the moral argument

dreems
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the moral argument

i am not sure of the best forum, but hi.

in my opinion, the best argument for a personal God, ie theism as opposed to deism, is the moral argument. i don't maintain its demonstrative, but the better argument points to theism. because conscience seems like the voice of god, and because i feel confident that various counter arguments wont hold up, i think its better to say that god really does speak through concience, so that the mystery at the heart of the universe is personal.

 

anyone intereted in taking up this discussion?

 

dreems

 


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Theism does not solve the

Theism does not solve the moral argument, formally known as the Euthypro Dilemma.

Simply put, where does this god get his morals from?   

If god defines morality himself, then it is subjective, no different than you or I defining morality.

If morality is independent of god, then we don't need god for morality.

In terms of your specific reference to conscience:  Where does god get his conscience from?

 

 

 

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dreems wrote:because

dreems wrote:

because conscience seems like the voice of god,

"Seems like," that's it, I can see your going to have fun here.

 

dreems wrote:

and because i feel confident that various counter arguments wont hold up,

  Really?  Ok, well lets start with what exactly your argument is.  So far it's that conscience seems like the voice of god.  Could you please show me how a "conscience" leads to no-where else but personal god as an explanation.  Or does your argument just begin with  conscience = personal god, and then you go from their? 

 

dreems wrote:

i think its better to say that god really does speak through concience, so that the mystery at the heart of the universe is personal.

 

  Woo-Woo Alert!.  The first part of your sentence is just restating (conscience = personal god) and the second part is stating that you know why he gave it to us, YOU.   "So that the mystery at the heart of the universe is personal,"  what does that have to do with a conscience?

  Also you need to address the fact that conscience as defined is a refection of self, it is inside and therefore subjective to your own personal moral standards.  People around the world have very diferent things that would activate that feeling, some buddhist monks would feel deep remorse and sadness if they stepped on a worm, would you?  Some people have less of a "conscience" or none.  These people can do things that cross our moral standard lines without the internal guilt, others like me and you can we just feel the guilt afterward.  Good people seem to do "bad" things all the time, is that satans work?  If I killed a child in a car accident that I didn't cause, while I was going under the speed limit %100 sober I would still probably feel deep regret and sadness for this child and blame myself.  It would probably replay it over and over, maybe only if I had taken that right on 128st.  The point is I didn't do anything wrong, yet the same feeling exists, how do you define that?   

 

 

 

 

 


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tranferring my reply from the introductions forum

some points i made earlier - but obviously i hope to reply to the remarks just made:

my approach will be, not natural law, not virtue ethics, not the end of human life, obviously not utilitarianism, but value.

think of the heart as the seat of affective responses, think of objects that may be values. we can notice differences. here are three examples. we see someone nice, beautiful chaming - our response is love. a strong man confronts us, we are afraid. a dictaor cruelly puts to death the innocent, family members are made to cheer enthusiatically - we are appauled for this is wrong.

 

we don't say, be afraid of me because i am cute, or love me for i am strong - we sense that certain responses are proper. our sense that cruelty is wrong is something we perceive clearly - actually, it was hitchens, arguing the case for the iraq war, that used that third example. what's interesting is that he does argue - in other words, he is claiming that the way he feels is the way others should feel. there is a claim on our assent, and it should lead to action. he is not simply telling us facts about his psychology, as if a fit of rage was like a sneeze in the presence of pepper. pepper causes sneezing, but not because it dawns on us what pepper is. suppose we are upset at the family members are cheering, then we understand their duress, when the truth dawns, we feel differently.

conscience has a commanding voice - the voice of right, but not of might.

that morality varies, i grant - but in the case of this cruelty, there was something absolutely wrong. i think this points to a personal god - but not a "dictatorial law giver". that would be to confuse might and right. my whole argument is based on the very real difference between the two.

 


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dreems wrote:that morality

dreems wrote:

that morality varies, i grant - but in the case of this cruelty, there was something absolutely wrong.

 

I'm confused, if morality varies, how can something be absolutely wrong?

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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 dreems wrote:that morality

 

dreems wrote:

that morality varies, i grant - but in the case of this cruelty, there was something absolutely wrong. i think this points to a personal god

This points to nothing other than most people seem to have some common understanding of what is right and wrong.  How does that = personal god?  And if he gave it to us, where did he get it from?  

 

 

dreams wrote:
  

- but not a "dictatorial law giver". that would be to confuse might and right. my whole argument is based on the very real difference between the two.

 

 So this "god" of yours doesn't punish people?  How does it work for you?

 


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dreems wrote:some points i

dreems wrote:

some points i made earlier - but obviously i hope to reply to the remarks just made:

my approach will be, not natural law, not virtue ethics, not the end of human life, obviously not utilitarianism, but value.

think of the heart as the seat of affective responses, think of objects that may be values. we can notice differences. here are three examples. we see someone nice, beautiful chaming - our response is love. a strong man confronts us, we are afraid. a dictaor cruelly puts to death the innocent, family members are made to cheer enthusiatically - we are appauled for this is wrong.

we don't say, be afraid of me because i am cute, or love me for i am strong - we sense that certain responses are proper. our sense that cruelty is wrong is something we perceive clearly - actually, it was hitchens, arguing the case for the iraq war, that used that third example. what's interesting is that he does argue - in other words, he is claiming that the way he feels is the way others should feel. there is a claim on our assent, and it should lead to action. he is not simply telling us facts about his psychology, as if a fit of rage was like a sneeze in the presence of pepper. pepper causes sneezing, but not because it dawns on us what pepper is. suppose we are upset at the family members are cheering, then we understand their duress, when the truth dawns, we feel differently.

conscience has a commanding voice - the voice of right, but not of might.

that morality varies, i grant - but in the case of this cruelty, there was something absolutely wrong. i think this points to a personal god - but not a "dictatorial law giver". that would be to confuse might and right. my whole argument is based on the very real difference between the two.

You argument explains one of the common reasons why people came to think of a God speaking to them, it certainly can feel like that to many people, but it doesn't come anywhere near proving that there really is a God as some actual entity outside ourselves, communicating with us.

Not everyone has the same reaction to these internal feelings of what are 'right' and 'wrong' actions, even when they come to the same judgements over the same actions. 

It is indeed something 'telling' us how we 'should' regard certain classes of action, it is part of our own mind/brain that generates these feelings. Part of it due to 'empathy', where we instinctively generate mirrors of how we feel other people would be feeling when having things done to them.

There are several aspects to this: one is the instinctive feeling of 'right' and 'wrong', a sense of 'good' and 'bad' actions, in itself,  and then there is why we get these feelings, and then why some people actual feel some sense of an external 'something' 'telling' them when an action is right or wrong.

Some people seem to be more likely than others to feel like something outside themselves is communicating with them in some way when they experience this sort of internal 'dialog' between different parts of our mind. This has been pretty well established.

It is probably a basic mechanism, which when it goes beyond this normal level results in people reporting 'hearing voices', or a voice, literally speaking to them.

But how we came to have such 'regulatory' mechanisms is broadly understandable in evolutionary terms, it is a clear advantage to creatures with complex minds living together in groups, to develop strong instincts on how best to work together, encourage cooperative behaviour, support rather than abuse other members of the group, etc. It really is a form of what we would call 'instinctive' behaviour in other animals, but it can become associated with conscious thoughts in ourselves, thanks to our higher level of 'consciousness' and reasoning. It is what the workings of 'instinct' feel like to a conscious being.

