Author Topic: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us  (Read 5499 times)

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #87 on: July 23, 2012, 05:51:58 AM »
how does something come from nothing they are still left with that problem in the claims of the beginning.

Atheists don't actually make this claim, so it's a strawman.  Just for the sake of argument, though, let's say they did -- they would probably have to reply, "I don't know."  The theist, in turn, would probably say, "God did it."  The funny thing is, the theist doesn't realize that he's saying "I don't know", too.  He's just using different words for it.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #88 on: July 23, 2012, 07:33:06 AM »
But how do you say that these morals are from culture and society when every culture has their morals based on some form of religion?

Even if that is true, which it isn't(but it is more often true than not...not the "every" in your statement): Have you noticed that different cultures and societies have different religions? Seriously. Different societies have different languages, cultures, morality, and religion. All points to the fact there isn't one universal law giver, no universal right and wrong.

In fact when religious texts contain contradictory statements; I can only attest for the Torah, Bible, and Koran, what portions are chosen to emphasize reflect the society as it will self project itself as the image of the god they wish to worship.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Zankuu

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #89 on: July 23, 2012, 08:05:55 AM »
Morals is another thing that makes us different then the rest of the animals

This is untrue since other species exhibit moral behavior.

Samuelke, is there a specific moral action performed by homo sapiens that you believe seperates us from other species? I'm quite confident I can present you with a similar behavior displayed by another ape family.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #90 on: July 23, 2012, 09:20:26 AM »
No it's not rude of that's what it is to you that's that. Could you give me a few lines which you think lack logic or intellect I would like to see.

Quote
The trademark of this new brand of atheism is its vitriolic attack on religion.

It's funny, we point out the obvious and it's "vitriolic".  Did you know there are several state constitutions that ban atheists from serving in any governmental capacity?  Is that not vitriolic?  Have you read our Mail Bag? 

Quote
A good example of a claim against religion that does not sit well with the facts of reality is issued in the form of a challenge to the believer to ...

This is a strawman argument.  I have never heard an atheist use that exact statement to argue god does not exist.  Not even the one he quoted.  It was from a Hitchens editorial in which Hitch was addressing a specific accusation against him.  If that is not intellectually lacking, it is dishonest, which I think is worse.  The original Hitch editiorial:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/13/AR2007071301461.html

Quote
Without God, morality is reduced to whatever mode of behavior human beings happen to favor either because of their genetic makeup or conventional accords.

Incorrect.  He does not understand what morality is.  He thinks it is about Good and Evil, Right and Wrong.  It's not.  It is about what works.

enough?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #91 on: July 23, 2012, 09:23:23 AM »
No other animal has come to rule over nature as we have and as now we attempt to stab deadly knives into nature. This is relevant to me because the bible is very clear from the beginning that God intended for us to be over all the animals.

I bet the dinosaurs said that too.  Only they have more right.  They ruled for about 165 million years.  We've only been at it for a couple tens of thousands. If things keep going the way they are, we won't see another thousand years.



But how do you say that these morals are from culture and society when every culture has their morals based on some form of religion?

Are you sure morals come from religion?  Is it possible that morals are just instutitionalized by religion? 

As I see it, religion is an instrument of culture.  It is a tool that cultures use to enforce and promote the rules of the culture.  In that sense it is a conservative mechanism.  The problem is, cultures change and adapt, but religion resists change.  Religions want us to live exactly like the people who started them did, forever. 

So here we are with people running around in the 21st century trying to claim their morals come from the 8th century BCE.  What you and many xians don't realize is you are being selective about what morals you get from the bible.  In reality, your morals come from your modern society, which is good, because we are far, far more moral than Iron Age Hebrews.

However you conveniently forget to count all the outdated laws and rules that you do not follow in your Iron Age holy book.  You deny they were mandates for morality, you excuse them by saying jesus H made them unnecessary or just pretend they aren't there.   


edit - post break commentary added

 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 09:37:32 AM by screwtape »
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #92 on: July 23, 2012, 03:37:11 PM »
good thread.

Sam, it appears as though you are reading the responses which I give you credit for as there are a lot. However, it seems as though youre not considering the responses once you read them because some of the same issues keep coming up. I kindly ask that instead of seeing each point as a point of debate 1st, if you would consider the point and try to understand it, then determine if its actually a point you can argue.

