Is the majority always right?

Teralek
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Is the majority always right?

Had some doubts whether to put this here or under philosophy... some subjects meld on each other... but given the nature of this question, I decided to put it here.

Despite you always seem to answer my questions with some rational consensus I can imagine some trouble answering this one.

On one hand I imagine you saying: "majority is always right because ultimate truth does not exist. There is no such thing as truth in this universe, at least not to us humans. Everything matters to us only in a way we perceive it to be." Meaning that the interests of the majority are the best overall (truth is consensus). The imposing majority is a feature of modern time democracy... but is the will of majority is always right? What is right? What gives minorities the AUDACITY to claim possession of the truth against a majority? 

On the other hand I can also imagine you having some trouble with "might makes it right" or "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"... one simple example is that most of humanity believes in a God and you fight for atheism because you think you're right... in a nutshell: The beliefs of the many outweigh the beliefs of the few

Finally, if we conclude that the majority is not always right aren't we putting a check on democracy? Is democratic voting outdated?

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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I'd say NO!

 

 

 

              Otherwise the U.S. of A. would not have any use for the first, fifth and fourteenth amendments plus all those civil rights laws all designed to keep the majority from bullying their real power over any minority.  Canada ended up with similar laws but under different political forces.  It shows that the founding fathers were even wiser then we thought, they even seperated church from state; an they made it a point NOT to mention slavery at all, otherwise it might still be legal and constitutional, in any state where the majority might like the idea.

 

 

               Canada does not have a constitutional seperation of  church and state,  it is practiced though; sortta.  At the  moment the Province of Ontario runs the Catholic school board of Toronto. The government also helps collect the property taxes that support the seperate schools. The elected catholic school board was incompitent when it came to  budgeting.

 

 

               So Canada has an official religion, a majority [Anglican] which is "officially" ignored, so has not to impinge upon any minority.  But government can get involved in religions, their education and finances when it suits them inspite of the majority of catholic voters who elected a school board to do that.  None of this could possibly happen in the USA.

 

 

              

 

 

 

 

 

               

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If the majority was always

If the majority was always right, America would be a Christian theocracy. 

So, no.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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Nope

I guess we really should define "right".

As in "might makes right"?  Sometimes works like that.

As in "the people have voted and we have a mandate"?  Some would like to think that.  For some politicians "mandate" seems to mean  - "we have a .05% majority so we can do whatever we want because the people have voted and they are right".

As in understanding the underlying principles, theories and facts of a scientific hypothesis?  All too often, most people do not understand the definition of a scientific theory.  Let alone understanding all of the supporting evidence and the method and value of scientific discussions and dissension.  (Also known as knock out drag down fights in the scientific journals.)

As in "70% believe in fairy tales and call it religion"?  I don't think that is right.

Democracy is a political system where all people have a say in the laws they live under.  And majority rules in a democracy - for making and implementing laws.  You may not like the laws or the implementation of the law, but you obey or you take the consequences.  You may continue to vote for your viewpoint and someday, your side may win a majority.  Bu it doesn't work like that for science, for morals, or for religious beliefs. 

Science is about facts and figures, hard evidence.  There is no majority ruling - and in fact, if you over set the majority opinion and you can back it with hard evidence, then you may attain a great deal of status and grant money.  Which is why the majority of scientists believe in evolution -- there isn't a competing theory with hard evidence.

Morals and religious beliefs are personal, not societal.  As long as I follow the law, my personal morals and religion are my business.  There is no majority rule here, no voting on whose religion or morals are right as long as I follow the law.

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

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I think we should hold a

I think we should hold a vote on this.

 

 

 


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Teralek wrote: Finally, if

Teralek wrote:

 

Finally, if we conclude that the majority is not always right aren't we putting a check on democracy? Is democratic voting outdated?

The concept of democracy has absolutely nothing to do with the majority being right or wrong. It is simply one of many possible governing systems and isn't even the best one from a purely result oriented viewpoint. Which is why the founders of the USA didn't make a democracy. So I don't see any difficulty at all. Obviously, there is some truth the only people I've heard argue there is no such thing as truth in the universe were stoned philosophy professors. The majority used to believe the Earth was flat. No matter what we  perceive or believe it is not flat, therefore the majority can be wrong (and often is). That is why most governments that have some form of majority rule also have restrictions in place that are supposed to protect the minority.   


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:I think

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I think we should hold a vote on this.

 

LOL! yes! BTW this forum allows pools?

Thank you your answers. I specially liked CJ answer for it's depth.

My answer is this. The difference between science and politics is not that clear. Democracies work fairly well indeed, but this is because WE the people don't have a vote on many things. We vote on broader things and ideals, not specifics. We don't vote for the constitution, we don't vote for the separation of the state and the church, etc. Other people do that for us, smart people have done remarkable decisions for us and did them very well! As in the US constitution. Another example is that we don't vote for the people on the Supreme court or in the UN.

I still think that democracy is the worst for of government except for all others that have been tried. The problem is we live stuck to a model that is self addictive and fears too much change. So we can't try potentially better models unless we have the guts. This courage seems to rise only in times of great probation... However at these times ghosts from the past try to seize power too.

I think the majority is often wrong, as some of you say... mostly because it is ill informed in my opinion. If this is the case for me this hints that there are moral universals. Therefore, as I've stated before (on other posts) and unlike CJ I don't believe that my morals are just my own. "What is wrong is wrong even if everyone's doing it and what's right is right even if no one's doing it" this is my motto. The death of Socrates was wrong even if the majority wanted him dead. Stoning women is bad even if most of the community supports it.

It is interesting to look at documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed up by countries with different religions and cultures. No country at that time voted against it. Thus this is another example that seem to support some sort of moral universality. Like Chomsky put it: "any moral code that's even worth looking has to be based on some sort of universality. What is good for me, is good for you too"

Lets look at it's first article:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Can any reasonably sane person say this is false or wrong?! NO! Morals are universal and above politics, opinions, beliefs or religions. The key lies on what is the best base political system on which this elevated ethics can prosper. I can't answer this yet as I'm still searching for an answer. One thing is clear, impartial universal education is a must. Only this education can bring a true and just moral code. However in modern day democracies what sells is not education and the art of thinking for ourselves but marketing and ingenious methods of influencing and controlling the masses; thus distorting universal ethical values.

CJ, if I understand you correctly, if America was a theocracy by the people's will that wouldn't be right or wrong? It would be just the will of the people because beliefs aren't scientifically falsifiable... morals as such are nothing more than opinions. Since atheism is based on circumstancial evidence and it's not falsifiable (burden of proof apart) it's on the same scientific basis as theism therefore, morally speaking you can't say which one is better - Theism or atheism.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote: My answer is

Teralek wrote:

My answer is this. The difference between science and politics is not that clear.

 

I disagree.  The difference is very clear.  Science is based on evidence and facts.  Politics is based on emotions.  "I believe this is true" is vastly different than "the fact is that light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second".  One is a measurement that can be repeated and the other is a personal opinion.

 

Teralek wrote:

I think the majority is often wrong, as some of you say... mostly because it is ill informed in my opinion. If this is the case for me this hints that there are moral universals. Therefore, as I've stated before (on other posts) and unlike CJ I don't believe that my morals are just my own. "What is wrong is wrong even if everyone's doing it and what's right is right even if no one's doing it" this is my motto. The death of Socrates was wrong even if the majority wanted him dead. Stoning women is bad even if most of the community supports it.

 

You have chosen your morals - you have chosen to have morals based on christianity rather than islam or hinduism or buddhism or pick any other religion.  This is a choice.  It is also personal.  I agree with you that wrong is wrong and right is right.  I agree that Socrates should not have been poisoned regardless of majority opinion.  I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion.  But these opinions are still my personal opinions - because you and I do not agree with the majority opinion.

 

Teralek wrote:

CJ, if I understand you correctly, if America was a theocracy by the people's will that wouldn't be right or wrong? It would be just the will of the people because beliefs aren't scientifically falsifiable... morals as such are nothing more than opinions. Since atheism is based on circumstancial evidence and it's not falsifiable (burden of proof apart) it's on the same scientific basis as theism therefore, morally speaking you can't say which one is better - Theism or atheism.

 

If America became a theocracy, I would ask for asylum in Canada.  Morally, my personal opinion is that theocracy is very bad for a country.  We have the Islamic countries as examples of how bad it can get.  But I would not be able to change America back to a secular country all by myself.  I would think that the majority were extremely foolish, and I would move to Canada. 

And atheism is falsifiable - show me winged angels writing flaming letters that say, "CJ, GOD IS REAL" and I'll cheerfully admit I was wrong and god exists.  Doesn't mean I'd become christian, or even Jewish.   Doesn't mean I would start worshiping him/her/it/them.  But atheism is falsifiable.

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

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Quit the stereotyping

cj wrote:

You have chosen your morals - you have chosen to have morals based on christianity rather than islam or hinduism or buddhism or pick any other religion.  This is a choice.  It is also personal.  I agree with you that wrong is wrong and right is right.  I agree that Socrates should not have been poisoned regardless of majority opinion.  I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion.  But these opinions are still my personal opinions - because you and I do not agree with the majority opinion.

