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Old 07-26-2013, 12:23 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,253,561 times
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Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
To be honest, I am no longer sure what side I am fighting for.
No worries, I know you are not seriously advocating for killing adulterous women. This is an exercise in understanding and dissecting a logical position. Good brain exercise!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
According to your definition of the foundation of morality, there is a difference between your neighbor and a person living in Saudi or India. Let me reiterate using an example: if your neighbor engages in a polygamous relationships, it is wrong according to the law of the land and the moral code of the land. However, if a person in Saudi or India engages in polygamous marriage, it is okay according to law and the moral code. Do you see the difference? Then why would you forcefully apply your moral code on them?
Right, so we have two competing moralities. If these two cultures have no overlap at all, then there is no conflict. They each do what they think is right.

If there is overlap, now we have a new community, made up of both cultures. It is this community that will need to negotiate its collective morality. That negotiation is based on a lot of factors. We let a lot of things pass in Saudi Arabia that we would condemn in weaker countries, simply because they have the money and resources to tell us to go pound sand if we try to muscle them into changing their morality. Still tehy make concessions in order to maintain their own wealth and influence.

Ultimately, though, the morality in Saudia Arabia will change over the next century or so because of the influence of Western ideas, education, and culture. No one has to push it, or force it. If the US were sending huge portions of its wealthy and powerful to be educated in Wahabbi madrassas, the morality of the US would change too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
You can say that polygamy is WRONG. But isn't this an absolute statement or moral judgement? Similar to the absolute moral statements in the Bible? Who says it is WRONG? Might be wrong according to your (limited) worldview, but it is not wrong in India or Saudi.
I wouldn't say that, provided there were no coercion involved, but I take your point. Every judgement is an absolute judgment, and is equally wrong and without foundation. That doesn't stop us from acting on them... people acting on their own opinions creates an overall cultural view, which in turn shapes the views of the next generation. In this way culture and morality evolves...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Yes, I agree with you. Thats how we were able to abolish slavery and get equal women rights. But these happened within the confines of a democratic set-up. Using the vote and the power of numbers (which you dismissed earlier).
But the changes in shared moral framework that allowed the establishment of democracy happened before that. The Magna Carta was not a product of a democratic society, the Protestant Reformation was not a product of a religiously pluralistic society. These cultural changes happen slowly at a much more fundamental level than voting. In fact by the time we got around to voting about Civil Rights, the moral understanding of the issue had been evolving for 150 years! These changes happen primarily through art, literature, music, and maybe even religion.

Let me go back to the computer analogy. 25 years ago it was possible to purchase desktop and workstation computers running a huge variety of processors. There were TIs, Amigas, Macs, Sparc stations, SGIs, and NEXT cubes. Who decided and voted to make Intel x86 architecture the only one available? No one! It just happened, through market forces, technological innovation, and just plain chance. Today no one expects to have a choice. Now that tablets, netbooks and smartphones are making inroads, maybe when my kids are adults it will be normal to choose Intel or ARM or other architectures that have not been invented yet. All of this happened with out forcing everyone to agree on anything. Each individual has always made their own decision about what computer to buy, everyone has their own personal "computer morality" and yet we have collectively made a choice. It wasn't my choice ( I always wanted a NEXT cube...). Future generations will have as their starting point a world where PC= Intel x86.

In the same way, my children and grandchildren will have as their starting point a different collective morality than I did. When I was a child, everyone knew that homosexuality was immoral. My children will not start from this starting point. Collective morality has shifted. I could still teach my children to be bigots, but now society will not condone it...



Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Lastly, I get a feeling that you and AREQUIPA are trying to suggest that most of the moral battles have been fought and won. That is to say that the world as it is today is more or less on the same page - almost everyone shuns child abuse, murder is bad, and let's not kill minorities. While this is largely true, I think the REAL moral debates will begin once breakthroughs in science and technology are made sometime in the next 20 years:
- think extended human life: over 100 years or immortality
- think cloning
- think singularity, etc.
Absolutely not! You are still thinking of morality in terms of a progression where it gets "better" That is the point, it just evolves, there is no better. It will never stop changing, because humanity is not static. We may have the same arguments again at some point in the future. Each person will make up their own mind based on biology, social conditioning, and their own reason and emotions and keep the ball rolling...

-NoCapo
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Why should Western morality rub off on Indian morality? Why cant it be the other way around? I mean divorce rates in West are nearing 50% --- maybe Indian arranged marriage work.
The interaction of societies is an imperfectly free marketplace of ideas and I think it was even NoCapo who made the point that it does work both ways as evidenced by the number of restaurants in London that serve Indian food. I have two such establishments within walking distance of me in my medium sized northeastern US city. I'm two blocks from a university where a lot of students who are Indian, Asian and other groups study and debate and work together; some of them marry and blend family traditions, etc. But it is also true, I suspect, that it is more those other groups sending their young people to study here, than the inverse. Although that's starting to change. My own stepson is studying abroad this summer. We don't have all the best schools for all subspecialties anymore, and even when we do, Americans realize more and more than our children need to be fully formed citizens of the world to compete effectively in world markets, so they need exposure to many cultures and ideas.

