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Author Topic:   Underlying Philosophy
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 511 of 577 (569640)
07-22-2010 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 510 by PaulK
07-22-2010 3:10 PM


Re: The Irrelevance Of Ontology
Provided you are prepared to explain that you don't assume all the baggage that goes with the idea of "reality", that you are essentially talking about patterns in sense-data without judging what lies behind them that seems to be workable. But you have to be prepared to explain it, because almost nobody will work it out if you don't.

But almost nobody will consider the question in the first place, which means that I shall hardly ever have to proffer such an explanation.

Now, if I was to adopt a more philosophical style of language, just in order to avoid ever having to explain this point, I should have way too many conversations like this:

Me: I predict that under certain circumstances it is possible for me to experience sense-data which would be consistent with the theory that I am in the vicinity of an elephant, and I also predict that the same will not hold (mutatis mutandis) for unicorns.

Him: What?

Me (more slowly): I predict ... that under certain circumstances ... it is possible for me to experience sense-data ... which would be consistent with the theory ... that I am in the vicinity of an elephant ...

Him: Wait, are you trying to say that elephants exist?

Me: No.

Him: You don't think they exist?

Me: No.

Him: You think elephants don't exist?

Me: That's not what I said. I said I don't think they exist, not that I think they don't exist.

Him: Look, do you think they exist or not?

Me: Of course I think they exist or not --- that's just the law of the excluded middle. But I don't think they exist and I don't think they don't.

Him: Surely you believe one or the other?

Me: Nope. I'm agnostic.

Him: You're agnostic ... about the existence of elephants?

Me: Apparently.

Him: So you think in principle that they might be nonexistent in the same way that unicorns are non-existent?

Me: No, not in the same way. Because I predict that there are no circumstances under which it would be possible for me to experience sense-data which would be consistent with the theory that I am in the vicinity of an unicorn.

Him: WILL YOU STOP TALKING LIKE THAT?

Me: Not until PaulK says it's OK. At that point I shall tell you that I think elephants exist and unicorns don't. What am I, an idiot?

Him: Good question.

---

Now it seems to me that I shall waste slightly less of my life if instead I use ordinary language to express myself; and, should the need arise, I can explain to any passing philosophers that I am using words such as "real" and "exist" in their natural sense, and am not making any ontological claims --- just like everyone else does, including philosophers when they're on their tea break.


This message is a reply to:
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Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 893 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 512 of 577 (569641)
07-22-2010 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 511 by Dr Adequate
07-22-2010 3:49 PM


Re: The Irrelevance Of Ontology
I enjoyed reading that very much. If anything, Dr A is a very good and humorous writer.

Sorry for the interruption.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 511 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-22-2010 3:49 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15221
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 513 of 577 (569642)
07-22-2010 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 511 by Dr Adequate
07-22-2010 3:49 PM


Re: The Irrelevance Of Ontology
quote:

But almost nobody will consider the question in the first place, which means that I shall hardly ever have to proffer such an explanation.

Then it won't be very difficult for you to clarify when it is needed. It would have certainly made this conversation shorter if you had bothered to do that.


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Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 514 of 577 (569646)
07-22-2010 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 513 by PaulK
07-22-2010 4:08 PM


Re: The Irrelevance Of Ontology
I'd like to thank the two of you for confirming my intuition that philosophy is largely concerned with the destruction of knowledge, not the production of it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 513 by PaulK, posted 07-22-2010 4:08 PM PaulK has not yet responded

sac51495
Member (Idle past 2916 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 515 of 577 (570149)
07-25-2010 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 488 by Modulous
07-21-2010 8:24 PM


Re: Continuing the moral discussions
Modulous,

Sorry for the long hiatus...

My position: There are moral absolutes. But two people can hold contradictory but absolute moral positions. Neither is objectively 'true'.

A moral absolute (at least in my mind) is a truth established by God which is absolutely, and objectively, true. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.' But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." (Romans 7:7-12). "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith" (Romans 9:30). This is a good summation of my view of morals and morality...