 

CJ CJ... please don't imply... you're stereotyping me... again... a fairly common thing among you people here... If I based my moral solely on Christianity I would be against gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, etc. I don't oppose these things. It's kind of hard for me to say from where my ethics come. Jesus is one of them sure, but there are many other sources for my morals. Philosophy and education is another... Great people too like Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Buddha, Mohamed, Baha’u’llah... the secular Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc. But the true fertile land from here my morals rise is from my endured every day breed of my good nature, based on love, compassion, tolerance, generosity, etc.

Of course being a God believer has consequences to moral choices. But to me believing in an afterlife only reinforces my work on improving my good nature on a daily basis. As for religions I have the Baha’i position: Every religion has some true basis because they all have in common the praise of human good nature.

But enough about me! On to the point:

You contradict yourself CJ! You can't say: "I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion." NO! There are no moral absolutes. IT IS ONLY YOUR opinion that stoning women is bad. If you put moral rules in a tautology statement (like I would) you would have to say that stoning women is always bad and this is as true as the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. I say with no fear that the ethical value of stoning women to the death always the same as is the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. This is why I say that science and politics are not separate. 

I say the 1st article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is always true (tautology) whether you believe it or not... like the light speed. Thus based on this reasoning, I can say that the majority can be wrong on moral issues! However... and this IS my point... I can't see how YOU can say that the majority could be wrong on moral issues, since morals are relative...

To reinforce this more: You can only say that in your opinion the poisoning of Socrates was a bad thing but it is not a universal bad thing... at the time it was a good thing, now it is bad because we have other moral standards, neither better or worse - Different

 

Let's keep the old beard God out of this picture please... stick to philosophical reasoning... we don't have to call God to invoke moral universalism. Oh and atheism is NOT a universal truth like the speed of light being 299,792,458 meters per second  it's only a theory based on the facts.

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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 Teralek wrote:  

 

Teralek wrote:

 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

 

I think we should hold a vote on this.

 

 

LOL! yes! BTW this forum allows pools?

 

Well yes we do. We also allow decks. However, we don't much care for patios. Those are tools for underachievers who don't want to spend the time to develop a proper garden.

 

Aside from that, one way to approach your question would be to ask if a minority can ever hold the right side of an issue. Honestly, I don't have a problem with say that yes, in fact this is true.

 

For one thing, we can consider the nonsense that is going on with gay marriage.

 

When it comes down to a real consideration, the only people who have a substantial interest in the matter are the people who want to call what they will be doing anyway marriage. Those people who are opposed to the matter are in a fairly poor position to demonstrate how they will actually be affected by the matter.

 

So right there, there is a case where a minority of two people get to decide what is right. The fact that California managed to get 50% +1 vote on the matter is really not relevant to whether the majority has the power to decide on what is right.

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Teralek wrote: cj wrote: You

Teralek wrote:

cj wrote:

You have chosen your morals - you have chosen to have morals based on christianity rather than islam or hinduism or buddhism or pick any other religion.  This is a choice.  It is also personal.  I agree with you that wrong is wrong and right is right.  I agree that Socrates should not have been poisoned regardless of majority opinion.  I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion.  But these opinions are still my personal opinions - because you and I do not agree with the majority opinion.

CJ CJ... please don't imply... you're stereotyping me... again... a fairly common thing among you people here... If I based my moral solely on Christianity I would be against gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, etc. I don't oppose these things. It's kind of hard for me to say from where my ethics come. Jesus is one of them sure, but there are many other sources for my morals. Philosophy and education is another... Great people too like Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Buddha, Mohamed, Baha’u’llah... the secular Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc. But the true fertile land from here my morals rise is from my endured every day breed of my good nature, based on love, compassion, tolerance, generosity, etc.

 

Our ideas about morals are based on our times and culture.  You and I both were raised in countries that have laws and morals and expectations based largely on christianity.  We also have other influences as you have stated.  But if we had been raised in one of the strict islamist countries, if we were not educated about the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment, we would have other ideas about what is right and wrong.  My intent was not to stereotype, but instead to emphasize this culture and education.  Neither of us can get away from it, though we could change our ideas and morals if we so desired.

 

Teralek wrote:

Of course being a God believer has consequences to moral choices. But to me believing in an afterlife only reinforces my work on improving my good nature on a daily basis. As for religions I have the Baha’i position: Every religion has some true basis because they all have in common the praise of human good nature.

 

One of my very best friends is Baha'i.  I don't agree with my friend about religion, so we talk about other things.  Have you read any essays or books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali?  I don't know that there is anything good to say about Islam after reading about her life.  She was raised in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya as a Muslim. 

I don't have to believe in an afterlife to work on improving my self and the world around me.  It is the right thing for me to do.  No god/s/dess required.

 

Teralek wrote:

But enough about me! On to the point:

You contradict yourself CJ! You can't say: "I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion." NO! There are no moral absolutes. IT IS ONLY YOUR opinion that stoning women is bad. If you put moral rules in a tautology statement (like I would) you would have to say that stoning women is always bad and this is as true as the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. I say with no fear that the ethical value of stoning women to the death always the same as is the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. This is why I say that science and politics are not separate. 

 

My opinion.  Only.  For me, in all times, in all places, for all conditions, stoning anyone is bad.  I have moral absolutes.  That doesn't mean my morals are absolute for everyone else in the world.  Obviously, since people are still stoning other people.  What you are not understanding is I am saying there is NO ethical truth to the speed of light.  None.  It isn't ethical or moral, it is a truth of measurement.  If someone were to calculate the economic disadvantages to stoning people - or state executions of any kind - then that would be comparable to measuring the speed of light. 

I happen to believe murder is justified under limited circumstances.  I have no problem with the idea of self or familial defense.  National defense is justified under certain limited circumstances.  Euthanasia, abortion, suicide may all be justifiable.  This is not to say I would do any of these things, but that I can understand and support why other people may.  Killing/murder isn't absolute for me.  Stoning is not justified as it is slow and very painful.  If you want to kill someone for alleged violations of societal mores, make it quick and as painless as possible.  I'm not generally for state sponsored executions.

 

Teralek wrote:

I say the 1st article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is always true (tautology) whether you believe it or not... like the light speed. Thus based on this reasoning, I can say that the majority can be wrong on moral issues! However... and this IS my point... I can't see how YOU can say that the majority could be wrong on moral issues, since morals are relative...

To reinforce this more: You can only say that in your opinion the poisoning of Socrates was a bad thing but it is not a universal bad thing... at the time it was a good thing, now it is bad because we have other moral standards, neither better or worse - Different

 

Let's keep the old beard God out of this picture please... stick to philosophical reasoning... we don't have to call God to invoke moral universalism. Oh and atheism is NOT a universal truth like the speed of light being 299,792,458 meters per second  it's only a theory based on the facts.

 

That was my point.  Some of my morals are absolute for me.  That doesn't mean the rest of the world has the same morals I do.  Other of my morals are relative, depending on circumstances, relative status of the parties involved, and so on.  Some people claim to have absolute morals, but if you question closely, you realize what they have instead is semantics - it isn't murder, it is self defense for example. 

 

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

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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Teralek wrote:I still think

Teralek wrote:

I still think that democracy is the worst for of government except for all others that have been tried. The problem is we live stuck to a model that is self addictive and fears too much change. So we can't try potentially better models unless we have the guts. This courage seems to rise only in times of great probation... However at these times ghosts from the past try to seize power too.

Depends on what your definition of "better" is. If you are talking about relative equality and mobility among social classes then democracy certainly has the best track record. (In "democracy" I am assuming we are using it in the loose inaccurate way as to describe US and European style democracies) If you consider economic, military or longevity then arguably democracy isn't even the best tried. 

 

Teralek wrote:

I think the majority is often wrong, as some of you say... mostly because it is ill informed in my opinion. If this is the case for me this hints that there are moral universals. Therefore, as I've stated before (on other posts) and unlike CJ I don't believe that my morals are just my own. "What is wrong is wrong even if everyone's doing it and what's right is right even if no one's doing it" this is my motto. The death of Socrates was wrong even if the majority wanted him dead. Stoning women is bad even if most of the community supports it.

 

Are all morals universal or just some of them? It is fairly easy in modern western society to argue that stoning anyone is bad but what about more ambiguous moral questions? Is there a universal morality regarding cannibalism? Or thievery? If only some morals are universal how do you know which are universal and which are not? As for stoning many societies have regarded it as a moral punishment. Personally, I disagree and am glad to live in a society where it is rejected but your assertion that it is universally wrong compared to the evidence that many societies find it morally acceptable suggests the conclusion that morals are not universal. After all, as a punishment used to discourage an antisocial behavior stoning can be extremely effective. 

Or are you simply using the term universal to mean that it is such a good idea everyone should agree with you?

 

Teralek wrote:

Lets look at it's first article:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Can any reasonably sane person say this is false or wrong?! NO!

 

Are you saying that the vast majority of humans throughout human existence were insane? The idea of all humans being "born free and equal in dignity and rights" is a relatively new concept. It seems old and obvious to those of us alive today but three hundred years ago such ideas were radical. For most of human existence, at least some people were recognized as being born with more rights than others. I have a hard time believing so many people in history were insane. 

Teralek wrote:

Morals are universal and above politics, opinions, beliefs or religions. The key lies on what is the best base political system on which this elevated ethics can prosper. I can't answer this yet as I'm still searching for an answer. 

 

Could you define exactly what you mean by "elevated morals". So far I know you are against stoning women and think people are born free and equal but morality includes a lot more. I would like a lot more explanation on what you believe the universal morals are and where they come from. 

