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Old 09-26-2013, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,092,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I address all that I view as relevant and ignore the rest. You have not provided anything which refutes my basic position.
Well okay ... I don't even know how to respond to that. Maybe you could show how those specific points are not relevant? I think they are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
And why are you acting this way today? "sheesh" and "hogwash" and "sigh"etc? That is out of character.
Maybe ... I'm exasperated with you not listening and not posting arguments that are up to you usual standards? You're better than that, in my experience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Explain how anything could be regarded as moral unless there is some choice involved between it and something else which you view as less moral or immoral?
Now I feel like I'm in wonderland because this is not even what we have been debating. Obviously all moral decisions involve moral judgments, with the choice hopefully in favor of a correctly deduced superior morality. What we were talking about is what things might motivate those judgments. You suggest only the negative motivation of fear ("I must do X rather than Y because otherwise harm will come to me") and I suggest there are other motivations, including positive ones ("I choose X because it's better adapted / more beneficial than Y", "I favor X and want to encourage others to do the same.", etc).
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,101 posts, read 18,595,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post

Maybe ... I'm exasperated with you not listening and not posting arguments that are up to you usual standards? You're better than that, in my experience.

.
I am puzzled by the above because in the thread where we were discussing the nature of heaven, you appeared to be grasping and agreeing with the points I was making regarding how we could not be ourselves in a state of eternal bliss because all those aspects of our personality which could contribute to being unhappy, would have to first be removed. On earth we know what happiness is because we know what unhappiness is. In heaven we would not know what unhappiness was, so that state of happiness would be entirely alien to the one we are familiar with in life.

I am serving up the same concept here in an alternative context. In a world where immorality did not exist, no one could be recognized as moral because there would be nothing available to define not being moral. In other words, we need the potential of evil to exist before we may be viewed as having overcome it and acting in a moral manner.

Do you see? You cannot view morality as an isolated concept, it can only exist when you have the option to behave immorally.

My position all along has been that the decision to behave morally is as much the fear of the consequences of being seen as immoral, as it is a desire to see good come about. Remove the temptation of immorality and you cannot do good because the concept of good would evaporate.

Finally, not finding something relevant is not the same thing as not listening. Those portions of your presentations which I did not see as having any relation to validity/invalidity of my argument, I elected to overlook. I have no interest in those.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Middle of nowhere
20,332 posts, read 10,459,312 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idon'tdateyou View Post
I think some of the more radical atheists are immoral. On a Catholic site I got in trouble because I told an atheist they were despicable. They kept making jokes about abortion and many other Catholic views and one admitted she had several kids with a married man. Yes these atheists are immoral. Atheists in general no, but those online who are radical? yep usually.
I know christians that have several out of wedlock children, and is a major bible thumper. Does that make all christians bible thumpers immoral?
No, It means that the one I know has children out of wedlock.

Please try not to judge everyone based on one person you "know".
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Iowa, USA
6,553 posts, read 3,285,113 times
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I never did understand this. When I became an atheist, I didn't just start murdering and raping people because 'hey, who's gonna stop me?' That's just silly. I don't need a punishment looming over me or a stone tablet telling me not to kill people. That's just something you should know not to do. Does that mean there aren't immoral atheists? Of course not. There are horrible atheists and good atheists. This isn't exclusive to atheists. Plenty of 'believers' are terrible people, and they have a book telling them not to kill.

I base my morals off of thought. I do my best to consider the effects my actions will have. I'd say most believers do the same thing, they just give credit to God.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:43 PM
Status: "6' - 220" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
25,868 posts, read 13,440,954 times
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If it's any consolation, this Animist/Deist has never considered Atheists as lacking in ethics or morals.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:16 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,284,580 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
How would you complete...."I do good things because if I didn't........"
I do not complete other peoples sentences. I explained my position in my own words. Do not ask me to explain it again using yours.