It is undeniable that the US has, at least so far, been disproportionately influential but that is not proof that it is better or correct, just that it's influential. People have looked to it for generations for a reason -- probably a mixture of good, bad and indifferent ones. But my guess is that we have embodied the perceived realization of some common human hopes / dreams / aspirations. There has always been pushback (the "Ugly American" syndrome, etc) and my guess is that US influence is waning as more and more countries attain to their own version of the "American dream", altered for their culture and circumstances. And as they realize that it's not all wine & roses now that they've "arrived".
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:16 PM
 
39,213 posts, read 10,895,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
T...

Lastly, I get a feeling that you and AREQUIPA are trying to suggest that most of the moral battles have been fought and won. That is to say that the world as it is today is more or less on the same page - almost everyone shuns child abuse, murder is bad, and let's not kill minorities. While this is largely true, I think the REAL moral debates will begin once breakthroughs in science and technology are made sometime in the next 20 years:
- think extended human life: over 100 years or immortality
- think cloning
- think singularity, etc.
By no means. There are still problems in making a decision about what is right and getting it generally accepted and then getting it implemented.

At one time war seemed to be glorious. That at least has changed and few see it as other than a sometimes necessary evil. The hardest part is finding a way to do what we all want - end it.

There are still the ongoing debates. Some have pretty much got over the barrier, some are still contentious, and some we dare not even talk about. Long way to go yet. But the concensus -debate is ongoing, and that's the important thing.

P.s mention of polygamy, arranged marriage, etc. The mistake is in trying to do it by the Book, as it were - have a long list of things that are ok and a long list of things that are not. In fact the touchstone is letting people do what they want provided that it is not messing up what other people want. Arranged marriage is fine. In many ways it is no more than people using dating sites. Forced marriage is another thing entirely. If women want to wear a burka or be part of a harem that is fine - so long as they have a choice and understand it. They should also be free to wear a thong and boob -tube and work as a pole -dancer - provided that is her choice.

Flexible morality can be very flexible and the underpinning aim is not to impose one system of moral dogma on everyone, but to ensure that nobody gets forced into doing something they don't want to, provided that what they want is not causing harm to others individually or collectively.

Is this making sense at all, Sandman?

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 07-26-2013 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:15 PM
 
40,118 posts, read 26,779,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
By no means. There are still problems in making a decision about what is right and getting it generally accepted and then getting it implemented.

At one time war seemed to be glorious. That at least has changed and few see it as other than a sometimes necessary evil. The hardest part is finding a way to do what we all want - end it.

There are still the ongoing debates. Some have pretty much got over the barrier, some are still contentious, and some we dare not even talk about. Long way to go yet. But the concensus -debate is ongoing, and that's the important thing.

P.s mention of polygamy, arranged marriage, etc. The mistake is in trying to do it by the Book, as it were - have a long list of things that are ok and a long list of things that are not. In fact the touchstone is letting people do what they want provided that it is not messing up what other people want. Arranged marriage is fine. In many ways it is no more than people using dating sites. Forced marriage is another thing entirely. If women want to wear a burka or be part of a harem that is fine - so long as they have a choice and understand it. They should also be free to wear a thong and boob -tube and work as a pole -dancer - provided that is her choice.

Flexible morality can be very flexible and the underpinning aim is not to impose one system of moral dogma on everyone, but to ensure that nobody gets forced into doing something they don't want to, provided that what they want is not causing harm to others individually or collectively.

Is this making sense at all, Sandman?
Bravo! This has been an extremely interesting and intellectually stimulating thread!! This post, Arequipa . . . does more than make sense . . . it is an excellent capstone to the discussion. Very well said, indeed my friend. You seem very Christ-like . . . (sorry if that offends ). Well done all.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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^^^^^^^^^
How about bloody thanking me for driving this thread!
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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You both have our thanks.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:01 PM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,997,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post

Is this making sense at all, Sandman?
Yes, AREQUIPA it makes sense. Thank you everyone for raising some very interesting issues during this brilliant discussion about morality!

I think we have driven this topic to death ..... maybe it is time to move to something else that energizes such a discussion.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Yes, AREQUIPA it makes sense. Thank you everyone for raising some very interesting issues during this brilliant discussion about morality!

I think we have driven this topic to death ..... maybe it is time to move to something else that energizes such a discussion.
Sure thing! Thanks for an interesting discussion! It certainly has helped me work through my own thoughts about the issue.

-NoCapo
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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This is a very interesting thread. I have had many conversations with atheists and have always wondered that the ideas and facts that so impressed me had apparently no effect on them. It always seemed like bb's bouncing off battleships. So gratifying to discover human vulnerability.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Quadro1 View Post
This is a very interesting thread. I have had many conversations with atheists and have always wondered that the ideas and facts that so impressed me had apparently no effect on them. It always seemed like bb's bouncing off battleships. So gratifying to discover human vulnerability.
Atheists are human and (I regret to say) logical thinking is not part of our curriculum and so we don't learn it along with the other school subjects and in fact one cannot rely on atheists always being reasonable. Though most soon come to see the necessity of logically sound reasoning and perhaps your BB analogy has more to do with the soundness of their arguments (which can be frustrating to the Believer) than with perhaps not being willing to listen to reason.

How about presenting the facts that so impressed you and letting us have a look at them? I promise to be rational and open - minded (but not gullible ) about them; perhaps in a new thread or two. But as it stands your post is looking a bit too much like a non -specific accusation of atheist closed -mindedness.
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