Author Topic: Objective Moral Truth  (Read 1688 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2014, 03:18:17 PM »
(a) There would not be such great agreement on its meaning.
Except there isn't any such "great agreement".  In actual fact, cultures can and do disagree on morality, and in many respects they disagree quite strongly.  The agreement you talk about is only among people from the same (or at least related) cultures, which proves nothing.

Quote from: gzusfreke
(b) No real moral disagreements would ever have occurred, each person being right from his own moral perspective.
This is purely specious reasoning.  People who think they're right almost always try to force that viewpoint onto other people who disagree, thus generating the moral disagreements that this apologetic claims couldn't have occurred.

Quote from: gzusfreke
(c) No moral judgment would ever have been wrong, each being subjectively right.
Specious again.  In actual fact, people who think they're right about something will argue against anything that contradicts them, even if there's facts and evidence which negates their own position and supports the other side.  This is as true in morality as in anything else.

Quote from: gzusfreke
(d) No ethical question could ever be discussed, there being no objective meaning to any ethical terms.
Incorrect.  All that's necessary for such a discussion is that there be a common meaning.  It doesn't have to be an objective one.

Quote from: gzusfreke
(e) Contradictory views would both be right, since opposites could be equally correct.
And yet we see this every day, people holding contradictory views, both of whom claim to be right.  But what usually happens is that you get enough people agreeing that one view is right, and that one is held as the correct one.  If it turns out that there are problems with it, it's revisited later on.

As near as I can tell, the other apologetics you cited are little more than restatements of these five points.  In short, your argument from apologetics fails miserably. because it assumes that its premise is true and never seriously considers the possibility that it might be false.  In actual fact, it is trivially easy to point out the weaknesses of the apologetics you chose to use - I focused on the first five to keep this post from becoming too long, but rest assured that it would not be difficult to point out the same weaknesses in the other apologetics, since they're all the same at heart.

Offline median

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2014, 03:32:27 PM »
@ gzusfreke's big apologetics quotation (not in his own words):

I used to own Geisler's Encyclopedia, along with all the C.S. Lewis books and the Bloom book (among literally hundreds of other bible/apologetics books). Let's start with Geisler and Lewis. However, before I begin let me first start by saying that Lewis clearly displays a misunderstanding of 'atheism'. Atheism is NOT a worldview. It has no tenants, no dogmas, no beliefs, and certainly no positive assertions. Atheism does not have to do with whether or not any gods exist. Rather it has to do with A BELIEF (or rather a lack of one). Theism is THE BELIEF in a god and atheism is the LACK of that belief. That is all that is required.

Now, Lewis' and Geisler's assertions regarding moral objectivity come also from a fundamental misunderstanding of what morality is. If there is a cloud does that mean there must be an "objective cloud maker"? Does lightening need a "lighteninger" (i.e. - a person making the lightening)? Moral codes have to do with definitions, not with "something objective out there". If you disagree then please demonstrate your claims (don't just claim them). All that is required in order for someone to be correct or incorrect about a specific moral judgment is for a meaningful, useful, and coherent definition of what morality is to be held constant (such as the one I hold - that morality is about the well being of conscious creatures and the minimization of unnecessary harm). Again, if you talk about anything else then you aren't talking about morality (see video below for a more clear understanding of my view).

Have you even bothered to look up the responses to Geisler and Lewis? These arguments you are bringing up are very old news and have been rebutted.

Now this TrueBlood fellow wants to argue that morality is "beyond us". Yet neither he, nor you, actually attempt to soundly demonstrate this mere assertion. Again, it's just the "b/c I say so" fallacy. Moral agreements/disagreements 'make sense' b/c we generally understand and agree that morality is generally about minimizing unnecessary harm and having others live in peace with each other (aka - well being).

I would like to challenge you to demonstrate some moral duty which you think applies if there are no people around to apply it - b/c again, just claiming there is some moral duty which applies "objectively" (according to your definition - independently of human application) does't make it so. You need to demonstrate how you think you know this.

Now Geisler hinges his argument on a false dichotomy:

Quote
For either there is a moral absolute or else everything is morally relative.


Since for me morality is about the well being of conscious creatures and the minimization of unnecessary harm, moral 'oughts' are indeed a necessary part of that and can be applied objectively (namely b/c we can generally understand suffering, sickness, and harm and we can seek to minimize it). I reject Geisler's definition of what he thinks morality is about b/c it is disconnected from well being, trading it instead for a mere following of orders by an alleged 'God' that violates it's own rules (which again we would expect from men writing, not a loving god). 

Geisler goes on:

Quote
Less than perfect is only measurable against a Perfect. Hence, all objective moral judgments imply an absolute moral standard by which they can be measured.


No, objective moral judgments imply a specific definition being used of what morality is about - nothing more. And since you think morality is about pleasing the double standard dictates of a cosmic dictator it's up to you to demonstrate why anyone would accept your definition of what morality is about (since for most of us here your alleged 'God' is "good" only by definition - but we can get into this more later).

Geisler again:

Quote
One’s factual understanding of a moral situation is relative, but the moral values involved in the situation are not


I actually somewhat agree here. All we have is our subjective understandings of moral situations (the subjective part) and our held definitions regarding the term "morality" (from which we can then make applications objectively). Again, if you think there is something more to morality than our well being please demonstrate a sound justification for it. For now, none of these apologists you have cited has demonstrated what you have intended. All you have shown is that they (and you) have a specific subjective definition of what morality is about for you and that you want to apply that definition (ad hoc) to all.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 03:40:45 PM by median »
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2014, 04:28:06 PM »
Quote

OCG, can you think of a truth that is true no matter what, yet some people do not accept it?

With all due respect, the burden for an example of a truth that is not accepted by all is with you.  If an example cannot be provided, then perhaps that aspect of truth should be eliminated from any definitions in this discussion.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

If you want to moderate this thread, how about you start with Graybeard's attribution to me of thoughts and points of view that I have not expressed?

You caught me by surprise about being a moderator.  I simply overlooked / missed Graybeard's request.  Flattered as I am by the request I wish to respectfully decline.  I truly believe that you two as adults should be able to stay on topic and carry out this discussion despite the well meaning observations / participation by others including me.

If there is not an example of a truth not being accepted by some then I suggest the idea be dropped from this discussion.  Would dropping the idea that there are truths not being accepted by some damage the discussion? 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2014, 08:29:29 PM »
I already gave one, OCG.  I brought up vaccines, and skeptic promptly demonstrated that he did not accept what I was saying as true even though there's plenty of information out there which counters the anti-vaccine position.

Offline skeptic54768

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2014, 12:05:13 AM »
Not all vaccinations are what they say they are. People have died form vaccinations. Doctors will tell you that anything is safe as long as it fills their pockets with cash.
Thank you for proving my point, that some people don't accept things that are true.

It's true that a very (very very very) few people can die from being vaccinated.  But the numbers of people who would die from preventable illnesses if we discontinued vaccinations is far, far higher.  According to the CDC, even in the USA, where we vaccinate against measles, three out of every thousand people who catch measles will die from it.  In developing nations, one out of every hundred will die.  As of 1999, almost a million people in those developing nations died from measles.  If we stopped vaccinating against it, that number would essentially triple, and measles is such an infectious disease that almost everyone who is not vaccinated against it catches it.

Before we started vaccinating against measles back in 1963, 3-4 million people caught the disease every year, of which nearly 50,000 were hospitalized, a thousand suffered brain damage from the disease, and 450 people died from it[1].  Today, it's surprising if more than a hundred people catch the disease - unless, of course, parents decide not to vaccinate their children due to scares about the MMR vaccine causing autism (which, it doesn't and never has).  Moreover, the actual side effects of the MMR vaccine are generally very slight - less than one out of a million people suffer anything seriously life-threatening after being vaccinated[2].  Given that there are over 300 million people in the USA, that means there's barely 300 people total who would have severe enough reactions to being vaccinated to potentially threaten their lives, and the number who actually die is much, much lower.  Deaths from receiving the MMR vaccine are so rare as to be unheard of.

So what support did you provide for your argument?  Nothing, as far as I can tell - simply your opinion without even a link to one of the specious anti-vaccine sites.  So you're a perfect example of what I was talking about, of someone who will not accept something as true.
 1. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/fs-parents.html
 2. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html

While there is no doubt that some of them do work, we can't just take a doctors word for it.

Years ago, doctors would say that cigarettes were perfectly fine. How'd that turn out?

Years ago, they said exposure to radiation was perfectly fine, and then people started dropping dead.

Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Offline Mooby

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2014, 01:25:24 AM »
While there is no doubt that some of them do work, we can't just take a doctors word for it.

Years ago, doctors would say that cigarettes were perfectly fine. How'd that turn out?

Years ago, they said exposure to radiation was perfectly fine, and then people started dropping dead.
You've created a straw man.  Proponents of vaccines aren't relying on "taking a doctor's word for it."  They're relying on loads of scientific evidence.  The CDC runs studies on vaccines constantly.

Doctors failed to warn about the dangers of cigarettes and radiation back in an era when there was a lack of evidence about the safety of cigarettes or radiation.  Then we started gathering the evidence, and the medical community responded appropriately to that evidence by overwhelmingly warning about the dangers those things pose.

Conversely, concerns about vaccine safety started in the 1970s, and the medical community responded by doing lots and lots and lots of studies.  Then we started gathering the evidence, and the medical community responded appropriately to that evidence by overwhelmingly endorsing them because the evidence shows that vaccines save a ton of lives and are pretty damn safe.

If you advocate following the evidence on avoiding cigarettes and radiation, then logically you should follow the evidence on providing vaccines.  Correct?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2014, 02:39:53 AM »
For something to be objectively true it has to objectively exist. That is, there is more to being objective than simply not being influenced by feelings, opinions and biases etc - it has to exist externally to any experience and mind.

So, while I may accept that objective truth exists, obtaining it is impossible because it means escaping my own experiences in order to evaluate what exists without them. The best we can ever achieve is at an intersubjective level. I understand that this is going nuclear, but due to this the objective moral argument is a red herring. When you can finally escape your own self, come back and tell me that 2 + 2 = 4.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2014, 08:58:18 AM »
While there is no doubt that some of them do work, we can't just take a doctors word for it.

Years ago, doctors would say that cigarettes were perfectly fine. How'd that turn out?

Years ago, they said exposure to radiation was perfectly fine, and then people started dropping dead.
Again, nothing but unsubstantiated opinions.  For example, you say that "doctors said" that cigarettes were fine, that exposure to radiation was fine.  But you give nothing to support these claims.  Are we just supposed to take your word for it?  Isn't that exactly what you're presumably warning against, simply taking someone's word for something?

The scientific and medical community has produced tons of evidence that shows that smoking is very detrimental to your health, that radiation is dangerous, and that vaccines are very beneficial.  You have no problems with the former two conclusions, yet you apparently don't believe the third, despite the evidence which it has going for it.  Why?

Offline Boots

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2014, 11:28:03 AM »
The scientific and medical community has produced tons of evidence that shows that smoking is very detrimental to your health, that radiation is dangerous, and that vaccines are very beneficial.  You have no problems with the former two conclusions, yet you apparently don't believe the third, despite the evidence which it has going for it.  Why?

Because Jenny McCarthy is hawt?
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
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Offline median

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2014, 02:32:54 PM »

While there is no doubt that some of them do work, we can't just take a doctors word for it.

Years ago, doctors would say that cigarettes were perfectly fine. How'd that turn out?

Years ago, they said exposure to radiation was perfectly fine, and then people started dropping dead.

This is just more of your fear everything conspiracy theorist delusion. It has its roots in utter irrationality (the fallacy of Slippery Slope, for one). It doesn't matter at all that human beings have made mistakes in the past. The overwhelming amount of doctors actions to help patients IS in fact successful (usually on multiple levels). You can prove yourself wrong immediately. Just ask yourself what you would do if you were in a major car accident (or were diagnosed with cancer) and needed immediate surgery! Would you just lay there bleeding and start to pray (without ever seeking medical help by professionals) or would you go see a doctor of whom you have good reason to rely? Dude, you are both extremely dishonest and gullible and that is the problem.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Objective Moral Truth
« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2014, 07:06:30 PM »
According to Elton Trueblood, a philosopher:

"There must be an objective moral law; otherwise: (a) There would not be such great agreement on its meaning. (b) No real moral disagreements would ever have occurred, each person being right from his own moral perspective. (c) No moral judgment would ever have been wrong, each being subjectively right. (d) No ethical question could ever be discussed, there being no objective meaning to any ethical terms. (e) Contradictory views would both be right, since opposites could be equally correct."
Elton Trueblood is not a philosopher, he is an idiot. Not one statement bears examination

Quote
Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 499.

(a) is not so.  Many people can agree on an objective moral law.
That means only, that they agree subjectively.

Quote
Trueblood continues:
Trueblood has been dismissed as an incompetent.

Quote
Geisler comments:
That is, unless we assume the universe is irrational,
The universe cannot "be irrational". It is inanimate. If he means, "it obeys certain laws", then this is irrelevant. What keeps the sun together and our orbiting it, has absolutely nothing to do with morals.

We may dismiss Geisler.

Quote
C.S. Lewis contributes:
There must be a universal moral law, or else: (a) Moral disagreements would make no sense, as we all assume they do.
Lewis is saying that moral disagreements make sense. Lewis therefore agrees there are moral disagreements, therefore they are subjective – that is why there are disagreements…

Quote
Lewis again:
The Moral Law Is Not Human Fancy. Neither can the moral law be mere human fancy, because we cannot get rid of it even when we would like to do so.
Lewis was an apologist only. He seems to ignore the fact that different societies have different morals – The Bible is very clear on slavery and stoning people to death. What is Lewis actually saying?

Quote
This is from Geisler:
We have dismissed Geisler. And stupid statements such as the one that follows confirms his dismissal is just:

“An absolute duty is one that is binding on all persons at all times in all places.”

There is no such thing.

Gzusfreke, if you ever get back. Not so much cut and paste and more a few of your own ideas.


« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 06:29:52 AM by Graybeard »
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