Catholic question

20vturbo
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Catholic question

In no way do I intend to offend anyone. I have been looking for a while and I just can't find an answer yet. I am just curious how one derives the "value" of human life if there is not some "higher being." That is not to say that you must believe in God to be a "good" person (as defined by me), I know PLENTY of great Atheist, Agnostics, Christians, ext. But I am just not able to figure how anyone could possibly be "right" if there is nothing higher than us?


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20vturbo wrote: But I am

20vturbo wrote:
But I am just not able to figure how anyone could possibly be "right" if there is nothing higher than us?

Here is one way of looking at it: a principle or a course of action is by definition 'right' (in the moral sense) if there is reason to believe it increases human happiness and/or decreases or alleviates human suffering.


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That seems so subjective,

That seems so subjective, what makes me happy might make you mad and vise versa?


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Quote: That seems so

Quote:
That seems so subjective, what makes me happy might make you mad and vise versa?

Whenever you feel unsure about whether a person would object to you beating her senseless with a club, do feel free to ask her first. Eye-wink

Seriously, though, I think our capacity for empathy makes it possible to anticipate to some extent how people will react to our actions. We should not blindly do unto others what we wish others to do unto us; we should do unto others what we believe makes them happy. Sometimes we do not know what makes them happy; in those cases we should ask.


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What makes using empathy

What makes using empathy more "right" than using the club?  I know it seems obvious but I am just curious how we know that what we are doing is right?   Not only that but I also wonder how we would determine the value of life? 


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I think the first question

I think the first question I'd like to ask is how this 'higher being' made a difference. What is it about this higher being that earned your value? Some would say "he created me" or "died for me" in which case it's out of gratitude. However, gratitute is one of these moral values you thought that you needed this higher being for.
Some would point out that he's powerful and rules the universe but I think we all agree that sucking up to power isn't the root of morality.

Of the top of my head, I can think of two reasons why we have morality:
1) People looking out for each other gave a group of humans a survival advantage so we have evolved instincts to value the well being the others. We are instinctively empathetic.
2) Our social environments are improved when we are with people we can trust and are trustable ourselves etc.
This is another reason why we value the moral conduct of ourselves and others.

It's obviously a lot more complicated than that but you get the gist of it! Eye-wink


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Strafio wrote: I think the

Strafio wrote:

I think the first question I'd like to ask is how this 'higher being' made a difference. What is it about this higher being that earned your value? Some would say "he created me" or "died for me" in which case it's out of gratitude. However, gratitute is one of these moral values you thought that you needed this higher being for.
Some would point out that he's powerful and rules the universe but I think we all agree that sucking up to power isn't the root of morality.

Of the top of my head, I can think of two reasons why we have morality:
1) People looking out for each other gave a group of humans a survival advantage so we have evolved instincts to value the well being the others. We are instinctively empathetic.
2) Our social environments are improved when we are with people we can trust and are trustable ourselves etc.
This is another reason why we value the moral conduct of ourselves and others.

It's obviously a lot more complicated than that but you get the gist of it! Eye-wink

 

Well said, Strafio. Also, I just wanted to add that it's great to see a Theist asking rational arguments for a change without exploding into non-sensical rebutals about how wrong, wrong, wrong someone is. And I applaud the use of the Socratic Method. Finally a Theist on this forum I can at least respect.  See, this is what we mean by rational thinking and civil debate.


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I likewise cannot see how

I likewise cannot see how one can move in the direction toward truth if you hold a purely materialist attitude.

Quote:

I  think the first question I'd like to ask is how this 'higher being' made a difference. What is it about this higher being that earned your value? Some would say "he created me" or "died for me" in which case it's out of gratitude. However, gratitute is one of these moral values you thought that you needed this higher being for.
Some would point out that he's powerful and rules the universe but I think we all agree that sucking up to power isn't the root of morality.

We aren't arguing that gratitude to God is the standard of moral action (it might be a consequence). We are arguing that a standard apart from this world must exist in order for morality to exist.

Quote:
Of the top of my head, I can think of two reasons why we have morality:
1) People looking out for each other gave a group of humans a survival advantage so we have evolved instincts to value the well being the others. We are instinctively empathetic.
2) Our social environments are improved when we are with people we can trust and are trustable ourselves etc.
This is another reason why we value the moral conduct of ourselves and others.

But then morality, the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, disappears. Everything would be a product of chance social environmental factors and/or natural selection. I see no room as to how, for instance, one could maintain that religion cannot be 'true' if 'true' is merely, then, a social construct.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote:

StMichael wrote:
We aren't arguing that gratitude to God is the standard of moral action (it might be a consequence). We are arguing that a standard apart from this world must exist in order for morality to exist.

So you're saying that there needs to be an objective standard of 'right' and 'wrong' for there to be morality?
This would require objective values.
Values are necessarily subjective.
When you value something it's what you value.

You say we need a set of objective values that are 'better' than our subjective values. But to say this set of objective values is 'better' is to make a judgement using your own subjective values. So I don't think 'objective values' are possible.

There can be intersubjective values - values that people tend to share despite subjectivity because they are in a similar situation. I think this is what morality is based on. (and does not require a standard apart from this world)

Quote:
But then morality, the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, disappears.

Truth and falsity are unaffected. They have nothing to do with morals and values. The distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, it doesn't disappear - it is just exposed for what it really is. Practical rules of thumb rather than absolute judgements.

Quote:
I see no room as to how, for instance, one could maintain that religion cannot be 'true' if 'true' is merely, then, a social construct.

Truth (and reason in general) is rooted in language.
Language is a social construct.
If we have a language (where truth is defined) then we have logic and reason. (logic is grounded in 'identity' and 'negation' or the meaning of the words 'is' and 'not' )
Are you sceptical that language can be a social construct?
Or are you sceptical that once we have this language that 'truth' and 'reason' come naturally?


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I guess I am confused that

I guess I am confused that if there is not higher being it would seem to me that there can be no absolute right and wrong. It seems like the best we could get is a toss up between opinions since we are not "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" You may have addressed this above but I may just not be understanding.


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There was a similar

There was a similar debate on the FTT forum a while back, and I personally think the atheist explanations there were pretty good and consistent.


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20vturbo wrote: What makes

20vturbo wrote:

What makes using empathy more "right" than using the club?

Empathy is better than the club because it makes the other party happier and also makes you happier because she and her relatives will not retaliate.

Why do we want other people to be happy? As for the proximate (neurological) cause, I have no idea. The ultimate (evolutionary) cause is that it is adaptive (i.e. fitness-increasing) to treat other people well because they are likely to reciprocate.

And why do we want to be happy? Again, as for the neurological cause, buggered if I know. The evolutionary cause, on the other hand, should be self-evident.

Quote:
I know it seems obvious but I am just curious how we know that what we are doing is right?

We do not know. The best we can do is to choose the course of action which seems likeliest to increase human happiness.

Quote:
Not only that but I also wonder how we would determine the value of life?

It is far from clear how the arithmetic of collective happiness should work. For now it is probably a good idea to err on the side of caution and just assume that the value of life is... pretty high. At the very least a person's life should be no cheaper than the happiness he is expected to experience in the course of his remaining life.

Quote:
I guess I am confused that if there is not higher being it would seem to me that there can be no absolute right and wrong. It seems like the best we could get is a toss up between opinions since we are not "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" You may have addressed this above but I may just not be understanding.

I hope I have addressed this issue adequately. If not, please ask.


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StMichael wrote: I

StMichael wrote:

I likewise cannot see how one can move in the direction toward truth if you hold a purely materialist attitude.

Quote:

I  think the first question I'd like to ask is how this 'higher being' made a difference. What is it about this higher being that earned your value? Some would say "he created me" or "died for me" in which case it's out of gratitude. However, gratitute is one of these moral values you thought that you needed this higher being for.
Some would point out that he's powerful and rules the universe but I think we all agree that sucking up to power isn't the root of morality.