In order for a moral absolute to truly be a moral absolute, it must be absolutely true. Now I understand what you mean by saying that two people can hold contradictory but absolute moral positions. But a moral absolute is something that is objectively true, and I don't think it is possible for an atheist to believe in this kind of moral absolute, because it insinuates the existence of "truth" outside of this physical world, and for the atheist, nothing can exist but this material world. So a moral absolute entails two concepts: it is universally true, and it is objectively true. You don't conform to this position, do you?

I have no moral issues with your belief in moral absolutes.

What moral issues do you have with me being a murderer that you don't have with me having what you believe to be an incorrect viewpoint? Both could be destructive to the species, could they not? If I am teaching my children that there are moral absolutes when there really aren't, then couldn't this be seen as being destructive to society? Why is murder any worse then the teaching of an incorrect viewpoint, at least in your human-centered moral system? And besides, who or what defines what it is that is destructive to society?

You can try and persuade your fellows to change - if you do not accept them.

You have a very insidious way of seeking to distract people from the point in case. The point is this: why would it be "wrong" for a society to perform infanticide, and widow immolation, if indeed it is society that determines good? Or would it be wrong?...

I notice something common in all of your statements about morals: they are inherently anti-God by virtue of the fact that they are incredibly self-centered, relying alone on man's reasoning and his decision-making, as though man's reasoning, which is supposedly a bi-product of evolution, is lord over the universe, and can somehow tame that which produced it. "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Cor. 1:20). God can make humanly wisdom foolish by displaying His wisdom, which alone is true wisdom. God displays His wisdom in numerous places throughout the Bible. I would highly suggest that you read Romans 11, if you wish to see a marvelous display of God's wisdom. And if you don't understand it, read the whole Bible. God, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:3), is the source of all true wisdom and knowledge...

I personally feel that it [human happiness] is good.

How blatantly self-centered. And supposing another, whose "knowledge" is just as "good" as yours, does not feel that human happiness is a good thing? Are they wrong in their thinking?

<hr>

Your method of communicating your moral beliefs to me is very vague, which personally isn't surprising, given that your moral system is based on yourself. You seem to be saying that nothing is objectively wrong. If this is what your saying, then all that morals amount to are a self-woven entanglement of prejudiced guidelines for how everyone should live their lives, which should somehow meet your own "personal" guidelines for what is "right" and "wrong". To say that nothing is objectively "right", or objectively "wrong", destroys the concepts of right and wrong in their entirety. We see plainly that human devices seek the pleasure of oneself, through the entangling of that which is straight, the mystifying of that which has been revealed, and the destruction of Truth.

<hr>

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." [emphasis added] (Romans 11:33-36)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 488 by Modulous, posted 07-21-2010 8:24 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
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Huntard
Member (Idle past 492 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 516 of 577 (570168)
07-26-2010 3:20 AM
Reply to: Message 515 by sac51495
07-25-2010 10:40 PM


Re: Continuing the moral discussions
sac51495 writes:

In order for a moral absolute to truly be a moral absolute, it must be absolutely true.


Could you give us an example of an "absolute moral"?

But a moral absolute is something that is objectively true, and I don't think it is possible for an atheist to believe in this kind of moral absolute, because it insinuates the existence of "truth" outside of this physical world, and for the atheist, nothing can exist but this material world.

Will you stop pretending you know what other people believe or not? Being an atheist has nothing to do with being a materialist.
This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 301 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 517 of 577 (570194)
07-26-2010 7:24 AM
Reply to: Message 515 by sac51495
07-25-2010 10:40 PM


absolutism and objectivity
Modulous,
Sorry for the long hiatus...

No worries. The board's been down for most of it anyway

In order for a moral absolute to truly be a moral absolute, it must be absolutely true.

I doubt you can prove that statement. What can be shown is that a moral absolute might be objectively true. But standard moral philosophy separates objectivity of moral proposition and its absoluteness.

quote:
A car is a receptacle for drinking, is transparent, dreams of shoes every tuesday and is sufficient proof for the non-existence of God

Is an absolute statement.

quote:
Killing a burgler is immoral because there is a conflict of interest when a victim acts as a judge.

Is an absolute moral principle.

Are they objectively true?

But a moral absolute is something that is objectively true, and I don't think it is possible for an atheist to believe in this kind of moral absolute, because it insinuates the existence of "truth" outside of this physical world, and for the atheist, nothing can exist but this material world.

Where you conflate objectivity and absolutivity - you'd be right. But the two properties are not necessarily linked.

So a moral absolute entails two concepts: it is universally true, and it is objectively true. You don't conform to this position, do you?

No - it doesn't come under any standard wording of any philosophy work I've ever read. It seems unique to you and a few other religious minds that have difficulty understanding different moral schema.

What moral issues do you have with me being a murderer that you don't have with me having what you believe to be an incorrect viewpoint?

It is my opinion that your views are not important when it comes to morality, your actions are what I care about mostly. Murder is by definition immoral - whereas viewpoints are not by definition immoral.

Both could be destructive to the species, could they not?

Only if your viewpoint necessarily leads to an action that could be 'destructive'.

If I am teaching my children that there are moral absolutes when there really aren't, then couldn't this be seen as being destructive to society?

It isn't necessarily so. We'd need evidence to establish this since it would be an empirical claim.

Why is murder any worse then the teaching of an incorrect viewpoint, at least in your human-centered moral system?

It might not be - it depends on the viewpoint, and the method of teaching it.

I think, for example, teaching children that jews are wicked and that it is good to kill yourself if it means killing several jews - is potentially worse than killing a single jew if the teaching is likely to cause multiple people to die.

And besides, who or what defines what it is that is destructive to society?

It would be an empirical claim - so it requires evidence and reason to demonstrate it.

The point is this: why would it be "wrong" for a society to perform infanticide, and widow immolation, if indeed it is society that determines good?

By definition, it wouldn't be.

But I don't hold that society is the final arbiter and True Authority of morality. Because I don't accept that there is an objective morality. Society would be the authority on society's morality.

I notice something common in all of your statements about morals: they are inherently anti-God by virtue of the fact that they are incredibly self-centered, relying alone on man's reasoning and his decision-making, as though man's reasoning, which is supposedly a bi-product of evolution, is lord over the universe, and can somehow tame that which produced it.

Lord over the universe? No. Capable of understanding some of it? Yes. Capable of understanding basic principles of interaction between other human minds? Certainly, in many cases.

How blatantly self-centered.

You asked me why I thought "human happiness" was good - so obviously the answer is going to be mine, and thus self-centred. If you wanted a non self-centred answer you should probably have worded the question in a way that makes that clear.

Human happiness is not objectively 'good'.

And supposing another, whose "knowledge" is just as "good" as yours, does not feel that human happiness is a good thing? Are they wrong in their thinking?

Wrong according to what? Me? You? The Koran?

Your method of communicating your moral beliefs to me is very vague, which personally isn't surprising, given that your moral system is based on yourself.

My moral system is based on observing humanity and deciding how I want to socialise. If you have any specific questions about my reasoning behind any specific moral question I'd be happy to give it. At the moment though we are talking in generalities. Sorry if that is too 'vague'.

If you're going to try and understand philosophies different from your own - you're going to have to learn to ask the right questions I guess.

I think humans are a social animal and has hardwired feelings about each other that fit into two broad categories "with me" and "against me". We have a built in ability to make judgements about fairness - because we cooperate but we need to prevent 'cheaters' so we need to detect 'cheating' (taking help and giving none). This, ultimately governs our opinions about morality.

As time has gone one - and social groups have increased in size, ever more complex rationalisations and principles have been developed to cope with situations our biology has not equipped us with to intuitively grasp (or to highlight how our moral intuitions like our optical system can be fooled or confused and develops strategies for coping with this failing).

I hold certain things as right and wrong - but I change my views based on reasoned arguments based on certain principles and logical points. I unfortunately cannot point to some written in stone moral guideline to provide answers and I feel that trying to prove that something that is written in stone (or clay or paper) has the final word on how we should structure our interactions to obtain the ends that we desire.

