Need help debating a youth minister!

Alaskan Atheist
Alaskan Atheist's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: 2011-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Need help debating a youth minister!

Hey guys, haven't been on for a while, but I need some help. I'll post the email under this, and I don't really know much about the evolution of morality, but here's what he said, and where do I start to debate him? Any evidence to support his claims, or to disprove his claims? Any and all comments are welcome! Thanks!

Eric,

Sorry to hear about the cold.  Not fun.

 

Perhaps I have not communicated as well as I would have wished.  Having morals does not require being controlled by a supernatural being.  What I said was that there must be some sort of supernatural being who writes an unchanging law in order for an objective moral standard to truly exist.  (The existence of objective morality does not logically require the God of the Bible, but it does require some transcendent, supernatural law-giver.)

 

For instance, in response to my question about what ground you have for arguing that the Holocaust was evil, you say that morality is just an evolutionary trait which is constantly updating.  If morality is a result of evolution, you actually have no grounds for saying the Holocaust or slavery were actually evil.  You assert that the Holocaust and slavery were evil because the evolutionary trait of morality has progressed from what it was.  I see several problems with your conclusion.  For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply list the first two.

 

First, if your position is correct, then the reality is that people and society were less evolved in Germany in World War II or in America in the 1700-1800’s.  As a result, when they were upholding slavery or implementing the Holocaust, it was not immoral at that time because morality had not yet evolved to the point at which it has today.  So what room do we have to look at either of those historic atrocities and say that they truly were evil when they were being committed?  The most we can logically say is that if they were to occur in our society today, they would be evil.  But you can’t look at them and declare them actually evil any more than you look at an animal that is less evolved and condemn it for its killing or harm of other animals.  To do so would lack integrity and logic.

 

Second, you speak of morality constantly changing, but what is it changing into?  Just because something changes doesn’t mean that it is necessarily “better”.  In fact, as we both know, sometimes things change for the worse.  So, just because you say that morality has changed since then doesn’t mean that our morality is actually better, much less that it’s actually right.  In order to make that sort of assessment we would have to have an absolute standard by which we could compare the different “moralities” of those times and ours in order to determine which was actually the best and the most “progressive” by virtue of being closest to the standard.  This once again highlights the “Who says?” question.  Who says our “morality” is actually better than the “morality” of the Holocaust or slavery?

 

So once again I would ask, within your worldview who says the Holocaust was truly, really, objectively evil?  Unless there is a “judge” above it all (i.e. supernatural), all “evil” really means is that you don’t personally care for certain actions.  But within a naturalistic worldview there is no actual, intrinsic moral value or offense in any actions, regardless of how you personally feel about them.  So, how can you truly say the Holocaust and slavery are evil?

 

Until next time…

Ashley

 

 

 

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to known." - Carl Sagan

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization." – George Carlin

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." – Richard Dawkins


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Assuming a supernatural

Introducing a supernatural being into the picture has nothing to do with morality.

All such a being can define is a system of 'might makes right'. By specifying rules which must be obeyed under some threat of punishment for disobedience, and/or promise of reward for obedience. That is not morality.

You have the old dilemma - if God is good, that requires there be an independent standard of 'goodness'. If there is no such 'absolute' standard, adding a God into the system doesn't create one. Any such being could be as likely to be disposed to treat us as his personal playthings as to want us to be 'good', whatever that could mean outside the context of a particular society.

There IS a basic standard:

First, do not cause unnecessary harm or distress to another being. 'Necessary' harm would be things like temporary or lesser pain to treat or cure a disease or injury. Or what may be necessary to restrain an individual from causing such harm to yourself or another.

Second, do not refrain from action which you can reasonably take to spare another from such pain or distress.

This does not require any supernatural being to derive, just the principle of acknowledging that we share a major degree of common feelings with other members of our society, and can make reasonable assumptions about what is likely to be negative or positive to their life experience, such as what causes them pain or distress.

And that a society where the members try to minimize unpleasant or harmful experiences for everybody, and enhance each others quality of life, is likey to be one we would prefer to live in.

Such guidelines are as close as you can get to the basis for an 'absolute' standard of moral/ethical behavior.

None of this requires deep thought, or instruction from a magic being, just the natural empathy and compassion we, as social creatures, evolved to possess.

Hope this helps.

