Author Topic: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread  (Read 7566 times)

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #116 on: October 09, 2011, 09:20:22 PM »
Erk. Basically Leviticus, but you have to read it. There are so many stupid laws. The punishments are then discussed in the Talmud, which is a huge tract of discussion. Search for the word "stone" in Leviticus, and you get most of the proscribed death punishments.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=407964

It'll do you no good, though. You'll get indigestion.
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Offline jetson

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #117 on: October 09, 2011, 09:23:33 PM »
I'm not denying that objective morals exist, I'm saying that humans have never agreed upon them completely, and have never produced a set of objective morals.  Theft, murder, rape, makes no difference what moral is brought to the table.  It's like saying there is a truth out there, which may be true.  But that truth will not likely ever be agreed upon by humans, or any species for that matter.

Any moral set that comes from a god is a human moral set, and thus is subjective beyond that specific god.  And, as we have seen throughout history, even quite subjective within that gods authority.


Offline Add Homonym

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #118 on: October 09, 2011, 09:34:58 PM »
I'm not denying that objective morals exist, I'm saying that humans have never agreed upon them completely, and have never produced a set of objective morals. 

A Christian can argue that this is because we are not perceiving God properly, but they still come from God. They can also say that their set of morals is the correct one.


Or, put another way....

L-C is arguing that morals come from God, because he says so.
CG is currently arguing that morals don't come from God, because she says so.

i) a resounding defeat can only come from showing where they do come from, in non-God terms
ii) if possible, give examples of how a morality that actually came from God would be different to human-agreed morality.
   a) God would never proscribe death as a punishment for murder; humans are abolishing the death penalty
   b) God wouldn't worry about theft, if life on Earth is not important
   c) God would never condone lying to spread his gospel
   d) God would never instigate a corrupt church
   e) ..... limits of you imagination
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 10:23:47 PM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #119 on: October 10, 2011, 07:05:07 AM »
Objective means something isn't based on opinion so consensus of opinion plays no part if it's objective, so there can be an objective moral value without consensus of the all people. It's the act in itself thats wrong.

This is why i'm "incredulous" because i'm actually talking to people who think the rape and murder of children is subject to personal opinion, not an objective rule wich says it ALWAYS wrong. Please someone say it aint so !

L-Chaim,

You seemed to think I made some valid points last time, so I'll try again.

I do not think that rape and murder of children is right.  You will find nobody on this forum (I think)who will say that it is right.  That in no way proves it is an objective moral, only that we all happen to share the same opinion.  You have - quite naturally, for your argument - chosen an extreme opinion that is shared by the vast majority of the world.  What you have NOT done - and don't appear to understand the reason we are asking for it - is display exactly why that general concensus equals objectivity, as opposed to a gross-scale shared subjective opinion.

However, you WILL find people in the world who will say that those things ARE good.  Perhaps more pertinently, you will find if you go back through history of various cultures that there were times and places where killing the innocent was a generally good thing: I've noted a couple of times about the Aztecs, for example.  All of which appears to show that the issues you mention are NOT objective moral truths, since there have been so many who do not agreed they are correct.

If you wish to label all those people as looney or wrong or deluded, then that is fine.  But to do so with any credibility, you need to show exactly WHY they were so: and to do that you need to explain quite clearly HOW those particular things are objective moral truths.

NOT to create strawmen that lambast us for asking how you jump from "socially accepted consensual morality" to "objective morality".  It may be a good red herring to deflect attention from the actual question, but to be honest I expected a little more of you.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #120 on: October 10, 2011, 10:36:59 PM »
To the proponents of subjective morality on this thread:

Many cultures throughout history have thought child sacrifice was commendable.  Clearly, we don't hold to that practice now.

Were they wrong? (In your opinion, of course.)
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #121 on: October 10, 2011, 11:46:58 PM »
(I am going to respond to your previous post to me; my own TG weekend was busy as well!)

From my perspective, the question does not parse as asked.  Were they wrong with respect to what standard?

With respect to the standard of the Abrahamic god-character, the answer would be "yes" today, and maybe "no" way back when (if done right).  With respect to my own, yes.  With respect to yours, yes.  With respect to the Aztecs', in general I imagine it was "no".