It means I sacrifice the feeling of comfort that "There's a right answer to this problem." and that I know what it is. But it makes me more flexible for coping with rapid social changes than a religious view which can often get entangled with new social structures by insisting slavery or miscegenation are Truly and eternally Good or homosexual sex is eternally wicked.

Of course, the absolutist, objectivist position does change with the times - but gradually; it is conservative and obviously resistant to change. Instead of one person changing their minds over time, it becomes a child taking a slightly different view than their parents and slowly the living opinions of morality change that way.

You seem to be saying that nothing is objectively wrong.

That is what I am saying.

If this is what your saying, then all that morals amount to are a self-woven entanglement of prejudiced guidelines for how everyone should live their lives, which should somehow meet your own "personal" guidelines for what is "right" and "wrong".

Correct. And my position is that so are yours. It isn't just from 'the self' - except in the fact that the 'self' gets its morals from other sources (books, parents, society etc).

To say that nothing is objectively "right", or objectively "wrong", destroys the concepts of right and wrong in their entirety.

No. It destroys the concept that right and wrong are objective.

Edited by Modulous, : added bits to try and avoid charges of 'vagueness'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 515 by sac51495, posted 07-25-2010 10:40 PM sac51495 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 535 by sac51495, posted 07-31-2010 9:05 PM Modulous has responded

Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 518 of 577 (570204)
07-26-2010 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 515 by sac51495
07-25-2010 10:40 PM


Re: Continuing the moral discussions
I notice something common in all of your statements about morals: they are inherently anti-God by virtue of the fact that they are incredibly self-centered, relying alone on man's reasoning and his decision-making ...

Your statements about morals rely on man's reasoning and decision-making. The man in question is you. If this is "inherently anti-God", then you'll just have to learn to live with being "inherently anti-God". But this would seem a strange way to describe such an ardent theist.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 515 by sac51495, posted 07-25-2010 10:40 PM sac51495 has not yet responded

jar
Member
Posts: 31076
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 519 of 577 (570206)
07-26-2010 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 515 by sac51495
07-25-2010 10:40 PM


Re: Continuing the moral discussions
sac51495 writes:

I notice something common in all of your statements about morals: they are inherently anti-God by virtue of the fact that they are incredibly self-centered, relying alone on man's reasoning and his decision-making, as though man's reasoning, which is supposedly a bi-product of evolution, is lord over the universe, and can somehow tame that which produced it.

First, what tool do we have for moral decisions other than human reasoning?

Second, have you ever read the Bible?

Do you remember the part about the great tool we got, a tool just for making moral decisions, in the Garden of Eden?

quote:
22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 515 by sac51495, posted 07-25-2010 10:40 PM sac51495 has not yet responded

Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 520 of 577 (570210)
07-26-2010 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 515 by sac51495
07-25-2010 10:40 PM


Squaring Circles
sac51495 writes:

A moral absolute (at least in my mind) is a truth established by God which is absolutely, and objectively, true.

I don't think such a thing is possible. God may be able to establish an objective truth in the form of a rock or a tree. But establishing an objective idea? That's just an immature, uneducated, blatant contradiction. Like making a "square circle". It's not impossible because it takes an unimaginable amount of power... it's impossible because it's logically (and laughably) contradictory.

Even if this truth-idea is created "outside of this physical world", it's still an idea. It's still God's idea. And therefore it's still God's subjective idea.

Unless you're saying God was unable to choose a different moral absolute? The idea isn't from God's wisdom at all? In which case... God himself would be limited by these objective morals as well. In which case... God is not required to identify these beyond-God morals.