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

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

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

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


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
'Original Sin', if accepted,

'Original Sin', if accepted, demonstrates that God is evil - using it to justify visiting harm on billions of children thru history who died from disease or injury or birth defects way before they had any chance to make moral decisions.

 

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

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

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

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


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
This 'argument from

This 'argument from morality' canard is often used to appeal to the emotions as 'evidence' that there must be a 'god'. This has never had any explanatory power, even for the early 'thinkers'. See 'Euthyphro Dilemma'.

This is not evidence for a 'god', at all. Should we ever discover extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe, it will completely topple religion, since all theology is human centric.

The fallacy here with the 'moral argument' is that inter human 'dilemmas' can be measured as a right/wrong dichotomy, and additionally, that they can be measured outside of the thermodynamic system that they are acting in, which is why studying human 'dilemmas' is practically the same as 'economics', and why religion is wholly incapable of grappling with the enormously complex and overlapping outcomes to offer any 'practical' framework that is workable.

Virtually no one has done more to topple this 'argument from morality' canard than Sam Harris.

Do a YouTube search for " sam harris can science answer moral questions " and you'll find dozens of his lectures on not only how science can aid us in understanding which ways to move along the continuum of 'worst possible' - ' best possible'.

Sam Harris' book 'The Moral Landscape' is a great resource as well.

The argument that you'll often here is that 'science' can tell us what 'is' the case, but cannot determine what we 'ought' to be the case. The fallacy that we cannot objectively (without a 'god') determine what we 'ought' to do, is easily proven in any number of ways.

For example, if one's child is gravely ill, we ought to take it to the hospital. Yet, certain people might think they ought to take their child to a homeopath, or worse, that they ought to pray that their 'god' heal the child instead.

The 'objective' thing to do, is take the child to the hospital. The scientific 'evidence' that supports this solution is not even open for debate.

 

Another example that comes to mind is in the movie U-571 when the captain of a submarine must order one of the sailors to swim to his certain death, in the water filled bowels of their damaged submarine in order repair the submarine so that the remainder of the crew survive, not only so they can go home, but to carry out their mission to undermine the enemy and save countless lives.

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Antipatris
atheist
Antipatris's picture
Posts: 175
Joined: 2011-05-20
User is offlineOffline

Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Alaskan Atheist

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
 Perhaps I have not communicated as well as I would have wished.  Having morals does not require being controlled by a supernatural being.  What I said was that there must be some sort of supernatural being who writes an unchanging law in order for an objective moral standard to truly exist.  (The existence of objective morality does not logically require the God of the Bible, but it does require some transcendent, supernatural law-giver.)
Yay. A law-giver? If it's just a law on paper, then it is nothing more, than God's subjective opinion. If God's willing to back up that opinion by punishing those who transgress it, then it's still just his subjective opinion, it won't become objective by force.
For the law to become objective, it would have to be included into the very fabric of reality, not some primitive book, written 14 billion years after the beginning of the universe. And there are such laws, like law of action and reaction, (Occam's) law of economy, law of entropy, laws of logic, law way of the least resistance, and so on. There are even laws in nature that govern symmetry, efficient proportions, fractal structure, golden ratio, Fibonacci's set, etc. These laws are objective, because they're observable and testable. If people violate God's commandments for millenia and there is no regular, observable supernatural consequence, then the supernatural law-giver is probably on holiday.

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
 First, if your position is correct, then the reality is that people and society were less evolved in Germany in World War II or in America in the 1700-1800’s.  As a result, when they were upholding slavery or implementing the Holocaust, it was not immoral at that time because morality had not yet evolved to the point at which it has today.  So what room do we have to look at either of those historic atrocities and say that they truly were evil when they were being committed?  The most we can logically say is that if they were to occur in our society today, they would be evil.  But you can’t look at them and declare them actually evil any more than you look at an animal that is less evolved and condemn it for its killing or harm of other animals.  To do so would lack integrity and logic.
I wouldn't say Germans were less evolved - they were pressed by economic crisis and brainwashed, while other nations not so necessarily. In the older times, it was normal to make a conquest for resources, but that morality should have been already abandoned. 
 