For example, many people have suggested that we are indeed animals, and you have accepted that. Yet, the debate for some reason continues when it shouldnt.

Offline Nam

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #93 on: July 23, 2012, 04:39:47 PM »
My problem with the OP is: the Bible says if you believe in Jesus and Biblegod, and you pray to Biblegod for something, it'll answer your prayers. But that's not what the Christian responds with (making me think he hasn't read his Bible or is dismissing that part to make his argument more sound based on the lack of knowledge the average Christian actually has of the Bible, since most of them haven't actually read it), instead he responds with "Maybe god decided not to for some reason" [paraphrasing] which makes anything said after that pointless. He lost his argument when he stated that.

-Nam

Offline Garja

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #94 on: July 28, 2012, 10:11:30 PM »
Quote
Handicap people were put here to glorify God...

Wow.   Just... wow.  So these people worship a god that needs to deliberately mutilate its own creation in order to make itself more glorious?

That kind of thinking is so perversely bat-shit insane and inhuman that the word "wrong" can't do it justice.

I don't know how someone can write that and feel that they hold the moral high ground. Rediculous and obscene.
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Online kcrady

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #95 on: July 29, 2012, 02:50:37 AM »
Alright so first off if you were to start with the problem of evil, which is basically the backbone of the amputee argument, at least it seems. To say that you believe in evil, you are assuming a moral law to know what is good or evil, and to have a moral law means that there must be a moral law giver.

I am going to disagree a bit with some of my fellow atheists and argue that there is objective morality, at least within certain resolution limits.  My reasoning goes like this: human beings are entities of a specific nature.  There are certain things that are genuinely harmful to human beings, like causing them injury, raping them, stealing from them, enslaving them, and so on.  There is general agreement among societies that doing such things to someone is "bad" and doing certain other things (treating people with courtesy, listening to what they have to say, respecting their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and so on) are "good"--when applied to people recognized as "Us."  Moral differences in societies in this sphere generally arise from where the boundary of "Us" is defined.  To my knowledge, the rules of moral treatment are fairly consistent throughout history, when you're talking about male landowners.  Women, children, foreigners, etc. have often been defined as outside of the boundary of "Us," so the way they have been treated has varied widely.  Moral progress happens when the boundary of "Us" is extended to include more and more different types of people, and to some degree at least, the planetary biosphere on which we depend. 

The type of morality I'm talking about here is your basic Bill and Ted morality ("Be excellent to each other!" *air guitar*).  When we get into things like consensual sex (what type of partners, sex positions, kinks, etc. are OK, which ones aren't), what foods we "should" and "should not" eat, whether we ought to wear clothes made from blended fibers or not, which mind-altering substances we can use and the like, "morality" does become a great deal more subjective and diverse across different cultures.  However, to the extent that we're talking about demonstrably objective morality[1] this derives not from some "moral law" or "moral lawgiver" but from principles derived from human nature and our need to live together in cooperating societies.

But OK, what if all morality did derive solely from the authority of a "moral lawgiver (MLG)?"  If the MLG has no boss of its own, then for the MLG there is no such thing as morality.  How can there be, when the MLG doesn't have an MLG?  Which means, in turn, that whatever "moral laws" it issues are wholly arbitrary.[2]   We see this exemplified in the Bible, when Yahweh gives Moses a "Commandment" forbidding killing (which was supposedly given much earlier, to Noah), yet the moment Moses comes down from the mountain, he and his Levite stormtroopers kill 3,000 people for having a pagan religious celebration in his absence.  This "Great Lawgiver" goes on to order his people to exterminate entire societies and take their land, presumably relaying the orders from Yahweh himself.  Also, according to Biblical situation ethics, it can be OK to rape little girls after murdering their families in front of their eyes (Numbers 31:17-18).  So, the only thing that's keeping you and people like you from murdering your own children is that you don't hear the Big Booming Voicetm of your Moral Lawgiver telling you that doing so is the new Good.  Right?  See: Yates, Andrea.