Those groups or packs which cooperated best within the group were more likely to survive than those which more often broke out in destructive internal conflict.

We do indeed observe some of the same sort of behaviours and reactions to instances of 'unfairness' and other situations we would recognize as involving some sense of right and wrong, in other group-living animals, from apes to packs of wolves.

So feeling this is direct 'evidence' of a personal God keeping us on a moral path is a common and understandable reaction.

But it no more is a proof of God than the more pathological misfirings of the same mechanism, when people claim God "told them" to commit some horrendous act.

If it really is 'God' speaking to us, it becomes difficult to explain why He is not always consistent in what he seems to tell different people, especially in different traditions.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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TO argue that morals must

TO argue that morals must come from a god is to argue that morals are useless.  For if they are useful we can derive them from their usefulness.  Are you suggesting that morals are useless? If so how do you know they are good?

Sounds made up...
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well, it's possible that in

well, it's possible that in different times and places people have more or less grown up ideas of what is right and wrong - this i accept. there is cultural variation. i'll be going on to argue more fully, that certain values pull us beyond our selves - that for example, even tho we might get a lot of pleasure from wanton cruelty, there are genuine values of the human person that "demand" respect. we just intuit that we should not commit the acts of cruelty that i mentioned. the strange thing is, whatever we say in the abstract, i feel very confident that you agree with me on this instance - a dictator executing the innocent and forcing his family to applaud rapturously. i am simply certain that you think it barbaric.


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punishment

punishment is hard to understand philosophically.

a president of france (mitterand?) was an atheist. his catholic friend asked, do you fear hell. he said no. after a pause he added, what i fear is deserving to go to hell.

we hate nothing more than being wrong - having a bad conscience is awful - in fact the worms that gnaw away in hell, according to aquinas, are those of a bad conscience.

i hope no one is dammned, and i feel certain that atheists can be saved - by the way they treat others, but the possibility of finding oneself with a conscience that is forever being gnawed away, i don't think such a possibility makes god a dictator. we shd think of god as a father waiting for the return of the prodigal - but perhaps there really is a self imposed exile of sin that lasts forever

 


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generally i wd say, we might

generally i wd say, we might find certain "explanations" in the brain, but thats quite different from explaining away.

for example, something happens in the brain of a scientist, but this in no way invalidates science.

something happens when we empathise, but this in no way invalidates empathy.

if there is something that makes us think of a person behind morality - which might indeed be true, i mean we might be hard wired to tend that way - again, this does not invalidate the belief.

 

finally, something may be hard wired in your brain so that you construct the arguments you do, but i can't therefore say they are invalid.

 

but the general drift of your position, i think, is that you equate conscience with a sort of super-ego. if that was so, i agree my arguments are unconvincing ...


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dreems wrote:punishment is

dreems wrote:

punishment is hard to understand philosophically.

a president of france (mitterand?) was an atheist. his catholic friend asked, do you fear hell. he said no. after a pause he added, what i fear is deserving to go to hell.

we hate nothing more than being wrong - having a bad conscience is awful - in fact the worms that gnaw away in hell, according to aquinas, are those of a bad conscience.

i hope no one is dammned, and i feel certain that atheists can be saved - by the way they treat others, but the possibility of finding oneself with a conscience that is forever being gnawed away, i don't think such a possibility makes god a dictator. we shd think of god as a father waiting for the return of the prodigal - but perhaps there really is a self imposed exile of sin that lasts forever

Everything becomes easier to understand, is more consistent with what we now know about both the Universe and human nature, if we stop taking the "God hypothesis" seriously.

All the puzzles of the apparent contradictions of omnipotence, of why does a good God allows natural disasters, and did not intervene to stop Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and all the other evil dictators of history, despite the OT stories of massive interventions to protect his 'chosen people', why bad things happen to good people, why does he punish people in Hell for things that cause no actual harm to anyone, right back to the Adam and Eve story of cursing all Eve's descendants for a harmless act of disobedience. All disappear in the light of reason - this unjust, impossible, overlord does not exist. 

The universe itself presents us with enough threats to our survival, but at least we can have confidence that the rules governing events are not subject to arbitrary change at the whim of some unknowable super-being.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Where did the island people

Where did the island people etc get their morals. Killing, lying, stealing, coveting etc all seem to be understood as wrong to them. They didn't need a bible or god to tell them what was right and wrong and neither did we. Some dude just thought it would be awesome to write it down and call these basic rules his god's rules. Handy that since most people already followed those rules that made it so easy to integrate them into "god".

Even dog's learn through social behavior, a pup for example learns quickly to not bite hard while playing. Morals are just passed down from generation to generation, and they constantly evolve. The bible has not evolved, so we do not follow everything in it, because it was written with mans rules from long ago. Well I said the bible has not evolved, actually it has. The bible, being retranslated by different people in history to reflect more on what they want it to say..or not to say, and then people nowdays that seem to to be able to interpret the spilling of bood into whatever they want it to mean.

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not me, uh-uh

dreems wrote:

well, it's possible that in different times and places people have more or less grown up ideas of what is right and wrong - this i accept. there is cultural variation. i'll be going on to argue more fully, that certain values pull us beyond our selves - that for example, even tho we might get a lot of pleasure from wanton cruelty, there are genuine values of the human person that "demand" respect. we just intuit that we should not commit the acts of cruelty that i mentioned. the strange thing is, whatever we say in the abstract, i feel very confident that you agree with me on this instance - a dictator executing the innocent and forcing his family to applaud rapturously. i am simply certain that you think it barbaric.

I DON'T get pleasure from wanton cruelty.  None.  Never have.  Not as a child, not now.  Not just humans, either.  Being cruel to animals because they aren't humans and can't "feel" like humans, doesn't cut it for me.  And it isn't that it is intrinsically "wrong", it's because it makes me nauseous.

Morals are so that we can live together in a community.  Humans do not survive for long as singletons - even Jeremiah Johnson only stayed out ONE winter alone in the mountains.  He never went out again, not even in a group.  We have to get along with each other so we have morals to keep us from killing each other off before the cave bears get around to it.

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try learning theory

dreems wrote:

punishment is hard to understand philosophically.

Well, punishment is only effective if it is immediate and appropriate.  Punishing someone is a waste of energy if the punishment occurs long after the act, or if it is too much or too little.  This is from learning theory.  Isn't it funny how the all-knowing god of the bible doesn't understand his own creations?

dreems wrote:

a president of france (mitterand?) was an atheist. his catholic friend asked, do you fear hell. he said no. after a pause he added, what i fear is deserving to go to hell.

Rather like Ghandi, who when asked if he wanted to live without sin, replied that he would rather learn to live without sin.

I'm not as good as Ghandi, but I hope my mistakes and errors are minor.

dreems wrote:

we hate nothing more than being wrong - having a bad conscience is awful - in fact the worms that gnaw away in hell, according to aquinas, are those of a bad conscience.

i hope no one is dammned, and i feel certain that atheists can be saved - by the way they treat others, but the possibility of finding oneself with a conscience that is forever being gnawed away, i don't think such a possibility makes god a dictator. we shd think of god as a father waiting for the return of the prodigal - but perhaps there really is a self imposed exile of sin that lasts forever

I don't want to be saved.  I don't want a "heavenly father", my own biological father is trial enough.  I don't want to go to heaven - which sounds like the most boring place in the universe.  My conscience is fine, thank you, no worms are gnawing.  If god/s/dess is going to condemn me, so be it.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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dreems wrote:generally i wd

dreems wrote:

generally i wd say, we might find certain "explanations" in the brain, but thats quite different from explaining away.

for example, something happens in the brain of a scientist, but this in no way invalidates science.

something happens when we empathise, but this in no way invalidates empathy.

if there is something that makes us think of a person behind morality - which might indeed be true, i mean we might be hard wired to tend that way - again, this does not invalidate the belief.