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
 Second, you speak of morality constantly changing, but what is it changing into?  Just because something changes doesn’t mean that it is necessarily “better”.  In fact, as we both know, sometimes things change for the worse.  So, just because you say that morality has changed since then doesn’t mean that our morality is actually better, much less that it’s actually right.  In order to make that sort of assessment we would have to have an absolute standard by which we could compare the different “moralities” of those times and ours in order to determine which was actually the best and the most “progressive” by virtue of being closest to the standard.  This once again highlights the “Who says?” question.  Who says our “morality” is actually better than the “morality” of the Holocaust or slavery?

Morality is as good, as much it is accustomed for the greatest good of most people in current circumstances. This is, what makes it good or bad. Morality also demands to improve the circumstances, so that even finer points in morality may be developed. For example, the advent of the Internet.

But back to the point, if circumstances change for the worse, morality must change accordingly. It may not be as comfortable as in good old times, but we wouldn't survive or succeed in war that demands radical actions against the threat, with "laissez-faire" morality of peace. 
The greatest good for most people is the priority, selecting a persecuted group of people (or the nature itself) or specially empowered group, that is a typical sign of bad morality.

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
 So once again I would ask, within your worldview who says the Holocaust was truly, really, objectively evil?  Unless there is a “judge” above it all (i.e. supernatural), all “evil” really means is that you don’t personally care for certain actions.  But within a naturalistic worldview there is no actual, intrinsic moral value or offense in any actions, regardless of how you personally feel about them.  So, how can you truly say the Holocaust and slavery are evil?

Who says the Holocaust is evil? Does there have to be a Who, in Who's subjective opinion the Holocaust is evil, and by imposing his supernatural will on us, the Holocaust becomes objectively evil?
Nature is a system. We can objectively see, if the system works and how well its parts cooperate. We perceive this subjectively emotionally and through moral feeling, but even if we don't, conflict, destruction, peace and prosperity are objective events and values, meaningful to everyone factually or potentially affected. 

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13490
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
He fails from the start by

He fails from the start by saying "there must be". That is a naked assertion. He might as well say "Invisible pink unicorns invented morality", and he would have as much evidence for such.

The reality, not that you could convince him, is that "there must be" doesn't come from evidence, but a desire to have a super hero.

Deity belief, monotheistic, and polytheistic, are nothing but anthropomorphic gap filling placebo answers people make up to ignore the fact that they are finite. It is nothing but pure superstition.

Violence and destruction have always existed, even outside biological life. Morality is evolutionary and is not the result of non-material fictional being, by any name.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


kimsland
atheist
kimsland's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: 2011-09-12
User is offlineOffline
redneF wrote:Should we ever

redneF wrote:
Should we ever discover extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe, it will completely topple religion, since all theology is human centric.


That's not exactly true.

All religious believers believe they have a soul, but such things as vegetation, insects, animals and all inanimate objects don't. Therefore to allow religion to continue after any such extraterrestrial life is found (or finds us) Religion have devised this wonderful idea that they are not one of gods children (ie without soul) so therefore they are for our enjoyment, or generally for humans to do as they wish with. Plus they were planted there already by god for us to begin with; again to test our faith. There is no bearing on if they are more intelligent than humans or not; all this according to our new religion keeping up with society as per normal.

 

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
The existence of objective morality does not logically require the God of the Bible, but it does require some transcendent, supernatural law-giver.
Morals!

There's one good thing about getting older, and that is that you start seeing how society and religion consistently change to suit the present.

It was morally ok for criminals to be nailed to a cross in the first century, and also quite common.

Although this was obviously an extremely cruel death, generally everyone accepted this mainly because it WAS a deterrent and they also removed the criminal without jail time. A win win for morals and society at the time.

So here we are in the 21st century with some countries and states still allowing (a quicker) capital punishment, or otherwise the offender is locked up behind cement for years on end. This again is fully accepted morally in society at this time.

So which is it? Is it morally bad to have slaves, at that time? Or is it morally bad to bomb countries killing innocent people (collateral damage)? No one seems to mind terribly much when we presently do this. ie I can't possibly count the mountain of online posts saying bomb Iraq over recent years.

So quite obviously 'morals' are subjective. They depend on the society you live in, and the year in which you do. They can also differ through ethnicity, religious beliefs and even your age. Therefore the past moral beliefs do NOT have any relevance to the present, except as history of how we got here.

 

?

Wait a minute. If that is true (of which it quite obviously is, even 'Ashley' agrees that yesterdays morals are not todays; then the same MUST hold true for the Bible and really anything that Jesus said.

Yes back in the year 0, ALL of those things that Jesus said were good, they were so good that eventually they were taken down in a Bible. This is not to say that he was the son of God, nor that some 'Supernatural law giver' has spoken and informed us of a never ending moralistic standpoint, unless every year its updated of course.

But the Bible is NEVER updated (since the second testament) Therefore it holds NO morals to our modern scientific and technical era. Where are the passages that say 'Ye shall rocket to space, land on moon and find water there (the basis of all sustaining life)' Jesus must have missed that passage? Strange though, since its extremely important!

 

The Bibles morals (whoever recited the words) is not relevant to 2000 year later present days, and therefore should not be followed.

Thanks 'Ashley' for clearing this up.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10502
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I never have more fun than

I never have more fun than when I debate morality, because we have ALL the evidence and they have absolutely nothing.
To start, the preacher did get one thing right, and that is usage of terminology such as good and evil. Those terms only exist and have real meaning if religion is true (and morality is objective). Otherwise, what is good to you may be evil to someone else (because morality is actually subjective), and suddenly the terms are insufficient to describe anything. For the most part I've stopped using them day to day.
The arguments you can use in a morality debate are exceptionally varied. You can point out that "insert religion here"'s morality is inconsistent with any particular culture outside of that religion at some point in time (you have a bit less than 2 hundred thousand years to work with finding cultures to compare, but the further back you go the trickier it will get, for various reasons). You can point out that without the spread of religion, those morals the religion adopted...

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10502
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
were not universal and were

were not universal and were only adopted by cultures after being invaded and/or conquered. You can even point to different denominations of the religion itself, to show that even the religion can't decide what morals are objective.
But your best argument can only come if you've never believed in a god. This is the one time we get to use this argument against theists, though they try using it on us constantly: Personal experience and knowledge. Fact is, no matter how many times a theist says you know what objective morals are, you can validly call them a liar. I NEVER had a solid idea of right and wrong as a young child, and went through much hardship and embarrassment figuring it out. I molded my own ethics, partially based on societies views, but largely ignoring society as irrelevant, and have found aspects of my morality to be rare at best, unique at worst. Regardless, those morals are MINE. Noone elses. Someone might share 1, 2, or 50 morals with me, but NOONE shares them all.
If morality were objective,

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10502
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
that would be impossible.

that would be impossible. Therefore it is not objective. Therefore, even if there is a god, that god did NOT make ethics objective.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


kimsland
atheist
kimsland's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: 2011-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Thanks Vastet Now can you

Thanks Vastet

 

Now can you please divide your post number by 3 to get the real count of your posts?

Or better yet, instead of posting 3 posts in a row (you know with me getting 3 emails !!!) Maybe you could use PARAGRAPHS and then just post once?

No?

 


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Actually, vastet can't do that. He posts from a game console that limits his post size. When he has lots to say, that will happen.

 

Would you like me to change the email setting in your account?

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

=


kimsland
atheist
kimsland's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: 2011-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Lol, no that'll be okMaybe

Lol, no that'll be ok

Maybe remove the post count number under member's names Sticking out tongue


Jeffrick
High Level DonorRational VIP!SuperfanGold Member
Jeffrick's picture
Posts: 2372
Joined: 2008-03-25
User is offlineOffline
Naaaaa.....................

kimsland wrote:

Lol, no that'll be ok

Maybe remove the post count number under member's names Sticking out tongue

 

 

                         The post count is interesting, it helps keep track of who is active  vs.   possible trolls and spammers  vs.  newcomers who have something to say [or not].  We had a major spam attack this morning;  the post count told the moderators how much of a mess they needed to clean up. Good work on the clean up moderators;  that count was over 90.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Yah, I think it was 97 when I hit him with the banzooka. The mass deletion tool works great for those idiots. Also, the post count is helpful for them because if it is not zero, then I know that I have more work to do.

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

=


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

On topic though, the opening paragraph reads like a rewording of the watch maker argument. Or as banana man likes “the existence of a painting requires a painter”.

 

The problem with that is that we live in a world full of things that happened through fully natural and well understood processes. Since paintings in general are of things, you need to confront how those things come about.

 

Let me take mountains as an example. They are popular subjects with many painters. We know how mountains form and there is no reason to bring god into that. Go to Hawaii and you can watch it happening in real time. Even a painting of a mountain that does not really exist requires that mountains exist as a general concept.

