Absolute Morals: Fernandez vs. Barker

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Absolute Morals: Fernandez vs. Barker

To summarize: "Do we have any basis for saying that rape is wrong in all cultures in all times?"

Please read carefully...

I was listening to a discussion between Reginald Finley and Phil Fernandez on an episode of the Infidel Guy radio show. Phil Fernandez is an outspoken Christian doctoral recipient from Liberty University (if that counts). He is also a young earth creationist and an evangelist of sorts.

Fernandez, on the show, referred to a debate between Dan Barker and himself. Dan Barker is an atheist who had been a former evangleist minister. Dan Barker engages in all sorts of debates with Christians, and he's one of my favorites to listen to.

I've heard some of the debate between Barker and Fernandez, but I can't recall the part discussed by Fernandez.

Using some bravado and self-aggrandisement, Fernandez claimed that in the debate, he asked Barker the question I posed earlier, "Do we have any basis for saying that rape is wrong in all cultures in all times?"

Fernandez then claimed that Barker replied no. Fernandez claims that Barker "knows that you can't have absolute morals without and absolute moral law giver."

======

I have three important responses to this.

1. Theists are obsessed with a kind of reasoning in which they claim that without theism, our day-to-day lives will be riddled with all sorts of problems because theism conveniently answers difficult questions. Another way to put it is that atheism entails dire consequences, so we should reject atheism. They argue this both with respect to "absolute morals" and life after death in Pascal's Wager. This is fallacious reasoning, as most people can realize without much prodding. Beliefs that make you happy and comforted are not true simply because they make you happy and comforted. The truth of propositions has nothing to do with how it makes you feel and everything to do with the evidence.

2. That said, I would answer Fernandez question in another way.

"Is rape wrong in every culture at all times?"

I would answer, "I don't know."

This sounds like a very poor answer on my part, but think deeper.

The fact that I say, "I don't know," leads to several important points. Firstly, it means that I acknowledge the difficulty of the question, BUT I do not simply answer the question pretending to know the answer when I don't. Secondly, it leaves open the possibility that there is an absolute basis for morality that does NOT necessitate a intelligent sentient being as the "absolute law giver". Fernandez WRONGLY assumes that an "absolute law giver" is necessary for absolute ethics. Perhaps there is a natural means by which to support absolute objective ethics. Thirdly, answering with ignorance means that we don't construct imaginary or false responses entailing a deity or "absolute moral law giver" to save us from ambiguity and suppose something is outside our epistemic boundaries. Fourthly, it is an honest answer. Philosophers have been arguing about ethics for thousands of years with little progress. The reason we don't have a good answer about ethics, I think, is because it IS so subjective and ambiguous. Consider that we evolved from animals with primitive sentience and limited consciousness into magnificently intelligent beings who have the ability to ponder our own existence. There was no instruction booklet on morals, and we've had to figure them out and codify them ourselves. It's not easy! It's taken tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years to make progress on the philosophical problems of ethics. Claiming that God is a solution is a cop-out and an imaginary band-aid for a wound or problem that can never be healed unless we take the band-aid away and really try to accept this monumental philosophical problem for what it is.

3. I humbly propose that reason and evolution serve as objective bases for ethics. I would ask Fernandez, "Can you name any possible circumstance when rape WOULD be considered acceptable?" There is none I can think of. I suppose you have polygamists and some ancient cultures where sexual slavery was legal... But I think reason shows such practices wrong on the basis of infliction of harm to innocent people based on lack of consent. And I think sex is a special case when consent is necessary in all cases. I'm not going to get into ages... For in ancient times, I'm sure the age for consensual sex was lower, which could correlate with shorter life expectancy. This is why I also invoked evolution as a part of ethics.

And off the point, I think it's interesting that I can think of NO case when rape would be acceptable, whereas I can think of cases when assault or killing would be justified in matters of self defense or utilitarian defense. It's interesting to me that really no exceptions to the anti-rape statute can be thought of.