Once again: I do the things I do because I wish to live in a society where the things I do are done. I perpetuate the kinds of actions I wish to see in society. To benefit me directly, those I care about, and society itself.
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,092,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I am puzzled by the above because in the thread where we were discussing the nature of heaven, you appeared to be grasping and agreeing with the points I was making regarding how we could not be ourselves in a state of eternal bliss because all those aspects of our personality which could contribute to being unhappy, would have to first be removed.
I mused aloud both for and against aspects of this. My response was far more nuanced than just saying that heaven wouldn't work in the absence of evil or suffering.

Let me put it this way. I agree with you that it's highly suspicious that heaven, as conceived typically by monotheists, is just a perfected version of life on earth -- basically life on earth minus all the annoyances and flaws. When you think about it objectively for just a few minutes, it is likely that any extension of this life in which we are meaningfully who we are in this life, would be SSDD (Same S__t, Different Dimension). As such, the hope of heaven is a vain hope, even if there were an afterlife. Presupposing, for the sake of argument, the Christian god and the Christian heaven, this life is clearly as god designed it and since it includes, not just a little, but a whole boatload of un-remediated human suffering of every conceivable kind, including things like natural disasters and disease and such that are in no way human-caused -- there is no basis to think that an afterlife would be any different and certainly no basis to think it'd be totally different. If we are left holding the bag in this life for justice, safety, stability, protection or even comfort, then for god to suddenly be concerned about these things merely because we've passed through a death experience is like the abused wife thinking that next time will be different.

That is not the same thing as saying that the ideal represented by heaven is not largely approachable, if not fully achievable, by mere morals living in a future evolution of our current human society. And it is certainly not the same thing as saying that happiness is meaningless apart from suffering.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
On earth we know what happiness is because we know what unhappiness is.
No. We know what happiness is because we feel happy. We know what fulfillment and contentment are when we feel fulfilled and content. By way of extreme example, no one, after one of those rare great sexual experiences, exults that they don't have gangrene or that their leg is not broken or that they are not dying of cancer. They exult in the positive and desirable experience that they have just had and the positive and desirable euphoric feelings they have as a result. This positive and desirable experience would be just as positive and desirable and enjoyable if they had no idea what gangrene, broken bones or terminal cancer even is. The idea that no one would ever enjoy anything unless there was suffering and misery in the world is, frankly, nuts. No offense: by now we humans are so inured to suffering that we think it's actually a necessary feature of our environment.

Now ... it's true that we judge the positiveness and desirability of one experience relative to another, but who says there has to be such a low bottom to that range? Why does anyone's hedonic tone set-point have to be any lower than something we might describe as "everyday contentment and self-actualization"? There is plenty of room for peaks and valleys of experience without having to plumb the depths of despair and misery and hopelessness. I agree that life would be rather boring without some variance, but it doesn't have to be all over the map and it never has to lower itself to the level of suffering.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You cannot view morality as an isolated concept, it can only exist when you have the option to behave immorally.
Immorality could become a purely theoretical possibility that no one ever experiences. We acknowledge absolute zero as a particular temperature but you or I will never experience absolute zero (at least, not to live and tell of it). Yet we still understand what is warm vs hot. We don't need -273.15 degrees Celsius to understand "cold". Zero will suffice. In addition, if we never saw anything south of room temperature and only knew zero degrees Celsius as a principle of physics or a legend about temperatures that people experienced long ago, we would still be fully enjoying the benefits of room temperature, even though "cold" would be a purely theoretical concept to us, experientially. No one would be distracted by the need to insulate, bundle up, and guard against frostbite, but room temperature would be no less beneficial for all that. If anything we'd be more fully present in the experience of room temperature.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
My position all along has been that the decision to behave morally is as much the fear of the consequences of being seen as immoral, as it is a desire to see good come about. Remove the temptation of immorality and you cannot do good because the concept of good would evaporate.
I hope that by now you see that good does not evaporate in the absence of suffering; it continues to be enjoyed, only without distraction or worry.

You will note that I tend to frame this in terms of enjoyment vs suffering rather than morality vs immorality. Morality is only a societal consensus about practices that tend to sustainably protect society and its members and promote enjoyment and prevent suffering. The two are intertwined. We tend to think of morality as some kind of externally defined or self evident ruleset but it is really just the codification of behaviors that society believes promote enjoyment and discourage suffering. We internalize these values to the point where they seem self-evident and therefore, plausibly, self-existent. But they are really just an emergent property of a given society. The goal of any rational, sustainable society is moral behavior (and the resultant happiness). That a society attains that goal does not mean that the goal (and the benefits of achieving it) evaporates because no one any longer engages in immorality or experiences suffering.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,101 posts, read 18,595,226 times
Reputation: 18730
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
I do not complete other peoples sentences. I explained my position in my own words. Do not ask me to explain it again using yours.

.
If you completed the sentence, how would those be my words?

My purpose was to demonstrate that every moral decision has a positive and negative aspect, that every choice to do good is simultaneously a choice to not do something else which you regard as less moral or immoral. And as I explained, if there was no less moral or immoral option available, we could hardly call your action moral because you had no choice, you did the only thing that you could do.

So that is why I asked you to complete that sentence, to demonstrate the inescapable truth of the above.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,101 posts, read 18,595,226 times
Reputation: 18730
mordant
Quote:
No. We know what happiness is because we feel happy. We know what fulfillment and contentment are when we feel fulfilled and content. By way of extreme example, no one, after one of those rare great sexual experiences, exults that they don't have gangrene or that their leg is not broken or that they are not dying of cancer. They exult in the positive and desirable experience that they have just had and the positive and desirable euphoric feelings they have as a result. This positive and desirable experience would be just as positive and desirable and enjoyable if they had no idea what gangrene, broken bones or terminal cancer even is. The idea that no one would ever enjoy anything unless there was suffering and misery in the world is, frankly, nuts. No offense: by now we humans are so inured to suffering that we think it's actually a necessary feature of our environment.
I think I see the problem now. At all times I have been speaking of the concept of happiness not being able to exist without the concept of unhappiness also existing. Happiness is vague, so let us use "tall" as the example. If everyone was exactly six feet in height, then no one would be tall, no one would be short, everyone would just be six feet in height. In order for the concept of tall to exist, there has to be something against which it may be contrasted. Consequently, what we know as happiness, we know because we are contrasting it with other states of being, whether it is unhappy or less happy or more happy.....we still need some sort of scale or all would the same.

In that the above strikes me as so overwhelmingly obvious, I have been perplexed as to why you, or anyone, would be arguing against it. You have apparently (I think) been treating this not on the conceptual level but on a basis of individual experiences of happiness, as though some unhappy event is simultaneously required in order for you to be happy, rather than simply the existence of the potential for unhappiness...the concept which shapes our perception of happiness. What you have been writing makes me suspect that you think I am saying that in order to enjoy an ice cream, you also have to have spear sticking into your ribs.

Anyway, I hope that is what you have been doing because otherwise I cannot understand why you would be arguing against something so obviously true.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:52 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
mordant

I think I see the problem now. At all times I have been speaking of the concept of happiness not being able to exist without the concept of unhappiness also existing. Happiness is vague, so let us use "tall" as the example. If everyone was exactly six feet in height, then no one would be tall, no one would be short, everyone would just be six feet in height. In order for the concept of tall to exist, there has to be something against which it may be contrasted. Consequently, what we know as happiness, we know because we are contrasting it with other states of being, whether it is unhappy or less happy or more happy.....we still need some sort of scale or all would the same.
Not to put words in mordant's mouth, but I think the point is that even in the absence of "tall" or"short" I would still be the same size. My experience of life would be the same even without the comparative vocabulary. Likewise, even if we remove the metric for comparison, it doesn't make the suffering of a starving child any less or my enjoyment of my wife's company any greater. It just makes it hard to talk about. The idea that we cannot have good without evil, in any sense other than labels for use in comparison, is just wrong. If we could completely eliminate starvation world wide, it would not diminish the feeling I get after a full meal. If we could completely eliminate infant mortality, that would not change the experience of a mother holding her child. Mother's 100 years ago did not value their children more, simply because more of them died.

The difference is that you are looking at good and bad as metrics, mordant is looking at the experience itself. Both perspective have merit, they just don't point to the same thing. Too often people excuse actual suffering as necessary for actual happiness, and not just point out that without distinct labels we cannot evaluate or discuss the concept.

-NoCapo
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