 

Teralek wrote:

One thing is clear, impartial universal education is a must. Only this education can bring a true and just moral code. However in modern day democracies what sells is not education and the art of thinking for ourselves but marketing and ingenious methods of influencing and controlling the masses; thus distorting universal ethical values.

 

But if morals are universal why would you need to educate people about them? Shouldn't we already know? If I was in your ideal universal education class what could I expect to learn? 

 

Teralek wrote:

CJ, if I understand you correctly, if America was a theocracy by the people's will that wouldn't be right or wrong? It would be just the will of the people because beliefs aren't scientifically falsifiable... morals as such are nothing more than opinions. Since atheism is based on circumstancial evidence and it's not falsifiable (burden of proof apart) it's on the same scientific basis as theism therefore, morally speaking you can't say which one is better - Theism or atheism.

 

Just because you don't believe morals are universal does not mean you can't make moral judgments or decisions. It is precisely those judgments upon which political systems are formed. So I would say a theocracy is wrong and do everything I could to prevent it because I prefer to live in a society that allows me to follow my own morals. 


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Teralek wrote:Is the

If the majority has better deadly weapons and wages war better than everyone else, they are right. If a dictator or minority group has does war better than any other, then they are right. Might makes right.

For example, in the USA, why is slave labor considered immoral while wage labor considered moral? Because the Union won and the Confederacy lost, no other reason. Religion switches it's position after military victory. We don't get our morals from religion, we get them from armies and sheriffs.

“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:Teralek wrote:Is

EXC wrote:

If the majority has better deadly weapons and wages war better than everyone else, they are right. If a dictator or minority group has does war better than any other, then they are right. Might makes right.

For example, in the USA, why is slave labor considered immoral while wage labor considered moral? Because the Union won and the Confederacy lost, no other reason. Religion switches it's position after military victory. We don't get our morals from religion, we get them from armies and sheriffs.

Teralek, I withdraw my previous comments about there being no universal morality. I was wrong. EXC is right. Universal morality is a Barrett M107, bunker busters and nuclear bombs.  


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Heh. The mighty may impose

Heh. The mighty may impose their preferences on others, but it doesn't mean their preferences are "right." It just means they're mighty.

Of course the majority isn't always correct, but that's hardly a sharp criticism of democracy, well.....maybe pure democracies. 

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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  Interesting answers

 

 Interesting answers you all gave...

CJ I agree that culture and education have a heavy role in individual morality, but I defend education because it promotes independent thinking. I try to think things through for myself in spite of my cultural background.

Thinking things through is what allows evolution. If we always took everything for granted we never had evolved on anything, neither in ethics or science. Only because a minority fought for the freedom of men and thought this problem through, that slavery was abolished. They convinced a majority to their point of view by reasoning! You see, it is my opinion that there is a thing called ethical evolution, much like science evolves. Though since ethics is not measurable by standard means, knowing the true progress of ethics is tricky.

The better informed people are the less they error in a democracy. Thus education is the key for a better democracy. An ill informed majority can really screw up a democracy... there are plenty of examples... fortunately as buttlerbattle puts it: We don't live in pure democracies. I agree with him: might doesn't make it right... so what does? We had this discussion before; You think moral codes are based on social natural evolution... if it were that we wouldn't have been such assholes throughout most of human history! No, our conscience and our reasoning allow us to reach a universal conscience that makes us understand our common position in the universe. As living thinking beings belonging to this brotherhood, a better understanding of our surroundings inevitably promote better ethics. So in this sense there are moral absolutes in the universe that in a way are a consequence of cognition but at the same time transcend it. And this paragraph, I think answers to some of Beyond Saving questions.

Beyond Saving, I really do think that in some moral issues humanity was “insane”, as you put it. I have no problem with that. For millennia we thought that it was the Sun which orbited the Earth… and we were wrong. So yes I am saying that the “vast majority of humans throughout human existence were insane.” Or more correctly said: They were ill informed.

There are moral absolutes as there are science absolutes. The Earth orbits the sun - Science absolute. The first article of the Declaration of human rights is a moral absolute. The

Beyond Saving wrote:
more ambiguous moral questions

are really grey areas we are not sure yet... much like we are not sure in science what happened in the first moment of the Big Bang. And then there are those moral questions that have a heavy dependency on context. So no one and no group possesses absolute moral truth, only a hypothetical impartial all knowing being would possess the potential to have the knowledge of absolute moral for a given scenario. In this sense, being context dependable doesn’t mean ethics is relative! I guess we may only achieve moral perfection when we reach scientific/technological perfection... because if we are not all knowing we are always going to fail in judgements sometimes.

Beyond Saving wrote:
Just because you don't believe morals are universal does not mean you can't make moral judgments or decisions. It is precisely those judgments upon which political systems are formed.
This is made by might or voting numbers, they may be wrong though. We are neither computers nor zombies. We are live beings with feelings and closer to one another than most of us think.

CJ I’ve never read Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but as a well informed person, you’re certainly aware that Islam is going through some sort of dark ages. By the time Europe was in that stage the Muslim world was a beacon in the world of philosophy and science. There are good and inspiring stories in Islamic mythology, not everything is bad!

CJ, I’m not saying that there is a moral value to the speed of light, I’m only saying that: Someone who says that the sun orbits the Earth is sick in the head, the same goes for someone who thinks throwing rocks at women is ok! It is the interpretation of reality that I’m putting in the stand. Well let’s not be so radical… It’s not sick in the head… It’s ill informed… The more you know about human condition the better moral judgments you can make.

However as I said before, believing in an afterlife as I do, gives a all new perspective to the justice and moral consequence of actions. This is justifiable because the answer to such a big question opens lines of thought never considered. Briefly speaking; an atheist probably doesn’t put as much weight and thought to little and apparently inconsequential moral questions, since justice doesn’t have the same meaning if you just die and that’s over… no one is there to judge you. If we could know for sure which one of us is right about human nature, we could reach a consensus about this underlying moral issue about majority’s moral.

As an ending comment I’d like to say that I don’t believe in a judging God, my afterlife beliefs are similar to the Baha’i faith.

 

 

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:Thinking

Teralek wrote:

Thinking things through is what allows evolution. If we always took everything for granted we never had evolved on anything, neither in ethics or science. Only because a minority fought for the freedom of men and thought this problem through, that slavery was abolished. They convinced a majority to their point of view by reasoning! You see, it is my opinion that there is a thing called ethical evolution, much like science evolves. Though since ethics is not measurable by standard means, knowing the true progress of ethics is tricky.

It wasn't reasoning and arguments, it was a rather violent series of uprisings from the slaves and in the case of America a really big war. Had the Confederacy won slavery would have been around much longer. The abolishment of slavery would seem to be a prime example of might makes right. Although, I would agree with your assertion that there is an evolution of morals just like there is an evolution in government. What I disagree with is your assertion that morals evolve towards some ultimate moral. Just like Darwinian evolution is simply an evolution to survive not towards some perfect creature. Modern technology has made us closer in the sense that we can more easily communicate with people who have dramatically different lifestyles, views and cultures. Slavery is far less appealing when you can imagine that the slave could just as easily be you. The more you can identify with people on a personal level the more you will care when they are abused.   

 

Teralek wrote:

We had this discussion before; You think moral codes are based on social natural evolution... if it were that we wouldn't have been such assholes throughout most of human history! No, our conscience and our reasoning allow us to reach a universal conscience that makes us understand our common position in the universe. As living thinking beings belonging to this brotherhood, a better understanding of our surroundings inevitably promote better ethics. So in this sense there are moral absolutes in the universe that in a way are a consequence of cognition but at the same time transcend it. And this paragraph, I think answers to some of Beyond Saving questions.

I'm still a little confused. It sounds like you are basically saying that as we recognize others are actually a lot like us we treat them better. And for the most part I would agree with that. There is nothing "universal" or any absolute truth behind it. Simply a recognition that as a society it is better for everyone if we get along. It is much better for me to enter an economic trade with you willingly than to force you into slavery. Slaves are notoriously lazy and unmotivated and I would have to spend all my time coming up with ways to force you to work. If we work together, we can produce more and both of us can live a more comfortable lifestyle. Put another way, "I won't enslave, kill or rob you if you agree not to kill slave or rob me." Since the ideas of equality have won most of the wars the last two hundred years these ideas are spread throughout Western culture. 

 

Teralek wrote:

There are moral absolutes as there are science absolutes. The Earth orbits the sun - Science absolute. The first article of the Declaration of human rights is a moral absolute.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." 

It is an ideal that I agree is a good goal but obviously there is a portion of the Earths population that does not share that ideal. You can reason with a dictator all day long and they are not going to become convinced that all people are equal. We should do everything we can to ensure that governments do not treat citizens unequally. That doesn't make it a universal moral. Just a good idea to make the world a slightly better place to live. In fact, when you look at governments in practice around the world they tend to do the EXACT opposite even while spouting the ideal. The larger government is the more likely it is to treat people unequally. The only moral absolute there seems to be is that people attempting to gain political office want power so that they can treat people unequally. If it is part of a universal morality why have so many people fought and died in an attempt to attain it? What equality or freedom has been won without risking life? 

Are there any other morals you would consider universal?