And why is "Thou shalt not rape" in the ten commandments. You'd think that would be a whole lot more important than coveting your neighbor's goods or donkey. And the adultery line has nothing to do with rape. Adultery is not an umbrella term for all things sexual, even though catholics might like to think so.

In sum, I don't know if I can come up with an absolute basis for rape being impermissible in all cases, but I'm not going to lie and say that there is by positing an imaginary friend who gave me an imaginary list or lie by saying there isn't and allow the theist to make assumptions about the necessity of an "absolute law giver" and give him ground that he doesn't deserve.

Nonetheless, I highly doubt that Fernandez was quoting Barker in a fair and accurate way.

 

 

 


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Ever read the white plague?

Ever read the white plague? All women die off from a disease, men are all that's left is the premise.  Nevermind how it ends, lets just imagine that there's suddenly a shortage of women.  Lets also assume that due to the situation artificial insemination is not an option for 'whatever' reason.

Now you have a group of women, and plenty of men.  The women though, unfortunatly, were primitive and do not speak english.  It's difficult to reason with people that you can't communicate with and due to the circumstances that they were raised in they might be a bit like a tribal women with no education.

So, do you spend years trying to educate the women so that you can explain the situation and get them to agree to sex? Do you only produce children from 1 man? Or do you get the woman to produce many children from many fathers?

To sustain the species it would in these circumstances it would seem to me that rape could be considered a moral thing to do. 


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Quote: He is also a young

Quote:
He is also a young earth creationist and an evangelist of sorts.

Fernandes says he's leaning towards old earth in the debate. This is one of the better debates I've listened to.

Here's the link to the video of the debate.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1879356004848236265


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    The idea of absolute

    The idea of absolute morals only works if it applies to all humanity, and not to tribe like groups. Most cultures (I really don't know if this applies to all, nor if all don't view rape ok in some form) view rape within their culture/tribe as wrong, but outside of it, another culture/tribe it is fine (as this is shown many times of the hebrews taking other women for their own pleasures after conquering another tribe/nation, vikings, japanese during WWII and various other tribes/nations have done this at one point or another) Same applies for thou shalt not kill, it really only works in the bible for thou shalt not kill another jew. Absolute morals really aren't that absolute, they vary depending the situation, they work for the tribe, but generally don't apply outside of it. Hopefully this makes some sense


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Quote: The idea of

Quote:

The idea of absolute morals only works if it applies to all humanity, and not to tribe like groups. Most cultures (I really don't know if this applies to all, nor if all don't view rape ok in some form) view rape within their culture/tribe as wrong, but outside of it, another culture/tribe it is fine (as this is shown many times of the hebrews taking other women for their own pleasures after conquering another tribe/nation, vikings, japanese during WWII and various other tribes/nations have done this at one point or another) Same applies for thou shalt not kill, it really only works in the bible for thou shalt not kill another jew. Absolute morals really aren't that absolute, they vary depending the situation, they work for the tribe, but generally don't apply outside of it. Hopefully this makes some sense

 this, more than anything else prooves to me that morals are the result of evolution rather than divine laws. Any tribe that could trust eachother would be a more productive group than one where you constantly risk rape and theft from other members, but there's no need to be nice to other tribes, in fact there's advantage in not being nice to other tribes.

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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I remember reading this. Dan

I remember reading this. Dan Barker gave as a possibility evil aliens invading, and planning to torture every human being to death, unless someone rapes a woman - in that case, rape would be the lesser of 2 evils (he said he couldn't come up with a realistic scenario where rape would be moral.)

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http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theis

If such a scenario like this were to exist I doubt there would be any need to explaine the situation.  Any woman regardless of knowledge or speaking a different language would soon realize she and her peers are in the minority. 

Many times women who are raped or gang raped will try to commit suicide and without therapy tohelp them survive they most likely would succeed at commiting suicide, especially when raped over and over again only to produce babies.   