Another problem of the authoritarian "morality" you propose is that "law" is only as good as its enforcement.  If a government had a law against the use of LSD, but never, ever enforced it even if there were psychedelic churches handing it out on their communion wafers and broadcasting the whole thing on their television ministries, then for all practical intents and purposes, LSD is legal there.  In the same way, if Yahweh has a "moral" law, but never, ever does anything to enforce it (as is the case), then his moral law is non-existent for all practical intents and purposes.  Threats of burning in Hell, or ambiguously ordinary natural events (Yahweh sent Katrina because he doesn't like buttsex!) don't count even if true precisely because the existence of the MLG, the "laws," and the connection between them is...wait for it...subjective.  A preacher can interpret Katrina as punishment for buttsex, and a Druid can interpret it as punishment for too many people driving cars.  Who is right?  Can't tell from any observation of the hurricane.  It might also be just a bad storm.  Returning to my analogy of the "law" against LSD: let's say there was no actual law written on any law books published by the government.  Instead, there were a few people who claimed that the law was passed in a secret session of the legislature, and that the incidence of car accidents and bank robberies involving dead hostages were actually the result of government covert operations teams "enforcing" the "law" against LSD.  There is still no actual, objective law.  The linkage of those random-appearing events to a "law" that may or may not have actually been enacted by the government is a purely subjective interpretation.

In the same way, different Bible-believers (Christians and Jews) have different, subjective interpretations of what Yahweh's "moral law" is.  So that sort of "moral law" does not provide firm moral absolutes.  It provides the very sort of whimsical, arbitrary, subjective "morality" that you're trying to argue against.

Bonus Question: what if you found out that there was no Moral Law handed down from the heavens, that nothing is forbidden and everything is permissible.  Would you act differently? 
 1. I think most if not all of the moral subjectivists here would agree that the United States or Western Europe are more moral than the Aztec Empire or Saudi Arabia, and it's not just a matter of personal taste.
 2. If it's possible for an MLG to have an objective morality that derives from its nature, it's possible for us as well, and we actually exist.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #96 on: July 29, 2012, 08:29:21 AM »

We see this exemplified in the Bible, when Yahweh gives Moses a "Commandment" forbidding killing (which was supposedly given much earlier, to Noah), yet the moment Moses comes down from the mountain, he and his Levite stormtroopers kill 3,000 people for having a pagan religious celebration in his absence.  This "Great Lawgiver" goes on to order his people to exterminate entire societies and take their land, presumably relaying the orders from Yahweh himself.  Also, according to Biblical situation ethics, it can be OK to rape little girls after murdering their families in front of their eyes (Numbers 31:17-18). 

But but but... I mean.... I think he meant don't kill people who don't deserve to be killed.  Right?


 Threats of burning in Hell, or ambiguously ordinary natural events (Yahweh sent Katrina because he doesn't like buttsex!) don't count even if true precisely because the existence of the MLG, the "laws," and the connection between them is...wait for it...subjective.  A preacher can interpret Katrina as punishment for buttsex, and a Druid can interpret it as punishment for too many people driving cars.  Who is right?  Can't tell from any observation of the hurricane.  It might also be just a bad storm. 

I think I'm going to vote for the Druids!


Bonus Question: what if you found out that there was no Moral Law handed down from the heavens, that nothing is forbidden and everything is permissible.  Would you act differently?

And that is the question, isn't it?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #97 on: July 30, 2012, 08:54:50 AM »
Kcrady, as I recall, you bailed out of the argument where I was opposing the double-speak you're currently engaged in.  'There are things that objectively do what we think of as harming humans' - "harm is what we don't want to happen to humans'.

Yeah, totally subjective.  And you know it.  But hey, it's politically useful to deny that, so...

EDIT:  The abandoned argument lies here.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:14:10 AM by Azdgari »
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline Zankuu

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #98 on: July 30, 2012, 10:17:52 AM »
BM
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #99 on: July 30, 2012, 09:08:33 PM »
Kcrady, as I recall, you bailed out of the argument where I was opposing the double-speak you're currently engaged in.  'There are things that objectively do what we think of as harming humans' - "harm is what we don't want to happen to humans'.

Yeah, totally subjective.  And you know it.  But hey, it's politically useful to deny that, so...

EDIT:  The abandoned argument lies here.