We aren't arguing that gratitude to God is the standard of moral action (it might be a consequence). We are arguing that a standard apart from this world must exist in order for morality to exist.

Why?

StMichael wrote:
Quote:
Of the top of my head, I can think of two reasons why we have morality:
1) People looking out for each other gave a group of humans a survival advantage so we have evolved instincts to value the well being the others. We are instinctively empathetic.
2) Our social environments are improved when we are with people we can trust and are trustable ourselves etc.
This is another reason why we value the moral conduct of ourselves and others.

But then morality, the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, disappears. Everything would be a product of chance social environmental factors and/or natural selection. I see no room as to how, for instance, one could maintain that religion cannot be 'true' if 'true' is merely, then, a social construct.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

False. Only the religious distinction between right and wrong would no longer exist. The difference between causing harm and not causing harm would be unaffected. Harm is very easy to quantify. Good and evil are merely concepts anyway, not reality. What is evil to you may be good to another. Since they cannot be accurately and universally measured, they don't exist in anything but a metaphorical sense.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Kemono wrote: We do not

Kemono wrote:
We do not know. The best we can do is to choose the course of action which seems likeliest to increase human happiness.

 

That definition, to me, would be inadequate. If it makes a woman happier to killer her baby haven’t we just put one person’s, happiness over another? What is right? It would seem like it is still just a matter of opinions and the least powerful will lose.


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20vturbo wrote: Kemono

20vturbo wrote:

Kemono wrote:
We do not know. The best we can do is to choose the course of action which seems likeliest to increase human happiness.

 

That definition, to me, would be inadequate. If it makes a woman happier to killer her baby haven’t we just put one person’s, happiness over another? What is right? It would seem like it is still just a matter of opinions and the least powerful will lose.

All the theological questions are still applicable if you remove god. You just replace god with civillisation as the cause and reason for law.

I would have put the statement differently. You should do whatever you can to end harm. Your actions should not cause harm to another. Basically don't do anything to someone that you wouldn't want to happen to yourself.

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That still seems to fall

That still seems to fall short in my opinion.  The baby still doesn’t stand a chance in your scenario, the strongest makes it right or wrong.  But is it truly right or wrong.  Some say yes some say no.  It’s all only based on individual opinions. 


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20vturbo wrote: Kemono

20vturbo wrote:

Kemono wrote:
We do not know. The best we can do is to choose the course of action which seems likeliest to increase human happiness.

That definition, to me, would be inadequate. If it makes a woman happier to killer her baby haven’t we just put one person’s, happiness over another? What is right? It would seem like it is still just a matter of opinions and the least powerful will lose.

Clearly the 70-odd years worth of happiness we can expect the baby to enjoy if she lives should outweigh whatever transient satisfaction the mother may derive from killing her child.


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20vturbo wrote: That still

20vturbo wrote:

That still seems to fall short in my opinion.  The baby still doesn’t stand a chance in your scenario, the strongest makes it right or wrong.  But is it truly right or wrong.  Some say yes some say no.  It’s all only based on individual opinions. 

It's all based on individual opinions anyway. To a certain extent, the strongest make it right or wrong anyway. For every theist you show me that thinks something is morally wrong I can show you one who thinks the opposite(though perhaps under certain conditions).

But it's all irrelevant to harm and causing it. I know that hurting someone is wrong generally. God never told me that. I know because I know I don't like to be hurt. Most people don't. I know I wouldn't want someone to kill me out of hand, and so I'm not about to do it myself to someone else. I look within myself to find a moral code. That code says I'm free to do whatever I want as long as I don't cause harm to another. The obvious exceptions to the rule is a: if harming one causes harm to not be caused to many. b: if harming one is an act of self defense against one who would cause me harm.

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If you wish to hold that

If you wish to hold that there is no standard of reality, truth or falsity, good or evil, you must hold that no true or false opinions can exist (as all of these indicate an objective, real view of reality). If God, or some other similar standard, does not exist, there is no ground to make any claims.

Quote:
StMichael wrote: We aren't arguing that gratitude to God is the standard of moral action (it might be a consequence). We are arguing that a standard apart from this world must exist in order for morality to exist. So you're saying that there needs to be an objective standard of 'right' and 'wrong' for there to be morality? This would require objective values. Values are necessarily subjective. When you value something it's what you value. You say we need a set of objective values that are 'better' than our subjective values. But to say this set of objective values is 'better' is to make a judgement using your own subjective values. So I don't think 'objective values' are possible.

This argument is misleading. First, because morality cannot exist if one cannot say what is right or wrong (as this is what morality is). Second, subjective values exist in two ways: first as being determined according to the person by way of truth, the second being determined by the actual fact that a singular person holds a view. The second is being used in this proof as equivalent with the first. Just because a single person holds a view (which is objectively accurate) does not make the view subjectively true.

Quote:
 

There can be intersubjective values - values that people tend to share despite subjectivity because they are in a similar situation. I think this is what morality is based on. (and does not require a standard apart from this world)

Frankly, this would be impossible to state if no objective standard existed. You have to use an objective standard to 'get past' your own subjectivity.

Quote:
Quote: But then morality, the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, disappears. Truth and falsity are unaffected. They have nothing to do with morals and values. The distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, it doesn't disappear - it is just exposed for what it really is. Practical rules of thumb rather than absolute judgements.

What are practical rules? Practical rules subsume a form of absolute judgement.

Quote:
Quote: I see no room as to how, for instance, one could maintain that religion cannot be 'true' if 'true' is merely, then, a social construct. Truth (and reason in general) is rooted in language. Language is a social construct. If we have a language (where truth is defined) then we have logic and reason. (logic is grounded in 'identity' and 'negation' or the meaning of the words 'is' and 'not' ) Are you sceptical that language can be a social construct? Or are you sceptical that once we have this language that 'truth' and 'reason' come naturally?

Language might express a truth, but it is not identical with the truth itself. If one were to claim that, when I say 2+2=4 my words themselves would have to be the standard of truth in my statement, which is not the case. If 2+2=4, I would look at real things to determine the veracity of the statement. The same is true if I said "It is raining outside." It would be true because my words and my views (which are expressed in my words) conform to reality.

Quote:

It's all based on individual opinions anyway. To a certain extent, the strongest make it right or wrong anyway. For every theist you show me that thinks something is morally wrong I can show you one who thinks the opposite(though perhaps under certain conditions).

The argument is not whether contrary moral attitudes exist (which is obvious), but whether TRUTH itself can exist. I would point out that, if you hold to your opinion, no true statement could be said. That would include the statement, "Every statement is a personal opinion without truth or falsity," so that this statement is likewise neither true nor false.

Quote:
But it's all irrelevant to harm and causing it. I know that hurting someone is wrong generally. God never told me that. I know because I know I don't like to be hurt. Most people don't. I know I wouldn't want someone to kill me out of hand, and so I'm not about to do it myself to someone else.

It cannot be wrong if it is only a personal opinion without either truth or falsity, or if it were merely a social construct, or if it were something else subjective. In all of these situations, nothing could ever be said in an objective manner. For example, your own concept of what 'hurts' you would be purely a personal opinion, socially constructed, with no ground in reality. What defines pain? What defines a harm? Some could say that medicine (tasting bad or causing pain) is harm, rather than health; this is subjective opinion, then. If you hold that no objective standard exists, it becomes clear that all concepts break down.

Quote:
I look within myself to find a moral code.

Actually, this is the Catholic doctrine for morality. But this morality rules not just myself but all men. Likewise, God created His eternal law, and our morality is a sharing in that law. That is why our law is called 'natural law.'

Quote:

That code says I'm free to do whatever I want as long as I don't cause harm to another. The obvious exceptions to the rule is a: if harming one causes harm to not be caused to many. b: if harming one is an act of self defense against one who would cause me harm.