 

As far as the evolution of morality argument goes, that too is balls stupid.

 

To point to evil things in the not too distant past says that morality can evolve that quickly. Pardon me though for pointing out that evil things have always happened and indeed are happening to this day. Somewhere in the third world, I believe that there is genocide going on right this moment. Probably several of them in different places.

 

If morality could develop that fast, then why did it not happen thousands of years ago? If morality is to some greater good, then it must have happened a long time ago and it would have spread around the world almost as soon as we could deal with the idea.

 

As far as anything being actually evil, well, what do we mean by that anyway? It is a word that we apply to things retrospectively. You can't call something evil before it happens because you can't know what the future brings.

 

For point of discussion, let me call robbing banks evil. Someone robbed a bank yesterday and that is evil. Will someone rob a bank tomorrow? Well, the world is a big enough place. Will someone rob a specific bank tomorrow? Nobody can say.

 

Great grand dad had slaves and felt no moral issue. That is the way things were back then. Today, we have a problem with the idea. But really, the problem is not that it happened. That much is an undeniable historical fact. What is evil about slavery is the real slavery that is going on today not what went on in the past.

 

If, by evil we mean a violation of god's laws, well, when did god tell us this? There were slaves 2,000 years ago. Jesus said nothing about the matter. The apostles said several things that indicated that they were fine with the deal though. Since then, god has been rather silent while men worked to improve the general condition of mankind.

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

=


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Alaskan Atheist wrote:Hey

Alaskan Atheist wrote:

Hey guys, haven't been on for a while, but I need some help. I'll post the email under this, and I don't really know much about the evolution of morality, but here's what he said, and where do I start to debate him? Any evidence to support his claims, or to disprove his claims? Any and all comments are welcome! Thanks!

For instance, in response to my question about what ground you have for arguing that the Holocaust was evil, you say that morality is just an evolutionary trait which is constantly updating.  If morality is a result of evolution, you actually have no grounds for saying the Holocaust or slavery were actually evil.  You assert that the Holocaust and slavery were evil because the evolutionary trait of morality has progressed from what it was.  I see several problems with your conclusion.  For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply list the first two.

 

 

 

 

The god of the bible has inconsistent morals at best. The holocaust perpetrated by this god are far way and beyond the holocaust of WWII. He murdered all but 8 people in the noah's flood. He commanded the Jews after the Exodus to go and commit genocide against many of the tribes in palestine. He couldn't do it himself, does he get off on watching his children slaughter entire cities? Oh, and sometimes he told his chosen to keep the virgin women (what a kind god. Wouldn't you think horny dudes would hear that from their god?. he didn't say save the virgin men.). Women were considered property and the bible perpetuated slavery. No condemnation. This god is not moral. If we had a leader that behaved like him our human morals will tell us he is evil. But believers have a fairy tale and will tolerate such immoral behavior. Their history shows that. The whole Jesus dying on the cross is so grotesque. God  sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself then will burn nearly all those in hell he supposedly did it for. Really bad morals and not rational. 

 

Good luck, but he has an agenda and probably will just dish out all the old crap. There are many great posts here that will show you just how irrational religion is. I have learn so much. It is well worth your time to read the many posts that address such lunacy. 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
If all the people involved

If all the people involved and affected by the Holocaust were quite content to accept it, including the victims, it would indeed be arguable that it was not 'wrong'.

But I don't think that was the case, somehow....

As already pointed out, God did not include in his unchanging moral rules edicts against slavery or the oppression of women. Secular morality has progressed beyond his primitive 'rules'. But according to this guy's ideas, those things are still 'wrong'. How does he square that?

Evolution clearly lead to the drives of empathy and compassion which encourage bonding and cooperation in social creatures such as ourselves.

But for evolution to work, there needs to be continuing diversity of behavior, to allow adaptation to changing circumstances and competition with other groups, so it will not be all sweetness and light. We would only expect to see that in a mythical world designed by a loving God - we don't see anything like that, so that is a strike against the God idea.

Genetic evolution only gives us the basic drives to empathy and cooperation, as well as the competitiveness and drive to gather resources to the group or the individual. One gives rise to the positive actions of helping and loving, the other to more aggressive and potentially or explicitly harmful actions.

These drives are expressed in a variety of ways in different societies in different circumstances, and much of that is understood as cultural evolution, where processes analogous to the elements of Darwinian selection are present, but obviously cause changes over much shorter time scales than the many generations required for physical evolution.