 

finally, something may be hard wired in your brain so that you construct the arguments you do, but i can't therefore say they are invalid.

 

but the general drift of your position, i think, is that you equate conscience with a sort of super-ego. if that was so, i agree my arguments are unconvincing ...

From your drift here, I think you are getting rather Freudian.  However, Freud has been discredited since his style of psychotherapy has never been demonstrated to actually cure anybody.  So we can skip the super-ego stuff and and concentrate on getting along with each other before we manage to drive all of us to extinction.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Funny dreems goes on about

Funny dreems goes on about "wanton acts of cruelty".

The God of the OT seemed to have no problem with his followers committing such things on a grand scale against their enemies.

Not only that, but cruelty, torture, etc is not mentioned even in the Ten Commandments. So it is presumably much less of a problem than victimless thought crimes like "coveting" your neighbours wife and his other possessions.

And it is apparently ok to beat your slave/servant within an inch of his life, so long as he doesn't actually die...

Yes, we have a conscience, unlike anyone who can genuinely accept the Bible as a source of moral guidance.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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dreems wrote:punishment is

dreems wrote:

punishment is hard to understand philosophically.

a president of france (mitterand?) was an atheist. his catholic friend asked, do you fear hell. he said no. after a pause he added, what i fear is deserving to go to hell.

 

 

So i'm a good person, I have a good heart and I try to always make "good" decisions.  So do I get punished for not believing?  How does that work for you?


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dreems wrote:i am not sure

dreems wrote:

i am not sure of the best forum, but hi.

in my opinion, the best argument for a personal God, ie theism as opposed to deism, is the moral argument. i don't maintain its demonstrative, but the better argument points to theism. because conscience seems like the voice of god, and because i feel confident that various counter arguments wont hold up, i think its better to say that god really does speak through concience, so that the mystery at the heart of the universe is personal.

 

anyone intereted in taking up this discussion?

 

dreems

 

What have you ever done or anyone done that was 'moral'? Are you even capable of doing anything that is not 100% self-serving? Name one. Morality, just like religion is BS.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Dreems, I don't see any post

Dreems, I don't see any post where you've stated an actual argument. If you want to discuss the moral argument for God, could you post an argument?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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All arguments boil down to

All arguments boil down to if a then b, but a, therefore b. i may be a bit unrigorous, but i expect you can see that i am making two distinct types of claim. there is the "major" if a then b, and the minor "but a". i will be fluid, but i think you will be able to tell the two apart clearly enough. for example, "if moral consciousness is absolute God is personal. but moral consciousness is absolute. so God is personal"

What i find curious is the way that critics attack the minor in a way that convinces me that they believe the major! and when it comes to the minor, they oppose it in the abstract, but are utterly convinced in the concrete!

what do i mean? well, the absoluteness of morality is attacked in various ways. cultures vary, we are told, reductionist accounts employing evolution, depth psychology explain it away, it's nothing but an experience of nausea. but in the concrete no one defends saddam's actions! the cruelty is recognised as a disvalue - and we can alll detect the insult involved in relatives having to cheer at such a disvalue - we see clearly that such a feeling is inappropriate. the mystery of morality - the strange thing about it that i believe points to God - is that feelings can actually be true or false. Just as mounting evidence exerts a claim on ascientist to embrace a new theory - the scientist knows he or she must be humble before the facts, so certain values have a claim on our feelings.

on nausea, there was a nazi, goering i think. he had to oversee a slaughter, but couldn't stomach it. his men laughed and he lost face. so he went away and resolved to change. he steeled himself so that no longer wd he feel the same nausea. but i am saying that the initial feelings were the true response, his later feelings were wrong - goering had simply become a worse person. cruel acts are not wrong because they make us sick, rather we are revolted because certain disvalues deserve such a response, they have a claim on our feelings, a claim, of course we may not honour, as did the later, goering, who perverted his own emotions quite deliberately.

you could easily put a chemical before my nose and make me feel nauseous, but the nausea wd not be occasioned because of what i understood about the chemical. if we get angry at the hardness of the hearts of those relatives who cheered at seeing their beloveds die, but then we understand that they were acting under duress, immediately our feeling change to pathos. to coin the phrase of this website - it is a rational response. we are utterly cold at the utilitarian idea that were the relatives truly joyful then at least there wd be more happiness in the world!

happy easter!

 


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EXC wrote: What have you

EXC wrote:

 

What have you ever done or anyone done that was 'moral'? Are you even capable of doing anything that is not 100% self-serving? Name one. Morality, just like religion is BS.

 

I gave this some thought, surely you are wrong. But the first example I came up with is invalid. I felt like I had "rescued" this little dog of mine. She was wandering around where I work which is on a busy busy road. The way it really is, I snagged her because I wanted her. The fact that she was probably going to get run over is a kind of justification. When I did the big brother thing, I was playing with a remote control airplane, and it was a good excuse to go to the park. Basicly self serving with a good excuse attached. When you do something for someone, there is the excuse, and then there is the reason.

There are probably very few times in life when you do something for someone and really expect 0 back, like donating to charity..but then if you brag about it, you have just defeated it, lol. This seems like something that would be on a criminals mind, perhaps one should not dwell too heavily on it, lest they realize fully and use it to further advantage.

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It is a truth that the

It is a truth that the reaction of repugnance, or 'nausea', if you like, is the overwhelmingly most common one on perception of certain classes of action inflicted on another individual. We understand to a useful degree the brain/mind mechanism involved - there are components of the brain called 'mirror neurones' which seem to be intimately involved in mediating the empathic reaction, imagining your own reaction if you were in the victim's place. We also understand why such empathic reactions would have value in regulating the interactions of a social species such as ourselves, especially a species with a complex brain, so the emergence of such things via evolutionary selection processes is highly plausible.

Other aspects of 'moral consciousness' can be accounted for by similar descriptions. 

The actual science in this area goes a lot further than you seem to be aware of. You have 'boiled it down' way too far.

It is also understood that the basic 'instinctive' reaction to such things can be modified, to varying extents in different individuals, depending on their genetic makeup and life-experience, by various forms of 'training' or habituation.

Your problem is trying to capture the complexities and subtleties of reality in a few simplistic philosophical/metaphysical concepts. Yours is arguably the truly 'reductionist' account, because it ignores the complexities of reality involved.

'Absolute' really doesn't make much sense to apply to something as complex as our 'moral consciousness'. Some things will be almost universal across individuals, and even cultures, others will vary considerably.

 

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robj101 wrote:I gave this

robj101 wrote:

I gave this some thought, surely you are wrong. But the first example I came up with is invalid. I felt like I had "rescued" this little dog of mine. She was wandering around where I work which is on a busy busy road. The way it really is, I snagged her because I wanted her. The fact that she was probably going to get run over is a kind of justification.

