palewine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #360 on: January 11, 2020, 02:34:23 am »
Rostos, that atheist author you quoted earlier... what does he say is the root of morality's objectivity?

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Maxximiliann

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #361 on: January 11, 2020, 01:38:51 pm »
Let's put that to the test, then, shall we:

If the KKK ever attained world domination and then eliminated everyone who thought racism and bigotry was evil, would that make racism/bigotry moral?

If everyone believed that racism is moral, then racism would be moral.

Which means that you are a racist bigot as only a racist bigot can ever believe that racism and bigotry are tenable. But thank you for demonstrating how Atheism mangles the moral compass of you extremists  . . .

In other words, you already know that racist bigotry is objectively immoral, thus so are its advocates.  What is your basis for saying racist bigotry is objectively immoral? 

An excellent question! To be objective, moral truths must always hold independent of anyone's individual feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.

With that in mind, consider the following:
 
(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties don't exist.
(2) If evil exists, objective moral values and duties exist.
(3) Evil exists.

(4) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
(5) Therefore, God exists.
(6) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

And what is our Creator's posture on racism and bigotry?

The Holy Scriptures clearly inform us that “God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” -Acts 10:34, 35

This is because he "made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth." -Acts 17:26

The hatred of others, accordingly, is absolutely irreconcilable with Christianity-

"If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." -1 John 4:20

"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has everlasting life remaining in him." -1 John 3:15
1+1+1=3 NOT 1

"Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry ​YOU​ off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ." - Colossians 2:8

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barryjones

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #362 on: January 11, 2020, 03:33:20 pm »
What does it have to do with what i like and want?

Well I am asking whether you live according to what you argue. Do you live as if speed limits are objective or are a matter of preference?

I am essentially living in a place where i essentially have to play along with the game.

Doesn't make it right.

But your conclusion would not be sensible unless you assumed there was an objective standard of "right" which you could use evaluate the mroality of the situation you are living in.

What's funny is that the realists cannot just point to that standard the way one would point to a tree and end all debate about its existence.  They have to trifle that naturalistic theories are insufficient to account for why most people think baby rape is immoral.  That's a rather convoluted manner of reasoning.

Nothing against you personally, man, but I think you are the one who is misinformed about morality. Of course, it cannot be objective in the ontological sense, i.e., mind-independent, but I think it is very reasonable to think the fundamental moral value of reciprocity is determined not by anybody's personal opinion or social fashion but by social evolutionary imperative and that would make it epistemically objective. So, yes, baby rape is absolutely and epistemically objectively wrong, by definition and that definition is based on a principle determined by social evolutionary imperative.

I think you misunderstood my reply there.  And I've debated morality plenty of times, including having won such a debate against Matthew Flannagan.  Let's dispense with the "you are uninformed about morality" stuff,

Pointing out that morals are not objective in the sense that trees are objective was a smart move, since

a) objective morals are used by Christians to prove god's existence, and
b) they think the objectivity of morality arises from circumstances completely independent of the human mind.

They are obviously wrong.  Moral beliefs are opinions, opinions are beliefs, and beliefs are thoughts.  So unless somebody provides evidence of divine telepathy, the question of the origins of morality could not possibly be any deeper than human thought.

I make room for a limited moral realism, in the uselessly technical sense that "if you wish to drive a nail into hardwood, you SHOULDN'T use a feather."
That sense is useless in debate with Christians since they claim that naturalistic theories of morality cannot adequately explain why most people think baby rape is immoral.   So the dialogue isn't just about how to get things done, its about whether naturalistic theories can sufficiently explain the fact that most people agree on certain basic moral issues.

Well gee, most bears will attack anybody who is attacking their cubs, but that majority agreement among bears doesn't suddenly mean the naturalistic theories fail and it can only be god beaming his morality from the sky down into the bear's brain.

[/quote]Sexual mores, I would agree are a somewhat different matter. [/quote]

Thank you for clarifying, I agree.

[/quote]I do believe that they are to some degree evolutionarily determined, but IMO they usually do not refer back to the basic moral principle of reciprocity, unless of course someone is harming someone else by their behavior. I guess it depends on how narrowly or broadly one defines morality, so no doubt there are subjective elements involved in anybody's moral opinions. It's just that I believe the basic moral principle is not determined by opinion or fashion, but rather evolutionary imperative.[/quote]

Except that evolutionary imperative is also why there are a lot of sociopaths.  Blind religion was the motive in coming to America and depriving the Indians of their rightful land, and the people of a few generations later find themselves living comfortably in a society where mass killing and robbery are not necessary to survive.  Shermer has done skepticism a great service, but I think his "Moral Arc" book is a joke. 

I also take issue with  societal "truths" that we take for granted in these debates.  Sure, most people will publicly decry mass killing, but is that how they all talk in private with their most trusted friends?  I don't think so.    Again, most guys decry pedophilia, but some studies involving the use of penile plethysmography and two groups (convicted pedophiles and normal guys) showed even some non-pedophile men obtained some degree of erection to suggestive pictures and statements.  We really have to wonder how many voices in the publicly declared majority view are manifesting genuine intent, and how many are in disagreement, but prefer to "front" harmony with the group anyway merely to avoid rocking the boat.

Do we get nearly the same thrill hearing about tragedy on the news, that we do when watching slasher films?  Yes.  Do we hear about the death of a child on the news nearly every day?  Yes.  Do we break down and cry?  No.  Do we get over it enough so that an hour later we are laughing at the boss's unrelated jokes at work?  Yes.  I am seriously suspicious that the "majority view" on any moral issue is infected to a substantial degree with insincerity.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out that most leaders of the ACLU personally think euthanizing homeless drug abusers is the best overall solution to that crisis that is hitting the big cities.

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Tom Paine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #363 on: January 11, 2020, 05:09:35 pm »

Talking on both sides of your mouth again.[/quote]

Not at all.

Quote
Evolution tells us WHAT IS. It is a DESCRIPTION, it does not tell us what it OUGHT to be. Prescription.

I never said that evolution told us what we ought to do. What I'm saying is the the process of evolution since it is based on survival has made it incumbent on human societies to value reciprocity. Why? Because if a society doesn't value reciprocity it won't last long. In fact it would hard to even call a group of people who did not live in reciprocal relationship with each other a society. Is that so hard to understand?

It's sort of like evolution didn't tell every animal that it has to breathe. But it has determined that every animal breathes. Why because no animal can survive w/o breathing.  Now if identified that breathing has value and we gave the value a name "spiration" or something like that. Would it not make sense to say that evolution has in some sense determine that we ought to breathe?

This is analogy, but so it's not a perfect one to one relationship between these things, but it is pretty good analogy for what I'm talking about with morality.

No individual human being has determined the value of breathing and it's not a matter of social fashion. As such it makes sense to say that the value of breathing is epistemically objective.

Quote
By answering yes to those questions, you are appealing a standard OUTSIDE and beyond human preference, desire and wants. You are appealing to an objective standard by answering yes to those questions.

That's right and value that transcends individual human opinion or social fashion is the value of reciprocity to the survival of a society. Is that just a matter of opinion? No, it's a fact of social evolution. And please don't tell me that there is nothing objectively morally good about survival. Of course not. My argument doesn;t depend on that being true. The moral ought cannot be defined in moral terms, for crying out loud, then it would be totally empty tautology. You ought to be moral because you ought to be moral?  No, we ought to behave morally if we want our society to survive and flourish.

That's what morality is about. Sorry, if you can't grasp what I'm saying. Now, I could be wrong, but if I am it's not for any of the reasons you've brought up. If I'm wrong it is because reciprocity isn't really an imperative for group survival. That's the only way it could be wrong. Does that seem likely to you. Do you think a group of humans could survive for long w/o looking after each others well being. I'm not saying any society does that perfectly, but the better it does that the more survival advantage it has over societies that are less functional,

Quote
Such a standard requires a law maker because they are prescriptive by nature. Prescriptions require minds/intelligence.

Also, by appealing to evolution, you are committing the Naturalistic fallacy.

NO, the "law giver" in this case is sentient social evolution, and it is not a naturalistic fallacy because it does not say that whatever is natural is good. Selfishness is perfectly natural. Heck, rape is natural. Under naturalism, dude, everything is natural. It's not good because it's natural. But it is a fact that it is a natural process that has determined the value (to survival) of what's called the principle of reciprocity. Humans recognize that value and they give the name morality. That which upholds the value, we call morally right/good and what violates the value we call morally wrong/evil.  Those are just words we use to identify elements of this value system.  It's simply true by definition that rape and murder and torture, etc. are wrong. It's epistemically objective because it was not determined by individual opinion or social fashion but by social evolution.

Surely you know the  Euthyphro dilemma. It is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"

This could be reworked to ask "Is the moral good good because God wills it, or does God will it because it is good.  One one horn of the dilemma, morality is arbitrary and if God said rape was good it would be good. Does that make any sense to you. Would you think rape was good if suddenly you found that God actually willed rape? On the other horn of the dilemma you have that there must be standard independent of even God's opinion.

Now, if God exists, could it not be case that God loves and he wills the moral good for us because it is good for us. I doubt any sane and reasonable person would rather live in dysfunctional society where people murder and rape at will.  People ought to be moral if they want to avoid this, It's what will lead to the greatest good  and so it makes sense that a loving God would will this for us.

You can just poo poo everything I say with arguments that I've already refuted.  But I know just how good my verbal reasoning skills are and I can tell you that I am not 100% certain that my thesis is 100% accurate or the best possible explanation of what morality is, but I am certain that it is a reasonable hypothesis, and I am not talking out of both sides of my mouth.


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Tom Paine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #364 on: January 11, 2020, 05:22:51 pm »
Atheist Russ Shafer-Landau does an excellent job of defending moral objectivism in his book Whatever Happened to Good and Evil?

"Some moral views are better than others, despite the sincerity of the individuals, cultures, and societies that endorse them. Some moral views are true, others false, and my thinking them so doesn’t make them so. My society’s endorsement of them doesn’t prove their truth. Individuals, and whole societies, can be seriously mistaken when it comes to morality. The best explanation of this is that there are moral standards not of our own making."

"This includes theists, many of whom believe in God precisely because they believe in ethical objectivity, and see no way of defending this idea without God. But it also includes all those atheists who embrace moral [subjectivism], just because they believe that the only escape from it is through God, whom they reject."

"In my experience, people tie objectivity to God because of a very specific line of thought. The basic idea is that all laws (rules, principles, standards, etc.) require a lawmaker. So if there are any moral laws, then these too require a lawmaker. But if these moral laws are objective, then the lawmaker can’t be any one of us. That’s just true by definition. Objectivity implies an independence from human opinion. Well, if objective moral rules aren’t authorised by any one of us, then who did make them up? Three guesses. In a nutshell: all rules require an author. Objective rules can’t be human creations. Therefore objective rules require a nonhuman creator. Enter God.[32]"

No, enter social evolutionary imperative. Obviously if this guy is an atheist and he says "enter God" he doesn't mean that this actually proves God's existence. Maybe he means "enter God" into the head of theists.  But if God is the author of nature and nature determines that humans will thrive and God values the thriving of humans, then it would make sense for God to value reciprocity and command humans to obey a moral code based on it.

That makes a perfectly sensible theistic idea of the relationship between God and morality. However God in this scenario is kind of over determinative. I mean if it is social evolution that determines the value of reciprocity, then it can be considered an epistemically objective value regardless of whethe God commands it our not. And so defined, if God ordered something that violated reciprocity, then he would be commanding evil. Of course, if He is a good God He wouldn't do that.

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Rostos

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #365 on: January 14, 2020, 02:01:18 pm »
Such a standard requires a law maker because they are prescriptive by nature. Prescriptions require minds/intelligence.
Sorry for interjecting here. I am sure Tom will have a similar kind of answer as we are mostly on the same page wrt social evolution and how it affects our morality. On this very topic we may disagree ever so slightly though, so my opinion is that if we assume our core morality to be aligned with our instinctive social interaction, then:

There is no other law maker per se;
There is a naturally acquired "standard" that is indeed prescriptive, as it is a shared inner instinct that we are born with.

There are caveats though:

That we accept that there are abnormalities;
That some of our moral behavior is shaped by the social/environmental inputs, and could differ among cultures/times.

What is this naturally acquired prescriptive standard?

Biology or genetic code has no authority over us morally or alternatively we have no obligation to it.

Biology describes what IS, not what it OUGHT to.

Biology/evolution is a naturally occurring phenomena, like the earth rotating around the sun.

Is it good or evil that the earth rotates around the sun? Should it ought to have been the other way around? No, neither, it just IS.

Well, the same with evolution, should it have ought to have been the way it is? No, it just is.

The way morality evolved the way it did or if it evolved another way is neither right or wrong, good or evil.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
Isiah 55:8

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." - Mathew 23-12

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Rostos

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #366 on: January 14, 2020, 02:48:11 pm »
Evolution is aimed at survival and reproduction.

In the absence of God, morality is merely a bi-product of the socio evolutionary process that has been selected as it is deemed beneficial for the survival of the species.

This is no different to us having hands, feet and teeth. Just a mechanism to enhance the survival of the species.

The issue is of course, in the absence of God, it is not a fact that humans or any species ought to survive and flourish.

In the absence of God, whether humans or any species survive and flourish or they suffer and become extinct is neither right or wrong, good or evil.

So things like co-operative behaviour or reciprocity which have been selected by evolution because it leads to flourishing of the human species is neither right or good because it is neither right or good that humans ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

Consider a crop of corn. For a crop of corn to survive and flourish, it must receive ample water and sunlight. Is it a fact that a crop of corn ought to survive and flourish? No. Therefore, if a crop of corn does not receive ample sunlight and water, has something wrong or evil occurred? No, because it is not a fact that the crop of corn ought to have survived and flourished in the very first place.

When people refer to evolution and look at traits selected like empathy, reciprocity, co-operative behaviour, it is like looking at things like water and sunlight for the crop of corn. No one is disputing that these things can lead to the flourishing of the humans species like water and sunlight lead to the survival and flourishing of corn. However, these things are MUTE because it is not a fact that humans or any species or anything ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

3 things.

1. Just because humans and all creatures may LIKE/WANT and DESIRE to survive and flourish, it does not mean that it makes it right or good if they do survive and flourish or they ought to survive and flourish.

2. Evolution tells us what is, not what it ought to be. So by referring to evolution and the traits selected such as co-operative behaviour, empathy etc are neither right or wrong or good or evil because it is not a fact that humans or any species ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

3. Evolution/genetic code has no authority over us in terms of HOW to act. Just because evolution gave most of us empathy, does not mean we ought to "bow to it" and act in accordance to it. Evolution gave us empathy, does not mean we ought to follow it and practice being empathetic.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
Isiah 55:8

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." - Mathew 23-12

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barryjones

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #367 on: January 14, 2020, 04:30:42 pm »
Evolution is aimed at survival and reproduction.

In the absence of God, morality is merely a bi-product of the socio evolutionary process that has been selected as it is deemed beneficial for the survival of the species.

This is no different to us having hands, feet and teeth. Just a mechanism to enhance the survival of the species.

The issue is of course, in the absence of God, it is not a fact that humans or any species ought to survive and flourish.

In the absence of God, whether humans or any species survive and flourish or they suffer and become extinct is neither right or wrong, good or evil.

So things like co-operative behaviour or reciprocity which have been selected by evolution because it leads to flourishing of the human species is neither right or good because it is neither right or good that humans ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

Consider a crop of corn. For a crop of corn to survive and flourish, it must receive ample water and sunlight. Is it a fact that a crop of corn ought to survive and flourish? No. Therefore, if a crop of corn does not receive ample sunlight and water, has something wrong or evil occurred? No, because it is not a fact that the crop of corn ought to have survived and flourished in the very first place.

When people refer to evolution and look at traits selected like empathy, reciprocity, co-operative behaviour, it is like looking at things like water and sunlight for the crop of corn. No one is disputing that these things can lead to the flourishing of the humans species like water and sunlight lead to the survival and flourishing of corn. However, these things are MUTE because it is not a fact that humans or any species or anything ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

3 things.

1. Just because humans and all creatures may LIKE/WANT and DESIRE to survive and flourish, it does not mean that it makes it right or good if they do survive and flourish or they ought to survive and flourish.

2. Evolution tells us what is, not what it ought to be. So by referring to evolution and the traits selected such as co-operative behaviour, empathy etc are neither right or wrong or good or evil because it is not a fact that humans or any species ought to survive and flourish in the very first place.

3. Evolution/genetic code has no authority over us in terms of HOW to act. Just because evolution gave most of us empathy, does not mean we ought to "bow to it" and act in accordance to it. Evolution gave us empathy, does not mean we ought to follow it and practice being empathetic.

My sentiments exactly.  I would add that in my personal talks with people over the years, I find even most Christians desire for certain humans they deem 'scum' to be nuked or otherwise suffer some great calamity and disappear.  That is, the "people have inherent worth" cry from the modern democrat often doesn't truthfully represent how they feel. 

The liberal card-carrying ACLU radically high view of human worth is a blight on society.  Seattle deserves every problem they endure from the homeless druggie population.  "Safe injection sites" (!?)  LOL  What's next, safe rape sites?  Safe burglary sites?

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palewine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #368 on: January 14, 2020, 07:26:33 pm »
Barry, in your view, what should be done with the homeless in Seattle? And, if I may ask, what is your moral framework?

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Mammal

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #369 on: January 15, 2020, 01:07:44 am »
@ Rostos,

Closing your eyes and keep on repeating the same assertions over and over are not going to make them any truer. You clearly know very little about instincts and how instinctive behavior is one of the key elements in organisms' survival fitness. Saying it is descriptive and not prescriptive based on the plethora of evidence we have from observing countless kinds of animals from the moment they are born, including ourselves and our closest relatives, is simply uninformed. By studying animal- and more so chimpanzee and bonobo behavior and by comparing it to our own, also i.t.o. of how our own behavior evolved from something very primitive to what it has become today, it is very clear that much of it is indeed grounded in instincts and further shaped by the individual's interaction with its social environment.

We don't have a choice as to whether we *feel* (as opposed to think, we don't really think about these things) murder, or rape is wrong. We are either part of a small population of natural born killers, or part of the majority who rule society in various cultural environmental domains.

It is clear that we are unable to have a meaningful discussion about this though.
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Rostos

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #370 on: January 15, 2020, 01:28:33 am »
@ Rostos,

Closing your eyes and keep on repeating the same assertions over and over are not going to make them any truer. You clearly know very little about instincts and how instinctive behavior is one of the key elements in organisms' survival fitness. Saying it is descriptive and not prescriptive based on the plethora of evidence we have from observing countless kinds of animals from the moment they are born, including ourselves and our closest relatives, is simply uninformed. By studying animal- and more so chimpanzee and bonobo behavior and by comparing it to our own, also i.t.o. of how our own behavior evolved from something very primitive to what it has become today, it is very clear that much of it is indeed grounded in instincts and further shaped by the individual's interaction with its social environment.

We don't have a choice as to whether we *feel* (as opposed to think, we don't really think about these things) murder, or rape is wrong. We are either part of a small population of natural born killers, or part of the majority who rule society in various cultural environmental domains.

It is clear that we are unable to have a meaningful discussion about this though.

Appealing to instinct, empathy, reciprocation is just appealing to traits given to us by evolution, I have never at all disputed this.

As i said above, evolution is geared towards survival and reproduction.

Do you agree it is not a fact that humans and creatures OUGHT to survive and flourish or it is good or right to survive and flourish? If that is the case, then those mechanisms given to us by evolution are neither right or good.

So if you want to appeal to those things, then essentially you are not talking about morality anymore, rather you are just talking about co-operative behaviour that has been selected that enhances the survival of the species. Nothing more.

If someone goes against this, then they have done nothing evil/wrong.. They have just gone against the herd.

"Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . And any deeper meaning is illusory." - Michael Ruse

Essentially, you cannot have it both ways.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
Isiah 55:8

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." - Mathew 23-12

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Mammal

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #371 on: January 15, 2020, 01:56:58 am »
So if you want to appeal to those things, then essentially you are not talking about morality anymore, rather you are just talking about co-operative behaviour that has been selected that enhances the survival of the species. Nothing more.

If someone goes against this, then they have done nothing evil/wrong.. They have just gone against the herd.

"Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . And any deeper meaning is illusory." - Michael Ruse
Yes, precisely. And as I explained, this is exactly what we see if we look at societies across the world. Humans (and animals alike) are behaving exactly like they should if the evolutionary explanation for moral behavior is correct. Objective morality (as an imaginary set of external rules) simply is an illusion and nothing but our shared instincts about it. It is prescriptive to most of us though, it is not as if we can ignore it. And reciprocity would be among those core instincts driving our moral behavior.

Well it seems as if we are on the same page then.

PS. And as you rightly pointed out, wrongness then becomes a measurement of behavior i.t.o. social perception and the rules of society. These are based on the socially derived mutual agreement of what our instincts prescribe, i.e. we all agree that we feel this is right and that is wrong, at this point in time, within this culture. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 02:11:00 am by Mammal »
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Tom Paine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #372 on: January 15, 2020, 04:07:11 am »
Let's put that to the test, then, shall we:

If the KKK ever attained world domination and then eliminated everyone who thought racism and bigotry was evil, would that make racism/bigotry moral?

If everyone believed that racism is moral, then racism would be moral.

Which means that you are a racist bigot as only a racist bigot can ever believe that racism and bigotry are tenable. But thank you for demonstrating how Atheism mangles the moral compass of you extremists  . . .

In other words, you already know that racist bigotry is objectively immoral, thus so are its advocates.  What is your basis for saying racist bigotry is objectively immoral? 

An excellent question! To be objective, moral truths must always hold independent of anyone's individual feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.

With that in mind, consider the following:
 
(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties don't exist.
(2) If evil exists, objective moral values and duties exist.
(3) Evil exists.

(4) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
(5) Therefore, God exists.
(6) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

And what is our Creator's posture on racism and bigotry?

The Holy Scriptures clearly inform us that “God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” -Acts 10:34, 35

This is because he "made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth." -Acts 17:26

The hatred of others, accordingly, is absolutely irreconcilable with Christianity-

"If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." -1 John 4:20

"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has everlasting life remaining in him." -1 John 3:15

Cherry picking the moral values you want to be objective from the Bible doesn't make them so. I know that racism is immoral because I know that harming others w/o justification is epistemically objectively immoral by definition. I'm also pretty sure that what defines morality is the principle of reciprocity which is determined by social evolutionary imperative.

Sure you can find verses that suggest God condemns prejudice. Other verse can be found that suggest it would be moral to kill people who do not properly worship Yahweh or even one's pick up sticks on the Sabbath. Are you suggesting we can consider that to be objectively morally right? I'd say quite the opposite is the case.

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Tom Paine

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #373 on: January 15, 2020, 05:08:45 am »
What does it have to do with what i like and want?

Well I am asking whether you live according to what you argue. Do you live as if speed limits are objective or are a matter of preference?

I am essentially living in a place where i essentially have to play along with the game.

Doesn't make it right.

But your conclusion would not be sensible unless you assumed there was an objective standard of "right" which you could use evaluate the mroality of the situation you are living in.

What's funny is that the realists cannot just point to that standard the way one would point to a tree and end all debate about its existence.  They have to trifle that naturalistic theories are insufficient to account for why most people think baby rape is immoral.  That's a rather convoluted manner of reasoning.

Nothing against you personally, man, but I think you are the one who is misinformed about morality. Of course, it cannot be objective in the ontological sense, i.e., mind-independent, but I think it is very reasonable to think the fundamental moral value of reciprocity is determined not by anybody's personal opinion or social fashion but by social evolutionary imperative and that would make it epistemically objective. So, yes, baby rape is absolutely and epistemically objectively wrong, by definition and that definition is based on a principle determined by social evolutionary imperative.

I think you misunderstood my reply there.  And I've debated morality plenty of times, including having won such a debate against Matthew Flannagan.  Let's dispense with the "you are uninformed about morality" stuff,

Well, you are the one who started saying people were uninformed.

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Pointing out that morals are not objective in the sense that trees are objective was a smart move, since

a) objective morals are used by Christians to prove god's existence, and
b) they think the objectivity of morality arises from circumstances completely independent of the human mind.

They are obviously wrong.  Moral beliefs are opinions, opinions are beliefs, and beliefs are thoughts.  So unless somebody provides evidence of divine telepathy, the question of the origins of morality could not possibly be any deeper than human thought.

I agree to a point. Of course a value HAS to be something that is ontologically subjective, though there is a sense of the term "value" that can be ontologically objective, and which is pertinent to the discussion. More on that later. But there is also an epsitemic sense of the word, which rather than "mind independent " means "not based on personal opinion or social fashion." For example, even though the United States has no ontological;y objective existence (obviously the land it possesses does, but...)it is an epistemically objective fact that it exists and has 50 states, etc.

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I make room for a limited moral realism, in the uselessly technical sense that "if you wish to drive a nail into hardwood, you SHOULDN'T use a feather."
That sense is useless in debate with Christians since they claim that naturalistic theories of morality cannot adequately explain why most people think baby rape is immoral.   So the dialogue isn't just about how to get things done, its about whether naturalistic theories can sufficiently explain the fact that most people agree on certain basic moral issues.

Well, they do regardless of whether the theist is willing to accept the explanations or not.



[/quote]Sexual mores, I would agree are a somewhat different matter. [/quote]

Thank you for clarifying, I agree. [/quote]

OK

[/quote]I do believe that they are to some degree evolutionarily determined, but IMO they usually do not refer back to the basic moral principle of reciprocity, unless of course someone is harming someone else by their behavior. I guess it depends on how narrowly or broadly one defines morality, so no doubt there are subjective elements involved in anybody's moral opinions. It's just that I believe the basic moral principle is not determined by opinion or fashion, but rather evolutionary imperative.[/quote]

Except that evolutionary imperative is also why there are a lot of sociopaths.  Blind religion was the motive in coming to America and depriving the Indians of their rightful land, and the people of a few generations later find themselves living comfortably in a society where mass killing and robbery are not necessary to survive.  Shermer has done skepticism a great service, but I think his "Moral Arc" book is a joke.  [/quote]

[/quote] I'm talking about social, not biological evolution. Sociopathy exists, but society doesn't teach it's members to behave sociopathically towards each other. No society that did would survive long.

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I also take issue with  societal "truths" that we take for granted in these debates.  Sure, most people will publicly decry mass killing, but is that how they all talk in private with their most trusted friends?  I don't think so.    Again, most guys decry pedophilia, but some studies involving the use of penile plethysmography and two groups (convicted pedophiles and normal guys) showed even some non-pedophile men obtained some degree of erection to suggestive pictures and statements.  We really have to wonder how many voices in the publicly declared majority view are manifesting genuine intent, and how many are in disagreement, but prefer to "front" harmony with the group anyway merely to avoid rocking the boat.

Even so, society condemns pedophilia. How any individual feels about it is fairly irrelevant. It's about the values that it is imperative for a society to inculcate in its members. That doesn't mean it is always going to succeed in doing so. Though if it fails badly the society will not flourish or survive for long.

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Do we get nearly the same thrill hearing about tragedy on the news, that we do when watching slasher films?  Yes.  Do we hear about the death of a child on the news nearly every day?  Yes.  Do we break down and cry?  No.  Do we get over it enough so that an hour later we are laughing at the boss's unrelated jokes at work?  Yes.  I am seriously suspicious that the "majority view" on any moral issue is infected to a substantial degree with insincerity.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out that most leaders of the ACLU personally think euthanizing homeless drug abusers is the best overall solution to that crisis that is hitting the big cities.

Right, but the imperative is for the society to inculcate these values in its members. That doesn't mean that it can control every feeling that its members have. It's also much more about actions than feelings. I agree that everyone to some degree has sociopathic (not in the clinical sense) feelings at times. But society teaches us to condemn actions that are sociopathic and to not act out on sociopathic feelings we might have, which almost all of us at least most of the time. The reason we have laws is to deter those who do not value reciprocity or cannot control their sociopathic impulses.

Getting back to the ontologically objective sense of "value". Something can o.objectively be of value to the ends of process. The ends that drive the process of social evolution is group survival. If the social group survives then it can pass on its values to future generations, in a manner analogous to the way biological evolution works with individuals and genes. So, in this sense reciprocity has o.objective value.

Because it has the o.objective value to group survival, there is an evolutionary imperative for societies to inculcate this value in their members. I maintain that this is why reciprocity is valued by all successful societies. In fact, as I've pointed out it could be said that reciprocity is essential to what differentiates a society from just a group of individuals.

We humans have identified this values as the fundamental "moral" value. And it is not determined by individual opinions or social fashion, even though individual opinions and societies may differ in their views regarding exactly what it means. As such it is not at the fundamental level determined by individual opinion or social fashion and so it meets the definition of being an epistemically objective (e.obj) value.

Yes, societies may differ in their opinions about the scope of morality, i.e., whether it includes other values besides just reciprocity, how broadly it applies, i.e., to just members of some in-group or universally, etc, So, there are aspects that it is difficult to say are e.obj. However, I think it is safe to say that egregious violations of reciprocity done w/o justification, things like rape or thrill killing are e.objectively morally wrong, so there should be no surprise that almost no human on the face of the earth would ever say these are morally right behaviors.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 10:30:23 am by Tom Paine »

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Re: What Evidence Is There For Objective Moral Values?
« Reply #374 on: January 15, 2020, 05:11:46 am »
So if you want to appeal to those things, then essentially you are not talking about morality anymore, rather you are just talking about co-operative behaviour that has been selected that enhances the survival of the species. Nothing more.

If someone goes against this, then they have done nothing evil/wrong.. They have just gone against the herd.

"Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . And any deeper meaning is illusory." - Michael Ruse
Yes, precisely. And as I explained, this is exactly what we see if we look at societies across the world. Humans (and animals alike) are behaving exactly like they should if the evolutionary explanation for moral behavior is correct. Objective morality (as an imaginary set of external rules) simply is an illusion and nothing but our shared instincts about it. It is prescriptive to most of us though, it is not as if we can ignore it. And reciprocity would be among those core instincts driving our moral behavior.

Well it seems as if we are on the same page then.

PS. And as you rightly pointed out, wrongness then becomes a measurement of behavior i.t.o. social perception and the rules of society. These are based on the socially derived mutual agreement of what our instincts prescribe, i.e. we all agree that we feel this is right and that is wrong, at this point in time, within this culture.

If its not objective, them the implications are simple.

ISIS are simply going against this "herd behaviour", however you cannot label there actions as wrong or evil. Just because you and your society dont like it, that doesnt mean it is wrong or evil.

The same goes with a peodophile who rapes a child. If what you say is true, then essentially the peodophile is doing nothing wrong/evil. You may not like it, he may be going against the herd behavior, but he is not doing anything wrong.

Furthermore, if the peodophile tells you he is doing right, then you cannot tell him that he is doing wrong because as you say, there is no objective standard to measure it against, ie, you are more right than he is.

Also, even though to you and i, logically raping a child is as wrong as 1+1=3, thats how strong it is appears to be wrong, we just need to remind ourselves that we are merely sufferring an illusion.

When we tell the peodophile that he is doing something wrong, we have to remind ourselves to not say that because we are being tricked by our genes.

Is this really your view?
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
Isiah 55:8

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." - Mathew 23-12