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15221
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 521 of 577 (570227)
07-26-2010 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 520 by Stile
07-26-2010 9:42 AM


Re: Squaring Circles
I have to say that I see this view of Divine Command Theory as a form of nihilism. Form this perspective, there is nothing wrong with, say, stealing in itself, it has just - somehow been "made" wrong by the command of an amoral dictator. And that, really doesn't sound like anything I would call morality.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 520 by Stile, posted 07-26-2010 9:42 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 522 of 577 (570231)
07-26-2010 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 521 by PaulK
07-26-2010 10:51 AM


Re: Squaring Circles
PaulK writes:

I have to say that I see this view of Divine Command Theory as a form of nihilism. From this perspective, there is nothing wrong with, say, stealing in itself, it has just - somehow been "made" wrong by the command of an amoral dictator. And that, really doesn't sound like anything I would call morality.

A very good point.

Even if we turn the "amoral dictator" into a benficially-motivated guide there are still grave issues.
The ones accepting the Divine Command Theory do not necessarily understand why stealing (or anything else) is actually wrong. Which is the entire foundation behind moral decision making. They simply take it for granted.
It is akin to the relationship between a programmer and a robot. What will the robot do when it encounters a situation the programmer did not explicitly define?

It is an incredibly naive method for attempting to pass moral standards from one being (or even "plane of existance") to another. (Which is why humans only do this while their children remain unquestioning, undeveloped sponges).

We can even give the benefit of the doubt to some sort of "God" being.
Let's say that God, in his infinite power and wisdom, does possess the knowledge of "the best" moral system possible.
God A: "Mortals, here are my explicit commandments, follow them because I know what's best."
God B: "Mortals, here is the reasoning behind my commandments, if you can identify any flaws or any improvements come and we will discuss any and all possible errors."

The commandments are the same and will always remain the same. The possible errors isn't for God B's improvement... such is impossible, it is part of our learning of moral lessons. Part of the ongoing struggle to constantly pursue more-moral and better-good outcomes. God may have infinite power and wisdom, but we certainly do not.


This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 31076
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 523 of 577 (570233)
07-26-2010 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 522 by Stile
07-26-2010 11:55 AM


Re: Squaring Circles
Stile writes:

Let's say that God, in his infinite power and wisdom, does possess the knowledge of "the best" moral system possible.
God A: "Mortals, here are my explicit commandments, follow them because I know what's best."
God B: "Mortals, here is the reasoning behind my commandments, if you can identify any flaws or any improvements come and we will discuss any and all possible errors."

There is even a great example of the latter found in Genesis 18 beginning at Verse 16. There Abraham challenges what God says He is going to do based on Abraham's moral reasoning and convinces God to change His behavior.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 522 by Stile, posted 07-26-2010 11:55 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15221
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 524 of 577 (570236)
07-26-2010 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 522 by Stile
07-26-2010 11:55 AM


Re: Squaring Circles
quote:

Even if we turn the "amoral dictator" into a benficially-motivated guide there are still grave issues.

Even if the motive happens to be benign, the rules are still established by fiat, and the entity establishing them must be amoral, since the argument presumes that there is no morality prior to the rules being established. To call the entity in question an amoral dictator seems to be a simple matter of fact.

quote:

We can even give the benefit of the doubt to some sort of "God" being.
Let's say that God, in his infinite power and wisdom, does possess the knowledge of "the best" moral system possible.
God A: "Mortals, here are my explicit commandments, follow them because I know what's best."
God B: "Mortals, here is the reasoning behind my commandments, if you can identify any flaws or any improvements come and we will discuss any and all possible errors."

The Bible doesn't even do a great job of A). The Ten Commandments are part of a deal exclusively with the Israelites and there are even two versions of them !

I;d also state that even if the commandments were as good as they could be, B) would always be better - because by understanding the reasoning we would be better placed to deal with both issues that are not explicitly addressed and cases of conflict between moral rules. It seems foolish to assume that a set of simple rules can cover all moral questions for all time, whether through details not addressed, questions of interpretation and application or through changes in society which require changes in the application of the rules.


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sac51495
Member (Idle past 2916 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 525 of 577 (570271)
07-26-2010 9:57 PM
Reply to: Message 491 by Dr Adequate
07-22-2010 12:42 AM


Re: Backtracking
Dr. Adequate,

As with Modulous, sorry for the long hiatus...

