Author Topic: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread  (Read 4905 times)

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Offline screwtape

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Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« on: July 23, 2011, 04:40:18 PM »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2011, 04:43:19 PM »
BM
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Offline Petey

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2011, 09:08:04 AM »
I'm sorry, but MC's opening statement was so full of holes, I couldn't resist responding to it.  Hopefully I'm not stepping on Timo's toes.

IF the Christian God exists, then one thing we can say is that a standard for morality definitely exists in God's own nature.  Not only is the Christian God the source of everything that is good, but goodness cannot be separated from Him.  Consider Psalm 16:2, "Thou art my Lord; I have no good besides Thee" or 1 Peter 1:16 "Be ye holy, God said, for I am holy" or James 1:17, "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow."  Remember - we're using scripture here because we've assumed the Christian worldview for this section.  All we're trying to show is that the statement "If God exists, then morality also exists" is true. 

You conveniently forgot about some verses which disconfirm your premise.

Genesis 3:22
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil

Joshua 23:15
Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

Job 38-41
Too much to quote here, but essentially "might makes right".

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Amos 3:6
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

Lamentations 3:38
Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Think of it this way.  If the Christian God exists, then we can say something is right or wrong independently of whether or not anyone believes it to be wrong.  The Nazi's antisemitism was really wrong, for example, the same way the statement "1 + 1 = 3" is really wrong.  William Lane Craig has made this argument before:

Quote from: William Lane Craig @ http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5344
On the theistic view, objective moral values are rooted in God.  God’s own holy and perfectly good nature supplies the absolute standard against which all actions and decisions are measured.  God’s moral nature is what Plato called the “Good.”  He is the locus and source of moral value.  He is by nature loving, generous, just, faithful, kind, and so forth.

Moreover, God’s moral nature is expressed in relation to us in the form of divine commands which constitute our moral duties or obligations.  Far from being arbitrary, these commands flow necessarily from His moral nature.  In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the whole moral duty of man can be summed up in the two great commandments:  First, you shall love the Lord your God with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your heart and with all your mind, and, second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On this foundation we can affirm the objective goodness and rightness of love, generosity, self-sacrifice, and equality, and condemn as objectively evil and wrong selfishness, hatred, abuse, discrimination, and oppression.

1. Where did you get the idea that antisemitism is "really" wrong?  It certainly can't be from the Bible, as it is chock full of antisemitism...both from other nations/peoples and from god himself.  Hitler even used the Bible to support his plan, and to convince his vastly Christian soldiers to carry it out.

2. Quoting WLC won't get you very far on this site (or in life, for that matter).  The guy is a terrific debater and spin doctor, but his actual arguments have repeatedly been shown to be full of holes, and at times purposely dishonest.

1. Sure, we can assume God exists.  However, who's to say we ought follow His (or Her, or Its) commands?  What if God is evil?  What if God is simply ambivalent?
Note that we did not introduce some fuzzy deity.  We (axiomatically) introduced the Christian God, who is by definition good (indeed, the source of all good things.)  THIS God is good, and thus we are legitimately obligated to follow his commands.

The church defines god as good.  The Bible does not support this view, as shown above.

2. No fair!  What's to stop me from axiomatically introducing my own definitionally good entity, called "Timo," and saying everyone must follow my moral dictates?
There are really two answers here:
a) Once you do this and get 2 billion followers, become the world's largest religion and the world's fastest growing religion simultaneously, let me know.  Once you introduce science and medicine and the idea of a university, abolish slavery, figure out limited constitutional  government... I might start to take your word that your word is in fact divine revelation.  This Jesus of Nazareth fellow, real or not, demonic liar, insane lunatic, or the risen Lord - you have to admit that he seems to have had an effect on our world.  Therefore, you have to take his word of divine revelation seriously.  This isn't just semantic games, this is real life we're talking about.

Really?  Argumentum ad populum?