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   Teralek wrote: You

 

 

Teralek wrote:

You contradict yourself CJ! You can't say: "I agree stoning women is bad regardless of community opinion." NO! There are no moral absolutes. IT IS ONLY YOUR opinion that stoning women is bad. If you put moral rules in a tautology statement (like I would) you would have to say that stoning women is always bad and this is as true as the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. I say with no fear that the ethical value of stoning women to the death always the same as is the light speed being 299,792,458 meters per second. This is why I say that science and politics are not separate. 

I say the 1st article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is always true (tautology) whether you believe it or not... like the light speed. Thus based on this reasoning, I can say that the majority can be wrong on moral issues! However... and this IS my point... I can't see how YOU can say that the majority could be wrong on moral issues, since morals are relative...

To reinforce this more: You can only say that in your opinion the poisoning of Socrates was a bad thing but it is not a universal bad thing... at the time it was a good thing, now it is bad because we have other moral standards, neither better or worse - Different 

 

It's ironic that you are comparing morality to science when certain things in science are relative.  Lets say I throw a baseball.  I can say that the baseball is going 20 miles per hour and be correct from my frame of reference.  Another person can say the same baseball it going 30 miles per hour and be correct from their frame of reference.  My statement that the ball is going 20 miles per hour is true even though motion is relative because I'm making the statement from my frame of reference. 

 

I don't see why this same reasoning can't be applied to morels.  Everyone has a morel frame of reference through which they judge things.  I say that gay marriage is morally acceptable.  Another person says gay marriage is morally wrong.  My statement that gay marriage is morally acceptable is true even though morels are relative because I'm making the statement from my frame of reference.  By the same reasoning I can say that the statement "gay marriage is wrong" is false.  The other guy can, of course, make the opposite statements even though I wont except them as true.  

 

 

I have no inherent obligations to consider the other guys morel frame of reference just as he has no inherent obligation to consider mine.  I might choose to consider the other guy frame of reference if I have a reason to.  Perhaps I want to convince the other guy that he is wrong.  If so I might need to learn about the other guys morel frame of reference so that I can argue with him effectively.  Or maybe I might want to considered the other guy's morel frame of reference because I want to see if there is something about his way of thinking that I like better then my own, but just because I am able to consider the other guy morel reference frame doesn't mean that I need to.  

 


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butterbattle wrote:Heh. The

butterbattle wrote:

Heh. The mighty may impose their preferences on others, but it doesn't mean their preferences are "right." It just means they're mighty.

Unless of course they force you to say otherwise.

“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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 So the question that comes

 

So the question that comes to mind here is that of the state of being automatically correct. If anyone can be that, then everyone can be at some point.

 

Is Sam Walton automatically correct that you need to buy cheap shit made in China? No but the cheap chink shit might meet my needs today.

 

Is Bill gates automatically correct that your computer needs to run his buggy virus target? No and my computer only does when I am playing games that I simply cannot make happen any other way.

 

Glen Beck has made a valid point once or twice. Yah, really. It was probably something that happened as a matter of random chance, sort of like the idea that anyone can win the lottery. Even so, he still wears magical underwear.

 

Can Rachael Madcow or TYT make a valid point? I am still waiting for that but the day that either of them does will be a day that I mark my calender and will be celebrated every year on that day forever after.

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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When a lynch mob rules

The number of folks participating in a lynching generally outnumber those being lynched and the ones being lynched don't vote.

 

 


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cygo wrote:The number of

cygo wrote:

The number of folks participating in a lynching generally outnumber those being lynched and the ones being lynched don't vote.

 

Or more importantly, have a gun.

“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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I'm still on my motto

When "Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas" he could "reason with them all day long and not get to convince them". Still the truth is the truth! I stand by my motto: What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, it does not matter what people do or think.

Of course if you reject any notion of "truthness" in etichs then moral codes have no meaning. "If there is no moral objectivity moral culpability flies out the court room" This is kinda obvious to me. Our moral codes, based on reason, reflect that universality that ethics possess. 

How can we convict someone based on moral values since our morals are neither better or worse than the other? They are different instead. We can't condemn Hitler for example. He had his own moral reasons to do what he did.

Beyond Saving wrote:
We should do everything we can to ensure that governments do not treat citizens unequally. That doesn't make it a universal moral. Just a good idea to make the world a slightly better place to live.
 

You used the word Better! That implies a rule: something is better than the other - This is a mathematical preposition, thus ethics can be an objective and universal fact.

Finally it also seems clear to me that you can't say that the majority is wrong if some moral laws are not objective facts.

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:When "Galileo

Teralek wrote:

When "Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas" he could "reason with them all day long and not get to convince them". Still the truth is the truth! I stand by my motto: What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, it does not matter what people do or think.

Of course if you reject any notion of "truthness" in etichs then moral codes have no meaning. "If there is no moral objectivity moral culpability flies out the court room" This is kinda obvious to me. Our moral codes, based on reason, reflect that universality that ethics possess. 

How can we convict someone based on moral values since our morals are neither better or worse than the other? They are different instead. We can't condemn Hitler for example. He had his own moral reasons to do what he did.

Beyond Saving wrote:
We should do everything we can to ensure that governments do not treat citizens unequally. That doesn't make it a universal moral. Just a good idea to make the world a slightly better place to live.
 

You used the word Better! That implies a rule: something is better than the other - This is a mathematical preposition, thus ethics can be an objective and universal fact.

Finally it also seems clear to me that you can't say that the majority is wrong if some moral laws are not objective facts.

 

"right is right and wrong is wrong" unless you're a Christian. Forgiveness blurs those lines. You can do things that are "wrong" and ask for forgiveness and "get right" until you want to do that "wrong" thing again.

Some moral laws are not objective facts - how does religion solve that problem again? Oh, I remember, they have a book with an absolute moral code given by their god that their god is not bound to uphold (even for himself).

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Teralek wrote:When "Galileo

Teralek wrote:

When "Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas" he could "reason with them all day long and not get to convince them". Still the truth is the truth! I stand by my motto: What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, it does not matter what people do or think.

Of course if you reject any notion of "truthness" in etichs then moral codes have no meaning. "If there is no moral objectivity moral culpability flies out the court room" This is kinda obvious to me. Our moral codes, based on reason, reflect that universality that ethics possess. 

How can we convict someone based on moral values since our morals are neither better or worse than the other? They are different instead. We can't condemn Hitler for example. He had his own moral reasons to do what he did.

Beyond Saving wrote:
We should do everything we can to ensure that governments do not treat citizens unequally. That doesn't make it a universal moral. Just a good idea to make the world a slightly better place to live.
 

You used the word Better! That implies a rule: something is better than the other - This is a mathematical preposition, thus ethics can be an objective and universal fact.

Finally it also seems clear to me that you can't say that the majority is wrong if some moral laws are not objective facts.

 

 

"Better" isn't mathematical. Correct me if I'm wrong science geeks but I have never heard any mathematician claim a certain number is better than another. They might say "greater" or "lesser" but I've never heard better. It is an opinion. Much like I might say a certain girl is prettier than another but another person can reasonably (or unreasonably) disagree with me. As a matter of fact, a majority of Americans believe that people should be treated unequally in many issues. We routinely treat people differently based on a variety of minority statuses. (eg our tax code, all benefit programs etc.) I believe the government should treat everyone the same but many consider me cruel and heartless for it. It is a perfectly legitimate moral disagreement. 

 

And once again, yes we can pass judgement. There is nothing that prevents us from passing judgement on whatever we desire. So when we get together in our groups that we call nations we create whatever rules we want and setup whatever system of enforcement we want. If we don't like what nation x does we can go to war with them if we want. I have news for you, the world doesn't give a shit about Hitler. He was merely one of an infinite number of organisms that lived and died on the planet. Your dog, or cat or bird doesn't know or care about the difference between Hitler and Gandhi. The difference is SOLELY the judgement of people and what kind of society the majority of us want to live in. In this case, I agree with the majority, but don't make the mistake of believing there aren't people in this world that would prefer to live in Hitler's Germany. 

 

And once again, you have repeatedly made the claim that morals are universal, where do they come from and what morals are universal? How do we KNOW that a moral is universal? Because a quick look at human society shows an extremely wide variation of morality. 


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 I can't speak for

 

I can't speak for Christians in general; I'm not one. That's a whole other subject outside the main subject here.

I think tautology is a logical statement even when saying something is always better then other in a context. By saying and proving that something is better than other makes it a "formula which is true in every possible interpretation"

I'm no expert too but this is my interpretation. Mathematics apply to the real world. About the pretty girl that's the same as saying that Vanilla is better then chocolate. That doesn't say anything about the subject, only about you. Ethics is whole other thing! It is not personal tastes! You can't compare that to a serial killer who gets a kick from killing.

Of course we can pass judgment; in fact we do that every day! I'm not saying we can't! I questioned the logic of it if there is no moral truths what so ever!

Did I say that there were no people in the world that love Hitler?! All your comments do nothing but reinforce my motto!  Morals are clearly universal from the arguments I presented.

Universal ethics come from many places but the main source is the Human condition: The fact that we have a perishable body, that we have a brain capable of feeling pleasure and pain, the fact that we live in a society and are inter-dependable, the fact that we have a thinking consciousness, and in my opinion the fact that we have a eternal consciousness that is linked in a spiritual plane with everybody else and must for ever live with their actions and their thoughts...