And just in case you did not read my entire message, then please don't make another response until you do. I said what I said for a reason, and if you didn't read it all, then you may have missed key points.

I can, obviously, learn about the way the world works without knowing, or indeed caring, whether or not it is (for example) the dream of the Red King in Alice.

Such questions are doubtless of interest to sophomores who have looked upon the weed when it is green, but they are irrelevant to scientific enquiry.

I like your phrase about "sophomores who have looked upon the weed when it is green"...I'll have to use that sometime.

Seeing as how you think that metaphysics only deals with myths, I'll have to once again iterate that any epistemological claim whatsoever necessarily involves some metaphysical beliefs. Please try to follow the simple logic here: how can you devise a system of how to know, without first knowing at least something? To say, "the best means of gaining knowledge is through the use of our five senses", is to assume a number of obvious things, such as: we do have five senses, we can use our five senses, etc.

So once again, the wager that I have made, and will now make again, is that you can make absolutely no epistemological claim that is entirely neutral. It must refer back to another standard, and that standard must in turn refer back to another standard, which will refer back to another standard, etc. And any epistemological claim will involve at least some metaphysical assumptions. And you may say then that those metaphysical assumptions were proven to be true by another epistemological method. But this epistemological method would also necessarily involve a number of metaphysical assumptions, which if they were proven, would in turn have to refer back to another metaphysical standard.

And we both end up depending on the same standard --- the observations that we can actually make.

And those observations must in turn refer back to a higher, or simply another, standard.

In the colloquial sense that one "should not" believe something which is wrong

Why shouldn't someone believe something that is wrong? Why does it matter what you think?

If moral relativism is indeed true, then is it absolutely true in all situations? How can relativism be absolutistic? What if in my particular situation, it is more appropriate to believe in the truth of moral absolutes?

Suppose someone like you did? Then you would, of course, be explaining to us that cannibalism and human sacrifice and infanticide and widow immolation were the will of God, and you'd be trying to shock moral relativists by asking them "what if you lived in a society that didn't allow you to burn widows?"

The idea that there is a God whose will is objectively just is an interesting one, but it's no help to us --- our morality is what we make it.

Either you skipped reading onward, or you totally missed the point. If society is the determiner of good, then is infanticide, widow immolation, community suicide, and child harassment right in such a society? Or might it still be wrong?

If the universe was in accordance with God, then people would be in accordance with each other. The fact that we are not shows that whether or not there is a God, everyone is inventing their own moral standard. Perhaps some people devise a moral standard which is nearly in accordance with that of this hypothetical God, but if so, this would just be a matter of luck.

"Then the LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.'" (Gen. 3:22a). God knows good and evil in that He knows that evil is that which is done apart from Him. Remember what Adam and Eve did: they decided to throw away God's commandment, and rather, rely on their own reasoning which, under influence of the serpent, had come to decide that they would be better off if they knew good and evil. But for humans, with the knowledge of good and evil comes the ability to do evil, for evil is that which is done away from God. Remember, "in the absence of light, there is darkness" and, "in the absence of warmth, there is coldness". Since evil is that which is done in the absence of God, or in the presence of lawlessness, then ruin will come thereby.

So, the universe is in accordance with God, and the reason that humans devise foolish moral systems is because of sin: they wish to make themselves as God (just as Adam and Eve did) in that they get to define right and wrong. But God doesn't determine right and wrong by mere whim, as humans would ultimately do, but by creating a universe that is in accordance with his holy, perfect, and righteous nature. In such a universe (as we do indeed have), morals are not products of human thought, but revelations from God as to how we should live our lives in a universe that is based upon His very nature.

Yes, and they have.

Nowadays, for example, it is considered correct to deduce from the premise "there are no unicorns" the conclusion "all unicorns are pink". In the nineteenth century it was not. Would you like to tell us which side God takes on this one?

