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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
Wyrdly
Junior Member (Idle past 1984 days)
Posts: 3
From: London
Joined: 10-01-2014


Message 211 of 438 (739723)
10-27-2014 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 208 by Dr Adequate
10-02-2014 10:56 AM


Dr AdequateD writes:

Well, people telling you what God thinks about morality are also fallible and their claims are also questionable.

Not necessarily depending on the dogma of the religion in question. A metaphorical religion that holds the interpretation of divine law by the priesthood to be sacred is therefore infallible, anything they say is by definition right.

You are basically responding to my point that human authority is fallible by claiming that divine authority is essentially human. From a theological perspective, that argument holds no weight. Muslims believe Muhammad's words are the words of god, so they are indistinguishable.

Responding to someone else's point:

Too often i see the answers from atheists saying "i don't need god to be good" - "I have empathy" i am compassionate" etc etc

this avoids the root of the question of what is good, what is moral. Existentialist atheists like Sartre have looked to social justice and even Marxism as a quasi religious pursuit, something to fill the painful void of existence and give it meaning. This is a falsehood though, it doesn't bring you any closer to authentic existence or understanding an objective "good" than following any made up religion.

When an Aztec priest sacrificed someone, it wasn't because they lacked empathy or weren't good, it was because they were good according to the morality of their culture at that time.

"What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome." Friedrich Nietzsche - a very anti-Christian thinker, but not necessarily anti-theist.

anyway, his transvaluation of all morals wasn't about reviving empathy (i know Dr. Adequate wasn't the one who mentioned empathy here, it was someone else).

My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 208 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-02-2014 10:56 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 212 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-27-2014 1:03 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded
 Message 213 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-27-2014 1:04 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded
 Message 214 by Stile, posted 10-27-2014 1:12 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded
 Message 215 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-27-2014 5:49 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded
 Message 216 by RAZD, posted 10-27-2014 7:33 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 212 of 438 (739733)
10-27-2014 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


Not necessarily depending on the dogma of the religion in question. A metaphorical religion that holds the interpretation of divine law by the priesthood to be sacred is therefore infallible, anything they say is by definition right.

No. What they say is according to them right, but it is not by definition right. If someone says: "I am a priest and divine law says that 2 + 2 = 5, this is my religion", then they are not by definition right. They may be a crackpot.

You are basically responding to my point that human authority is fallible by claiming that divine authority is essentially human.

No I am not. Divine authority is divine. No question. But a human who says that they know what God thinks is human.

From a theological perspective, that argument holds no weight.

Well, I didn't claim that people can't be obdurately stupid. Yes, I can imagine a conversation like this:

Him: God says this.
Me: You say that God says this.
Him: But God says that I'm speaking for God.
Me: You say that God says that you're speaking for God.
Him: No, God says that God says that I'm speaking for God.
Me: You say that God says that God says that you're speaking for God.
Him: No, God says that God says that God says that I'm speaking for God.

... and so on. But unless God turns up and says something himself, then I think I have a point. Because in the end, I am in fact speaking to a human. It doesn't matter how many times he says "God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that God says that ... I'm speaking for God", he doesn't get away from the fact that he's a human telling me this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 213 of 438 (739734)
10-27-2014 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


Responding to someone else's point:

Too often i see the answers from atheists saying "i don't need god to be good" - "I have empathy" i am compassionate" etc etc

That may have been mine... (I'm not an atheist btw)

In Message 202, you asked:

quote:
In the absence of a god what reason do i have to behave according to anyone's so called morality?

My response, in Message 206, was "empathy".

That is, empathy is the reason you have to behave according to anyone's so called morality.

The way it works is that you don't like being hurt. Through empathy, you can understand how your actions can hurt others. Given that you don't want to be hurt, and that through empathy you can understand that other people don't want to be hurt either, therefore, it is right for you to not hurt other people.

Now, you're saying:

this avoids the root of the question of what is good, what is moral.

If those are the questions you want answered, then those are the questions you should ask.

I contend that we don't really need to nail down what those things are in order to realize that empathy is the reason for being good without a god.

My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.

Empathy doesn't make them good. Empathy is what allows you to realize the goodness/badness in the actions that you take.

Its the actions that are either good or bad.

Empathy is the way, without a god, to realize whether or not those actions are good or bad.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3951
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 214 of 438 (739735)
10-27-2014 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


Good and Bad
Hi Wyrdly! Welcome to EvC! It's fun here and there's lots to see, I hope you stick around

Wyrdly writes:

this avoids the root of the question of what is good, what is moral.

Exactly.