Is it wrong in all cutlures yes of course it is.  Rape is an act of violence.  It has nothing to do with reproducing and look at the trauma it causes the woman.  Look at what might happen to the rapist if she can identify him.  I tend to think a husband if any or brother, father would seek revenge and kill the sob.  Just because a culture may or does accept it doesn't mean it's right.  It not only damages, traumatizes the woman but also other women in the area and of course those who love the women.   We have evolved to behave as normal thinking, behaving human beings.  We are not dumb animals looking to reproduce with any woman available. 


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doctoro wrote: 1. Theists

doctoro wrote:

1. Theists are obsessed with a kind of reasoning in which they claim that without theism, our day-to-day lives will be riddled with all sorts of problems because theism conveniently answers difficult questions. Another way to put it is that atheism entails dire consequences, so we should reject atheism.


I might be projecting my own sophistication onto them here, but I'd give them a little more credit than this. I see it as more of a transcendental argument:
1) God is the only way to explain ethics.
2) So if you believe in an ethical code then it logically follows that there is a 'law maker' who designed this code.
3) You do have a moral standard of sorts. (applies to most people anyway! Eye-wink)
Conclucsion) It is inconsistent of you to not believe in God.

Ofcourse, the first premise is bollocks, but it's still valid approach to arguing rather than an appeal to consequences.

I agree with you that morals can be given a naturalistic explanation.
You might already be familiar, but here's a book that goes through the various contemporary positions. Railton's naturalistic realism looks very promising to me.

Quote:

I humbly propose that reason and evolution serve as objective bases for ethics.


I don't see how evolution could serve as a base because evolution has no bearing on our normativity whatsoever. At most it can explain how our normativity came to be.
I'd start with human nature, (which is perhaps what you were thinking of when you said evolution) how we all have needs and desires and how a moral code would be instrumental to them.


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Strafio wrote:

Strafio wrote:
doctoro wrote:

1. Theists are obsessed with a kind of reasoning in which they claim that without theism, our day-to-day lives will be riddled with all sorts of problems because theism conveniently answers difficult questions. Another way to put it is that atheism entails dire consequences, so we should reject atheism.


I might be projecting my own sophistication onto them here, but I'd give them a little more credit than this. I see it as more of a transcendental argument: 1) God is the only way to explain ethics. 2) So if you believe in an ethical code then it logically follows that there is a 'law maker' who designed this code. 3) You do have a moral standard of sorts. (applies to most people anyway! Eye-wink) Conclucsion) It is inconsistent of you to not believe in God. Ofcourse, the first premise is bollocks, but it's still valid approach to arguing rather than an appeal to consequences.

I agree. It's a valid argument, just not sound.

Although many theists (most I've spoken with) do in fact argue from negative consequences. You see this when they say things like... 'where do you get your morals if not from god'; 'how do you know what is good and bad'; and 'if I didn't believe in god I'd have no reason to be good'. They indirectly imply that god is required for morality and without god they can do what they like.

Strafio wrote:
doctoro wrote:
I humbly propose that reason and evolution serve as objective bases for ethics.

I don't see how evolution could serve as a base because evolution has no bearing on our normativity whatsoever. At most it can explain how our normativity came to be. I'd start with human nature, (which is perhaps what you were thinking of when you said evolution) how we all have needs and desires and how a moral code would be instrumental to them.

Of course evolution played a role in the development in morality/ethics. Societies that get a long tend to be better societie, so you'd expect evolution to favour traits that acheived such a society.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Here the original Infidel

Here the original Infidel Guy thread where this topic was discussed:

 

Here


doctoro
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. wrote:


. wrote:
Although many theists (most I've spoken with) do in fact argue from negative consequences. You see this when they say things like... 'where do you get your morals if not from god'; 'how do you know what is good and bad'; and 'if I didn't believe in god I'd have no reason to be good'. They indirectly imply that god is required for morality and without god they can do what they like.