Other "universals" have also changed. For example, the category "fish" no longer includes whales; the category "mammal" now includes some species that lay eggs; the category "plants" no longer includes fungi

Your example with regards to the Laws of Logic has absolutely nothing to do with what I was talking about. To say, "since there are no unicorns, then all unicorns are pink", is simply an application of the law of logic that says, "if p then q, p is true, so q is true". Whether it is a correct or incorrect application is a different matter.

But take the Law of Identity for example: supposing this "law" changed, and suddenly, no object was necessarily the same as itself...could this ever happen? Not with us knowing about it, because the world would be turned into such complete chaos they we would be unable to find out just what happened.

But anyways: suppose I have a dream, one that says, "I am a billionaire, and I live in Las Vegas, and I am the most well known man in the world"...this is an abstract idea, in that it only exists in my mind. This dream could then at any time change to saying "I am a pauper, and only eat a morsel of bread each day, and I have no friends". The point being that if something merely exists as a part of a particular person's mind, then that idea is subject to change at any time...

So if the Laws of Logic are merely product of human thoughts, then why do they not change? They must then have some truth outside of the human mind. But how can an atheist account for this truth? How could evolution produce this?

But the real monster that you did not deal with is numbers...

What makes "two shoes" fall within the class of "twoness"? Numbers are abstract. But if they are merely products of human thought, then are they not subject to change? So how can numbers be accounted for, that is, the "classes" of numbers?

Seriously?

Me, I think it would be unhygienic to have a lot of rotting corpses lying about stinking up the place.

Indeed it would. And the simplest way of preventing that is to bury the dead. The performance of funeral ceremonies is completely unnecessary if only the well-being of the species is being taken into account. So why are funeral ceremonies performed amongst humans, and not animals, if they do not have survival benefits?

The public have brains.

Why should this keep me from intruding on another person's body? Why do you think humans are bothered by seeing atrocities, much less having atrocities performed on themselves?

Would the chemicals that make up the Mona Lisa, if mixed together in a bowl, still have artistic merit? Would the chemicals that make up a car, if mixed together in a (large) bowl, still be a form of transport?

Would the chemicals that make up the Mona Lisa - if mixed together in a bowl and given eons of time - form the Mona Lisa? Would the chemicals that make up a car - if mixed together in a (large) bowl and given eons of time - form a car? Would the chemicals that make up this universe - if mixed together and given eons of time - produce this universe?

With the Mona Lisa, the chemicals have no artistic merit until a painter uses his cognitive and physical faculties to form something that has artistic merit.

With a car, the chemicals have no transportation merit until a builder uses his cognitive and physical faculties to form something that has transportation merit.

With the universe, the chemicals have no merit whatsoever - for pleasure, for learning, or anything - until a designer uses His Word to form something that has merit to it. "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light." (Gen. 1:2-3); "Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever," (Ps. 146:6); "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11); "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:1-5); "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).

<hr>

From Message #493, Dr. Adequate writes:

Well, next time you stop, look, and listen before crossing the road I guess you can make it up to God with a really prickly hairshirt and extra flagellation.

Did I say we should never rely on personal experience?...My words can be twisted to mean anything that you wish, if you apply any amount of effort that is.

But relying solely on personal experience and reasoning in the hope of determining truth, and in the hope of finding some meaning to life, is, ultimately, hopeless. Apart from God, man's reasoning and experience has no real merit. Maybe it can keep you from getting run over by a car, but does this really matter?...So in relying solely on your own experiences and your own reasoning, you are not at all neutral, but deeply anti-God; and yet you claim to be neutral. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." (Matt. 12:30)

What does matter? - "the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." (Rom. 2:16)...and for that matter, the rest of the Bible, which is God's Holy Word, which he has revealed to us through His infinite mercy; and what fools we would be to not take advantage of this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 491 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-22-2010 12:42 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 526 by nwr, posted 07-26-2010 11:47 PM sac51495 has not yet responded
 Message 527 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-26-2010 11:47 PM sac51495 has responded
 Message 528 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-27-2010 12:20 AM sac51495 has not yet responded
 Message 529 by Otto Tellick, posted 07-27-2010 1:30 AM sac51495 has responded

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