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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Taq
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Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


(5)
Message 76 of 306 (872825)
03-05-2020 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by GDR
03-05-2020 12:23 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

I'm simply saying that if there is a morality that exists outside of human existence then there needs to be a source for that. If however, there is no morality outside of human existence then morality is simply what any group or even individual decides it to be.

Morality doesn't make any sense outside of human existence. If there was this alleged objective morality that existed outside of human existence and it went against everything humans believed to be moral, then what good is that objective morality? If an objective morality told us that we should randomly kill half of all children under the age of 5, would we obey that objective moral code? Would we even want to?

The source of morality is interaction between emotional beings. When one person can harm another it gives birth to morality. Morality doesn't exist outside of that interaction. Furthermore, each intelligent, sentient, and emotional species is going to have their own moral code defined by their specific interactions and emotions. We even see this with life on Earth. We don't arrest animals that kill another member of their species like we do in our own species.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


(2)
Message 77 of 306 (872826)
03-05-2020 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by GDR
03-05-2020 11:37 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule is an entirely subjective morality. It is based solely on our own subjective opinions of how we want to be treated, what would harm us, and what would benefit us. It is based entirely on the human condition.

Morality isn't an emotion.

You may want to think about that one for a while. Injustice, pain, harm, and well being are all emotions, and they form the foundation of morality.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 11:37 AM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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GDR
Member (Idle past 226 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 78 of 306 (872827)
03-05-2020 1:00 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by Taq
03-05-2020 12:48 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
Taq writes:

The Golden Rule is an entirely subjective morality. It is based solely on our own subjective opinions of how we want to be treated, what would harm us, and what would benefit us. It is based entirely on the human condition.

That is your belief, and maybe you are correct. It does mean however that it allows for other subjective views that we would consider to be immoral to be moral.

Taq writes:

You may want to think about that one for a while. Injustice, pain, harm, and well being are all emotions, and they form the foundation of morality.

They effect our moral behaviour but they aren't morality itself.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


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PaulK
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Posts: 17171
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 79 of 306 (872828)
03-05-2020 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by GDR
03-05-2020 12:23 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
quote:
I'm simply saying that if there is a morality that exists outside of human existence then there needs to be a source for that.

Are you saying that you aren’t talking about an absolute morality? Because if you aren’t it’s just another relative morality so what’s the significance?

quote:
I'm sorry but I don't understand your point with this statement. If morality has to exist prior to being moral then doesn't it follow that the pre-existing morality would be consistent. If it is consistent then it follows that it is outside of human experience than then there must be a source for that.

The point is that being moral can’t be a requirement of the source, because being the source must logically precede being moral.
So, how do you get that the source must be moral?

quote:
Mankind has always understood the Golden Rule and it has been in all societies going back at least to Buddha and in the book of Leviticus. Sure, we have seldom lived up to it but it has been the standard of how we should conduct ourselves as humans pretty much through recorded history.

That completely misses the point, if the Golden Rule is simply a basic feature of human morality it doesn’t have to be “absolute” in the sense of being external to human nature. Indeed it seems to be based on the basic idea of fairness which fits well with an evolutionary origin.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 80 of 306 (872829)
03-05-2020 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by GDR
03-05-2020 1:00 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

It does mean however that it allows for other subjective views that we would consider to be immoral to be moral.

Absolutely. This is why views on morality have changed through many ages. As our philosophies and worldviews change our morality changes with it. That's the way it should be. How awful would it be to have an unchanging moral code that no longer reflects the beliefs of the human population?

They effect our moral behaviour but they aren't morality itself.

Then what is?


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8549
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.4


(1)
Message 81 of 306 (872831)
03-05-2020 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by GDR
03-05-2020 11:37 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

No but it would make it possible and even likely.

You have absolutely no way of knowing whether that statement is true or false. What we do know for sure is that it's not necessary for a god to be a moral being and that the god of the bible is immoral.

God, Yahweh, Allah etc.

The god of the bible is absolutely not a moral being - he's a narcissistic, genocidal psychopath.

Morality isn't an emotion.

Of course it is, it's a brain function we call empathy or compassion. With fRMA we can see it work and measure it. Those are straight forward facts, but even if you reject them, you still haven't made any argument justifying your claim that morality exists outside ourselves.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 82 of 306 (872832)
03-05-2020 1:26 PM


Two Good References
Here are a couple of good references I have found on objective and subjective morality. They reflect my own conclusions on the subject.

quote:
Is it even possible to have an objective morality? I would argue that it is not possible, and even if such existed it would be irrelevant because we could not know about it. Further, there is no compelling evidence that anyone, any group or society, has access to an objective morality.