 

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

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

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

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


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
I'd ask a simple

I'd ask a simple question:

How do you know what the so-called 'objective' morals of the so-called 'objective moral law-giver' are, other than going by your own subjective interpretation of a man-made book?

The idea of an 'objective moral law-giver' is a complete red herring. It doesn't put the theist on any better footing than the atheist.

Here's another question, if they try to say, "Well, at least it proves there must be a god!":

How do you know that god's objective morality isn't just: "Anything goes, fuckers! Deal with it!"?

Maybe the 'objective morality' is 'objectively' pure anarchy! How can the theist tell the difference? They can't!

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


EXC
atheist
EXC's picture
Posts: 3135
Joined: 2008-01-17
User is offlineOffline
I think morality changing

I think morality changing has more to do with advances in technology than anything else.

In Europe, they started using birth control and women got educations, leading to lower birth rates and less population pressures. So no more genocides in Germany because they didn't have the population pressures. In Rawanda, this was not the case so we had a recent genocide.

During the American civil war, the wage labor side was better at fighting the war than the slave labor side. Since might makes right, the side that won the war got to decide that wage labor is moral and slave labor is immoral. Before and during the war, many Southerners argued that slave labor was more humane to the workers, but they lost, to the victors go the spoils.

We decide genocide is immoral because we don't want it to happen to ourselves. Morality is all about survival.

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


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10502
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I will say it's not all that

I will say it's not all that often I have so much to say that I have to multi-post. Maybe one day Sony will update the browser some.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


A_Nony_Mouse
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
.

Alaskan Atheist wrote:
...  So, how can you truly say the Holocaust and slavery are evil?

To determine what evil is we first ask what the word evil is. It is an abstract noun meaning it has no physical existence. It is a description, a generalization, a point of view used as a noun. Therefore evil itself cannot be discussed as it exists only in the mind. I know that ruins things for fans of superheroes who make a living battling evil but that is the way it is.

Morality is simply behavior. Human behavior towards members of its group is more or less the same as the group behavior of all species that live in groups. Ours is identical to no other group living species nor is the behavior of any of the other species identical. We all mix and match the rules and give them different emphases. That leaves the gods out of it as expected rules of social living do not need external influence.

As to its evolution, morality leaves little record so there is not much to go on. There is good evidence early humans cared for the injured. As early means tens of thousands of years before any religion pretends laws were revealed by a god there is no need to invoke a god in moral behavior.

It is not rational to debate the existence of abstract concepts, they do exist but have no intrinsic meaning so there is nothing to debate. If the issue is to label the holy holocaust, the earliest and quite popular theology was that it was punishment for abandoning the Torah of Moses. Is the punishment of Yahweh evil and thus Yahweh is evil? For perspective the holocaustics have been trying to make the entire thing mystical for decades so it is not wise get involved in their mental masturbation.

Seems to me whomever you are debating needs to make his case ab initio.

As to slavery being evil that is actually a gotcha for believers. How is it Jesus failed to condemn the most pervasive sin of all?

About 250 years ago people in England started to define slavery as evil. That was about the same time they began to stop defining celebrating Christmas as evil which is an example of why it is abstract and fluid. But it is not a matter of evolution as celebrating Christmas has gone in and out of the evil category. Evolution doesn't meander nor does it repeat nor advance for that matter. Evolution simply means group change in response to environmental changes.

My guess is your adversary, your Lucifer so to speak, has the idea of unidirectional evolution which is always advancing or improving. That is a false concept of evolution. As such is it impossible to argue morality evolves using the false meaning. Does morality change? of course. Therefore it evolves. But the changes cannot be distinguished from arbitrary.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Just want to point out that

Just want to point out that evolution does 'meander' to varying extents, depending on levels of selection pressure on a species. "Meandering" is called 'genetic drift' in biology.

It also repeats, maybe not exactly, to the last gene, but it is called "convergent" evolution, when very similar forms evolve to live in similar environments in widely separated geographic regions.

It can arguably 'advance' when adapting to a new ecological niche, but you are pretty much right on this one. Sometimes it goes backward, losing capabilities and anatomical features not needed in an environment, such as cave-dwelling critters largely losing sight and features needed to cope with varying temperature and weather.

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

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

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

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


A_Nony_Mouse
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
.

