Author Topic: Objective Morality  (Read 7865 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2012, 12:46:33 AM »
.....that picture is just so messed up I cannot even begin to comprehend it.

But that doesn't mean they weren't born with one.  I think that perhaps some people become hardened through life, experience, and society.
Would a child, or even an adult, that had not been filled with hatred from outside forces act in the same manner?  I don't think that they would.

Ask your questions the other way around. 

"But that doesn't mean they were born with one.  I think that perhaps some people become soft through life, experience, and society.  Would a child, or even an adult, that had not been filled with softness from outside forces act in the same manner?"

Unless you can actually identify that there is some innate, hard-coded morality, then you simply cannot say that your original questions are valid, and the amended ones not.

Remember, TEN THOUSAND people were involved in that photo.  That's a huge amount of life, experience, and society that you need to acount for overriding some innate morality - as opposed to the more realistic option - that we are born "blank", and the morality we accept as correct just comes from whatever we have taught to us.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Astreja

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2012, 01:57:46 AM »
At any rate, I believe it was Omen that said humans have an inborn tendancy toward altruism.  If this is true then wouldn't that suggest some sort of moral code?

JWB, I don't think it's accurate to call it a "code" in the sense of something that's consciously practised.  I think that it's more of a survival outcome, whereby the genetic lines that practised supportive behaviours resulted in more descendants.  I also think that cultural moral codes developed much later, as a response to individuals practising harmful behaviours that disrupted life in the village.
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Offline RNS

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2012, 03:26:31 AM »
I'm trying to figure out if humans have any sort of inborn moral code, whether by evolution or creation.  Anyway, it is true that I was merely target practicing, but I found the fact that I chose a bird to be odd.  I knew the BB would kill it.  So therefore I concluded I wanted to kill a bird.

At any rate, I believe it was Omen that said humans have an inborn tendancy toward altruism.  If this is true then wouldn't that suggest some sort of moral code

To answer your question, it's more than likely that genetics plays a part in what you would describe as a "moral code". However I think that's a somewhat misleading way of putting it. It is clear that we have evolved with certain behaviours or traits coded in our genes that would be perceived as moral, e.g. the act of reciprocation. These days however, there is most likely a lot more involved in forming our idea of a "moral code" and genetics is by no means the whole picture. If you want to know more about how much morality we are born with, then a simple internet search would probably be fruitful in coming up with the current research in this field. Wikipedia might be a nice easy place to start. The problem is, however, that it's difficult to account for morality as a whole in the scientific manner, and so usually only certain aspects are studied at one time.

Personally I believe that our (the majority's) nature to be "good" or "kind" comes from our ability to empathize- mirror neurons play a part in this. This makes it easier to distinguish what is (still the subjective) right from wrong. Just as you looked into your kill's eyes and saw it's suffering, then you too knew what it's like to suffer and you knew this is wrong. That's why golden rule (a form of which Jesus advocated) works so well in most situations.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2012, 04:26:58 AM »

 I've always believed God could do whatever he wants and it be moral.  Now I just have a deeper understanding of why. 


You mean, you have a deeper understanding of what ignorant humans think a generic god can do. (A generic god who bears little resemblance to the god of the OT.)

The Christian moral argument suffers from exactly the same problem as the Christian-universe-existence argument. There are many religions that take claim for creation, and many religions that take claim on morality. You still have to prove that your religion is special.

The Genesis story is not so accurate that it proves that the Hebrews knew anything about creation [in fact the reverse], and the morality that God specifies in the OT is not so accurate that it proves that the Hebrews knew something about morality that nobody else did [in fact, it was so bad, that Paul needed to erase it].

You don't get to triumph if you make some atheists admit that a single moral principal may exist in humans. There is a bit more work to be done, after that.
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2012, 04:30:40 AM »
Apparantly a God could do anything he wants and it's moral.
<snip>
I've always believed God could do whatever he wants and it be moral.

Congrats; you've just stated that your morality is subjective, as well as a pointless concept.
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Offline RNS

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2012, 05:24:18 AM »
Congrats; you've just stated that your morality is subjective, as well as a pointless concept.

lol that's what I was thinking. How can morality be objective if when god does it it's A-ok, but if I do it, it's not??

Besides, the concept of morality coming from the divine is problematic. Euthyphro's dilemma:

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2012, 06:58:57 AM »

Well this is what I'm trying to figure out.  Apparantly a God could do anything he wants and it's moral.  But this deduction seems to conflict with the general notion on this board that God is immoral so I question their conviction. 

That's because from our view god is immoral. You see here's the difference. By any normal human standard that we use today, your god is an absolute monster. If any human did even a fraction of the things that he does in the bible they'd be far worse than Hitler could ever hope to be. However Christians want to believe that their god is good and so they give him a free moral pass by claiming that anything he does is good, we just don't understand it because god is greater than us (I won't get into all the other problems that line of thinking raises). Even though they know better than that. If they really thought gods actions were good they wouldn't need to devote the majority of their theology to explaining how a god that kills the first born children in a country solely as a means of showing off can possibly be considered a source of morality in this day and age.

The same holds true for other matters as well, such as the normal terrible things that happen everyday. If a human sat back and watched while a man raped a child, he would be considered a terrible person. If a person sat back and watched (or caused) a tidal wave that smashed into a coastal city and killed tens of thousands, leaving innocent children dead in their parents arms, or indiscriminately killing the good and the evil alike while he had the power to stop it. We would not consider him a good person. But again these are behaviours that Christians come up with excuses for that give their god a pass on ever having to behave like we think a moral person should behave.

The thing is that we don't give god a free pass. If god is going to hold us to moral standards, and god is a moral being, then he should be more moral than us, not less. At the very least god should be able to be equally as moral as the average human being. But the Christian god isn't even as moral as the average dog. His morality in the bible is that of a primitive bronze age culture of sheepherders. And as far as his morality in modern times it's that of a violent sociopath. He doesn't even live up to his own morals, yet demands them of us. Which is why we consider god immoral.

Yes, moral and immoral is a subjective thing. But it's all we have to use to judge. The atheist problem with god is that he fails pretty much every moral standard we have. He also violates the moral standards of his own followers as well, they just don't hold it against him in order to hang onto their fantasies.

At any rate, I believe it was Omen that said humans have an inborn tendancy toward altruism.  If this is true then wouldn't that suggest some sort of moral code? 

Not really. Simply because some people don't possess this. We call them sociopaths and psychopaths.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2012, 01:08:22 PM »
I mean you're saying the Christians burning witches was not immoral.  If people really believed this then why is this an issue?  The only way they could be considered immoral is to judge them based on their holy book.

jst does make a good point here. Belief in subjective morality weakens the argument from evil against the existence of god. If all morality is subjective, why should a hypothetical divine being be held accountable to our "standards" of morality?
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2012, 01:11:22 PM »
jst does make a good point here. Belief in subjective morality weakens the argument from evil against the existence of god. If all morality is subjective, why should a hypothetical divine being be held accountable to our "standards" of morality?

The argument from evil is not weakened by the existence of subjective morality because the person hearing it does not believe in subjective morality. It's an argument that uses the other person's worldview against them.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2012, 01:18:39 PM »
jst does make a good point here. Belief in subjective morality weakens the argument from evil against the existence of god. If all morality is subjective, why should a hypothetical divine being be held accountable to our "standards" of morality?

The argument from evil is not weakened by the existence of subjective morality because the person hearing it does not believe in subjective morality. It's an argument that uses the other person's worldview against them.

Yes, it is still an effective argument in pointing out inconsistencies in their belief system. Philosophically, however, it does not stand from a strictly atheistic point of view.
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2012, 01:20:17 PM »
Philosophically, however, it does not stand from a strictly atheistic point of view.

There are atheists who believe in objective morality. Also, there's no such thing as an "atheistic point of view". Atheism is not a belief system, a religion or anything that dictates your worldview.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2012, 01:22:28 PM »

Yes, it is still an effective argument in pointing out inconsistencies in their belief system. Philosophically, however, it does not stand from a strictly atheistic point of view.

Yes it does. As I pointed out above. Even if morality is subjective, the fact remains that god doesn't follow his own supposed moral code. Also their argument is that our moral code is gods moral code. We get it from him. So we should be able to judge by him by it. Furthermore there belief system states that when we ate from the tree we gained knowledge of good and evil as god knew them.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2012, 01:23:04 PM »
There are atheists who believe in objective morality.
I am aware of that; however the two concepts are inconsistent.

Also, there's no "atheistic point of view".

Please explain?
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2012, 01:25:45 PM »
I am aware of that; however the two concepts are inconsistent.

Not at all. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. One can be an atheist and believe in everything a theist believes, save for the deity/ies. One could be an atheist and believe in angels, for example.

Please explain?

See above. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2012, 01:27:02 PM »

Yes, it is still an effective argument in pointing out inconsistencies in their belief system. Philosophically, however, it does not stand from a strictly atheistic point of view.

Yes it does. As I pointed out above. Even if morality is subjective, the fact remains that god doesn't follow his own supposed moral code. Also their argument is that our moral code is gods moral code. We get it from him. So we should be able to judge by him by it. Furthermore there belief system states that when we ate from the tree we gained knowledge of good and evil as god knew them.

LOL! You guys could argue your way out of a paper bag and still keep arguing!  ;)

Please refer back to my first comment above: Yes, it is still an effective argument in pointing out inconsistencies in their belief system.

As far as my second statement goes, I think you missed my point: tell me again how we can judge a being who does not exist in any but an artificial and hypothetical sense to point out logical inconsistencies to believers?
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2012, 01:35:26 PM »
Not at all. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. One can be an atheist and believe in everything a theist believes, save for the deity/ies. One could be an atheist and believe in angels, for example.
Ok, yes, in a twisted, mentally unstable sense, one can have a lack of belief in deities and believe in angels, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and any number of imaginary beings that come from the minds of human beings. If no higher sentient mental faculty than our own exists, then just where do these "objective" morals come from? From evolution? Evolution is even subjective, in that it might have taken a completely different turn, depending on environmental pressures and conditions.

I'm not claiming that one cannot be an atheist and believe in any number of other ridiculous things. I am trying to point out the logical inconsistency between "a lack of belief in deities" and "objective morality."

You stated that you believe in subjective morality. What is your logical reason for believing in it?

Please explain?

See above. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities.

And this is not a point of view? Then is it the "lack of point of view"?

Keep in mind the Dawkin's scale. Some are more firm in their disbelief than others.

    1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.' 
    2. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.' 
    3. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.' 
    4. Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.' 
    5. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical.' 
    6. Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.' 
    7. Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung "knows" there is one.' 

Source: http://www.sodahead.com/living/where-do-you-stand-on-dawkins-scale/question-1325841/
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 01:37:00 PM by GodlessHeathen »
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Offline HAL

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2012, 01:37:38 PM »
LOL! You guys could argue your way out of a paper bag and still keep arguing!  ;)

OK let's say you were trapped in a large paper bag. Would it be objectively moral for a person that found you, to poke a hole in the bag so you could breathe?

Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2012, 01:39:34 PM »
LOL! You guys could argue your way out of a paper bag and still keep arguing!  ;)

OK let's say you were trapped in a large paper bag. Would it be objectively moral for a person that found you, to poke a hole in the bag so you could breathe?

Perhaps not, assuming that person knew that I was capable of arguing my way out of it... perhaps by filling it with hot air until the point that it explodes.  ;D
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Online Azdgari

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #47 on: May 13, 2012, 01:41:40 PM »
GH, the Problem of Evil does its job perfectly and logically well, whether or not morality really is subjective.  It refutes the existence of an objectively moral god.  It does not, and never did, refute all models of gods.  That is not its role.
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2012, 01:42:54 PM »
<snip>
If no higher sentient mental faculty than our own exists, then just where do these "objective" morals come from?
<snip>

Just because it cannot be defined in a coherent manner doesn't mean anything. Atheism does not exclude one from making mistakes or believing in nonsense.

I'm not claiming that one cannot be an atheist and believe in any number of other ridiculous things. I am trying to point out the logical inconsistency between "a lack of belief in deities" and "objective morality."

Actually atheists who believe in objective morality probably make more sense than the theists. Theists believe objective morality comes from the subjective opinions of a supreme being. Dunno about the atheists, but I'm pretty confident that their argument will make more sense.

You stated that you believe in subjective morality. What is your logical reason for believing in it?

Morality only exists as a concept in the minds of sentient beings. As such, it's going to be subjective.

And this is not a point of view? Then is it the "lack of point of view"?
<snip>

It's a point of view, but only regarding the existence of deities; not what theists ascribe to their deities.
As for the Dawkins thing, that's irrelevant.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2012, 01:45:43 PM »
GH, the Problem of Evil does its job perfectly and logically well, whether or not morality really is subjective.  It refutes the existence of an objectively moral god.  It does not, and never did, refute all models of gods.  That is not its role.

I understand. I have used the argument myself against the God of the Bible and the Quran for that very reason.

Perhaps I was stating the obvious. The Problem of Evil argument neither strenthens nor weakens my own lack of believe in god(s).
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Offline RNS

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #50 on: May 13, 2012, 01:53:55 PM »
jst does make a good point here. Belief in subjective morality weakens the argument from evil against the existence of god. If all morality is subjective, why should a hypothetical divine being be held accountable to our "standards" of morality?
I'm not sure I really get your argument. Are you saying that because morality is subjective no one is accountable for their actions? Because I don't believe that's true. We subject each other to our own moral values, why should we treat a proposed deity any differently?
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #51 on: May 13, 2012, 01:54:02 PM »
Atheism does not exclude one from making mistakes or believing in nonsense.

We are in agreement on that point.

Actually atheists who believe in objective morality probably make more sense than the theists. Theists believe objective morality comes from the subjective opinions of a supreme being. Dunno about the atheists, but I'm pretty confident that their argument will make more sense.

Perhaps, but I have yet to be presented with a "source" of objective morals that cannot be reduced to the subjective in some sense.

