Moral values and ideals are natural and based on rational principles

Dissident1
Dissident1's picture
Posts: 88
Joined: 2006-04-27
User is offlineOffline
Moral values and ideals are natural and based on rational principles

I have heard this argument several times. There is an idea that the values represented in religious values and traditions are derived by a more rational means but that religion is used as a means of communicating them. Thus, it is thought, the moral values are valid even despite the irrationality of the religion that transmits them.

This is the greatest insult to the human intellect of modern times!

Looking at sexual morals, for instance, there is a broad and expansive history for the devaluation of the sexual experience in religion. It is considered wrong and evil not because it is better for society or for humanity to abstain from sexual experience or limit it in any way. Even the agrarian economic system could not show that. It is wholly the believe in a spirit and/or a god that gives rise to such a premise.

What makes it worse is that it is not the religious that present this argument. It is the nontheist or atheist who looks to the religion of their culture and the traditions derived from that religion with a sort of awe. They know that the religion is flawed, deny and denounce the metaphysical beliefs that are an inherent part of the theology, then present a sort of reverance for what the religion "attempts to" accomplish.

It's apologetics of a different sort. Totally irrational. And totally without merit.

I am become death, destroyer of worlds


Zhwazi
Zhwazi's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: 2006-10-06
User is offlineOffline
Some of them are rational

Some of them are rational and based on reason. Ethics and morals of the "leave me alone" type are rational. The ones like "I'm not going to leave you alone" are arbitrary and stupid.

"Do not hurt others" is rational morality.
"Attack homosexuals and polygamists" is abritrary morality.

People tend not to think of the rational morals as "morality" because the theists have perverted any reason out of the "morality" that they scream and rant about. But they are morals.

Maybe a different word should be used to specify the arbitrary morals. I can't think of one at the moment, but if you can think of a word that includes "kill gays" and excludes "don't hurt others" then that would be a better word to use.


Cocky Christian i
Theist
Cocky Christian i's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
There is no such thing as

There is no such thing as "rational morality". Reason is a neutral tool which cannot in itself prescribe any course of  action within the moral realm.   I have always found it humorous the way atheists wish to cut down the tree of Judeo-Christan cosmology and still rest in it's shade. I'm sorry, but thats a no no.


ShaunPhilly
High Level ModeratorSilver Member
ShaunPhilly's picture
Posts: 473
Joined: 2006-03-15
User is offlineOffline
Well, there is rational

Well, there is rational morality. Any time a person rationally justifies a moral theory, there is proof that a rational morality exists.

What I think you meant to say is that when rational morality is concieved of, it is not true morality? That is, we are unable to create morality that is actually good?

My reply is that while we might not actually act the way we do for rational reasons, this does not imply that we cannot reason out decisions in moral ways. Our actions are guided by an instinctual and mostly unconscious faculty that has developed via evolutionary forces.

That is, those humas before us that had the genetic disposition to not act like assholes tended to procreate more often, thus most people now have a "universal" moral sense. It doesn't imply there are not sociopaths (people without the sense of empathy), but that they are the exception.

As far as cutting down the tree of Christian cosmology and resting in its shade...

The thing is that cosmology has little to nothing to do with ethics. If i said that the moon is made of cheese and it's bad to kill people without justification, the fact that my first statement is false has nothing to do with the veracity of the second.

Further, we don't sit in the shade of Judeo-christian morality; religion uses, and has expressed in their texts, a common human morality and claims that they have rights to it.

It is in fact many Christians who cut down the cosmology of science and then try to sit in the shade of its successes. You cut down humanity (by calling them depraved), then sit in the shade of their common moral sense, while calling it your own.

Where's todansgt to bring up 'projection'?

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


kmisho
kmisho's picture
Posts: 298
Joined: 2006-08-18
User is offlineOffline
Cocky Christian i

Cocky Christian i wrote:
There is no such thing as "rational morality". Reason is a neutral tool which cannot in itself prescribe any course of  action within the moral realm.   I have always found it humorous the way atheists wish to cut down the tree of Judeo-Christan cosmology and still rest in it's shade. I'm sorry, but thats a no no.

Morality can't be derived from cosmology either. It's called the naturalistic fallacy that says things being a certain way does not imply they SHOULD be that way.

(I've been seeing more and more people attacking the naturalistic fallacy with the idea that morality must be derivable from nature since that's all there is. In my view this simply misses the point of the naturalstic fallacy, which simply says that "is" does not necessarily imply "aught." Obviously the atheistic position will be that one can derive "aught" from "is", but still that something "is" does not automatically mean it "aught" to be that way.)

Because the issue of the actual content of morality is complicated, I say instead that there is no hope of defining morality OUTSIDE or reason. The only thing I am asking is that morality be understandable, and in order for it to be understandable it must make sense, and the means of making sense is through reason. Appeals to god as the arbiter of morality (besides ceding the arbitrariness of morality) is an example of the fallacy of appeal to authority and amounts to answering the question "why is X moral" with "just because."

So if you reject reason as the ultimate tool for determining the structure and content of a moral system, then you have in fact given up on morality altogether.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Specifically on sexuality,

Specifically on sexuality, I think its very clear that we do have a naturally derived system of ethics just as every other species does.  When a whooping crane meets a prospective mate, the thing to do is jump up and down flapping its wings and bobbing its head up and down.  Humans, as more complex creatures, have more complex ways, but same principle is at work.  Many of the details of courtship and appropriate behaviour are learned and cultural (though still, I would argue, distilled from instinctual behaviours), but there is a core of understanding that crosses cultures.  Ultimately, these behaviours form a rational basis for morality and ethics because the goal of morality and ethics is to help us live together, and with ourselves, happily.

To the idea that secular moralists want to sit in the shade of religious morality - the exact opposite situation persists.  Read the bible if you really want to know what christian morality is all about.  Christian morality means doing what you think god wants you to do because you are afraid that you will go to hell otherwise.  It isn't even morality, just self-interest.  Going further, god's commandments are called good simply because they come from god.  It's circular, and the ultimate appeal to authority.

 It is only since christian theologians were advised by secular humanist notions of morality that they were able to parse the bible in such a way that jesus' words yeilded something resembling a real moral code.  By cherry picking among the scriptures, theologians have been able to find ideas that match modern concepts like universal love, tolerance and charity.  Prior to the Renaissance, the message of chrisitanity was render unto the church and kill all unbelievers.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Cocky Christian i
Theist
Cocky Christian i's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
How do you rationally

How do you rationally justify a moral theory? give me an example.  Are you simply talking about a claim of rational justification, or in other words someone taking the general ideological position that somehow morality should be based on reason? You mentioned (although not by name) "Hume's guillotine" in refering to my Cosmology statement. Well if we will observe Hume's Guillotine when it comes to applying a theological cosmology we must do so when it comes to abstract logic and morality. logic is simply a system of  abstract statements of truth You cannot base morality upon it.  yet why, dare i ask,   should we even continue to observe Hume's Guillotine? Not observing it would not really help a rational moralist (he would have other more basic problems)  but it would assist a Christian ethicist. Why should ethics not be informed by Cosmology? Suppose i were to say that i should behave in accordance  with the model of god given in scripture because i am ontologically, a being made in God's image. How would you object to my claim? For me to act in any other manner would be for me  to negate myself, and an absolute truth.  You may ask "well why should you prefer truth to falsehood". That would be a good question were it not for the fact that, "I am that truth" (being connected to God)  thus i cannot be impartial. "I am the preference". A fact is distinct from a truth. A fact is neutral, example: "A".  A truth on the other hand is a preference, example A=A. Think for a while about the difference  between "A" and "A=A"    As for a "common human morality" i must say that traditionally no such thing has existed. However it is a common myth. Many people say that all cultures believe that murder is wrong for example. That is true.  The problem is that they don't agree on what constitutes murder.      Every civilization  has simply believed that it was wrong to kill certain people at certain times (never agreeing on which people at which time) This is not a common morality.    The particular morality that has defined the western world  has been judeo-Christian and that is precisely what i   am talking about when i speak of the tree of judeo Christian Cosmology. Let us therefore be rid of the myth of a common human morality. We may be moving toward that (witness the U.N. international Human rights Commisions etc) but that is not where we come from. So my friend I am not resting under the shade of any common human morality passed down from a race that i have dismissed as depraved. Finally there is "the shade of the tree of science". That entire statement most likely rests upon a single theory: Darwinism. Well i'll save that discussion for a more appropriate thread.


kmisho
kmisho's picture
Posts: 298
Joined: 2006-08-18
User is offlineOffline
Cocky Christian i

Cocky Christian i wrote:
How do you rationally justify a moral theory? give me an example.  Are you simply talking about a claim of rational justification, or in other words someone taking the general ideological position that somehow morality should be based on reason? You mentioned (although not by name) "Hume's guillotine" in refering to my Cosmology statement. Well if we will observe Hume's Guillotine when it comes to applying a theological cosmology we must do so when it comes to abstract logic and morality. logic is simply a system of  abstract statements of truth You cannot base morality upon it.  yet why, dare i ask,   should we even continue to observe Hume's Guillotine? Not observing it would not really help a rational moralist (he would have other more basic problems)  but it would assist a Christian ethicist. Why should ethics not be informed by Cosmology? Suppose i were to say that i should behave in accordance  with the model of god given in scripture because i am ontologically, a being made in God's image. How would you object to my claim? For me to act in any other manner would be for me  to negate myself, and an absolute truth.  You may ask "well why should you prefer truth to falsehood". That would be a good question were it not for the fact that, "I am that truth" (being connected to God)  thus i cannot be impartial. "I am the preference". A fact is distinct from a truth. A fact is neutral, example: "A".  A truth on the other hand is a preference, example A=A. Think for a while about the difference  between "A" and "A=A"    As for a "common human morality" i must say that traditionally no such thing has existed. However it is a common myth. Many people say that all cultures believe that murder is wrong for example. That is true.  The problem is that they don't agree on what constitutes murder.      Every civilization  has simply believed that it was wrong to kill certain people at certain times (never agreeing on which people at which time) This is not a common morality.    The particular morality that has defined the western world  has been judeo-Christian and that is precisely what i   am talking about when i speak of the tree of judeo Christian Cosmology. Let us therefore be rid of the myth of a common human morality. We may be moving toward that (witness the U.N. international Human rights Commisions etc) but that is not where we come from. So my friend I am not resting under the shade of any common human morality passed down from a race that i have dismissed as depraved. Finally there is "the shade of the tree of science". That entire statement most likely rests upon a single theory: Darwinism. Well i'll save that discussion for a more appropriate thread.

Logic can be used to derive morality precisely because it is a "mere" system of flawless interrelations of abstract symbols. Logic rests on givens. Whatever intentions we set as the givens, it should be possible for us to flawlessly derive systems that conform to the criteria. Hobbes's social contract is a good example. Traffic laws are a good example of Hobbes in action.

But for the sake of argument, I will agree with you. Morality can't be logically derived. Theistic morality fares no better, as I already touched on. If we reject theistic AND atheistic morality, then we must reject morality altogether since the possibilities are exhausted.


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
I liked the way Robert

I liked the way Robert Ingersoll put it - it's not because of religion that every society has laws against murder and stealing, it's because a large majority of the population has always objected to being murdered or robbed.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Cocky Christian i

Cocky Christian i wrote:
How do you rationally justify a moral theory?

From pragmaticsm.  We need morals, and every society has seen the need for them. 

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:
give me an example.  Are you simply talking about a claim of rational justification, or in other words someone taking the general ideological position that somehow morality should be based on reason?

Morality that works is better than morality that doesn't.  Therefore we must use morality that a) is closely enough aligned to our natural morality for people to actually follow it and b) acheives the effects in society that we are looking for.  Rational analysis of these pragmatic needs is our only hope for developing a morality that meets them. 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

You mentioned (although not by name) "Hume's guillotine" in refering to my Cosmology statement. Well if we will observe Hume's Guillotine when it comes to applying a theological cosmology we must do so when it comes to abstract logic and morality. logic is simply a system of  abstract statements of truth You cannot base morality upon it.  yet why, dare i ask,   should we even continue to observe Hume's Guillotine? Not observing it would not really help a rational moralist (he would have other more basic problems)  but it would assist a Christian ethicist. Why should ethics not be informed by Cosmology? Suppose i were to say that i should behave in accordance  with the model of god given in scripture because i am ontologically, a being made in God's image. How would you object to my claim? For me to act in any other manner would be for me  to negate myself, and an absolute truth.  You may ask "well why should you prefer truth to falsehood". That would be a good question were it not for the fact that, "I am that truth" (being connected to God)  thus i cannot be impartial. "I am the preference".

All this begs the question that there is a god and that he created anything.  Please present your evidence. 

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

A fact is distinct from a truth.

Begs the question that truth exists that can't be expressed as facts.  Please present your evidence that such truth exists. 

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

A fact is neutral, example: "A".  A truth on the other hand is a preference, example A=A. Think for a while about the difference  between "A" and "A=A"    As for a "common human morality" i must say that traditionally no such thing has existed.

Says you.  I say that every social animal we have observed shows social behaviours, in some cases learned, that are indistinguishable from a natural morality.  The confusion arises from the fact that we have "elevated" our morality by imagining that it attaches to something bigger than our shared humanity. 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

 However it is a common myth. Many people say that all cultures believe that murder is wrong for example. That is true.  The problem is that they don't agree on what constitutes murder.      Every civilization  has simply believed that it was wrong to kill certain people at certain times (never agreeing on which people at which time) This is not a common morality.  

Says you.  The fact is that all people feel it is wrong to kill other people.  People can come up with justifications, and get into emotional states where they honestly want to kill others, but at the end of the day any psychologically healthy human who kills another is in some degree of moral trouble.  It bugs them.  They have to repeat their justifications to themselves and others.  Killing is ALWAYS a moral problem, especially killing within one's acknowledged social grouping.  Don't confuse legality and cultural taboos with morality - real morality doesn't come from a book or an authority figure. 

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

The particular morality that has defined the western world  has been judeo-Christian and that is precisely what i   am talking about when i speak of the tree of judeo Christian Cosmology. Let us therefore be rid of the myth of a common human morality.

The fact that the West has been saddled with judeo-christian morality means there is no common human morality?  Huh?

Cocky Christian i wrote:
 

We may be moving toward that (witness the U.N. international Human rights Commisions etc) but that is not where we come from.

You apparently can't tell the difference between law and morality. 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

So my friend I am not resting under the shade of any common human morality passed down from a race that i have dismissed as depraved. Finally there is "the shade of the tree of science".

I don't know where you got "shade of the the tree of science" but it's nothing I said.  I said that christians are resting under the shade of the tree of secular moral thought, and attempting to claim its advances as their own.  The fact of the matter is, without the Renaissance and its attendant distancing of philosophy from religion, we would still be labouring under the same code of morality and ethics that brought us the crusades and the inquisition.  And this is precisely the code that fundamentalists are trying to reinstate.

Cocky Christian i wrote:
 

That entire statement most likely rests upon a single theory: Darwinism. Well i'll save that discussion for a more appropriate thread.

Darwinism itself makes no statement about morality.  I think it shows, however, how a species might evolve a natural moral code.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Cocky Christian i
Theist
Cocky Christian i's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
My last post was intended as

My last post was intended as a reply to the post of ShaunPhilly. You missed some of my points Tiberian but I'll address a few of your responses.  I know that many atheists have an inveterate habit of identifying reason and logic with  pragmatism. "Self interest" and even "societal interest" can never be derived from a neutral tool that simply takes you from a set of installed premises to a necessary conclusion. As the other poster suggested, your core moral values would have to be introduced from the outset as  "givens".   As  for the discussion of societies killing and murder, I would look up the difference between "murder" and "  killing" and then reread  my post before this.  

 oh and kmichao the "is" "ought" issue is called "Hume's Guillotine" in Philosophy and I talk about it in the post before this.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Cocky Christian i

Cocky Christian i wrote:

My last post was intended as a reply to the post of ShaunPhilly. You missed some of my points Tiberian but I'll address a few of your responses.  I know that many atheists have an inveterate habit of identifying reason and logic with  pragmatism.

My position is that I favor reason and logic out of pragmatism.  Without reason and logic, I would die.  Having discovered a mental paradigm that meets my pragmatic needs in all other aspects of my life, I see no reason not to apply it across the board.  I'm still waiting for a theist to tell me how they justify discarding reason when it comes to cosmological and spiritual questions.

The valid response I've had is that, in the theist's mind, faith serves a greater pragmatic purpose than reason because the comfort derived from belief in god outweighs the satisfaction of having a coherent model of reality.  I can't argue with that - if someone wants to wrap themselves in fantasy as an emotional security blanket, that's their choice.  But don't expect me or anyone else to participate in the illusion.

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

"Self interest" and even "societal interest" can never be derived from a neutral tool that simply takes you from a set of installed premises to a necessary conclusion.

Naked assertion.  I point to the great individual and social benefits that have arisen from science and secular government in the last two centuries and say that the neutral tools of reason and empirical examination have delivered exactly the benefits you say they can't.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

As the other poster suggested, your core moral values would have to be introduced from the outset as  "givens".  

Not at all.  Correct morals can be derived rationally from the needs of individuals and society, and from the shared social behaviours that are "givens" in that they already exist in our DNA.

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

 As  for the discussion of societies killing and murder, I would look up the difference between "murder" and "  killing" and then reread  my post before this.  

The difference between murder and killing is a cultural, legalistic one and IMO holds little weight in the human conscience.  You are still having trouble seperating things that are morally wrong from things that attract social condemnation - they are not necessarily the same.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

 oh and kmichao the "is" "ought" issue is called "Hume's Guillotine" in Philosophy and I talk about it in the post before this.

I reject the "ought" issue on the grounds that it presupposes that there is some moral truth that transcends our mentality.  Morals, like every other idea, are constructs in our minds and have no existence outside of that.  They are different than preferences in that they must be shared across a population, but this in no way makes them anything other than mental ideas.  A thing ought to be if enough people think it ought to be and that opinion can be defended rationally from reference to the greater good and healthy human psychology.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Cocky Christian i
Theist
Cocky Christian i's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:Cocky

Tilberian wrote:
Cocky Christian i wrote:

My last post was intended as a reply to the post of ShaunPhilly. You missed some of my points Tiberian but I'll address a few of your responses.  I know that many atheists have an inveterate habit of identifying reason and logic with  pragmatism.

My position is that I favor reason and logic out of pragmatism.  Without reason and logic, I would die.  Having discovered a mental paradigm that meets my pragmatic needs in all other aspects of my life, I see no reason not to apply it across the board.  I'm still waiting for a theist to tell me how they justify discarding reason when it comes to cosmological and spiritual questions. 

This is a good example of how a blinding dogma need not be religious. As I have said before, morality cannot be DERIVED from reason. Reason however can be used to build upon moral principles from whatever import. Reason is an all purpose tool, the fact that you happen to employ it  at some point in your moral evaluations does not make your moral evaluations ESSENTIALLY rational. There is no such thing as an essentially rational moral code.   i understand that you believe that there is, because you have chosen to idenitfy certain moral objectives with reason itself,  but this is not an intellectually critical view of the matter. Logic is a neutral abstract system of laws for inference, period.

The valid response I've had is that, in the theist's mind, faith serves a greater pragmatic purpose than reason because the comfort derived from belief in god outweighs the satisfaction of having a coherent model of reality.  I can't argue with that - if someone wants to wrap themselves in fantasy as an emotional security blanket, that's their choice.  But don't expect me or anyone else to participate in the illusion.

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

"Self interest" and even "societal interest" can never be derived from a neutral tool that simply takes you from a set of installed premises to a necessary conclusion.

Naked assertion.  I point to the great individual and social benefits that have arisen from science and secular government in the last two centuries and say that the neutral tools of reason and empirical examination have delivered exactly the benefits you say they can't.

i was talking about deriving a system of moral justification from reason. It cannot be done. Yet you can use reason to advance the interests of whatever moral code you have installed from the outset. Interesting, this term "secular government". What does that mean? I think that it is functional in a context in which hierarchracy (rule by clerics) is identified with theocracy (rule by god). This is done only by people with political agendas. In reality ofcourse Hierarchracy is simply a form of Oligarchy; it is of little significance what source an oligarch claims as the origin of his authority. The American founders (mostly Christians mixed with deists, all believers in God) saw true theocracy as Democracy. They were familiar with the story in the book of Samuel in the bible in which the people of israel first ask God for a king and God cries out against it   exclaiming "they have rejected me, that I should rule over them".     You see monarchy is actually a form of "idolatry"; putting a man over other men in the place of God. This passage is even included in an   anthology of great democratic documents written by the atheist liberatarian David Boaz. It was this vision of Theistically grounded Democracy that inspired Locke in his scripturally weighted down classic work, Two treatises of civil government. It was this vision that inspired the founders as well.

"God who gave us life gave us liberty.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - Query XVII, Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas jefferson (excerpts of those statements are on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.)

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible." -George Washington.

i could pummel  you to death with these kinds of quotes as i think you know.  Thus i disagree that our government is the product of some sort of atheistic rationalism. The many twentieth century attempts at government grounded in atheism have gone rather badly and so it seems that the only recourse is to attempt to pilfer the philosophical character of a nation that has philosophical roots far from that.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

As the other poster suggested, your core moral values would have to be introduced from the outset as  "givens".  

Not at all.  Correct morals can be derived rationally from the needs of individuals and society, and from the shared social behaviours that are "givens" in that they already exist in our DNA.

If they were "givens" in our DNA then i believe there would be far less deviation from them. As a matter of fact we find morally unthinkable certain acts that we carried out only 50 years ago.  

 

Cocky Christian i wrote:

 As  for the discussion of societies killing and murder, I would look up the difference between "murder" and "  killing" and then reread  my post before this.  

The difference between murder and killing is a cultural, legalistic one and IMO holds little weight in the human conscience.  You are still having trouble seperating things that are morally wrong from things that attract social condemnation - they are not necessarily the same.

Are you suggesting that there is some sort of profoundly subtle subconscious  guilt factor that always accompanies socially sactioned murder?  Well you are welcome to propose that but it is pretty much unprovable and unfalsifiable.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

 oh and kmichao the "is" "ought" issue is called "Hume's Guillotine" in Philosophy and I talk about it in the post before this.

I reject the "ought" issue on the grounds that it presupposes that there is some moral truth that transcends our mentality.  Morals, like every other idea, are constructs in our minds and have no existence outside of that.  They are different than preferences in that they must be shared across a population, but this in no way makes them anything other than mental ideas.  A thing ought to be if enough people think it ought to be and that opinion can be defended rationally from reference to the greater good and healthy human psychology.

My responses  to each statement are within the quote box above  (i made an error in posting this )  what is written below is the response to the last statement from the quote box

It ought to be if "enough people think it ought to be". There you go. But then you realize the drastic implications of that statement and you flee  to hide behind the hopeless ambiguity of what comes after it " and that opinion can be defended rationally from reference to the greater good and healthy human psychology.  


melchisedec
melchisedec's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
Cocky Christian i

Cocky Christian i wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
Cocky Christian i wrote:

My last post was intended as a reply to the post of ShaunPhilly. You missed some of my points Tiberian but I'll address a few of your responses. I know that many atheists have an inveterate habit of identifying reason and logic with pragmatism.

My position is that I favor reason and logic out of pragmatism. Without reason and logic, I would die. Having discovered a mental paradigm that meets my pragmatic needs in all other aspects of my life, I see no reason not to apply it across the board. I'm still waiting for a theist to tell me how they justify discarding reason when it comes to cosmological and spiritual questions.

This is a good example of how a blinding dogma need not be religious. As I have said before, morality cannot be DERIVED from reason. Reason however can be used to build upon moral principles from whatever import. Reason is an all purpose tool, the fact that you happen to employ it at some point in your moral evaluations does not make your moral evaluations ESSENTIALLY rational. There is no such thing as an essentially rational moral code. i understand that you believe that there is, because you have chosen to idenitfy certain moral objectives with reason itself, but this is not an intellectually critical view of the matter. Logic is a neutral abstract system of laws for inference, period.

The valid response I've had is that, in the theist's mind, faith serves a greater pragmatic purpose than reason because the comfort derived from belief in god outweighs the satisfaction of having a coherent model of reality. I can't argue with that - if someone wants to wrap themselves in fantasy as an emotional security blanket, that's their choice. But don't expect me or anyone else to participate in the illusion.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

"Self interest" and even "societal interest" can never be derived from a neutral tool that simply takes you from a set of installed premises to a necessary conclusion.

Naked assertion. I point to the great individual and social benefits that have arisen from science and secular government in the last two centuries and say that the neutral tools of reason and empirical examination have delivered exactly the benefits you say they can't.

i was talking about deriving a system of moral justification from reason. It cannot be done. Yet you can use reason to advance the interests of whatever moral code you have installed from the outset. Interesting, this term "secular government". What does that mean? I think that it is functional in a context in which hierarchracy (rule by clerics) is identified with theocracy (rule by god). This is done only by people with political agendas. In reality ofcourse Hierarchracy is simply a form of Oligarchy; it is of little significance what source an oligarch claims as the origin of his authority. The American founders (mostly Christians mixed with deists, all believers in God) saw true theocracy as Democracy. They were familiar with the story in the book of Samuel in the bible in which the people of israel first ask God for a king and God cries out against it exclaiming "they have rejected me, that I should rule over them". You see monarchy is actually a form of "idolatry"; putting a man over other men in the place of God. This passage is even included in an anthology of great democratic documents written by the atheist liberatarian David Boaz. It was this vision of Theistically grounded Democracy that inspired Locke in his scripturally weighted down classic work, Two treatises of civil government. It was this vision that inspired the founders as well.

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - Query XVII, Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas jefferson (excerpts of those statements are on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.)

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible." -George Washington.

i could pummel you to death with these kinds of quotes as i think you know. Thus i disagree that our government is the product of some sort of atheistic rationalism. The many twentieth century attempts at government grounded in atheism have gone rather badly and so it seems that the only recourse is to attempt to pilfer the philosophical character of a nation that has philosophical roots far from that.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

As the other poster suggested, your core moral values would have to be introduced from the outset as "givens".

Not at all. Correct morals can be derived rationally from the needs of individuals and society, and from the shared social behaviours that are "givens" in that they already exist in our DNA.

If they were "givens" in our DNA then i believe there would be far less deviation from them. As a matter of fact we find morally unthinkable certain acts that we carried out only 50 years ago.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

As for the discussion of societies killing and murder, I would look up the difference between "murder" and " killing" and then reread my post before this.

The difference between murder and killing is a cultural, legalistic one and IMO holds little weight in the human conscience. You are still having trouble seperating things that are morally wrong from things that attract social condemnation - they are not necessarily the same.

Are you suggesting that there is some sort of profoundly subtle subconscious guilt factor that always accompanies socially sactioned murder? Well you are welcome to propose that but it is pretty much unprovable and unfalsifiable.

Cocky Christian i wrote:

oh and kmichao the "is" "ought" issue is called "Hume's Guillotine" in Philosophy and I talk about it in the post before this.

I reject the "ought" issue on the grounds that it presupposes that there is some moral truth that transcends our mentality. Morals, like every other idea, are constructs in our minds and have no existence outside of that. They are different than preferences in that they must be shared across a population, but this in no way makes them anything other than mental ideas. A thing ought to be if enough people think it ought to be and that opinion can be defended rationally from reference to the greater good and healthy human psychology.

My responses to each statement are within the quote box above (i made an error in posting this ) what is written below is the response to the last statement from the quote box

It ought to be if "enough people think it ought to be". There you go. But then you realize the drastic implications of that statement and you flee to hide behind the hopeless ambiguity of what comes after it " and that opinion can be defended rationally from reference to the greater good and healthy human psychology.

 

Fascinating stuff. I would be interested to hear anyones rebuttal to this. Unfortunately I am not up to speed on the intricacies of moral philosophy so I couldn't offer much. In fact I'm a bit torn about this issue altogether so I would appreciate more dialouge.


s8ist
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-01-19
User is offlineOffline
Belief in a god (or

Belief in a god (or religion) doesn't necessitate morality or vice versa. Morality can be derived through established cultural norms and the consequences of those cultural norms being violated. Psychology and sociology play a role in the development of morality. It is through a rational exploration of these fields that we can understand why certain things are deemed moral or immoral. There are certain arbitrary customs that cannot be evaluated, but that is because they are often based in archaic religious belief. Kosher or halal obviously fit this pattern, but even then can be explained to be rational in retrospect. That they continue to be practiced is the puzzling.

It is through studying cause and effect on the group and the individual that we can deduce why it is only natural for us to hold certain moral concepts. Murder is detrimental to society, and therefore as humans, we have decided in what circumstances it is appropriate to kill and not kill. When it is considered detrimental, we call it murder. This definition has obviously changed at different rates throughout different societies.

As our societies have evolved, so have our social patterns. Therefore it only makes sense that at one point, if your wife is raped, both "participants" will be put to death. On the part of the ignorance of these societies, based on the concept that the woman has "asked for it," we have a scenario that compromises our sense of justice because of what we might know about rape in general, or about victims of rape.
This unfortunate scenario still happens in uneducated countries where religious superstition is a way of life. This brings us to the more challenging question... Is morality universal?
I think our sense of justice evolves as we as a society progress, which is why in radical Islamic states, which are economically disproportionate by an unfathomable degree, we continue to hear about honor killings and other such detestable hate crimes and inequality that go unchecked.
If we look at countries whose economic status, education, and secularism are similar to ours, their morals are more comparable. This progression is an evolution of morality, and indicative of how we think as a society to benefit the individual. Killing of "the other" has always been acceptable because we can justify that "the other" is not us.


dassercha
Superfan
Posts: 233
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
"It is impossible to

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible." -George Washington.

 

This is a false attribution to him. I haven't had time to look at the others. Research before posting...

EDUCATION! EDUCATION! EDUCATION!


Spewn
Posts: 98
Joined: 2007-01-30
User is offlineOffline
I seem to recall reading

I seem to recall reading about this guy who came around some 600 odd years before Jesus Christ was born with his own little list of moral precepts. To not commit murder, to not steal, to not lie; all were his. The kicker? He was an Atheist. Perhaps it is his tree, then, under which I find my shade.


agustine
Theist
Posts: 69
Joined: 2007-03-16
User is offlineOffline
To Mr. Dissident1. Sir, I

To Mr. Dissident1. Sir, I have taken the opportunity to peruse your comments. With respect to your comment "I have heard this argument several times. There is an idea that the values represented in religious values and traditions are derived by a more rational means but that religion is used as a means of communicating them." I think there is some confusion on your part. With respect to the inquiry as it relates to rationality, theism is a better metaphysical ground considering the inherent necessity of coherence that must attach to any ethical system. There simply isn't any good metaphysical grounds for the atheist to defend the values, and/or any value at all, that he wishes to espouse. With respect to your comment "This is the greatest insult to the human intellect of modern times!" I think that remains to be seen and is entirely subjective. With respect to your comment "Looking at sexual morals, for instance, there is a broad and expansive history for the devaluation of the sexual experience in religion. It is considered wrong and evil not because it is better for society or for humanity to abstain from sexual experience or limit it in any way." Indeed greater specificity would be quite helpful. If in fact you comment pertains to the Christian worldview you are patently incorrect, Biblically speaking.

However, your comment is entirely presumptuous as it applies to sexual mores, and thus to even be considered valid proper warrant and function would have to be a constituent of the atheistic worldview. Yet, atheism affirms a lack of any discernable telos. Accordingly, in order for your comments to be meaningful, you would have to demonstrate that abstinence and/or any like requirements imposed thereto are not agreeable to the purpose for which the sexual relationship was intended. However, intention, purpose and/or an overarching telos is what you specifically reject. Therefore, there does not appear to be any rational grounds that support your claim.

God Bless

Agustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


Spewn
Posts: 98
Joined: 2007-01-30
User is offlineOffline
agustine wrote: There

agustine wrote:

There simply isn't any good metaphysical grounds for the atheist to defend the values, and/or any value at all, that he wishes to espouse.

 

Baseless assertion, see:  Mirror neurons, prefrontal cortex(specifically what happens when it becomes damaged), social networking simulation and/or the iterated-prisoner's dilemma competition.


agustine
Theist
Posts: 69
Joined: 2007-03-16
User is offlineOffline
To Mr. Spewn. With respect

To Mr. Spewn. With respect to your comment "Baseless assertion, see:  Mirror neurons, prefrontal cortex(specifically what happens when it becomes damaged), social networking simulation and/or the iterated-prisoner's dilemma competition." Please elaborate...... Thank  you sir..

Agustine  

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


MissedDetails (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Dissident1 wrote:This is the

Dissident1 wrote:
This is the greatest insult to the human intellect of modern times!

Ah, argument from outrage or moral offense. Yup, this is a site to get advice on how to be ruthlessly "rational". Why don't you just stay on the bench if two paragraphs into your "rebuttal" you're going to obliviously appeal to existing emotional estimations in order to challenge de facto estimations. It's really pretty silly.

What--strictly rationally--is an "insult"? How can the human intellect be "jumped (ambushed)"? What is _THE_ human intellect as single thing--isn't it--rationally a collective phrase for the varied distribution of aptitudes for reasoning from sound principles--or haven't you thought that far?