I noticed you didn't answer this question, though. I think the answer is easy, although a bit unsettling without understanding.

This is a falsehood though, it doesn't bring you any closer to authentic existence or understanding an objective "good" than following any made up religion.

Right.

What makes you think that there is an objective "good"?
Or maybe you think such a thing does not exist?

And what is "authentic" existence? How is it better than regular-old every-day existence?

My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.

Saying such a thing seems to imply that you do indeed know what "good" is. Can you inform us?

My position is that there is no such thing as an objective "good."
"Good" and "Bad" only exist as concepts that we create and agree upon as social creatures.

My evidence for this is all the information you can find out there of conflicting ideas of what is good and what is bad.

If objective ideas existed... there would be more agreement.
Since there is no agreement, especially in the minute details... I propose that there is no such thing as objective Good and objective Bad.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 217 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 7:51 PM Stile has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 215 of 438 (739766)
10-27-2014 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.

But to think other things is another perspective.

To think that these other things are things that God thinks is also another perspective.

Maybe there is a God, and maybe everything he thinks is right. But to think that you know what he thinks is just another perspective.

---

I don't know if you've heard of a website called Conservapedia. It's meant to be an alternative to Wikipedia but its contents are meant to be what right-wing conservative American Christians think.

Now, the guy running Conservapedia (Andrew Schafly) wrote on Conservapedia that most of the great composers were German, and put on Conservapedia a list of the top ten composers ever. And even his acolytes asked him: "Mr Schlafly, how can you even say that, surely that's a matter of taste, what if other people who don't share your taste prefer Tchaikovsky over Beethoven?"

To which he replied: Oh, you guys are clearly atheist relativists and such. God exists, and he must prefer some music over others, so it is objectively true that Beethoven is better than Tchaikovsky.

You see the problem with that? Let us admit that God has preferences about classical music. But how is Schlafly meant to know that God agrees with Schlafly's own personal preferences in music? Schlafly says that there is an objective criterion as to which music is good. But then he assumes that this criterion is identical to his own tastes. This is nuts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 216 of 438 (739782)
10-27-2014 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.

We see behavior in studies on monkeys that show a sense\understanding of morality in their behavior ...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...17_monkeyfairness.html

... morality that we recognize because it is similar to the way we would feel (oops there's that empathy thing again). We should expect different moral behavior in non-social animals, yes? Different values for predatory animals vs herbivorous, yes?

Message 204:
... In the absence of a god what reason do i have to behave according to anyone's so called morality?

To add to what vimesey said, enlightened self-interest: it is moral to treat your neighbor as a friend so that he treats you as a friend rather than an enemy you are always fighting (which is a waste of time and resources) and then you can share tasks and resources.

We are a social animal and so our basic (evolved) moral behavior is derived from what benefits the social group you live in. As conscious beings we have expanded our social group from family to larger and larger groups -- cities, nations, species, life ...

bold and italic added.

Furthermore, you could define enlightened self-interest behavior to be what lessens group tension in social animals, behavior that reduces fights and conflicts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_self-interest

quote:
Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.[1][2][3]

It has often been simply expressed by the belief that an individual, group, or even a commercial entity will "do well by doing good".[4][5][6]

In contrast to enlightened self-interest is simple greed or the concept of "unenlightened self-interest," in which it is argued that when most or all persons act according to their own myopic selfishness, that the group suffers loss as a result of conflict, decreased efficiency and productivity because of lack of cooperation, and the increased expense each individual pays for the protection of their own interests.


Which explains why the behavior of greedy bankers is seen as immoral by the general population.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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Dogmafood
Member
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 217 of 438 (739784)
10-27-2014 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by Stile
10-27-2014 1:12 PM


Re: Good and Bad
My position is that there is no such thing as an objective "good."

Hey Stile, so does this mean that for something to be objectively good that it would have to be good for everybody? I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by Stile, posted 10-27-2014 1:12 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 218 by RAZD, posted 10-27-2014 8:25 PM Dogmafood has responded
 Message 222 by Stile, posted 10-28-2014 9:13 AM Dogmafood has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 218 of 438 (739788)
10-27-2014 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 217 by Dogmafood
10-27-2014 7:51 PM


Re: Good and Bad
... does this mean that for something to be objectively good that it would have to be good for everybody? I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.