I was seeing the daily show just now! And what a coincidence! I wasn’t expecting this one coming!

www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-4-2010/sam-harris

Well… here we are again. If science can determine moral values it’s because it’s expressible in mathematical terms. It may seem that Sam is contradicting me but not! He is also trying to objectifying ethics by quantifying it!

And I guess the sin of prejudice are common even in the realm of atheism, isn’t it so Mr. Sam Harris?

I like Jon so much!

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote: I can't

Teralek wrote:

 

I can't speak for Christians in general; I'm not one. That's a whole other subject outside the main subject here.

I think tautology is a logical statement even when saying something is always better then other in a context. By saying and proving that something is better than other makes it a "formula which is true in every possible interpretation"

I'm no expert too but this is my interpretation. Mathematics apply to the real world. About the pretty girl that's the same as saying that Vanilla is better then chocolate. That doesn't say anything about the subject, only about you. Ethics is whole other thing! It is not personal tastes! You can't compare that to a serial killer who gets a kick from killing.

Of course we can pass judgment; in fact we do that every day! I'm not saying we can't! I questioned the logic of it if there is no moral truths what so ever!

Did I say that there were no people in the world that love Hitler?! All your comments do nothing but reinforce my motto!  Morals are clearly universal from the arguments I presented.

Universal ethics come from many places but the main source is the Human condition: The fact that we have a perishable body, that we have a brain capable of feeling pleasure and pain, the fact that we live in a society and are inter-dependable, the fact that we have a thinking consciousness, and in my opinion the fact that we have a eternal consciousness that is linked in a spiritual plane with everybody else and must for ever live with their actions and their thoughts...

I was seeing the daily show just now! And what a coincidence! I wasn’t expecting this one coming!

www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-4-2010/sam-harris

Well… here we are again. If science can determine moral values it’s because it’s expressible in mathematical terms. It may seem that Sam is contradicting me but not! He is also trying to objectifying ethics by quantifying it!

And I guess the sin of prejudice are common even in the realm of atheism, isn’t it so Mr. Sam Harris?

I like Jon so much!

 

So, what sort of a God believer are you? And I welcome any example of a universal moral you can give.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:So, what sort

jcgadfly wrote:

So, what sort of a God believer are you? And I welcome any example of a universal moral you can give.

I don't see how your question about me is going to solve or answer my question about ethics in majority groups... but ok I'll amuse you...

I can't define God. Starting by the fact that I don't know if God is a personal entity or not. I only know that moral and human affections IS THE MOST important thing in life, more important than the economy, than science, even more important than biological life itself. My view of the afterlife is similar to the Baha'i faith and since I believe in the transcendental validity of NDE's I base my spiritual views there too. Also my moral values are very similar to the Baha'i faith, with some important exceptions, like: They are against gay marriage, I'm not.

I already gave 2 examples of moral universals, like the 1st article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that stoning women is bad.

You want more?! I give you the whole Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it's 30 articles...

Don't bother to read the declaration and hand pick one of them to have a context dependable argument here, because I only need ONE moral statement to be logically applied universally to make my position true.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:jcgadfly

Teralek wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

So, what sort of a God believer are you? And I welcome any example of a universal moral you can give.

I don't see how your question about me is going to solve or answer my question about ethics in majority groups... but ok I'll amuse you...

I can't define God. Starting by the fact that I don't know if God is a personal entity or not. I only know that moral and human affections IS THE MOST important thing in life, more important than the economy, than science, even more important than biological life itself. My view of the afterlife is similar to the Baha'i faith and since I believe in the transcendental validity of NDE's I base my spiritual views there too. Also my moral values are very similar to the Baha'i faith, with some important exceptions, like: They are against gay marriage, I'm not.

I already gave 2 examples of moral universals, like the 1st article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that stoning women is bad.

You want more?! I give you the whole Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it's 30 articles...

Don't bother to read the declaration and hand pick one of them to have a context dependable argument here, because I only need ONE moral statement to be logically applied universally to make my position true.

 

The question was for information and so I don't label you in error anymore.

The 1st article of the declaration of human rights perhaps should be universal. It is not universal by any means.

Why do you limit death by stoning to just women? Do guys and kids (assuming you're not separating children by gender) deserve it more? This also should be universal but is not.

Are you confusing "ought to be" with "is"?

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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I'm not confusing

 

I'm not confusing anything... you are!

There are still people in the world who believe that the Earth has 6.000 years old. Of course these people ought to believe the Earth has many more years!

You know why?! Because if they did, they would be RIGHT!!  The same goes for people who don't believe in the 1st article of the DOHR - This puts moral truth in the same ground as scientific truth. Even your renown atheist Sam Harris is trying to rationalize moral, for God sake! LOLOL

Stoning women was just an example given by some Islamic folks, if you like I say that "stoning people is bad", it doesn't change anything.

 

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:I think

Teralek wrote:

I think tautology is a logical statement even when saying something is always better then other in a context. By saying and proving that something is better than other makes it a "formula which is true in every possible interpretation"

I'm no expert too but this is my interpretation. Mathematics apply to the real world. About the pretty girl that's the same as saying that Vanilla is better then chocolate. That doesn't say anything about the subject, only about you. Ethics is whole other thing! It is not personal tastes! You can't compare that to a serial killer who gets a kick from killing.

But where is your evidence that it is anything other than personal (or societal) taste? Is it ever moral to kill? In what situations? Every society answers those questions differently yet you claim there is a universal moral. If there was a universal moral wouldn't all societies answer them the same? (or at least similarly?)

 

Teralek wrote:

Of course we can pass judgment; in fact we do that every day! I'm not saying we can't! I questioned the logic of it if there is no moral truths what so ever!

Did I say that there were no people in the world that love Hitler?! All your comments do nothing but reinforce my motto!  Morals are clearly universal from the arguments I presented.

The logic is very simple. We benefit from working together in a society. So we need some sort of structure so that we can trust one another on some level so we create government and make up rules. So how does that show morals are "clearly universal"? As has been pointed out several times being against stoning women is clearly NOT universal. It happens and is held up as moral by several societies so obviously it is not universal. 

 

Teralek wrote:

Universal ethics come from many places but the main source is the Human condition: The fact that we have a perishable body, that we have a brain capable of feeling pleasure and pain, the fact that we live in a society and are inter-dependable, the fact that we have a thinking consciousness, and in my opinion the fact that we have a eternal consciousness that is linked in a spiritual plane with everybody else and must for ever live with their actions and their thoughts...

So........ we are put in a situation where we need to coexist. Big whoop. We also have to coexist with a bunch of other species. So to coexist with others we come to or are forced into moral agreements. Sometimes we agree to get along other times we fight, it really is a matter of personal taste. You as an individual can decide to obey all the laws and get along with whatever society you are in, or you can decide to break a few of them, or you can outright rebel against all of them. In every society you can find supporters and detractors. So where is the universality? Where is the evidence that there is any universal moral? Much less one that can be proven by science? You can repeat that there is one until your fingers are blue but that doesn't make it so.  

 


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@TeralekAs far as I know

@Teralek


As far as I know science is the only reliable method for determining what is.  To determine what is requires reasonable modes of reality supported by empirical evidence.  As far as I know science is unable to determine what ought to be.  To determine what ought to be requires human emotions(drives), some idea of what is fair(or what is Just)  and  an understanding  of what is.  In order for morality to be the same for everyone would require everyone to have both the same emotions, the same sense of what is fair, and the same understanding of how reality really works.  As far as I know most people have similar emotions, have different senses of what constitutes fairness,  and have extremely different ideas of how reality really works.  I don't understand how you can hope to get people to adopt a single morality if you can't get them to agree what is fair, and what is real. 


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Beyond Saving wrote: If

Beyond Saving wrote:

 If there was a universal moral wouldn't all societies answer them the same? (or at least similarly?)

 

Me thinks the universal morality is to do what is convenient. If one get their morality from god, one can choose a god of convenience.

People's real morality is quite different than what they say. Moralizing just creates deception. Morality is just a game of deception.

 

“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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We are going in circles

We are going in circles here... I made my case. Beyond saving you answer your own question by saying that: "We benefit from working together in a society." This happens because there is a moral code that if we follow we benefit from it... thus, this is a universal law. Moral is not completely subjective and relative, if it was we could never agree on any laws.

Reality is here whether we agree on it or not. I may not believe in the law of gravity but it will always pull me down. I may say that killing people is good but all out genocide will always teach me that this is wrong.

There is a intuition in all cultures and in all religions that "love thy neighbor" is a GOOD thing, so yes Beyond Saving, ALL societies answer the same! OF course there are always the idiots who play it differently, as there are idiots who believe that the Earth has 6000 years. Comparing the tasting qualities of chocolate with the enjoyment of a serial killer is stupid.

By your reasoning I can say that some people believe that the Earth has 6.000 years old and thus (as long as there are idiots in the world) the fact that the Earth has millions of years will never be Universal...

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:We are going

Teralek wrote:

We are going in circles here... I made my case. Beyond saving you answer your own question by saying that: "We benefit from working together in a society." This happens because there is a moral code that if we follow we benefit from it... thus, this is a universal law.

We are going in circles because you offer no defense. You just take my words out of context and claim it as proof. You can't even say EVERYONE benefits from working together. Slavery is a pretty good system for the slave owners. So you end up again and again with the question of pursuing what is beneficial for a few people or what is good for the most people. In either system some people will be relatively better off or worse off. For the most part, I believe our current system is better but that is my political belief. A preference of taste, not empirical fact. We can compare societies based on economics, crime rate, violence, freedom etc. But determining which society is "better" depends on whether you prefer a low crime rate with little freedom, or a lot of freedom and a higher crime rate. Again, a matter of taste. I prefer freedom.  