The notion of an objective morality assumes that morality is something that can make sense apart from the context in which it is used (in our case, human society). Is it objectively wrong, according to some moral law of the universe, to harm another creature? If you try to justify this moral position, then you are actually engaging in moral philosophy – the complex and messy human understanding of morals.

This is what leads proponents of objective morality to the conclusion that objective morals require a lawgiver (actually, I think they work backward from their desire to prove a lawgiver, but that is a separate point). This does not solve the problem, however, just removes it one degree. How, then, does the lawgiver derive their morality? This leads to Euthyprho’s dilemma – are the morals of God right because God says so or does God say so because they are objectively right? Of course, it can be both, but that does not really solve anything. We are still left with the problem of what possible basis there can be for objective morality. If it’s not “God says so” then what is it?
Objective vs Subjective Morality | NeuroLogica Blog


quote:
Thus, if morality were an absolute set by a god, something could be immoral even if every human disagreed. If, instead, human feelings and desires are what ultimately count, then that is a subjective morality.

Thus, a subjective morality is strongly preferable to an objective one! That’s because, by definition, it is about what we humans want. Would we prefer to be told by some third party what we should do, even if it is directly contrary to our own deeply held sense of morality?

Given that an objective morality would be highly undesirable, why do so many philosophers and others continue to try hard to rescue an objective morality?

I suspect that they’re actually trying to attain objective backing for what is merely their own subjective opinion of what is moral. This is the trick the religious have long played, inventing a god in their own image who can back them up by turning “I want …” into “God wants …”.
Six reasons why objective morality is nonsense


Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


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Stile
Member
Posts: 4076
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 83 of 306 (872834)
03-05-2020 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Dogmafood
03-04-2020 4:42 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
Dogmafood writes:

I am referring to the most fundamental basis for making any choice or taking any action. There are a multitude of explanations that an actor might provide but they all trace back to the programmed desire for self preservation. Any choice that benefits the actor, in whatever way, attempts to serve the ultimate and fundamental goal of self preservation. We survive by making choices that benefit us. (This is probably why we evolved a brain in the first place and can make choices at all.)

And I'm telling you that this idea is wrong.

If you're right - then show me.

As soon as we have intelligence (defined here as something like the difference between "making a choice" and "acting on instinct") - then the idea you're proposing is no longer valid.

If we only act on instinct - then you're right.
But if there's a choice, no matter how insignificant (some animals, even, have "choice" on the level of this definition.)
-Then it breaks the chain.

Maybe the choice was made for self-preservation.
But maybe it wasn't.

Choices are made for many different reasons.

Your only fall-back is if you want to say that "real choice doesn't exist" and all we have is "the illusion of choice."
-If this is true, then you'd be correct again.
-But this isn't known to be true, and current research isn't at the level to indicate it's validity one way or the other

I think choice is real (for those who have the intelligence to override instincts.)
Therefore, for such people/beings, not all choices must be "traced back to the desire for self preservation." You may be able to think of a tracing that would connect the choice to self-preservation - but if that wasn't the choice used to make the decision - then all you have is "an alternate pathway" and not "the actual pathway."

My point is that if we all make decisions in the same way with the same machinery then there is a fundamentally common or universal element to our behaviour.

Easily proven false.

A 35 year old identified genius does not make decisions "in the same way with the same machinery" as a 35 year old village idiot (for lack of a better term.)

Sure - maybe they both have brains.
But not all brains are equal.
Thus - different machinery.

Sure - maybe many brains have equal potential.
But not all people have equal motivation/opportunity/experiences to use them equally.
Thus - different "ways" of making decisions.

Every religion that ever existed was an attempt to codify the behaviour that was perceived to benefit the group and even though they are all different they have the same origin. Self preservation and reproduction.

That's not true.

Some religions are created in an attempt to codify behaviour to benefit certain individuals and screw the group.
That's what cults are.

Some religions are created in an attempt to "reach higher levels" of "spirituality" and to hell with whether or not earthly-preservation or earthly-reproduction are supported or considered.

So if there is a universal code of conduct it is to live long enough to breed.