 

Generally, humans have a kind of social contract with dogs, where we both derive a mutual benefit from each other. If you saw a rat in the same situation, you would feel a negative reaction, because we have an antagonistic relation(thanks to the plagues). So all you are reacting to is the good feelings you get from one and negative feelings from the other. So we evolved good feelings toward things beneficial and negative feelings toward things detrimental to our survival.

It is interesting how so many people will save or feel empathy for a stray dog or cat, but not much for a homeless person. I  think it is because humans will take advantage of each other more than these animals. Also we compete more with other humans than we do animals. So many people develop lower feelings of empathy for humans.

robj101 wrote:

There are probably very few times in life when you do something for someone and really expect 0 back, like donating to charity..but then if you brag about it, you have just defeated it, lol. This seems like something that would be on a criminals mind, perhaps one should not dwell too heavily on it, lest they realize fully and use it to further advantage.

You get the good feelings of giving and helping others. Humans are often social animals, so this must be the case, there must be good feelings with social behavior in order for us to be social animals. Studies show people give and help more when others are observing.

Also, a reason why so many charities are scams is that the donors never bother to verify the charity does what they claim. Because the donation is really about making the donors feel good rather by believing they helping rather than actually doing any real help.

A reason I believe we have so many criminals is that society tries to force people into not being 'selfish', when we have no free will to be anything but 'selfish'. That is why there are so many sociopaths.

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EXC wrote:robj101 wrote:I

EXC wrote:

robj101 wrote:

I gave this some thought, surely you are wrong. But the first example I came up with is invalid. I felt like I had "rescued" this little dog of mine. She was wandering around where I work which is on a busy busy road. The way it really is, I snagged her because I wanted her. The fact that she was probably going to get run over is a kind of justification.

 

Generally, humans have a kind of social contract with dogs, where we both derive a mutual benefit from each other. If you saw a rat in the same situation, you would feel a negative reaction, because we have an antagonistic relation(thanks to the plagues). So all you are reacting to is the good feelings you get from one and negative feelings from the other. So we evolved good feelings toward things beneficial and negative feelings toward things detrimental to our survival.

It is interesting how so many people will save or feel empathy for a stray dog or cat, but not much for a homeless person. I  think it is because humans will take advantage of each other more than these animals. Also we compete more with other humans than we do animals. So many people develop lower feelings of empathy for humans.

robj101 wrote:

There are probably very few times in life when you do something for someone and really expect 0 back, like donating to charity..but then if you brag about it, you have just defeated it, lol. This seems like something that would be on a criminals mind, perhaps one should not dwell too heavily on it, lest they realize fully and use it to further advantage.

You get the good feelings of giving and helping others. Humans are often social animals, so this must be the case, there must be good feelings with social behavior in order for us to be social animals. Studies show people give and help more when others are observing.

Also, a reason why so many charities are scams is that the donors never bother to verify the charity does what they claim. Because the donation is really about making the donors feel good rather by believing they helping rather than actually doing any real help.

A reason I believe we have so many criminals is that society tries to force people into not being 'selfish', when we have no free will to be anything but 'selfish'. That is why there are so many sociopaths.

I have 2 happy rats that will lick you to death, bad comparison with the rat analogy.  Much like dog's humans have domesticated them, and now use them for lab experiments and the feeding of reptiles. Rats are the only animal which has no rights at all. From what I understand you could actually take one outside in your yard and set them on fire and it's legal. I rant too much about animal rights.

As far as feeling sorrier for a stray dog or other animals than for a homeless person. I'm one of the asses that thinks MOST of the homeless have put themselves in that position. An animal has no say in what goes on in their life, they are just being an animal and were most likely abused or simply put out or lost by a human owner.

We are the superior species on this planet, but that does not mean we should be abusive or cruel towards the one's that have failed thus far. There, some morality I feel strongly about which I truly do not expect anything back from. I don't think it has anything to do with a "god" either.

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dreems wrote:All arguments

dreems wrote:

All arguments boil down to if a then b, but a, therefore b. i may be a bit unrigorous, but i expect you can see that i am making two distinct types of claim. there is the "major" if a then b, and the minor "but a". i will be fluid, but i think you will be able to tell the two apart clearly enough. for example, "if moral consciousness is absolute God is personal. but moral consciousness is absolute. so God is personal"

What i find curious is the way that critics attack the minor in a way that convinces me that they believe the major! and when it comes to the minor, they oppose it in the abstract, but are utterly convinced in the concrete!

I see almost noone here tacitly agreeing to your premise, dreems. An argument from evolutionary advantage, for example, does not imply agreement to your premise for it is a direct counter proposition - ie - if morals are absolute then absoluteness of morals bears an intrinsic value such as evolutionary/genetic advantage.

Its all very well to have a reply to those who would pass over your original implication to address a more minor point in your argument but do you have any rebuttal more directly relevant to whats been posted on this thread to point out, or is that it?

I'd like to point out that I think Magus posted a decisive rebuttal to your OP statement and I can't see that you have responded to him yet. What do you have to say to his comment?

dreems wrote:
...but in the concrete no one defends saddam's actions!

hmmm... yeah, maybe you need to broaden your horizons a bit, dreems. Hussein had many followers and was not always acting indefensibly, moreover he was hardly the only one who can be saddled with the blame of humanitarian crimes done in his country and in his lifetime, and whilesoever there are those who cooperated and enabled him in doing wrong, and there are, who are considered, even by you, defensible, one can hardly say his crimes are universally condemned. Fact is, they're just not, end of story.

In the concrete, perspectives vary, its more likely you've been shutting them out than they are not there... this sort of shit happens because someone is defending it.

 

Quote:

the mystery of morality -

There is no mystery to morality, its really just a simple matter of internal consistency in thought and action. We can point to the phenomena of evolution for a mechanism explaining the refinement of human repugnance to ill doing, but we don't need biology to resolve the fact of the matter. Consistent avoidance of the undesirable is logically dictated by the integrity of a coherent, self interested identity. Lack of morality would imply a break down in the sense of self by definition.

dreems wrote:

the strange thing about it that i believe points to God - is that feelings can actually be true or false.

Feelings are free from logical dichotomy they're niether true nor false but always just are. It is the cognitive account of feelings which introduces the concept of error.  I thoroughly disagree that any actual wrongness can be intrinsic to feelings. Wrongness applies to reason, it is a subject of reason and requires reason to apprehend.

 

 

 

 

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dreems wrote:for example,

dreems wrote:
for example, "if moral consciousness is absolute God is personal. but moral consciousness is absolute. so God is personal"

Is this your argument?

P1 - If morality is absolute, then God is personal. 

P2 - Morality is absolute.

Conclusion - God is personal.

I don't agree with either premise. Don't you also have to assume...

P1a - God exists.

I don't agree with that either.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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feelings can be wrong in this sense

I'll be responding to various points over time. Let me just thoroughly agree with you on one point though, morality is rational consistency between thought and action. Even so, our freedom does not only concern actions. As well as the will there is the heart. Our feelings can be affective responses to values - non-intentional states just as feeling tired etc. are not responses to values or disvalues, but it remains, we can have feelings that are about something, for example, malicious joy in another's suffering. these may emerge spontaneously, and we are not necessarily free in such responses - our hearts are not in our control. but we can become aware of our feelings and say yes or no to them - our freedom consists of sanctioning them or disavowing them. to delight in wanton cruelty - something we might find emerging within us, is something we ought to regard as bad. in this sense feelings can be right or wrong - as fitting or unfitting responses to values. again, veneration for, say, hitler is a feeling - but a bad one. we should not be neutral about such feelings.