Well, here's the point:

EVEN IF there are no morals, so what? It's still dire consequences, not good logic. If I concede that there are no morals, my emotions are indifferent to that predicament. It would simply be a fact of life. If there is no metaphysical or epistemic existence of the concept of a "moral", then that's it... It simply wouldn't exist. I believe that there ARE morals, and that we can have some basis for them, but that it isn't God. Even if this isn't the case, the truth of having no such thing as a moral would just be a fact we needed to accept. We could create subjective morals or even pretend there were absolute ones, and then it would be another matter. I'm comfortable with subjective morals. I don't see why it's such a puzzling conundrum that threatens to make a theist's brain explode.

If we require God for objective morals, so what? That's just setting a condition for the ontological existence of objective morals. If morals are not objective, the consequence is that we move on and stop lying to ourselves. If a theist says to me, "we need God for absolute morals," I'd tell him, "I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are no absolute morals. Next argument?"

The problem is that after a response like this, they get into emotional appeals creating scenarios designed to tug at your heartstrings and not your reason.

I accept the non-existence of an afterlife, and at first, that was rather brutal. But now that I accept it as fact, there can't be any emotionalism or pining for it.

As Epictetus once said:


"Nature acts without intent,
so cannot be described
as acting with benevolence,
nor malevolence to any thin."

 Nature does not contrive abstract concepts just to make humans happy.  Humans make up their own abstract concepts to order their world and keept the peace.


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Topher wrote:

Topher wrote:

Here the original Infidel Guy thread where this topic was discussed:

 

Here

I thought this thread looked familiar.

The theist argument contradicts itself all over the place....

1) Nothing would be necessary in a world contingent upon an omnipotent creator, working through pure fiat

2) Theists themselves defend the more eggregiuos behavior in the OT by arguing "context!". Context is precisely the issue that relativists cite in arguing against absolutism.

3) Theists have moral standards at odds with the bible: they consider people to be moral agents, despite the fact that the bible holds this to be impossible. They consider context, and reject an absolute reading of the book of Leviticus, or even an absolute reading of the supposed '10' commandents. Finally while the bible imlies that all moral acts are identical - they all incur the same punishemnt, no christian acts as if murder is equitable with stealing a pencil.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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doctoro wrote: EVEN IF

doctoro wrote:
EVEN IF there are no morals, so what? It's still dire consequences, not good logic.

Precisely. But since public debates are held before crowds of ignoramouses, conceding this publically sounds like you're rejecting morality altogether, because it gets in the way of your desire to rape the daughter of everyone in the room. 

So it's a rhetorical ploy. You're supposed to blanche at the thought of no morals.

Quote:
 

 If we require God for objective morals, so what?

The problem is that you can't build a case for objective morality on a god. First, the term is meaningless.

Second, anything that exists in such a world would only exist contingent upon that "x", so we could not have any absolutes at all.

Third, there could be no 'reason' behind moral absolutes, -  this 'god' would be responsible for the existence of the reason to begin with. 

I.e. the euhthyphro dilemma. No theist has ever answered it. 

 

Quote:

That's just setting a condition for the ontological existence of objective morals. If morals are not objective, the consequence is that we move on and stop lying to ourselves. If a theist says to me, "we need God for absolute morals," I'd tell him, "I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are no absolute morals. Next argument?"

Right. 

Quote:
 

As Epictetus once said:


"Nature acts without intent,
so cannot be described
as acting with benevolence,
nor malevolence to any thin."

Nature does not contrive abstract concepts just to make humans happy. Humans make up their own abstract concepts to order their world and keept the peace.

Nice. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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doctoro wrote: .

doctoro wrote:

. wrote:
Although many theists (most I've spoken with) do in fact argue from negative consequences. You see this when they say things like... 'where do you get your morals if not from god'; 'how do you know what is good and bad'; and 'if I didn't believe in god I'd have no reason to be good'. They indirectly imply that god is required for morality and without god they can do what they like.