Perhaps instinctually - yes.
My point is that as soon as intelligence develops to the level where one can choose to go against instinct - to go against "living long enough to breed" - then it's no longer "a universal code of conduct."


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Replies to this message:
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Aussie
Member
Posts: 275
From: FL USA
Joined: 10-02-2006


(1)
Message 84 of 306 (872835)
03-05-2020 2:00 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by GDR
02-29-2020 8:46 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
I am simply saying that if there is a moral intelligence that is responsible for our existence then there can be an absolute morality...

I'm curious as to why you think that if there is some other sense of morality out there, that it must be better than ours by default, let alone Absolute in terms of its moral pronouncements.

Parents pass all kinds of negative traits to their children all the time; how do you assume that this would not be the the case if there was some Cosmic creative intelligence responsible for our existence? How do you make the leap from "There is something out there," to "Everything about that something is moral perfection."?

To me this is the essence of the tiny child's thoughts. Toddlers make the assumption that mom and dad are strong and good, and can't imagine flaws in them. Maybe we need to be more mature in our assumptions about things we can't possibly understand.


"...heck is a small price to pay for the truth"

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Stile
Member
Posts: 4076
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 85 of 306 (872836)
03-05-2020 2:02 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by GDR
03-04-2020 7:31 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

However, if there is an absolute morality then there is a moral source for it. If that is the case then it makes sense that we would want to understand as much about that source of morality as we can and what it means to our lives.

I'll agree with that.

What you do next, though - is assume that this absolute morality must fundamentally be a good one.
Take a look at the world around us - it's entirely plausible (and fits with all currently known facts) that the "absolute morality" for the universe we live in is that the physically stronger are better than the physically weaker.

This would be a very terrible absolute morality for (hopefully) obvious reasons, and I for one would reject it immediately and carry on with my much better morality of attempting to help others instead of hurt them when I interact with them.

One of the things that it would strongly suggest that there is an ultimate purpose to us holding to that morality.

Again, I agree.
And, in my example, the ultimate purpose would be to defeat all those weaker than you.

A horrible, and easily reject-able ultimate purpose.

See what I mean by meaningless?

Now - what if it's a good absolute morality and a very good ultimate purpose?
-Then, of course, many (all?) of us would agree with it and adapt to it.

But - look at what happened. We don't join the "absolute morality" and the "ultimate purpose" because they are absolute and ultimate.
We join them because we learn about them, judge them, and agree with them (or not.)

Which means - the words "absolute" and "ultimate" in this sense are meaningless in any terms of "should be followed" or not.
They only mean something along the lines of "comes from an external source." Which - really - so do a whole lot of ideas.

This all shows your whole idea for what it is - a strange attempt to try and persuade others to agree with you by using attractive terms like "absolute" and "ultimate." Which is, really, kind of pathetic and makes me pity you that you're in such a position that you think such methods are required.

If however, we are just a fortunate result of mindless processes then ultimately this world will come to an end and it will all have meant nothing, and so why worry about morality at all and just live in whatever manner suits us which may conform to that ultimate morality or not.

Not true either.

Even without "absolute/ultimate" (read "external") morality/purpose - we still have our own morality/purpose which is extremely important to ourselves.
If you want your importance to reach "beyond ourselves," whether in terms of internal/external or time-line, I will simply say that you're being egotistical and greedy - which are not ideas considered to be virtuous.

And I have news for you: We all already do "live in whatever manner suits us."
Some are nice people because of it.
Others are bad people.

It is your choice as to which one you want to be.
(Note: Not "which one you want to be remembered as." But simply: "which one you want to BE.")


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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 19614
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 86 of 306 (872837)
03-05-2020 2:05 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Aussie
03-05-2020 2:00 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
Aussie writes:

I'm curious as to why you think that if there is some other sense of morality out there, that it must be better than ours by default....


That's what I always wonder. Why would a god's morality benefit us at all?

"I'm Fallen and I can't get up!"

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GDR
Member (Idle past 226 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 87 of 306 (872838)
03-05-2020 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by Tangle
03-05-2020 1:11 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
Tangle writes:

You have absolutely no way of knowing whether that statement is true or false.

...and you have absolutely know way of knowing that I am wrong.
Tangle writes:

What we do know for sure is that it's not necessary for a god to be a moral being

..which tells us nothing about whether any deity actually is or isn't moral
Tangle writes:

that the god of the bible is immoral.

