.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#620

Post by Butterfly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:05 pm

RickD wrote:
Butterfly wrote:
Spock wrote:
RickD wrote:I'm confused! :?

With all this blather, absolute morality without God still hasn't been proven?
What are you talking about? It has been proven, and no one yet has refuted a word I wrote in the proof.
Yes, you have shown in your proof that morality can exist whether or not a god exists, but all WLC has done is assert that morality cannot exist without god.
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Butterfly, no one here is saying morality can't exist without God. You and Spock are saying that Objective morality can exist without God. And, you haven't proven it.
When I said morality I meant OM. Spock most certainly has shown that OM can exist without the need of a moral law giver, and so far I have seen no one prove what he said is wrong.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#621

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:06 pm

jlay wrote:Is self-love a primitive notion? I know many who would disagree. Moral realism (universals) is heavily debated. Yep, but so are the issues of self, and love.
I can only assume self-love to mean self-interest, (that which seeks what is good for self.) And I think that is correct, but is that a primitive notion?
All physics and philosophy depend on primitive concepts. Descartes settled on "I think, therefore I am." I settle on the same idea of "self" as primitive. I'm not sure if love is a second primitive concept since self-love is axiomatic. A self is a unity and unity is the essence of love. But there is no need to worry about such things. Whether there are two primitive concepts Self and Love or if they are really reducible to the single primitive concept of Self doesn't matter for the theory as I have formulated it.

Your reduction of self-love to self-interest reveals a profound failure to understand what it means to be human. We are social organisms. We each physically emerge from the bowels of our mother. We cannot separate self from others without destroying our humanity. Self-interest ignores our profound interconnectedness with others. It is a terrible caricature of real self-love. Erich Fromm explained all this in great detail. Did you not read it? Here it is again:
The Art of Loving wrote: These questions arise: Does psychological observation support the thesis that there is a basic contradiction and a state of alternation between love for oneself and love for others? Is love for oneself the same phenomenon as selfishness, or are they opposites? Furthermore, is the selfishness of modern man really a concern for himself as an individual. with all his intellectual, emotional, and sensual potentialities? Has “he” not become an appendage of his socioeconomic role? Is his selfishness identical with self-love or is it not caused by the very lack of it?

Before we start the discussion of the psychological aspect of selfishness and self-love, the logical fallacy in the notion that love for others and love for oneself are mutually exclusive should be stressed. If it is a virtue to love my neighbor as a human being, it must be a virtue---and not a vice---to love myself since I am a human being too. There is no concept of man in which I myself am not included. A doctrine which proclaims such an exclusion proves itself to be intrinsically contradictory. The idea expressed in the Biblical “Love thy neighbor as thyself!” implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for and understanding of one’s own self, can not be separated from respect for and love and understanding of another individual. The love for my own self is inseparably connected with the love for any other self.

We have come now to the basic psychological premises on which the conclusions of our argument are built. Generally, these premises are as follows: not only others, but we ourselves are the “object” of our feelings and attitudes; the attitudes toward others and toward ourselves, far from being contradictory, are basically conjunctive. With regard to the problem under discussion this means: Love of others and love of ourselves are not alternatives. On the contrary, an attitude of love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others. Love, in principle, is indivisible as far as the connection between “objects” and one’s own self is concerned. Genuine love is an expression of productiveness and implies care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. It is not an “affect” in the sense of being affected by somebody, but an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one’s own capacity to love.