Well, here's the point:

EVEN IF there are no morals, so what? It's still dire consequences, not good logic. If I concede that there are no morals, my emotions are indifferent to that predicament. It would simply be a fact of life. If there is no metaphysical or epistemic existence of the concept of a "moral", then that's it... It simply wouldn't exist. I believe that there ARE morals, and that we can have some basis for them, but that it isn't God. Even if this isn't the case, the truth of having no such thing as a moral would just be a fact we needed to accept. We could create subjective morals or even pretend there were absolute ones, and then it would be another matter. I'm comfortable with subjective morals. I don't see why it's such a puzzling conundrum that threatens to make a theist's brain explode.

If we require God for objective morals, so what? That's just setting a condition for the ontological existence of objective morals. If morals are not objective, the consequence is that we move on and stop lying to ourselves. If a theist says to me, "we need God for absolute morals," I'd tell him, "I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are no absolute morals. Next argument?"

The problem is that after a response like this, they get into emotional appeals creating scenarios designed to tug at your heartstrings and not your reason.

I accept the non-existence of an afterlife, and at first, that was rather brutal. But now that I accept it as fact, there can't be any emotionalism or pining for it.

As Epictetus once said:


"Nature acts without intent,
so cannot be described
as acting with benevolence,
nor malevolence to any thin."

Nature does not contrive abstract concepts just to make humans happy. Humans make up their own abstract concepts to order their world and keept the peace.

Objective morality cannot exist, god or not god.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote: Objective

Topher wrote:

Objective morality cannot exist, god or not god.

I don't even see how it's possible to have morality at all in the christian worldview. The bible holds that man is NOT capable of being a moral agent, he is corrupt from birth. The bible rejects holds that all immoral acts are identical in that they all lead to the same punishment: eternal torture. 

All one can do is concede their worthlessness and undeservedly, beg succor.

Christianity is not a moral system, it is a rejection of the very idea that man can have any morals at all. It is the acceptance that man is worthless and that man can only beg for salvation.

It is a system of prudence, not morality. If christianity is true, it is merely prudent to concede worthlessness and beg for salvation. 

A theist must steal his morals from secular sources. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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todangst wrote: Topher

todangst wrote:
Topher wrote:

Objective morality cannot exist, god or not god.

I don't even see how it's possible to have morality at all in the christian worldview. The bible holds that man is NOT capable of being a moral agent, he is corrupt from birth. The bible rejects holds that all immoral acts are identical in that they all lead to the same punishment: eternal torture.

All one can do is concede their worthlessness and undeservedly, beg succor.

Christianity is not a moral system, it is a rejection of the very idea that man can have any morals at all. It is the acceptance that man is worthless and that man can only beg for salvation.

It is a system of prudence, not morality. If christianity is true, it is merely prudent to concede worthlessness and beg for salvation.

A theist must steal his morals from secular sources.

So you could say that if the Christian really believed what they say they believe they would be amoral, since acting out of fear or hope is not moral at all.

Clearly they get their morality from the same 'place' everyone else does, they just credit their religion/god for it. They take their own pre-existing views/opinions/desires (liberal, moderate, extremist etc) and just search their holy book to support it, while simultaneously rejecting the diffrent views of the next theist who is doing exactly the same thing!

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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absolute morals

Todangst I see what you mean.  The bible does say man is not moral and man is worthless.  But the problem IMO is the christians while they will agree also think man must strive to be moral in thier gods eyes.    To them man is worthless and not worthy of the gods forgivness for being immoral, but the god loves them so much it died for them. LOL.  they never think the god set it so man couldn't be moral according to the bible.  I just don't get why they take the blame of being immoral from the god and then at the same time blame the satan. `~`

Also they don't see while all men are immoral will go to eternal torture.  They see only those who don't accept the christ will. 

Stealing morals from secular sources that's good.  But they don't see that either.  they think all morals, all the don'ts such as adultery, murder, lieing, no sex with relatives, in laws and anyone other than the spouse,  etc etc. came from the bible.  To them it was re-inforced by the jesus, which was originally from the Abraham who supposedly got it from the god. 

They think the secular world got it from the bible from all the way back to the torah and the bible.   