Morality only exists as a concept in the minds of sentient beings. As such, it's going to be subjective.

Hence objective morality is inconsistent with atheism. With no sentient being who is higher than and in control of other sentient beings, there is no basis for claiming that morality is anything but subjective.

It's a point of view, but only regarding the existence of deities; not what theists ascribe to their deities.

That was my point. The Problem of Evil argument is only effective against theists who believe in a deity who is morally good and proceed to ascribe moral attributes to said deity.

As for the Dawkins thing, that's irrelevant.

How so? The Dawkins scale demonstrates that there are some who are more strong in their disbelief than others. And some who would even claim to "know" that their is no god. It shows that atheism can be a point of view and in some cases one that the individual believes to be an absolute point of view.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #52 on: May 13, 2012, 01:56:15 PM »
jst does make a good point here. Belief in subjective morality weakens the argument from evil against the existence of god. If all morality is subjective, why should a hypothetical divine being be held accountable to our "standards" of morality?
I'm not sure I really get your argument. Are you saying that because morality is subjective no one is accountable for their actions? Because I don't believe that's true. We subject each other to our own moral values, why should we treat a proposed deity any differently?

My point is that the argument is only hypothetical. If no god exists, then there is nothing to argue against in any real and tangible sense.

I can assert that I do not believe in Santa Claus and that the traditonal Santa Claus is evil (gets off on spying on children, trespasses into people's homes, plays with elves), but that does not make the argument any more than a hypothetical one.
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #53 on: May 13, 2012, 01:57:29 PM »
Perhaps, but I have yet to be presented with a "source" of objective morals that cannot be reduced to the subjective in some sense.

Objective morality would have no source. It would just be.

Hence objective morality is inconsistent with atheism. With no sentient being who is higher than and in control of other sentient beings, there is no basis for claiming that morality is anything but subjective.

Atheism: Lack of belief in deities.
You've yet to demonstrate how morality fits into that definition.

It shows that atheism can be a point of view and in some cases one that the individual believes to be an absolute point of view.

But not regarding morality or anything even remotely related to morality. Is that really so hard to understand?
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Offline RNS

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2012, 01:58:21 PM »
My point is that the argument is only hypothetical. If no god exists, then there is nothing to argue against in any real and tangible sense.

I can assert that I do not believe in Santa Claus and that the traditonal Santa Claus is evil (gets off on spying on children, trespasses into people's homes, plays with elves), but that does not make the argument any more than a hypothetical one.

If I understand you correctly- doesn't that make every argument against god a hypothetical one?

on a side note, how about this, peeps. How do you define morality? Because depending on how you define it, I think there may be room to describe specific actions in their context objectively as either moral or amoral.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2012, 02:05:54 PM »
Objective morality would have no source. It would just be.

Nor has anyone ever been able to effectively demonstrate to me that it "is."

Atheism: Lack of belief in deities.
You've yet to demonstrate how morality fits into that definition.
My initial point was that the Problem of Evil argument only applies in a hypothetical sense, as an argument to point out the inconsistencies of belief in a morally good god who does not hold itself to the very standards of morality it demands. I realize that morality and belief or lack thereof in deities are distinct concepts.

It shows that atheism can be a point of view and in some cases one that the individual believes to be an absolute point of view.

But not regarding morality or anything even remotely related to morality. Is that really so hard to understand?

This was a completely separate argument. You initially asserted that "atheism is not a point of view." I was attempting to demonstrate that it is.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2012, 02:08:54 PM »
Nor has anyone ever been able to effectively demonstrate to me that it "is."

There's a reason for that. I'll let you guess what it is.

My initial point was that the Problem of Evil argument only applies in a hypothetical sense, as an argument to point out the inconsistencies of belief in a morally good god who does not hold itself to the very standards of morality it demands. I realize that morality and belief or lack thereof in deities are distinct concepts.

Actually your initial point was that the existence of/belief in subjective morality "weakened" that argument. It was then explained to you that the argument was based on the theists' PoV, after which you asserted that it was hypothetical[1].
 1. Id est: You stated the obvious.
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Re: Objective Morality
« Reply #57 on: May 13, 2012, 02:09:37 PM »
My point is that the argument is only hypothetical. If no god exists, then there is nothing to argue against in any real and tangible sense.

I can assert that I do not believe in Santa Claus and that the traditonal Santa Claus is evil (gets off on spying on children, trespasses into people's homes, plays with elves), but that does not make the argument any more than a hypothetical one.

If I understand you correctly- doesn't that make every argument against god a hypothetical one?

It makes every philosophical argument against god a hypothetical one.

on a side note, how about this, peeps. How do you define morality? Because depending on how you define it, I think there may be room to describe specific actions in their context objectively as either moral or amoral.

I define my own morality based on my own internal standards. I have no other basis for defining it.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).