It means it would have to be "good" regardless of whether people were involved or not.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 217 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 7:51 PM Dogmafood has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 219 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 9:50 PM RAZD has responded

  
Dogmafood
Member
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 219 of 438 (739795)
10-27-2014 9:50 PM
Reply to: Message 218 by RAZD
10-27-2014 8:25 PM


Re: Good and Bad
Don't you need people to have morality?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 218 by RAZD, posted 10-27-2014 8:25 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 230 by RAZD, posted 10-28-2014 4:56 PM Dogmafood has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4687
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 220 of 438 (739811)
10-28-2014 5:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Cedre
03-28-2009 8:28 AM


The question that recurred in my mind was why there is goodness or in other words why righteous men exist who strive day by day to become less selfish and more selfless. Why do folks care about the feelings or welfare of others when it has no bearing on their own welfare? Put in evolutionary terms, why is there such a thing as if you would “unbeneficial humanitarianism” where an individual’ survival success will not be impacted or rather positively impacted directly or indirectly by his or her care giving/taking of others.
Someone once answered this question as follows that perhaps the giver of these seemingly selfless acts is committing them because he too may require them sometime in the future if he also falls into the same position that the current recipients of his love and care have fallen into at the moment. Therefore if one should judge it from this angle it turns out that it was never “unbeneficial humanitarianism” but still the same old selfishness. The problem with this reply is that it is cheap and tacky it hardly answers the question or even describes it well.

Logically, there isn't an "evolutionary" answer that is NOT an excuse. Every single suggestion for an answer with the selfish gene, is plastic and conjectural. which means that every suggestion they make can't be tested. Think about it, if you help mother, it's your selfish gene, if you help mother's friend it's the selfish gene, if you help mother's friend's dog, it's the selfish gene, if you commit suicide it's the selfish gene, if you stand on four legs howling at the moon it's the selfish gene if you're Elvis Johnny-cake Jonah from the planet Mars it's the selfish gene.

Please somebody show me how to refute something that is so plastic that any answer you give is, "evolution". RIDICULOUS.

It's exactly the same thing as invoking the insanely improbable. One can simply say in regards to the improbable event, "ahh but given enough time".

UNFALSIFIABLE.

Therefore the PHILOSOPHY of evolution is logically IRRELEVANT to the died-in-the-wool FACTS you have just stated.

Any direct FACTS that favour theism, and favour Christianity, have to be dealt with by materialists in one of two ways;

1. Say the fact is illusory.
2. Deny the fact.

I refer to this personally, as, "Arguing-To-The-Extreme".

To argue to the extreme-level, is to either deny reality, or try and fudge over reality with speculation. But just because people speculate, doesn't mean their speculation/philosophy, is then true.

Christians have provided one of the most satisfying answers to this enigma.

Exactly. A fully functioning mind and conscience is a thing of reality, which is why a cheap-philosophy designed to PRETEND reality is not there, does not satisfy you.

There are other examples of scientific facts which none-scientific or atheistic-evolutionists argue away, realities they, "play down".

Examples:
-Freewill. (doesn't really exist")
- Design. ( only and "appearance")
- Morality (only "relative")
- Human uniqueness. (By giving example of rudimentary, irrelevant similarities in animals, playing the "quantitive" game.)
- DNA, (not really "information")

Cedre, if you are still around I implore you to accept reality for what it is, not philosophy based on guesses. Evolution doesn't explain the human condition, and never did. They can give excuses, but we don't have to buy them.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 221 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-28-2014 8:40 AM mike the wiz has responded
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 Message 226 by ringo, posted 10-28-2014 12:33 PM mike the wiz has responded
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 221 of 438 (739822)
10-28-2014 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 220 by mike the wiz
10-28-2014 5:55 AM


This is not merely wrong but irrelevant to the post to which you were replying. Evidently you were "triggered", as the psychologists have it, by the mere presence of the word "selfish" in Cedre's post.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 220 by mike the wiz, posted 10-28-2014 5:55 AM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 223 by mike the wiz, posted 10-28-2014 9:32 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3951
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 222 of 438 (739827)
10-28-2014 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 217 by Dogmafood
10-27-2014 7:51 PM


Re: Good and Bad
ProtoTypical writes:

Stile writes:

My position is that there is no such thing as an objective "good."


Hey Stile, so does this mean that for something to be objectively good that it would have to be good for everybody?

No, that's not what I meant to imply.
I do understand what you're saying... "everybody agrees" is a sort of definition for "objective."

I was going for a more rigorous definition of objective, though. One which does not rely on people.
Like "a boulder is heavier than a feather" is not objective because everyone agrees. It's objective because it can be measured and shown to anyone.

This is what I meant by 'no such thing as an objective "good"'.
There is no external measurement system for "good" that indicates good/bad is some sort of intrinsic property of a situation or idea.
It's just a concept that we think about (and likely made up).

I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.