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Topher wrote:

Topher wrote:

So you could say that if the Christian really believed what they say they believe they would be amoral, since acting out of fear or hope is not moral at all.

I'm saying, let's take the theist at his word. Consider Ray Comfort. He tells us that all people are liars, thieves, adulterers.... we are lost. Unable to be good. Unable to be moral agents.

Well then, how can you go on to discuss christian morality? You've just told me it's an oxymoron.


Quote:

Clearly they get their morality from the same 'place' everyone else does, they just credit their religion/god for it.

Right. Let's take old Ray again. Here's a series of questions I'd like to ask him.

Ray: Who would you trust more, a christian you never met, or your wife?

(To be consistent, he'd have to say: it makes no difference.)

But in reality, he'd say "My wife"

And in doing so, he'd cut the legs out from his claim. He'd be conceding that some people are more trustworthy than others, and in doing so, he'd refute his own claim that all people are equally morally bankrupt.

So clearly, he doesn't follow his own 'moral system' at all.  Clearly, he DOES presume that people are moral agents, some people are more trustworthy than others. In addition, he'd likely tell you that rape is a 'worse' offense than 'stealing a pencil' but he can't possibly explain how it would be a worse offense 'to god' seeing as he holds that 'all sin separates us from god'

So again, he'd have to take recourse to secular morality, where we place moral acts in a hierarchy, based on human need. 

So yes, he, and all theists, steal from secular morality with every breath. What else can they do? 

Quote:

They take their own pre-existing views/opinions/desires (liberal, moderate, extremist etc) and just search their holy book to support it, while simultaneously rejecting the diffrent views of the next theist who is doing exactly the same thing!

Yes, you're already ahead of me.

I write about this here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_self_refuting_nature_of_hermeneutics

Quote:

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Laugh to you cry, and then cry till you laugh again, because in the end, it's all a joke: no theist really buys into theism, they buy into their own narcissism and hide from that by projecting it out onto a 'god'.

Ever notice how everyone's 'god' is just like them?

Ignorant people have an angry god that will burn all the people smarter than they are...

Philosophers have philosophical gods... mystics have their negative theology... and so on....

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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brights wrote: Todangst I

brights wrote:

Todangst I see what you mean. The bible does say man is not moral and man is worthless. But the problem IMO is the christians while they will agree also think man must strive to be moral in thier gods eyes. To them man is worthless and not worthy of the gods forgivness for being immoral, but the god loves them so much it died for them. LOL. they never think the god set it so man couldn't be moral according to the bible.


Precisely. We can call this the Panglossian error. It is the belief that our world is a given, while there is also an omnipotent creator. But if there is an omnipotent creator, then our world cannot be a given, anything that exists only exists contingently upon this god.

So once you see this error, you realize that you can't appeal to anything or any reason, for why 'god' isn't perfectly responsible for his own creation.

Quote:

I just don't get why they take the blame of being immoral from the god and then at the same time blame the satan. `~

I'd blame the Panglossian error, but at the same time, they have no choice but to run from the problem in some fashion.

It's also clear that moral systems predate the bible... i.e. Hammurabi's code for example. Human society could not form without some basic moral principles, in fact, you probably couldn't get a good chimp clan going without some basic moral principles: i.e. no incest, etc.

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todangst wrote:

todangst wrote:
I don't even see how it's possible to have morality at all in the christian worldview. The bible holds that man is NOT capable of being a moral agent, he is corrupt from birth. The bible rejects holds that all immoral acts are identical in that they all lead to the same punishment: eternal torture.

All one can do is concede their worthlessness and undeservedly, beg succor.

Christianity is not a moral system, it is a rejection of the very idea that man can have any morals at all. It is the acceptance that man is worthless and that man can only beg for salvation.

Thanks for your contribution to the topic todangst. I may not respond to all, but you have some great insights in this thread. Sorry for the brown-nosing.

I was going to add a point here.

I just recently came into a theist in the stickam chatroom who was advocating a peculiar brand of Calvinism based on the "Westminster Confession of Faith". Perhaps you're more familiar with Calvinism than me. I don't spend much time on specific theologies because, to use an analogy, arguing over the minutia properties of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy seems like a waste of time.

But upon researching Calvinism, it appears that there is absolutely no room for morality whatsoever in their theology. They essentially believe in predestination of salvation or damnation. So nothing you can do in your life will avert damnation if you are fated to be damned. I scarcely see the point of living or acting morally in such a case.

Believing in predestined salvation takes away the ONLY possible means for a morality in christianity: punishment and reward. Granted, I think this is a terrible moral base. As a secularist, I believe in doing good for its own sake.

If you thought Christians in general are amoral, it would be interesting to hear your take on Calvinism, since it seems to be one of the most bizarre theologies I've ever encountered. I think Mormons have more of their shit together than Presbyterians!


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doctoro wrote: Well,

doctoro wrote:

Well, here's the point:

EVEN IF there are no morals, so what? It's still dire consequences, not good logic. If I concede that there are no morals, my emotions are indifferent to that predicament. It would simply be a fact of life.


My point was that the argument would be aimed at people who don't want to make such a concession. I know most people value a morality of sorts. That way it would no longer be arguing from consequences, it would be questioning the listener's consistency in holding morals while denying the 'necessary' source.

Topher wrote:

Strafio wrote:
doctoro wrote:
I humbly propose that reason and evolution serve as objective bases for ethics.

I don't see how evolution could serve as a base because evolution has no bearing on our normativity whatsoever. At most it can explain how our normativity came to be. I'd start with human nature, (which is perhaps what you were thinking of when you said evolution) how we all have needs and desires and how a moral code would be instrumental to them.

Of course evolution played a role in the development in morality/ethics. Societies that get a long tend to be better societie, so you'd expect evolution to favour traits that acheived such a society.


So the explanation on how morality came to this point would be evolutionary, but this would do nothing to explain what what morals are. We need an explanation of what morals are before we can talk about how they evolved. Another point is that the main point in learning about morality is the practical application in real life - evolutionary explanation can only be descriptive rather than prescriptive and could not be used to solve any moral dilemnas.


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in the strictest sense of the word

Puting anything into someone's anus or vagina without their consent is rape. If your friend was poisoned and passed out, and the you could only save your firend with a suppository, then I would consider it moral to rape them by administering the suppository. Your friend would probably forgive you.

I disagree with Tarpan's justification. If you can't coax a woman to have sex with you, then you can't have sex with her. period. Every culture would understand that sex is part of reproduction, at least in some crude sense. And if those women deside it is best not to further the human race, then that is their choice.


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jackal wrote: Puting

jackal wrote:

Puting anything into someone's anus or vagina without their consent is rape. If your friend was poisoned and passed out, and the you could only save your firend with a suppository, then I would consider it moral to rape them by administering the suppository. Your friend would probably forgive you.

I disagree with Tarpan's justification. If you can't coax a woman to have sex with you, then you can't have sex with her. period. Every culture would understand that sex is part of reproduction, at least in some crude sense. And if those women deside it is best not to further the human race, then that is their choice.

I'm suggesting it's debatable.  Choosing the greater benefit of the whole over the rights of one person when a situation is dire is often considered an ethical thing to do.

I think that if you had people facing the situation they would start to think differently.  It's easy to say no now when you're not faced with the end of existance within your lifetime. 

 

 


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doctoro wrote:

doctoro wrote:

I just recently came into a theist in the stickam chatroom who was advocating a peculiar brand of Calvinism based on the "Westminster Confession of Faith". Perhaps you're more familiar with Calvinism than me.

Ugh. Five Points Calvinism. Other than radical Islam, I can't think of a more violently stupid creed.

Quote:

I don't spend much time on specific theologies because, to use an analogy, arguing over the minutia properties of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy seems like a waste of time.