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dreems wrote:All arguments

dreems wrote:

All arguments boil down to if a then b, but a, therefore b. i may be a bit unrigorous, but i expect you can see that i am making two distinct types of claim. there is the "major" if a then b, and the minor "but a". i will be fluid, but i think you will be able to tell the two apart clearly enough. for example, "if moral consciousness is absolute God is personal. but moral consciousness is absolute. so God is personal"

The reason why it seems you have not actually provided an argument is that you have not justified your "major" claim. I have not seen you present a single reason why an absolute moral consciousness would imply a personal god. You have simply stated that it is true.

dreems wrote:

What i find curious is the way that critics attack the minor in a way that convinces me that they believe the major!

how has anyone done this? I have not seen a single person imply that absolute morals would imply a personal god while they are refuting the claim that absolute morals exist.

dreems wrote:

and when it comes to the minor, they oppose it in the abstract, but are utterly convinced in the concrete!

what do i mean? well, the absoluteness of morality is attacked in various ways. cultures vary, we are told, reductionist accounts employing evolution, depth psychology explain it away, it's nothing but an experience of nausea. but in the concrete no one defends saddam's actions! the cruelty is recognised as a disvalue - and we can alll detect the insult involved in relatives having to cheer at such a disvalue - we see clearly that such a feeling is inappropriate.

 

 Are you referring to other people who are not participating in this forum? In this thread there has not been a single person who made the claim that moral absolutes do not exist and then refer to specific cases in which they do.

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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butterbattle wrote:I don't

butterbattle wrote:

I don't agree with either premise. Don't you also have to assume...

P1a - God exists.

I don't agree with that either. 

 

In the OP, Dreems stated that this topic was made with the assumption that P1a is true

 

 

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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the amoral argument

dreems wrote:

i am not sure of the best forum, but hi.

in my opinion, the best argument for a personal God, ie theism as opposed to deism, is the moral argument.

No "loving" creature would condemn you to the purposeless, horrific, and abominable fate known as the "Human Condition"... which you now find yourself bound within.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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EXC wrote:  What have you

EXC wrote:

 

 

What have you ever done or anyone done that was 'moral'? Are you even capable of doing anything that is not 100% self-serving? Name one. Morality, just like religion is BS.

Actually, I beg to differ. Doing something self-serving isn't anything bad and thus can be incorporated into morality. Morality doesn't mean mindlessly pleasing others, that's just losing your identity and refusing to admit your own needs--it's self-refutation. On the other hand, if you do something and consider the impact it will have on others, you have acted morally. For example, you are extremely angry and want to kill someone. Then you remember that the person that has angered you has relatives and friends who will feel grieve his death. You compare these sentiments to your own (doing so displays empathy) and realize what your actions mean to others and the pain it will make them feel. Then you think about how if everyone killed whoever out of impulse, your safety would be compromised, and in killing someone, you are likely to be prosecuted by society. You realize that self-restraint is optimal for your own welfare, sure, but you also considered it's impact on others too. This ability to feel and interact with others-- while retaining your own identity-- is the basis of morality. Since everyone has the same goals (avoid pain, survive, etc.), morals are ways to act that optimizes the fulfillment of said goals, and in doing so, we develop bonds. These bonds are self-serving, ofc, because they make us feel good, but they also make others feel good, which makes them so much more important. Mindlessly making others feel good, on the other hand, is as bad as utter, unrestrained selfishness. In both scenarios, only one person is profiting.

 

 

 

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Ah, the moral argument.

 

What a crock of complete shit. I think it's fair to say dreems, that given your position is based on a grand total of zero evidence, we could fairly reject your position using no evidence at all. The idea that morals prove there's a god is stupid. People with no knowledge of god show moral behaviour. And the idea that without god we'd all be just slaughtering each other is equally silly. We are without god and behold, we generally don't slaughter each other for entertainment. 

Let's consider god. Is god moral? No, he's not. I think this RD quote sums god up rather well:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Then there are the facts. I'm going to assume dreems believes the bible is true for the purposes of this illustration.

Murders committed by or sanctioned by god in the bible: More than 2 million

Murders committed or sanctioned by satan in the bible: 7 (and these were encouraged by the ever-so-moral lord of hosts).

So - given god can be proven by all the available evidence to virtually never act morally, how can we say god is moral? That our morals are from god and prove god's existence?

Then there's this. Even the most numb-skulled christian reads the bible making exective decisions to ignore the freaky bits and focus on those parts that support their underlying moral fabric - a set of rules that has demonstrably changed since the bible was written. There are great chunks of the alleged word of god that can be discarded wholesale as being vile and hideous crap.

As others have explained already, morality is a set of subjective rules that allow humans to live in groups. Some of us are better at this than others. The rules are generally interpretative. In no way can the human propensity to act nicely to other members of our own group be construed as proving that outside the known universe, a god is crouched over his ant-farm, magnifying glass in hand.

Suggesting it does is nothing more than you insisting that something that has already been explained by rational evidence is better explained by unknowable evidence.

 

 

 

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dreems wrote: we can have

dreems wrote:

 we can have feelings that are about something, for example, malicious joy in another's suffering.

I understand that this is your idea of a 'wrong' feeling, however I stand firm on my point, error only exists in the intellectual account of the feeling. ie You're saying that the person is having "malicious joy" but malicious joy is a compound intellection of a raw event in the psyche, scientifically it could be called a theory of the event (and for that matter it's overly complex and therefore not a particularly good one) it is not the event itself.

Notwithstanding that I personally consider "malicious joy" a poor explanation of a psycho/emotional event with no chance of reasoned confirmation, in any case, the point remains that the event itself lacks context for the concept of error, that context is imported via the internal structure of the language you're using.

A person feels in a completely subjective manner, it is not certain, in fact it is decidely doubtful, that all individuals are feeling similarly at a time when they are expressing similar reactions to their feelings, that is to say, your example person could appear to be expressing what you perceive as joy but in actual fact is as nauseous and uncomfortable as anyone might be and only distinguished by their revelling in it. We could not say that what this person feels is wrong, we would have to say that their cognitive connection to their feelings is logically inconsistent.

 

dreems wrote:

we can become aware of our feelings and say yes or no to them

exactly, this is why morality is a matter of logical consistency, agreement and disagreement are intellectual positions. Once you apply reason you are no longer dealing in the raw emotion but rather an abstract representation of it in an intellectual context.

dreems wrote:

to delight in wanton cruelty - something we might find emerging within us,

At the risk of sounding repetitious I will point out again that "delight in wanton cruelty" is a complex intellection. You can not be sure that this delight you have percieved is indeed a feeling of delight as you imagine it. While you can say objectively that a sado-masochist is compelled to seek out whatever sensation they experience in the event of inflicting pain it is not possible to be objectively certain of the correlation that sensation has with feelings that you have experienced and ergo nor can the feeling, of itself, be judged intellectually. 

Quote:

veneration for, say, hitler is a feeling - but a bad one. we should not be neutral about such feelings.

Absolutely incorrect, this is a terrible example. Veneration for a political figure or ideology is never going to be exclusively emotional by any stretch of the imagination. The error in this is example is most decidedly going to be cognitive.

