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Thread: Why Morality?

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    Senior Member Jehan's Avatar
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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    *yawn* Erm. God as creator of universe. I have yet to see evidence that the universe was created.
    Actually, we are pretty sure the universe is expanding(expanding into what is a tricky question though), which leads to the conclusion that it once had a beginning(known as Big Bang). You could argue that this doesn't imply a creator, but the fact that an enormous amount of matter and energy sprang out from nowhere isn't really rational either anyway...


    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    Actually, you would be a part of God. Here's why. Nothing else except God exists. Universe pops into existence: God 'created' it. God cannot, of course, have created the universe out of anything except his own power. You as part of the universe are therefore an extension of God's power, God's power being part of him, you are a part of God. The idea that God can tell himself (i.e. issue you directives) what to do while becoming otherwise (you actually doing something contrary to his directives) implies that God is somehow a 'split being', a schizophrenic, of sorts, a contradiction. And of course, since we're employing reason here, I might as well copy out Aristotle's Law of Non-Contradiction:

    "It is impossible for the same thing at the same time to belong and not belong to the same thing at the same time and in the same respect."
    -Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1005b20
    Formulation for the Law of Non-contradiction
    I am the result of God's power. I don't think God took his power and shaped it into stars and planets...and no, it didn't happen in 7 days. If you write a letter, are the words part of the pencil? I also don't think you can say reason apply to God, because then he would be limited by rules, and would exist according to principles and law, which would therefore make him "relative".

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    I won't be crying if the universe collapses in on itself in a few trillion years time. Will you?
    Probably not, but if my grandgrandgrandchildren live in a state where family is seen as a despicable bourgeois construct and where the weakest amoral individual is seen as a poor victim of social alienation that should be listened to just as much as any sane person, I wouldn't really like it, I guess. So I do my best for this not to happen. That's a bit more long term than what I will live to see, and that's my main point.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    What is funny about this, exactly?
    It is just incredibly vain, which is, if not funny, a bit sad.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    That's an incredibly tall order. I have spent the better part of the past four years at least assembling my philosophical system. I'm not ready yet.
    You asked me the meaning of life some time ago. Was that tall order? I'm a bit young to have a complete philosophical system ready too, you know.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    Because it's hard coded into me. The only explanation I have, the cause of my present temporal existence, is that my ancestors acted to further their own well being.
    That explains how you got there, not why. And don't you find it irrational to do something just because the pile of organic matter that "made" "you" did the same?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    If my community is busy dissolving itself into something pathetic, I have no obligations to save them if I can move to a similar, related community to which I would easily fit in, and better serve as a virtuous individual there.
    Don't you think that being part of that community, it is your duty in some way to prevent it from becoming pathetic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    [b]
    In that case, nothing is absolute. The only way to define one thing is to oppose it to what it is not. One percieves and organises sense perceptions into 'things' which one then comes to 'know' about by employing rudimentary, logic-based knowledge to 'test' it, from which one then extracts more knowledge, and in doing so, further contrasts this object and one's knowledge of it (which are the same) with what it isn't.
    The only way for a limited human being to define things is through perception and reasoning, agreed. However, that doesn't mean that things do not exist outside your perception.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    further contrasts this object and one's knowledge of it (which are the same)
    So one's knowledge of something is the same thing as the thing itself? Thus, since different people have different perceptions of things, that means that three different people looking at a chair are in fact looking at three different chairs? So we all live in different worlds? and basically, yours has no purpose, mine has a god in it, and in some other guy's world, differences between men and women are just social constructs, right? Why are we even discussing right now, since we're not talking about the same thing? But I probably totally misunderstood what you meant. I hope.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhydderch
    In a sense that question could be asked, but either way it doesn't contradict the concept of God being righteous and omnipotent; and of course, if you believe God did create the universe, then the question is a pointless one, since arbitrarity would only exist with respect to the actions of non-absolute beings.
    Your definition of 'absolute' is baseless. Absolute means self-contained, independent regarding its own existence. Reality certainly does contradict the concept of God being 'righteous' (what is that? God being self-righteous?) and omnipotent. Innocent people die every day. Some people get crushed in car crashes. Some people die in riots in third world nations, some are murdered in Iraq by terrorists. God being omnipotent presumably has the capacity to prevent this kind of harm, and if he really is righteous - whatever that is - well, it logically follows that these things don't happen. But they do. Hence your God isn't real.

