David Hume writes in The Enquiry Concerning Morals, "The notion of morals implies some sentiment common to all mankind which recommends the same object to general approbation and makes every man or most men agree in the same opinion or same discussion concerning it. It also implies some sentiments so universal and comprehensive as to extend to all mankind."
The term 'most men' kills the entire thing here. If it's most men, its not objective.
Most in this thread have communicated that morals are simply subjective opinions. This position assumes some objective and universal moral statements such "I have a right to decide what is moral", "I have a right to express my opinion", "It is a good thing for the species to survive" or "It is good to cooperate for the survival of the species". These are some of the objective moral statements that are assumed when you take the position of subjective morality and these are moral statements that you expect others to abide by.
I do have the right to decide what is moral, and although I think everyone should agree with me (so does every other person on the planet), I have to respect your right to disagree. Having evolved from similar ancestors, and having been born and raised in likely similar ways, we would probably agree on many moral issues. And yes, I have the right to express my opinion and it is also my opinion that you have the right to express YOUR opinion.
Even Michael Ruse states objectively and universally, "The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5."
You know, there are people in the world who, upon seeing their newly born son, decide it is in their best interest to take a sharp knife and chop off a piece of their child's penis. So I will put it to you this way... "The man who says that is is morally acceptable to chop off a portion of a baby boy's penis for no other reason than their fucking retarded superstitious beliefs is just as mistaken as the man who says 2 + 2 = 5." Do you agree with that? Because that is ALL Mr. Ruse did there. He put up something that is so abhorrent to most of us that he thinks EVERYONE would agree with it, and then compares and contrasts it with a provable mathematical fact as if they are one and the same. They are not. Not at all. Not even close to the same.
If you grow up in a culture that accepts things like circumcision as routine non-medical based procedures, then they will not seem repulsive to you unless you pull yourself back and really look at what is going on. It IS repulsive. It's outright disgusting and brutal child abuse. Yet you probably don't see it that way, do you? If you grew up in a culture that accepts things like child rape (just like a culture that accepts circumcision, foot binding, lip piercing, neck extenders, female genital mutilation, or even something like the ancient Spartans who would toss defective babies off a cliff) as the norm, then you wouldn't agree with Mr. Ruse. You would think he was totally wrong. I don't see how you can deny this. If you think circumcision is OK, you've proven the point.
In a few hundred more years, I believe humanity will look back on circumcision as the barbarity it is. Yet it's still the norm. Thanks be to ignorance.
BTW, you left out Mr. Ruse's conclusion on morality... Here it is... It has to appear to be objective, even though really it is subjective. "Why should I be good? Why should you be good? Because that is what morality demands of us. It is bigger than the both of us. It is laid on us and we must accept it, just like we must accept that 2 + 2 = 4. I am not saying that we always are moral, but that we always know that we should be moral.
That's from the same book. It sounds like 2 different opinions. I would love to see the context of the one you quoted.
So unless you want to accept that morals don't exist and words like good and evil, moral and immoral are meaningless, objective moral values exist.
Good and evil are adjectives, not nouns. They describe things; they are not things in and of themselves.
Further, if objective morals did not exist, moral dilemmas or disagreements would not exist.
In a subjective moral world, everyone (or society) is free to choose their own moral values.
And sometimes they would disagree... yeah.
Since no position is wrong or right, making moral decisions could be done by flipping a coin.
In the same way we decide which ice cream is the best, right? Yeah... uh... you're losing me here.
Consequences may differ but then again we get to decide if those consequences are good and bad with no one being wrong whichever decision they make because it will be right to them. Of course, moral dilemmas do exist and even within ourselves we may agonize over what is the right or wrong decision. This indicates the exist of objectivity, not subjectivity.
I'm starting to think you're completely losing your mind now. Are you literally trying to argue that if we all had differing opinions on what was right or wrong, then we would never disagree on what was right or wrong?
Some suggest that objective morals are ruled out because morality comes from evolutionary conditioning creating a "herd morality" functioning for the survival of the species.
Evolution gives us a basis for it. Culture and experience does the rest. There is an inherent benefit to working together with other members of our species rather than apart.
First, this naturalistic explanation makes humans just another animal and animals are not moral agents (having the capacity to decide between right and wrong).
Another emotional appeal? ugh. Humans are just another animal.
Under this view a mother who runs into a burning house to save her children is doing nothing moral or brave. She is simply acting according to biological conditioning for the sake of the species just as a bird may sound a warning to the flock about a predator to its own endangerment. So it's not an explanation of moral behavior but simply describing herd behavior.
Do you know why you don't think the bird is being brave in that situation? Because you're not a fucking bird. Birds care about birds, they don't care about people. People care about people, they don't care about birds. If the woman ran into a burning house to save her pet bird, we'd probably think she was being an idiot. If the bird had the ability to rationally judge human actions, do you think it would give a shit if the woman ran into the burning house to save her kids? It would probably care about her as much as you do about the bird giving the warning.
This is still nothing but an emotional plea. It's really getting old.
Second, thousands of other species have developed a "herd morality" that are different from humans. So why how is our "herd morality" superior to any other species that continues to survive? That fact is it's not since all have achieved the goal of survival.
You mean to say that other species of social animal have found different ways to survive in a given environment? Shocking.
Many have have asked for a rational argument for the existence of objective morals (and I have just presented a couple such examples).
No you have not. All you have done is stated a few things (with no evidence to back it up) such as 'Objective morals cannot be denied without implying the existence of some universal, objective moral value', and shown examples as to why you don't like
the alternative. Your example of the woman and the fire shows that you don't LIKE the idea of subjective morality. Your example of the herd mentality again shows that you don't LIKE the implications that we are just another animal. You have made no rational argument. A rational argument would begin with possibly a list of facts that back up your theory, such as I gave you in reply #65 to back up my theory of subjective morality. A fact that would back up the idea of objective morality might be some sort of proof for a deity. Or how about a moral position that every single person who has ever lived would agree on. Or how about a moral position that not even chemical or mechanical brain changes could impact.
You have made no such argument.
When you ask for a rational argument, I am assuming that you accept that the law of logic are objective.
You're just trying to confuse the issue now by using the same word to mean something different. What does the word 'objective' mean in your statement above? Do you mean that they come from a deity, or that we all are pre-programmed with logic in exactly the same way?
If you are trying to make the case that everyone follows the same logical pathways to come to conclusions, then I would never, not even for a second, agree with that.
Just as we used our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend the objectivity of logic, we also apprehend the objectivity of morality.
And don't forget the objectivity of which ice cream flavors are the best too. We use our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend that as well.
Until we are given adequate reason to distrust our sensory and cognitive abilities, we are right to trust such abilities for this is how we interact and understand all of reality.
We trust our sensory and cognitive abilities to tell us things, but when we lack sufficient information, or if we have been fed bad information, or if we allow our emotions to get the better of us, then our sensory and cognitive abilities can and often do arrive at incorrect conclusions. Your emotional attachment to the notion of objective morality, coupled with your God belief has led you to where you are today. Only when you have set both of those aside are you fully capable of analyzing both sides of this argument. Since you can't do that, you are forced into your conclusion. That's why it's so hard to reason with you here. It's almost as if you take personal offense to it. Emotions are great for lots of things, but they are not good barometers for truth.
As an agnostic atheist, my position starts with the idea that a deity of some kind is a possibility. Remote, but possible. Then I look at the facts and see which theory seems to be more explanatory of the world around me. The facts support subjective morality. Hands down they do. It's not close.
Objective moral values corresponds to and more adequately explains reality as humans apprehend it than does the alternatives.
Please back that up with facts or stop saying it. The FACTS back up subjective morality.
Since very little is 100% provable, the best that can be done is to compare the probabilities of competing theories. I have given adequate reason to accept not only the possibility that objective morality exists but that it is more probable than the alternatives.
This is a false statement. No you have not. Not even close.