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now I understand

Atheistextremist wrote:

In no way can the human propensity to act nicely to other members of our own group be construed as proving that outside the known universe, a god is crouched over his ant-farm, magnifying glass in hand. 

THAT's why so many people die an early death!  They are being fried by god's magnifying glass! 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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 Generally the points you

 

Generally the points you make are good – tho i think you are misleading in places. Feelings can be right or wrong. But not all feelings. Maybe i can make it a bit clearer by looking at feelings that wd not be value responses. Suppose a chemical is created that smells delightful to some, nauseous to others. If two people were to differ on their reaction, this would not be the cause of argument. If the feeling could speak, it wd say, this is subjectively satisfying to me. But if instead we were dealing with an affective response to a value or disvalue, suppose some enjoy the fact of great suffering, others are outraged, then this is a cause of argument.


 

If such feelings could speak, they wd say, this horror should not be etc. It is in this type of feeling that values are apprehended. The difference between the nausea of a chemical and the emotional response to a disvalue that we ought to feel is that the latter is self-transcending. Obviously, if i did not think that conscience was self-transcending, if it was merely subjective, then the moral argument wd not work at all. I think this is pretty clear from those who defend atheism by reducing such feelings. My whole point in taking up the theme of values is to examine the phenomenon of self transcendence.


 

Maybe the same point cd be put in another way, if a friend dreams of evil, that's quite different from rejoicing in evil, tho the feelings might be similar. Dreams are just a step towards self transcendence.


 

You will say, this proves your point! That feelings as such are not right or wrong. But the truth is, i have never spoken of feelings as such. I am concerned with value responses – and this puts us in the context of understanding and judgement, as you point out very well. Still, the feelings i am concerned with are quite concrete – they are spontaneous, i simply lifted my example from the pages of hitchens – there are vivid events he narrates, and we do feel awful. There is nothing abstract or theoretical. It is "feelings as such" that is, in fact, an abstraction.


 

Why do i think morality points to God? Precisely because feelings do duty for judgements "this ought not to be" and because values themselves speak, they have "a word". And they speak as if they were Lord. They command. A man is tortured, his family are forced to cheer. Something in our gut says – no. Pretty much everyone in the forum, i believe, thinks the same. In other words, the people arguing with me are not, in my opinion, arguing with God! They agree totally, and are mortified to think that atheists can't be moral, as some fools think. (Of course, they always go on to betray themselves, for the next moment they point out that morality is merely subjective etc).


 


 


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We do not claim, at least

We do not claim, at least most of us, that morality is 'purely subjective'. That is as crudely simplistic as to claim there is an 'objective' morality.

We have explained where all the feelings you talk about originate, and how they interact in our minds, and how moral codes are developed. There is no great mystery.

Introducing the God concept just confuses and complicates the issue.

 

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These are all fascinating assertions based

 

dreems wrote:

"because values themselves speak, they have "a word". And they speak as if they were Lord. They command. A man is tortured, his family are forced to cheer. Something in our gut says – no. Pretty much everyone in the forum, i believe, thinks the same. In other words, the people arguing with me are not, in my opinion, arguing with God! They agree totally, and are mortified to think that atheists can't be moral, as some fools think. (Of course, they always go on to betray themselves, for the next moment they point out that morality is merely subjective etc).

 

on nothing more than your repeated insistence that it is so. Yes, there is a drive to look after our own groups of humans, a characteristic of mighty value in an evolutionary sense. No, this behavioural imperative, culturally drilled into us all as children when we are praised for sharing and censured for being selfish, does not allow you to construe a metaverse-dwelling sky monkey who wants to be friends but says he will torture us for not loving him.

Go ahead and believe whatever you want - but don't trademark obviously universal human and animal characteristics and bolt them to your private brand of religious nonsense. Those values are our values - human values. The fact we share them proves nothing more than that. You are not entitled to use the existence of provable human feelings as evidence of an ethereal supernatural being that no one has ever seen in the history of the entire universe.

And what is it with theists? When they talk about morality they always go for the most gruesome, unlikely and weird-arsed shit they can. It's always rape or murder or torturing a man and making his family cheer as it's done. Who are you, dreem? Martin Gilbert?

My moral compass tells me to visit my mother once a week although she is a screaming fundamentalist christian who thinks I deserve to die for my sins. The extreme crimes you talk about involve what - 0.1 per cent of the population? Let's focus on the 99.9 per cent, shall we?

And what do you mean merely subjective? Your entire god is merely subjective and so are all your arguments.

Focus on this, dreems. From a survival perspective, it's smart to be one of a group that looks after its own. It's equally true if you're an elephant, a chimp, a hyena, a wolf, a tree, a bacterium or a homo sapiens. I hope you get it now.

 

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dreems wrote:Why do i think

dreems wrote:
Why do i think morality points to God? Precisely because feelings do duty for judgements "this ought not to be" and because values themselves speak, they have "a word". And they speak as if they were Lord. They command. A man is tortured, his family are forced to cheer. Something in our gut says – no. Pretty much everyone in the forum, i believe, thinks the same.

Our instincts can be explained by our evolution as a social species. Your claim that this points to God is unjustified.

Also, this...

P1 - Our instincts "command" us to do things.

P2 - God commands us to do things.

Conclusion - Our instincts come from God.

...begs the question. It is also a non sequitur.  

Quote:
In other words, the people arguing with me are not, in my opinion, arguing with God! They agree totally, and are mortified to think that atheists can't be moral, as some fools think. (Of course, they always go on to betray themselves, for the next moment they point out that morality is merely subjective etc).

You are confusing what people personally believe to be right or wrong with the relativity of morals in general. Moral relativism certainly does not dictate that you cannot hold any personal moral views, only that these moral views would not be absolute.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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dreems wrote:  If two

dreems wrote:

  If two people were to differ on their reaction, this would not be the cause of argument.

dreems wrote:

But if instead we were dealing with an affective response to a value or disvalue, suppose some enjoy the fact of great suffering, others are outraged, then this is a cause of argument.

the two statements above are in direct contradiction with each other.
 

dreems wrote:

It is in this type of feeling that values are apprehended. The difference between the nausea of a chemical and the emotional response to a disvalue that we ought to feel is that the latter is self-transcending.

I don't understand how one of these two reactions is transcendent when the other is not, especially when you have already stated that they both can elicit different responses in different people.


 

dreems wrote:

Dreams are just a step towards self transcendence.

I don't understand what you mean by this at all. Could you elaborate on this statement?


dreems wrote:

You will say, this proves your point! That feelings as such are not right or wrong. But the truth is, i have never spoken of feelings as such. I am concerned with value responses – and this puts us in the context of understanding and judgement, as you point out very well. Still, the feelings i am concerned with are quite concrete – they are spontaneous, i simply lifted my example from the pages of hitchens – there are vivid events he narrates, and we do feel awful. There is nothing abstract or theoretical. It is "feelings as such" that is, in fact, an abstraction.

How are the feelings you are concerned with "concrete?" The idea of a concrete feeling is an oxymoron in the way I typically define those words.

When you say "we do feel awful," don't you mean to say "I do feel awful?" I think Eloise has already shown more than once that not everyone will experience an awful feeling when hearing of these events.

Also, I don't understand what you meant by the last sentence in this paragraph, could you explain it?