    We know from numerous passages in the Bible that God punishes people; he does so in various ways, through various instruments. Sometimes the instrument was the Hebrews themselves, who were indeed commanded explicitly to exterminate the Canaanites (though they only partially obeyed this command, much to their later detriment).

    This was not an encouragement to indiscriminate plundering and damaging of property.
    'Do this' 'Ok'. ('It' is done). 'Can I do it again?' 'No' 'Why not?' 'Because I said so' 'But you told me to do it before, so why can't I do it now?' 'Because I decided you can't' 'That's a double standard' 'Yes, it is' 'How can you call yourself just if all you do is decide whatever you want and then order it to happen?' 'Shut up. You're doubting my own sense of justice - that's sinning' 'You're a tyrant. You have no sense of justice. There's no logic to it' 'I invented your logic, so don't go complaining to me' 'You have no sense of justice! You're a tyrant!' 'No, I'm not. I'm being perfectly just' 'Well, what's justice?' 'Whatever I want' 'That's not justice, that's... tyranny!' 'SHUT UP, SINNER! BURN IN HELL!'

    In the same way, certain sins were to be punished with execution. This punishment was of course to be carried out by a fellow man (at least generally).
    Ok.

    So the difference between God commanding the Hebrews to kill and to plunder the 'spoil' of other nations, and arbitrary vandalism and slaughter, is equivalent to the difference between murder and execution.
    Not really. The difference between murder and execution is that the public accepts the authority of the murderer when it's called execution.

    That's right, but you said you were free to assume cannibalism is acceptable to a Christian viewpoint because I hadn't proved otherwise. I was just pointing out that by the same reasoning you are free to accept homosexuality is acceptable from such a viewpoint, if I haven't yet shown you it's not.
    Sure. Doesn't mean I will though.

    Well God isn't human, so he doesn't have reactions to something disgusting and unnatural in the same way that we do. But God is righteous and perfect, so any violation of his perfect law is undesirable and wicked. God doesn't tell us in what way he views these things though, and I would imagine it is incomprehensible to us, just as his omnipresence and invisibility is incomprehensible.
    If God existed prior to the physical world, and he created it, it naturally follows from God being omnipotent and righteous that nothing is going to happen that disrupts his wishes. So naturally Genghis Khan was partly correct when he stated 'Oh people, know that you have committed great sins. For if you had not committed these sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you'. Except he's wrong because these people can't have committed sins, because God is perfect and he made them, and he's powerful enough to prevent anything from going wrong. So God's a nut case, or isn't real.

    Yes, because of their disobedience, God cursed them by (among other things) allowing them to degenerate to cannibalism. In other words, it is seen as something terrible.
    You've already said that God doesn't find things disgusting in the sense we do. What evidence do you have to say that cannibalism is to be regarded as something disgusting, rather than something that simply happened, like having a bird shit on your car on the way to work?

    God's word is the Bible.
    You've already stated that the Bible doesn't contain every possible sin we must avoid. So if God's word is the Bible, then... God's word isn't complete.

    And you have admitted that faith is irrational, haven't you?
    My 'God' counts as little more than an inspiration of aesthetic taste.

    Did the claimant state how he thought it should be translated?
    It was a 'she'. A former poster. I don't recall how she thought it should be translated exactly. Heard of 'spooning'?

    He can predict what will happen, though without being responsible.
    In the legal world, a man is not responsible for his actions if he is declared insane. Are you stating God is insane? That he does not possess this (conceptually bankrupt concept) free will you like to refer to? What exactly are you saying? Do you know what you're saying?

    Can you prove that there is an inconsistency in God being perfectly righteous and omnipotent, and yet creating something which he knew would sin?
    I'd say it's pretty fucking obvious to all but the voluntarily retarded.

    If you think there is a contradiction then you have failed to understand 'free will'.
    Free will is irrational bullshit.

    By saying a contradiction exists here you are effectively saying that there cannot ever have been such a thing. Well, prove it
    You are grasping at something beyond the realm of logic. I cannot deal in your terms - you're dealing with the something beyond insanity from your own chaotic and irrational point of reference which is practically on the same level as paranoid antisemitic Nazis.

    mmm.......it'd be interesting to know how an atheist would explain spooky stories; whether he would see them as amazing natural (and perhaps unknown to science) phenomena.
    Biochemical-hormonal disruptions of 'normal' brain functions.