OK, so you believe there's no objective difference between "harm" and "well being."  Fine.  Don't ever become a doctor.  Yet somehow I get the sneaking suspicion that when it comes to how you live your life, you don't actually act on that belief.  Your moral subjectivism is a hothouse plant that can live within the ivory tower of purely philosophical debate, but not out in the real world.  If we were to encounter a neo-Nazi, or a Muslim fundamentalist proclaiming the virtues of female genital mutilation, I would be very surprised if you responded to them by saying, "Well, OK, whatever floats your boat.  It's not as if there are any objective facts that make my moral values any better than yours." 

At the time, you had a signature quote condemning gay bashing (I don't remember what it was, and you've got a different sig now).  But to condemn gay bashing as wrong, and not just something you don't like or wouldn't want to participate in, is to act as if that's a moral fact that the other person ought to agree with, instead of having their own, different-but-equal subjective morality.  I do not think that moral subjectivism is the sort of thing that can pay rent in anticipated experiences, e.g., in the behaviors I anticipate that you will manifest when confronted with moral disagreement.  In other words you act (and I anticipate that you will continue to act) as if there are genuine moral facts, even though you profess otherwise in philosophical debates. 

It's the same thing we observe in a believer who claims to believe that they've got an omnimax superbeing as their best buddy (a.k.a. a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ") and that their Bible is infallibly true, but when they feel a gut pain they think might be appendicitis, rush to the hospital instead of to the elders of their church (James 5:14-15).   

If you aren't persuaded that moral subjectivism is the valid position "all the way down" (i.e., outside of the realm of ivory tower philosophy), then I will tend to find your arguments for it unpersuasive.  For example, in the previous thread, you brought up the question of whether it was OK to exterminate Neandertals as if that represented a genuine quandary for my position.  Conveniently, Neandertals no longer exist, so there is no actual or plausible life-situation in which a moral decision needs to be made.  When I inserted a class of entities that actually exists [Jews--people with Down's syndrome, blacks, or any other class of people once treated as sub-human could have been used with equal effect], suddenly the "quandary" disappeared for you.  You did not try to argue that the species boundary or horizon of moral concern was impossible, or even difficult to place anymore.  You didn't try to argue that "Jews should be exterminated" is a subjective opinion that's just as valid as your opinion that they shouldn't.

Or to put it another way: I think you know a moral fact when you see one, even if you intellectually profess that such things don't exist.

P.S.: I owe you an apology for leaving that thread the way I did.  I'd explain why, but that would be saying "I'm sorry, but..." which isn't a real apology.  So, I'm sorry, no "buts." :)
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #100 on: July 30, 2012, 09:54:43 PM »
OK, so you believe there's no objective difference between "harm" and "well being."  Fine.  Don't ever become a doctor.

Why not?[1]  No, seriously, why not?  I can't for the life of me figure out what difference it makes in practice, unless my subjective idea of "harm" diverges wildly from that of society at large.  Further, this is a fallacious appeal on your part, and you know it.  Casting aspersions on another's character in lieu of a reasoned argument is old hat.

Yet somehow I get the sneaking suspicion that when it comes to how you live your life, you don't actually act on that belief.

And those atheists who rescinded their Christian beliefs weren't really Christians to begin with.

Your moral subjectivism is a hothouse plant that can live within the ivory tower of purely philosophical debate, but not out in the real world.

Says the one who doesn't even try to live with it and act with it in the real world.  But you're wrong.  It doesn't make much of a difference to my actions in the real world.  It's just a different understanding of my own values, and of what justifies action from a personal perspective.  It doesn't end up being different, in most respects, from the logically incoherent "objective morality" meta-ethical viewpoint, except that it doesn't inhibit understanding of others' values in the same way.

If we were to encounter a neo-Nazi, or a Muslim fundamentalist proclaiming the virtues of female genital mutilation, I would be very surprised if you responded to them by saying, "Well, OK, whatever floats your boat.  It's not as if there are any objective facts that make my moral values any better than yours.

I never said I was a normative relativist.  In fact, I distinctly recall denouncing normative relativism, either in that thread or in one of our PMs at the time.  It is a self-contradictory meta-ethical position.  I would denounce such a person on my own social authority.  Which is all I can speak from.  Hopefully others would do the same.  Otherwise, objective morality or not, I would have no influence.

Unless I could show that their values contradict each other, which is quite likely.

At the time, you had a signature quote condemning gay bashing (I don't remember what it was, and you've got a different sig now).  But to condemn gay bashing as wrong, and not just something you don't like or wouldn't want to participate in, is to act as if that's a moral fact that the other person ought to agree with, instead of having their own, different-but-equal subjective morality.

This is unequivocably false.  Of course, you give no reasoning to support the claim above ^^, you just go and claim it.  Your claim is wrong because under a coherent subjective-morality meta-ethic, personal values - from the perspective of the person in question - justify judgment and action in a very similar way to the way in which the incoherent-on-closer-inspection "objective value" concept works for you.  Moral judgments only contradict a subjective-morality meta-ethic when one adopts the premises of an objective-morality meta-ethic.  Which is entirely unsurprising.

I do not think that moral subjectivism is the sort of thing that can pay rent in anticipated experiences, e.g., in the behaviors I anticipate that you will manifest when confronted with moral disagreement.

Your anticipations are based in a flawed understanding about how a subjective-morality paradigm can work, as you've demonstrated above.  Of course you'll fail to accurately anticipate my responses based on it.

In other words you act (and I anticipate that you will continue to act) as if there are genuine moral facts, even though you profess otherwise in philosophical debates.

This is akin to a Christian saying that an atheist who behaves in an acceptable manner is "acting as though (s)he really believes in God".

It's the same thing we observe in a believer who claims to believe that they've got an omnimax superbeing as their best buddy (a.k.a. a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ") and that their Bible is infallibly true, but when they feel a gut pain they think might be appendicitis, rush to the hospital instead of to the elders of their church (James 5:14-15).

No.  It is not.  See above.

If you aren't persuaded that moral subjectivism is the valid position "all the way down" (i.e., outside of the realm of ivory tower philosophy), then I will tend to find your arguments for it unpersuasive.

Or rather, if you can convince yourself that you know my thoughts better than I do, and that I don't really believe what I profess to believe (and actually do act on), then you will be able to find my arguments unpersuasive, no matter the quality of their content.  This is faith behaviour.

For example, in the previous thread, you brought up the question of whether it was OK to exterminate Neandertals as if that represented a genuine quandary for my position.

No.  I did not.  I brought it up as a means to question the importance of species-boundaries that you'd cited:
Quote from: Kcrady on the other thread
We are talking about principles of human behavior, after all.  Every other species has a set of behaviors adapted to maximize its well-being, why should humans be any different?

Apparently, the ability to breed and produce reproductively viable offspring is a critical moral divide for you.  My point in bringing up neanderthals was to probe this concept, to see if it holds up.  Instead of addressing this, you went all Godwin on my ass.

Conveniently, Neandertals no longer exist, so there is no actual or plausible life-situation in which a moral decision needs to be made.  When I inserted a class of entities that actually exists [Jews--people with Down's syndrome, blacks, or any other class of people once treated as sub-human could have been used with equal effect], suddenly the "quandary" disappeared for you.

You had completly dodged the point of my question.  My intent was to bring up an actual species-boundary between organisms which exhibit moral behaviour.  Of course, as you pointed out, neaderthals were a poor pick for that, as their different-species status is ambiguous at best.  But instead of using that to dodge my point, you could have engaged me honestly.

You did not try to argue that the species boundary or horizon of moral concern was impossible, or even difficult to place anymore.  You didn't try to argue that "Jews should be exterminated" is a subjective opinion that's just as valid as your opinion that they shouldn't.

Relative to me, it's not just as valid.  Relative to you, it's not just as valid.  That permits us to rationally treat it in a similar manner to how you'd treat an "objectively true" moral opinion.  We always act from our own values.

Or to put it another way: I think you know a moral fact when you see one, even if you intellectually profess that such things don't exist.

That's very convenient for you.  It allows you to avoid actually engaging me, or anyone with my position, on this the subject.  Just paint us as liars.  Very, very convenient.  It also removes the need to actually grasp what that opposing position actually means, or how it works.  Just deny that it even exists in practice.

P.S.: I owe you an apology for leaving that thread the way I did.  I'd explain why, but that would be saying "I'm sorry, but..." which isn't a real apology.  So, I'm sorry, no "buts." :)

Accepted; I've left big arguments before, without even intending to actually abandon them.  Just lost track.  It just burned me a bit when you'd abandoned it, and then carried on in another thread as though no points had even been raised.  Then gain, given that you've assumed me to be lying from the outset, I guess that makes sense.
 1. Not that this is an accurate representation of what I said, but I'll roll with it.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:58:37 PM by Azdgari »
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Online kcrady

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #101 on: July 31, 2012, 04:04:22 AM »
OK, so you believe there's no objective difference between "harm" and "well being."  Fine.  Don't ever become a doctor.

Why not?[1]  No, seriously, why not?  I can't for the life of me figure out what difference it makes in practice, unless my subjective idea of "harm" diverges wildly from that of society at large.
 1. Not that this is an accurate representation of what I said, but I'll roll with it.

Do you believe there's an objective difference between "harm" and "well-being" or not?  Your footnote implies that you do think there's an objective difference, at least disagree with the idea that you believe there's no objective difference.  But then you go on to argue that the belief that there is no objective difference wouldn't be a problem for a doctor as long as their idea of "harm" is in agreement with that of society at large.  So, if "society at large" believes that Western medicine is harmful (OMG, SCARY CHEMICALS!) and all ailments ought to be treated with homeopathy and "colon cleansing," do you think that would make those treatments actually work?  There was a time when "society at large" thought ailments could be treated by balancing the humors and bleeding people with leeches.  How big of a majority would it take to make bleeding with leeches the new proper medical treatment for anemia?

I guess I'm not getting what a poll of the subjective beliefs of "society at large" has to do with the efficacy of medical treatments, i.e., whether a doctor is causing "harm" or healing ("well-being") with the treatments they provide.  I think that if the doctor does not understand that there is such a thing as actual, healthy functioning of the human body, in contrast to actions/treatments that actually cause harm to the human body, they're not in a position to diagnose and treat ailments.[2]  And if their method is to take a poll of "society at large" to find out what their subjective opinions on the proper treatment of cardiac arrhythmia or brain tumors is, I'd have to say that doctor's a quack.  Since you seem to think (or at least you'll pretend to think, for the sake of debate) that the subjective views of "society at large" even matter in this context, then I stand by my statement that you should not be a doctor.  I'd say the same thing about a pilot who thought that the proper way to fly an airliner was to poll the passengers for their subjective views.  Of course, you'll say I'm "mis-representing" your views, without bothering to explain your views.  When you make arguments like this, it's very easy, for me at least, to get a wrong idea of what your views are, if I am in this case.  If you don't actually think that the subjective views of "society at large" have anything to do with what does, or does not cause "harm," then you shouldn't argue as if you do.

Further, this is a fallacious appeal on your part, and you know it.  Casting aspersions on another's character in lieu of a reasoned argument is old hat.

I'm not casting aspersions on your character.  Many of my arguments rely on you being a decent person.  I'm just saying that if you really, actually don't think there is a difference, in reality between "harm" and "well-being," then you would be a very poor doctor.  You might be able to get along for awhile by peeking over the shoulders of "society at large," (most voters would probably think that emptying a person's body of all blood would constitute "harm" to that person, so you'd avoid doing it), but there's always the chance that "society at large" could vote wrong.  There's a reason doctors go to medical school instead of hiring pollsters. 

Yet somehow I get the sneaking suspicion that when it comes to how you live your life, you don't actually act on that belief.

And those atheists who rescinded their Christian beliefs weren't really Christians to begin with.
 2. Of course a doctor's knowledge of the human body is limited and fallible.  They can arrive at the wrong diagnosis, or prescribe the wrong treatment, or just plain not know what the illness is or how to treat it.  Not knowing all of the facts about the human body doesn't mean there are no facts, and the doctor should call for a popular vote.

Apple, meet orange.  I was not saying that if you changed your beliefs about moral subjectivity to something else, that your original belief in moral subjectivity was not genuine.  I was saying that the belief you hold on the level of profession does not appear to hold on the level of action, when you act on your moral beliefs (specifically, when confronted with other moral claims you firmly reject, i.e, acting as if your beliefs are in some way more valid than theirs).  If someone claimed to be a Christian, while worshiping Zeus in his temple every Sunday instead of going to church, I think it would be legitimate to question their claim to be a Christian.

>snip<It doesn't make much of a difference to my actions in the real world.  It's just a different understanding of my own values, and of what justifies action from a personal perspective.  It doesn't end up being different, in most respects, from the logically incoherent "objective morality" meta-ethical viewpoint, except that it doesn't inhibit understanding of others' values in the same way.
>snip<
I never said I was a normative relativist.  In fact, I distinctly recall denouncing normative relativism, either in that thread or in one of our PMs at the time.  It is a self-contradictory meta-ethical position.  I would denounce such a person [like a Nazi or a fundamentalist Muslim --KC]on my own social authority.  Which is all I can speak from.  Hopefully others would do the same.  Otherwise, objective morality or not, I would have no influence.

I snipped a few things there to try (and probably still fail) to keep things somewhat brief.  So you would be able to denounce certain types of actions and/or moral philosophies as wrong (or even "evil," perhaps?) on the basis of your own personal judgment and social authority.  Within the context of your philosophy, do you have any way to make an argument that your personal judgment is better than theirs on the subject?  Would you have any basis for moral outrage?  Can I assume that you would not say something along the lines of "I think my judgment is better because I judge it to be better" (which would be circular)?

Unless I could show that their values contradict each other, which is quite likely.

That assumes a valuation of logical consistency, which is also subjective, right?  You could write a brilliant essay demonstrating the logical contradictions in their position, and they could just say, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.  The ideas you see as 'contradictory' in my morality are like two pillars that rise into the clouds, and somewhere up there, God puts a roof on it."[3]  Then we're back to the issue of why your subjective judgment ought to carry any more weight than theirs.

>snip<Your claim is wrong because under a coherent subjective-morality meta-ethic, personal values - from the perspective of the person in question - justify judgment and action in a very similar way to the way in which the incoherent-on-closer-inspection "objective value" concept works for you.  Moral judgments only contradict a subjective-morality meta-ethic when one adopts the premises of an objective-morality meta-ethic.  Which is entirely unsurprising.

Your anticipations are based in a flawed understanding about how a subjective-morality paradigm can work, as you've demonstrated above.  Of course you'll fail to accurately anticipate my responses based on it.

OK, then I'm probably misunderstanding what you mean by "subjective."  I understand the term to refer to inner personal experiences, feelings, etc. that may feel very "true" or "right" to the person having them, but have no basis or validity in external reality.  For example, a person can have an experience of alien abduction that feels very real to them, so that they become convinced that it is real.  They come on to a site like this and try to persuade us that their abductor-aliens are real, and people here would start saying things along the lines of, "Do you have any evidence?  Anyone else see the saucer?  Were you able to scratch an alien with your fingernails and collect forensic evidence?  No?  Then all you've got is a subjective experience.  And BTW, "sleep paralysis" and "hypnogogic dreaming."  So, not matter how real the UFO abductee feels their experience is, or how real a person experiencing an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary feels that is, they have no basis for their claims in external reality.  They would not be able to persuade each other, or scientific-minded skeptics.  Do you think that morality is "subjective" in this sense?

Now, there might be a situation in which a thousand people saw (what they believed to be) a flying saucer.  We might call an event like this inter-subjective.  They still have no pieces of the alleged craft or any physical evidence, but people here would probably agree that they saw something.  They may be wrong about what it actually was, but there was some object in external reality (not in their heads) that they saw.  Perhaps different groups among this thousand people might have different opinions--some might think it was a flying saucer, some might think it was an angel, some might think it was a military flare drop or swamp gas.  These interpretations are all subjective.  However, there is an element of external reality involved, and it would be possible, at least in principle, for there to be facts that make one of the groups most likely to be right.

We could say that science is subjective.  When a person looks at the readout of a scientific instrument or observes the results of an experiment, that's a subjective experience.  If multiple scientists repeat the experiment, their observations of its results are also subjective.  It's subjectivity all the way down.  Yet, I think we would agree that there is an objective, external reality, and that through scientific methodology the scientists can converge on an ever-more-accurate understanding of that reality, even though their understanding is still subjective.  Would you say that your concept of moral subjectivism is closer to this?

For example, in the previous thread, you brought up the question of whether it was OK to exterminate Neandertals as if that represented a genuine quandary for my position.

No.  I did not.  I brought it up as a means to question the importance of species-boundaries that you'd cited:
Quote from: Kcrady on the other thread
We are talking about principles of human behavior, after all.  Every other species has a set of behaviors adapted to maximize its well-being, why should humans be any different?

Apparently, the ability to breed and produce reproductively viable offspring is a critical moral divide for you.  My point in bringing up neanderthals was to probe this concept, to see if it holds up.  Instead of addressing this, you went all Godwin on my ass.
 3. This is an argument (in response to conflicting Christian doctrines) that I heard apologist Hank Hanegraaf use on his "Bible Answer Man" radio show back in ancient times when I was a Christian.  The pillars-and-roof thing, that is.

No, my concept has to do with what is, or is not "good" (or "bad") for an entity based on the facts of its nature.  A bullet, or a rapist, is just as "bad" for a Neandertal as for one of us.  Now that I think I see where you're going, hopefully I can offer a better example.  Let's say we encountered a race of intelligent methane-breathing cephalopods living in Jupiter's atmosphere.  These beings mate like black widow spiders--the female kills and eats the male after fertilization, and uses his flesh to fill the nutrient sacs of her eggs.  Each successful mating produces thousands of offspring, and when they hatch, the mother stands by and watches while they attack and eat one another, until only a few are left.  If a female tries to spare her husband, he dies anyway, and then her children do as well, because their eggs' nutrient sacs are empty.  If she tries to keep her children from eating each other, she ends up with a horde she cannot feed or educate that overruns everyone else's family, and if a society tries this, they rapidly outgrow their resource base, and all starve.  Could we morally criticize these aliens for killing their males after mating and letting their children eat each other?  I think I would have to say 'no,' and also that they could not morally criticize us for not killing males after sex and doing our best to raise all of our children to adulthood.  In the same way, we could not prescribe oxygen treatment to a cephalopod who was having difficulty breathing, and they could not prescribe pure methane for a human with asthma. 

In that sense, morality would be subjective (or "inter-subjective") to each species, since the Cosmos would not adjudicate between our species and theirs.  But that doesn't mean there are no facts upon which the different moralities (or methods of treatment for breathing difficulty) are based. 

However, the moral question becomes tougher if one or both species has highly sophisticated genetic engineering, so that the aliens could be made more like humans, or vice versa.  If a human turned themselves into one of the aliens (presumably female!) to live among the alien society, would that be moral or immoral?

Is that the sort of argument you were trying to make?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 04:07:52 AM by kcrady »
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #102 on: July 31, 2012, 01:58:14 PM »
  It all depends on your perspective on what constitutes "harm" and "well being". When England and Spain and others were roaming around the world subjugating the barbarian hordes of the world their perspective(as well as the history books) was that they were conquering the heathens and bringing the light.  When the nations imported slaves for the "good people" to use as they saw fit,they were just following the commands of God and were subjugating a "sub species" of man.

 When the Germans were doing it in WW1 and WW2,the perception changed and the Germans were now doing harm and were corrupting the well being of others. The reason perception changed was that a white man now wanted what another white man had,how did it go from good to bad to conquer peoples in a short span of time?

 Why when England,Spain,Italy and others were conquering was it percieved as "not harmful",but when the Germans set out to do the same thing it was deemed harmful to humanity? Why do the history books report other nations as explorers and others as the axis of evil when the only difference of the people they were conquering and killing was their skin colour?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 02:04:18 PM by 12 Monkeys »
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Offline Nam

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #103 on: July 31, 2012, 03:38:02 PM »
When you do it to a Zulu, it's righteous. When you do it to a Christian, it's murder.


I read that in a book about the Zulus. Forget what book. I have the movie Zulu Dawn, I always cheer for the Zulus. Same with movies against Native americans.

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Hold the phone; another theist weighs in on refuting us
« Reply #104 on: July 31, 2012, 10:31:41 PM »
When you do it to a Zulu, it's righteous. When you do it to a Christian, it's murder.


I read that in a book about the Zulus. Forget what book. I have the movie Zulu Dawn, I always cheer for the Zulus. Same with movies against Native americans.

-Name
So you root for the cowboys or the Native Americans?
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)