 

dreems wrote:

Why do i think morality points to God? Precisely because feelings do duty for judgements "this ought not to be" and because values themselves speak, they have "a word". And they speak as if they were Lord. They command. A man is tortured, his family are forced to cheer. Something in our gut says – no. Pretty much everyone in the forum, i believe, thinks the same. In other words, the people arguing with me are not, in my opinion, arguing with God! They agree totally, and are mortified to think that atheists can't be moral, as some fools think. (Of course, they always go on to betray themselves, for the next moment they point out that morality is merely subjective etc).

 

I really do not understand how this in any way points to a personal god. Perhaps I have misunderstood you, but this is what your argument seems to be in this paragraph:

 

Observation: Many people will have a similar emotional response to viewing an event.

Conclusion: Therefore, god is personal.

 

To me, these statements seem completely unrelated. Is this what you are trying to say, or did I leave something out?

 

 

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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D33PPURPLE wrote:On the

D33PPURPLE wrote:

On the other hand, if you do something and consider the impact it will have on others, you have acted morally.

 

No, you have acted socially. You decided to follow a strategy to maximize your own happiness by considering the impact it will have on others. Humans desire the approval of others, this produces good feels. So you consider the impact only because it feels better than not. Sociopaths are the way they are because they reverse the correlation between social approval/disapproval and pleasure/pain. They get off on causing pain in others.

D33PPURPLE wrote:

For example, you are extremely angry and want to kill someone. Then you remember that the person that has angered you has relatives and friends who will feel grieve his death.

So in this case, ultimately I decide not murdering would in the long run feel better than murder. It's all about what I predict will feel better, sometimes it a long term strategy, sometimes short term. But it's all self-serving, I have no ability to decide otherwise.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


EXC
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robj101 wrote:I have 2 happy

robj101 wrote:

I have 2 happy rats that will lick you to death, bad comparison with the rat analogy. 

 

Post a video of them kissing you, so we know you're not BSing us.

 

 

robj101 wrote:

As far as feeling sorrier for a stray dog or other animals than for a homeless person. I'm one of the asses that thinks MOST of the homeless have put themselves in that position. An animal has no say in what goes on in their life, they are just being an animal and were most likely abused or simply put out or lost by a human owner.

I would say it's because the homeless and poor humans impose a much greater burden on you while stay cats and dogs do not. We control animal populations with mandatory birth control so they don't overwhelm us, but we don't do the same with humans. So human overpopulation overwhelms us and therefore we treat each other like shit. If you been in 3rd world countries where there are stay dogs and cats that are not fixed or euthanized, the people treat the animals like shit. Because the animal's overpopulation has overwhelmed everyone's ability to be compassionate.

 

robj101 wrote:

We are the superior species on this planet, but that does not mean we should be abusive or cruel towards the one's that have failed thus far. There, some morality I feel strongly about which I truly do not expect anything back from. I don't think it has anything to do with a "god" either.

It has to do with it making you feel good. That is what you get back.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:robj101 wrote:I

EXC wrote:

robj101 wrote:

I have 2 happy rats that will lick you to death, bad comparison with the rat analogy. 

 

Post a video of them kissing you, so we know you're not BSing us.

 

 

robj101 wrote:

As far as feeling sorrier for a stray dog or other animals than for a homeless person. I'm one of the asses that thinks MOST of the homeless have put themselves in that position. An animal has no say in what goes on in their life, they are just being an animal and were most likely abused or simply put out or lost by a human owner.

I would say it's because the homeless and poor humans impose a much greater burden on you while stay cats and dogs do not. We control animal populations with mandatory birth control so they don't overwhelm us, but we don't do the same with humans. So human overpopulation overwhelms us and therefore we treat each other like shit. If you been in 3rd world countries where there are stay dogs and cats that are not fixed or euthanized, the people treat the animals like shit. Because the animal's overpopulation has overwhelmed everyone's ability to be compassionate.

 

robj101 wrote:

We are the superior species on this planet, but that does not mean we should be abusive or cruel towards the one's that have failed thus far. There, some morality I feel strongly about which I truly do not expect anything back from. I don't think it has anything to do with a "god" either.

It has to do with it making you feel good. That is what you get back.

 

I'm not posting a vid of my rats "kissing me" plenty of that on youtube and I am just not that cutesy. I already posted a vid of them on that pet post I made.

I agree with you to an extent, but not completely, it's really not a point worth arguing so let it ride.

 

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


dreems
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how something like morality

how something like morality originates, and whether it has a normative force, are separate issues. To think otherwise is to think that "explaining" is the same as "explaining away. I am quite prepared to accept various evolutionary mechanisms, but this does not undermine the absolute status of morality. Ditto with reason: when a scientist has a sufficient body of evidence to make a judgement then he ought to judge - the question of how he evolved into such a being that can tell true and false is separate. we ought to go with the better evidence, we shd be humble before the facts - there are intellectual virtues etc.

 

as for your "neither merely subjective nor crudely objective" - i sympathise, and in fact, when i talk of "self transcending" in the future, i will be trying to articulate a middle way, but as you see, i tend toward the rather crude belief that torture of the innocent is just plain wrong. I'm sure most of you do too, but i don't think you give a good account of your own insights


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there are various ways we go

there are various ways we go beyond ourselves - self transcendence. in deep sleep weare unconscious, but in the "dreams of the morning" we start to anticipate our world - aristotle even says good ppl have better dreams than the wicked!

in a world of reverie, day dreaming, lying on the beach, we are awake, but self absorbed.

when we are curious, asking questions, puzzled, we are seeking an unknown.

the breakthrough or epiphany - insight - when we understand, this takes us beyond experience, for example, i d set you a puzzle, eventually it will click, like how does a horticulturalist plant four trees in a field so that they are all equidistant ...

but ideas may be bright but wrong - we want to know, is it really so? like when i said that conscience seemed to be the voice of god, one of you said - this is gonna be fun! - the critical exigence wants to know how things really are - regardless of what we believe. we have this notion of truth, whats true for me is true for all - if it is really true..

 

these are steps of increasing self-transcendence, experience leading to understanding leading to judgement- and what takes us beyond is our questions.

now we can also ask questions of value, is it really worth while? here consciousness becomes conscience. it leads us beyond - for we can ask whether simply to satisfy ourselves or respond to values.

 

of course, we don't always do this - the virtuous transcend themself but we are not always virtuous!

 

feelingsthat are not about anything - just feeling tired are different from feelings that have an object. depending on the object we may be going beyond our selves or not. nausea can be about various things, or again, can have purely subjective causes. nausea at cruelty is healthy - one of sartres characters felt nausea at a chestnut tree, just because it was. so if we ask about feelings we shd ask joy about what? venerating whom? - without the object we are just talking in abstractions ...

when we ask the question, is this really good, what is truly worthwhile, we are going beyond ourselves - and even more so when we actually do the right thing

 

 

 


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dreems wrote:how something

dreems wrote:

how something like morality originates, and whether it has a normative force, are separate issues. To think otherwise is to think that "explaining" is the same as "explaining away. I am quite prepared to accept various evolutionary mechanisms, but this does not undermine the absolute status of morality. Ditto with reason: when a scientist has a sufficient body of evidence to make a judgement then he ought to judge - the question of how he evolved into such a being that can tell true and false is separate. we ought to go with the better evidence, we shd be humble before the facts - there are intellectual virtues etc.

as for your "neither merely subjective nor crudely objective" - i sympathise, and in fact, when i talk of "self transcending" in the future, i will be trying to articulate a middle way, but as you see, i tend toward the rather crude belief that torture of the innocent is just plain wrong. I'm sure most of you do too, but i don't think you give a good account of your own insights

You did not quote me accurately - I said that the ideas of morality being "purely subjective" or "objective" are both crudely simplistic, IOW morality is more complex than that. It involves objective facts about how our brains work, and how societies work, ie how people interact and the sort of actions that are disruptive to societies and those that help people cooperate willingly.