    It would appear that you haven't had a spook before. Lots of people have.
    No one has ever seen anything if you want to get philosophical about it.

    An elaborate 'myth' alright
    Haha. Yeah. Lord of the Rings is a damn good elaborate myth too. The Illiad was pretty cool. I do like the Kalevala though.

    And I wonder how an atheist would explain the universality of belief in the supernatural, and of sacrifices and worship. Perhaps mankind just spontaneously thought of it.
    Mankind has never thought of anything. People think of things, and they do so for a reason - fame, wealth, power, entertainment, fascination, etc. Power is a good one. I'll invent something you can't see or fight and say it's all powerful and point to a few events and say my invented spook did it and use it to gain power over my community.

    Actually, you'll find some amazing 'coincidences' in the Bible, and of New Testament events just 'happening' to coincide perfectly with Old Testament prophecies.
    One myth takes on where another one drops off. Your point?

    Who are these contradictory witnesses you're referring to?
    How about the Gospels?

    By definition, that would be an absurdity, a contradiction, to think that it could be explained in such a way
    Why do you believe in the incomprehensible, then? Do you realise how... bizzare that is? ... logically?

    Keep going......
    If you can't do so, I rest my case.

    And here is my earlier question:

    I think I understand what you're saying. You mean discuss whether there is evidence for a God in nature itself?
    No, not 'by nature'. By logic. Let's do a logical investigation of the concept of God itself.

    Why do you want me to do that? Have I claimed such a thing existed?
    You most certainly have. You claim I'm using 'my version of logic' which is in fact the only form of logic, based simply on Aristotle's law of non-contradiction. Hence you imply there is another version of logic, your version, which allows contradiction, which I've challenged earlier in this post.

    Your version of reason apparently claims that one cannot be sure of anything which can't be experienced with the physical senses.
    Logic rests on the undeniable axiom that something is itself, and cannot be other than itself. That's all. Economics is not something I understand simply by the physical senses, I understand it via logic. Same goes for philosophy and political theory. These I understand rationally, even though the knowledge is 'immaterial'.

    Oh, so you have had a spooky experience
    Not really.

    Faith is the 'evidence of things not seen', not of 'anything or everything not seen'.
    You're quoting someone. Fantastic. That's brilliant, really. Explain the reasoning.

    Are you? Well, fancy that. But what does that have to do with the price of fish?
    Have faith, whatever that is.

    Well, really it cannot be explained unless you believe God exists, so in other words it is very good evidence for His existence. Atheism has to explain the existence of life as being the result of random events. But the problem is, randomness tends to destroy, rather than create.
    It cannot be explained? How do you know? I may very well have faith that life may have arisen out of matter of its own accord, in which case - faith of course cannot be dealt with on rational terms, right? - I'd be in the same position as you. Only I do not have faith in this, I leave the option open. Oh, and randomness does not destroy or create. It transforms.

    Irreducable complexity with respect to biology refers to a system which is totally functionless without the presence of any one component part. In other words, it can't be gradually built up over time by random events; it has to be built as a whole, with every component part being built to exist and function at the same time.
    Irreducable complexity is not an accepted concept within the scientific community. Irreducable complexity is a load of crap. It assumes organisms simply go 'pop' and come into existence, fully functioning. Why do you object to evolutionary theory?

    Randomness is basically the opposite to purpose, and organisms as well as non-living things show abundant evidence of purpose as opposed to randomness.
    Purpose implies intent, which implies consciousness. A rock does not possess consciousness. Neither does a tree. It does not 'try' to do anything. It simply happens. There is no actor which can be seperated from the act. Both the rock and the tree are defined by their history of transformation. You see purpose, I see that you seek out spooks behind every rock and tree and wave of the ocean and 'behind' the air your breathe.

    Even many of the ancients could see the absurdity of the idea that random collisions of atoms had ended up creating the world and all its functions.
    Oh, really? I'm sure Epicurus, Heraclites, even the Stoics would agree with you there. Which ancients?

    I think one Roman or Greek writer likened it to believing that a random clashing and throwing about of letters could produce the equivalent of an Encyclopaedia.
    An infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters...

    No it's not, because you're trying to explain everything in natural terms, and yet infinity is an unnatural concept, as I've said.
    How is infinity an unnatural concept?

    Natural things have a beginning and an end, such that it is beyond human comprehension to try to think of something which doesn't.
    Natural things do not have a beginning and an end. 'Things' are artificial, constructed by the minds of men. If you wish to argue epistemology, feel free to establish a thread in the relevant subforum.

    But if God created natural things, and human minds, then it is no strange thing if we have trouble understanding something which isn't natural.
    Have trouble? Your God is incomprehensible. Your God is a set of contradictory statements. The concept of 'benevolence' is understandable. The concept of 'creating' is understandable. The concept of 'power' is understandable. What is incomprehensible is that you take these concepts, heighten them to their strongest possible intensity and then clump them together. And they don't fit - so you 'have faith', which is effectively standing at the court of life and taking the insanity plea.

    I never said you did. What prompted your statement? I don't quite understand what you mean.
    Sorry. I should have said 'omniscience' in place of it. To answer your question - I do not appeal to a myth and pretend that it answers questions about quantum physics.
    Do you believe wind exists. You don't have to be on drugs to know that.
    Wind is a process, not a thing. A thing has a defining line, between what it is and what it is not. Wind, like colour, has no dividing line - it does not 'start' here and then 'stop' there. It exists as a concept and almost nothing more.

    Sydney. Why Sydney? If I was a 'druggie' I'd probably be directing you to the town of Simpson
    You'd have to be a druggie, you live in Sydney, it stands to reason your dealer is in Sydney too
    Which is effectively the same thing in this context.
    *sigh*

    There's a slight difference between following every instinct as soon as it kicks in and living the good life.
    On the other hand, perhaps you're the Aboriginal savage

    'Ask yourself', because I don't believe you can demonstrate the validity of your argument.
    I have, several times over. But then again, I'm using logic, and you've already precluded using that, so I have nothing else to offer.
    The fact that you may think you're not ignoring your conscience, doesn't mean that you are not doing so in reality. Obviously, I was talking from my point of view, and in my opinion you have given ample evidence that you are indeed ignoring your conscience. It isn't necessarily an intentional ignoring either.
    I don't have a conscience. I have foresight, however.

    Why is that?
    Because the rule is created by an agent certain knowledge and power for the effect of enacting an intention. The refutation of the rule is a refutation of the man who created it.

    What earlier statement, and what about it?
    You stated: "For the latter, a man was to pay whatever price the girl's father stated (in money or some form of wealth); but again this is something less explicitly condemned, so my earlier statement largely applies here." I'm wondering what statement you're talking about.

    What do you mean by your re-conversion?
    'Re' is short for 'regarding'. Long term members here are aware I was driven into nationalism via Islam and history.

    The word 'pride' can probably have a bit of range of meaning (like almost any word), depending on usage; and I've already made it clear how I used it.
    Actually you haven't.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    It is curious that this thread began as an examination of the purposes of morality, and has now become an argument over the substantive validity of theism vs. atheism. Maybe the question should be rephrased to ask, what is the purpose of morality from a sociological or philosophical (i.e. a secular) standpoint? Of course, that's narrower than the original question, but it does have the advantage of avoiding an interminable debate on religious issues. It seems a bit incongrous to be arguing over religion on the philosophy board.

    (Now I shall wait to be attacked by everyone... )
    Last edited by Telperion; Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 at 05:08 AM.

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    Senior Member Jehan's Avatar
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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Actually if you go quickly through the whole thread, all the atheists are kind of agreeing with each other a lot. That would'nt have been a great debate.

    And since when is philosophy necessarily atheist?

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telperion
    It is curious that this thread began as an examination of the purposes of morality, and has now become an argument over the substantive validity of theism vs. atheism. Maybe the question should be rephrased to ask, what is the purpose of morality from a sociological or philosophical (i.e. a secular) standpoint? Of course, that's narrower than the original question, but it does have the advantage of avoiding an interminable debate on religious issues. It seems a bit incongrous to be arguing over religion on the philosophy board.