The most successful societies in history as far as longevity were ran by a few strong leaders and followed little of what we would call moral today. There are many benefits to having a king or dictator, especially if they are benevolent. However, since people tend to not be benevolent and put their own good above others I would rather put up with the inefficiencies of democracy. So maybe the universal moral is that people are immoral.

 

Teralek wrote:

Moral is not completely subjective and relative, if it was we could never agree on any laws.

Do we agree on laws? We can't even unanimously agree that mass murderers should be executed. Sure, we can get a majority and on some questions a much larger majority than others. But it is blatantly obvious that getting a majority of people to agree on something does not suggest any kind of universality.  

 

Teralek wrote:

Reality is here whether we agree on it or not. I may not believe in the law of gravity but it will always pull me down. I may say that killing people is good but all out genocide will always teach me that this is wrong.

I can create an empirical test to prove gravity. Can you do the same for your universal morality? What evidence do you have that genocide is wrong other than your moral belief that killing innocents is wrong? Obviously, many cultures in history have adopted genocide and did quite well for themselves. Just because a society commits genocide does not mean it will fail. The US committed genocide against the Indians and today we are by most measures a very successful society. Nazi Germany was very successful militarily and technologically until they lost the war. If there is a universal morality, wouldn't it follow that breaking that morality lead to negative consequences every time? If you try to break the laws of gravity you will fall, every time. 

 

Teralek wrote:

There is a intuition in all cultures and in all religions that "love thy neighbor" is a GOOD thing, so yes Beyond Saving, ALL societies answer the same! 

Really? What about all the societies that answer it with "kill thy neighbor" and take everything they have. If all societies loved their neighbors there would be no war. Most societies care about themselves a lot more than their neighbors. 

 

Teralek wrote:

By your reasoning I can say that some people believe that the Earth has 6.000 years old and thus (as long as there are idiots in the world) the fact that the Earth has millions of years will never be Universal...

 

That doesn't follow at all. Again, I can provide empirical evidence that the earth is older than 6000 years. The belief will probably never be universal. You on the other hand, are claiming that morality is universal but can provide absolutely no empirical evidence. The only evidence you have shown is that you believe it should be universal. Well I believe that the belief that the earth is older than 6000 years should be universal, that doesn't make it so. 

You have claimed that most societies agree but empirical evidence shows that most societies disagree radically on moral codes. You point out where I agree with you on moral questions but you and me agreeing is irrelevant on whether or not our beliefs are universal. So what evidence do you have that morals are universal?

 


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  Clearly philosophy is

Clearly philosophy is not your strong. The universality or not of ethics is a hot topic in philosophy, it's not a closed subject. I noticed that we have different understand of the word Universal in this context. When I say something is Universal that doesn't mean everyone is doing it, it only means that it is so no matter what you do or think. I thought this simple aspect was clear... but apparently it wasn't...

There are no societies worth mentioning, that answer by "kill thy neighbor"... "Love thy neighbor" is a very widespread thing even in very separate cultures. Why the Golden rule is widespread amongst all religions and cultures?

I can provide many evidences that doing the right thing can benefit a society. When we compare the amount of happiness and wellbeing among societies we reach the conclusion that those societies who do the right thing have bigger stats.

Another way to put it is like this: if we are in doubt if we should use condoms to prevent AIDS then we should look for the outcome of either choice in terms of human suffering. This is a way of empirically look at the problem.

Slavery is bad or good? Does it promote human wellbeing and understanding? No! It may promote wellbeing for the slavers, but it doesn't promote for the enslaved. A free society is better because it promotes wellbeing for most people - Empirical data.

If ethics relate to human wellbeing and human condition that is a consequence of the human brain and biology it has to be objective, because biology is objective.

So "The Right Thing" has a underlying value independent of individual human thinking. This is what I mean by universal, but if you prefer I'll call it an objective moral.

If there is nothing objective from which I can grab to defend good human values then I really can't condemn anyone by reasoning. And contrary to what some said here the majority is indeed ALWAYS right if they can enforce their will. I don't see how you can deny that "might makes it right" with your reasoning. Do you believe that "might makes it right"?

I agree that my spiritual background gave me a broader perspective on this issue. I have tried to imagine myself as an atheist… and I can only see myself as a piece of a machine, completely insignificant. If I was an atheist I would be so depressed I wouldn’t get up from bed. I would be merely a collection of molecules ordered in a fashion that it made possible to babble irrelevancies in an atheist forum… My OWN purpose is NONE! I don’t have my own purpose, my biology would control me completely even when I think I have a choice. I would just be a philosophical zombie. I would be nothing; my value to the Universe would be ZERO. The meaning of the “I” itself would be irrelevant.

Fortunately my own thinking, my own experiences, my own education allowed me to reach the conclusion that the possibility of a continuity of human consciousness is much more likely than not. My morals are not just preferences; they are thoughtful awareness of my place in Existence and my relation with beings which share this Existence with me. I'm still learning and still at awe with this existence and I make Einstein words about God my own: "I'm not an atheist. I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God."

I would like to put forward a question: Why are you against eugenics? Why are you against sterilization of people with genetic transmissible disorders? Why are you against the killing of mentally disabled people who are only a burden to society who must take care of them and add no value to it? It would be better to implement eugenics for the wellbeing of the vast majority of humanity and improving the gene pool. Theoretical data point to the benefits of such acts.

 


______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:Clearly

Teralek wrote:

Clearly philosophy is not your strong. The universality or not of ethics is a hot topic in philosophy, it's not a closed subject. I noticed that we have different understand of the word Universal in this context. When I say something is Universal that doesn't mean everyone is doing it, it only means that it is so no matter what you do or think. I thought this simple aspect was clear... but apparently it wasn't...

By its very nature there is nothing that is a closed topic in philosophy. Thats why it is philosophy not science. I am taking your defining of universal as in there is somehow an objective right vs wrong outside of mere human belief (outside of philosophy). If you just want to talk about the way things should be fine. But you are making the claim that there is an ultimate morality that acts like the law of gravity.  

Teralek wrote:

There are no societies worth mentioning, that answer by "kill thy neighbor"... "Love thy neighbor" is a very widespread thing even in very separate cultures. Why the Golden rule is widespread amongst all religions and cultures?

The US is killing people in the middle east, virtually exterminated the Indians and fought several wars in between. The UK fought several expansionist wars. Russia fought several expansionist wars. France has fought expansionist wars in Africa. Germany is quite infamous for its expansionist wars. So exactly which country worth mentioning hasn't at one time or another decided to kill their neighbor? 

 

Teralek wrote:

I can provide many evidences that doing the right thing can benefit a society. When we compare the amount of happiness and wellbeing among societies we reach the conclusion that those societies who do the right thing have bigger stats.

Another way to put it is like this: if we are in doubt if we should use condoms to prevent AIDS then we should look for the outcome of either choice in terms of human suffering. This is a way of empirically look at the problem.

 

Ok, if societies sole goal is to eliminate human suffering then a society that enacts laws to prevent/limit human suffering will be more successful than one that does not. If I randomly decided that a societies sole goal should be protecting its population from outside attack then a military dictatorship would be the best choice. But again you are simply making the moral choice that preventing suffering is the priority. I'm not saying that it isn't a good goal, I am simply arguing your statement that it is a scientific law.

 

Teralek wrote:

Slavery is bad or good? Does it promote human wellbeing and understanding? No! It may promote wellbeing for the slavers, but it doesn't promote for the enslaved. A free society is better because it promotes wellbeing for most people - Empirical data.

Your moral opinion that society should promote wellbeing for everyone and understanding. 

 

Teralek wrote:

If ethics relate to human wellbeing and human condition that is a consequence of the human brain and biology it has to be objective, because biology is objective.

So "The Right Thing" has a underlying value independent of individual human thinking. This is what I mean by universal, but if you prefer I'll call it an objective moral.

Faulty logic. All of politics is a consequence of the human brain so is all of literature, music, beauty and taste. So is everything objective? Is there a universal literature? Or universal music? Or universal political system? Or universal taste? In that case the choice between vanilla or chocolate actually has a right answer.

 

Teralek wrote:

If there is nothing objective from which I can grab to defend good human values then I really can't condemn anyone by reasoning. And contrary to what some said here the majority is indeed ALWAYS right if they can enforce their will. I don't see how you can deny that "might makes it right" with your reasoning. Do you believe that "might makes it right"?

Might does make right in the sense that whatever moral beliefs are held by those in power will be imposed on those who are not. Whoever wins the wars sets up the political system and thus the laws of the land. Those with different morals then decide whether to go along with it or fight against it. The nice thing about democracy is we can have many of those battles without guns as long as those in power decide to step down when unelected.

 

Teralek wrote:

I agree that my spiritual background gave me a broader perspective on this issue. I have tried to imagine myself as an atheist… and I can only see myself as a piece of a machine, completely insignificant. If I was an atheist I would be so depressed I wouldn’t get up from bed. I would be merely a collection of molecules ordered in a fashion that it made possible to babble irrelevancies in an atheist forum… My OWN purpose is NONE! I don’t have my own purpose, my biology would control me completely even when I think I have a choice. I would just be a philosophical zombie. I would be nothing; my value to the Universe would be ZERO. The meaning of the “I” itself would be irrelevant.