BobSpence1 wrote:
Just want to point out that evolution does 'meander' to varying extents, depending on levels of selection pressure on a species. "Meandering" is called 'genetic drift' in biology.

It also repeats, maybe not exactly, to the last gene, but it is called "convergent" evolution, when very similar forms evolve to live in similar environments in widely separated geographic regions.

It can arguably 'advance' when adapting to a new ecological niche, but you are pretty much right on this one. Sometimes it goes backward, losing capabilities and anatomical features not needed in an environment, such as cave-dwelling critters largely losing sight and features needed to cope with varying temperature and weather

I was thinking of meander in the sense of a river. The actual riverbed changes and changes back but the course of the river does not change. Evolution does not have a "river" dominating the changes therefore no meandering.

Convergent evolution is not repetition. There are similar solutions to similar problems and genes (alleles) have a limited range of variation so similar things appear but never does the same thing appear. Repetition is commonly seen in syfy schlock of another human race evolving. Can't happen.

Similarly there is no advancement as there is no direction of better merely different. Humans are not more advanced than chimps merely different. No particular characteristic is necessarily superior to another such that if it becomes more of the same it is necessarily better.

Adaptation to something new is merely adaptation not advancement as there is no goal of adaptation. It may or may not happen. Without an objective there is nothing to advance toward. Whatever is found is adapted by definition because it is alive.

 

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


Alaskan Atheist
Alaskan Atheist's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: 2011-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Sorry for the absence, guys.

Sorry for the absence, guys. Thank you for your replies, and I conveyed some of them to him, and he swerved them like he was playing verbal dodgeball. Oh well.

I then went on to assert the Bible is a repugnant and morally corrupt book, and he said stuff was lost and changed in translation. (Which begs the question, then how do we know that its truly God's word then?)

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to known." - Carl Sagan

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization." – George Carlin

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." – Richard Dawkins


Misty
atheist
Misty's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: 2011-09-23
User is offlineOffline
Morals as Social Technology

I am a newbie here and thus a late comer to this discussion, however morals could be viewed evolutionarily speaking as a social technology which likely did necessarily develop as a "technology" which aided in the formation of communities and groups. Since humans are social animals it would only make sense that morals or ways of getting along without killing each other would develop to aid in survival.

It's late and I saw your post on my last check before bed. I hope I've conveyed the idea reasonably well.  Best of luck on your debate.

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


A_Nony_Mouse
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
.

Misty wrote:
I am a newbie here and thus a late comer to this discussion, however morals could be viewed evolutionarily speaking as a social technology which likely did necessarily develop as a "technology" which aided in the formation of communities and groups. Since humans are social animals it would only make sense that morals or ways of getting along without killing each other would develop to aid in survival.

It's late and I saw your post on my last check before bed. I hope I've conveyed the idea reasonably well.  Best of luck on your debate.

From bees to wolves to cattle to humans and the hundreds of other social species similar "moral" behavior is seen in all of them. Some times different, greater or lesser degrees of expression, but in all cases recognizable. Our heads let us do it better where it is the form of social behaviour strongely expressed in our species. But the reason we care is because of our species behavior not because it is better. Excessively violent chimps are driven out of a group. We may have trials and juries and all kinds of complex stuff around it but we do the same thing but not as effectively as driving out never to be seen again other than the death penalty.

If you think about it a while you will see what I am talking about.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


luca
atheist
Posts: 400
Joined: 2011-02-21
User is offlineOffline
all in the sheol, deus caritas est

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
From bees to wolves to cattle to humans and the hundreds of other social species similar "moral" behavior is seen in all of them. Some times different, greater or lesser degrees of expression, but in all cases recognizable. Our heads let us do it better where it is the form of social behaviour strongely expressed in our species. But the reason we care is because of our species behavior not because it is better. Excessively violent chimps are driven out of a group. We may have trials and juries and all kinds of complex stuff around it but we do the same thing but not as effectively as driving out never to be seen again other than the death penalty.

If you think about it a while you will see what I am talking about.

Biopolitics, in one word.

It has been said that El/YHWH/God is "might makes right", but I think it's more than that. God is viewed as "love" from most if not all the christian currents, that's why it may be even wrong referring to it as "might makes right". Although religion is primitive, today it is not interpreted as such. Instead, because there are thousand of currents we can see there are a lot of facets.