This seems terrifically arbitrary. Likewise, I do not believe the natural law contains this as its precepts. The first precept of natural law is to pursue the good and avoid the evil.

Also, I would point out that this 'law' begs the question of what 'harm' is. Second, it assumes one can know what causes others 'harm' as opposed to benefit. In either case, I don't think that, according to your view, you can get to these answers.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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20vturbo wrote: That still

20vturbo wrote:

That still seems to fall short in my opinion. The baby still doesn’t stand a chance in your scenario, the strongest makes it right or wrong. But is it truly right or wrong. Some say yes some say no. It’s all only based on individual opinions.

 

Find me an animal that is made happy by killing their young and I will show you a critter on the fast track to extinction. It is not a matter of what makes the individual happy, but what makes the society happy. That is the only way to ensure a safe environment in which we animals can reproduce. We, as intelligent social animals, have adapted morals to ensure the survival of the herd, which in turn ensures the survival of the individual. All morals are ways of ensuring we get along with our friends and neighbors, a necessity for human survival. Right and wrong can be easily established by weighing the effect on the overall herd against the effect on the individual. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Quote: Find me an animal

Quote:
Find me an animal that is made happy by killing their young and I will show you a critter on the fast track to extinction. It is not a matter of what makes the individual happy, but what makes the society happy. That is the only way to ensure a safe environment in which we animals can reproduce. We, as intelligent social animals, have adapted morals to ensure the survival of the herd, which in turn ensures the survival of the individual. All morals are ways of ensuring we get along with our friends and neighbors, a necessity for human survival. Right and wrong can be easily established by weighing the effect on the overall herd against the effect on the individual. 

Except that your standard begs the question. How can your standard of right and wrong exist in the first place if there is no standard? It assumes a objective basis to say that there is no objective basis. It is a contradiction.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: Except

StMichael wrote:
Except that your standard begs the question. How can your standard of right and wrong exist in the first place if there is no standard? It assumes a objective basis to say that there is no objective basis. It is a contradiction.

If survival is an objective of the living, then there is a standard. Survival is an objective of the living because of the nature of living. If survival was not an objective of the living then the living would not exist. By the nature of life survival must be its objective.  

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Objective not in the sense

Objective not in the sense of "end," but in the sense of "absolute."

Survival cannot be any standard for any truth as it assumes another objective standard to define what survival is or is not. It requires further an objective viewpoint contrary to the assumption.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote:

StMichael wrote:

Objective not in the sense of "end," but in the sense of "absolute."

Survival cannot be any standard for any truth as it assumes another objective standard to define what survival is or is not. It requires further an objective viewpoint contrary to the assumption.

 

No. You misunderstand. I understand you were using objective in the sense of "absolute" (actually objective is not absolute it is merely not being dependent on the mind for existence, but that's another discussion). I was using objective in the other sense because that was the word I needed to say what I wanted to say. I also did not say survival was a standard for truth. What I am saying is really quite simple to understand.

Survival is remaining alive. All life works towards survival. It has no choice. It is a requirement of life that it survives, otherwise it cease to be life. Survival is a necessary objective of life if life is to exist. If survival is not life's objective, then life ceases to exist. This is indisputable. I do not mean a conscious objective of course. Life doesn't say, "I must survive!" It is simply the nature of life that it will not exist if survival is not its natural goal. So, if life exists, which it does, survival is necessarily its objective.

Knowing this, it is easy to understand where morals come from. As humans evolved some things made life easier and some things made life more difficult. Some behaviors made it so that less effort was required, less energy was consumed, to reach the goal of survival, some behaviors made it more difficult, consumed more energy, to survive. Living in groups makes it easier for humans to survive, therefor man is social. Being as that man is social the behaviors that make surviving in groups easier made life easier. We came to call these behaviors "good". Some made it more difficult to survive. We came to call these behaviors "bad". They are obvjective morals based in nature. We can make justifications or live by and not live by these morals at will because our intelligence allows us to consider them, but basically they are just nartural behaviors.They are just survival traits. Natural altruism measured against natural selfishness to find a happy natural medium.

Now, I would have a hard time proving this empirically, but I dont really need to. I only need to offer the possibility that there is somewhere to base objective morals other than a deity, which there is. Nature.

In truth, I've never seen anyone who could explain to me how a deity deciding what is good and what is bad is objective. In that scenario morals are actually subjective, just from a step above humans, and then enforced by threat. Besides, it sure seems more likely that morals are natural than that they are the subjective whims of an infinite entity of which no evidence has ever been found.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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StMichael wrote: If you

StMichael wrote:

If you wish to hold that there is no standard of reality, truth or falsity, good or evil, you must hold that no true or false opinions can exist (as all of these indicate an objective, real view of reality). If God, or some other similar standard, does not exist, there is no ground to make any claims.

Truth does not equal divine. Truth and falsehood is whether something is or is not. It can be applied to divinity, but it is hardly dependant on it.

Do you believe an opinion is true? Because it isn't. It is a very early lesson I learned in school that taught me an opinion is not a fact. A fact is truth. An opinion MAY be truth, or it may not. It's simple dictionary definitions.

Quote:

Quote:
Frankly, this would be impossible to state if no objective standard existed. You have to use an objective standard to 'get past' your own subjectivity.

The standard is not god. It is us.

Quote:

The argument is not whether contrary moral attitudes exist (which is obvious), but whether TRUTH itself can exist.

Irrational statement. Truth exists. Truth is a simple concept that has nothing to do with theism.  

Quote:
 I would point out that, if you hold to your opinion, no true statement could be said. That would include the statement, "Every statement is a personal opinion without truth or falsity," so that this statement is likewise neither true nor false.

Opinions aren't truth. Facts are truth. Please try to get that through your head. Before I start bouncing mine off a wall.

Quote:
It cannot be wrong if it is only a personal opinion without either truth or falsity, or if it were merely a social construct, or if it were something else subjective.

That's your opinion. Based on the subjectiveness of good and evil, provided by morality, thanks to evolution. 

Quote:
 In all of these situations, nothing could ever be said in an objective manner. For example, your own concept of what 'hurts' you would be purely a personal opinion, socially constructed, with no ground in reality.

False. Unless perhaps my nerves and brain are shot and I've never experienced hurt. Which is a different discussion altogether. Hurt can be quantified. Accept it. Move on.

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 What defines pain? What defines a harm? Some could say that medicine (tasting bad or causing pain) is harm, rather than health; this is subjective opinion, then. If you hold that no objective standard exists, it becomes clear that all concepts break down.

Philosophy isn't going to help you here. Pain is defined as the bodies reaction to physical damage. Which has a measurably negative effect on another beings overall health and longevity. The act of giving medicine cannot be wrong unless you aren't informing the subject of the potential effects. It is their decision. This is law almost universally.

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Actually, this is the Catholic doctrine for morality. But this morality rules not just myself but all men. Likewise, God created His eternal law, and our morality is a sharing in that law. That is why our law is called 'natural law.'

Good for them. They actually got something right. Too bad they have to attribute it to nothing. And go against their own beliefs as often as they do.

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This seems terrifically arbitrary.

As much as your response. 

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 Likewise, I do not believe the natural law contains this as its precepts. The first precept of natural law is to pursue the good and avoid the evil.

False law. It cannot exist because good and evil do not exist. 

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Also, I would point out that this 'law' begs the question of what 'harm' is.

You don't know what harm is? How interesting. I suggest you go to a hospital. Or maybe a kids playground. A thousand different places. Observe human interaction. It should only take a few days for the concept to penetrate your skull. Or, of course, look it up.

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 Second, it assumes one can know what causes others 'harm' as opposed to benefit. In either case, I don't think that, according to your view, you can get to these answers.

That's your opinion. The facts show otherwise. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that one of the only really effective statements religion has come up with is a humanist one: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


20vturbo
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Vastet wrote: Truth does

Vastet wrote:

Truth does not equal divine. Truth and falsehood is whether something is or is not. It can be applied to divinity, but it is hardly dependant on it.