And by the way,
a) Science and medicine existed long before Christianity, and at many times throughout history, existed in spite of it.
b) Again, slavery was abolished and constitutional government was enacted in spite of Christianity, not because of it.  It's a good thing you're (apparently) good at math, because you clearly know very little about history.
c) It wasn't his divine revelation.  Jesus never wrote a word (that we know of).  Christianity only exists today because of Paul and Constantine, and it is mostly their "revelations" that are in practice today.

b) It's totally plausible for a Christian to invoke God as the ultimate "stopping point" for morality.  Let me bring in Dr. Craig one more time:
Quote from: William Lane Craig
I think that what this objection is really getting at is the claim that it's somehow arbitrary to adopt God’s nature as the Good. But every moral realist theory has to have an explanatory stopping point at which one reaches the ultimate good. Anyone who broaches a moral theory is entitled to identify whatever he wants as his ultimate explanatory stopping point. The question, then, will be, is the explanatory ultimate posited by some moral theory plausible? In the case of theism, taking God to be one’s explanatory ultimate is, I think, eminently plausible. For the very concept of God is the concept of a necessary, metaphysically ultimate being, one, moreover, that is worthy of worship. Indeed, He is the greatest conceivable being, and it is greater to be the Good than merely to reflect it. So the theist's stopping point, in contrast to, say, the humanist's, is not at all arbitrary or premature.
Got that?  God is a metaphysically ultimate being so it is not strange or arbitrary at all to invoke Him as the root of all morality.  You (or whatever other non-God thing you axiomatically introduce to be the ultimate good) are definitely not metaphysically ultimate, so it is quite easy to show how this would be a premature and arbitrary stopping point.

Argumentum ad populum notwithstanding, you nullified this point yourself with your next point.

3. Wait a sec... the argument you're presenting here would work for any deity.  Who's to say you're wrong and the flying spaghetti monster isn't the real deity?
For part of this I can go back to the answer I gave for objection 2 - if the devotees of the flying spaghetti monster starts affecting the world the same way Christianity has, it would be a credible objection.  I could also point out that you're not a worshipper of the FSM, or of Allah, or of Zeus - you're an atheist, and we ought remember this debate/discussion is between Christianity and Atheism, not Christianity vs. the world.
Ultimately, though, this is a valid point - my argument works for any monotheistic religion which can justfiably claim it's deity to be metaphysically ultimate and good.[1]  Christianity's uniqueness ultimately comes down to it's recognition of Jesus Christ as promised messiah of the world, not as the world's only monotheistic religion.  Note, too, that raising this objection essentially concedes any point you can make about there not being a God - all that would be left at that point is to figure out what of the worlds monothesitc Gods actually does exist.
 1. Though the argument does work, note that it doesn't prove much.  The world has 3 major monotheistic faiths, and two of them (Judaism and Christianity) worship the same God.  With Islam, I contend that the Allah of the Quran is demonstrably less than ultimate - whereas the God of the Bible swears by himself when He makes a covenant, Allah swears by created things.  Compare Hebrews 6:13, 6:16, Isaiah 45:23, Jeremiah 22:5 with Allah swearing by the Quran: (44:2, 50:1) the wind(51:1) the Mountain(52:1), Stars(53:1, 56:75), the moon(74:32), the heavens(86:1) etc. etc.  Were he an ultimate God, he wouldn't swear by these things.  Thus, even if Allah were real, we can show that he is not the ultimate standard by which goodness can be judged, because he does not claim to be so.

1. Popularity has nothing to do with something's existence.  The FSM is a perfectly viable supreme being.  Every bit as viable as the god of the Bible.
2. Just to clear up a couple things:
  a) Judaism and Christianity may claim to have a god in common, but the old and new testaments are definitely not describing the same being.
  b) Allah is simply the Arabic word for god.  It is the same god as the god of the Bible and Torah.  Again, they claim that it's the same being, but as you already pointed out, the descriptions vary significantly.
3. Christianity's god is also not described as ultimate (at least not in the old testament).  He can't even defeat iron chariots.


I'm running out of time, so rather than address the remaining items point by point, I will simply sum up the rest by saying that in my opinion the atheistic basis of morality is empathy.  I would invite MC (or anyone else, for that matter) to watch the following videos.



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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 09:29:37 AM »
Hey, a youtube thread!

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 10:09:16 AM »
I'm sorry, but MC's opening statement was so full of holes, I couldn't resist responding to it.

Word.  Before I start critiquing it myself, I would like to point out, he has taken for granted that when all parties speak of "morality" they are all talking about the same thing.  That is one, fat ass assumption and will be the cause of much talking past each other.  He really should have defined morality first thing.



I'm going to be defending the idea that morality must be based on God for it to be anything resembling what we normally think of as morality.  Because I'm a Christian, I'll further be maintaining that it is the Christian God alone that supplies the basis of morality,...

Notice, he sort of makes this part of what he is arguing, then, later, he makes it an assumption.

...not some fuzzy deity that nobody knows about,...

yhwh, el, el shaddai, elohim, etc.  God (with a capital G) is an amalgam of at least half a dozen canaanite gods, zoroastrian gods, and Babylonian gods.  Top that off with 30,000 flavors of xianity and you cannot tell me the xian god is not a fuzzy, ill-defined deity.

...or some amoral Zeus who's only morality seems to be get as many mortals pregnant as possible.

uh, Mary?  Hello?

...in this part of the discussion I will simply assume the Christian God exists,

see my comment above.  Maybe he is going to get around to establishing it later...?  We'll see.


IF the Christian God exists, then one thing we can say is that a standard for morality definitely exists in God's own nature.  Not only is the Christian God the source of everything that is good, but goodness cannot be separated from Him.

That does not answer the age old question:  Is god good because good is defined by god or because god is following an external, objective good?  Aka, Euthypro dilemma.  Some of Hermes best work.  Anyway, the answer to that matters.  If good is defined by god, then good is not absolute.  It is based on god's subjective whims.  If it is absolute, then god is not omnipotent because he has no choice do do otherwise. God is in a real pickle.

Remember - we're using scripture here because we've assumed the Christian worldview for this section.

Which xian worldview?

Think of it this way.  If the Christian God exists, then we can say something is right or wrong independently of whether or not anyone believes it to be wrong.

see Euthypro dilemma above.


Quote from: William Lane Craig @ http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5344
On the theistic view, objective moral values are rooted in God.  God’s own holy and perfectly good nature supplies the absolute standard against which all actions and decisions are measured.

If that is the case, then good is defined by god and is not an absolute standard.  Good is good because god says it is good.  and god is as capricious as anyone. 

Quote from: wlc
God’s moral nature is what Plato called the “Good.”  He is the locus and source of moral value.  He is by nature loving, generous, just, faithful, kind, and so forth.

Moreover, God’s moral nature is expressed in relation to us in the form of divine commands which constitute our moral duties or obligations.

Like not boiling a kid in its mother's milk?  Or not wearing polyblend fabrics?

Quote from: wlc
Far from being arbitrary, these commands flow necessarily from His moral nature.  In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the whole moral duty of man can be summed up in the two great commandments:  First, you shall love the Lord your God with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your heart and with all your mind, and, second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On this foundation we can affirm the objective goodness and rightness of love, generosity, self-sacrifice, and equality, and condemn as objectively evil and wrong selfishness, hatred, abuse, discrimination, and oppression.
blah blah blah.  Special pleading,  asshole.

In other words, If God exists, there also exists a standard for calling good things good and bad things bad. 

correction, an arbitrary standard.

Note that we did not introduce some fuzzy deity. 

We didn't.  MiC sure did, however.

a) Once you do this and get 2 billion followers,

As Petey pointed out, argument from popularity.  Amateurish.

Quote from: William Lane Craig
I think that what this objection is really getting at is the claim that it's somehow arbitrary to adopt God’s nature as the Good. But every moral realist theory has to have an explanatory stopping point at which one reaches the ultimate good.

Says who?  And here is the thing, religionists are looking for the "stopping point" for everything: morals, creation, authority, justice, etc.  They want an ultimate king.  As I have said in another thread, they need to know "someone" is in the control room.  That strikes me as a deeply insecure position that is pacified by "god".


Got that?  God is a metaphysically ultimate being so it is not strange or arbitrary at all to invoke Him as the root of all morality.

Ooo, yeah, got it.  WLC said it, so it must be.

3. Wait a sec... the argument you're presenting here would work for any deity.  Who's to say you're wrong and the flying spaghetti monster isn't the real deity?
For part of this I can go back to the answer I gave for objection 2 - if the devotees of the flying spaghetti monster starts affecting the world the same way Christianity has, it would be a credible objection.

Plus, he just assumed xianity at the beginning.  Voila.

we ought remember this debate/discussion is between Christianity and Atheism, not Christianity vs. the world.

not according to his intro:
I'll further be maintaining that it is the Christian God alone that supplies the basis of morality


Under atheism,

categorical error.  Atheism is not a philosophical structure.  It is more of an adjective.  He might mean "humanism", which is something we here in this forum speak and apparently know very little about.

the very most we can say of morality is it some sort of herd instinct evolved by homo sapiens to further the species.  Ultimately though, this fails to be anything we might recognize as morality.

Except, you have not defined it.  I would say, that it is exactly what morality is.  "Right" and "wrong" or "good" and "evil" are shorthand, references for the daft.

If our morality is some instinct to preserve our species, it is an endeavor that is doomed to failure.

? So?
 
More simply, under the assumption that morality is merely a collection of evolved societal instincts,

Not instincts.  Animals cannot chose to do other than what instinct has programed them to do.  People have choices (depending where you stand on free will. But let's not get into that...).  And the choice is where morality comes in.  Morals are rules.

the rapist is doing nothing more serious than exhibiting a preference for a different set of instincts (sex) then we wish he would (empathy.)

No.  It undermines trust within the group and violates the sense of reciprocity.  If one member of a group inflicts pain on another member, who has people that care about her, they will not trust the offender.  Groups can only function when there is trust.  So it is not just that the rapist does something the do not like.  He is damaging the basis of the one thing that made the species successful - group functionality.

 
The thief is exhibiting...

no.  See above example.


Basically, under atheism,

Ignorant categorical error, again.

Without God as an anchor for morality, there would be no reason to obey any moral duty or recognize any ethical value on one's fellow humans.

And how is that working out?  xians are behaving, are they? 

If you want to maintain that morality does not have to be grounded on God, you must show how either statement (1) or (2) above is false.

Or that morality is not what you presume it to be.
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Online Azdgari

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2011, 10:24:47 AM »
Been around the block with MiC on this topic before:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,15098.msg366926.html#msg366926

I consider his abandonment of that (civil by our point) thread to have been a concession that he's wrong.  If he doesn't accept that judgment, and wishes to counter my points, then I'd gladly start a new thread for it.  But then, maybe it'd just be easier if Timo used the material of that thread now.  After all, if MiC is raising points now that he abandoned back then, then there are only a few conclusions we can draw about MiC's intellectual honesty...
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 10:26:18 AM by Azdgari »
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2011, 10:28:18 AM »
Or state of mind, Azgari. Emotionally, he may have no choice but to stick to his guns no matter what. Even believing that he is making sense.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2011, 10:42:48 AM »
I consider his abandonment of that (civil by our point) thread to have been a concession that he's wrong.

I was wondering if it was normal for me to think thread abandonment or a point uncontested = concession. I sometimes fret about it, thinking that perhaps what I have said is so obviously wrong that others see no point to argue against it. I am insecure like that.

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2011, 10:56:55 AM »
Abandoning a thread or argument can mean a lot of things.  Sometimes it means that the other person just isn't worth it.  For example, say someone chooses to abandon an argument with Sambo.  This isn't a concession.  It's a realization that the person isn't worth talking to.

MiC and I, on the other hand, were getting on just fine.  We respected each others' intellect (as far as I could tell).  Even so, he could simply have lost interest - that's not a concession, it's a parting of ways.

But in this case, he hadn't lost interest.  His subsequent posts have shown that.  He's ignored the previous discussion, pretending that its arguments never happened and that he's learned nothing.  And that, mister Blackwell, is IMO a concession.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2011, 12:20:33 PM »
Abandoning a thread or argument can mean a lot of things.  Sometimes it means that the other person just isn't worth it.  For example, say someone chooses to abandon an argument with Sambo.  This isn't a concession.  It's a realization that the person isn't worth talking to.

MiC and I, on the other hand, were getting on just fine.  We respected each others' intellect (as far as I could tell).  Even so, he could simply have lost interest - that's not a concession, it's a parting of ways.

But in this case, he hadn't lost interest.  His subsequent posts have shown that.  He's ignored the previous discussion, pretending that its arguments never happened and that he's learned nothing.  And that, mister Blackwell, is IMO a concession.
sigh...
Azdgari,

I haven't ignored the previous discussion.  Even if I had, you've successfully posted that link in several threads I've been involved in, so people can go back and read it.  :)  I stopped posting there because I felt all that needed to be said had been said.  I have obligations external to this board (as I'm sure you do as well) and thus I can't carry on every conversation indefinitely.

That being said... since you apparently really really feel that I'm being intellectually dishonest, I'll start up another thread to continue our discussion.  Keep in mind that I'm not promising an indefinite exchange - merely 1 or 2 (maaaaybe 3) more posts to make my position more clear (and your rebuttals more clear as well).  Also keep in mind that I'm by no means promising speedy responses - this current thread is my highest priority, so yours I'll probably only be able to respond to once every couple of weeks.  Please understand, it's not because I didn't enjoy our exchange - I truly did - but I have this job, and they (totally unreasonably!) expect me to get things done, and I have this wife whom I really enjoy spending time with, and the lawn really needs to be cut this week.... you get the idea. :)

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2011, 12:21:39 PM »
By all means.  I am in no hurry.  I just find it curious that you wish to backtrack from the points made in that thread in further ones with other people on the same topic.

Why have you done this?
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2011, 12:26:41 PM »
this quote of MiC's is interesting

Quote
Under atheism, the very most we can say of morality is it some sort of herd instinct evolved by homo sapiens to further the species.  Ultimately though, this fails to be anything we might recognize as morality.  Consider: the human race will be extinguished, either with the next nuclear war, or when the sun nova's, or we might last as long as the eventual heat death of the universe.  If our morality is some instinct to preserve our species, it is an endeavor that is doomed to failure.  Thus, we cannot condemn war, oppression, or crime - the human race will perish, no matter how good or evil you act. 

Morality is through evolution.
The human race will likely end.
Thus morality is worthless.  ;D

which comes down to nihilsim and the usual attempt by theists to claim that all atheists are nihilists.   Happily, MiC is totally wrong. 
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2011, 12:32:45 PM »
In that paragraph, MiC requires that personal values do not exist.

If it is what he genuinely believes, then it is kind of scary.
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2011, 12:41:48 PM »
I think he has to believe it. If not, his god is useless. 
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2011, 02:06:49 PM »
In that paragraph, MiC requires that personal values do not exist.

If it is what he genuinely believes, then it is kind of scary.
sigh...

It's this kind of stuff that makes me wonder if doubt that any further discussion we had would be fruitful.
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 02:18:04 PM »
Fruitful discussion would require me to refrain from observing obvious logical implications of your words?

Maybe you're right, then.  Are you going to impose this requirement on Timo as well?
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 08:52:33 PM »
IF the Christian God exists, then one thing we can say is that a standard for morality definitely exists in God's own nature.  Not only is the Christian God the source of everything that is good, but goodness cannot be separated from Him.

Math should have phrased it differently. He should have said "If MY idea of the Christian God exists". He ignores that his god also admits to being the source of evil in the bible as well. He's portraying his own interpretation, which I haven't seen him yet fully define or fully justify, as being the correct one by default. Then using that to argue his point.

He's already started completely misrepresenting things and being deceptive, and he's only in his initial argument. I wish I could say that I was surprised by that.

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2011, 04:22:26 PM »
Seems like Timo hit him with all of the important points and flaws in his arguments. Although I think he should have pointed out more obviously to Math the fact that he really needs to actually prove the existence of his god if his argument is going to work in any meaningful way. Since he's based everything on the idea that his god simply has to exist for their to be any morality at all.
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Offline Timo

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2011, 06:32:03 PM »
I think that his case is designed to work whether or not the Christian god actually exists.  His argument is only that 1.) his god, or another god like it is a plausible foundation for morality and 2.) that atheism provides no such foundation.  So I don't think his case really hinges on whether or not such an entity exists in reality.  If there is in fact no god then it seems to me his argument would just say that there's no foundation for morality either.  So I don't have a problem with it.  Where he assumes theism, he's up front about saying that he's assuming it.

I'm sure Math would be game for a discussion about the existence or nonexistence of god at some other time but that's not exactly what we're discussing.


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Offline Alzael

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2011, 07:25:04 PM »
I think that his case is designed to work whether or not the Christian god actually exists.  His argument is only that 1.) his god, or another god like it is a plausible foundation for morality and 2.) that atheism provides no such foundation.  So I don't think his case really hinges on whether or not such an entity exists in reality.  If there is in fact no god then it seems to me his argument would just say that there's no foundation for morality either.  So I don't have a problem with it.  Where he assumes theism, he's up front about saying that he's assuming it.

I'm sure Math would be game for a discussion about the existence or nonexistence of god at some other time but that's not exactly what we're discussing.


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You're wrong, read his topic paragraph. His argument isn't one of plausibility. His argument is that the Christian God is the sole basis for morality.

From him: " I'll further be maintaining that it is the Christian God alone that supplies the basis of morality"

" I am maintaining that, just as gravity is the reason behind our observation that stuff tends to fall down, God is the reason behind our observation that there's this thing called morality that we all recognize."

"Without God as an anchor for morality, there would be no reason to obey any moral duty or recognize any ethical value on one's fellow humans."

His argument is that his god is the source of all morality. Not that it's a plausible foundation for morality. His argument for atheism providing no foundation for morality is because there is no god to hand it out to us.

"Basically, under atheism, we are nothing more than the accidental byproducts of a universe that happens to have evolved a self-aware[4] blip on one of the planets on the edge of some random galaxy.  We are, cosmically speaking, nothing.  Certainly anything or anyone that tries to say one ought do this or that is instantly suspicious - there is absolutely no ultimate reason to think accidental self-aware universe byproducts have any value that we should recognize, or any duties that we ought follow. "

His argument centers on his assumption that morality can only be handed down from god. Atheism doesn't work in his view because morality has to have an objective basis. Of course this alone ruins any argument he makes since his god rules out any possibility of an objective morality existing, but you didn't nail him on that one.

But since his entire argument is that god exists and that all morality is handed down from him, it only works if he can show gods existence. Everything in his argument is simply a matter of "let's assume that I'm right". Even his argument for what a morality based on atheism would be is simply an assumption based on principles that he's assuming to exist. He's assumed that non-divinely inspired morality is ultimately fultile on the basis of his initial assumption that god hands down all morals and no other form of morality could work. For reasons that he never actually articulates.

If "let's assume that I'm right" is the only criteria for making a valid argument, then you're both just wasting your time with this.

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Offline Timo

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2011, 07:58:07 PM »
No.  He said that, as a Christian, he believes and defends the notion that the Christian god is the sole basis for morality, which is why he later admitted that:

Ultimately, though, this is a valid point - my argument works for any monotheistic religion which can justfiably claim it's deity to be metaphysically ultimate and good.

In other words, his contention is that what is required for a plausible morality is a good and metaphysically ultimate being--something he contends that atheism cannot provide and that Christian theism can provide.  In any case, I don't think that you need to defend the existence of an actual god to run this kind of argument, which is why apologists everywhere heart Nietzsche.

And so no, I don't think I need to bother with asking him to prove that a god or his god exists.  But that's just my take.


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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2011, 12:27:13 PM »
To go back to something mentioned earlier, I disagree that leaving a thread represents a concession, except when the person actually says they're conceding, or if they start using arguments advanced by their opponents in that thread elsewhere.  Now, what makes more sense in a lot of cases is retreating or retrenching - someone gets in a position they don't like in an argument, so they withdraw in order to shore up their position.  Same general concept as armies, except that nobody's shooting actual bullets.

Moving on, no offense to MathisCool, but his argument is critically flawed.  His argument, in effect, is that we either must have moral absolutism - morality based on an absolute standard provided by God - or moral nihilism - morality is meaningless because nothing is permanent.  It completely ignores every possible gradient or shade of meaning in favor of those two stark absolutes.  Furthermore, the second half assumes that because nothing will matter in the end, that nothing matters today; to take this to its logical extreme, because a newborn baby will die at some point in its future, it does not matter if someone kills it right after it's born.

The simple answer to that last is, "it matters to the baby."  Human civilization will end at some point down the road (whether it is because we die as a species, or we bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age, or whatever, is immaterial), but that is not a good reason to dismantle our cars, cities, and everything else, and become hunter-gatherers again.  The fact that Shakespeare's works will eventually be forgotten or destroyed doesn't make the enjoyment people got from seeing those magnificent plays go away; it doesn't justify destroying them now so that nobody can ever enjoy them again.

The logical basis for a non-absolute morality (morality without God) is based on the premise that each human's existence is fundamentally of the same value as every other human's existence.  Ideally, everyone has the same fundamental right to survive and prosper on their own terms, and thus nobody has the right to degrade that basic right for any other person for any reason (with the caveat that if they do take away that right from others, they forfeit their own).  In practice, it doesn't work quite that smoothly, but the fact remains that it works as the basis for real-life morality that allows as many people as possible to survive and prosper on their own terms.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2011, 01:42:41 PM »
Let me just say...

... which is why apologists everywhere heart Nietzsche.

made me lol.

It's funny 'cuz it's true. :)
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2011, 11:00:21 PM »
Quote
That's ultimately the problem I have with utilitarianism or humanism or Mr. Rawls' veil or even Timoteoism.  At the end of the day it's just your opinion on what's right or wrong. [7]  If in your opinion you decide that orange taking, or murder or theft or rape is wrong, it's still just your opinion.[8] Unless you can provide some authoritative, globally binding reason why rape, murder, theft, and orange-taking is wrong, it remains merely your opinion, and "So what?" remains a legitimate response to your protestations of any wrong-doing on the part of the evil-doer.  The problem I have with a moral system not ontologically based on God is it can be dismissed with a "So what?" and any moral system that can be dismissed in it's entirety this way is truly anemic.

And this is where you constantly fall flat MiC.  This is your fundamental problem.  You don't like the IMPLICATIONS of there being no God.  We beat the crap out of you for it a few months (maybe a full year) ago now, and you just keep coming back for more.  I get so tired of this from you and from other people.  This is really simple.  The truth doesn't CARE whether you like it or not.  The truth just IS.  With regard to any singular moral opinion, all you want to be able to do is say "I'm right about my opinion and God backs me up, so you're wrong."  But it's not math.  There doesn't HAVE to be a right or wrong here.  You can say "I think murder is bad", and so can I.  When asked how we can say that, you can point to an invisible supernatural force (that you can't actually prove, and that somehow always agrees with you), and I can just say "because I think it's bad".  Just because I don't have an invisible sky man to point to, doesn't mean I can't think murder is bad... or that I take it any less seriously than you.  I know you think the problem comes down to me not being able to say murder is bad with any force behind it, but it DOES have force behind it.  MY force.  And when lots of people believe the same thing, then it's a collective force. 

Just as I don't need to point to the invisible sky man to justify why I think strawberries are the best fruit, I don't need the sky man to point to when I say murder is bad.  Would you ever feel compelled to point to God's thoughts on the matter if someone disagreed with the opinion that strawberries are the best fruit?   

At the end of the day it really IS just your opinion on what's right or wrong.  This is how the world works!  If the experiences in my life lead me to believe that orange taking, murder, theft and rape are wrong, then they are going to be wrong in my eyes.  It's an opinion!  It's like saying blue is the best color.  That's an opinion too.  Neither of them need presuppose a God in order to understand them being opinions.  We are individuals, not some Borg-like mentality with interconnected brains and a shared moral code.  If we all felt the same on all moral issues, then you might have a case here.  But you don't.  The only difference is that we value our moral opinions far more than we value the best color, because we live our life based on what we believe to be right or wrong.  But you do not NEED to postulate that there is a god in order to understand that it works exactly like this from individual to individual.  It just seems like it's universal, but when you examine it closer, you see it for what it is.  Just a bunch of semi-overlapping, strongly held opinions. 

You CAN dismiss my moral values with a "so what?"  And I CAN do the same to you.  Here... we can do it right now.  Pick any single moral issue you think we may disagree upon.  Maybe abortion.  I say abortion should be legalized as it is the woman's right to choose.  If you disagree, I can dismiss your shit with a "so what?" And you can do the same to me, can you not?  Neither of us HAS to be objectively right in the eyes of God in order to hold our opinions and have them disagree.  The entire encounter can happen without ever assuming God is there to judge who is objectively right and wrong. 

It's too damn bad if you don't like that.  Can you give me evidence that the world DOESN'T work like this?  Because here is a short list of evidence that it DOES work like this.

1.  Everyone has a different opinion on moral issues. 
2.  Morality can change with brain chemistry and with brain damage.
3.  Humans create laws based on what we agree upon as "bad" or "good".  Not everyone will agree.
4.  What's right for one person may judged as completely wrong for another, given the exact same situation to look at. 

There are inherent difficulties that can arise with this view, but the truth of it remains unchanged by those difficulties.  It IS the truth.  But if you think your Christian world view is not fraught with dangers, then you should look back at the middle ages, and still up to today to see how "What God says, goes" can be a real problem for the world.  The best way we can live is to accept the truth about ourselves and then decide what to do about it.  If anything, we have learned that having one group with all the power and control over what is to be thought of as right and wrong, is a recipe for disaster.   

I have to keep asking... what evidence do you bring to the table in support of the notion that God is responsible for giving us our morality?  If you really believe that, then answer these questions. 

1.  Why do we all have different moral codes?  (The no god hypothesis doesn't have a problem answering this).
2.  Why can chemical and mechanical injuries change our moral codes?  (The no god hypothesis doesn't have a problem answering this).
3.  Why can beliefs change throughout our lives?  (The no god hypothesis has no problems with this either). 
4.  Where the HELL is your evidence that God is real?  (Do I need to say it?)
5.  What about everything that is NOT listed in the bible?  What does God say about those things?  Things like abortion, gun control, jaywalking, assisted suicide?  If you are standing in line at the grocery store and a woman in front of you needs 5 dollars and you have it, are you obligated to give it to her?  If you say God gives us our morality, what does God ACTUALLY say about these things?  And moreover, do YOU agree or disagree with God on them? More, moreover, if you disagreed with God, would you then act immorally and follow your own opinions? 

I would also love, love, LOVE for you to point to the real world inconsistencies that you see with the theory that morality is completely subjective.  Not some horse shit about how you don't like the implications, but a real critique of it from a real world aspect.  What facts does my theory NOT explain well?  And if one theory is better at explaining all the facts surrounding morality, should that not become the accepted theory versus those that seriously struggle to explain things?   

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2011, 11:09:42 PM »
JeffPT, to be fair, the implications are the topic of the debate.

Where MiC falls flat is the same place he always has:  It is his opinion that God is Good.  An appeal to personal opinion is just as necessary for the theist as it is for anyone else.  His opinion of the goodness of one of God's values is as subjective as anyone else's opinion of their own.

He says that personal opinions of morality can be dismissed with "so what";  If so, then by the same token, his god's opinions of morality can also be dismissed with "so what".  There is no qualitative difference between the values held by each.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 11:12:24 PM by Azdgari »
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2011, 11:13:50 PM »
A good question for MiC might be, "what would an evil god be like?"
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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2011, 11:39:01 PM »
JeffPT, to be fair, the implications are the topic of the debate.

Where MiC falls flat is the same place he always has:  It is his opinion that God is Good.  An appeal to personal opinion is just as necessary for the theist as it is for anyone else.  His opinion of the goodness of one of God's values is as subjective as anyone else's opinion of their own.

He says that personal opinions of morality can be dismissed with "so what";  If so, then by the same token, his god's opinions of morality can also be dismissed with "so what".  There is no qualitative difference between the values held by each.

I guess it's been a while since I read the first posts.  I don't remember reading that the implications were the premise of the debate. 
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

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2011, 09:29:30 AM »
MiC's thesis is that if there is no god, then there's no morality (and that if there is one, then there can be).  This in no way requires that a god's existence be established.  It's simply a speculative if-then argument.  Nothing wrong with that.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Timo & MathIsColl discuss Morality Discussion thread
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2011, 01:36:23 PM »
Quote
That's ultimately the problem I have with utilitarianism or humanism or Mr. Rawls' veil or even Timoteoism.  At the end of the day it's just your opinion on what's right or wrong. [7]  If in your opinion you decide that orange taking, or murder or theft or rape is wrong, it's still just your opinion.[8] Unless you can provide some authoritative, globally binding reason why rape, murder, theft, and orange-taking is wrong, it remains merely your opinion, and "So what?" remains a legitimate response to your protestations of any wrong-doing on the part of the evil-doer.  The problem I have with a moral system not ontologically based on God is it can be dismissed with a "So what?" and any moral system that can be dismissed in it's entirety this way is truly anemic.

I think that this here exemplifies best how Math utterly and completely fails. The main problem is that he's under the impression that his perspective isn't as subjective as the point of view that he says he doesn't like.

Since he has no way of knowing that his god exists, or an objective means of understanding it's will, his position is just his opinion as well. The only difference between the two is that the atheist/humanist position is actually humble enough to admit that it doesn't have access to some ultimate knowledge of morality, whereas Math does. However it's simply a matter of special pleading.

The question of "So what?" applies just as much to everything that he says. He asks Timo to present a "globally binding" reason for morality but can't do so himself. He thinks he can claim "God says so" and that works but Timo can just as easily claim "my morales say so" or "my father told me so" and it works just as well.

The other failure is that even if we assume a god who does have a specific set of moral laws for us, to quote Math "so what?"

If god does have a moral code for us then it's just as subjective as anything that we would create. It changes to match whatever god wants it to be. In order for morality to be objective it would need to exist independently of god and god would be subject to it as well, making him useless as far as determining right and wrong because it has nothing to do with god. It's equally as arbitrary to follow god's morality as it is to follow Timoeism.

If god says that I should consider homosexuality a sin......so what? God has no actual moral authority other than his ability to punish me for not doing what he wants me to do.

Math is trying to argue that his view is somehow morally binding and it isn't. It simply isn't. There's no more reason to listen to god as there is to listen to my own moral code. They're both equally determined by a subjectivity.

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