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Thread: Atheists and morality

  1. #21
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Ye gods, I hope not. I mean, the law is often a terrible moral compass!
    Yeah... my feelings, too. I'm a big believer in the necessity for Civil Disobedience.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dumuzi View Post
    Oh, that's really interesting. So you don't think there's such a thing as objective morality, thal?
    There's a slight problem...

    Godel's Incompleteness Theorem states that, within any logical system there will be things that are clearly true, but cannot be proved using the axioms of the system.

    It is possible to believe that there is objective morality that can not be proved logically.

    It's one of those reality weirdnesses that we have to live with.
    Last edited by B. de Corbin; 17 Mar 2017 at 06:16.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  2. #22
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Doing a Google search I found this site

    Mainly because I was not clear on the Objective VS Subjective thought. The site is about apologetics,and the subject is a new one for me.

    I will be reading a bit before I offer any thoughts on the matter.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I believe the site is from the perspective of a Belief based system of religious thought. So,question,is apologetics only used in a Religious context?

    - - - Updated - - -

    From the sites that come up when searching both subjective,and Objective Morality,I would assume this topic has a log history?

    - - - Updated - - -

    only one real question,is this subject kind of "How many angels can sit on the head of a pin"? type subjects?
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

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  3. #23
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    The term "apologetics" means "rational explanation," so it is not specifically a religious term, but is often used when explaining a religious idea (but not exclusively).

    Yeah, the debate on whether morals have an objective basis or are purely subjective goes way, way back to the earliest writings on morality.

    I'm going to suggest that it is a question without an answer. My experience has been that, even people who claim that there are things that are ALWAYS wrong (objective morality) will generally be able to construct some kind of explanation to explain why, in some particular situation, that thing is no longer wrong - for example: It is always wrong to steal, but it is better to steal the chicken wings off a plate at a Superbowl party to feed a starving child than it is to not steal and let the child die.

    And my experience again - even those who argue that morality is subjective will observe that some things are just not done by sane people - which suggests an objective morality. Generally, a creative person can construct madly impossible situations where thing that is repulsive and disgusting can be made into a virtue, but... if the situation is impossible to exist in the real world, I question what that actually proves. Robert Heinlein wrote a long, long novel (Time Enough for Love) in which he made mother-son incest not immoral, but he had to create humans who lived for 3000 years, and time travel to do it. So... is mother-son incest still immoral? I'd say yup.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  4. #24
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    The problem of the concept of objective morality is that for it to be objective, should be able to meet some standard of what it means for something to be objective.

    From a definition standpoint (actually adjective definitions 5-8, which I think are likely the only ones that could reasonably apply to morality):

    1) Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice;based on facts; unbiased and 2)Intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings, as a person or a book. --morality as it exists is constantly influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, bias, and is generally based on opinion. And, I would argue that were morality based on fact and unbiased, it would not be attractive--the fact that morality is influenced by those things is what frequently lets us make choices like is it better to steal to feed a starving child or to let a child starve than to steal.


    3) Being the object of perception or thought; belonging to the object of thought rather than to the thinking subject (opposed to subjective ). In this sense, morality is both objective AND subjective, which is exactly why it can't be objective from the idea of "objective" as something derived from objectivism (or from the next definition)

    4) Of or relating to something that can be known, or to something that is an object or a part of an object; existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality. This definition is the one that the idea of objectivity is derived from (or that is derived from objectivity, or little feedback loop of both)...if we apply it to morality, it would be that "moral truths exist independently of human knowledge or perception of them."
    And its here, where the argument for an objective morality falls victim to logical fallacy city.

    Something that is objective in this way should be 1) independently verifiable without depending on personal interpretations of events that are not universally observable 2) Occur consistently enough to be statistically significant, 3) Be derived clearly from something that is observable and agreed upon by consensus

    For morality to exist independently of human knowledge and perception, they have to come from somewhere other than human minds, individually or collectively. For someone that is explicitly theistic, that would likely be god or gods. Which is fine, but then you need to demonstrate that god or gods exist as something outside of the human mind objectively and without logical fallacy. Perhaps they could come from nature... If someone wants to believe that, its also fine, but still not demonstrable. IF there was a natural morality, then you should be able to find that it exists consistently outside of the human mind...and I promise, that the variety of behavior in nature (even assuming you could verify that species are then consciously making such a decision as an act of right or wrong) makes this very implausible. Even to say that there is a humanistic consensus-based morality (automatically not objective right off the bat), would need to be demonstrated throughout the length and breadth of human cultures over time.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

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    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

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  5. #25
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    And my experience again - even those who argue that morality is subjective will observe that some things are just not done by sane people - which suggests an objective morality.
    Sure, but to have an objective morality, we can't rely of the Potter Stuart definition of porn to define it. (For those that are not familiar with Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart's definition of porn, here's the abridged version, "But I know it when I see it." Which is my point about whether or not its possible to have an objective morality*, if it has to be defined that way, its not objective.