Do you believe an opinion is true? Because it isn't. It is a very early lesson I learned in school that taught me an opinion is not a fact. A fact is truth. An opinion MAY be truth, or it may not. It's simple dictionary definitions.

Isn't that the problem though, if there is no "higher power" than man... it would seem that the only thing that would define right or wrong would be equal human opinions, that may or may not be truth?


StMichael
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Quote: Survival is

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Survival is remaining alive. All life works towards survival. It has no choice. It is a requirement of life that it survives, otherwise it cease to be life. Survival is a necessary objective of life if life is to exist. If survival is not life's objective, then life ceases to exist. This is indisputable. I do not mean a conscious objective of course. Life doesn't say, "I must survive!" It is simply the nature of life that it will not exist if survival is not its natural goal. So, if life exists, which it does, survival is necessarily its objective.

Knowing this, it is easy to understand where morals come from. As humans evolved some things made life easier and some things made life more difficult. Some behaviors made it so that less effort was required, less energy was consumed, to reach the goal of survival, some behaviors made it more difficult, consumed more energy, to survive. Living in groups makes it easier for humans to survive, therefor man is social. Being as that man is social the behaviors that make surviving in groups easier made life easier. We came to call these behaviors "good". Some made it more difficult to survive. We came to call these behaviors "bad". They are obvjective morals based in nature. We can make justifications or live by and not live by these morals at will because our intelligence allows us to consider them, but basically they are just nartural behaviors.They are just survival traits. Natural altruism measured against natural selfishness to find a happy natural medium.

Now, I would have a hard time proving this empirically, but I dont really need to. I only need to offer the possibility that there is somewhere to base objective morals other than a deity, which there is. Nature.

 Except that this does not answer the objection that this would destroy all possibility for truth.

 Second, as I said before, if we accept your statement that 'survival is the standard of truth or good' we must apply that standard to our own statement that 'survival is the standard.' If truth is merely a matter of survival, there is no real reason that statment is true. It could equally be false, as it would merely be a designation without meaning. In the end, it would contradict itself.

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In truth, I've never seen anyone who could explain to me how a deity deciding what is good and what is bad is objective. In that scenario morals are actually subjective, just from a step above humans, and then enforced by threat.

Except that Christians do not believe what you want to place in our mouths. God Himself is the standard of good and evil, because God is Goodness itself. God is the cause of existence and the cause of good, truth, ect. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary will. As God is Truth, God cannot contradict Himself. Also, no threat is involved in this. The moral law carries the penalty of lack of happiness not due to God's arbitrary punishment, but because the sin fails to reach the proper object in which to be happy.

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Besides, it sure seems more likely that morals are natural than that they are the subjective whims of an infinite entity of which no evidence has ever been found.

First, evidence of God's existence is not hard to find. Morals are based in nature, but not in the way you mean it. Morals flow from the natural order which God established (the Gentiles follow the law written on their hearts). We would agree with that.

 

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Truth does not equal divine. Truth and falsehood is whether something is or is not. It can be applied to divinity, but it is hardly dependant on it.

It depends on the existence of God as the ultimate standard of true and false. I do not define truth as being God, but it depends on Him in order to exist as truth. If there is no objective ground of truth, there can be no truth.

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Do you believe an opinion is true? Because it isn't. It is a very early lesson I learned in school that taught me an opinion is not a fact. A fact is truth. An opinion MAY be truth, or it may not. It's simple dictionary definitions.

I mean that a 'statement' can be either true or false (and this is what I mean by opinion).

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The standard is not god. It is us.

That's a big statement. If the standard of truth is ourselves, that standard would contradict itself (because it would merely be 'my' truth).

 

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Irrational statement. Truth exists. Truth is a simple concept that has nothing to do with theism.  

I beg to differ. Your views would have to maintain that truth cannot exist. This follows, for example, if you wish to maintain that we are the standard of truth and falsity.

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Opinions aren't truth. Facts are truth.

What determines a fact in atheist-land? There can be no ground on which anything could be said because all would be relative.

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That's your opinion. Based on the subjectiveness of good and evil, provided by morality, thanks to evolution. 

According to a subjective standard, your own statement here could be equally true for you as it is false for me.

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False. Unless perhaps my nerves and brain are shot and I've never experienced hurt. Which is a different discussion altogether. Hurt can be quantified. Accept it. Move on.

You would have to assume an objective standard by which we define 'harm' or 'hurt.' The same goes if you want to quantify it; you would have to have an objective number on which to rate it. This is impossible without some objective foundation of truth.

 

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Philosophy isn't going to help you here. Pain is defined as the bodies reaction to physical damage.

According to which subjective standard?

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Which has a measurably negative effect on another beings overall health and longevity.

No measurement possible without an objective standard.

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The act of giving medicine cannot be wrong unless you aren't informing the subject of the potential effects. It is their decision. This is law almost universally.

Law according to the state? That is a bad basis for morality, as the state must derive its laws in conformity with moral law, not the other way around.

Second, the act of giving medicine to someone can be wrong if, for example, you intend to kill them or allow them to kill themselves.

Lastly, you give no reason for why 'the act of giving medicine cannot be wrong, ect.'

 

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Good for them. They actually got something right. Too bad they have to attribute it to nothing. And go against their own beliefs as often as they do.

I have no idea what this statement means. God would have to be the ground on which nature exists and the ground on which we can determine moral matters objectively. I also do not understand what you mean by '[they] go against their own beliefs as often as they do.'

 

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False law. It cannot exist because good and evil do not exist. 

Have fun maintaing that it is true that truth cannot exist. Good is merely a subset of being, as is truth. Also, this statement lacks justification in any form.

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You don't know what harm is? How interesting. I suggest you go to a hospital. Or maybe a kids playground. A thousand different places. Observe human interaction. It should only take a few days for the concept to penetrate your skull. Or, of course, look it up.

I said that it 'begs the question,' which means that it does not define what 'harm' is. I have a fine concept of what 'harm' is; your statement merely lacked justification. Is 'harm' killing somebody? Is 'harm' an abortion? Is 'harm' an amputation? Is 'harm' a tattoo? Is 'harm' giving somebody the wrong idea? Is it 'harmful' to mislead somebody? There is no standard defined by which we can determine (from your statement) what is or is not harmful.

 

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That's your opinion. The facts show otherwise. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that one of the only really effective statements religion has come up with is a humanist one: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I have no idea what this comment is meant to imply. A pure atheist cannot maintain that one could define harm or benefit outside of the subjective values held by the self. This would be contradictory.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


Vastet
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20vturbo wrote: Vastet

20vturbo wrote:
Vastet wrote:

Truth does not equal divine. Truth and falsehood is whether something is or is not. It can be applied to divinity, but it is hardly dependant on it.

Do you believe an opinion is true? Because it isn't. It is a very early lesson I learned in school that taught me an opinion is not a fact. A fact is truth. An opinion MAY be truth, or it may not. It's simple dictionary definitions.

Isn't that the problem though, if there is no "higher power" than man... it would seem that the only thing that would define right or wrong would be equal human opinions, that may or may not be truth?

Well, that's how the bible was written. A bunch of opinions that may or may not be truth.

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Except that this does not answer the objection that this would destroy all possibility for truth.

 Second, as I said before, if we accept your statement that 'survival is the standard of truth or good' we must apply that standard to our own statement that 'survival is the standard.' If truth is merely a matter of survival, there is no real reason that statment is true. It could equally be false, as it would merely be a designation without meaning. In the end, it would contradict itself.

Except you don't even seem to know what truth is, and so your whole foundation is flawed. Truth has nothing to do with this conversation. A moral isn't true. It's a concept. If it were true, it would be universal. It is not universal, so it cannot be true.

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In truth, I've never seen anyone who could explain to me how a deity deciding what is good and what is bad is objective. In that scenario morals are actually subjective, just from a step above humans, and then enforced by threat.

 

Except that Christians do not believe what you want to place in our mouths. God Himself is the standard of good and evil, because God is Goodness itself. God is the cause of existence and the cause of good, truth, ect. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary will. As God is Truth, God cannot contradict Himself. Also, no threat is involved in this. The moral law carries the penalty of lack of happiness not due to God's arbitrary punishment, but because the sin fails to reach the proper object in which to be happy.

Fallacy. You're depending on bullshit to further bullshit. Your own religion proves that your god is inadequate to be a standard for good and evil. Any appearance of arbitrary decisions regarding morality remove any capability of your god to claim itself as morally superior. And since god was directly or indirectly responsible for at least 2-3 million seperate and distinct crimes against his own tenets, god cannot claim moral superiority.

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Besides, it sure seems more likely that morals are natural than that they are the subjective whims of an infinite entity of which no evidence has ever been found.

 

First, evidence of God's existence is not hard to find. Morals are based in nature, but not in the way you mean it. Morals flow from the natural order which God established (the Gentiles follow the law written on their hearts). We would agree with that.

Evidence of your false god is impossible to find. Or I would not be here protesting your lies. Morals flow from evolution.

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Truth does not equal divine. Truth and falsehood is whether something is or is not. It can be applied to divinity, but it is hardly dependant on it.

 

It depends on the existence of God as the ultimate standard of true and false. I do not define truth as being God, but it depends on Him in order to exist as truth. If there is no objective ground of truth, there can be no truth.

I don't care how you define truth. Truth is truth. It has nothing to do with your god. Every time you claim truth along side god you are lying. Linguistically and materially.

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Do you believe an opinion is true? Because it isn't. It is a very early lesson I learned in school that taught me an opinion is not a fact. A fact is truth. An opinion MAY be truth, or it may not. It's simple dictionary definitions.

 

 

I mean that a 'statement' can be either true or false (and this is what I mean by opinion).

A statement does not equal an opinion. It can be an opinion, but it can also be a fact. And if you really meant "statement" instead of opinion, then your argument is even more flawed.

"you must hold that no true or false statements can exist"

I am not going to become irrational, much as you might like me to. As such, I just have to laugh at the new meaning your sentence has. Yeah, there really needs to be a god in order for: "The grass is green" to be true.

*Rolls eyes*

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The standard is not god. It is us.

 

That's a big statement. If the standard of truth is ourselves, that standard would contradict itself (because it would merely be 'my' truth).

*Sigh* So I misread you. The standard of truth itself and the search of it is reality. Logic. Science. Etc.

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Irrational statement. Truth exists. Truth is a simple concept that has nothing to do with theism.  

 

I beg to differ. Your views would have to maintain that truth cannot exist. This follows, for example, if you wish to maintain that we are the standard of truth and falsity.

You can beg all you like, it doesn't make you right. You're making an assumption that you can prove even less than your god. The day you can prove your god = truth, bring it. Until then you're simply running in circles while I take potshots at you. Though I must admit it is rather amusing how your irrationality is so tightly wrapped around this false concept of truth.

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Opinions aren't truth. Facts are truth.

 

What determines a fact in atheist-land? There can be no ground on which anything could be said because all would be relative.

How about the dictionary? Duh. Your continued attempts to contradict obvious reality are laughable. I'm starting to wonder if you have a mental disorder that causes some kind of neural loop in your brain.

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That's your opinion. Based on the subjectiveness of good and evil, provided by morality, thanks to evolution. 

 

According to a subjective standard, your own statement here could be equally true for you as it is false for me.

Only because you are irrational.

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False. Unless perhaps my nerves and brain are shot and I've never experienced hurt. Which is a different discussion altogether. Hurt can be quantified. Accept it. Move on.

 

 

You would have to assume an objective standard by which we define 'harm' or 'hurt.' The same goes if you want to quantify it; you would have to have an objective number on which to rate it. This is impossible without some objective foundation of truth.

Bullshit. It's easily done with medical equipment and observation.

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Philosophy isn't going to help you here. Pain is defined as the bodies reaction to physical damage.

 

According to which subjective standard?

Physical damage. Why am I having to repeat myself?

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Which has a measurably negative effect on another beings overall health and longevity.

 

 

No measurement possible without an objective standard.

Irrational argument.

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The act of giving medicine cannot be wrong unless you aren't informing the subject of the potential effects. It is their decision. This is law almost universally.

 

 

Law according to the state? That is a bad basis for morality, as the state must derive its laws in conformity with moral law, not the other way around.

Just because you don't like democracy does not mean your god exists. Yeesh.

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Second, the act of giving medicine to someone can be wrong if, for example, you intend to kill them or allow them to kill themselves.

I covered that in case you somehow missed it.

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Lastly, you give no reason for why 'the act of giving medicine cannot be wrong, ect.'

Yes, I did. You simply won't let it through your irrationality.

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I have no idea what this statement means. God would have to be the ground on which nature exists and the ground on which we can determine moral matters objectively. I also do not understand what you mean by '[they] go against their own beliefs as often as they do.'

More assumption and lies.

How can you not understand that people have not followed their own beliefs? You've really been isolated haven't you?

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False law. It cannot exist because good and evil do not exist. 

 

Have fun maintaing that it is true that truth cannot exist. Good is merely a subset of being, as is truth. Also, this statement lacks justification in any form.

Have fun maintaining your lies and assumptions. Good doesn't exist. Truth is a dictionary term that you REALLY need to look up some day. And my statement is self justifying.

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You don't know what harm is? How interesting. I suggest you go to a hospital. Or maybe a kids playground. A thousand different places. Observe human interaction. It should only take a few days for the concept to penetrate your skull. Or, of course, look it up.

 

I said that it 'begs the question,' which means that it does not define what 'harm' is. I have a fine concept of what 'harm' is; your statement merely lacked justification. Is 'harm' killing somebody? Is 'harm' an abortion? Is 'harm' an amputation? Is 'harm' a tattoo? Is 'harm' giving somebody the wrong idea? Is it 'harmful' to mislead somebody? There is no standard defined by which we can determine (from your statement) what is or is not harmful.

My statement is self justifying. You simply use irrationality to attempt to poke holes in it. Which, by the way, fails by default. It seems to me that you are a very shallow person morally. Otherwise you wouldn't even be able to come up with these questions. Here, I'll give you a bone. People like you need to believe in a god or some kind of imaginary friend or risk falling apart. But that doesn't mean your god exists. And just because you need it, that does not mean that every one does.

Here's a novel idea! How about you open a dictionary, turn to harm, read it, then turn to truth, read that. Then come back and try again.

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That's your opinion. The facts show otherwise. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that one of the only really effective statements religion has come up with is a humanist one: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

I have no idea what this comment is meant to imply. A pure atheist cannot maintain that one could define harm or benefit outside of the subjective values held by the self. This would be contradictory.

Of course you don't get it. You're irrational. Rational concepts have thus far been unable to penetrate your irrationality. Maybe someday you'll get it. An understanding of proper definitions for terms would seem to be a step in the right direction.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Vessel wrote: StMichael

Vessel wrote:
StMichael wrote:

Objective not in the sense of "end," but in the sense of "absolute."

Survival cannot be any standard for any truth as it assumes another objective standard to define what survival is or is not. It requires further an objective viewpoint contrary to the assumption.

 

No. You misunderstand. I understand you were using objective in the sense of "absolute" (actually objective is not absolute it is merely not being dependent on the mind for existence, but that's another discussion). I was using objective in the other sense because that was the word I needed to say what I wanted to say. I also did not say survival was a standard for truth. What I am saying is really quite simple to understand.

Survival is remaining alive. All life works towards survival. It has no choice. It is a requirement of life that it survives, otherwise it cease to be life. Survival is a necessary objective of life if life is to exist. If survival is not life's objective, then life ceases to exist. This is indisputable. I do not mean a conscious objective of course. Life doesn't say, "I must survive!" It is simply the nature of life that it will not exist if survival is not its natural goal. So, if life exists, which it does, survival is necessarily its objective.

Knowing this, it is easy to understand where morals come from. As humans evolved some things made life easier and some things made life more difficult. Some behaviors made it so that less effort was required, less energy was consumed, to reach the goal of survival, some behaviors made it more difficult, consumed more energy, to survive. Living in groups makes it easier for humans to survive, therefor man is social. Being as that man is social the behaviors that make surviving in groups easier made life easier. We came to call these behaviors "good". Some made it more difficult to survive. We came to call these behaviors "bad". They are obvjective morals based in nature. We can make justifications or live by and not live by these morals at will because our intelligence allows us to consider them, but basically they are just nartural behaviors.They are just survival traits. Natural altruism measured against natural selfishness to find a happy natural medium.

Now, I would have a hard time proving this empirically, but I dont really need to. I only need to offer the possibility that there is somewhere to base objective morals other than a deity, which there is. Nature.

In truth, I've never seen anyone who could explain to me how a deity deciding what is good and what is bad is objective. In that scenario morals are actually subjective, just from a step above humans, and then enforced by threat. Besides, it sure seems more likely that morals are natural than that they are the subjective whims of an infinite entity of which no evidence has ever been found.


Empathy and compassion are helpful qualities to be selected for in a population of complex organisms such as ourselves to promote our overall survival.

Implicit in our decision (individually or by a population of people) to remain alive or to survive is the assumption that life is good, or at least better than the alternative: death/extinction of our species. Some people even think life is so good that they decide to reproduce and create more of it!

Because of evolution which is its own cause, we have access to morals based in nature which allow us to promote the promulgation and survival of our species, yet we also have access to this question of whether this particular end, survival, is itself a worthy one.

So we can ask this question: is survival itself is good? and other questions like, what aspects of survival make it good? is the alternative to survival bad?

Can these questions be answered empirically or logically? Can one provide a logical argument that survival of the human species is better than the alternative?

If we can't, does that have implications for a system of morals based on this end? For example, if someone shot a fellow just for the hell of it, would we in prosecuting him have the burden of proving that survival of the human species is a good thing?


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StMichael wrote: Except

StMichael wrote:
Except that this does not answer the objection that this would destroy all possibility for truth.

I have yet to see you explain how it would. I can't answer an objection unless you actually voice one as something other than an unsubstantiated statement.

 To say human morals are based in nature as a necessary component of our nature as social animals says absolutely nothing about truth. Whether what we as humans see as "good" due to our nature as social animals is good independent of our experience as humans is unimportant. If "good" does not exist as we humans know it on the dark side of the third moon of planet x-4550 makes absolutely no difference on whether or not it is truly "good" as far as we are concerned. We can only understand truth in the way that it affects us as a group. Being as that you are a human and will never experience anything as anything but a human, what difference could it possibly make whether something is true when removed from human experience? Viewing this good from a non-affected perspective is the only way the need for your desired truth could be of any consequence whatsoever.

 

StMichael wrote:
Second, as I said before, if we accept your statement that 'survival is the standard of truth or good'

Since when is that my statement? There is obviously a breakdown between what I am writing and what you are understanding about what I am writing. Survival is not the standard of truth. I believe I stated as much in those exact words (or at least very similar ones) previously. To say survival is the standard of truth is a statement that makes absolutely no sense. Why would you think anyone was saying this?

I also have not said that survival is the standard of good. Survival is the reason for good. Our natural need to be able to survive in groups is the foundation of good. No standard is required. Even if there was a standard it would be of absolutely no importance.  

 

StMichael wrote:
we must apply that standard to our own statement that 'survival is the standard.' If truth is merely a matter of survival, there is no real reason that statment is true. It could equally be false, as it would merely be a designation without meaning. In the end, it would contradict itself.

Well, its a good thing no one is saying that then.

 

StThomas wrote:
Except that Christians do not believe what you want to place in our mouths.

I have no desire to place anything in Christians' mouths. Not even sure where that came from. I was simply stating the way theistic morals appear to me. I had no delusions that this is the way you viewed them.

 

StMichael wrote:
God Himself is the standard of good and evil, because God is Goodness itself. God is the cause of existence and the cause of good, truth, ect. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary will. As God is Truth, God cannot contradict Himself. Also, no threat is involved in this. The moral law carries the penalty of lack of happiness not due to God's arbitrary punishment, but because the sin fails to reach the proper object in which to be happy.

So, god is goodness. God is truth....... let me thank him for this Baby Ruth. I happened to be eating candy and couldn't resist. Seriously now.

I have heard this from other theists and think it is as much goobledegook now as it was the first time I heard it. Maybe we can discuss that later when I'm through explaining how morals can be based in nature without making the sun rotate backwards and cats explode from the lack of existence of godly truth.

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


20vturbo
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Vessel wrote: I have heard

Vessel wrote:

I have heard this from other theists and think it is as much goobledegook now as it was the first time I heard it. Maybe we can discuss that later when I'm through explaining how morals can be based in nature without making the sun rotate backwards and cats explode from the lack of existence of godly truth.

 

 

 

This is almost back to my original question.  I don't doubt that you can have morals without God, however the "goodness" of that moral is only an opinion.  Without a higher power it seems that there is nothing but fallible human opinion.  Do we base what is “right” on what most people think?  Do we base it on who is strongest?  What makes your morals any better than Hitler’s?   By 'your' I don’t mean yours personally, I am not trying to say anyone is bad or good but just trying to understand an what Atheist believe.

 


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Fact 1. All morality that we

Fact 1. All morality that we humans have exist as a result of ourselves.

Fact 2. Different groups of people have had different morality. People 100 years ago had a different morality from what we have today. People in Afghanistan under Taliban had a different morality than people in Europe or people in US. So morality obviously depends on time and geography and culture. Seems to me that the evidence we have indicate that morality comes from ourselves and not from God.

Fact 3. The morality in the old testament is immoral. They stone people for the smallest crimes, they want to force a man to have sex with his brother's widow because his brother died before he had any children. They want to force a girl to marry her rapist. Thus, the biblical moral is immoral. If that is your source of morality then you and your god are immoral beings. If you want to stone your children from speaking up against you I am sure the police wants to have a chat with you.

God had no time to create time.


Vessel
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hello wrote:Empathy and

hello wrote:
Empathy and compassion are helpful qualities to be selected for in a population of complex organisms such as ourselves to promote our overall survival.

Implicit in our decision (individually or by a population of people) to remain alive or to survive is the assumption that life is good, or at least better than the alternative: death/extinction of our species. Some people even think life is so good that they decide to reproduce and create more of it!

This is where the fact that survival must be a goal of a living organism comes into play. We must think that life is good or else we cease to exist. Life could never form anywhere unless by its nature its goal was survival. Since life exists we know for a fact that it has a natural goal of survival.

If the first life form had not expended the energy required to exist then no other life form would ever have existed. It necessarily, by its nature as life, had to work toward a goal of survival. This is true of any life form.

hello wrote:
Because of evolution which is its own cause, we have access to morals based in nature which allow us to promote the promulgation and survival of our species, yet we also have access to this question of whether this particular end, survival, is itself a worthy one.

So we can ask this question: is survival itself is good? and other questions like, what aspects of survival make it good? is the alternative to survival bad?

Survival on the personal level is most certainly good. From the perspective of our species, of course survival of our species is good. From a removed perspective, survival on the species level can be classified as neither good nor evil as we understand them, since without humanity good and evil cease to exist as far as any human is concerned. "As far as any human is concerned" is the only way good and evil can possibly make sense or be of any importance to any human.

hello wrote:
Can these questions be answered empirically or logically? Can one provide a logical argument that survival of the human species is better than the alternative?

Maybe.

From whose perspective?


hello wrote:
If we can't, does that have implications for a system of morals based on this end? For example, if someone shot a fellow just for the hell of it, would we in prosecuting him have the burden of proving that survival of the human species is a good thing?

It is unimportant if survival of the human species is a good thing as seen from the perspective of, say, the moon. As a matter of fact, since these morals based in nature have developed with the need for survival as their primary cause, without survival these nature based morals are completely irrelevant; non-existent even.

They are objective human morals based in nature. Without humans, human morals can no longer exist whether objective and based in nature or not.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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I may not be asking the

I may not be asking the correct way or not understanding the answer, but I am not interested in debating the what all the old testament means, as I am not qualified to do so, I’m sure if you are really interested St. Michael could help with that since he has probably studied that.  My question lies with how we know we are doing the “right thing” if there is nothing higher than ourselves.  How can we condemn the actions of anyone?  What if in the future we find out that we should have killed more people, or the only way that we will survive the next big extinction is to kill anyone weak.  


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20vturbo wrote: I may not

20vturbo wrote:

I may not be asking the correct way or not understanding the answer, but I am not interested in debating the what all the old testament means, as I am not qualified to do so, I’m sure if you are really interested St. Michael could help with that since he has probably studied that.  My question lies with how we know we are doing the “right thing” if there is nothing higher than ourselves.  How can we condemn the actions of anyone?  What if in the future we find out that we should have killed more people, or the only way that we will survive the next big extinction is to kill anyone weak.  

We are social beings and so we have developed a moral code among ourselves that the individuals in the group must follow or else they get kicked out from the group. Many social animals have this kind of moral code. Wolves, lions, goats etc etc etc. Humans and chimps too. Some of these are originally "might makes right" or "Do as I say because I have the power to break your neck if you do not" but as humans have developed democracy and morality and ethics we have generally recognized that "might makes right" is not always the best method. However, you can still find it here and there in human societies also but we generally recognize that it is a bad thing and try to change it when we recognize it.

We should strive to make this place a happy place for all people and to live in harmony with nature and blah blah blah. This includes that we should not cause other species to go extinct or wreck havoc on earth. It also includes that we should strive to learn more about nature and the world around us. Science has been a great boon to human civilization for the last few centuries where it has been active. I think it has proven its worth and if we could put more money in science and less into military I think it would be a good thing overall.

What we do not need more of in this world is superstitious religious nuts who want to introduce ID in school and fly airplanes into buildings and blow themselves and innocent people around them to pieces because they believe they can get to heaven that way.

No need for god in any form of moral. Gods just makes morality more muddy and unclear.

Moral is easy:
- Don't take or inflict damage to anything that is not yours
- Don't harm other humans or animals.

What else is there really?
Religion adds a whole lot of other crap that is not needed.

God had no time to create time.


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20vturbo wrote:  This is

20vturbo wrote:
 This is almost back to my original question.  I don't doubt that you can have morals without God, however the "goodness" of that moral is only an opinion.  Without a higher power it seems that there is nothing but fallible human opinion.  Do we base what is “right” on what most people think?  Do we base it on who is strongest?  What makes your morals any better than Hitler’s?   By 'your' I don’t mean yours personally, I am not trying to say anyone is bad or good but just trying to understand an what Atheist believe.

Well, I can't speak for atheists, but as for myself, this is what I've been explaining in my posts. There is no such thing as my morals and Hitler's morals, or Mother Theresa's morals and Papa Doc's morals. Hitler had the same morals I do, he merely made justifications to commit the acts he commited.

Morals are not opinion. Do you know what's right and wrong? I would bet that it is very similar to what anyone else you ask thinks is right or wrong. No two people will have the exact same idea of what is right and wrong unless they have been indoctrinated to follow a certain rigid code. This is because people have intelligence which allows them to consider morals and justify actions. But, because people are all humans, they all have similar morals.

Of course there is nothing, no god with a promise of heaven and threat of hell to make people adhere to natural morals, or to keep them from finding ways to justify mass murder or genocide within morals, but for most people this is not the way they choose to live, or are genetically predisposed to live (depending on whether one goes with nature or nuture).

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Based on the two above

Based on the two above replies it seems that there is no real way to decide what truly is right or wrong other than opinions.  One of them says that what we absolutely don't need "is superstitious religious nuts who want to introduce ID in school and fly airplanes into buildings and blow themselves and innocent people around them to pieces because they believe they can get to heaven that way."  (I agree) but what if the God that the terrorist believe in exists?  Lets even assume that "nothing happens when you die"  (- Dane Cook hilarious!) then all we have to determine what is right or wrong is your opinion vs. mine.  Do we value all humans as equal?  Why when we are clearly not equal?  If we do then we can't say Hitler was "bad" or mother Teresa was “good.”   Or if we place different values on humans then we would have to open a whole other can of worms. 


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Maybe your religion would

Maybe your religion would be your morals. I doubt it would be the morals of most people. Did people behave this way prior to becoming christian? Maybe some people were criminals etc before and then upon converting to christianity changed their life around, but in general most people did not behave in that way prior to becoming christians.

For example in old days in Norway people were heathen. However, they had a very strong moral. For example a word was a word. Whenever someone said something, you could trust them on their word. Norway became christiean around 1000 years ago and people still behaved in that manner. Even when becoming christian they considered a word is a word. They had nothing but contempt for people who were cheaters and liars. It wasn't until around 1500 that we have historical records of people losing rights and other things because they were contronted with people from a differnet culture where cheating and lying was acceptable if it was to achieve a goal. By that time of course both sides were deeply religious. The people from the cities just didn't consider being very truthful to be very important trait if it suited their purpose to be false.

So, it is possible that you would adopt this morality as you describe above as your morality. People would string you up and put you in place pretty fast. I doubt many people like that would get offsprings who they could teach to live in like manner. Darwin would take over and only those who taught their children to be truthful would get many offsprings.

Morality is something that has evolved from the fact that we live together in societies. It is not something that comes from an invisible being that we cannot see hear or touch.

God had no time to create time.


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20vturbo wrote: Based on

20vturbo wrote:
Based on the two above replies it seems that there is no real way to decide what truly is right or wrong other than opinions.

Is that what you got from my posts in this thread? Wow! I did write in English didn't I?

  

20vturbo wrote:
Do we value all humans as equal?  Why when we are clearly not equal?  If we do then we can't say Hitler was "bad" or mother Teresa was “good.”

Yes.

Because we are in many ways, and we all have just as much right as any other to existence. Whether that is no right or every right is unimportant. We have equal right and that says that each should be respected as equal.

Sure we can. Why would we not be able to? 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Then does that mean that you

Then does that mean that you would agree that we can't say Hitler was truely wrong? 


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20vturbo wrote:Then does

20vturbo wrote:
Then does that mean that you would agree that we can't say Hitler was truely wrong? 
My point is that people who thinks that ends justify the means are, I think, invariably people who are in danger of becoming "evil" no matter how good intentions they may have from the start.

 I don't think Adolph Hitler was a particularly evil person when he was young. However, he did turn out to do some very evil things when he got in power precisely because he thought that the ends justified the means.

Same goes for ever other evil-doer to use GWB's phrase. Whether it is Usama Bin Laden or GWB himself or anyone else for that matter - the moment they think that ends justifies the means is the moment when they are in serious danger of comitting deeds that we generally consider "evil".

God had no time to create time.


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Vessel wrote: Is that what

Vessel wrote:

Is that what you got from my posts in this thread? Wow! I did write in English didn't I?

Sorry if thats not what I was supposed to get out of it, I will have to re-read 

Vessel wrote:

Yes.

Because we are in many ways, and we all have just as much right as any other to existence. Whether that is no right or every right is unimportant. We have equal right and that says that each should be respected as equal.

Sure we can. Why would we not be able to?

 

But isn't all of this just your opinion, wouldn't it make since to let the most intellegent people make the rules?   


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Pikachu wrote: 20vturbo

Pikachu wrote:

20vturbo wrote:
Then does that mean that you would agree that we can't say Hitler was truely wrong?
My point is that people who thinks that ends justify the means are, I think, invariably people who are in danger of becoming "evil" no matter how good intentions they may have from the start.

I don't think Adolph Hitler was a particularly evil person when he was young. However, he did turn out to do some very evil things when he got in power precisely because he thought that the ends justified the means.

Same goes for ever other evil-doer to use GWB's phrase. Whether it is Usama Bin Laden or GWB himself or anyone else for that matter - the moment they think that ends justifies the means is the moment when they are in serious danger of comitting deeds that we generally consider "evil".

 

But it seems like it is only our opinion that the things Hitler did was bad.  What if we find out later that if he wouldn't have had all of those people killed the world would be somehow worse off?  Once we discovered that it changed the way the majority of the population thought of Hitler.  Now with the majority of the population thinking it was ok for Hitler to kill all of those people would it change the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the action itself?  I of course in no way think what happened was right.  I do think that Hitler's actions were a tragedy, however I base that on what I believe as religious morals that would not change regardless of the majority.

 


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20vturbo wrote:Sorry if

20vturbo wrote:
Sorry if thats not what I was supposed to get out of it, I will have to re-read

It wasn't. What I've been trying to explain is that we have morals that are more than mere opinions, that there are things that are, using the common terms, good or bad for a society of humans. On top of that however, it is up to each to decide how they act, if they kill or don't kill, steal or don't steal. It is no different than if your god gave us morals in that even then there is nothing saying we have to live by them.  

20vturbo wrote:
But isn't all of this just your opinion, wouldn't it make since to let the most intellegent people make the rules?

Isn't a god existing just your opinion? See you can ask this question of anything and since all you have to answer with is the thoughts from your own mind, how do you answer such a question? You can't answer from anything other than a human perspective using your human senses and what you have learned through personal human experience. It is impossible for a human to do anything else whether a god were to exist or not.

As to whether or not we let the most intelligent make the rules, well, that depends. It seems to be a sound idea as long as the intelligent person has a level of altruism we find acceptable, We also want to have our own say in the matter so that our interests are seen to, etc.. There is much more than intelligence that is required to make a good leader. I think that aside from the anomally of the current U.S. president, humans normally do try to put people of above average intelligence into positions of power.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: Is that what

Vessel wrote:

Is that what you got from my posts in this thread? Wow! I did write in English didn't I?

Vessel wrote:

No two people will have the exact same idea of what is right and wrong unless they have been indoctrinated to follow a certain rigid code.

 

Sorry, this is why I thought you were agreeing that all we have are opinions when you get down to it.

Vessel wrote:

Hitler had the same morals I do, he merely made justifications to commit the acts he commited.

can you explain this further? are you refering to the norms of the time?


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20vturbo wrote: Pikachu

20vturbo wrote:
Pikachu wrote:

20vturbo wrote:
Then does that mean that you would agree that we can't say Hitler was truely wrong?
My point is that people who thinks that ends justify the means are, I think, invariably people who are in danger of becoming "evil" no matter how good intentions they may have from the start.

I don't think Adolph Hitler was a particularly evil person when he was young. However, he did turn out to do some very evil things when he got in power precisely because he thought that the ends justified the means.

Same goes for ever other evil-doer to use GWB's phrase. Whether it is Usama Bin Laden or GWB himself or anyone else for that matter - the moment they think that ends justifies the means is the moment when they are in serious danger of comitting deeds that we generally consider "evil".

 

But it seems like it is only our opinion that the things Hitler did was bad.  What if we find out later that if he wouldn't have had all of those people killed the world would be somehow worse off?  Once we discovered that it changed the way the majority of the population thought of Hitler.  Now with the majority of the population thinking it was ok for Hitler to kill all of those people would it change the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the action itself?  I of course in no way think what happened was right.  I do think that Hitler's actions were a tragedy, however I base that on what I believe as religious morals that would not change regardless of the majority.

I am qualified because history has shown us time and again that people who thinks that the ends justifies the means NEVER lead us to anything good. They ALWAYS ends up corrupted and bad. Hitler for example is a good example of this. Do you think he was born evil? No, but he thought that the ends justifies the means. The ends was a good Germany and if that meant to let some jews and other people suffer, then so be it.

You think the same way, you say the end is a good life with god in heaven. If that means we have to accept some suffering and evil today then so be it.

This line of thinking is inherently evil and no good will lead from it. That is my opinion and even if I cannot see the future and even if I am not infallible I can still see this and thus judge your god based on this and conclude that if this is the reason why we have to accept suffering and evil today then he is evil.

God had no time to create time.


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Vessel wrote:

Vessel wrote:

It wasn't. What I've been trying to explain is that we have morals that are more than mere opinions, that there are things that are, using the common terms, good or bad for a society of humans.

 

But social norms are always changing and different, In my opinion right would always have to be right and wrong would always have to be wrong? 

 

Vessel wrote:

Isn't a god existing just your opinion? See you can ask this question of anything and since all you have to answer with is the thoughts from your own mind, how do you answer such a question? You can't answer from anything other than a human perspective using your human senses and what you have learned through personal human experience. It is impossible for a human to do anything else whether a god were to exist or not.

Of course the existence of God is my opinion, however if it is correct and there is a God then there is an unchanging right and wrong that are not opinions.  If not then it was just another opinion like everyone else’s.

 


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Pikachu wrote:   You think

Pikachu wrote:
 

You think the same way, you say the end is a good life with god in heaven. If that means we have to accept some suffering and evil today then so be it.


can you explain? 


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20vturbo wrote: But social

20vturbo wrote:
But social norms are always changing and different, In my opinion right would always have to be right and wrong would always have to be wrong?
 

 

It has nothing to do with social norms. A human Killing another human for the sake of enjoyment is never a good thing for a human society. This will always be bad, no matter what the societal norms might deem it to be. Giving to help those in need will always be a good thing for a human society, no matter what the societal norms might deem it to be. One creates a situation in which if everyone killed for fun, the society would soon be extinct. The other creates a situation where humans can feel secure in the knowledge that, were they in a similar situation, they would be responded to in kind. This creates a close knit, secure society. 

20vturbo wrote:
Of course the existence of God is my opinion, however if it is correct and there is a God then there is an unchanging right and wrong that are not opinions.  If not then it was just another opinion like everyone else’s.

Since a god is not required for an unchanging right and wrong, it is no reason to hold an opinion that there is a god. Even if it were true there could not be right and wrong without a god, it still would not be a reason to hold an opinion that there is one. It might be a reason to wish that there was one, but not a reason to hold an opinion that there was one.  

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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20vturbo wrote: Pikachu

20vturbo wrote:
Pikachu wrote:
 

You think the same way, you say the end is a good life with god in heaven. If that means we have to accept some suffering and evil today then so be it.


can you explain? 
if you say that we have to suffer evil now in order to get a greater good tomorrow you are into that "ends justifies the means" thinking - which is in and of itself alltogether evil. Your god is evil. We have already established that. A good god would never put humanity into that kind of dilemma, he would never declare that the ends justifies the means and that you therefore have to suffer some evil now in order to get greater good later.

God had no time to create time.


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Vessel wrote:   It has

Vessel wrote:
 

It has nothing to do with social norms. A human Killing another human for the sake of enjoyment is never a good thing for a human society. This will always be bad, no matter what the societal norms might deem it to be. Giving to help those in need will always be a good thing for a human society, no matter what the societal norms might deem it to be. One creates a situation in which if everyone killed for fun, the society would soon be extinct. The other creates a situation where humans can feel secure in the knowledge that, were they in a similar situation, they would be responded to in kind. This creates a close knit, secure society.

 

But that is only one point on morality, what about killing for what is believed to be the good of humanity, or any of the other hundreds of situations.