From this it follows that my own self, in principle, must be as much an object of my love as another person. The affirmation of one’s own life, happiness, growth, freedom, is rooted in one’s capacity to love, i.e., in care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he can not love at all.
Fromm hammered this point home on page 63 where he quoted Meister Eckhart as stating that absolute symmetry between Self and Other is required for true love, which is unity:
The Art of Loving wrote: These ideas of self-love cannot be summarized better than by quoting Meister Eckhart on this topic “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally”
It would be a great vanity to discuss morality and love if you are not willing to use the full understanding built into your very being.
jlay wrote: Of course self-interest can lead to all kinds of moral problems. What if we equate 'good' to what is desired? How do we define good?
So now we see how you are confusing the whole issue. First you misidentify self-love as self-interest (words I never used and which are blatantly misdirecting) and then you toss in the abstract concept of "goodness" which I do not use in my argument and which is fraught with philosophical ambiguity. Such is the recipe of confusion. Is this your intent?
jlay wrote: Or, what about ignorance? As I mentioned before, one can rationally and honestly say, "If I was you I would want someone to tell me what to do." Spock says it discards the 2nd person, but I disagree. my daughter adamantly does not want a flu shot. And in turn she wouldn't make me get one. But I will force her to get one, because I have knowledge she does not possess. That there is an invisible (to the naked eye) virus that can make her quite ill. Foreign missionaries run into this a lot with cultures that simply are ignorant of disease. And we could rightly say, "If I were in their position, I would want someone to force the vaccine on me."
Could you really say that? Of course not. You would not want your parents to let you die if you were a child who needed a shot. Your comment is based on confusion of words. You know perfectly what what the Golden Rule means.
jlay wrote: If the GR is such an intuitive outflow of self-love it is concerning that so many in the world do not adhere, or only adhere when it is convenient to their own....... self-interest. Hmmm? Heck, we have oppressive governments that are based in seeking the 'greater good." Of course this begs us to define what we mean by good?
Who says "so many in the world do not adhere to it? From my research, it is the closest thing to a moral invariant I've ever seen. And the fact that you CHANGED MY WORDS so you could refer to the false concept of "self-interest" as if it had anything to do with my argument is a transparent rhetorical tactic designed to confuse. If you want to refute my argument, you need to quote the words I actually wrote.

Your introduction of the word "good" only causes confusion. I did not use that word in my argument. Why don't you try to actually address what I wrote instead of setting up and knocking down strawmen?
jlay wrote:
Spock wrote: http://www.biblewheel.com/content.php?3 ... f-Morality
Genuine love is an expression of productiveness and implies care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. It is not an “affect” in the sense of being affected by somebody, but an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one’s own capacity to love.
Great. But isn't this just an opinion of what you prefer?
That was an explanation I quoted from Erich Fromm to help people understand basic facts about love. It not a "preference" - it is a fact about human nature.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#622

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:11 pm

RickD wrote: Butterfly, no one here is saying morality can't exist without God. You and Spock are saying that Objective morality can exist without God. And, you haven't proven it.
I have shown that objective morality exists using the same scientific/philosophical definition we use to say that objects like rocks, trees, and planets are objective.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#623

Post by RickD » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:16 pm

Butterfly wrote:
RickD wrote:
Butterfly wrote:
Spock wrote:
RickD wrote:I'm confused! :?

With all this blather, absolute morality without God still hasn't been proven?
What are you talking about? It has been proven, and no one yet has refuted a word I wrote in the proof.
Yes, you have shown in your proof that morality can exist whether or not a god exists, but all WLC has done is assert that morality cannot exist without god.
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Butterfly, no one here is saying morality can't exist without God. You and Spock are saying that Objective morality can exist without God. And, you haven't proven it.
When I said morality I meant OM. Spock most certainly has shown that OM can exist without the need of a moral law giver, and so far I have seen no one prove what he said is wrong.
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Cmon, Butterfly. he hasn't proven what he claimed. he has shown why he believes OM can exist without God, but he certainly hasn't proven it. Not to anyone here at least. Just like I could make all my arguments that God exists, but could I prove to you He exists? God would have to show you Himself that he exists. That is, if He exists. ;)

On another note, I still can't get over how Spock claims he was a Christian, yet he doesn't know the difference between the indwelling Holy Spirit, and his own feelings. that tells me right there, that he was never really a Christian in the true biblical sense.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#624

Post by Butterfly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:17 pm

WLC says that OM proves the existence of God. If that is so, what are the specific OM that WLC thinks proves God's existence?

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Re: Morality Without God?

#625

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:41 pm

Byblos wrote:
Spock wrote: My moral theory naturally coheres with self-preservation which is the primary feature natural selection would select for. It coheres with evolution, as must any valid theory must because of the consilience of science.
Unfortunately for you natural selection has selected for creatures who have the ability to say the hell with your symmetry and your self-love. They are meaningless drivel. We choose self-preservation and survival of the fittest.
The fact that people can reject truth says nothing about the objective reality of truth. I would have thought this would be self-evident to a Christian.

Natural selection obviously selects for organisms that have a strong instinct for self-preservation. This is a biological antecedent we inherited from our ancestors. It is perfectly coherent with the theory of evolution.

If anything is "meaningless drivel" it is your comment that we "choose self-preservation and survival of the fittest." That indicates a total lack of understanding the most basic element of the theory of evolution. Natural selection was selecting for self-preservation before any self-conscious choice-making humans evolved.
Byblos wrote: But before you and butterfly start doing your victory dance, even if you did have a basis to select self-love (which you don't), first you would have to define those terms. What exactly do you mean by 'self'. What does 'love' mean? For that matter, what does 'primitive notion' mean? I don't see self-love as a primitive notion at all since it can be broken down further into, for example, self-interest. And that can even be defined further as something that is good. Now if you were Aristotelian then perhaps I can agree with you that 'good' is a primitive notion since perfect goodness is identical with being. But I know you're not (Aristotelian) so I'm not sure what you mean by 'love' and by extension 'good'. Is it for example, what is desired? I would say there are many things that desired but aren't 'good' so that can't be it. You see where I'm going here? You haven't even begun to formulate a theory based a primitive notion. Bottom line is first, self-love is anything but a primitive notion; you would have to use 'good' as that notion. And if you use 'good' as your primitive notion then you have a choice, either you define it in mind-independent terms (a la Thomistic philosophy), or in mind-dependent terms, which makes it wholly subjective. Take your pick.
I would applaud your skepticism if you applied it consistently, but we both know that's not going to happen. If you applied similar skepticism to fundamental definitions like "God" and "Bible" your entire faith would evaporate in a nanosecond.

Questions like "what does love mean" and "what does self mean" may be interesting, but they are not objections to my theory. Descartes is a good example. He chose to be skeptical about everything, but finally realized he needed a primitive concept, so he rested on "I think, therefore I am." Your line of attack is a mere dodge.

Your suggestion that "good is a primitive notion since perfect goodness is identical with being" strikes me as empty metaphysical speculation with no content at all. This contrasts strongly with my foundation since the concept of "self" is directly accessible to every self. This is why philosophy has been such a mess for 2000 years. Folks invented meaningless abstractions like "the good" that are completely disconnected from any objective ground of meaning. Concepts like "perfection of being" - now THAT'S drivel!
Byblos wrote: As for the GR, it's just a silly notion to think, coupled with self-love, makes an objective moral theory since, unlike the symmetry of the laws of physics, the theory can be rejected and replaced by another on a whim. There is nothing inherently wrong (whatever that means) with substituting survival of the fittest and toss out GR. It's an arbitrary decision based on the feel-good of the moment and of the individual.
Dismissing my argument as "just a silly notion" is wonderfully ironic, given its silliness.

And again you repeated your fallacy; the fact that something can be "rejected" says nothing about its truth! Duh.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#626

Post by Butterfly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:43 pm

RickD wrote:
Butterfly wrote:
RickD wrote:
Butterfly wrote:
Yes, you have shown in your proof that morality can exist whether or not a god exists, but all WLC has done is assert that morality cannot exist without god.
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Butterfly, no one here is saying morality can't exist without God. You and Spock are saying that Objective morality can exist without God. And, you haven't proven it.
When I said morality I meant OM. Spock most certainly has shown that OM can exist without the need of a moral law giver, and so far I have seen no one prove what he said is wrong.
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Cmon, Butterfly. he hasn't proven what he claimed. he has shown why he believes OM can exist without God, but he certainly hasn't proven it. Not to anyone here at least. Just like I could make all my arguments that God exists, but could I prove to you He exists? God would have to show you Himself that he exists. That is, if He exists. ;)
Spock has shown how objectivity is defined in physics and how symmetry principles underlie the fundamental laws of nature. His theory of morality is based on the same principles, and so is objective in the same sense as science. God can't be proved through science, that is why objective morals don't prove the existence of God.
RickD wrote:On another note, I still can't get over how Spock claims he was a Christian, yet he doesn't know the difference between the indwelling Holy Spirit, and his own feelings. that tells me right there, that he was never really a Christian in the true biblical sense.
As I have said many times, I was a Christian for nearly 28 years believing I was guided by the HS, but today I have all the same intuitions guiding me that I thought was the HS when I was a Christian. y:-/ Nothing has changed in my internal sense of guidance, in every way I feel exactly the same as I did when I was a Christian...except a lot freer.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#627

Post by Spock » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:46 pm

RickD wrote: On another note, I still can't get over how Spock claims he was a Christian, yet he doesn't know the difference between the indwelling Holy Spirit, and his own feelings. that tells me right there, that he was never really a Christian in the true biblical sense.
OK Rick,

If your words are true, then you can tell me how a person can objectively determine if they have the HS or not. This is very important because folks with radically opposing views, such as Protestants who say the RCC is the Anticrhist church, both claim to have the HS.

So please, tell us all how a "true Christian" is able to discern between their own feelings and the HS.

Thanks.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#628

Post by BryanH » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:24 pm

jlay wrote: BryanH wrote:I have read most of the debate here about moral objectivity, but nobody mentions anything about punishment or maybe I missed it.
Without punishment people wouldn't respect that many moral values.

I don't know if moral objectivity is still in place when you educate people through punishment


No, I think it is a good point. I'd like to see more of where you are going with it.
No matter which side you choose, GR or OM, you have to face the reality we live in. Morality is enforced on people. Morality is not something that is there. You are not born with moral values, but you are born with self-preservation capabilities and a 'superior' intellect compared to other organisms on this planet.

The GR and OM can explain the objectivity of moral values, but to a certain point.

I've already said this before: there are explicit moral laws which are ENFORCED. Break them and you get punished.
Then you have implicit moral 'laws' which differ from place to place, group to group, etc to etc. Breaking such rules will get you punished more or less, but nobody can actually enforce such rules on you. One good example is "COMMON SENSE". That is an implicit moral rule.

But now getting back to EXPLICIT moral laws, the ones that are ENFORCED.
The moment you choose to enforce a moral law there is no more objectivity.

1) Objective morality implies that people know already what is right and wrong. I have already presented enough arguments to prove that this is not the case.

2) OM laws were given by God and we should follow it to the letter as blind people. Here you face a freedom of choice dilemma: I am free to choose if I wish to follow God's rules or not. Choosing not to do that doesn't mean I get to be punished. That is subjective.

3) The GR can work to a certain point, but my opinion is that this theory is basically self-defeating when you take into consideration that people get punished for breaking certain rules.

Eg.: A guy steals 1kg of gold. He gets 3 years in jail.

Applying the GR: If I steal 1kg of gold, would I like to get 3 years in jail?

P.S.: Not to mention the death penalty.

I think that moral values work the other way around: if you do something bad, then you deserve to be given an equal punishment.

That is the true GR: an eye for an eye. It's how our legal system works.

The majority of people choose not to break the rules because they FEAR the PUNISHMENT.

If I would know that I wouldn't be punished for stealing, well, I would steal a few kilos of gold. I'm not greedy. Just a few.


As a conclusion: YOU CAN'T TALK ABOUT MORAL VALUES OUT OF CONTEXT. As long as there is a context, there is no objectivity.

Here is a quote:
RickD wrote: rodrigoeleuterio wrote:Should we take every passage of the biblie literaly, or think that they are stories with a meaning that will guide us to a better life and a better interaction with god?

God bless you all!


It depends. What do you mean by, "literally". A literal reading doesn't always mean literal and concrete. A passage's literal meaning might be symbolic. A passage's literal meaning has to be understood in its proper context. When a law in deuteronomy for example, says"Thou shalt not...", should we take that literally? We need to know the context in which the verse was written. If it was written to a specific people at a specific time, then that's its literal meaning.
Last edited by BryanH on Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#629

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:34 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
BryanH wrote:
danieltwotwenty wrote:Hi Pro, how do you think altruism fits into all this, why do we feel compelled to help people we don't know for no personal gain?
Actually that's another debate: it depends on how you define personal gain. Helping someone makes you feel good. So basically you do it because you want to feel good. That is considered a personal gain at psychological level.
Not sure about that, I've helped people enough times in which not only did it NOT feel good, there was no way it was gonna feel good, LOL !
Did the right thing because it was simply the right thing, regardless of how I "felt" about it.

That was pretty much what my response would have been, speaking from my own experience, sometimes I do things for people when it has no chance of making me happy.

I think altruism is doing something while having the best interests of another peron in mind regardless of how that will effect you, good or bad.


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1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#630

Post by Butterfly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:47 pm

BryanH wrote:
3) The GR can work to a certain point, but my opinion is that this theory is basically self-defeating when you take into consideration that people get punished for breaking certain rules.

Eg.: A guy steals 1kg of gold. He gets 3 years in jail.

Applying the GR: If I steal 1kg of gold, would I like to get 3 years in jail?

P.S.: Not to mention the death penalty.

I think that moral values work the other way around: if you do something bad, then you deserve to be given an equal punishment.

That is the true GR: an eye for an eye. It's how our legal system works.
I think you are mixing "apples and oranges" here.

1. A guy who steals gold and gets 3 years in jail has nothing to do with how the GR works. It is merely giving a pre-set punishment for a crime which states "Do to others whatever your law decrees you can do." The correct application of the GR would say, "If I steal 3kg of gold from you it is because I would like you to steal 3kg of gold from me."

2. An eye for an eye is not the true GR either. It states, "Do to others what they do to you" that is not the GR.

Neither one of the examples you gave defines the GR.
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