    *at best, we could maybe get a consensus "I know it when I see it" that holds true through human history and culture determination of right or wrong for the occasional behavior, but for "morality" as a whole (a complex set of rights and wrongs and a ranking over which rights and wrongs are more important in order to determine which right one should choose or which wrong should be avoided over another), absolutely not.


    Generally, a creative person can construct madly impossible situations where thing that is repulsive and disgusting can be made into a virtue, but... if the situation is impossible to exist in the real world, I question what that actually proves. Robert Heinlein wrote a long, long novel (Time Enough for Love) in which he made mother-son incest not immoral, but he had to create humans who lived for 3000 years, and time travel to do it. So... is mother-son incest still immoral? I'd say yup.
    Heinlein was trying too hard. All it takes is a very young pregnancy (possibly the result of abuse or cultural age for marriage or both), events that cause the subsequent adoption of said child, and circumstances in which the mother and son don't have a reason to suspect that they could be related--maybe they don't look alike at all, or the son never knows he was adopted, etc... Especially if this happened before genetics were understood, during a time where unwed pregnant girls were routinely "sent away" followed by very closed adoptions and girls that were regularly told their child was stillborn or died shortly after birth or just never saw any information to ever possibly find their child or for their child to find them. And before anyone says "that never happens," my great aunt was molested and impregnated at 10, sent "away", told her child was stillborn, and sent back home after recuperating...only to find that 50 years later, she had a daughter that was indeed alive who was told on her adoptive mother's death bed (at 45) that she was adopted (it took 5 years and 3 private detectives to find my great aunt). There are plenty of things morally wrong with that story, but if a mom and son accidentally got together and never suspected through some sad (and possible) tale like that, that's not the part that is morally wrong.

    ...and I didn't even need to throw amnesia in there!
    Last edited by thalassa; 17 Mar 2017 at 13:17.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  6. #26
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Heinlein wanted it to be straight-out consensul - they both were fully aware (one gets the feeling while reading it that the incest was the most exciting part. He didn't say that, but it's the impression. In the last book of the series (I've never read it. It's reputed to be the worst of the worst of his writing), and the last book he wrote before his death, the two get married because combining their genes would help increase the human lifespan. There's a lot about genetics in the one book I've read, because he also wanted to dismiss that objection.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

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  7. #27
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    So,I imagine that the debate about the use of marijuana as a medicine,or the idea it is a very negative evil and scourge on society could be an example,and no matter the evidence by ether side.
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

    all i ever wanted was a normal life and love.
    NO TERF EVER WE belong Too.
    don't stop the tears.let them flood your soul.




    http://www.paganforum.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=186&dateline=1330020104

    my new page here,let me know what you think.


    nothing but the shadow of what was

  8. #28
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Sure, but to have an objective morality, we can't rely of the Potter Stuart definition of porn to define it.
    Yup - that's a sticky wicket. Guess it's like the Tao.


    The problem with "objective morality" is that it's (logically, as you pointed out) a "metta question" about the nature of reality, trying to use it's own assuptions to prove itself. It assumes that there is objective morality, or subjective morality, or both... but the one left to ask that nobody remembers to ask is "is it neither"?

    That's the question you should actually ask first. The answer will tell whether any of the first three need to be explored.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  9. #29
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Ok, it's late and I'm tired. But this sparked a rambling thought. Bear with me. Or..go with me, whatevs.

    Objective morality. Could be something everyone agrees with. Like let's not kill our children.

    But is that a moral or an ingrained trait to not eff up the propagation of the species.

    Are morals maybe just the things we are ingrained to do or not do to keep our species alive?
    Satan is my spirit animal

  10. #30
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Atheists and morality

    Yeh,the ingrained idea that an Atomic war would not allow anyone to win. no real winners,just huge piles of radioactive ash. Only good point would be,the earth would,over time become cleaner and more diverse,absent the disease of human occupation.

    And you are right,I have little respect that humans will survive if we keep going in the direction we are.
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

    all i ever wanted was a normal life and love.
    NO TERF EVER WE belong Too.
    don't stop the tears.let them flood your soul.




    http://www.paganforum.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=186&dateline=1330020104

    my new page here,let me know what you think.


    nothing but the shadow of what was

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