    (Now I shall wait to be attacked by everyone... )
    *sigh*

    That was the point at the start of it. Then Rhydderch kept bringing up God while I tried to drag the conversation towards my original intended idea of the thread - to find out what people think virtues would be good in an ethnoculturally homogenous community. Finally it became irresistable, and I crossed the event horizon into a zone I haven't been in since Moody Lawless left
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

  6. #46
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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dethskarz
    Actually if you go quickly through the whole thread, all the atheists are kind of agreeing with each other a lot. That would'nt have been a great debate.
    The debate on theism vs. atheism has been interesting. But in the course of that debate, the discussion of "why morality" itself strikes me as not having been discussed in much detail. It soon became an argument between two competing assertions, i.e. that we must be moral because God says to be moral, versus God doesn't exist and so claims about a religious mandate for morality don't justify morality. In the process, a great many other issues have been left by the wayside. E.g. if the individual is sovereign, how can the community justifiably make any moral claims on the individual, given that morality implies absolute standards by which the individual's conduct will be assessed, even if he does not agree with those standards? There are enough sub-issues raised by that question and its implicit assumptions to fill up a number of PhD dissertations in philosophy.

    The point, then, is that there are a lot of fruitful areas of discussion that aren't being touched on, because instead everyone is arguing over whether God exists.

    And since when is philosophy necessarily atheist?
    It isn't, but religious philosophy tends to be conducted on the basis of common agreement by the participants in the philosophical exercise that God (or at least some sort of higher metaphysical reality) exists in some form, thereby making the religious content analyzed by the philosophy a meaningful basis for discussion from the standpoint of all concerned.

    However, a consensus on the existence of God obviously doesn't exist amongst the participants of this current thread, and so the argument has become one about the substantive validity of religion itself, which (I presume) wasn't the original point of the thread.

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    *sigh*

    That was the point at the start of it. Then Rhydderch kept bringing up God while I tried to drag the conversation towards my original intended idea of the thread - to find out what people think virtues would be good in an ethnoculturally homogenous community. Finally it became irresistable, and I crossed the event horizon into a zone I haven't been in since Moody Lawless left
    It appears you have succumbed to temptation. Alas!

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    This is why we need the Gladiator Pit subforum - so I can split this thread and dump the theist vs atheist chunk in there and so we can continue with the original course of discussion.

    But yes - sovereignty, authority, decision and other topics would have been good fuel for the discussion. I've been stewing over problems related to them for months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telperion
    The debate on theism vs. atheism has been interesting. But in the course of that debate, the discussion of "why morality" itself strikes me as not having been discussed in much detail. It soon became an argument between two competing assertions, i.e. that we must be moral because God says to be moral, versus God doesn't exist and so claims about a religious mandate for morality don't justify morality. In the process, a great many other issues have been left by the wayside. E.g. if the individual is sovereign, how can the community justifiably make any moral claims on the individual, given that morality implies absolute standards by which the individual's conduct will be assessed, even if he does not agree with those standards? There are enough sub-issues raised by that question and its implicit assumptions to fill up a number of PhD dissertations in philosophy.

    The point, then, is that there are a lot of fruitful areas of discussion that aren't being touched on, because instead everyone is arguing over whether God exists.

    It isn't, but religious philosophy tends to be conducted on the basis of common agreement by the participants in the philosophical exercise that God (or at least some sort of higher metaphysical reality) exists in some form, thereby making the religious content analyzed by the philosophy a meaningful basis for discussion from the standpoint of all concerned.

    However, a consensus on the existence of God obviously doesn't exist amongst the participants of this current thread, and so the argument has become one about the substantive validity of religion itself, which (I presume) wasn't the original point of the thread.
    Hey, we almost push the door to get to metaphysics and epistemology in some parts But yes. Satanist vs Christian and victory is not in sight for either side
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telperion
    The debate on theism vs. atheism has been interesting. But in the course of that debate, the discussion of "why morality" itself strikes me as not having been discussed in much detail. It soon became an argument between two competing assertions, i.e. that we must be moral because God says to be moral, versus God doesn't exist and so claims about a religious mandate for morality don't justify morality. In the process, a great many other issues have been left by the wayside. E.g. if the individual is sovereign, how can the community justifiably make any moral claims on the individual, given that morality implies absolute standards by which the individual's conduct will be assessed, even if he does not agree with those standards? There are enough sub-issues raised by that question and its implicit assumptions to fill up a number of PhD dissertations in philosophy.

    The point, then, is that there are a lot of fruitful areas of discussion that aren't being touched on, because instead everyone is arguing over whether God exists.
    You're free to bring up all those issues. I'm listening. But still, wether god exists or not is really important in determining the purpose of morality.

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    Post Re: Why morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telperion
    It appears you have succumbed to temptation. Alas!
    ...And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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