It also involves the subjective, in the sense that we vary to a significant degree in our personal feelings about things, what makes us feel good, what we dislike, what causes us real emotional distress, etc.

So for any set of moral guidelines to be effective, they have to take all these things into account.

The God-based idea of morality is the one "explaining away" these realities, in order to justify the 'need' for a God to regulate and get us to replace our innate sense of moral 'rules' with those that some guys many centuries ago wrote down in some 'Holy Book'. Unfortunately, many of those rules are much inferior to what we have developed since that time - a lot of people have been re-thinking those old, more primitive ideas in the intervening centuries.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


dreems
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Focus on this, dreems. From

Focus on this, dreems. From a survival perspective, it's smart to be one of a group that looks after its own. It's equally true if you're an elephant, a chimp, a hyena, a wolf, a tree, a bacterium or a homo sapiens. I hope you get it now.

Well, what about self-sacrifice, is this simply social benefit? Suppose a benign but fake religion had survival value: wouldn't our dignity demand the truth, even though we die?

PS accepting that last point may not bring you much social benefit! at least in this forum ...


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Cry me a river?

dreems wrote:

Focus on this, dreems. From a survival perspective, it's smart to be one of a group that looks after its own.

From a survival perspective, it's wise to realize we're *THE* Apex Predator of our Homeworld.

We may one day decide to become The *UNIVERSAL* Apex Predator!

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Self sacrifice

 

Is fine as far as it goes. There are times it's useful but there are also times it's a mistake. I think people would naturally go to the wall for their kids but the more distant the personal relationship, the less likely we are to be prepared to die/take risks for other

people. Sacrifice is clearly considered a valuable human behaviour in all cultures - which is what you would expect if such behaviour had evolved over time as a response to group threat. Sacrifice is a social benefit. Obviously, all religions are fake and they do have

a social benefit in terms of providing a strong sense of cultural identity that encourages large unrelated groups to behave with the insularity and generosity normally seen in smaller family/tribal groups.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Morality has a social

Morality has a social benefit - in no sense do i deny that! My position, that moral obligation has an absolute status does not require me to demonstrate the harmful effects of following themoral law!

But to reduce morality to social benefit is to imply that the only obligation is to benefit society. And we can imagine situations in which there could be a conflict. For the individual concerned this will involve a tension. Pulling in one direction is a value, pulling in the other direction is a personal satisfaction - being true to your beliefs versus popularity, say. I'm sure that both integrity and popularity could, perhaps, have their origins explained by evolutionary mechanisms, but how does that help? The point i have insisted upon is that sometimes there are things we really ought to do.

For example, if a scientist has emotionally invested in a theory he or she may find that their prejudices prevent them from seeing the force of the unwelcome counter arguments. People can be self-deceived, theyrefuse to ask questions, follow up leads, spell things out to themselves. In this case there is a lack of intellectual integrity. I'm not saying that intellectual integrity is the only virtue, or truth the only value. But it is a value. It "speaks" to us - we are called to respond. We are called to be humble before the facts.

In any case we may respond to the pull of the value, or to the counter-pull of self-satisfaction. The "pull" is a call of self transcendence. The pull of truth and goodness are in a direction that is absolute, universal, exigent. By exigent i mean utterly demanding. For example, I can say, I am an educated person, i have a maths degree, but i don't speak German. But i can't say "I am a good person, i have lots of courage, but i don't specialise in kindness or telling the truth"!

And the plain fact, it seems to me, is that we simply are not always self transcending. Still there really is a difference between people who are self-trancending to some extent because at least they recognise the claims of conscience, and those who do not. Maybe they give up trying, maybe they hypocritically persude themself that actually they are virtuous, maybe they are totally cynical and point out the dangers of moral idealism, maybe they simply bury themself in selfish desires, maybe they just fall into a deep depression about doing good, maybe they get caught up in a firery cloud of hatred.

My belief is twofold. One, that we are under an absolute obligation to do good. Two, that this points us towards God. So far, I have tended to argue the first point only.

 

 


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dreems wrote:Morality has a

dreems wrote:

Morality has a social benefit - in no sense do i deny that! My position, that moral obligation has an absolute status does not require me to demonstrate the harmful effects of following themoral law!

But to reduce morality to social benefit is to imply that the only obligation is to benefit society. And we can imagine situations in which there could be a conflict. For the individual concerned this will involve a tension. Pulling in one direction is a value, pulling in the other direction is a personal satisfaction - being true to your beliefs versus popularity, say. I'm sure that both integrity and popularity could, perhaps, have their origins explained by evolutionary mechanisms, but how does that help? The point i have insisted upon is that sometimes there are things we really ought to do.

For example, if a scientist has emotionally invested in a theory he or she may find that their prejudices prevent them from seeing the force of the unwelcome counter arguments. People can be self-deceived, theyrefuse to ask questions, follow up leads, spell things out to themselves. In this case there is a lack of intellectual integrity. I'm not saying that intellectual integrity is the only virtue, or truth the only value. But it is a value. It "speaks" to us - we are called to respond. We are called to be humble before the facts.

In any case we may respond to the pull of the value, or to the counter-pull of self-satisfaction. The "pull" is a call of self transcendence. The pull of truth and goodness are in a direction that is absolute, universal, exigent. By exigent i mean utterly demanding. For example, I can say, I am an educated person, i have a maths degree, but i don't speak German. But i can't say "I am a good person, i have lots of courage, but i don't specialise in kindness or telling the truth"!

And the plain fact, it seems to me, is that we simply are not always self transcending. Still there really is a difference between people who are self-trancending to some extent because at least they recognise the claims of conscience, and those who do not. Maybe they give up trying, maybe they hypocritically persude themself that actually they are virtuous, maybe they are totally cynical and point out the dangers of moral idealism, maybe they simply bury themself in selfish desires, maybe they just fall into a deep depression about doing good, maybe they get caught up in a firery cloud of hatred.

My belief is twofold. One, that we are under an absolute obligation to do good. Two, that this points us towards God. So far, I have tended to argue the first point only.

For a scientist, satisfaction is greatest when their hypothesis is shown by independent testing to fit better with reality than what is currently the accepted theory, and becomes accepted by their colleagues. As humans, they can still fall into the trap of getting too emotionally invested in a pet theory, much like a regular person gets invested emotionally in religious belief, and will cling to it despite the counter arguments. IOW scientists are still human, but the best scientists get their kicks from finding a new and better explanation for some significant unsolved mystery in their field. So what you say really applies more to people generally, rather than scientists, who are specifically trained to not fall into that trap.

As for "an absolute obligation to do good", that could be regarded as a trivial statement, in the sense that the "good" are those things that we and others accept as things we 'should' do, if we are at all able to. IOW it is just a way of defining what "good" means in that context.

The God thing is totally irrelevant and a pure presumption on your part, since all those emotional pulls and 'moral' conflicts you keep describing are quite explicable and understandable without gratuitously introducing a made-up idea such as God.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology