Author Topic: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)  (Read 2102 times)

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« on: January 13, 2012, 11:04:25 PM »
So typically an atheist arguing a secular morality will preface his/her remarks with the proposition that a morality based on the dictates of an invisible sky wizard is completely retarded, to which I do not disagree and take no issue with. However, when positing their own "source" (for ack of a better word) of Human morality it starts to get a little fuzzy:

Usually it goes something like this:

We all have a natural instinct to protect our genes, and a natural desire to live, thus in a society made up of lots and lots of people it's advantageous to the individual to have a set code of conduct prohibiting (among other things) murder. And so we pass laws making murder a punishable offense.

Now while this may 'sound' logical on the face of it, i have one glaring problem with it that I can't resolve.

If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense? We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

It seems to me that the atheist that argues this (so called) "alternative" origin of morality is unwittingly venturing into pure naturalism without really thinking it through, as though presenting 'any' morality origin theory other than the will of an invisible sky wizard is good enough, so long as it replaces the invisible sky wizard "theory"

What are your thoughts?   
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 11:11:52 PM »
AFAIK, The army has to train people to kill by bypassing their natural aversion to it, making the behavior automatic, routine, in context. I heard that, back in the day, most draftees just turtled in combat, unwilling to kill, or be killed.

BM


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 Philosopher_at_large

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 11:16:07 PM »
AFAIK, The army has to train people to kill by bypassing their natural aversion to it, making the behavior automatic, routine, in context. I heard that, back in the day, most draftees just turtled in combat, unwilling to kill, or be killed.

BM

Yes but the average murderer, thug, guy who got cheated on by his wife and kills or tries to kill the guy who did it doesn't need any training. With the military what we're really talking about is overcoming the "nurture" end of the human development process. The people who (typically I hope) have accepted the societal values that I mentioned, but those values have to be taught. Again, if Morality (in the sense of not doing bad things) were innate, we wouldn't need to teach it at all.

(BTW: What does AFAIK mean? I feel like a tard now.)
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Offline albeto

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 11:27:17 PM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense? We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

We have laws governing appropriate ways to gather food and appropriate ways to protect ourselves from threats.  We have laws that address which behavior that ends in the death of another is appropriate for given circumstances.  For example, it's not considered "murder" when the gov of Texas sends another inmate to the electric chair and it's not considered "murder" when a patient dies during an operation.  It's not considered "murder" when defending one's home from an armed robber.  When you formally govern behavior it's because one's liberties are at risk of being oppressed by another.  Defending yourself in your home doesn't oppress the liberties of the armed robber because he doesn't have the right to be there.  A surgeon whose patient dies doesn't oppress the liberties of the patient, instead natural consequences to events out of their control follows.  As far as I understand, laws are written in response to events a lot of times, so these kinds of details are worked out after a particular kind of conflict of interest was understood to be great enough to address through legislation. 

AFAIK - as far as I know

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 11:27:46 PM »
The drives that necessitate morality are innate.

The details of morality itself are not (at least, not all).

Does that answer your question?
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 11:27:57 PM »
I don't know what pure naturalism means in your context.  Morality is subjective across groups and societies of humans, and it is ever-evolving.  Sections of our moral codes are probably very common across these groups, like murder. 

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 11:32:55 PM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense? We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

We have laws governing appropriate ways to gather food and appropriate ways to protect ourselves from threats.  We have laws that address which behavior that ends in the death of another is appropriate for given circumstances.  For example, it's not considered "murder" when the gov of Texas sends another inmate to the electric chair and it's not considered "murder" when a patient dies during an operation.  It's not considered "murder" when defending one's home from an armed robber.  When you formally govern behavior it's because one's liberties are at risk of being oppressed by another.  Defending yourself in your home doesn't oppress the liberties of the armed robber because he doesn't have the right to be there.  A surgeon whose patient dies doesn't oppress the liberties of the patient, instead natural consequences to events out of their control follows.  As far as I understand, laws are written in response to events a lot of times, so these kinds of details are worked out after a particular kind of conflict of interest was understood to be great enough to address through legislation. 

AFAIK - as far as I know

Yes but we don't have laws dictating the appropriate way to be moral, we have lays barring "immoral" behavior.
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Offline natlegend

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 11:34:54 PM »
Quote
We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

These actions do not infringe on anyone else, they do not need to be made 'law'. Regarding murder, it could probably be sorted into three catagories,

1. Defensive
2. Offensive
3. Accident

There is very little, if anything, to be gained from killing someone, unless it is because of the first reason. However when someone murders because of the second reason, society needs to step in and provie punishment/deterrent, as this type of murder does nothing to benefit society.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline albeto

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 11:41:02 PM »

Yes but we don't have laws dictating the appropriate way to be moral, we have lays barring "immoral" behavior.

Because we don't need laws dictating appropriate ways to be moral.  Moral means, simply put, The Way Everyone Does It.  Formalizing the Line That Must Not Be Crossed doesn't indicate an external moral compass. 

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 11:44:43 PM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense?

I think your wording is messed up a bit.  At first, it might seem like semantics, but I don't think it is.

Its not that "not murdering people is instinctive", its that "treating people in the way that you want to be treated IS (somewhat) instinctive".  Murder is just one facet of that instinct to treat people well, and also includes things like stealing, hurting, cheating, etc.  But circumstances that we are faced with in every day life can override those instincts, just as we can use our conscious mind to override so many of our other instincts as well, such as the urge to urinate, or the urge to eat when we are hungry.  For a time, we can override those. 

We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes.

Those are crimes against the self, not against others.  Why would we punish people for choosing not to eat when it harms no one at all? 

If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

Sweating isn't a good example.  You have no ability to control that with your brain.  You can't tell your body not to sweat.  But you can tell it not to run when you're scared.  People override that instinct all the time. 

It seems to me that the atheist that argues this (so called) "alternative" origin of morality is unwittingly venturing into pure naturalism without really thinking it through, as though presenting 'any' morality origin theory other than the will of an invisible sky wizard is good enough, so long as it replaces the invisible sky wizard "theory"

We would not need to have an alternate working hypothesis for morality in order to reject the notion that it comes from the sky wizard.  That would be like saying I would need to know exactly how big your cat was in order to refute your claim that it was as big as the planet Jupiter.  The sky wizard falls flat all by itself. 

What are your thoughts?

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 12:31:04 AM »
"Morality" covers a large range of actions, from being simply being polite all the way to obeying laws and norms when one doesn't feel like it.  I was taught by my parents how to behave in our society in order to be accepted, and apparently it took. They were taught by their parents, and they by theirs, ad semi-infinitum

For whatever reason, I agree with the polite stuff, and I don't mind helping little old ladies across the street. I would feel the same way if I were the most pious christian on the planet. At least I hope I would. I have no disagreement with civilized behavior.

Like the rest of us, I like living in a world where I don't have to worry about every human I see. Enough of us are civil enough that things generally work.

My non-christian stance has little to do with my overall moral expectations of myself. Having decided I don't want to get bopped over the head on a regular basis, I, without religious guidance, decided to not bop other people over the head in hopes that it would stave off such behavior in others. And with rare exception, it's worked fine. I have no quarrel with the more practical commandments such as the one that mentions in a half-hearted way that we shouldn't kill. I say half-hearted because way too many christians consider that a suggestion rather than a commandment. It didn't seem to bother George Bush II when he attacked Iraq under false pretenses. If I'm going to do something that is wrong, I'm not going to lie to myself about it. Nor anyone else.

I don't need a belief system to participate in civilized behavior. I need only agree in principal and fact with enough of the social rules to be considered normal. I'm not perfect, nor is anyone else. But I don't do any of the big bad things (kill, steal, embezzle, run a bank) and that seems to be good enough for most people. As it is for me.

There are all sorts of psychological and social studies that try to study or define morality, and I'm sure this discussion will play around with a few proposed reasons, but that is making it way too complicated. Morality defined by a committee of researchers and scientists is probably just as mucked up as anything else decided by committees, and so i don't pay too much attention to such things.

I'm too busy being a generally nice guy to bother. Even though I'm a full-blown atheist.
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 03:36:10 AM »

Yes but we don't have laws dictating the appropriate way to be moral, we have lays barring "immoral" behavior.

Because we don't need laws dictating appropriate ways to be moral.  Moral means, simply put, The Way Everyone Does It.  Formalizing the Line That Must Not Be Crossed doesn't indicate an external moral compass.

But you likened laws barring murder to laws dictating how we ought to go about gathering food, implying that there is some similarity between the two. If everyone was the same way when it came to behavior, we wouldn't need such laws. Also, I think that the kind of society that we envision when we talk about appropriate or pro social or beneficial behavior, is envisioning the way it "ought" to be, not the way everyone does it.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 03:37:45 AM »
The similarity between the two lies in our desire to regulate the behaviour of others.  Hence, laws.

Also...
I think that the kind of society that we envision when we talk about appropriate or pro social or beneficial behavior, is envisioning the way it "ought" to be, not the way everyone does it.

What does this mean, Pal?  "Ought to be" in order to accomplish what goal, and why ought we to seek that goal?

Repeat that question, applying it to your explanation of why we ought to seek the goal you bring up for why we ought to seek the first goal I asked about.  You'll never reach a non-goal explanation, never get an "ought" without referencing another "ought".  There is no objective termination to this line of questioning.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 03:44:51 AM by Azdgari »
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 03:45:57 AM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense?

I think your wording is messed up a bit.  At first, it might seem like semantics, but I don't think it is.

Its not that "not murdering people is instinctive", its that "treating people in the way that you want to be treated IS (somewhat) instinctive".  Murder is just one facet of that instinct to treat people well, and also includes things like stealing, hurting, cheating, etc.  But circumstances that we are faced with in every day life can override those instincts, just as we can use our conscious mind to override so many of our other instincts as well, such as the urge to urinate, or the urge to eat when we are hungry.  For a time, we can override those.
Quote

I certainly agree to the "somewhat" clause of your reply. Man is a social animal by nature, that much is true, and there is in fact some degree to which he "tends toward" a kind of cooperation, but that's quite different from saying that morality in that basic sense is instinctive as such. 

We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes.

Those are crimes against the self, not against others.  Why would we punish people for choosing not to eat when it harms no one at all?

My point was that we don't need laws to make people do what they naturally do anyway. We don't need a law stating that one must jump at a lout noise, that's a reflex.   

If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

Sweating isn't a good example.  You have no ability to control that with your brain.  You can't tell your body not to sweat.  But you can tell it not to run when you're scared.  People override that instinct all the time.

But that's kind of my point; that's what an instinct/reflex is, an involuntary, innate action. That is not what moral behavior is.   

It seems to me that the atheist that argues this (so called) "alternative" origin of morality is unwittingly venturing into pure naturalism without really thinking it through, as though presenting 'any' morality origin theory other than the will of an invisible sky wizard is good enough, so long as it replaces the invisible sky wizard "theory"

We would not need to have an alternate working hypothesis for morality in order to reject the notion that it comes from the sky wizard.  That would be like saying I would need to know exactly how big your cat was in order to refute your claim that it was as big as the planet Jupiter.  The sky wizard falls flat all by itself.


This is very personal, and it's just my own analysis, take it for what you will. I firmly believe that most of the scientists and philosophers who have attempted a kind of Sam Harris, "Science of philosophy" or "Moral Naturalism" are doing just that, merely trying to come up with "something" to take the issue of morality out of the domain of religion. Doesn't matter what it is, so long as it does that. You're right that they don't have to, in that the sky wizard thing kind of argues against its self, which is why I find such counter arguments so retarded.
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2012, 03:59:09 AM »
I think that the kind of society that we envision when we talk about appropriate or pro social or beneficial behavior, is envisioning the way it "ought" to be, not the way everyone does it.

What does this mean, Pal?  "Ought to be" in order to accomplish what goal, and why ought we to seek that goal?

The just society. We all have disagreements about what kind of society we should live in, conservative, religious, secular, etc, but not a single one of us would say that we do not desire to live in a just society.

Repeat that question, applying it to your explanation of why we ought to seek the goal you bring up for why we ought to seek the first goal I asked about.  You'll never reach a non-goal explanation, never get an "ought" without referencing another "ought".  There is no objective termination to this line of questioning.

"The Just society",  "The good life for man on earth", these are both Normative, not terminal, ends. That is: A person might be asked "Why are you trying to get a better job" and he may answer "Because I want more money", he may be asked "Why do you want more money?" And answer "Because I want a bigger house", and on and on; eventually he will be asked about the ultimate, cumulative goal, which is "Because I want to live a good life". But if one asks "Why do you want to live a good life?" The only answer is: "Because I want to live a good life". The same goes for the Just society. there isn't a person living who does not want to live well, and not a person in a society that does not want to live in a just society.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2012, 04:28:00 AM »
The just society. We all have disagreements about what kind of society we should live in, conservative, religious, secular, etc, but not a single one of us would say that we do not desire to live in a just society.

And a "just" society is one in which things are as they ought to be.  Round and round the circle it goes!

"The Just society",  "The good life for man on earth", these are both Normative, not terminal, ends. That is: A person might be asked "Why are you trying to get a better job" and he may answer "Because I want more money", he may be asked "Why do you want more money?" And answer "Because I want a bigger house", and on and on; eventually he will be asked about the ultimate, cumulative goal, which is "Because I want to live a good life". But if one asks "Why do you want to live a good life?" The only answer is: "Because I want to live a good life". The same goes for the Just society. there isn't a person living who does not want to live well, and not a person in a society that does not want to live in a just society.

Really?  You really think this is true?

Not that it would have any meta-ethical relevance even if it was...
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Offline natlegend

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2012, 05:15:10 AM »
Justice is subjective.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2012, 08:51:34 AM »
AFAIK, The army has to train people to kill by bypassing their natural aversion to it, making the behavior automatic, routine, in context. I heard that, back in the day, most draftees just turtled in combat, unwilling to kill, or be killed.

Yes, this is true.  A friend of mine has a master's degree in killology (yes, that's a thing -- I had to look it up, too), and she explained this to me once.  Up until about World War II or so, most infantrymen on the front lines didn't shoot directly at the enemy because they couldn't overcome their innate aversion to just up and killing someone.  The Army studied this problem and changed their training techniques, drilling and drilling and drilling
the recruits so that the killing reflex would be automatic but also, more importantly, indoctrinating the recruits into believing that it wasn't them actually doing the killing, it was their superiors.  After that, infantrymen aimed and fired directly at the enemy routinely.

It was even a problem in Nazi Germany.  Nazi Germany, of course, has a reputation for extreme ruthlessness and brutality, but it was actually quite common for members of the Nazi military to have the same or similar problems regarding killing that Allied forces did.  In some ways, even more so, because the Nazis weren't just dealing with enemy military, they were also brutalizing noncombatant civilians in their own territory.  My friend told me that there were even some days when a unit would be ordered into combat or some other such situation, and the commander of the unit simply didn't carry out the orders because he could see that his men were just so horrified by what they had been doing for so long that they had to have a break before they could resume their brutality.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 02:18:20 PM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense? We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

We have laws governing appropriate ways to gather food and appropriate ways to protect ourselves from threats.  We have laws that address which behavior that ends in the death of another is appropriate for given circumstances.  For example, it's not considered "murder" when the gov of Texas sends another inmate to the electric chair and it's not considered "murder" when a patient dies during an operation.  It's not considered "murder" when defending one's home from an armed robber.  When you formally govern behavior it's because one's liberties are at risk of being oppressed by another.  Defending yourself in your home doesn't oppress the liberties of the armed robber because he doesn't have the right to be there.  A surgeon whose patient dies doesn't oppress the liberties of the patient, instead natural consequences to events out of their control follows.  As far as I understand, laws are written in response to events a lot of times, so these kinds of details are worked out after a particular kind of conflict of interest was understood to be great enough to address through legislation. 

AFAIK - as far as I know

Yes but we don't have laws dictating the appropriate way to be moral, we have lays barring "immoral" behavior.
You mean like having to marry your rapist? Women had no right to speak out,you could beat your slave if they didn't die it was OK if they did you payed a fine. I guess those are rules put out there by an authority....hardly moral though.

 Then there is God's moral behaviour,killing people in a flood,ordering the murder of women and children,demanding sacrifice,building a prison for his nemesis but failing to put him in it.......the list of his immoral behaviour is endless.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2012, 02:36:19 PM »
The just society. We all have disagreements about what kind of society we should live in, conservative, religious, secular, etc, but not a single one of us would say that we do not desire to live in a just society.

And a "just" society is one in which things are as they ought to be.  Round and round the circle it goes!

"The Just society",  "The good life for man on earth", these are both Normative, not terminal, ends. That is: A person might be asked "Why are you trying to get a better job" and he may answer "Because I want more money", he may be asked "Why do you want more money?" And answer "Because I want a bigger house", and on and on; eventually he will be asked about the ultimate, cumulative goal, which is "Because I want to live a good life". But if one asks "Why do you want to live a good life?" The only answer is: "Because I want to live a good life". The same goes for the Just society. there isn't a person living who does not want to live well, and not a person in a society that does not want to live in a just society.

Really?  You really think this is true?

Not that it would have any meta-ethical relevance even if it was...

To the first part: The Just society is one which secures all human rights both political and economic. To the second: Yes I do.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2012, 02:39:31 PM »
If not murdering people were instinctive and reflexive why would we need to make murder a punishable offense? We don't need laws stating that we must eat when we're starving, or that we must flee or fight when we're threatened because those are our innate reflexes. If morality (in this sense) were innate, it would be just as reflexive as sweating when we overheat, or running when we get scared.

We have laws governing appropriate ways to gather food and appropriate ways to protect ourselves from threats.  We have laws that address which behavior that ends in the death of another is appropriate for given circumstances.  For example, it's not considered "murder" when the gov of Texas sends another inmate to the electric chair and it's not considered "murder" when a patient dies during an operation.  It's not considered "murder" when defending one's home from an armed robber.  When you formally govern behavior it's because one's liberties are at risk of being oppressed by another.  Defending yourself in your home doesn't oppress the liberties of the armed robber because he doesn't have the right to be there.  A surgeon whose patient dies doesn't oppress the liberties of the patient, instead natural consequences to events out of their control follows.  As far as I understand, laws are written in response to events a lot of times, so these kinds of details are worked out after a particular kind of conflict of interest was understood to be great enough to address through legislation. 

AFAIK - as far as I know

Yes but we don't have laws dictating the appropriate way to be moral, we have lays barring "immoral" behavior.
You mean like having to marry your rapist? Women had no right to speak out,you could beat your slave if they didn't die it was OK if they did you payed a fine. I guess those are rules put out there by an authority....hardly moral though.

 Then there is God's moral behaviour,killing people in a flood,ordering the murder of women and children,demanding sacrifice,building a prison for his nemesis but failing to put him in it.......the list of his immoral behaviour is endless.

I'm talking about our modern, first world society under the rule of (secular) law.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2012, 03:08:11 PM »
To the first part: The Just society is one which secures all human rights both political and economic.

There are an infinite number of possible rights that one could have.  All rights?

And anyway, that's your own idea of a just society.  Others have different ideas of what a just society entails.  How do you tell who's right?

To the second: Yes I do.

Hmm.  So when a dictator enforces an unjust system, it's an accident?
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2012, 03:10:32 PM »
you mean like an athiest moral code? has to be better than God's......either OT or NT. You must include those old world behaviours because the rules of this God guy have not evolved,,,,,but humanitys either athiest or otherwise has by leaps and bounds.

 How do you rule out your moral codes(given to you by God I assume) with how Christian morality has become softer over time,evolved so to speak. The rule of God has hardly changed but YOUR morality certianly has otherwise you would still own slaves,consider women as property among all the other things Christianity has dropped or changed over the years.

 Why despite God's laws that should stay consistant ,has your morality and those of your fellow Christians improved? Why are there sects that seek to keep those laws constant and true to the words on the paper? And why are there more liberal sects that seem to ignore the orders and rules they are given? Why are there now womens and minority rights,God certianly has NO interest in either of these groups.
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2012, 03:14:24 PM »
you mean like an athiest moral code? has to be better than God's......either OT or NT. You must include those old world behaviours because the rules of this God guy have not evolved,,,,,but humanitys either athiest or otherwise has by leaps and bounds.

 How do you rule out your moral codes(given to you by God I assume) with how Christian morality has become softer over time,evolved so to speak. The rule of God has hardly changed but YOUR morality certianly has otherwise you would still own slaves,consider women as property among all the other things Christianity has dropped or changed over the years.

 Why despite God's laws that should stay consistant ,has your morality and those of your fellow Christians improved? Why are there sects that seek to keep those laws constant and true to the words on the paper? And why are there more liberal sects that seem to ignore the orders and rules they are given? Why are there now womens and minority rights,God certianly has NO interest in either of these groups.

I said in my post that I take no issue with proposition that Morality is not the dictates of a God..
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2012, 03:27:28 PM »
But how do you dismiss the opinion of others who think it is?
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2012, 03:29:29 PM »
To the first part: The Just society is one which secures all human rights both political and economic.

There are an infinite number of possible rights that one could have.  All rights?

Adler said (And I think this is the only rational way of looking at the issue), "A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." I agree, it's difficult, it's one of the greatest questions of human existence, but there is an objective starting place, and that is an examination of Man's nature.

Human beings have a superficial inequality. Some are bigger, some smaller, some smarter, some stronger, etc. We share a radical equality, however, in that we all share the same needs. Natural needs = natural rights. Human beings need what all other animals need: Food water, shelter, etc. But we also need education, certain economic goods, etc. We are entitled to everything we need in order to pursue happiness, (economic rights): ((By Happiness, I mean "A whole good life well lived", not psychological happiness)), and we are entitled to a radical equality under the law (political rights), a voice in our own government and a say in our own affairs. Why? Because we are, by nature, radically equal in all of these respects.

Now some of these things we can obtain our selves, without help. Some are not within our complete control to obtain. And some, we used to be able to obtain our selves, but can no longer, IE: the means of production which used to be labor (an ability that we're born with) and is now mostly the ownership of capital, which is external to us.

So, although you're absolutely right that, were we to try and draw up a list of every possible right that man should have we would probably end up leaving a lot of specific instances out, we do have a rational starting point in mans nature. Not in mans biology, not in his desires, and certainly not in the dictates of a magical sky wizard.   



And anyway, that's your own idea of a just society.  Others have different ideas of what a just society entails.  How do you tell who's right?

You would examine whether person B's idea of the just society was based on the facts about human nature.

To the second: Yes I do.

Hmm.  So when a dictator enforces an unjust system, it's an accident?

Not at all, it is the work of a dictator to create the kind of society that is beneficial to him and the ruling class at the expense of all other casts in the society. The dictator does not cease to desire the just society, he merely limits that "justice" to him self and the ruling class. That's why we call it unjust, dictatorial, oppressive, etc.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2012, 03:31:10 PM »
But how do you dismiss the opinion of others who think it is?

By pointing out that there is no rational, demonstrable basis for it. And if they come back with "I don't care it's my faith". I leave the conversation, as they obviously weren't interested in having one in the first place.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2012, 03:33:49 PM »
ok .....sorry I think I missunderstood the point of the OP,my apologies
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Re: On Atheist morality (help me out with this one please)
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2012, 03:45:22 PM »
If morality depends on what we specifically are (in this case, human, with some slight variation) then it is subjective.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.