I only pick this crap up from my opponents.... from my experience protestants appear more insipid than catholics and calvinists make the other protestants appear civil and informed. The biggest trolls you'll run across are all calvinists... coincidence?

Quote:

But upon researching Calvinism, it appears that there is absolutely no room for morality whatsoever in their theology. They essentially believe in predestination of salvation or damnation.

Precisely. But they have to run from this reality.

Calvin was asked what was the point of being a good person if one was already damned (as most people are in his creed) He responded that people basically couldn't know for sure, so they should still be good.

But this just runs from the problem: how can they be good if they were predestined for hell?

To this, calvin almost literally said "shut the fuck up, heretic!"

Quote:

So nothing you can do in your life will avert damnation if you are fated to be damned. I scarcely see the point of living or acting morally in such a case.

You already came up with the question on your own, I see. Well, again, Calvin would say "how do you know?"

In other words, his system works backwards: you can't be good or bad on your own, its predistined, BUT, if you clearly are acting bad, then you are predestined for hell, right?

So you must always act good! Otherwise, you'll run into the terror of realizing that you are actually predestined for hell!

So it works in an obsessive compulsive fashion! Being bad is evidence you are damned, so you must always make sure to 1) not be bad or 2) Delude yourself that you are not acting bad.

I'm sure you can see the psychological problems inherint in this bizzare system. You are driven by fear to act good, lest you see yourself as damned.

There's no carrort here, only a stick.

But worse than that, there's also a clear drive towards deluding one's self that one is actually being good.

Now is it less of a surprise that the biggest trolls you run into are five point calvinists?

Quote:

Believing in predestined salvation takes away the ONLY possible means for a morality in christianity: punishment and reward.

Right. I'd still call 'christian morality' a matter of prudence and not morality, but if we call it a morality, we'd have to say that it is purely extrinisic.

Mature morality is intrinsic.

Quote:

Granted, I think this is a terrible moral base. As a secularist, I believe in doing good for its own sake.

Nice timing! I swear I don't read ahead while I post.

Quote:

If you thought Christians in general are amoral, it would be interesting to hear your take on Calvinism, since it seems to be one of the most bizarre theologies I've ever encountered. I think Mormons have more of their shit together than Presbyterians!

Well, I've given a glimpse of my view here, and my glimpse presents the key point I'd make, but here is a more detailed account:

http://www.candleinthedark.com/calvin.html

 

Here is a relevant excerpt:

 

The Problem With Morality in Calvin's System - Or God as the Biggest Bully on the Block

Why does God choose one and condemn the other?  There can be no answer, for there can be no moral or valuative difference between any person in such a system. Any moral or evaluative nature of man is removed when we place all power in 'God's hands'. In this system, even God cannot be moral. We run right into the Euthyphro problem - wherein whatever an unlimited god does, must be moral, for no other reason than the right of power. Choices between one man and another must logically be nothing but arbitrary can be nothing but arbitrary, for God can make any one person saved or damned, and man plays no part. Calvin of course cannot justify this lunacy with either logic or fact. Tellingly, Calvin dodges the problem altogether and falls into the logical fallacy of circular logic when he defends his system thusly: "He (God) chose to do so because it pleased him." (And it pleases him because he chose it, right John?!) and the logical fallacy of special pleading when he further states about the conundrum: "It is not for us to delve into these matters." I am astounded by what is occuring here: We are expected to accept the idea that some of us are damned from birth, that all human effort is pointless, and that taking pride in what we are is a sin, based on a philosophical justification that could be provided to us by a six year old. The psychologist Fromm notes that Calvin has endowed God with the characteristics of his own father: God in Calvin's hands is an unjust, unloving tyrant, who Calvin cannot figure out. But just stop and think of what damage is being done here. Man is useless, and god is a tyrant. We have already witnessed his theological argument, for whatever it is worth. Seeing it as nothing to be moved by, we need not be too concered. After all, his is a theology of scripture. We should now ask Calvin to live up to his words and justify this unjust and uncharitable view of god through scripture.

(He doesn't) 

 

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.