mercy

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This is the premise 1 of the moral argument in the book "On Guard".
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties exist.
Conclusion: Therefore God exists.

Does it necessitate that one has to believe in the existence of God for premise 1 to be true? I personally don't think so.

In other words, how can I stop myself from seeing that premise 1 is begging the question as it assumes that God exists?

I think I am just tired.  :'(

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Stephen

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 07:04:51 am »
It doesn't at all assume that God actually exists yet, it is merely laying out the conditions by which we might recognize the true existence of God.  Whether or not he does actually exist, will depend upon other premises of the argument (i.e.: premise 2), which will in turn lead us to a conclusion.

It does however assume that God is the locus of objective moral values and duties, which no one seems to disagree with, if God did indeed exist.

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NickW

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 06:21:47 pm »
I find it difficult to understand why Harris tried to go down this path. As an atheist myself, I think it's obvious that objective moral values DO NOT exist. If we accept evolution as being the best explanation for how humans came to exist, we must also accept that evolution has been a continuum, rather than a series of distinct steps. And since there are no moral values that apply across all species, it's logical to conclude that human morality is as much a result of evolution as the human anatomy is, and are subject to the same gradual change over time that is characteristic of most evolutionary processes.

In the end, morality is a reflection of the evolved empathy of humans, balanced against our instinctive need for social cohesion. We see murder as wrong, not because God says so, but because those of us who were raised in reasonably functional homes (i.e. the majority) would through empathy feel some of the victim's pain, and society also sees murder as corrosive to social cohesion.

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 04:27:40 pm »
mercy

Seems to me that morals are subjective and not objective but I am open to examining arguments.

Can you give an example of what you meant on let's say the subject of human sacrifice.

Is it moral to you and is it subjective or objective?

Regards
DL


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ontologicalme

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 04:42:21 pm »
I find it difficult to understand why Harris tried to go down this path. As an atheist myself, I think it's obvious that objective moral values DO NOT exist. If we accept evolution as being the best explanation for how humans came to exist, we must also accept that evolution has been a continuum, rather than a series of distinct steps. And since there are no moral values that apply across all species, it's logical to conclude that human morality is as much a result of evolution as the human anatomy is, and are subject to the same gradual change over time that is characteristic of most evolutionary processes.

In the end, morality is a reflection of the evolved empathy of humans, balanced against our instinctive need for social cohesion. We see murder as wrong, not because God says so, but because those of us who were raised in reasonably functional homes (i.e. the majority) would through empathy feel some of the victim's pain, and society also sees murder as corrosive to social cohesion.

I sort of get the gist of what you are trying to say, but evolution is not the explanation of how humans came to exist, not even by evolutionary scientific standards, but how humans evolved from pre-existing living organisms, and even if correct does not entail that there  is no objective morality.


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NicOfTime

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 10:56:45 am »
The term "objective" morality is not sufficiently precise.  It appears more accurate to say that an objective basis for morality exists, rather than saying "objective morality" exists.

That objective basis can be found in evolution itself.  Humans are not the fastest or strongest organisms on the planet -- we don't have sharp claws or teeth.  One-on-one with larger, stronger predators, humans don't have much of a chance.  The key to human survival, as it is with many other organisms, is the ability to work in teams or groups.  A structure for social interaction is absolutely necessary for this, and would evolve simultaneously with the organism itself -- through a cause-effect process which would naturally tend to diminish the prominence of behaviors that didn't work, leaving the behaviors that did work to become more prominent in the organism.

This behavior filter is a bit messy -- because socially-cooperative behavior is not the only successful survival strategy.  Aggressive or somewhat anti-social behavior also provides some reproductive advantage -- not enough to become as prominent as social behavior, but enough to remain a factor in human behavior overall.

Social behavior would naturally include "fuzzy" concepts like "trust" -- and "trust" would unavoidably include concepts like honesty / deception, theft, and even adultery...moral / ethical values that "magically" have found their way into most of the world's religions.

So...there is an objective basis for morality...and it's tied to survival itself...no God required.

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 12:48:44 pm »
Hi Nic

Seems you have your objective morality changing to a subjective one for survival. That would make all moralities subjective. Right?

Regards
DL

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ontologicalme

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Re: If God doesn't exist, then objective moral values and duties don't exist
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 07:16:17 pm »
The term "objective" morality is not sufficiently precise.  It appears more accurate to say that an objective basis for morality exists, rather than saying "objective morality" exists.

I agree that the expresion "objective morality" might not  be sufficiently precise, but your definition as objective basis for morality misses the mark by a long shot.

Let me give it a try at explaining what it is we are trying to point to, here (at least me).

The statement that M: "some x is a (morally) good" , where x is some action or state of affairs that is actual, is an statement that is truth or false independent of opinion, and it is such that there is a fact of the mater that makes M true or false.

 
Quote from: Nic
That objective basis can be found in evolution itself.  Humans are not the fastest or strongest organisms on the planet -- we don't have sharp claws or teeth.  One-on-one with larger, stronger predators, humans don't have much of a chance.  The key to human survival, as it is with many other organisms, is the ability to work in teams or groups.  A structure for social interaction is absolutely necessary for this, and would evolve simultaneously with the organism itself -- through a cause-effect process which would naturally tend to diminish the prominence of behaviors that didn't work, leaving the behaviors that did work to become more prominent in the organism.

This behavior filter is a bit messy -- because socially-cooperative behavior is not the only successful survival strategy.  Aggressive or somewhat anti-social behavior also provides some reproductive advantage -- not enough to become as prominent as social behavior, but enough to remain a factor in human behavior overall.

Your account might be a runner up to explain why certain behaviour is conducive to survival or reproductivity. It does not explain why those things are good or evil.


Quote from: Nic
Social behavior would naturally include "fuzzy" concepts like "trust" -- and "trust" would unavoidably include concepts like honesty / deception, theft, and even adultery...moral / ethical values that "magically" have found their way into most of the world's religions.

why would social behaviour include concepts about anything ? that still does not explain why those concepts or any other would be concepts of  good things in actuality

Ants exibit social behaviour, and, nobody is lining up behind the hypothesis that they have concepts like trust, or antyhing like it.

Quote
So...there is an objective basis for morality...and it's tied to survival itself...no God required.

You have described a hypothesis of how social behaviour might be conducive to surivival, and pressuposed that such social behaviour would form concepts, which, even if true, still does not explain why those are good or bad.

Just to be clear, you need to say something like: surviving is the good , or, reproduction is the good, or social behaviour is the good, or something like that, and that statement must explain fittingly the truth of moral goodness, beyond opinions.

So far, you said that such and such behaviours work, lead to reproduction , to surivival, but why are these things good at all?

Your account pressumes, inadvertently, some of those concepts are concepts of good things, before the account even gest to the starting line.