 

Kind of arrogant but it seems to me that your real problem is the thought that you are insignificant. I have news for you, you are. Your lifespan is extremely insignificant and you are but one of uncountable lifeforms on the planet. Even if you became extremely significant in the eyes of humans and the memory of what you did lasted thousands of years you are still insignificant to a world that is millions of years old and itself is rather an insignificant part of the universe. If earth blew up tomorrow most of the universe wouldn't care.

Life doesn't have a purpose except to live. It really isn't depressing. Personally, I am quite happy to live and experience the joys and pains of life. My philosophy professor once informed me that I was "too happy" even while acknowledging my own insignificance. You just need to learn to live like a dog, live in the moment, accept the world and people as it is and they are. DON'T PANIC!! and be happy.

 

Teralek wrote:
 

I would like to put forward a question: Why are you against eugenics? Why are you against sterilization of people with genetic transmissible disorders? Why are you against the killing of mentally disabled people who are only a burden to society who must take care of them and add no value to it? It would be better to implement eugenics for the wellbeing of the vast majority of humanity and improving the gene pool. Theoretical data point to the benefits of such acts.

 

So you found empirical evidence against universal morality? I am against eugenics, forced sterilization and killing anyone who doesn't deserve it because my preference is to live in a country where people are free to live their lives without government interference. Because I recognize that my morality is my own and have no desire to force it on others. Because I reject others attempts to force their morality on me. And I recognize that the only way to protect your own freedom is to help protect the freedoms of others. It is shortsighted to allow groups or government to take freedom away from one person and believe that same group or government will never come take away your freedom. I value my freedom above anything else in my life (which is why marriage didn't work so hot for me) So I fight to protect individual freedom wherever it is attacked even if I don't particularly like the person I am defending. I recognize that politics can be separated between two types of people, those who want to control you and those who don't care to. Unfortunately, there are way too many of the former. I wish my morality was universal. I wish everyone shared my morality. Because if everyone did, we wouldn't need government. If everyone was like me, anarchy would be grand.  

So as you can see, my belief is that societies main goal should be ensuring individual freedom, even if that means more human suffering. Because I would rather suffer free than live comfortably in slavery. If you believe that ensuring wellbeing for the most people is a moral imperative why don't you support forced sterilization? Or eugenics? 


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Beyond Saving wrote: Ok, if

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
Ok, if societies sole goal is to eliminate human suffering then a society that enacts laws to prevent/limit human suffering will be more successful than one that does not. If I randomly decided that a societies sole goal should be protecting its population from outside attack then a military dictatorship would be the best choice. But again you are simply making the moral choice that preventing suffering is the priority. I'm not saying that it isn't a good goal, I am simply arguing your statement that it is a scientific law.

Moral IS about human wellbeing as a whole. Is on it's definition. No military is needed in "our" anarchic dream.

Well I guess I can end the discussion here. You clearly think that morality is always relative and that "might makes it right". I have a different view. I think it can be quantifiable in a meaningfull way.

I didn't want to express arrogance, if you felt that I'm sorry. When I said broader perspective I meant that because of my beliefs moral has more weight on my life, it puts in perspective my emotions and gives purpose to everyday life. I'm not saying that I'm better than you. I'm glad your an atheist with a good nature.

Funny thing is... if I were an atheist... I mean a real rational atheist... not like most atheists I know, who really are more into war with religion than being real atheists who are sure that we are nothing more than our biological lives. If I were a real atheist I'd support eugenics to some extent because it really promotes the betterment of mankind. It would be the rational thing to do. We would be nothing but thinking meat packs, our lives would be just a big game really. A selfish game where we would have to play smart for our benefit (most of us already do this).

Eugenics is not slavery; there were free countries that did it to some extent. Even abortion could be considered eugenics. One could say that a mentally handicapped person is not more valuable to the society than a cow which is an animal we deprive of live for our benefit. What defines our value in relation to other animals? This is awful to say, but really, if we where synthetic machines, heartless computers, I have no doubt we would do this. Most other animals do eugenics; they kill their handicapped offspring’s. They don't live in slavery, they improve their gene pool. This is not shortsighted, in a computer run society this would be a choice by the overwhelming majority. Eliminate the out of order. Moral would not be an issue or a problem.

By not giving so much weight to moral values and by losing a more transcendental relation to my brother human beings, I probably wouldn't be such a good person. You know sometimes people even say I'm stupid for being so good and so comprehensive to others. I do this because it makes me feel good, because it is the right thing to do even when I get out bad from the situation, because I know that the law of Love is the right way to go.

My feelings of love are not an illusion from my brain but emanates from my soul. So this is why I don't support eugenics. Because every human being has a soul that is linked to our own and it's virtually the same. Since for me this is a universal truth, with the same certainty that the Earth has more than 6000 years I'd be stupid to think otherwise and go against my nature and my feelings. I’m not good because a dictator God tells me so; I’m good because it is the right way to go. This is not my neurons talking it’s my very essence.

In atheism those feelings of empathy that you and I get, would be nothing more than our brains playing tricks on us, it is our species trying to protect itself from annihilation. I would discard those feelings as stupid, that don't promote my wellbeing in the long run. So I guess if I really believed in atheism I'd be a dick. So you really don’t want to convert me to your side!  I don't want to be a dick. Just let me be a deluded human being with fellings of importance. (If my life has meaning to the universe, so does all other life!)

In a way I think that a altruistic atheist who lives his life doing good things wanting nothing in return is really no atheist at all... It's just a person who needs to come out of the closet... Another funny thing is that I have found believers who are closet atheists and atheists who are closet believers!

In one thing we are alike BeyondSaving, and I'm glad for it. And I don't mind what your other believes are as long as you continue to be an illogical good person:

 "I wish my morality was universal. I wish everyone shared my morality. Because if everyone did, we wouldn't need government. If everyone was like me, anarchy would be grand.  "

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:In atheism

Teralek wrote:

In atheism those feelings of empathy that you and I get, would be nothing more than our brains playing tricks on us, it is our species trying to protect itself from annihilation. I would discard those feelings as stupid, that don't promote my wellbeing in the long run. So I guess if I really believed in atheism I'd be a dick. So you really don’t want to convert me to your side!  I don't want to be a dick. Just let me be a deluded human being with fellings of importance. (If my life has meaning to the universe, so does all other life!)

In a way I think that a altruistic atheist who lives his life doing good things wanting nothing in return is really no atheist at all... It's just a person who needs to come out of the closet

So theists who are "dicks" aren't really theists ?


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Anonymouse wrote:So theists

Anonymouse wrote:

So theists who are "dicks" aren't really theists ?

Well yeah you can say that! LOL

There are exeptions of course. There are those who are so brainwashed by fundamentalism that have a distorted view of reality. Moderate believers who are "dicks" are really atheists, they are just to afraid to die, so is more like "they want to believe" than they actually do.

EDIT: I spoke to at least 2 people who say they are atheist... but when you get to know them they really aren't... they are just mad with the christian faith. I met someone who said to me that if God existed she would have many questions form Him cause she was not happy with His work! This is someone who is mad at God, not an atheist.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote: Well I guess

Teralek wrote:

 Well I guess I can end the discussion here. You clearly think that morality is always relative and that "might makes it right". I have a different view. I think it can be quantifiable in a meaningfull way.

As a theist, isn't what god and religion (and hence what morality) you choose relative to your personal tastes?

Why isn't theism 'might makes right'? Whatever qualities and rules that the all powerful god happens to possess, they are moral absolutes only because he is all powerful.

I think the only way to get away from 'might makes right' is for a form of rational atheism to emerge where all humans are part of a cooperative social contract. Where everyone has rights and responsibilities under the contract. Right and Wrong would only be judged as legal violations of a contract. The goal is for all humans to cooperate rather than compete.

As the world is now, we're all in competition with one another. This will continue as long as there are theists around promoting 'be fruitful and multiply' as a personal challenge and demonizing family planning. So we're all in a state of war because of this competition, and all is fair in war.

Theists can invent any god they wish to approve of their behavior, so they are they ones promoting a morality of their own invention. Morality is relative to what ever god you are indoctrinated with or decide is right for you. We can have a real absolute to judge thing by(does it promote social cooperation), theists only have imaginary absolutes.

“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:Well I guess I can

EXC wrote:

As a theist, isn't what god and religion (and hence what morality) you choose relative to your personal tastes?

 

Teralek wrote:
I’m not good because a dictator God tells me so; I’m good because it is the right way to go. This is not my neurons talking it’s my very essence.

I'm really quite rational in my moral, as my atempt to prove that moral value can be quatifiable shows.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:Well yeah you

Teralek wrote:
Well yeah you can say that! LOL

LOL indeed. *sigh* And this is all somehow connected to your assertion that it's not "logical" to be a good person ?

Teralek wrote:
There are exeptions of course. There are those who are so brainwashed by fundamentalism that have a distorted view of reality.

Actually, a theist doesn't have to be a fundy to have a distorted view of reality.

Teralek wrote:
Moderate believers who are "dicks" are really atheists, they are just to afraid to die, so is more like "they want to believe" than they actually do.