A christian so would not even care to go deep in the explanation of the sensation, and to tell him what he is feeling would be considered (by him) pretty rude, probably. Anyway this biblical god as god-love is not an imposition, I think christians take it as... substance? I'm not saying it does hold water, but it seems to me a minimum coherent in itself. That doesn't make it any less wrong. I can only tell you, if you're interested, to read something for example of Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche, she's one that wrote about it. Nothing new, that people is in search of love, and that that love is this Jesus... You know how it goes. And remember, *infinite* *eternal* love. In case you was asking, yes, suffering feeds love.

The word 'holocaust' used to intend to the nazi's killing is a bad habit, as that word is considered to have the wrong meaning for that event, while 'shoah' captures only the attempted hebrews genocide. Or better, I am with that way of understanding, others may not.


A_Nony_Mouse
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
.

luca wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
From bees to wolves to cattle to humans and the hundreds of other social species similar "moral" behavior is seen in all of them. Some times different, greater or lesser degrees of expression, but in all cases recognizable. Our heads let us do it better where it is the form of social behaviour strongely expressed in our species. But the reason we care is because of our species behavior not because it is better. Excessively violent chimps are driven out of a group. We may have trials and juries and all kinds of complex stuff around it but we do the same thing but not as effectively as driving out never to be seen again other than the death penalty.

If you think about it a while you will see what I am talking about.

Biopolitics, in one word.

It has been said that El/YHWH/God is "might makes right", but I think it's more than that. God is viewed as "love" from most if not all the christian currents, that's why it may be even wrong referring to it as "might makes right". Although religion is primitive, today it is not interpreted as such. Instead, because there are thousand of currents we can see there are a lot of facets.

In fact god as love is an idea which only became dominant after governments kicked the priests back into their churches. Even so the churches have been on every side of every war down to current wars of the US against people who were not responsible for 9/11. Sure you can google an exception here and there but no love thine enemy crap from the mainstream of any religion.

You NEVER judge a religion or its god by what it is out of power but only by what it does when in power. Do we judge Judaism by its advocacy of minority rights outside of Israel where it benefits or by its KKK nature inside Israel? Do I even have to ask the question? The official claim is a jewish state allows Jews to be themselves. QED

Quote:
A christian so would not even care to go deep in the explanation of the sensation, and to tell him what he is feeling would be considered (by him) pretty rude, probably. Anyway this biblical god as god-love is not an imposition, I think christians take it as... substance? I'm not saying it does hold water, but it seems to me a minimum coherent in itself. That doesn't make it any less wrong. I can only tell you, if you're interested, to read something for example of Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche, she's one that wrote about it. Nothing new, that people is in search of love, and that that love is this Jesus... You know how it goes. And remember, *infinite* *eternal* love. In case you was asking, yes, suffering feeds love.

There is no love in this god any place is either Testament. There is only the word. There is no expression of love.

I know, God so loved the world that he sent his son on a suicide mission. Bullshit.

Quote:
The word 'holocaust' used to intend to the nazi's killing is a bad habit, as that word is considered to have the wrong meaning for that event, while 'shoah' captures only the attempted hebrews genocide. Or better, I am with that way of understanding, others may not.

Godwin's law that the first person to mention Hitler loses also applies to the first person who mentions holocaust. Forget it.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


Alaskan Atheist
Alaskan Atheist's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: 2011-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Thanks for the replies,

Thanks for the replies, guys. We've basically just stopped talking, actually haha


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Oh too bad. It is good for

Oh too bad. It is good for you to keep learning though. Science is the best explanation we have. No primitive desert tribe is going to do better. The obvious advantages that science has given to us in the past hundred or so years is astounding. Religion in charge? We call that the dark ages, it had 1500 years and really what did it add.

So what is that guys gpa?

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


iwbiek
atheistSuperfan
iwbiek's picture
Posts: 3267
Joined: 2008-03-23
User is offlineOffline
luca wrote:The word

luca wrote:

The word 'holocaust' used to intend to the nazi's killing is a bad habit, as that word is considered to have the wrong meaning for that event, while 'shoah' captures only the attempted hebrews genocide. Or better, I am with that way of understanding, others may not.

there's also the argument that the word "holocaust" implies a sacrificial or refining fire--in other words that greater good results from the tragedy, while "shoah," meaning "catastrophe," shows that it was a purposeless tragedy without any resulting good or redeeming qualities. 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen