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Old 07-25-2013, 03:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Okay. I will concede that as well. But I think I now understand why Wilson was pinning Hitchens to the wall about morality ....

You and some others have already conceded that OUR morality is ever changing. It differs between eras and across societies. Correct?

Then in the atheist worldview, one cannot really criticize or condemn acts like torture, stoning of adulterers when they occur in other societies (or eras) ...

Atheists should never say that slavery in the 1800s was bad. Or giving women less money in the 1900s was bad. They were "good" or morally acceptable during their respective eras.
Also ....
If there are societies where there is a consensus and a general agreement for something like stoning a couple to death for having sex before marriage. Then, people removed from that society should have absolutely no problem with such an act since this act is moral according to world-view of that society.

Isn't there a gaping hole in such a logic?
Ahh, but there are certain things that are wrong or right based on my worldview. Each of us holds the entire world and all of history accountable based on our own view. The idea of a prevailing or social morality comes out of these 5+ billion moral judgments competing, cooperating, and compromising. I can approve or condemn anything I like, but if I want my view to prevail I must either force its acceptance or be very convincing, or claim that a god told me and if you disagree you will be tortured forever...

My point is that all morality is subjective, and all moral judgments reflect the one judging as much as the one being judged. It is uncomfortable, it means you have to think harder than "God said so", or "Its just wrong!", but it really appears that anything else is wishful thinking. Theists are demanding absolutes, but to get them you have to make them up...

-NoCapo
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
- if there are societies where due to consensus, it is considered okay (morally right) to stone a woman to death for adultery ....what authority do atheists have to question that and call it immoral? Surely it is moral according to their standard?
Incidentally, it's ironic that you choose stoning of a woman for adultery as an example, as that IS a Biblical penalty for adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Most modern Christians would point to the story of Jesus saying "neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more" to the woman caught in the act of adultery to show that this has changed since Old Testament times. If so, then the idea of an immutable Biblical morality is belied by this. Then again, the story seems spliced in and doesn't appear in the oldest / best manuscripts, so who knows. Either way it's problematic.
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
However you did imply "multiverse" here:
No I did not. Saying "There are an infinite number of ways to make X" is not the same as saying "There are an infinite number of Xs that have been made".

I said the former. You leapt to the latter on your own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
And secondly, that's not quite what he is saying.
Yes. It is. He is attacking the notion that morality can be grounded in reason, or grounded at all without a god. That is a theist argument so common that I have heard it more times than I have eaten dinners in my life.

The canard is that you can not have an objective morality without a god. The trick he and his ilk are playing is that atheists never claimed nor think there is an objective morality.

As I said what they are doing is inventing something there is no evidence for, then demanding that you try to explain the existence of that thing without a god.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:21 AM
 
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Thanks for picking up the bat while I was sleeping.

I might observe that one group exterminating another is a moral act - if God says so. However, of course it is not a good act in itself because they wouldn't want it done to them. It is only convenient, advantageous and pleasing to them because they are doing it, not getting it.

It is just the same as disputes between family groups taken to disputes between villages and towns and then between nations. and what is good and bad is still in dispute in politics today and the UN is trying to act as arbiter, because there doesn't seem to be anyone else.

Concensus is obviously a valid way of developing a set of human conventions. Music, art, language and poetry have all developed conventions and it has developed, just a morality has since as pointed out, what was considered moral back in the medieval is now considered unacceptable. Despite a fighting retreat by the churches, many issues traditionally regarded as immoral are being reappraised.

Clearly, again human consensus through discussion is what decides what is moral, not directives from God. Of course I am serious and stating fact. It cannot seriously be maintained that morality comes from God or Bible.

And to address the OP, it is no longer a stumper. It only seems to be one if the only answer there is is rejected as inadequate, and evasion or not addressing the question because it is required that - if God doesn't decide morals on the basis of His personal opinion, who or what does have that authority to decide on what is good or bad on the basis of their personal opinion?

I repeat: there isn't anyone, there doesn't need to be and it is actually better that there isn't. It is bad enough that there are some religious who are trying to pull back on changes in the view of what is or is not morally acceptable on the basis of what an old book says.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
...

As I said what they are doing is inventing something there is no evidence for, then demanding that you try to explain the existence of that thing without a god.
That's exactly what. It is of course the result of believing in the existence of a God and being unable to think in terms of an existence which can exist and get along without one.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:45 AM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Ahh, but there are certain things that are wrong or right based on my worldview. Each of us holds the entire world and all of history accountable based on our own view. The idea of a prevailing or social morality comes out of these 5+ billion moral judgments competing, cooperating, and compromising. I can approve or condemn anything I like, but if I want my view to prevail I must either force its acceptance or be very convincing, or claim that a god told me and if you disagree you will be tortured forever...

My point is that all morality is subjective, and all moral judgments reflect the one judging as much as the one being judged. It is uncomfortable, it means you have to think harder than "God said so", or "Its just wrong!", but it really appears that anything else is wishful thinking. Theists are demanding absolutes, but to get them you have to make them up...

-NoCapo
Can't rep you yet, but that's first class - not just because I agree with it but it explains how a relative morality not based on something as unarguable as an immutable word of God could work and be valid, and convincing.

Of course I can see why Sandman and Wilson find it beyond credibility that such a non -absolute system based on a lot of humans with different agendas could work. You explain nicely how it does and in fact must.

It is also evident that this is what we actually have and that applies to religious morality, too. I have pointed out before that the Bible is based on human morality of the time (just as it was based on the geography, cosmology and science of the time) and it is not human morality being derived from the Bible. We use human moral codes to look at the Bible and decide which of God's doings are good and which are evil...but there was no doubt some good reason for it. We use human morality to judge Religious morality and that's what the churches are doing right now with the female Bishops and gay/lesbian marriage issue.

They are grudgingly rewriting God -given morality to update it to human morality.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 07-26-2013 at 07:58 AM..
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Ahh, but there are certain things that are wrong or right based on my worldview. Each of us holds the entire world and all of history accountable based on our own view.
Seems like the idea of morality is taking a life of its own.

You (and others) started of by saying that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that morality changes over time and is also different for different cultures. Then you alluded to collective morality - saying that people as a whole decide what is moral and what is immoral.

And now you are telling me that if society A decides to commit action X, you living in society B can still judge action X based on your worldview? That makes sense, but contradicts everything you said in the past. If you can't see it .. you can't see it.

Quote:
The idea of a prevailing or social morality comes out of these 5+ billion moral judgments competing, cooperating, and compromising. I can approve or condemn anything I like, but if I want my view to prevail I must either force its acceptance or be very convincing, or claim that a god told me and if you disagree you will be tortured forever...
I don't know where to begin. But let's just dissect this argument a little. Almost half of the world's population lives in India and China (2.5 billion). I am sure you would say that the collective moralities in those countries is very different from that in the West. In fact, if you idea of collective morality was true, people in the rest of the world would be taking moral guidance from India and China.

Say you living in France, do not like the idea that almost all of India engages in arranged marriages - on what basis would you condemn this action? Based on your worldview? You talked about collective morality. So obviously, if there is power in numbers, people in France should consider arranged marriage to be "good" and should engage in this act themselves.


Quote:
My point is that all morality is subjective, and all moral judgments reflect the one judging as much as the one being judged. It is uncomfortable, it means you have to think harder than "God said so", or "Its just wrong!", but it really appears that anything else is wishful thinking. Theists are demanding absolutes, but to get them you have to make them up...
Saying morality is subjective is very dangerous. Maybe theists tend to be attracted towards absolute morality because they do not want to be in a world where half the population thinks that murder is okay.

Last edited by sandman249; 07-26-2013 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:33 AM
 
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Default At least I got one person to say it!

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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
They have no right to declare it (im)moral other than for themselves. They have a right, I think, to argue the case and attempt to convince the other society to change their view, and/or, to convince people who disagree with the morality of stoning to take some action such as protest or leave that society.
Firstly, what does (im)moral mean? It is either moral or immoral!
So, I basically got you to say that if there is a consensus in a society for an act such as stoning women for adultery - such an act is moral according to their standards.

And why would you try changing their view? If the populations of India and China (power of numbers) collectively decide to commit action X, you living in a minority country should essentially consider that action to be moral - regardless of what it is ... since you have already said that there is such a thing as a collective morality.

Quote:
This is a principle which the US has a particular problem with. As horrific as the mayhem in Syria is, for instance, we really have no business involving ourselves based on OUR morality and the sooner we get clear on that and leave other societies to work out their own issues, the better. Of course there is always the argument that if things get out of hand it will begin to impact our interests, and I suppose there sometimes is some truth to that, but it seems heavily overblown.
At Least you are consistent.
You do not judge the act of stoning women and killing women and children when they occur in other societies. You consider such acts to be moral within their respective societies since there is some sort of consensus for such actions. Okay, good!


Quote:
Christianity's deep attachment to this idea is really a way to justify certain positions by asserting divine approval, IMO.
Sure, I agree with you here!
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Seems like the idea of morality is taking a life of its own.

You (and others) started of by saying that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that morality changes over time and is also different for different cultures. Then you alluded to collective morality - saying that people as a whole decide what is moral and what is immoral.

And now you are telling me that if society A decides to commit action X, you living in society B can still judge action X based on your worldview? That makes sense, but contradicts everything you said in the past. If you can't see it .. you can't see it.
Sounds like a good think to talk about. I am saying morality does change over time, and is different across cultures. I am also saying that all of us judge everything by our own morality. The "collective morality" is what emerges when all these different moral outlooks interact. Maybe you can try to elaborate a bit more on why this is problematic for you?

It seems like you are getting hung up on the idea of a "right" to judge based on a particular morality. I have the "right" to judge anything I like, by virtue of having an opinion. Whether my judgement matters to anyone else is a different matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
I don't know where to begin. But let's just dissect this argument a little. Almost half of the world's population lives in India and China (2.5 billion). I am sure you would say that the collective moralities in those countries is very different from that in the West. In fact, if you idea of collective morality was true, people in the rest of the world would be taking moral guidance from India and China.

Say you living in France and do not like the idea that almost all of India engages in arranged marriages - on what basis would you condemn this action? Based on your worldview? You talked about collective morality. So obviously, if there is power of number, people in France should consider arranged marriage to be "good" and should engage in this act themselves.
It isn't simply power in numbers. Why should China behave more democratically? Certainly not based on population, but based on influence. Western morality is embodied in Western governments who influence political stability, and economic well being, Western education which is seen as very important in many other cultures, and Westen entertainment and media which is consumed around the world. It is these factors ( plus a legacy of colonialism and other assorted factors) that cause India to become more like the Western word than the opposite. Cultural norms do flow both ways, though. Just count the number of places in London that serve Tikki Masala vs Bangers & Mash...

When Islamic culture was the economic and educational powerhouse, it was the one that influenced European civilization.

Morality and culture is much more complex than a numbers game. Just as a small group of people have to negotiate an acdceptable morality among them, and the rules of that morality will be influenced by factors other than numbers ( who is the strongest, who is the wealthiest, who controls sexual access to women, etc...) the negotiation among cultures, religions, and ideologies for who will shape the others is incredibly multifaceted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Saying morality is subjective is very dangerous. Maybe theists tend to be attracted towards absolute morality because they do not want to be in a world where half the population thinks that murder is okay.
Nuclear fission is also dangerous. Denying it exists doesn't make it less so...

This is a classic theistic strawman, BTW. Who is sanctioning murder?! Step away from the word murder, as it is a loaded term that doesn't help here. Theists are not against killing, they just want to be able to control who and why, based on divine edict. Absolute morality doesn't help here, because it could be absolutely moral to kill Jews, or left handed people, or whoever. They are simply like all the rest of us. They have an opinion about what is right and what is not, and they want the rest of the world to behave the same way. We all do this, the difference is that they claim that everyone else has to agree with them because god said so...

When theists can demonstrate evidence for an objective basis for their absolute morality, then we could begin to discuss it. Until then, they are just another force in the mass of competing moralities all fighting for dominance, that shapes the overall consensus morality...


-NoCapo
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:55 AM
 
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I don't debate with others on religion. Just believe it to be a complete waste of time and it usually creates animosity and anger amongst the parties. Only when I am pushed into an argument, which is always by a Christian, do I engage in a debate. In those situations, I point out the holes and flaws in their religion and use science to support mine. They are short, because I have neither the time nor desire to waste my breath. I doubt anyone has ever changed signs due to a debate.
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