Even from your own position, you would be unable to answer the question without assuming "...with respect to God's standard", right?  I am curious, then, as to why you asked an incomplete question.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #122 on: October 11, 2011, 12:36:54 AM »
(I am going to respond to your previous post to me; my own TG weekend was busy as well!)
As I think the slowest poster on this entire board, I feel obliged to say: take your time.  ;)  (But even if I weren't obliged, take your time.)

Were they wrong with respect to what standard?
...
 With respect to my own, yes.  With respect to yours, yes.

I ask cause the answer you give doesn't parse to me.

You say the Aztecs were wrong with respect to your own personal standard.  But surely you wouldn't say the same if morality were a matter of merely cultural values.  I dislike spicy food.[1]  While I'd certainly say I dislike Jalapeño peppers, I would never think to say my friend Dave ought dislike them because I dislike them[2].  It would never cross my mind to take what are my own personal tastes and apply them to someone else eating a Jalapeño pepper.

If morality were truly subjective, the question "Were the Aztecs wrong to do what they do, according to my own personal morality" would be akin to asking "Is Dave enjoying that Jalapeño pepper he is eating right now, according to my own personal tastes?"
 1. I guess I haven't had enough of it, people say it's worth acquring a taste.
 2. And I kid you not, I've seen him eat an entire Jalapeño  pepper.  It was amazing - at least to someone like me.
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Offline Timo

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #123 on: October 11, 2011, 02:52:53 AM »
I am not busy.  I am an American.  And as such, I celebrate Thanksgiving in November as Mohammed, peace be upon him, intended.

Anyway, Math, primo,

I think that's not the greatest analogy.  To begin with, you're wrong and Dave is right.  A taste for spicy foods is the correct position.[1]  But a taste for spicy foods, unless it has some health implications and there's someone dependent on you maintaining your good health or something like that, probably isn't ever going to enter into what we might call a moral calculus.  It's just something you do or don't do for yourself.  In much the same way, people wouldn't call your musical tastes moral or immoral, unless of course you tricked out your car so that you can play said music at obnoxious volumes.

I think that, as sort of amorphous and vague as a given person's definition of morality might be, a common thread seems to be that if the thing that someone does has no effect on anyone else, it's not really even a question if that thing is right or wrong morally.[2]  To use myself as an unfortunate example, I'm currently underemployed due to the economic clusterfuck and what not.  While it might be prudent for me to find a new line of work, I'm not sure that anyone say that it's morally right or wrong for me to just be happy just to be employed and have enough to keep the lights on here at casa de Timo.  If I had kids or other people to support you would probably (correctly) think that maybe, just maybe my lack of ambition acceptance of the status quo is immoral in some way.

So no, I think that moral questions, even if we think morality is ultimately subjective take on a different sort of flavor than questions about other preferences we might have.  There's a qualitative difference since involving other people in your preferences is basically imposing them on other people.  Or something like that.
 1. And I'm probably worse than your friend.  I grew up putting Tapatio on everything from scrambled eggs to pop corn.
 2. Though I suppose that for the religious among us, the question is often complicated by the fact that all of us have a relationship with God who sees and knows all and therefore EVERYTHING we do is potentially a moral question.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #124 on: October 11, 2011, 05:49:55 AM »
I dislike spicy food.[1]  While I'd certainly say I dislike Jalapeño peppers, I would never think to say my friend Dave ought dislike them because I dislike them[nb] ..... It would never cross my mind to take what are my own personal tastes and apply them to someone else eating a Jalapeño pepper.

If morality were truly subjective, the question "Were the Aztecs wrong to do what they do, according to my own personal morality" would be akin to asking "Is Dave enjoying that Jalapeño pepper he is eating right now, according to my own personal tastes?"
 1. I guess I haven't had enough of it, people say it's worth acquring a taste.

As Timo has said - not really, because I doubt that you consider eating (or not eating) of peppers to be a moral question, just one of taste.  Maybe I'm wrong though - do you feel it is immoral to eat peppers?

Perhaps a better question might be: is it right or wrong to eat the flesh of another human being?  And does it make a difference if you personally were not responsible for killing them?

One might also touch on the question of fish on Fridays, or Halal meat.  Is the eating (or not eating) of those morally wrong?  From whose perspective?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #125 on: October 11, 2011, 06:28:29 AM »
Were they wrong with respect to what standard?
...
 With respect to my own, yes.  With respect to yours, yes.

I ask cause the answer you give doesn't parse to me.

You say the Aztecs were wrong with respect to your own personal standard.  But surely you wouldn't say the same if morality were a matter of merely cultural values.

Not if they weren't also my values, indeed.  Not if I hadn't adopted them somehow already.  They are both cultural values and my values.  The only relevant role that culture played was in conditioning me (and others).  I can speak of a cultural standard as a reference frame for your question ("was it wrong to the Aztecs?"), but that's more of an abstract exercise, since cultures don't actually make moral decisions or engage in moral reasoning; the people within them do.

I dislike spicy food.[1]  While I'd certainly say I dislike Jalapeño peppers, I would never think to say my friend Dave ought dislike them because I dislike them[2].  It would never cross my mind to take what are my own personal tastes and apply them to someone else eating a Jalapeño pepper.
 1. I guess I haven't had enough of it, people say it's worth acquring a taste.
 2. And I kid you not, I've seen him eat an entire Jalapeño  pepper.  It was amazing - at least to someone like me.

I'm going to put aside the question of whether this counts as a moral decision, because I don't find that to be all that relevant to what you're getting at.  This is still a value-based matter, and that's what counts.

Anyway, my answer is that those are two different, separate actions, MIC.  One is you eating Jalapeño peppers.  The other is him eating the peppers.  These two actions have very different effects, given that he likes them and you do not.  Given a common standard of valuation for peoples' experiences and reactions, the two actions will resolve differently, since they yield different experiences and reactions.

Another similar example, yet perhaps more blatant, would be the case of giving a big, firm hug to each of your family members, when one of them is recovering from broken ribs.  It might be considered a good thing[3] to give most of them a hug, but because of the different experience and reaction that the broken-rib person would endure through the same action on your part, the action gets a different value attached to it.

If morality were truly subjective, the question "Were the Aztecs wrong to do what they do, according to my own personal morality" would be akin to asking "Is Dave enjoying that Jalapeño pepper he is eating right now, according to my own personal tastes?"

Not really, because Dave's enjoyment is a physical phenomenon.  An analogous second question would instead be "Is Dave's enjoyment of that Jalapeño pepper a good thing?"
 3. morally or not, it makes little difference to your question
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #126 on: October 11, 2011, 11:07:01 AM »
Timo and Anfauglir:

You say taste is not a moral question.  I agree - but then, I also think morality is objective.

Assuming morality is subjective, I'd have to disagree.  What's the qualitative difference?  Don't they function in exactly the same way?  Don't I have my own personal moral framework, and my own personal tastes in food?  I mean sure, it's different things we're talking about, but it's still a very personal valuation that we assign to different things in the world.  Again, assuming morality is subjective, I just don't see how they're different.[1]
 1. Other than maybe a question of degree.  I might dislike murder way more then I dislike pancakes, but it's still the same kind of dislike.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #127 on: October 11, 2011, 11:25:04 AM »
Timo and Anfauglir:

You say taste is not a moral question.  I agree - but then, I also think morality is objective.

Assuming morality is subjective, I'd have to disagree.  What's the qualitative difference?  Don't they function in exactly the same way?  Don't I have my own personal moral framework, and my own personal tastes in food?  I mean sure, it's different things we're talking about, but it's still a very personal valuation that we assign to different things in the world.  Again, assuming morality is subjective, I just don't see how they're different.[1]
 1. Other than maybe a question of degree.  I might dislike murder way more then I dislike pancakes, but it's still the same kind of dislike.

It's in the question.  Is it right to eat peppers; is it wrong to eat peppers; or is it simply morally neutral to eat peppers and a matter for personal preference?  Like shellfish: abomination against god, or just plain yukky?  I suppose the dividing line is where you go from saying "uuuurgh, how can you stand to eat that?" and slapping the food from their hand and picketing the restaurant until they agree never to serve them again.  Like you say, in some respects it IS a matter of degree.

But we got here by asking how we judge another time's morals.  So yes - subjectively they were right/wrong, in the same way that I think some people are right/wrong to eat peppers.  Subjectively, neither I nor they are "right", except under our own terms.

I also think morality is objective.
And this is the crucial bit - for anything to be objective, whether it be morals or peppers, to claim an objective standard requires some evidence as to why it is objective - and how other people at other times have ever managed to feel that any of your objective "rules" was wrong.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #128 on: October 11, 2011, 11:51:58 AM »
MIC, don't they function in the same way even under an objective-value paradigm?  I mean, all that changes is that the objective standard (in this case your god's) becomes the only one to merit consideration.  Everything else stays the same.
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Offline Timo

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #129 on: October 11, 2011, 09:46:08 PM »
You say taste is not a moral question.  I agree - but then, I also think morality is objective.

I'm not sure that you do.  In our debate, you were defending a subjective form of morality, where right and wrong were dependent upon the arbitrary whims nature of a god.  With this being the case, you can't claim that killing children is always wrong because you're committed to the position that what is right is not dependent upon what sort of action one takes but what God happens to think about it.  And you've already concluded that it was a good thing for the Israelites to have killed Canaanite children since God told them to do it in that particular case.

I mean, you seem to be trying to paint people into some kind of rhetorical corner by suggesting that they really only have a preference against child sacrifice.  That they have no means available to them to truly condemn the practice as wrong any more than they can condemn Dave for liking spicy foods.  All the while, you believe that child sacrifice would actually be good were it to be commanded by God and that the killing of children was good when God ordered it.

I don't know dude...

Assuming morality is subjective, I'd have to disagree.  What's the qualitative difference?  Don't they function in exactly the same way?  Don't I have my own personal moral framework, and my own personal tastes in food?  I mean sure, it's different things we're talking about, but it's still a very personal valuation that we assign to different things in the world.  Again, assuming morality is subjective, I just don't see how they're different.[1]
 1. Other than maybe a question of degree.  I might dislike murder way more then I dislike pancakes, but it's still the same kind of dislike.

Wait, you dislike pancakes too?  Dude, you're a moral monster.

But nah, dislike of pancakes and dislike of murder are in two distinct categories.  And I think the difference is that, however we might define morality, we'd tend to think of actions one might take or preferences one might have to be morally neutral when they don't harm or help other people.  So yeah, on the subjective view they're both preferences but preferences of a different variety.

Or maybe it'd be put like this.  We have our preferences.  Morality might be thought of as the sort of preferences we'd like to or would have good reason to impose on other people to some extent.  I'm not sure that it's any of my business whether or not you like pancakes.  I might have an opinion but it's irrelevant.  That you're wrong about pancakes has nothing to do with me or with anyone else.  If, on the other hand, you want to murder me or some other person, it seems to be a different matter entirely.  I'm not sure the preferences are differentiated only by degree.

Peace
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #130 on: October 11, 2011, 10:58:00 PM »
You say the Aztecs were wrong with respect to your own personal standard. 

Not exactly.  He is saying that child sacrifice is wrong to him.  He is also saying that child sacrifice was not wrong to the Aztecs.  Unless I am mistaken, he is not making the claim that the Aztecs were wrong, perse.  What I think you get so hung up on is the notion that the way we state our opinions come off as if we are stating objective facts.  That's just our language. 

I dislike spicy food.

Me too. 

While I'd certainly say I dislike Jalapeño peppers, I would never think to say my friend Dave ought dislike them because I dislike them.

No, but you would say... I don't like Jalapeño peppers.  And you would also say... Dave likes Jalapeño peppers. Stop there.  There's nothing more to it.  The same applies to the rest of the 7 billion people on the planet.  Everyone has a different opinion on peppers.  You may not understand WHY someone likes Jalapeño peppers, just like you may not understand WHY the Aztecs were OK with child sacrifice, but that doesn't change the fact that Dave likes peppers, and the Aztecs were cool with child sacrifice. 

It would never cross my mind to take what are my own personal tastes and apply them to someone else eating a Jalapeño pepper.

Unless you felt eating Jalapeño peppers was extremely important or that eating Jalapeño peppers was a great injustice.  That's where the term 'moral' comes in.  It has to do with a distinction we humans make between value judgements and non-value judgements.  They are all still opinions though.  How many times do we have to keep going over this with you?  You're just not right.  This is the way it works.  Get over it.  You lost this argument months ago before you came back. 

If morality were truly subjective, the question "Were the Aztecs wrong to do what they do, according to my own personal morality" would be akin to asking "Is Dave enjoying that Jalapeño pepper he is eating right now, according to my own personal tastes?"

Aztecs killing children = value judgement.  Moral issue.  Right or wrong apply at a subjective level.  "I think what the Aztecs did was wrong."
Eating peppers = non-value judgement.  Non-moral issue.  Right or wrong does not apply.  "I don't like peppers."

The question "Were the Aztec's wrong to do what they did?"  can only (as far as we can prove) be answered by individuals, not as some sort of collective consciousness.  When those individuals answer yes or no, what are they giving you?  Their OPINION.  If they say, "Yes, the Aztec's were wrong," you might ask, "Why were they wrong?".  Then they might say, "Because killing children is bad." and you might say, "Why is killing children bad?".  This could go on for a long time, but at the heart of it all is the personally formed opinion that either A. God says killing children is bad, or B. I believe killing children is bad.  If you want to claim A is the better answer, then you must prove God exists, prove that God gives us morality, and prove that God thinks killing children is bad. 

But then your work really begins! Then, you have to determine God's moral judgement is regarding every single moral issue we are facing, have faced, and will face in the future.  Because whether you know it or not; if God forms a specific moral judgement about killing children, then He forms a moral judgement about everything.  It means there IS a right answer (and consequently, a whole shit load of wrong answers) to every moral problem.  From whether or not to give that woman in the grocery line your last 5 dollars (thereby not feeding your own child a meal), to "Is homosexuality wrong?", to the age old moral problem of 'if you're driving a train that is going to run off the tracks, is it better to ram into the family of 3 with a dog, or the family of 4'?  You also have to explain away why so many people have different opinions, when God is the source of it all in the first place.  Until you've done ANY of that, the "morality is a value based opinion" theory explains all instances naturally without the necessity of an outside moral law giver.   
 
To the proponents of subjective morality on this thread:

Many cultures throughout history have thought child sacrifice was commendable.  Clearly, we don't hold to that practice now.

Were they wrong? (In your opinion, of course.)

You don't need to add the (In your opinion) part.  We already know it's our opinion.  It's just a moral opinion, and it is likely you already know the answer.  Part of me believes this is your attempt to appeal to our emotional reaction to child sacrifice... to try and get us to give in to the power of those feelings in order to make us think (if only for a moment) that our opinions might really be objectively true... but what you might not understand is that most atheists aren't as susceptible to that as religious people.  Our feelings are tempered by logic and reason more than yours likely are.   

Let me ask you this...  What is your opinion on child sacrifice, and how does it differ from Gods?  If you believe you have a good answer, then how did you determine what God's judgement was on child sacrifice? Did you ask Him?

Also, do you have a moral position about anything that you are sure differs from Gods position?  Or does God always like what you like, and dislike what you dislike? 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #131 on: October 12, 2011, 02:44:45 AM »
I was thinking further on this last night while walking to my gaming club.

If there is no objective morality, then this can pose a problem for lawmakers.  With no objective system to base things on, is murder (for example) good or bad?  Even taking the view that the victim would not want to be murdered, you are still talking about subjective opinions: isn't the killer's opinion just as valid as the victim's?  In our society, obviously not - and what I think is crucial is the question of reciprocity in morality.

If it is wrong for you to do it, it is wrong for me to do it - and vice versa.  By definition, any objective morality has to apply to all subjects equally - if not, how could it possibly be considered to be objective, since one side will always feel that it is wrong.  If it is okay for you to hit me, but NOT okay for me to hit you, then there is no way that is an objective system.

And there, of course, is where "objective morality from god" collapses.  God commands not to kill, for example, and then kills.  To write a morality that applies EQUALLY to god, and man, would require the Christian to apply so many caveats, and exeptions, and escape clauses, that I can see no way it could be considered objective.

An objective morality would, similarly, be timeless.  Morality would not change according to customs and social mores - if it did, it would again simply be subjective.  There are a whole heap of behaviours in the Bible - apparently sanctioned or approved of by Yahweh - that we do not hold as true today: meaning that Yahweh, the supposedly objective source of morality, was accepting and condoning a subjective morality at odds with his constant and unchanging objective morality.

There IS no objective morality.  But it is an inviting and comforting ideal, which is why so many people are unable to let it go - despite being unable to provide any evidence of why it should be so, or what it actually is.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: curiousgirl and L-Chaim: The discussion thread
« Reply #132 on: October 12, 2011, 03:56:23 PM »
MiC,

If your friend Dave came up to you and said, "Jalapeno peppers are delicious", what would you say to him?  Is he making an objective statement here, as if God himself has deemed peppers as delicious?  Would you rant and rave about how he can't say that because it's an objective statement?  Or would you form the understanding that this is just Dave's opinion, and that there is an implied "I think" in front of it?

Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT