I saw in another forum a good discussion on 10 questions that someone wanted to ask a Christian, so I came up with a few questions that I want to ask an evolutionary naturalist.
1. Since naturalism can be logically extended to say that the mind evolved by natural selection and so truth is just what works (pragmatism), how can life have any meaning or purpose? Is an evolutionary naturalist being irrational to claim that life is the result of purposeless chance and then to live like life matters?
2. How do you determine morality? How can you authoritatively claim anything is right or wrong, good or bad?
Your questions are mostly fallacious, of the nature of "begging the question", which is exemplified by the old question, "Are you still beating your wife?"
In your first question, you are assuming dualism.
In the second question, you are assuming static (absolute) morality.
If you really want answers instead of a venue to spout your own beliefs, you should ask questions rather than "beg the question".
I didn't assume dualism in the first question. I assumed naturalism, and the logical conclusion from this assumption is that life has no meaning, and to live as if it does (when you know it doesn't) is irrational.
Western thought and culture is heavily influenced by dualism and so many of us unconsciously accept naturalism and the significance of life without considering that they inherently contradict.
In the second question, I didn't assume static morality. I, personally, accept static morality, but I want to know, if naturalists don't accept static morality, then how do they determine morality?
(Since naturalism can be logically extended to say that the mind evolved by natural selection)
The "mind" as a distinct entity is part of the dualistic worldview. When you assume "the mind" is a reality that can be affected by natural selection you are commiting the fallacy of "begging the question".
(and so truth is just what works (pragmatism), how can life have any meaning or purpose?)
And here you offer "truth" as if it were based on actions when truth is nothing but a concept of philosphy, a method of distinction between propositions. You are again assuming truth to be what you believe it to be, thus your question "begs the question".
(if naturalists don't accept static morality, then how do they determine morality?)
Sorry to disappoint, but your question implies that a static morality is reality, and then you ask for a comparison to your asserted reality. It is like saying, well, if you don't beat your wife, then who do you beat?
If you are truly curious, format your questions without imposing your beliefs.
Question #1: Is there a meaning or purpose to life?
Question #2: What is morality and how is it determined?
But I strongly suspect that you are not interested in opposing views but in offering arguments against strawmen, which is why you formed your questions as the "are you still beating your wife" type.
I think we're getting somewhere with this discussion. The dualistic worldview with the following two levels is contradictory, and it's irrational to live as if both are true.
On the lower level we have naturalism, evolution, fact, science, etc.
On the upper level we have religion, values, 'the mind', personhood, significance, beauty, love, etc.
The lower level with its acceptance of naturalism implies determinism; and this implication challenges the existence of the upper level. Our 'mind' or 'thinking' is not the result of our personhood; instead, it is just the result of natural causes (with natural selection being the chief cause), so in no way are we free to make choices.
Because our 'mind' and 'thinking' are just the result of random, natural causes, then any concepts we come up with such as significance are just illusions. No one can claim their ideas are superior to anybody else's, and we end up with post-modernism where truth is relative. Truth isn't absolute; instead, we define it as what works for me or works for the community, and if two people's truths are contradictory, it doesn't matter; because after all, the truth we sense is just an illusion.
I don't think that all naturalists are irrational in their thinking, but most are because they won't give up the upper level. A rational naturalist would not just reject the idea of God, but would also reject 'the mind', personhood, significance, beauty, and everything else in the upper level.
I'd like to hear your response to this argument, and I'd also be glad to hear your response to the two questions you wrote above.
I find the argument that there is no truth to be a little absurd. I mean to say your comment on what truth is...is it true? "The truth we sense is just an illusion." Really, so that comment isn't "true" its just an illusion? How completely irrational of you to try to change a persons mind from believing in on truth to believing in another.
Truth is a human concept and therefor it is bound to have some failing. It is the type of concept that is inherently paired with it's so called opposite "falsehood" but in actuality they are one and the same concept, since to understand one is to understand the other and any state of "truth" can be describe as a degree of "falsehood." Not true = false ...Not false = true, so on. None the less this concepts allows to navigate ourselves toward a greeter predictability in future events. Knowledge is acquired so that we might predict and shape the future. Our truth is measured by degree in which it predicts what will happen. Jesus will not drop out of the sky and remake the world; that is a absolute truth.
They assume morality based solely on the concepts which ultimately came down from a lawgiver. Moses, Hammurabi, Muhammad. There are others, but these are good examples. Morality can't be legislated, it must be instilled, and try as one might, there is no code of morality handed down outside of a religious or spiritual context, and all of our morality comes from one, or a combination of these sources.
As to question one: The only meaning or purpose to life is that meaning or purpose we attach to it on an individual basis, irregardless of our altruistic protestations.
Excuse you? Originally "morality" was perceived by a single individual, perpetuated and expanded upon over century after century, after century. It is a perceived path to peace. And, the perceived notion is greatly flawed. The question is "how" is it flawed? Do you know? If you don't know, I do have two Hubs on the topic. One addresses the absolute setting of morality, the flaw is absoluteness. Why? The second hub addresses an individual's rights versus moral settings from the first hub.
Agreed. We create our own individual purpose. Thus, giving meaning to the actions take in our lives.
The chinese would disagree, as would the indian nations (injuns to you). A society has to agree on a set of laws by which they are governed. Some say that was a Greek Idea. There is no one single law giver, but the concepts by which people live together in large groups which become laws bear similarities, simply because the concepts are the same whenever groups come together in community. There were certain individuals who could dictate their own brand of morality, but the evolving concept of the "Rights Of Man" has been changing that since the Magna Carta.
So, AKA Winston...
ARE you still beating your wife???
That's odd, how does one logically follow the other?
You are talking about two different things that are unrelated. The way in which a life form comes about has nothing to do with it's purpose in life.
Of course, even if a god created life, there is no purpose other than to live out the life for rewards in the afterlife, which is the actual main purpose for believers.
We can read all kinds of things believers say about life on earth and how much they despise it and can't wait to be seated next to their gods after they are dead.
That's the difference between biblical morality and morality, one is authoritative while the other is not. And, if the other is not, then it must come from agreement.
Here's how the logic goes: evolutionary naturalism claims that life is the result of purposeless chance. Thus, life is also purposeless. Any ideas to the contrary are just pragmatic ways to help us cope and survive. They are just feel good illusions. A evolutionary naturalist knows all this so for him to accept significance as anything real is irrational.
If God did create life, then the purpose is much more than to live for rewards in the afterlife. Animals like graceomalley's quails are to live like they are created to live. Humans are to do the same, and we are created for the purpose of living in community with God and other humans, taking care of the rest of creation, and creating culture.
Ah yes, I see where you're going wrong here, you are basing your conclusions on false claims. Evolution makes no such claims.
Your false claims were most likely driven by your religious indoctrination and convictions, you felt compelled to make things up as you went along to support your religious beliefs, perhaps?
Well, at least we got to the heart of your thread.
I'm not sure what claim you say is false. I started by stating that naturalism implies that life is the result of purposeless chance. If life isn't the result of purposeless chance, where does it come from?
YOUR claims, the ones you made in the OP. There is no one else who made them other than you.
Again, you continue to make false claims about "purposeless chance" which is something you created in your mind and has nothing to do with anything other than your religious beliefs.
The origins of life and the evolution of life are two different things of which there are mountains of evidence and explanation for you to peruse at your leisure. If you don't wish to do so, then don't bother creating threads spouting ridiculous conclusions.
I'm still waiting for scientists to create life from non-life, but so far, after 50+ years of experiments, there hasn't been any success. I liken it to someone trying to write the software behind Windows 7 using a soldering iron and a silicon plate.
But, maybe you are aware of some research that I don't know about. Can you help me answer these basic questions?
What life form has the simplest DNA? (If you consider a virus to be a life form, please help us understand how a virus will replicate itself without a host cell?)
And, how simple is that DNA?
So, what you're saying is you have an expectation for scientists to recreate something that took millions of years to create in an environment that no longer exists? Just how do you propose they accomplish that? And, even if they didn't, would you still cling to myths and superstitions for your answers?
Yes, scientists have reproduced the basic RNA components for the creation of life in a lab.
Are you referring to single stranded DNA?
I just reread your comment above. You state, 'there are mountains of evidence and explanation'. I agree that there are mountains of 'explanations', but I'm not sure about the mountains of 'evidence'.
I asked about DNA because I see the basic RNA components being like the alphabet. Does the simplest self-replicating life form require just a few components like the words 'it' and 'has' only require a few letters, or is the complexity of this life form the equivalent of everything written on Wikipedia? Or somewhere in between?
I have read reports claiming that an incomplete strand of bacterial DNA was rebuilt to original "specs" using off the shelf chemicals and then used to produce a viable bacteria organism that lived and reproduced.
I have not seen where the process has been repeated by anyone else but it does not seem beyond reason that the report is true. If so, this is a good example of successfully creating life from non-life.
(Here's how the logic goes: evolutionary naturalism claims that life is the result of purposeless chance. Thus, life is also purposeless. Any ideas to the contrary are just pragmatic ways to help us cope and survive. They are just feel good illusions. A evolutionary naturalist knows all this so for him to accept significance as anything real is irrational.)
Let me rephrase your argument:
P1: I don't like the natural sciences because they don't fit my beliefs in magic, and so it is O.K. for me to make false claims about science and also include as fact my own personal prejudices against science in order to make science appear "wrong".
Therefore, I am right.
I like the natural sciences, but evolutionary naturalism isn't science. It's philosophy. You can't use the scientific method to validate it. It's an explanation of where we come from, where we're going, and how we should be living in the mean time. That's not science. It's an entire worldview. I think I would even dare to call it a religion.
(I like the natural sciences, but evolutionary naturalism isn't science. It's philosophy. You can't use the scientific method to validate it.)
This is inaccurate, based upon a misconception that most have about science. Real science is messy and rarely resolves to yes/no answers. Science resolves to probabilities and likelihoods.
The scientific process challenged itself to find evidence that fish evolved into reptiles. They knew that if their theory was to hold, that in a certain age rock structure a fossil example of a transitional creature would have to be located. If it wasn't there, the theory was invalided. They looked. They found.
This is the best science can do - it shows evidence in support of the theory, and the theory that land animals evolved from sea creatures is well-documented. That is as much validation as you get with science.
Your ideas that science proves black/white facts is wrongheaded, not your fault but mostly the product of a lousy science education system.
If science is about probabilities and likelihoods, then what's the probability that life would occur spontaneously?
In the thread just above this one, I asked Beelzedad what the simplest self-replicating form of life is and also how complex that life form's DNA is. So how would science answer these two questions? The answer to these questions will help us figure out the probability of life starting spontaneously without supernatural help.
Do you understand how genetic works, for example when you clone a plant it new life to another plant, the plant can also be produce from the seed and bulbs ,
I prefer the story about immortal jellyfish that lived a 100 time longer than Genesis beginning of the earth.
In The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may be the only animal in the world to have truly discovered the fountain of youth. There may be no natural limit to its life span. Scientists say the hydrozoan jellyfish is the only known animal that can repeatedly turn back the hands of time and revert to its polyp state (its first stage of life).Turritopsi can regenerate its entire body over and over again, it is able to reverse its aging processes ...its 650 million years old
jcnasia, I would like to inform you that you really are gonna have your hands full for a while probably now that you've opened up the evolutionary can of worms with Beelzedad and AKA Winston. I sure hope you know what you got yourself into.
Anyway, I might direct you to another source for this discussion ("probability of life starting spontaneously") - a source which, I might humbly point out, I participated in. It's actually more about the probability of random genetic mutation leading from single-celled organisms to complex mammals, birds, etc. But it's still probably relevant, if you are actually interested and not simply pointing out what you perceive to be a weakness in the evolutionary defense without having any concern whether or not it is actually a weakness.
Just check out the discussion, anyway, and maybe you'll find it interesting at least.
Thanks for putting in this link. It looks like you all had an interesting discussion. I also read the article that was linked to at the top of the topic, and I found the following portion really interesting.
Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model , we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
Now, if I were a Darwinist a result like this would bother me. I’m sure some of my fellow Darwinists would try to dismiss it as irrelevant… but that would bother me all the more.
I've heard other arguments like this against evolution, but I've never heard of any scientists coming up with probability models that favor evolution. Do you know of any? Or is the author correct in suggesting that Darwinists consider the figuring out probability of evolution actually occurring to be irrelevant?
Scientists are human and can make mistakes. The mistake most often made in these kinds of mathematical stats is the idea that life is an accident and random chance.
In a world of cause and effect there is no random chance and no accident.. To ask how likely life is when it is obvious that we exist is really a stupid question. The probability is 100 percent..
The mistake that theists often make is in thinking that if they can somehow prove evolution and abiogenesis wrong, it would somehow prove creation. That is of course blatantly false. It would do nothing for their cause what so ever. Theists will have to prove that their god is even possible before anyone should even entertain the idea of creationism being possible.
Even then, unless you can ask this god whether it did it or not it would still be an open question without an answer.
A stupid question? Let me reword it then. What is the likelihood that life will arise spontaneously on a planet that is not earth but has the same characteristics?
Besides, AKA Winston wrote that science is all about probabilities and likelihoods, so if we can't talk about probability and naturalism together, then, according to him, we'd have to assume that naturalism isn't science.
(Here's how the logic goes: evolutionary naturalism claims that life is the result of purposeless chance. Thus, life is also purposeless.)
Let me see if it is possible for you to set aside your biases long enough to use valid reasoning. Your initial premise is flawed, and your conclusion is a non sequitor.
1) Abiogenesis is the field of science that looks at initiation of life, not evolution.
2) Evolutionary theory is not based on random chance but on natural selection, which is radically different from simple chance - it is chance compounded by reproductive memory.
3) All science is based on the scientific process, which is based on naturalism as it is impossible to study the non-natural, or super-natural. Evolutionary theory would not be science if it were not based on naturalism.
4) Purpose does not mean only what you accept as purpose. It is valid to say that life's purpose is to survive, i.e., to procreate and nothing more. It does not follow that you can claim this valid purpose to be non-purposeful simply because you don't like the idea.
Now, on the basis of this new information, would you care to restate your argument or is your purpose only to joust with strawman windmills?
1) I don't know all the philosophical terms, but the initiation of life seems to be a problem for naturalism.
2) Where did reproductive memory come from? From chance?
3) When did we vote that naturalism is the basis of science? But it does make it an easy argument to win for you. Let's assume naturalism, and then, what do we end up with?---Naturalism
4) I think you might be right here, but I bet the number of evolutionary naturalists who live for the purpose of procreating and nothing more is pretty small. If they are living for anything more than that, it's irrational.
The initiation of life is problematic for anyone, natualist or theist. But there is only this difference between the two: the naturalist extrapolates from what is known to be real, things like how RNA can lead to DNA and how chemical reactions occur, and he then imagines a possible scenario utilizing these known methods that may have inititated life; on the other hand, the theist simply says life began by magic.
It is hard work of science versus the ease of childhood fantasies. Neither side can prove its case, but one side is based on induction over superstition.
That's right, but the assumptions that science is predicated on (like whether or not there is a Creator of the universe) are not empirically falsifiable, they're metaphysical.
However, you're conflating "science" with "naturalism." Science has been employed for centuries without the assumption of naturalism, which is the belief that the supernatural does not exist.
Science does not have anything to say about the supernatural because it can not be tested by definition. Naturalism just goes that one step farther and says there is no need for the supernatural. That is to say you have to exhaustion all the natural explanations before you fling your hands in the air, give up, and proclaim it must be supernatural. So far natural answers are sufficient. and do not point to the supernatural.
In other words, so far there is no god required. If there ever is we'll let y'all know.
Good, at least you recognize the difference between naturalism and science. So, is it your position that any nontestable, nonfalsifiable hypothesis is outside the realm of science?
You are only partially right about the metaphysical. Yes, it's true that we can't "put God under a microscope." But, we can recognize the characteristics of design and ask ourselves whether or not those "features of design" are present in our observations of the DNA molecule. That is a testable, falsifiable hypothesis.
Second, there is no coherent naturalistic explanation for the beginning of the universe, its fine tuning, and the mechanistic-like complexity of DNA. Therefore, we are within our epistemic rights to posit what we believe to be the best explanation for those conditions we observe, even if that explanation is a supernatural one. We must do what is best, not cling to a naturalistic bias that is unwarranted, especially when that bias yields incoherent results.
Positing God does not undermine scientific investigation. To say that "God did it" does not tell us how He did it. It’s in the spirit of discovering how "God did it" that western science began. As Kepler said, he sought to "think the thoughts of God after Him."
So, the "God Hypothesis" is an explanation for why the universe exists, for the fine tuning at the macro-level, the biological complexity at the micro level, and how it is that we apprehend moral actions as being "right" and "wrong" and not merely as "choices."
You mistake design for process. That's confirmation bias. You may not understand chaos theory so I forgive you. Until you have evidence of a supernatural or prove your hypothesis that there is design in DNA you are speculating.
That's fine as long as you don't try to sell your speculation as fact.
All we can say with certainty right now is that process is capable of producing all of this due to basic laws including those of conservation.
That means so far no god is required. If you find reason for one let us know. The evidence the design people have is thus far is none what ever. They simply lack understanding of physical processes.
I believe in the "KISS" proposition i.e. "Keep It Simple Stupid."
So lets do that and not get to philosophically complex.
There is only 1 purpose for life on this planet ( I can't speak for life on other planets.)
That purpose is to survive as a species.
To think man is here to serve a purpose other than that is pure human arrogance based upon abject ignorance.
What man wants to make of his life while he's here, is up to him.
Because man is a "social" animal, morality is and has always been, determined by a desire to survive.
It is determined by the group,society or culture for its benefit.
That was so easy to answer...:
Untrue. Truth is Truth, recognized when seen.
By you making a decision to give your life purpose, which would give your life meaning. If you are trying to answer "why YOU were born"? Then, I would suggest you ask your parents. The answer is not going to always be the same for everyone.
Purposeless chance? Only ignorance would think it was purposeless.
Try learning more and understanding what is a conscience.
Easily, knowledge and wisdom, brings truth about both aspects(good and/or bad / right and/or wrong).
1) A good question. Since learning about the evolutionary theory at school, I found the pragmatic theory of human forms evolving to what we are now and the idea of the 'purpose' of life does come to mind: If we evolve by chance, where does the idea of a Greater Being, fit into this concept?
With this in mind, I'd say, the theory of evolution doesn't fit into my concept of mankind as I believe there is a purpose to our living.
2) Morality is defined as what is right or wrong and we can generally agree that killing someone is morally wrong as it is taking a life and if we can't agree that is wrong, then our definition of morality needs fine tuning. Whether we believe in a religion or not, morality is the same for any society. We all agree that lying is bad as it affects those around us in a negative way, whereas telling the truth is good for us to develop into good human beings who know the value of what is acceptable in a society.
Your "ideas of purpose" have no bearing on reality. Nature is binary, real or not-real, and nature doesn't give a damn about what we think, feel, hope, or believe.
Morality is nothing more than questions about contentment versus suffering, which is why we humans have no moral obligations to rocks - our moral obligation is to the people the bible says we should hurl those rocks at if they tell us to worship the wrong god.
As for your claim of universal morality, here is your thought experiment.
A young child carries a virus (like Typhoid Mary)) that will kill one million other innocent children if she lives, but all one million will live if the young child dies.
What is the universal moral agreement on whether society should or should not take this child's life? Would your decision be the same decison that would be made by China or North Korea?
Whose contentment versus suffering wins - one child or one million children?
Hi AKA Winston
Yes that is why I mentioned the idea of 'purpose' in life if the evolutionary theory is all that there is about this life - for then your idea that nature doesn't care about what we think, feel, hope or believe, is what 'reality' is. Hence it is difficult to say religion has any bearing on all this.
Morality, put in the way you've described, is also very difficult to define and again when seen in the context of contentment over suffering, the million children are taken into account over the one.
Clearly nature does not care about anything - this is reality. Where the original argument fails is that it tries to argue about things outside of nature, outside of ourselves, with natural rules or laws. Any 'higher' purpose to life is metaphysical and any claim for spirituality falls in this category, nobody can argue for or against as there are no rules.
Spirituality has intrinsic value - the damage is done by devaluing the idea of there being 'more to live for than daily bread'. Religion tries to define (or tell us) what is and is not spiritual which also devalues spirituality, when there is no answer for what is unknown,including such issues as how we feel about the future of (say) our great great grandkids who we wil never know, or relating the concept of 'good' to the value of others outside of ourselves - all issues that spring from the only two known facts,
1, that we are aware of ourselves
2, the unknown is by definition unknown.
Yep, I agree that we cannot pinpoint any rules to a 'higher' purpose as there are no evidential proofs.
1. Yes too to awareness of the self and in that sense for me, my awareness leads me to beliefs I personally find fulfilling in my life
2. Yep to the unknown being by definition unknown no matter how we clothe it with concepts which cannot be pragmatically proven
Just a thought on your thought experiment. If that child was the child of North Korea's dictator, I bet the child would live and 1,000,000 others would die. Without some absolute morality that exists outside ourselves, might makes right.
Might takes right anyway wherever it can get a hold. North Korea is run by a lunatic.
Morality is simple for the average human to work out, they just don't always do what's right.
Morality is the best survival mechanism we have at our disposal. It doesn't take long to work out how give and take works providing one is not indoctrinated in to a closed system of belief such as religion.
Just a thought on your thought of the thought experiment - If it was a baby Bush you don't think the same would apply ? You are kinda proving your point though to be fair, your dic Bush was definately bigger than their Kim dic.
(Without some absolute morality that exists outside ourselves, might makes right.)
If you do not realize that "might makes right" is the moral reality of this world, then you are living a fantasy.
A "thought experiment"? You can't possibly be serious.
Utilitarianism has been abandoned as an ethic except by a few college sophomores that are repeating Philosophy 101. If you adopt this principle, you can justify any atrocity: genocide ("If we just kill this race so that all the other races will survive"), torture ("If we torture these people, all these other people will survive").
But if atheism is true, then whether it's a million or a billion people, it doesn't matter. We're all going to die anyway and our lives will matter for nothing, count for nothing. Our universe is going to eventually die with us. If you had the courage to be a real non theist, you'd sacrifice the million to save your daughter.
Finally, why don't you try an example that has some real world possibility of occurring. Killing a child to save a million people--give us a break!
Says the man who believes in talking snakes. Still - good job on not answering the preposterous question.
Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god. How funny that you think that means our lives do not matter so we would all be killers.
Why is it there are more religious murderers in that case? Hmmmm. Makes you wonder if theism could possibly offer anything when people such as yourself go against the instructions in teh bible all the time.
Is this what your higher morals do for you? Make you want to fight and attack other people for not believing the nonsense you pretend to believe?
And why should I answer a preposterous question?
Your definition of atheism is self-serving; it's not the standard definition. I can come up with my own self-definition of theism: "A theist is a person who is intellectually superior to those whose cognitive faculties are not sufficiently developed to process theistic concepts." So if you're going to use such a self-serving definition, this is the one I'm going to use for theism.
As for thinking that atheism leads to murder, I give you Comrade Winston who just posited his tribal utility ethic (an oxymoron, I know) of murdering a child to save a million people. He's, at least, a more consistent atheist--he's willing to espouse murder for a "greater good." Sounds like it's not just the theists who are connecting the dots between atheism and genocide.
"Why are there more religious murderers"? Perhaps the same reason that there are more religious people that are biochemists, housewives, tight-rope walkers, prisoners, nurses, and CEOs. I'm not even going to answer this one. Why should I spell everything out for you?
As for atheists, I'm not sure that they're characteristically anything except hubless, that is, if you and Beelzebub are our models...
Still avoiding the question, Mr Self Righteous. How funny that you think writing nonsensical drivel in a hub makes your input worth more than mine.
A-theism is a lack of belief in a god. The End.
And why are you lying about what Winston said? He never espoused murder. He asked you a question which you cannot answer.
I thought you held your self to a higher moral standard? How does lying fit into that exactly?
"Mr. Self Righteous"?! Is that kind of like "Mr. Sassy Pants"?
Merriam-Webster Online defines "atheism" as a) "a disbelief in the existence of deity" b) "the doctrine that there is no deity." The Dictionary.
So you're wrong. Your definition that atheism is merely "lack of God belief" is arbitrary which is an equal indictment of non-theistic ethics.
But, I don't know why you cling to that definition. A belief in God is also absent in cats, E coli strains and rocks--fitting company for nontheists.
Winston was espousing murder and Cagsil seconded it about the time you misspoke. They just confirm the claim that atheistic ethics are dangerous. His question was moronic; of course I didn't answer it. I judged it. As for answering moronic questions, I think you're better qualified.
And of course, he didn't call it murder; I did. But I can do that because I have a set of objective moral standards by which I judge human behavior. As for you calling me a "liar," your words fall stillborn because they're applied arbitrarily. On an evolutionary ethic, I'm not "lying." Rather, I'm "exercising my survival instincts." Given our evolutionary predilection to climb to the top of the ant heap, I expected applause, not moralizing from amoralists.
Fitting for the educated who are interested in understanding, which is what the brain is used for, evidently.
You are a liar. This is what Winston wrote:
He asked a question, he did not espouse murder. Do you even know what the word means? I guess not as you prefer to use that ridiculous abomination of a doctored dictionary.
Still - the question stands. How does lying fit into your so-called higher morals? You are certainly convincing me you have no such thing.
I answered the thought experiment. Now who is going to answer my thought experiment? (down below if you're in 'threaded' view)
And you’re a phony, as phony as that photo in your profile. Your profile is a pretense and so is your chest-beating, your rantings, and the small, silly games you entertain yourself with. You actually think you fool people with your multiple profiles! The jokes on you. Put your real photo in the window so that we can observe the poster child of Devolution, the enemy of truth, with all its pain and ugliness.
You're still mistaken. If you were to read all of the posts on this thread (instead of a convenient one) you would know that he was advocating utilitarianism, which justifies any immorality, including murder. "One murder for a thousand good deeds" so says the unreflective utilitarian in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Winston's “thought experiment” was a part of that justification. It doesn't matter whether he put it in the form of a question or not. It's an avocation of murder. Trying to cover for your mistake only makes my point that atheists will say anything to maintain power (since they lack a moral framework) and are therefore, dangerous to society.
Perhaps your confusion is rooted in your inability to distinguish between description and prescription. You want to say "this is what Winston said." I don't disagree with this description. But what I'm offering is a prescription, a moral indictment on what he said. You need to keep these distinct. We don't need a history lesson from you on what he said; we can read that for ourselves.
Second, you have no basis for calling me a liar. "Atheist ethics" is an oxymoron, with less "oxy" and more "moron." It's only your interpretation of the events; it's just your opinion that I misrepresented him. Stop using my ethical framework to moralize about things you don't understand.
For now on, I expect you to say something like "this hardly rises to the level of an opinion, but I think that you misrepresented Winston, although since there is no moral certainty, I can't make a definitive judgment against your actions since I don't have all the facts. In fact, I can't even be sure about whether I can be sure or not. In fact, I don't even know why I'm bothering to respond to what I thought was your mischaracterization because it's all futile anyway."
Now, you don't have to use those words exactly, but something like that. Of course, if you say things that way, you're going to sound like a flake, but at least you'll be able to maintain your fragile pretense of sanity.
No, Bibowen, this is what Winson said:
He was not espousing murder, which - if you will prefer I called you a liar using the term "misrepresented," - I can do.
You have deliberately misrepresented Winston. Yet you claim to hold your self to a higher moral standard because you hold an irrational belief.
How does deliberately misrepresenting some one fit in to the "higher moral standard" you claim to hold yourself to?
That is the problem with people such as yourself Bibowen - you actually do not have any moral or ethical standards because you have to deny reality in order to pretend to believe the nonsense you pretend to believe.
Great job on attacking me personally instead of answering the question. Now that you can see that Winston was not espousing murder, nor was he attempting to justify any immorality - such as lying - maybe you could address the question?
How funny that your Invisible Super Being is the Ultimate Utilitarian as well. How many murders does He commit to save the few?
That's odd, nowhere did I see the definition atheism having anything to do with being intellectually superior or having developed cognitive faculties.
But, if that's the one you prefer for theism, you may want to consider actually supporting it rather than just claiming it.
I find it extraordinarily funny how you guys get answers you don't like, and then beat people over the head with it.
PS, I agree.
Go write some hubs. Show us what you're made of!
Or should we guess?
I'll answer the thought experiment. I'd let the one child live, and let the chips fall where they may concerning the million.
Now, let me ask a thought experiment.
A young child carries a virus (like Typhoid Mary)) that will kill 2 other innocent children if she lives, but all 2 will live if the young child dies.
What is the universal moral agreement on whether society should or should not take this child's life?
Yes, we can agree that killing a person is wrong, but it's not the agreement that makes it wrong. What about the monster that tortures a little child to death, is this wrong because we agree it is? I agree with you that we can agree, but that agreement only confirms its morality, it does not establish it.
You are also right that morality is the same for every society, but, again, it's not the agreement that makes morality universally applicable.
Explain please what the heck the supposed purpose is if it was made by a god? this is an argument theists make all the time. What purpose can t here be to life if it was made without purpose? My question is, what purpose does a god provide?
As far as I can tell, zero. There is no added value to life or purpose in it either with or without a god. The god may have had a purpose in mind but t hat is the god's purpose, not your purpose. What ever a god's purpose is it has made it that purpose. It is not naturally have a one.
Same goes for y our life. You make your purpose and if you can't do that with or without a god I feel sorry for you.
In other words, to me, your appeal to purpose is pointless.
In fact, if a god exists and life is eternal then life is cheep. Who cares if you die or a billion are murdered? They all go to heaven if they have been good.
But if like ends and there is no waking up dead, then life is precious and of greater value. .
1) Life has no higher purpose, just do with it the best you can.
2) Morality is something that you must decide for yourself in any case. Do you really need someone to tell you that stealing is wrong, that killing is bad?
Wrong. Life can have a higher purpose. The purpose would be anything other than self.
To be honest, it is something that has to be taught to underlings. It can even be reasoned that if not taught by parents, then it would be instilled through trial and error of one's own mistakes, because of higher authority will hold them accountable for anything they do to society.
Those are religious questions you're asking, not questions about the science of evolution.
The "Common Myths" section of atheism.about.com has the answers; in fact the answers have been worked out 150 years ago. Get with the times.
PURPOSE: http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyth … eaning.htm
Beware, by the way, of some theistic representative trying to imbue you with a sense of "purpose". He's trying to manipulate you for HIS purposes. Define your own purposes, that's what an adult does.
MYSTICISM-FREE MORALITY: (Paul Kurtz called it "eupraxophy") http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyth … Morals.htm
As for the first part of your question, it can't. This is something that a few atheistic thinkers, like Nietzsche, have tried: to embrace the futility of life and remain rational. But they could not be the kind of people we'd like to become. That filthy Nazi, Sartre, had no better luck.
As for the second part, the answer is "yes." It's irrational for non theists to live as if morals bind them. Their trite tautology of being "good for goodness sake" won't even rise to the level of stupidity. They should have left that phrase in the Christmas song.
As for the challenges to your first point:
@AKA Winston—You're mistaken: this is not an example of “begging the question.” In fact, it’s unclear what point you're trying to make here or that you understand what it means to “beg the question.”
@Quark—So, the only purpose of our existence “is to survive as a species”? Sounds like you watch too much Star Trek. On what basis do you call this instinct “purpose” which denotes an intention that is conceived in a mind? I suppose that those parents that sacrifice for their children by donating a kidney to them if they need it are evolutionary misfits.
@Psycheskinner—You say that the living assign purpose. I suppose you’re right; we can assign ourselves our own purpose. Quark’s purpose might be to enslave you. Is that OK or do you have an objection to that? And if you do, what objection could you raise against it, since you have now grounded meaning and purpose in our will? You can’t take “purpose” back now since you have assigned it to the living which includes men like Donald Trump.How would you like to live your life fulfilling the will of the Donald?
@Cagsil—Regarding “Truth is Truth, recognized when seen” When you are not immersed in tautologies, you should reflect on Churchill’s apt observation that “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
@getitrite—Often discoveries will raise more questions and an increase in knowledge also increases the range of our questions. Who do you think had more pertinent astronomical questions? Ptolemy or Thombaugh? A good theory should answer more questions that its competitor, but a good theory may also increase the number of questions.
People do not stumble over truth. That's just ignorance and distortion, so as to confuse the masses. But, nice try.
I'm sorry, but assuming in the premise your conclusion and then converting that to a question is the interrogatory form of begging the question. One must conclude a specific object called "mind" exists in order to ask the question : how is the mind affected by evolution?
It is like asking did the beatings you gave your wife leave any makrks? The question presumes the beatings occured.
You’re making a cheap diversion to the argument. Begging the question isn’t always inappropriate. Any argument requires some assumptions and it’s only in that sense that it’s “begging the question.” He does assume that minds exist, which 1) wasn’t what he was trying to prove and 2) isn’t controversial; most people believe this (and they’re not “dualists”). If you want to make an argument that minds are a myth, then make it.
Second, as evidence that “mind” is not at issue, it would not hurt jcasia’s argument much to replace “brain” for “mind.” Of course, he’d have to assume that brains exist to make the argument….
But, third, to make your logical argument (at least from your point of view; it really isn’t), you had to assume the existence of logic as some rule that we’re under obligation to submit. You also are, by your definition "begging the question", violating the same rule that you demand of others.
Finally, as for your point about the “beating your wife” question, the pertinent point here is not that it’s a “trick question”; it isn’t a trick question if the man is beating his wife! It’s a question that pertains to the truthfulness of the situation. The fact is that, if naturalism is true, then life is futile and I think that’s the point that jcasia is trying to make.
The only goal of all life (on this planet) is to survive as a species.
There is NO purpose, at all, in "being" a human animal.
Yes again. Serendipity is our creator. There was no "grand plan."
"Purpose" is what an the individual decides to make of his own personal life.
The evolved anomaly: consciousness, has created, within us, an arrogant "need" to be something "special" amongst all life.
WE are only special in our own fear filled minds!
WE are just an "unusual happening" that may or may not become extinct like trillions of other forms of life have, because of an inability to conform to Mother Natures prime fiat: "Adapt or die."
I've said this before but it deserves a repeat: When we are gone, the universe will not "twitch!"
"No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should" Desiderta
Regarding the reaction to jcasia's second point
@Quark—“Because man is a ‘social’ animal, morality is and has always been, determined by a desire to survive.” If anything should be obvious by observation is that we don’t determine morality. The rules are already in place. No one ever sat down in a committee and decided that being a Good Samaritan is right and being a rapist is wrong. If Quark’s claim is true, then everyone that acted to save another’s life at the expense of his own was acting immorally. To put it another way, the firefighter that risks his life to save a child from a burning building (at risk to himself) is as immoral as the guy that sets a living child on fire.
But we all know this is wrong, and it’s not because of “consensus.” We all recognize that basic difference between these two acts and also recognize that one is moral while one is not.
@psycheskinner—“Because hurting people is bad, we don't need a god to tell us that to know that it is true.” But you do need a God to call it “bad.” Furthermore, I can think of all kinds of reasons in which we might “hurt” someone. We do radical surgery at times to save people’s life. You need some existing set of standards to make distinctions on when we can rightly hurt others and when we cannot. And you can’t get those differences from an agreement. And yet, you know the distinctions; we all do.
Using Quark’s reasoning, why shouldn’t I hurt others if it will help me survive or improve my quality of life?
You do hurt others while defending your ridiculous beliefs and I am pretty certain you would kill in order to survive if you were threatened.
And - using your reasoning - Christians aught to be the most loving group of people on the planet. 2,000 years of Christianity has shown us this is simply not the case.
So - which is it? Are you just wrong in your assertions or do you just not actually believe the nonsense you spout?
How can you have been here for 20 months, have 21 follower, but no hubs? You offer nothing and yet you have a following...And whoever said that Darwinian fundamentalists don't believe in creation ex nihilo?
I'd be interested to hear your response to the two questions I posed. Why don't you take a crack at them?
1. The meaning and purpose of life is to be alive. It just is - there is nothing irrational about facts.
2. By social consensus. It used to be "moral" to burn witches in public. Right, wrong, good and bad are subjective concepts.
Are you saying then that burning witches was neither good nor evil?
It just was.
It was OK for them at the time, and therefore who are we to judge them for it?
If it's a subjective concept, and for them it was GOOD, therefore it should not be classed as evil by us, today! Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that for a while.
I think it was evil. The people doing it thought it was good.
See how that works? Go look up "subjective" in a dictionary.
So, what does that say about us today?
Rapists recon rape is good.
Thieves recon theft is good.
Liars believe lies are good.
Child molesters "love" children. They think it's great.
Are we wrong to say these are BAD?
How can you subjective about that?
You didn't bother to go look up 'subjective' then ? or try in any way to get your head around the concept of 'subjective' ?
Nah. Too late to do that. I'm too tired!
i'm trying beelzedad's trick.
I think I know it all.
Didn't bother looking up "subjective " then?
"The meaning and purpose of life is to be alive." I guess we could say that the meaning (or definition) of life is being alive, but is the purpose of life really just to live?
But anyways, this answer doesn't get to the heart of my question. To an evolutionary naturalist, why is life significant? Why do you live as if life matters?
So you consider morality to be subjective and determined by social consensus, but there doesn't seem to be any 100% social consensus. So practically, how do we form this social consensus? Do we hold elections? Is it determined by who airs the most commercials? Do we set a global standard at the UN? Or is it determined in each family? Or if we disagree with someone, do we beat them up until they agree with us? Or do you have another method to determine social consensus?
Life is not significant to anything other than itself.
Because I like being alive, and am driven by evolutionary imperatives to keep it that way and make more life.
This is why there are lots of different morals standards, and they keep changing.
Morality grows organically. it is also a concept.
We hold elections and competitions to force our personal version of morality into society all the time.
Partly - money and influence talk.
I hope not.
Why do you assume that life does have meaning or purpose? It only has the purpose that you give it. This will be the same for the religious believer or the atheist. The difference is that for the religious, their life's purpose is in preparation for another life to come, after they have left their mortal remains behind. For the atheists, they recognise that whatever purpose they ascribe for themselves will come to an end when their bodies no longer function.
As to morality, who has the right to claim that only morality based upon religious dogma is valid? For me, as a humanist atheist, I believe morality should be based upon not doing anything that will inflict hurt or suffering on any living creature, and to try my best not to offend others, although as a human this is almost impossible to live up to, for both the atheist and the believer.
Excellent response Muldanian (if you consider "atheists" to exist!! I don't.)
It's not a rational assumption we make. Rather, it's a universal sentiment, past and present, that we take our actions (and the actions of others) to be meaningful. We imbue our actions with purpose and meaning with little or no reflection on our actions. A person who truly behaves as if life does not matter will get locked up eventually. They can't function in society without that element as a part of their character.
If you're honest with yourself, you didn't rationally arrive at the conclusion that life was purposeless and that you would start acting as if life is meaningful; rather, you intuitively behave as if your life matters. Your actions betray your beliefs; as an illustration, you would not have written what you wrote with the care and attention that you did if you didn't believe that.
But my observation is that most atheists are not willing to push the implications of the claim that life is purposeless and meaningless. Some atheists like Nietzsche and Marx did. But the problem is that such people are not the kind of people that we want to emulate.
I'm not convinced that most atheists are really serious about their claim that they have the courage to embrace the futility of life. I just don't see it.
Atheists go about their lives with a sense of purpose based upon the same instinct for self-preservation that any religious believer has. Simply because I do not recognise a divine plan at work in the universe, does not indicate that I have no care for my survival. I have the same fears for my existence as does any human. In fact, because I do not believe that I shall continue after bodily death, I perhaps have a more urgent sense of self-preservation than someone who believes that they have Saint Peter waiting at heaven's gates for them.
The human ego constructs reasons, without which our lives make little sense. My purpose centres on my family, my abilities, my home, my sense of self. However, whilst these things seem innately important, I am under no illusion, that there is any grand scheme at work in the universe, of which I am a part. I truly believe that because the universe is not the creation of a divine being, but rather the product of billions of years of natural cosmic and biological evolution, that I as an individual am totally irrelevant. When I die, the universe shall not be aware of it. It shall be as if I never was, and soon even those for whom I am only a memory shall themselves be forgotten.
No atheist would claim to embrace the implications of a universe without meaning. It is something that is recognised, based upon the best available evidence. Embracing futility is as likely as the embracing of death. Only the suicidal or self-destructive could do this. Rather than being an embracing of futility, it is a despairing of it.
Yes, I give my answers to such questions consideration, and yes my beliefs are as much a part of my ego's construction as are those of the religious believer. However, I admit to the fact that no matter what I believe to be true, and no matter what foundations I base my individual life upon, that ultimately, it is meaningless. I sit here trying to describe my view of the world, but the brain which is instructing my fingers to express its constucts will one day cease to exist, as will your brain, and all those who are reading this. The electo-chemicals which dictate my personality can have no logical way of functioning without the organ of the brain, no matter how desperately I would wish this to be the case.
So, yes, you are quite right in suggesting that no atheist acts as though their lives are meaningless. If I were to see a car rushing towards me, I would not think "Oh well, life is meaningless, I may as well let it hit me." My instinct would ensure that I would do everything in my power to preserve my physical existence. This is only natural, and is based upon the common survival instinct of every species. Instinctively acting as though life has meaning is not the same as believing that there is a greater purpose other than the one we attribute to our own very short lives.
You indict those that say that religious dogma must be the ground of morality with a “who do you think you are”? But who do you think you are to say that morality should be “based upon” not inflicting harm on others and to do your best not to offend others? What you have provided is not the justification for morality, but rather examples of what moral actions might look like.
I don’t think that anything you have said here confronts the age-old problem that has plagued man without God since he was cast from the Garden, and that is, how do you keep morals objective and binding without God? A rule needs a rule maker. Evolution offers no rules, only limits. So, evolution may dictate that I must have oxygen to survive, but evolution provides no rule for why I should not deprive another man of his oxygen. If I have the power and can get away with it, then what principle compels me to relent?
But to answer your question, “Who has a right to say”? The answer is “God.” As God, He has a right to say and as His agents, endowed with an intuitive knowledge of His standards of right and wrong, we also have a right to say. The fact that atheists find the evidence for His existence unconvincing is irrelevant. The fact of His existence is relevant. As Creator and possessor of the universe, it’s His right to say. God is the best answer for why there are morals, why we find them binding as “rules,” and why we’re under obligation to follow them.
What purpose would there be we were created by a god? There is zero added value to life one way or the other. We make our own purpose. Any purpose a god may have for you is not your purpose. It would be your decreed purpose.
The universe is not an accident because in a universe run by cause and effect there can be no accidents. The universe is order and if it wasn't we wouldn't be here talking about it. But that does not imply nor give evidence of an outside force.
If you can not find your purpose without a god to give you one I feel sorry for you.
As for morality, it is also a natural extension of cause and effect. We care about each other because we are subjective beings who want love and want to love. We want to be included and we want to include. There is conflict in life and conflict brings order. This is one of the laws of chaos theory and a fact of life. We do not like being harmed so we create contracts with each other. Doing intentional harm is "naturally" immoral.
All humans want to treated fairly, and with dignity. We need no god to tell us that. And the best way to get that plus security and freedom, is to act morally. It's all part of the evolution of our species.
A morality decreed by a god is not a morality at all. One can not decree morality. An act either is or is not moral. No god is required to tell us which is which.
And there is something theists seem only too willing to forget or perhaps they just never thought about it. If you prove evolution wrong tomorrow, it still will not make your god any more likely to be the answer. It's not an either or proposition. There are plenty of theists who accept evolution and think to themselves, well, that's how god dun it. Why do other theists want to limit their god to six days and 6000 years even when all the evidence points to them being nut jobs?
what added purpose would there be if there were a god? Worship god to prevent eternal punishment?
Why does there need to be an externally prescribed morality? (eg the weird rules in the bible like killing a person for not resting on Sabbath or not being a virgin on wedding day).
Humans choose to live in societies & have figured out what is for the best of that society. Many choose to cling to superstitious views however
Thanks for joining the discussion. I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability while keeping my answers not too long.
what added purpose would there be if there were a god?
As humans we desire to live in a meta-narrative, something bigger than ourselves, because if the whole purpose of my life resolves around me, then nothing i do will have any significance when I'm dead. You could argue that life is significant in and of itself, and this would provide me with at most 100 years of significance, but if God exists, then how I live my life will have significance for eternity. That's how God adds purpose to life.
[/i]Worship god to prevent eternal punishment? [/i]
I don't look at my wife's diamond ring and say it's beautiful so we can sell it for more. I say it's beautiful because it is worthy of this praise. I don't look at God and say he's glorious because I want to escape eternal punishment. I worship him because he is worthy of my praise.
Why does there need to be an externally prescribed morality?
There is an externally prescribed morality, and it is evidenced by the moral arguments that people make even when they are disagreeing about a moral issue.
For example, consider the pro/against abortion debate. Some claim that abortion is murder, and we need to protect the life of the baby. The other side will claim that it is wrong to bring a baby into the world if the mother doesn't want the baby. Both are basing their arguments on the principle that life is valuable. The baby's life is valuable so we need to protect. The baby's life is valuable so we don't want the baby to suffer by being born into a family that can't take care of the baby. So we have this moral principle that life is valuable, and this principle is universally agreed upon because we are made in the image of God.
Humans choose to live in societies & have figured out what is for the best of that society.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'have figured out'. It doesn't seem like a closed case unless you've already decreed that your view of morality is the best for society.
so you're only interested in this promised eternity?
I don't praise a diamond ring, I might admire one. A diamond ring doesn't have such a big ego that needs praise & threaten people with hell that refuse to.
Prescribed 'morals' by religion tend to be black & white and often involve death (so how is that moral?).
Will a religious person try to save the life of an unborn child if the mother (and child) will likely die? eg ectopic pregnancy. Why is it assumed that non-believers all support abortion?
If humans do their 'natural' instinct of killing each other etc, humans would cease to exist. Societies figure out what laws people should abide by. Individuals in that society are capable of figuring out what is ethical and what is not without the 'help' of religion
so you're only interested in this promised eternity?
No. I'm very much interested in the present. An eternal perspective gives significance to my actions today.
I don't praise a diamond ring, I might admire one.
You missed the point. I'm not going to admire and tell others how beautiful a ring is just for a selfish reason, so I can sell it for more, and I'm not going to worship God for a selfish reason either, just so I can go to heaven. The ring is truly beautiful, and God is worthy of worship.
A diamond ring doesn't have such a big ego that needs praise & threaten people with hell that refuse to.
God wants people to desire to be in relationship with him, and if they don't want him, then he gives them what they want, and this self-centeredness becomes hell. Hell is a difficult topic to discuss because there are so many misconceptions about it, and it's for obvious reasons, a very emotional topic. If you are interested in reading a well thought out article on the topic, I recommend "The Importance of Hell" by Tim Keller.
http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events … _hell.html
Will a religious person try to save the life of an unborn child if the mother (and child) will likely die? eg ectopic pregnancy. Why is it assumed that non-believers all support abortion?
I think you missed my point here as well. I used the abortion debate solely to show that the two sides were basing their opinions in universally agreed upon moral principles.
If humans do their 'natural' instinct of killing each other etc, humans would cease to exist. Societies figure out what laws people should abide by. Individuals in that society are capable of figuring out what is ethical and what is not without the 'help' of religion
It is naturalistic philosophy that promotes a 'might makes right' and 'survival of the fittest' morality, but we recoil at this kind of morality, and when we see it, we try to change it. We stand up for the weaker, and by 'we', I don't mean just religious people, but you as well. When God made us in his image, he made us moral creatures, and that includes theists and atheists and everybody else.
Evolution does not in any way explain the human mind, niether its size, nor its capacity, and definitly not the more epheral qualities. It simply does not.
Care to prove that? It's just so easy to say things without giving evidence for them.
Thanks for joining the discussion. I agree.
The mind isn't the only thing that Naturalism fails to explain. Along with the mind, there is rational thinking, moral thinking, and creativity. Naturalism can't explain the spontaneous start of life and the start of the universe. Now, naturalists do make plenty of conjectures, but in all these areas, it is all imagination and no substance.
The burden of proof doesn't lie on you TMMason, but on the naturalists to explain why they are so confident when they lack so many answers.
I disagree. If you make a claim such as he made I would like to see some of the reasons he said that. He doesn't as yet have to prove his hypothesis, he just has to tell us what it is. Otherwise his claim is just random thoughts. What are we supposed to do with that? Teach him everything we know in case we hit on his reasoning?
Let him give us his reasoning and then we can talk.
I am not an evolutionary naturalist, I'm a Christian, but I'm going to jump in here anyway. I think that life offers many rewards of its own. For social creatures like ourselves, the satisfactions of interactions with friends and family make life well worth living. From observing animals, they seem to experience the same thing. A pair of quail live near me (I think they are the same ones) and each year they have a new little family to raise. I run into the group of them foraging all around my development, and they always look quite contented with life.
Human beings seem to be the ones who need what one might call "higher purpose." Recently I heard someone say "The one who hopes most leads." I think this is very true for humans, that belief and faith helped them through situations that looked hopeless, and so the ability to keep one's spirits up in dire situations became a functional skill, one that helped a person both survive and thrive. Also, because of their communication skills, humans who have vision and see life as meaningful because of their connection to God can spread these ideas not just but having offspring, but by talking to others.
I know people talk about the negative actions of people of faith, but religion has also resulted in altruism, and valuable institutions. I personally think spirituality is very adaptive for human beings, and improves their lives.
No, it has not. Altruism does not exist in religion. Can you find a single verse in your bible with this word or any connotation with exactly the same meaning?
"Think of others as more important than yourself" springs to mind.
Think of others as more important than yourself" springs to mind.
That works well for blind sheep; I must be a black sheep adventuring into broader horizons. Life is 50% about me and 50% about everyone else.
How is it humanly possible: not to serve yourself first in order to serve mankind better?
My comment was in response to the question of whether religion (the Bible in particular) had any altruism. I quoted "Think of others as more important than yourself" as an example of altruism.
I'm not trying to say that taken by itself it is a well rounded approach to life, but it isn't supposed to be taken alone. Doing good things for others does bring a feeling of satisfaction, and so often becomes a reward of its own. That's in the nature of life among social creatures, they feel good when helping each other.
Christianity does also talk about sacrificial care for others, and Jesus is of course the best example of sacrifice for others. Although even in His case, one could argue that He is gaining something by His death on the cross (He redeems the Church, and gets to have the church with Him for eternity) Paul describes this as Jesus enduring the pain of crucifiction "for the joy set before Him."
I guess this all brings up the question of whether altruism is possible, since doing good things, and even sacrificing for others, benefits the individual doing the sacrificing. (Even Jesus is presented as getting an eternal reward for a limited amount of suffering.) I think the division between an altruist and a nonaltruist is that the altruist has chosen to find satisfaction in life through actions which help others, and the nonaltruist finds satisfaction in life in neutral actions.
All living creatures seek feelings of satisfaction. The question might be whether an individual decides to get that satisfaction more in the service of the greater good, or more in neutral ways.
We all are generally good people and spiritual beings first. Serving oneself first is serving other better for the common good. Why not the many other good books read for everyone is god.
Since Jesus did not write and you nor I were there to hear his words firsthand 2000 years ago. Most likely, very selfish men design it for own power of control and greed over the masses and put you on hold from God. Yes I think everyone is god and Jesus was a very intelligent, just not the be all and end all as we are brainwashed to think.
But, that isn't a scriptural quote, is it? And of course, we all know that any concern for the welfare of others from the believers perspective is only shown when they believe they are doing something to get into heaven. In other words, completely selfish behavior.
I joke about heaven and hell often because I think it’s an extreme manmade concept. Nobody knows about the spirit world or after life, unless or until we get there. They are non religious groups and oddly enough some atheist does believe in an afterlife. Whether or not you want to believe it or not, there is always a possibility there is an afterlife because it has never been proven otherwise, It is not selfish behavior or wispy washy thinking if you stand from the point of not knowing,
Sure, if one completely ignores reality, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
I hate to be the one to point this out, but you do understand that the sciences you referenced are a study of the physical world. If there is a spiritual existence they wouldn't be the route to take in understanding it. And reality on earth is the physical world.
Most of these science are based on cause ad effect existing in physical reality. Sure you can assume there is a completely non-physical reality. Many people have, interestingly they were all pretty difference across history and geography.
Yes, differences of course. But the core belief that life continues on, in some form, is consistent across most of the world. I haven't studied religions, but I assume that is one of the reasons they exist. They are blind attempts to understand what form that continued existence will be.
Sure, if one completely ignores reality, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
Are you calling me these things, because if you are I can challenge you on it?
Not at all, I merely pointed out that if one believed in such things, they would have to ignore or deny those subjects as well.
I was paraphrasing Phillipians 2:3 - "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one aother as more important than yourselves."
Christians believe we get into heaven because of Jesus death on the cross, so being better people doesn't get us into heaven. In spite of that, we still try to be better people. I think it's straining a bit to think of character improvement as selfishness.
Yet, Christian behavior is being selfish when they believe they will get to heaven and non believer will not. What will Christian do with all the endless time on their hands, smile down on endless hell
There is no proof they are better people
I don't understand how that belief is selfish.
A lot of Christians as well as people outside the faith have a skewed view of eternal life. The Bible says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the New Jerusalem will come down to the new (or renewed depending on your theology) earth, and God will live among people. So what will Christians do for eternity? They will do what they were made to do in the first place. The new earth will be a lot like the current earth, except without the pride and selfishness that causes so much pain and suffering. We will paint pictures, design websites, compose music, explore the atom, visit other parts of the galaxy, and maybe even write hubs for Hubpages. In other words, there will be a lot to do, and we won't be sitting on our hands.
Some people have devoted much time to answering questions about how and why we act as we do. An excellent explanation in this link.
http://www.hedweb.com/hedethic/hedonist … ralisation
"being better people doesn't get us into heaven."
This is an interesting thing to say. Then why be a better person? What is the point? It looks like Christianity doesn't have the moral high ground over an atheistic or naturalistic worldview after all.
While i don't think being good gets an individual into heaven, I do think one is more able to experience closeness to God if they develop their character. I think of it more in terms of character development, becoming a more nuanced, more understanding human being. That would bebfit me in all ways - my relationships would be better, I would be able to make better decisions, i would be more able to enjoy life. I don't think this would be different in heaven. I will be able to enjoy my existance there more the more I refine my character.
I realize this thread is over a week old, but I want to comment on it anyways.
You are wondering why we should be better people if it doesn't get us into heaven, and I want to give you a solid answer so you can have an accurate understanding of Christianity, whether you agree with it or not.
As Graceomalley points out, we are saved by Jesus dying on the cross in our place. Then, the Christian reasons that since Jesus died for us, he must really love us, and since he loves us, then we can trust what he says, and if we trust him, then we'll do what he says. So that's why Christians desire to do good works. We don't do them to get into heaven. We desire to do good works because we believe God enough to do what he says. In other words, our faith leads to obedience.
Then I don't understand why so many Christians claim that their religion inherently has an advantage when it comes to morality.
The logic of this doesn't make any sense to me. Most people are loved by their parents; does one do whatever one's parent says? Most people, including Christians, would answer strongly in the negative, lol!
In fact, this is just one Christian perspective. Many other Christians such as Catholics believe that doing good things is important to getting into heaven.
Also, your account is objectionable. Not saying this means it is wrong, but for what it's worth, it sure does feel wrong that some mob boss who murdered 20 people gets to go to heaven simply for "accepting Christ" when another far more decent person goes to hell for not.
Seems like God in his (literally) infinite wisdom messed something up there.
Response to advantage: I don't think that Christianity has much of an advantage in its moral law. The moral principles of the Bible are accepted, for the most part, by all the other religion and even most non-religious people. Instead, Christianity's advantage is in how it deals with failure to live up to the law, whether that's the Biblical law or your own conscience.
Response to parent analogy: God is different than a parent. Even if the parent loved us perfectly, the parent is still finite in his/her understanding so the parent could give us poor advice.
Response to just one Christian perspective: I'm not a Catholic so I won't speak for what Catholicism teaches or doesn't teach. I do know what the Bible teaches, and it is clear from the Bible that a person is saved through faith, but faith that doesn't lead to works is a useless faith, unable to save.
Response to account is objectionable: I'm not sure what you're talking about. Are you referring to someone else's comments?
If faith in Christ is defined as automatically leading to good actions, then the mob boss situation doesn't apply (faith without good works). However, I do know that many other Christians, just as legitimized by the Bible, would say that the only thing that matters is faith. Many others would say it's both. It's all very confused.
If I listened to every Christian, I'd be confused as well.
If you're interested in reading a well-thought out book on Christianity, I'd be glad to suggest a few authors.
Besides, it's not that significant if we can counter all the opposing arguments on this forum. For example, it doesn't matter whether I can come up with opposing arguments to you, Evolution Guy, or the others if can't find counter arguments to the best thinkers in favor of naturalism.
I have read a lot about Christianity and other religions, from a variety of thinkers. Christianity, like most religions, is in the eye of the beholder because one can use the Bible and Christian tradition to justify all sorts of beliefs. This is because there is no reliable central standard of knowledge, as there is with a scientific naturalist approach or something like it; but that is another discussion entirely!
While it would appear you yourself seem to follow with this doctrine, you're very much in a minority. However, it is very nice to see.
Thanks for your comment graceomalley. I agree with you that life offers many rewards of its own. When we do what we are created to do (whether we acknowledge this creation or not), it's satisfying. And this holds true for the quail as well.
Magic tricks are for kids Boy; these questions are not nearly as hard as earnest questions.
1.Why such a blind eye to all of nature and its history on earth in which the BE All and End All Book of Universal Truth AND Knowledge can’t explain. IF your soul has only one way to God, that will lack the wisdom for most who are not aware of Christ on earth, causing blindness for most for an afterlife what kind of purpose dose that serve.
If you think the bible is 100% science proof and totally correct for you, good luck with that. Everything has a reason that absence of reason result in evil in which the Bible has much to account for and never ending explaining to do. I love my job all my life, wail about 80% people can’t even like their job, master that. and you will master life.
2. People know what is right or wrong according to my record religion is lacking.For me, I can’t live a lie nor by Christian morals rather than better ethic served by all of mankind. My soul has millions of parts, why give up my soul purpose over a mess up ancient spiritually history with the worst suffering record ever. More people today I meet say they are spiritual rather than religious. Is that not purpose enough for living for today or your afterlife?...
(I am not an evolutionary naturalist, I'm a Christian)
You are aware that these terms are not mutually exclusive?
Well, sure. The question is aimed at evolutionary naturalists, and the way it was phrased, it seemed to be excluding people of faith, so I wanted to make my identity clear.
Naturalism and Christianity are mutually exclusive because naturalism implies that everything has a natural cause and doesn't leave any room for the supernatural. To accept both as true would be irrational.
Theistic evolution (God directed evolution) and Christianity, on the other hand, aren't mutually exclusive.
1. Life has the purpose given to it by the living, not by an outside entity
2. Because hurting people is bad, we don't need a god to tell us that to know that it is true.
"Because hurting people is bad"
But hurting people is not bad, they are doing it every minute. It is the duty of the good people to hurt the bad people.
It is the duty of people to stop those who try to hurt people.
Hurting people, or deciding who is good or bad is just a distraction from that duty--which springs from the general right to not be harmed by others.
Hurting people, The word bad, is not the best name for it yet the rule and consensus is not to harm
I would generally agree with psycheskinner it is the duty of people to stop those who try to hurt people.
Yet, I do not think Religion is a good example
(It is the duty of the good people to hurt the bad people.)
More to the point, it is the duty of the sane to prevent the delusional from harming others, especially to stop those who think they are qualified to distinguish good from bad and inflict punishment.
"It is the duty of people to stop those who try to hurt people." Well there is something new about the 'New World Order'.
It is now called 'humanitarian intervention' or the right to invade and bomb off the map any country who it is claimed may commit genocide on its people.
What on earth are you talking about? Because people can suffer, hurting them is bad. Even chickens understand that and get distressed when they see another chicken being hurt. I may be an optimist, but I think people are at least as compassionate as chickens.
"I would generally agree with psycheskinner it is the duty of people to stop those who try to hurt people." Well who can disagree with that. But it is those good people that commit 90% of the evil.
Well, 80% of the world is Religious and many claiming to be very good people can do many very bad things
Most people I think are generally good, yet most people are brainwashed to do very stupid things.
Actually, that's impossible. Good people do not commit evil acts. To suggest those who do commit evil acts are good is absurd.
(To suggest those who do commit evil acts are good is absurd.)
Actually, what is absurd is to posit that humans can be categorized as totally evil or totally good, which would be necessary if only evil people commited evil acts, that is to say, if good people could not commit evil acts then evil acts could only be performed by the non-good.
Perhaps you meant good people can become non-good people temporarily in order for their acts to be evil, or is it the act itself that is evil and not the person who commits the act?
Were the people who led the Inquisition evil Christians or were they ignorant, misguided humans who acted cruelly thinking they were doing right?
Did thinking themselves justified justify their evil actions or did their actions cause them to be evil Christians?
There is a much simpler guide to morality than good/evil, and it might be labeled happiness/suffering, and it is manmade and relates only to how actions affect our fellow man.
I'm implying people claiming to be very good people, are more likely not to be, because balance is somewhere in the middle.
Much like people who are claiming to be very intelligent or very spiritual, how much do you think they are hiding?
I can claim to be a very good artist, mainly because of my top road record.
Castle, my post wasn't directed at you nor was it for you to answer. I understand your point of view. We've had this discussion on occasions. I was addressing Knolyourself and what was said. Pointing out that it is absurd thinking.
A person's actions speaks volumes about their honesty and dishonesty.
I don't care "how" they are hiding. That is something I already know. It is "what" they are trying to hide, and that is that they are simply not responsible to themselves, yet have the ego-sized nerve to tell other people what's right or wrong.
Good for you. I am happy for you.
(A person's actions speaks volumes about their honesty and dishonesty)
Would you say that a person responsible for 10 children who sincerely and completely believed that their death would be a better outcome for them than to be handed over to a secular police and state and thus proceded to burn them and himself to death was acting honestly or dishonstly?
Regardless of honesty or dishonesty, were his actions morally justified?
I guess I'll answer this question first. He was apparently not acting responsible, either with himself and/or the children. Therefore, he was acting dishonestly.
(He was apparently not acting responsible, either with himself and/or the children. Therefore, he was acting dishonestly.)
Without putting words into your mouth, I can conclude that your position is that your ideas about responsibility determine the question of honesty/dishonesty for someone else's actions, and thus honesty/dishonesty are simply your opinons and the actor's opinons are invalid?
I want to make sure you understood the question: the other party's beliefs were 100% sincere, and you have no way of knowing whether or not he and the children are better off dead than alive.
Without this knowledge, how then do you come to the conclusion that he was dishonest other than expressing your personal distaste for his actions?
I agree his actions were immoral; I cannot fathom how you could presume those actions dishonest.
The above is your other post. You said that the person was responsible for 10 children. It was this individual who believed, the children would be a better outcome for them to die than to be handed over to secular police.
Killing children you are responsible for isn't an honest or moral action. Responsibility is the key word. One who is honest with themselves will be responsible about maintaining that honesty. To commit an immoral act goes directly against that responsibility. Thus, is in fact dishonest.
There is no value in death. One value in living. So, yes I would know.
Well, I am not sure my answer will clear up any confusion.
Without trying to be a smart aleck about it, your answer did clear up the fact that you (as do most of us more than likely) presume your values are more consistent with honesty and morality that another's.
But to me your answer looks like an example of confirmation bias.
This raises the obvious question - if the guy was sure he was doing the right thing is it even immoral, irresponsible, and obviously then it would not be dishonest.
If the same guy with the same children were facing a certainty of 6 months of starvation in Dachau followed by the gas chamber - his actions could be seen as morally correct, extremely responsible and deeply honest.
If this is the case then there is no difference between the two examples except in the external differences of the viewer ?
An eye for an eye are often dishonest outcomes and proven to be failing systems. To kill someone to prove to us, killing is wrong, makes the justified unethical or unhealthy for the common good
People do not come in the flavors of 'bad' and 'good'. People are just people, and their morality is inferred from how they behave--not the other way around.
So as I said--those that do mostly things that help other people and rarely things that harm other people are behaving morally.
A naturalist world view is perfectly consistent with all of the qualities of the mind (minus the reification fallacy of calling it such), personhood, beauty, dignity etc and equally consistent with deterministic and non-deterministic philosophies. Please don;t make straw man arguments!
Please explain how naturalism is consistent with the qualities of the 'mind'. If a naturalist makes the argument that believing in God is illogical, how can it be anymore rational to believe in personhood, beauty, dignity, etc?
If I was attempting to argue against naturalism, it would be a straw argument, but I'm not. Instead, these arguments are against the dualistic acceptance of both naturalism and all the other ideas like personhood and significance.
1. Since naturalism can be logically extended to say that the mind evolved by natural selection and so truth is just what works (pragmatism), how can life have any meaning or purpose?
Meaning and purpose are human inventions. That's how.
Is an evolutionary naturalist being irrational to claim that life is the result of purposeless chance and then to live like life matters?
No, because meaning and purpose are human inventions, as I said. There was no purpose until we came along. Now that we have come along, we identify purpose.
2. How do you determine morality? How can you authoritatively claim anything is right or wrong, good or bad?
It is ultimately down to blind faith. But lest the religious believer think he has won some kind of victory because of this, remember: the religious believer's morality is also down to blind faith. So we are even.
Or are we? In fact, a blind faith morality based on the natural provable world and on the human mind (which is the very thing identifying the morality in question) is superior to a blind faith morality based on the unprovable supernatural, and on the perceived values or whims of some entity beyond human consciousness. It is superior by Okham's razor, if for no other reason.
DNA is an alphabet with only 4 letters, so not in itself terribly complicated.
But how many letters are in the DNA of the simplest self-replicating life form? That's the question.
there are no letters. There are 4 bases. What do you mean by simplest form? Rice has a larger genome than humans, yet it is 'simpler'. The amoeba has an even larger genome and it is structurally 'simple'
I am judging a life form's simplicity by its DNA code, but I realize that life is more complicated than it's DNA, but DNA is good place to start to see how simple or complex life is. Is the DNA code of the simplest self-replicating life form really long like more than what's in Wikipedia, or is it as short as this question, or somewhere in between?
I saw that on TV in a doco. One of the most interesting discovery in a while.
With new technology growing exponentially because of super computer speeds increasing, these types of fantastic finds are becoming a lot more common, as are the answers to a lot of old questions. An exciting time to be alive!
Hey Earnest, I don't have kids and I think you know that. Having said that, I find myself in the position where the survival of the human species is more valuable than any individual life.
It has to be that way, there cannot be any other option. To sacrifice one for the good of the many is better than letting that one destroy more or the entire human species.
I know I'll get some flack for it, because I am not a parent and many will say that I don't understand what it means to be a parent, because I am not a parent or don't have kids.
However, even having said that, if it was even a family member(who I love), my view would not change.
Example: It reminds me of an episode of "Charmed", where the Charmed Ones had to make a decision, the sacrifice of their sister, so the world would not end. It was led by a question in a book one of them was reading. The example in the book was- if a building was burning down and you could save 5 people vs 1 sibling, which would you choose?
The "greater good" has to win out.
Hi Cags! With great respect, and no reflection on your position as a non parent, I would like to say that I find the subject less than tasteful as a way of explaining a point of view regarding survival.
I have no doubt you are great with kids, and many non parents are naturally at home with children, and that is not the point.
To me it is heart-wrenching to contemplate an answer with either outcome if you know what I mean.
I have not considered it because my feelings rise in relation to the subjects being considered.
Hell, I dunno.......it is upsetting to me is all I can really say.
No, it looks like my own stuff on consideration... carry on.
This link to rev Howard Taylor puts the best case for religion in relation to DNA I can find, challenging many scientists with reasonable arguments that are well put.
I can look for something decent for non believers too I would think, but we could start a discussion around the good rev's data.
Thanks for putting up this link. i read the first few paragraphs, but don't have time to finish it right now. I'll make sure to finish it later, and if you find a counter argument, I'd be happy to read that as well.
"Finished reading it" is the response that allows the conversation to move forward, thank you for actively participating in the discussion and doing the work required to further our understanding of the subject. The beaut thing about reading links is we then have each person's slant on it.
I seldom see "Finished reading it"...... Nice!
I don't see what is purposeless about bringing children in to the world and nourishing their lives.
Life is beautiful, the planet is beautiful, life is to be enjoyed and passed on for others to enjoy.
Children spend most of their time laughing and full of the joy of life, one of the best feelings in the world is to see your children grow up then have children of their own. Little bundles of love!
Life is enough.
You suggest that only morality based upon your personal beliefs in your particular god is valid. What would you say to someone of another religion, who believes in a different god, and has different ideas of morality to you based upon the teachings of their religion? Would they also be in error?
You also state that the fact that an atheist does not believe in your particular version of the truth is irrelevant. I on the other hand would never assume the right to tell you that just because I have different views to you that your beliefs are irrelevant, because I believe everyone has the right to have faith in whatever they wish to. Because you are speaking for your god, you are unwilling to listen to anyone who does not share your views. And because you obviously feel that only your truth is the real truth, that you and others who share your religion are the only people who have the right to dictate morality, even to people who have very different beliefs to you. Please, just stop for a moment and really consider what you are saying by this. This is the same talk we hear from religious fundamentalists, who believe that everyone not of their faith should be put to death.
I respect your right to believe in whichever god that makes sense to you, and would have hoped that you would respect the right of people like me to believe in what makes sense to us. From your words, it is obvious that this will never be the case. OK, if the fact that I do not believe in your version of the truth means that I am destined for the eternal fires of hell, then so be it. I have always liked to be warm anyway. But I still find it hard to understand why people like you are by nature so undemocratic. You would deny the rights of people different to yourself, and proclaim that only you and your god have the right to judge, because only your truth is valid. The fact that you cannot see that this is fundamentally wrong, would indicate that you will never be willing to even entertain views different to your own. Your fundamentalism is unshakable. You know you are right and that everyone else is wrong. I really don't see how this allows for any debate. So thank you for your attempt to lead me to the truth of your god, but I'm afraid that my truth, as it is at this moment in time is good enough for me. Although, as I do not believe in fundamentalism in religion or the militancy of some atheists, then I am at lease open to discussion, and would never dismiss the beliefs of others, in the same way that you seem to be doing to atheists.
Thanks for taking the time to post on this topic, but I'm not sure who you're responding to. Are you responding to my questions and comments or somebody else's? And if you're responding to my comments, would you put it in quotes so I can know which comment you're referring to. Thanks.
The primary issue is not whether or not it's my opinion, but whether or not what's being said is true. And it's not a claim that morality is based on a "belief." Rather, it's that morality must be grounded in a lawgiver. We receive morals as rules; rules need a rule giver. No rule giver; no rules.
jcasia was raising the problem (point #2) of how you can state things as authoritatively right and wrong without God. So far, you've berated me for thinking I'm right, but you haven't addressed that issue.
But - we have a problem here Mr Bibowen. You continue to demonstrate a total lack of morals or ethics. You misrepresent people, refuse to answer direct questions, and generally treat people badly and with contempt.
At the same time - you are also claiming an absolute moral authority rooted solely in an irrational belief that there must be a law giver - and you know who it is - based on nothing.
You cannot state anything with authority - because you have none. I understand that it - obviously - makes you angry that some people prefer to create their own moral values based on reason, rationale, compassion and the greater good - but - yours do not work because they are actually based on nonsense.
Now answer the questions you are avoiding please.
You use "reason, rational, compassion and greater good" as your basis for moral/ethics.
The question you must answer is, "who gave you the ability to reason, rational, compassion, and greater good?
Minute adaptations over billions of years, creating minuscule, (accidental) chemical reactions in the brain, no doubt?
Oh, sorry, but I shouldn't be so presumptive. I really should let you answer this for yourself.
(Perhaps you can steal a few lines from Mark.
Like I said Mr dj. You really should look up the word "subjective," because your authority is non-existent.
No one gave me anything. I evolved the ability to reason over millions of years. What a shame you did not.
"No one gave me anything. I evolved the ability to reason over millions of years. What a shame you did not. "
Good answer. Great answer! FANTASTIC answer. Mark would be prod of you!!
I come from a different species of ape.
No you did not dj. You decided that believing nonsense about being better than other people because you have absolute morals that came from nowhere and you are going to live forever is so important that you are prepared to block off the part of your mind that reasons.
You only block it off in this one instance because you are so scared of dying you must have some other purpose. The fact that it is not based on any sort of logic or reason is something you are prepared to fight and argue about until you do die.
At least you are not as nasty about it as Mr Bibowen, but your self-righteousness is pretty offensive to those of us capable of reasoning. we understand that you need to consider yourself to be better than us lowly animals, unfortunately - that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
I'm a little puzzled by your comments. According to you, "right, wrong, good and bad are subjective concepts," but then you're offended by Bibowen's self-righteousness. If you believe that a moral standard of behavior really is subjective, why are you offended when someone doesn't live according to your standard that self-righteousness is bad?
I don't think it is inherently bad. It offends me. Perhaps you should buy a better dictionary - then you would understand what "subjective means. By and large - most people are offended by loud, hubristic self righteousness. Sorry you don't understand. Oh well.
Yes, just puzzled. I hope you don't mind if I ask a few more questions.
Is it inherently bad to be irrational?
Is it inherently bad to not be compassionate?
Is it inherently bad to not care about the greater good?
I think I know how you'll answer, but I don't want to assume.
It is not inherently bad to be anything.
Do I care about the greater good and prefer to act in a rational, compassionate manner? Yes. That does not make them inherently good or bad. We have to subjectively decide what is good or bad. I have decided it is bad to do those things on your list. That does not make them inherently bad. And there may well be times when it is "good" to do them, but - without perfect foresight, that may be difficult to decide on.
In your opinion, do situations exist where being irrational, not compassionate, or not caring about the greater good is inherently bad?
You want me to repeat myself again? Are you having comprehension issues? Just cannot understand a different perspective to your own perhaps?
Or - maybe you just do not understand what "inherent," or "subjective," means?
Good and bad are concepts and thus subjective - nothing "inherent," in them.
Example - you seem to think it is "good," to deny scientific knowledge and rational thinking in favor of promoting divisive religion in order to cause a fight. I think this is "bad."
See how that works? Two completely different "opinions," on the same event. Subjective.
Self righteous, am I?
Please read Marks Hub on the righteous atheist, and then come back and discuss.
Talk about the hypocrisy...
You should put some more thought into your answer before you give a kneejerk response. Not only is my answer not "utter nonsense," it's not even "nonsense." The reason why is that we apprehend morals as rule-like. A rule like "you can't take an innocent child and torture her" is not wrong because we created it. Yes, we make rules against it, but it's not because we make rules against it that makes it wrong. It would be wrong even if everyone thought it was OK.
I heard an atheist argue in a debate years ago and say that the reason why Hitler was wrong in killing all the Jews that he did was because Hitler went against the ethical system used by Western Civilization. So, according to this atheist, I suppose that if Hitler's pogrom had been in conformity with the dictates of western society, he would have been right.
But dictates such as "you can't exterminate the Jewish race" or "you can't torture a child" are not merely contrivances, results from our evolutionary predisposition for survival; they are rules. We all know that (at least those of us that are not precommitted to atheism/naturalism who have to say the opposite).
But, if they're rules, where do they come from? The best answer is that there's a rulemaker that creates them and places within our conscience an apprehension of them.
There is no rule maker required in a universe that runs on cause and effect. Morality can not be decreed. It just is as a consequence of being human.
The l;aw maker is the nature of being. Harm for you is harm for me. We share the reality of being human. There is no one who needs to tell us that what does harm is not right. We know it because we do not want harm to come to us or ours. We will never agree that harm is right or moral as a species even if certain elements of our species do wrong or think it is ok. The rest of us do not and can not.
The laws we make reflect the human condition and the human desire for peace, love, security and freedom. No god is required to hand down the rules. We know very well what we want out of life and we even know intellectually how to get it. It is our nature.
The golden rule is a perfect example.Christians believe it originated with Jesus but that's not true. The Jews had a version of it. The Babylonians before them had a version and the Sumerians before them had a version of it. In fact all societies around the world have developed their own versions of the golden rule at various times in history.
Why? Because a god handed it to them? No. Because their nature handed it to them. No rule maker is required.
First, what is “required” is not required here. I’m not even sure what purpose bringing up “requirement” serves. Many things are not “required” but exist anyway. As for “cause and effect” it’s not up to the task of providing the ground for promoting the good and dispelling evil. Why?
1. If you give chickens feed x, they will produce more eggs.
2. If you exercise, you will be healthier.
3. If you bash his head in, you will get a million dollars.
Do you see any fundamental difference in these three? If you are a naturalist that naively thinks that ethics can be reduced to cause and effect, you should see no difference among these three. Initiate a cause that will benefit you and you get the desired effect. Under a naturalistic ethic, operating off of utilitarian values, each one of these can be desirable.
Second, sometimes, doing harm is right and you would need some benchmark for determining when doing harm is acceptable and when it’s not. All evolutionary ethics can offer is survivalism. If I’m some Nimrod that wants to build a fortress to enhance my survivability and a few thousand have to die to build my city, what of it? Peter Romanov brought on the death of over 30,000 men in the building of St. Petersburg.
Ethics built on an evolutionary ground are limp to confront such scenarios and thousands of others like them. The most that evolution can offer is “stop, that hurts me.” But why should that stop others from hurting you, especially if it will advance their interest? It doesn’t. So, you must put them down first and that leads us to “might makes right” which has been the age-old argument against atheism, and an argument that your partners in crime have yet to confront.
Finally, your mentioning the “Golden Rule” is irrelevant to the argument. Telling me where a moral rule originated is irrelevant as to whether or not it exists. That is, I’m more interested in the ontological question of whether rights and wrongs actually exist. They don’t on naturalism. Telling me where the moral guidelines come from is an epistemological question which, at least as this point, doesn’t concern me.
Let me explain. You need water to make coffee. It's required in the process. A whale does not require a house or a barn so won't build one. There is no screen door required on a submarine. There is no god required for morality to exist. You on the other hand say there is so it is relevant to the conversation, don't you think?
Really? So without a god you wouldn't think twice about bashing someone's head in? But with a god no one commits crimes. That's the stupidest thing I've heard for a long time and it's obviously nonsense. With or without a god people still commit crimes and kill for what they think will be gain. And it may be for awhile until they get caught.
You obviously have no idea what you are talking about when you try to tell people what naturalism means and where it derives it's morality from.
Where is this benchmark in your bible? Does it say only kill when god tells you to? God is on your side when you go to war? Give me a break. The old testament is one of the most immoral books in history where gods commands people to kill every man woman and child. Where Lot offers two woman up for rape when the towns people want to assault the men he has visiting. And god thinks he's just the most moral guy around and rewards him. You thank god he murdered his son so you can benefit from the murder of an innocent and not pay for your own so called sins.
You think Christianity is the basis for morality? Are you crazy? lol...
It is obvious to anyone with a brain that killing 30000 people to build a city is immoral. I know it and I don't need a god to tell me. Humans all want to be treated with respect and fair play. That in itself demands creates a need for a moral code. No god required. And that's the tip of the iceberg..
When the Christians were burning witches and they said stop it hurts, I notice the Christians oh yes, we must be moral and not harm them. What stopped that from happening? Nothing. No god in sight. No morals in sight. Mobs are like that.
The average person wants love and security and freedom. Morality is the way not to bring shit down on yourself. No god required. Might does not make right and that's coming from an atheist. Answer your question?
So does the rule exist? Yes. In all cultures. Even the ones that do not believe in your god. So it is relevant because according to you that's impossible.
Right and wrong obviously exist with or without a god. Morality decreed by a god is not morality, it's a decree. You can't decree morality, something is or is not moral. And it is so according to and because of our nature.
Materialism, Physicalism and naturalism explain it very well.
I'm standing up clapping, whistling and stomping my feet!
Man! that was great!:
lol.. Thanks buddy. I'm sure that's not the response Bibowen is going to give me.
Quack, it was a false alarm; if you’re still standing and cheering, you can sit down now.
I have to admit that naturalism does have sufficient force to nail one fact: you're not just toast, you're dust.
You’re so stuck in the arguments provided by third-rate atheist blogs that you can’t think outside them. The argument here has been one and it’s simple: that if God does not exist, then morals have no force to bind us. Your knee-jerk comments about how I’d kill someone if there was no God, your ranting about Old Testament genocide, “Christians burning witches,” are as juvenile as they are unimaginative.
Your concept of what is “required” gets more stupefying the more you try to explain it. Not only will a whale not make a barn, he can’t. It makes no difference whether or not it’s “required.” If it was a requirement of a whale to make a barn, then there would be no whales. Are you trying to say that if a barn was “required,” then the whale would be able to build it?! From what would this requirement stem? As for the screen door on a submarine, it’s not required, but you could put one on it. Hence, with the screen door, it’s not a requirement, but it could exist anyway.
I think you’re trying to use to concept of “requirement” as some ground to say that morals are “required.” But required by who or what? You say, “but people need them”? But people don’t always get what they need, so they die. On a naturalistic view, what of it? Their life is insignificant. They’re just more highly evolved primates, who are among the billions that will die and will be forgotten. All of their hopes and desires, their struggle for a better life and their accomplishments will end up on the ash heap.
If you want the facts, here they are: your efforts to oppose my ideas and your rants about the Bible are irrational, because they don’t matter. You’re making a lot of fuss about nothing. In fact, watching people do things that they think are important, but really don’t matter is funny, but in a sad sort of way.
“Oh but the human race will be around for a long time”! But if its existence lacks meaning, then time does not increase its significance; it only increases its futility. Actually, it just extends the joke. And the joke’s on you.
Of course, if you’re a younger guy, you’re probably thinking, “yeah, whatever…nothingness…I can deal with it; I’ve never done “nothingness” before; sounds kinda cool.” As for your older atheist comrades, they might say something like that, but they don’t tell you about the knot in their stomach when they think about how that all that they‘ve done in this life amounts to nothing or how they will never see their dead child again. They will either lie to themselves and tell themselves that life counts for something or they’ll grow bitter and end up on hubpages, trying to think of zingers they can use to slap around the fundies.
“I have faced the existential angst of my existence; I have the courage to look it dead in the eye.” Great! That will be considerable comfort when you draw your last breath; you can think to yourself “I had the courage to face the futility of my existence and it was worth it.”
It isn't an argument, even if a god did exist, you have no proof of fact, hence your morals are only binding to your "belief" a god exists and nothing more.
At the very least, if gods don't exist, then we are bound by our own intellectual honesty, integrity and reasoning of understanding, which is far more relevant and important than a belief.
As will your beliefs, void of intellectual honesty, integrity and the reasoning of understanding.
Reminds me of the story of the grasshopper and the ant, Mr. Grasshopper.
LOL! That's even funnier than those who believe they will see their dead child again.
Then, why aren't all atheists millionaires? And, why are most criminals believers?
Really? Is that the type of love and peace religion teaches? Sounds rather crude and barbaric.
And, you're actually saying that is "acceptable harm"?
Your examples are a no brainer, yet you find them acceptable based on your religious teachings. Hilarious.
It appears quite evident you know very little about evolution, morals and atheists.
If you believe harm is acceptable based on your examples, you not only don't care where moral guidelines came from, you don't care for morals at all.
No, what I said was that atheists have no ground to stand on when they make claims of right and wrong. As I said earlier, this is not a new problem that jcaasia has provided; it's an age-old problem for the non theist. And I find it disingenuous for you to feign injury because I call atheist's moral claims "irrelevant" when you write an entire post to tell me I'm wrong. The rest of this paragraph is as stupid as it is insulting. You couldn’t possibly know these things that you assert about me.
The fact is that jcasia has provided a problem for the atheists. 1) The existential problem (the loss of purpose and meaning) and 2) the problem of moral relativism. But, there has been no answer from the atheists on a solution to these problems that confront them. When a dilemma is presented, many atheists don’t offer answers or reasons; they attack religious people. When you try to reason through the issue, we get something reminiscent of an adolescent’s prattle about how her parents don't understand her.
An atheist’s ethic is the ethic of the adolescent:
“You can’t tell me what to do.”
“You think you have all the right answers.”
“My parents are hypocrites.”
“You think that you’re the only one that’s right.”
Like some parents, some Christians are intimidated by this unreflective drivel. But a believer in God cannot be deterred by this nonsense. It would be wrong for the Christian not to proclaim what is morally right just because other people reject it. The fact that the atheist rejects God is irrelevant to the obligation of all Christians to stand for what’s right and oppose those that try to undermine the foundations of morality.
How about this? The purpose, meaning and moral relativism for an atheist is not to be a programmed robot in mindless servitude of an invisible super being?
Does that help?
Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you; do good to those who hate you. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good
(Rom. 12:17-21). Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult. Return a blessing instead.
Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you. Do nothing to sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you will be sealed for your day of redemption (Eph. 4:29-32).
Rather, encourage one another. Live in harmony and peace with one another, and the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Cor. 13:11). All of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed, and humble (1 Pet. 3:8).
1 Corinthians 10:31-32 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:"
It seems to me Bibowen that your desire to be proven right, and everyone who disagrees with your superior morality to be wrong is not so much based upon the teachings of Christ, but rather upon the very real and understandable human need not to lose face. If you truly had the love of Christ in your heart, you would have no desire to insult non-believers. Even if someone were to insult you, it is the teaching of your Lord that you should pray for those you perceive to be your enemy. Rather than judging you myself, I have added these biblical passages, so you may see the views of Christ upon these matters. As a Christian, your desire to be right should not lead you to bitterness against those who do not share your views. Maybe, instead of referring to your own ego for your answers, you should refer to the good book itself. If you cannot bring yourself to do this, I doubt you are truly a believer in Christ's teachings, but only in your own.
I should note at the outset that your discussion has deteriorated from a discussion about the main point of this thread to attack my faith personally, a faith that you do not believe in.
These are great passages that you have quoted and they are a part of the New Testament ethic. But as they say, even the devil can quote scripture.
Those verses have a general application, but they would not apply in every situation. For example,
1. Proverbs requires "stripes for the fool’s back" and is quick to point out that a fool cannot be reasoned with. A man that says that there is no God is, by the biblical definition, a fool.
2. A Christian who is an agent of the state would apply "evil for evil" (see Romans 13:1-7). If a man saw one of his family members being attacked, he might have to intervene, and if necessary, kill the culprit.
3. There is no biblical prohibition against a man going to war and defending his nation.
So there are some examples where the general principles of "not returning evil for evil" would not apply and you have to take the whole of the scripture to know when the general rule applies and when it doesn't.
I find that some atheists are quick to point out when Christians are not, by their definition, being "good Christians." But the last person we should look to for interpretation of the Bible are people who claim not to even believe in God. It would be kind of like going to Anthony Weiner for marriage counseling.
And the Bible not only has verses for me, but it has some for you and they are not all verses of judgement (although some are). The best one that comes to mind is
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."
Thank you Bibowen for admitting to there being contradictions in the Bible, you are the first Chrisitan I have known to do so. I really appreciate this.
You believe that what an atheist has to say about scripture is of no relevance, yet you still are under the illusion that what a Christian has to say about morality should apply to the believer and non-believer alike. You really are a perplexing mass of contradictions.
I had thought that by quoting your own good book, which you claim to believe in might enable you to gain a clearer view of Christ's own teachings, but it seems even this was not good enough to pierce your self-righteous armour. And you somehow believe that referring to me as the devil adds to your argument.
It is your arrogance and people like you that have turned me away from the teachings of Christ. If this is the duty of Christians so to do, then you have excelled in it. You are the most insulting of people, yet you cannot see it. You see only your mission to convert the unbeliever by whatever means, no matter how dogmatic or insulting. May your attitude be brought into the light when you stand before your god on Judgement Day, for this is your belief. It does not matter what your deeds are in life, if you have not love in your heart, then I do not believe you are doing what your Lord and Saviour would want of you. And yes even I, as an atheist am well-versed in the Bible, having once been a believer myself. It is people such as you which have made me turn my back upon Christianity.
I do not intend to reply to your insults any further. It is clear that you are under the impression that you speak for your god, and that others who do not share your views are the devil's helpers. I admit to defeat when it comes to trying to get my point of view over. Your closed mind will never allow the consideration of views different to your own. I therefore wish you well in your mission, and request that you now turn your argument in the direction of somebody else, for I have no desire to participate in it any further.
First, as evidence that atheists lack an ethical framework, you willfully misrepresent my comments in the first paragraph by claiming that I say that the Bible has contradictions. Some of your observations about the Bible are right, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Second, you have admitted in those last two paragraphs that you are controlled by others. As I understand it, you’re going to reject God because of bad Christians? This is even further proof of your lack of an ethical system that is workable. You are blaming others for your refusal to do the right thing, as you understand it.
You seem to be thin-skinned when it comes to discussions in the forums. I expect to be pounded for my beliefs and I hit back. But this isn’t retaliation and I’m not waging a war against anyone. It’s in the spirit of competition, not malice, that I write. This is a public forum and I expect to get clobbered for my ideas and you should expect the same.
In other postings, I have been critical of those that are always whining about the "negativism" in the forums. If our writing is not competitive and entertaining, people aren't going to read it; they'll go elsewhere.
Put another way, anyone that takes too seriously the banter on these forums needs to get a life. If you know who “Ralph and Sam” are, you have a good idea of how I view the banter in the forums. It just isn’t that important.
I hope everyone here has the emotional maturity to be competitive in the display of their ideas, even aggressive, in their writing (if that is their style). I believe I do; my normal “visceral response” to the zingers that I get nailed with is to smile; sometimes laugh. And when Devolution Guy and Baalzebub try to express a coherent idea, I can hardly contain myself...
Sure, the bible might have verses for both you and me, but that doesn't support the notion to obey and worship and invisible super being and hold such a belief as the most important thing in your life.
Of course, if you are looking for interpretation of the bible, you could also consult any one of the 38,000 reported Christian denominations for clarity. I'm sure they would all agree wholeheartedly on the interpretation of the bible as you do.
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” ~~ Seneca
I think it's in "john", maybe verse 21? I'm not sure, but I think this alledged jesus person alledgedly said that the "self righteous" will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
"Course it matters not, being that it's just a fairytale and not even a very good one.
I'm not trying to win this debate through the tactic of exhausting you. Instead, I just want to make sure I understand where you're coming from. I asked those last three questions because I wasn't sure why you said, "And there may well be times when it is "good" to do them". Does this sentence mean that there are some situations where there is an inherently right course of action? Or does it mean morality is not just subjective to each person but also a person's subjective morality is also subjective to whatever situation they are in? I assume you're in the second camp. Is that correct?
I have a lot of questions for you. I hope you don't mind.
Do you think all truth is subjective as well? If not, what type of truths aren't subjective?
The objective ones. The subjective can be both, of course. There is an objective subjective if you will.
An example is that you feel hunger. On one level hunger is subjective. Are you really hungry for that last doughnut? Or do you just desire it? The pain or feeling of hunger in your stomach is an objective reality. But the question becomes, is the objective feeling created by the subjective desire as opposed to objective need?
I'll give you an objective fact: Truth is relative to a set of conditions being true and remaining true.
For example: If I turn on my water tap today and get water, then unless something in the system changes, I will always get water when ever I turn on the tap. If something has changed in the system then I may not get water depending on what the change is. But I will never spontaneously get milk from my tap if no changes have occurred in the system since the last time I tuned it on and got water.
Truth is not relative to perspective. Something is or is not true at any given moment. The door is open or it is shut. The degrees to which it is open determines what can pass through. without modification of the door/frame and walls. There is only one degree of shut as long as no open spaces remain when it is in that mode.
But is the door relative to the perspective of specific physical entities? For the purpose of the human the door may be insurmountable. But a microbe or an atomic particle may pass through without knowing about or being affected by the doors presence. The door is still objectively there or not no matter what the perspective.
As to morality. Morality is also relative to a set of conditions being true and remaining true. Part of those conditions are perception. based. Part of those perceptions are are based in the human condition and as such are objective parts of that condition.
For example. Cheating on you husband or wife is immoral because it causes conflict and it breaks trust. It does harm which can be foreseen so it is intentional harm. If discovered it can cause mental anguish, feelings of betrayal, etc. It can also spread disease and cause unwanted pregnancy etc. It can cause violence and even murder. Kids from the marriage may end living in poverty or in foster homes.
So it is immoral to cheat due to all the collateral harm it does. But if you have a contract with your spouse that says it is ok to sleep with other people, if jealousy were not an issue, if disease was not an issue because they had all been cured, if unwanted pregnancy was not an issue, if all the problems surrounding adultery were solved, then it wouldn't be cheating anymore, there would be no harm done and it would not be immoral to do it.
However, since humans are not objectively geared that way and all the problems have not been solved then adultery remains objectively immoral.
The nature of humans is an objective fact that has to do with genetic predisposition and environmental conditioning. Both of which are objective factors in our subjective as well as objective lives.
So, you can get to objective morality threw relative means, and it will remain absolute morality until conditions change.
I hope you see that it is a mistake to think that the objective and the subjective are polar opposites that never mix.
I'm glad that you currently view infidelity as objectively immoral, and it seems like you have a good reason--it causes harm to others.
You wrote an interesting argument for the existence of morality, so I'm going to try to rephrase your argument to make sure I understand it correctly.
Evolution in humanity resulted in a 'moral' gene (not sure how to describe this), and then as we interact together (environmental conditioning), these morals became more refined until we arrive at our understanding of morality today--don't hurt each other, look out for each other, etc. And then we can apply these morals to whatever decisions we make. Did I rephrase your argument correctly?
No moral gene is required. Let me simplify it. You have heard of the golden rule? It was around long before Jesus and it appears in all cultures in various forms. It is about treating others as you want to be treated.
Why? Because if you treat others as you want to be treated chances are they will do the same to you. It's all about survival. That's what we figured out long ago.
Think of your family. Your mother and father, your wife, your kids. You want to be loved and love in return. It is easy to empathize with them. You are a clan or group that works and lives together and shares responsibility and gain. So developing a sense of right and wrong starts with the individual and how they feel about how they are treated.
We are all human so our needs and desires are similar in some cases and the same in others. So morality comes from that dynamic. We are included in our family membership and relied on. We in turn include others into our selves and our world and rely on them.
The problem is "others". When we exclude.people trouble starts. Two tribes meting for the first time are wary of each other. The others are not human in our eyes, not like us and not in our circle.
But if things go well with the meeting trade can start and eventually inclusion. This is what societies have become, a set of tribes all including each other under one name (insert nationality). So now all the laws that govern the dynamic of the small group has to be played out in the large group.
Morality is not a gene, it is human nature. Cause and effect drive it and demand it. We want to be included so the way to that is to include others.
Want love? You have to give it. Want to be treated with dignity? Treat others that way. It's simple cause and effect.
When someone breaks the rules we are justified in feeling hard done by.
When some one steels or murders, the rest of us have a right to remove them from our lives for the safely of all and they lose their rights.
Cause shit and will come down on your head. The most selfish thing you can do is avoid causing conflict so that you will receive the least amount of conflict possible. It gives you more freedom and security.
Morality is not just good for the society, they are mostly good for the individual. You may get away with theft or murder and think you are better off for it, but you will eventually get caught and have to pay for it, or you will spend your life looking over your shoulder wondering when the hammer is coming down. When you are running you aren't free. You are already in a prison of your making.
So acting morally is the answer, and most of us know it.
There is no such thing as "inherently good or bad."
Not sure I can say it any more clearly. You are not debating in any case - you are simply repeating the same questions over and over and over.
Well I think there is objectively inherent good and bad relative to human nature which is while subjective in perspective, objective in being.
In other words, what you perceive as physical harm from being stabbed with a knife is objective harm to the human body. Therefore subjective perspective is often though not always directly linked to objective acts and consequences.
So relative to "objective" biological beings there is certainly an objective harm and that is usually categorized by the word: bad, and subjectively perceived and interpreted.
But does the universe see an act as bad or good? Of course not. The terms are irrelevant when talking about the how the universe feels about something because it likely doesn't feel anything about anything.
But since nature sets conditions through cause and effect, morality can be based on objective facts relating to cause and effect relative to biology. And that is inherently the case.
I think I've figured out why I've been puzzled. You are making an objective, absolute claim about morality by saying that it is always subjective. And you are projecting your morality 'you shall not be self-righteous' onto others such as Bibowen. How can you be offended by someone for breaking a moral standard that is subjective and doesn't apply to him? It's like the Chinese government fining a foreigner living in China for having too many children. The foreigner isn't subject to China's one-child policy so why should the government care how many children the foreigner has?
Sorry you don't understand, but it seems pointless repeating it again. I really suggest you go look up a few words in a dictionary, because clearly you do not understand certain key terms and I am not sure I have the ability to explain them to you. I am making no such claim about morality.
Perhaps you could state what you understand the term, "subjective," to mean and perhaps explain to me why it confuses you that I am offended by what I consider to be offensive behavior simply because it is subjective? Bibowen clearly does not think it is offensive although I am fairly certain his Majick book tells him not to behave that way as well.
When you make the objective claim that all morality is subjective, you are in effect saying that 'thou shall not make any moral laws that apply to everyone', but this is itself a moral that applies to everyone. It is as self-refuting as saying that there is absolutely no absolute truth.
I am not saying any such thing.
I am saying that morality is subjective.
You didn't look that word up did you?
Yes, you say that morality is subjective, but then you are offended when another person's view of morality is different than yours. You have spent a lot of time on this forum arguing in favor of your version of morality, and you want others to follow this version of morality. This is no different than someone who claims that morality is objective and wants others to follow this absolute morality.
If you really think that morality is subjective, why are you offended by someone else's behavior unless you expect them to view morality the same way as you?
And if you expect others to have the same view of morality as yourself, aren't you claiming that your view is objective?
No. I am saying morality is subjective. That is all. please stop putting words into my mouth that I did not say. This is immoral - both according to my subjective morality and your set in stone god dunnit morality.
Ask the question again why dontcha? Think I will cave in and say sure - god dunnit. LOL
I am offended because I find it offensive. Me - subjective. You obviously are happy with it and do not find it offensive. This is why Christianity has caused 2,000 years of wars.
As a matter of interest - what has me being offended got to do with morals? I find rap music offensive. Does that make it immoral? What does the bible tell you you need to think?
Just one more question.
If morality is subjective and no one's view is better or more accurate than anybody else's which would mean that your view of morality is no better than anybody else's, why are you spending so much time and mental energy writing posts to defend it?
"I am offended because I find it offensive." And why do you find it offensive? I think (please give your own reason if I'm wrong) you find it offensive because it goes against your sense of right and wrong, and you apply your sense of right and wrong not just to yourself but to others as well.
Not going to answer the question again. Perhaps you could answer my questions instead of repeating the same thing over and over. You don't know what subjective means - I get it. I never said no one's view is better or more accurate than anyone else's.
Seriously - go buy a decent dictionary.
If you don't think that your view is better than others, why are you defending it on this forum? And why do you think anyone will want to adopt it if it's no better than their own view?
Please answer my questions. Thank you.
It is rude to ignore my questions and continue repeating the same question I have answered many times.
"Better " is a subjective term.
Is the expression "'Better' is a subjective term" a subjective proposition?
I want to try to answer your questions. If I miss any, please let me know.
I looked up subjective in the dictionary, and it had the definition: 'existing in the mind'. In other words, it's not objective or real. It's just a personal thought. This is what I've thought.
So, let me explain why I've been confused by you being offended. You claim that morality is subjective, just existing in the mind. In other words, it is not objective or real. Morality to you is like religion, just a myth, but you live as if your myth is real. How can you take offense when someone violates something (your sense of morality) when you know it is just made up and not real?
You find rap music offensive. That's just strange.
You still are not getting it I see. Perhaps a better dictionary with a more appropriate definition would help. There are several ways of defining subjective. I have not said morals are not "real" in the sense you mean I have said they are subjective and vary from person to person.
But - go right ahead and eat a moral for me.
So, you are offended now, are you?
That sounds like the most subjective thing so far.
Are you ever concerned that you (may) have offended others?
I guess not.
No - I am not offended. I do care if offend others yes. It depends. You guys with your divisive religious nonsense? Not so much, because your stated beliefs are so offensive. And - as you also claim to be behaving the way you want people to behave towards you - what do you expect?
Can you help me try to understand you?
I looked up subjective, but apparently, even the definition of subjective is subjective. In your dictionary, what is the meaning of subjective?
Also, I think we might have different definitions of reality. To you, what is reality?
Odd - once again you ignore my question. Why is that?
Is a concept "real"? And what do you mean by real?
Odd - once again you ignore my question. Why is that?
Because there is no question in the post I responded to.
Is a concept "real"? And what do you mean by real?
Definition of reality: the quality or state of being real.
Definition of real: not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory.
So, some concepts are real, and some are not real. I think God is real and our morality is an extension of his character. You think God is not real and our morality comes from our imagination. Only one of us can be correct. When I claim that morality is absolute, that is a logical response to my belief about morality. When you claim that morality is subjective but then defend your view against other views, that's irrational.
It would be similar to me saying that Coke is the best drink. And then my wife says that coffee is the best drink. And then I say that it's all a matter of preference, but I'm still offended that you don't agree with me.
like I said, amoeba & rice have more DNA than humans, so what you're saying is not correct
Bailey, your post showed up as a new thread in this topic so I'm not sure which comment you're referring to. I've made quite a few of them. Could you quote me in a new comment so I know what to respond to?
I've never heard that the amoeba and rice have more DNA than humans, and I doubt whether it's true, but you've made me curious enough to check out a link on the topic if you can provide one.
http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articl … omes.shtml
http://harvestpublicmedia.org/blog/422/ … r-genome/5
Looks like sugarcane, wheat, corn are bigger than human genome; rice is slightly smaller (I got info about rice from a book). Anyway, biggest genome ever sequenced is the humble amoeba.
You seemed to assume with your comments that the more genes in DNA, the more complex the organism, which is not the case.
you: 'I am judging a life form's simplicity by its DNA code, but I realize that life is more complicated than it's DNA, but DNA is good place to start to see how simple or complex life is. Is the DNA code of the simplest self-replicating life form really long like more than what's in Wikipedia, or is it as short as this question, or somewhere in between?'
Thanks for putting up the links. I had never considered that an amoeba's DNA was more complex than human DNA. For those of you reading this post who didn't click on Baileybear's links, the amoeba's DNA has 300 billion base pairs. Isn't that amazing? I guess the amoeba isn't just a blob, but instead, the instructions (DNA) for an amoeba to do what it does are nearly 100 times longer than for a human. All I can say is wow.
Why are you raising sophomoric points about what the bases are called or the amount of DNA in an entity? The point is that DNA exhibits information-bearing properties which are characteristic of intelligence.
Everything is information. No intelligence is required for that to so, only to recognize it.
Slarty, you're also missing the point. Not everything has the potential to convey information via a set of instructions to perform a task that results in a function.
I have to admit, this is far off the topic of this thread which is the oxymoron of atheist morals. We should be able to find a creation-bashing site to resume it.
I'm not missing any point. Energy/matter is all there is. It constantly transforms through what we call laws of nature. It's all a process. Humans come from that process just like all other things do including rocks.
No outside force is required and it is not required that energy/matter is intelligent for it to produce rocks, so why would it have to be intelligent to produce humans? It's just a more complex process.
Now if you study chaos theory you will see that the simple can and does become the complex very quickly.
So the process works on it's own.
Now you have two possibilities in our discussion. A god set it into motion or the process is all there is.
I see no reason to assume something like a god when it does not seem to be required. If you can show how it must be then by all means be my guest.
But to me, a god is just speculation and since it is not required there is no reason to included it in my thinking.
...on the button Slarty:
"But to me, a god is just speculation and since it is not required there is no reason to included it in my thinking."
2 thumbs up!
It seems you don't have a full understanding of chaos theory (and probably don't either). The simple can become complex, but the system as a whole will lose order. Earnesthub posted a link to an article that addresses Chaos Theory. I encourage you to take a look at it. Here's a quote from the article.
However sometimes order does increase spontaneously and in unpredictable ways. The formation of snow flakes (each full of beautiful but unpredictable patterns different from one another) is an example. It is not necessary to go into the technical details here but we can say that such sudden increases in order take place in what are called `far from equilibrium conditions' where there is an exchange of energy between one system and another. This, however, does not violate the famous second law of thermodynamics because, when the total picture is considered, there is always an overall loss of order.
Some people have believed that this phenomenon could explain the spontaneous generation of life on earth. However when one considers the `computer', `chemical factory' and `translation system' that must all be produced and connected simultaneously, I hardly think this is a viable suggestion. Anyway one is still left with the problem that every atom in the universe is ordered. Its order, must surely, be drawn from a greater Order beyond it, that is itself not subject to the second law of thermodynamics. Without this greater Order our universe (even if it were one of an infinite number of universes) could not have generated all the order we find in it.
I understand chaos theory very well, as well as understanding entropy and the laws of of conservation. If you like I can explain it all to you.
But stop reading articles criticizing or explaining science written by religious people. The article is so full of misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the facts that there is no point addressing it.
I would be interested in hearing you explain chaos theory and entropy and the laws of conservation.
The article is so full of misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the facts that there is no point addressing it.
The article is very convincing to me so maybe you could start by addressing the section I quoted about chaos theory.
I wrote hub on the general subject a wile ago
http://hubpages.com/hub/Can-a-natrual-p … te-mankind
But I will write something a little more detailed for you. I may post it here or it may become a hub. I'll let you know.
As I said earlier, this subject is not really on-topic and is taking up a lot of room here. I moved my answer to this response to my hub "The Galileo Myth." I posted your response and then my answer. If you want to continue this, let's do it there.
because someone asked - duh! A pattern does not equal intelligence and design
I'm having my AM coffee and reading comments on this thread I missed while getting my beauty rest last nite.
As I amble thru the religiously oriented "garble," it becomes clearer and clearer why I am so entertained. Insanity is, most certainly, a human characteristic!
Let me clarify that by example.
I am this god thing! Stay with me now. I am walking along the ocean front on a beach. The sand streches before me and behind me for a thousand miles. Somewhere amongst those inumerable, miniscule grains of sand, exists 1 (one) grain that is teaming with microscopic life that exists for but a "googol" moment and is gone forever!
I am omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. I realize for a "googol" moment, that happening!
As I continue on, enjoying the feeling of the soft, cool sand under my bare feet, I think, to myself, MY GOODNESS!...I missed an opportunity for that MOMENTARY life to bow before me in grateful suppliance, worship my presence and praise me!!
I was not taken by surprise because I am omniscient! I am also omnipotent and could have stopped their flight into extinction...but...hey, they existed as nothing of value and experienced a precious googol moment of existence! How fortunate!... Well,...Nothing lost nothing gained.
What a beautiful morning I created! I'm just gonna enjoy it and not let a "momentary" happening spoil it.........")"
Did'ja enjoy that short but exquisitely and meaningfully expressed "fairytale?"
Capt' Qwark will be back with more. What a wonderful day...:
So you really think no atheists have morals. That's.... charming of you.
Do you think the bacteria that live inside your stomach look up at night wondering if "you" are really there?
There is no single atheist world view anymore than there is a single deist world view--that is the first fallacy underlying this unproductive discussion.
Posts like the one above from Bibowen scare the daylights out of me.
Who would hurt a child in this way is a sociopath.
What is scary is that someone would believe that without religion people would do such a thing.
I get the impression that you are saying religionists are psychopathic, and all that stops them from being murderers is the believe in a myth.
First, people do such things with or without "religion." Some, having entertained the idea that “there is no God" have committed many atrocities under such an idea (this idea is greatly explored in the works of Dostoyevsky). On the other hand, worshippers of Molech in Biblical times and the Aztecs on our continent were sacrificing (and consuming!) their children in the worship of their gods.
What you should be afraid of is a world without Christian morality. People that would do such things are not just sociopaths; they are evil.
And that's exactly what I'm suggesting, that in a world without the moral imposition imposed by God and placed within all of us, that people will do such a thing. In fact, they do it even though they know in their heart that it's evil.
But, what of your complaint that such people are sociopaths....is that statement an absolute moral prohibition or is it just your opinion?
An atheist protest that they are sociopaths is nothing more than the keystrokes on a keyboard. The reason why such people are evil is because God has established the standards of morality and those people have violated them. This is the best answer to why we know that such actions are really wrong (if we're lucid, we all know that) and that we feel the impetus to obey them and sense guilt when we don't.
It strikes me that you don't agree with some of your atheist amigos. They want to say that such actions are wrong because we say so. However, given your position, I see no other ground for justifying your position.
I should also remark that your shock that people would do such things sounds like either a feigned naiveté or ignorance about the moral condition of our world. Of course, if your response is "I can't relate to that; I just can't comprehend how someone can do that to a child", then we're in the same boat. But that offers no answer as to why others, who feel differently, should not do such things if they want to.
The god you believe in doesn't exist. The mother Goddess was worship fo 100,000 years before the idea of the Christian god (borrowed from other religions) even came into being. Morality, the promoted behavior of a people in a group, evolves. Values of societies evolve and are based upon the laws of survival. The group governs the behavior of people through a variety of ways, including of course Myth.
You live a small tiny little world that denies the existence of other worlds and minds within them, you argue as a Jihadist would, or any person throughout human history that has confused the limits of his mind with the limits of the world. I sometimes wish could take all you "believers" in you "absolute" but completely different god and moralities and drop you on an island where you can beat each other to death as you have for tens of thousands of years.
Your absolutist tone, adamantly stating what I am and am not doing, also sounds "jihadist," as if you know what that means. Besides, you're committing the ecological fallacy: telling us how a belief originated does nothing to undermine its truth claim.
Really? ."An ecological fallacy (or ecological inference fallacy, also referred to as the fallacy of division, is a logical fallacy in the interpretation of statistical data in an ecological study, whereby inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong. This fallacy assumes that individual members of a group have the average characteristics of the group at large. However, statistics that accurately describe group characteristics do not necessarily apply to individuals within that group. "
I don't see how the ecological fallacy is relevant your claim that origin can not help determine the validity of a claim. It doesn't prove the claim is valid or invalid unless as in this case if you claim Christianity or even Judaism originally gave us a moral code, because the topic is origin. So the origin of the claim in this case does disprove your claim.
Other than the commandments pertaining to the Jewish/christian god, nothing is original to Judaism or Christianity.
Even the sayings of Jesus were said by others before him. The Greek Cynics were saying love thy neighbor long before Jesus lived.. Learning history is a good way to see what is actually going on.
As for your assertion, for it to be true no origin of a belief can prove the belief wrong. If there is one case in which it does prove the belief wrong your assertion is wrong.
So if I trace a belief to a person who has lied and admits it, I proved the belief wrong by finding its origin. I'm sure you have caught people in lies or have traced something some one believed to a source that was obviously a lie?
So your assertion as it stands is not a law. Sometimes telling us how a belief originated does undermine its truth claim.
So you will have to tackle it case by case.
That sounds too subjective. Surely there MUST BE a rule maker with objective rules - or else you are being IRRATIONAL to argue this? LOL
Surely God Dunnit, because anything else is just nonsense and way too arrogant.
Here is a debate between two atheists that throws a light on this subject.
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/20 … n-god.html
Here is an interview with Krauss found on a creationist website where he "blows" it and mistakenly proves god apparently.
http://www.uncommondescent.com/intellig … e-for-god/
Oh well, never mind then!
(If science is about probabilities and likelihoods, then what's the probability that life would occur spontaneously? )
Without knowing the mechanisms of initiation of life it is impossible to calculate the odds. The only thing we can conclude is that nature exists, therefore any natural method has to be an infinitely greater probability than a claim of a magical cause, which is not known to exist.
What is your definition of morality? Of truth? You toss these words around but I don't think you know what you mean by them.
"I know it when I see it." Justice Potter Stewart on pornography
So - you arbitrarily decide then? God did not write it down for you? Or are you speaking on behalf of god? Does god "know it when he sees it," and tell you into your head using majik?
All that fighting and arguing that you have absolute authority behind you.
Is lying immoral?
Sam Harris in "Letter to a Christian Nation" gave a useful description of morality: "To the degree that our actions can affect the experience of other creatures either positively or negatively, questions of morality apply."
There is no need of god(s) to answer these questions for us.
The reason these type of theist/non-theist debates have lasted for centuries is not in the eloquence of the theist arguments but in the lack of demand for precision of definitions. There are only two categories to discuss, objects (things with a real, physical presence) and concepts (those things that are defined). The theist likes to argue from a point of view that abstract ideas (love, morality, truth) exist in the same fashion as a rock exists. This argument is ludicrous on its surface.
Those things which must be defined require a definer or they are nothing. Man did not discover "truth" by stumping his toe on it, like he might discover a gold nugget. No, man created truth by inventing the definition. Without a definition, there is no truth and thus truth cannot exist outside of its definition, just as all the other abstractions (mind, morality, love) cannot exist outside of their definitions, meaning they are all subjective, i.e., observer dependent.
This is why evolution cannot influence the "mind". "Mind" is a term to describe a cumulative process of thought flow and self-awareness. "Mind" is not a thing that can be influenced - it is an abstraction only. Only a change in the thinking process that changes the definition can alter our perception of the process we label "the mind". Outside influences cannot touch it because it is not an object, a thing.
Evolution could only have impacted objects - real things - like the cells that comprise the brain. The "mind" could have only been affected by the subjective ideas of sentient beings.
Therefore all these ludicrous questions about abstractions are moot until one can show in a rational, objective manner how an abstraction like "mind" or "truth" or " morality" exists in a physical sense. Without a physical identify, they cannot interact with the physical world to either change it or be changed by it - unless one resorts to claims of magical powers.
Abstraction concepts are subjective, i.e., observer dependent, meaning without a brain to conceive them they are nothing - they don't exist independently.
Without supportive objective data to show how an abstraction can be a real, physical presence, theistic arguments are simply opinions based on flim-flam and misdirection, an attempt at trying to get others to argue from their perspective and accept the unwarranted premise that abstract concepts are as real as rocks and can be bounced off people's heads if you wish hard enough, Amen.
The only jokes I've noticed have been the incredible leaps between unwarranted assumptions made by Bibowen and in his attacks against reason, like this one: (On a naturalistic view, what of it? Their life is insignificant)
Now that's funny - he wants to assert his worldview as applicable to all. Just because he has no life without a rule book doesn't mean everyone else shops in the same store and buys his own pair of clown shoes and handbook.
What is really funny is that "he knows it when he sees it," which is the very definition of "subjective," and rather makes all his fighting and arguing complete nonsense. I wonder if they even know what is coming out of their mouths sometimes.
by SilentReed 4 years ago
Can one live a moral life without religion?
by Grace Marguerite Williams 7 years ago
Do you believe that the majority of people are not living authentic lives but prescribed lives whichexplains why they are unhappy most of the time? Only a few people are living life the way they want and have jobs/careers that they enjoy doing. Most people live their lives...
by SirDent 9 years ago
If the beginning of life was when amino acids and proteins married, where is the purpose of life these days? If this in fact was how things started, how could there be any purpose at all to life?Edit I have to go out and get some things done so will be back to check out replies.
by Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago
Which is true - Creationism or Evolution? Can both be right?It seems there are still arguments about whether the world was 'created' or whether it 'evolved.' What do you believe? Can you also accept the alternative view?
by chasemillis 9 years ago
What do you think the point of life is? Why are we here?I'm going to reserve my answer until at least a few people have answered
by TacoRecipes 9 years ago
Does life have a purpose? How do we find our purpose in life? How to live a meaningful life? Is lack of meaning in life the same as depression?
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