Again, it's not the sort of thing I was aiming for.. but even as an aside... I would disagree
I have nothing off the top of my head, but if you want, I can search the internet... are you sure it will be impossible for me to find a single person in the entire world that does not want to be healthy? Or another single person who does not want to "prosper"?

I'm pretty sure I could find a single person who would not be included in your "everybody" statement.
Some people commit suicide. That's pretty accepting that you have no desire to get healthy, you only want to stop. Kind of gets in the way of you achieving prosperity too.
Are you saying that there's no such thing as suicide? Honorable Seppuku?
Huh... maybe I did have something off the top of my head

I'm sure I can find more if I tried to search, even.

I do concede, though... that the vast majority would agree with your idea here.

Don't you need people to have morality?

Exactly my point.
If you need people then it cannot possibly be "objective" (in the rigorous sense of the word I'm going for here).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 217 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 7:51 PM Dogmafood has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 225 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-28-2014 9:59 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply
 Message 233 by Dogmafood, posted 10-31-2014 1:03 AM Stile has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4687
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 223 of 438 (739831)
10-28-2014 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 221 by Dr Adequate
10-28-2014 8:40 AM


How is it not relevant? You only STATED it was not relevant.

I read his post? I don't get why you would say this, since my response was the same topic? It is possible I cross-posted, as I occasionally do, when I am lost in thought.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 221 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-28-2014 8:40 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 227 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-28-2014 2:46 PM mike the wiz has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3951
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 224 of 438 (739833)
10-28-2014 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 220 by mike the wiz
10-28-2014 5:55 AM


mike the wiz writes:

which means that every suggestion they make can't be tested. Think about it, if you help mother, it's your selfish gene, if you help mother's friend it's the selfish gene, if you help mother's friend's dog, it's the selfish gene, if you commit suicide it's the selfish gene...

It cannot possibly be the selfish gene if you commit suicide before reproducing or helping anyone else to reproduce.
Even your examples refute your own idea. It's very confusing.

Freewill. ("doesn't really exist")

I don't think it matters if Freewill actually exists or not.
We're still here.
We still make actions that affect other people.
We still have to protect the rest of society from those of us who do actions that negatively affect other people.

Even if we could definitively prove that Freewill did not exist in any possible way... it would only be a simple change to our laws and life would continue exactly as it does not.
Sentencing would change from "You chose to do this... now you must go to jail and accept your consequences" to "You did this... now you must go to jail, sorry about your luck."

Nothing would change. It doesn't make a difference to practical life.
People are very good at adapting and accepting things that don't change practical life. Because it's really easy.

Design. (only an "appearance")

Again, it doesn't matter.

So what if we're designed?
Fossils still exist.
Science still gets us to the moon.
God still doesn't care enough to actually intervene to do anything in this life.
The afterlife is still unknown to us.

Nothing changes, again.

Morality (only "relative")

Morality is only relative. That's why there's so many disagreements on what is and is not moral.
That's why laws change from culture to culture and era to era.

If morality was not relative, it would not be so different across cultures and time.

This is simply a fact. And an easily verified, obvious one, at that.

Human uniqueness. (By giving example of rudimentary, irrelevant similarities in animals, playing the "quantitive" game.)

I have no idea where you're going with this one.
But I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter either.

DNA, (not really "information")

Maybe DNA is intelligently designed, maybe it's not. Again, you seem to make a big kerfuffle about nothing.

Fossils still exist.
Science still gets us to the moon.
God still doesn't care enough to actually intervene to do anything in this life.
The afterlife is still unknown to us.

Nothing changes, again.

And we're still back to figuring this all out for ourselves. If you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat their mistakes. God hasn't affected anyone's life more significantly than random chance for the last 2000 years. Maybe if you hope and believe this entire life you'll be rewarded with a great afterlife! Or... since that's a pretty selfish motivation... it would be better for you to try and change this world for the better while you're here instead.

Maybe, by not interfering in the last 2000 years, God's giving you the strongest hint ever... that you should try to help things out without relying on Him.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 220 by mike the wiz, posted 10-28-2014 5:55 AM mike the wiz has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 225 of 438 (739837)
10-28-2014 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 222 by Stile
10-28-2014 9:13 AM


Re: Good and Bad
I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.

Again, it's not the sort of thing I was aiming for.. but even as an aside... I would disagree
I have nothing off the top of my head, but if you want, I can search the internet... are you sure it will be impossible for me to find a single person in the entire world that does not want to be healthy? Or another single person who does not want to "prosper"?

There's another angle:

If everyone was prosperous and happy then we'd quickly overpopulate and ruin the planet and then nobody could be prosperous and happy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 222 by Stile, posted 10-28-2014 9:13 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
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