If you read the Bible as being inerrant then yes you are right. As you have seen no doubt in my disagreement with Faith I view the Bible as being written by fallible humans but that God can speak to us through what is written. For example when we see God commanding genocide and public stonings then the message is to be sceptical when someone says that God told them to do something, and first off ensure that it is consistent with what we have of the teaching of Jesus. For example, we can see that you cannot reconcile God ordering genocide with Jesus saying that we are to love our enemy or for that matter the way he dealt with the Romans.

Tangle writes:

The god of the bible is absolutely not a moral being - he's a narcissistic, genocidal psychopath.

Yes, if it read it as being dictated by God. You inevitably always go back to attacking an inerrant view of the Scriptures which most Christians also reject, including myself.

Tangle writes:

Of course it is, it's a brain function we call empathy or compassion. With fRMA we can see it work and measure it.

Emotions affect our moral behaviour in a given moment but it isn't an emotion.
Tangle writes:

Those are straight forward facts, but even if you reject them, you still haven't made any argument justifying your claim that morality exists outside ourselves.

I have given you an argument for it. It is just that you don't have the good sense to accept it.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 4076
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 88 of 306 (872840)
03-05-2020 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Aussie
03-05-2020 2:00 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
Aussie writes:

Parents pass all kinds of negative traits to their children all the time; how do you assume that this would not be the the case if there was some Cosmic creative intelligence responsible for our existence? How do you make the leap from "There is something out there," to "Everything about that something is moral perfection."?

Along these lines, I think of this scenario:

God is often thought of as the "ultimate Father figure."
Which would make us all children.

What is the "ultimate end-game" of a child? From a parent's perspective?
-To see that child stand up on their own, make their own decisions, to do something bigger/better/beyond the abilities of the parent - simply because that child wants to - not because that child was forced to.

Therefore, if God is the "ultimate Father figure."
And has given us "absolute morality" and "ultimate purpose."
Then what is God hoping we do?
-Use our abilities, our decisions, our own motivations to create/develop/mold our own "morality" and "purpose" that is bigger/better/beyond what God originally identified as "absolute" or "ultimate."
-If we don't do this, we will forever remain "an acceptable child." Very good - maybe we have our own jobs and support ourselves - but never really impressing or showing our parent that we can "break the mold" in an extraordinary and good way.

I don't intend this little scenario to imply I wish to defy God.
I intend this little scenario to imply how foolish it is to use words like "absolute" and "ultimate" when discussion things like morality and purpose.
All they do is persuade the easily manipulated into a cult-like environment. They're just silly. There's nothing helpful or good about them, in this context.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19614
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 89 of 306 (872841)
03-05-2020 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by GDR
03-05-2020 2:10 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

Emotions affect our moral behaviour in a given moment but it isn't an emotion.


It's a long-term function (what we learned from Mommy and Daddy and TV) and a short-term function (looser when it concerns sombody we're currently mad at) but if it isn't a brain function, what is it?

"I'm Fallen and I can't get up!"

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GDR
Member (Idle past 226 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 90 of 306 (872842)
03-05-2020 2:43 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Taq
03-05-2020 1:26 PM


Re: Two Good References
Taq writes:

Here are a couple of good references I have found on objective and subjective morality. They reflect my own conclusions on the subject.

Good quotes. First off, I don't pretend to be approaching this from a position of knowing the answer. It is a faith as in all views on the subject.

The last quote says this, "This is the trick the religious have long played, inventing a god in their own image who can back them up by turning “I want …” into “God wants …”..

First off, I have led a privileged life by being born into the country I was, having loving parents, having kids who have turned into really nice kind adults and loving parents themselves and even having a career that paid well and which I really enjoyed doing. If I worshipped a God created in my own image then I would worship a god that would say that I should take credit for all of my good fortune. I'd worship a god that would condone using my time and resources for luxurious living. I choose to worship a God who we can see in the Son, who perfectly embodied His essence being born as an illegitimate child, in a lower class family, living a life dependent on the charity of others, (at least in three years of His ministry), washing the feet of His followers and going through with taking His message to Jerusalem knowing that He would be crucified as He knew that He was treading on the toes of all of those in authority. I am not making up a god in my own image.

My Christian faith is based on the belief that God resurrected Jesus. If I am wrong in that, they my Christian faith is a waste of time. However if I am right then I have good reason for my belief in a universal morality that is based on the Golden Rule.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by Taq, posted 03-05-2020 1:26 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
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