"Moderate" ? Oh, you mean everyone who isn't a fundy, I suppose. There are so many strange assumptions in that sentence of yours I really don't know where to begin.

So people who want to believe because they're afraid to die, don't really believe ? And those people are more likely to be "dicks", you say ? Excuse me, but how exactly do you know when someone believes only because they're afraid to die ? Do they tell you, or do you just assume ?

Teralek wrote:
EDIT: I spoke to at least 2 people who say they are atheist... but when you get to know them they really aren't... they are just mad with the christian faith. I met someone who said to me that if God existed she would have many questions form Him cause she was not happy with His work! This is someone who is mad at God, not an atheist.

What reason do you have to assume that person's not an atheist ? Because they used the word "god" ? What reason do you have to assume they're mad at god ?

Isn't this just a whole lot of assuming ?

I spoke to atheists and theists. When I got to know them, I found they can both be "dicks". Difference being, atheists don't get to use god as an excuse.


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Sometimes there is a big

Sometimes there is a big difference between what people say openly and what people believe really. In my case I know that this person is just mad at life and religion, not believing in a God because being mad doesn't make this belief a thoughtfull position. True atheists who can debate positions clearly are men like Hitchens, whom I very much respect.

My point is someone who believes in a supreme justice based on love doesn't go around being a dick to other people unless he is stupid or a masochist

But, yes being good is illogical sometimes, if you assume there is no afterlife. Let's not put God here... Hey I'm more of a deist here then a theist... but the badgers chose for me...

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Teralek wrote:Sometimes

Teralek wrote:

Sometimes there is a big difference between what people say openly and what people believe really. In my case I know that this person is just mad at life and religion, not believing in a God because being mad doesn't make this belief a thoughtfull position. True atheists who can debate positions clearly are men like Hitchens, whom I very much respect.

My point is someone who believes in a supreme justice based on love doesn't go around being a dick to other people unless he is stupid or a masochist

But, yes being good is illogical sometimes, if you assume there is no afterlife. Let's not put God here... Hey I'm more of a deist here then a theist... but the badgers chose for me...

Why does believing in an afterlife automatically assume that you will perform beneficial actions? My not believing in an afterlife means I have to make every moment I live as significant as I can make it (because I don't have that many). Doing things that help others solves that problem for me.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Teralek wrote:But, yes being

Teralek wrote:

But, yes being good is illogical sometimes,

But you get the good feeling of being 'good' and avoid the bad feeling of being 'bad'. Isn't that the reward? So how is it ever illogical?

“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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Teralek wrote:Funny thing

Teralek wrote:

Funny thing is... if I were an atheist... I mean a real rational atheist... not like most atheists I know, who really are more into war with religion than being real atheists who are sure that we are nothing more than our biological lives. If I were a real atheist I'd support eugenics to some extent because it really promotes the betterment of mankind. It would be the rational thing to do. We would be nothing but thinking meat packs, our lives would be just a big game really. A selfish game where we would have to play smart for our benefit (most of us already do this).

You need to pretend to be an atheist more. It isn't rational to worry about the betterment of mankind. You won't be around to see it. So as an atheist, why would you worry about it? It seems obvious to me that it is far more rational to be against eugenics as an atheist because any kind of eugenics whether of the sterilization kind or gas chambers might affect your life or the life of someone you love. So isn't it rational to avoid such programs since they may hurt you but being an atheist you believe they could never help you? What rational explanation is there for an atheist to care about mankind as a whole?

 

Teralek wrote:

By not giving so much weight to moral values and by losing a more transcendental relation to my brother human beings, I probably wouldn't be such a good person. You know sometimes people even say I'm stupid for being so good and so comprehensive to others. I do this because it makes me feel good, because it is the right thing to do even when I get out bad from the situation, because I know that the law of Love is the right way to go.

My feelings of love are not an illusion from my brain but emanates from my soul. So this is why I don't support eugenics. Because every human being has a soul that is linked to our own and it's virtually the same. Since for me this is a universal truth, with the same certainty that the Earth has more than 6000 years I'd be stupid to think otherwise and go against my nature and my feelings. I’m not good because a dictator God tells me so; I’m good because it is the right way to go. This is not my neurons talking it’s my very essence.

In atheism those feelings of empathy that you and I get, would be nothing more than our brains playing tricks on us, it is our species trying to protect itself from annihilation. I would discard those feelings as stupid, that don't promote my wellbeing in the long run. So I guess if I really believed in atheism I'd be a dick. So you really don’t want to convert me to your side!  I don't want to be a dick. Just let me be a deluded human being with fellings of importance. (If my life has meaning to the universe, so does all other life!)

If your feelings of love emanate from your brain does that mean it is an illusion? Seems to me that feelings are quite real regardless of where they come from. I don't see why it makes a difference if it comes from the brain or some invisible soul. And why would you discard love and empathy? Is it really better for you in the long run? I don't believe so. Love is great and a heck of a lot of fun and worth the pain that goes with it. Sure it can be irrational but I don't see anything wrong with being irrational as long as you recognize you are being irrational. Living like Spock wouldn't be fun. So if you ever do become an atheist you don't have to become a dick and support killing babies. At least, not more than the rest of us. 

 

Teralek wrote:

In a way I think that a altruistic atheist who lives his life doing good things wanting nothing in return is really no atheist at all... It's just a person who needs to come out of the closet... Another funny thing is that I have found believers who are closet atheists and atheists who are closet believers!

 

No, I am 100% certain I am an atheist. I donate to charity because I get personal satisfaction from helping. Giving money away can be just as fun if not more fun than getting it. Since I am easily able to meet my basic needs and I am able to provide myself with the things I want (well except for the personal jet), why not have fun? So I may be quite charitable when giving stuff away myself but become a cranky, penny pinching miser when someone thinks they have a right to my money and try to take it through taxes. Because it just isn't as fun if someone steals it.

So really, the difference is you interpret the good feeling you get from being nice or charitable as some kind of indication of universal morality. I interpret it as simply endorphins or something that provide me with personal pleasure. (Hey science freaks has a study ever been done to see what effects generosity has on the brain?) Sure it might be an illogical act from a personal standpoint of being able to provide yourself with the most stuff but sex with birth control is biologically a waste of time and energy. Unlike most animals, I can meet my basic needs and have plenty of excess time and energy so I will waste it as I feel like doing at the moment. Including having rather irrelevant but entertaining conversations like this one.

 

Just don't become part of  the eugenics movement because those bastards are making a comeback and I really am tired of getting involved in politics. We don't need more of them to fight. I'd rather you be a crazy theist than a eugenics type.  

 


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 This thread has gotten me

 This thread has gotten me thinking of the other random things I do that are completely irrational and don't benefit me any way other than I enjoy them. For example,

 

Jumping out of a plane. There is absolutely no biological reason that jumping out of a plane would be good for you and many reasons it could be bad for you. Yet I pay good money for someone to fly me up into the air so I can fall and trust my life to a parachute. 

 

Owning dogs. I have owned eight dogs in my life and only three served a useful purpose. Two hunted and the one in the picture pulled me on skis. The others were completely useless and basically lived on my dole providing nothing other than being cute.  

 

Watching TV, I mean really, is there a bigger waste of time? 

 

Water skiing. Again, like jumping out of the plane, there simply is no reason for it other than pure enjoyment. 

 

I would include hunting and fishing but I guess there are perfectly good biological reasons why those would be enjoyable. Even though it is much easier and cheaper to go to the supermarket in modern times.

 

My point? I do these things solely because they give me a good feeling. Basically the same reason I follow my morals. You do things because they make you feel good and avoid others because they make you feel bad.  Why in the case of morality does that lead you to believe there is some universal morality? Not everyone likes jumping out of planes, dogs, tv or water skiing. So it is apparent to me that there is not a universal entertainment. If I am understanding what you are saying, that there is a universal morality because when you follow your morality you feel good doesn't it follow that when you have the same feelings from doing x that x must be universal too? 


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

 Jumping out of a plane. There is absolutely no biological reason that jumping out of a plane would be good for you and many reasons it could be bad for you. Yet I pay good money for someone to fly me up into the air so I can fall and trust my life to a parachute. 

I think if you talked to evolutionary biologists, they would would give you some rational logical reasons why some risk taking was good for your ancestors survival. Food, shelter, mating partners were not a convenienlty availble as today. Our ancestors had to do things like climb cliffs, cross raging rivers, steal food from neighboring tribes, etc... If they played it too safe they would not survive, if they were too risky they did not survive. That is why we are a mix of impulses tell us both to play it safe and to take risks.

 

“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:Beyond Saving

EXC wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 Jumping out of a plane. There is absolutely no biological reason that jumping out of a plane would be good for you and many reasons it could be bad for you. Yet I pay good money for someone to fly me up into the air so I can fall and trust my life to a parachute. 

I think if you talked to evolutionary biologists, they would would give you some rational logical reasons why some risk taking was good for your ancestors survival. Food, shelter, mating partners were not a convenienlty availble as today. Our ancestors had to do things like climb cliffs, cross raging rivers, steal food from neighboring tribes, etc... If they played it too safe they would not survive, if they were too risky they did not survive. That is why we are a mix of impulses tell us both to play it safe and to take risks.

 

 

Risk taking I can see which is why I didn't include rock climbing in the list. But any of my ancestors who jumped off of the cliff probably didn't have too good a chance of being my ancestor. Climbing is good, by why is falling so much fun?