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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Tangle
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Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 1 of 306 (872558)
02-28-2020 4:20 AM


It seems to me that GDR's statement below requires its own thread

GDR writes:

… if we are the result of blind chance then it is my contention that there is no frame of reference for understanding morality.

It's been done before of course, but maybe we can confine this to why it's impossible for our sense of morality to emerge from the evolutionary processalone. (I'm interpreting GDR's derisive 'blind chance' phrase as a simile for the evolutionary process).

I don't think it necessary to show the development of social behaviour in other species or demonstrate self-sacrificing behaviour in humans, I think we all accept those thing.

The difficulty appears to lie in the assertion by believers that we can't know what right and wrong is without there being a god to tell us. The question is why not?

It seems to me that their only reasoning is because they believe it so.


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.


Replies to this message:
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 Message 7 by Percy, posted 02-28-2020 5:54 PM Tangle has not yet responded
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 3 of 306 (872560)
02-28-2020 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminPhat
02-28-2020 1:54 PM


Re: Framing The issue
Faith and belief is fine so long no-one starts blathering on about the bible and what they personally believe - it's a philosophical question that requires reasoning not dogma.

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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminPhat, posted 02-28-2020 1:54 PM AdminPhat has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 17 of 306 (872630)
03-01-2020 6:00 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
02-28-2020 8:25 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
I'd start from the idea that morality is, by and large, knowing what is right and what is wrong and behaving in a moral way is acting on that knowledge. The question is then how do we derive that knowledge.

I'd say it's in two parts

1) Learnt behaviour
2) Emotion

The first is fairly obvious in that we pick up the values of our society - Parents, education, community, formal organisation such as schools and the criminal justice system.

You could base those forms of morality around simple harms and societal needs. Don't stab Johnny you'll kill him. Why can't I kill Johnny? Because we need him to hunt for food. And so on.

The second is about an inbuilt emotional drive called empathy or compassion. This is a physical brain function that make us feel for others. We can see this emotion happening using fMRI scanning. As its a brain function it must be an evolved trait like all others so it must have survival advantage. We see that when people lack this emotion - pychopaths and sociopaths - or suffer specific forms of brain damage they act in amoral ways.

So there does not appear to be a godly intervention in any of this process.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by GDR, posted 02-28-2020 8:25 PM GDR has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Dogmafood, posted 03-01-2020 9:53 AM Tangle has not yet responded
 Message 21 by Phat, posted 03-01-2020 10:42 AM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 25 of 306 (872653)
03-01-2020 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Phat
03-01-2020 10:42 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Phat writes:

And I bet that you think that every single member of any church who claims to belong to the club does in fact share in the learned behavior and emotion.

It would be impossible not too. People normally have the empathy emotion and all people learn how to behave from their society. It's impossible not to. Even psychopaths know what is acceptable - ie moral - behaviour, they just don't understand why.

I personally do not believe this.

So?

many don't get it (yet) which I can only conclude that it is(was) not their time. I *do* know that I had been in churches for years before I had my personal epiphany.

I think you may be confusing empathy with epiphany?

The fact that the new awareness/feeling lasted strong for at least a year before being defined by me as an inner awareness confirms its reality to me at least. I suppose were I a good scientist I would try and disprove it but there is nothing to be gained through doing that.

This thread has nothing to do with personal revelation

Unbelief is for me a liability.

It's not all about you Phat.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Phat, posted 03-01-2020 10:42 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Phat, posted 03-01-2020 3:01 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 68 of 306 (872790)
03-04-2020 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by GDR
02-29-2020 8:46 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

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

How does this work?

“if there is a moral intelligence...
then there can be an absolute morality“

This obviously circular but I can see no reason at all that a creator need be moral.

In fact it seems that if there is one, he is obviously amoral at best.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by GDR, posted 02-29-2020 8:46 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by GDR, posted 03-04-2020 7:40 PM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 72 of 306 (872809)
03-04-2020 8:34 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by GDR
03-04-2020 7:40 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

I don't agree that it is circular although I can see why you would say that.

More simply, it's a non-sequitur -
“if there is a moral intelligence...
then there can be an absolute morality“

The existence of a moral intelligence does not require there to be an absolute morality. In any case, I don't know what a moral intelligence would be.

It morality is simply what any group makes it out to be then there is no absolute morality.

There is no absolute morality. Can you demonstrate one?

I suggest that innately we know that we should live by the golden rule whether we actually adhere to it or not.It seems to me that is as close as to being universal as we can get. I suggest that it is evidence that there is a universal morality that exists outside of human experience.

That simply does not follow. Just because we have an emotion we call morality does not mean that there is therefore a morality outside our existence. We have an emotion called anger, is there therefore an anger outside our existence? Universal anger? You haven't even begun to make a link or an argument.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by GDR, posted 03-04-2020 7:40 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 11:37 AM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


(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.


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 2:10 PM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 91 of 306 (872843)
03-05-2020 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by GDR
03-05-2020 2:10 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

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


Surely you know that this is a species argument? If you make a statement that you can not show to be correct what use is it?

which tells us nothing about whether any deity actually is or isn't moral

It tells us that even if there is a god it does not mean that our morality is derived from it.

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.

Regardless of your cherry-picking of your holy book and deciding to accept only the nice bits, that's what it says and what it says is all you have.

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

It IS an emotion - what else can you call empathy and compassion?

I have given you an argument for it.

You have not; you've given us some illogical assertions that you can't back up, and which actually just amount to rationalising beliefs.

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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 2:10 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 3:55 PM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


(2)
Message 110 of 306 (872877)
03-06-2020 5:46 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by GDR
03-05-2020 3:55 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

Well if my arguments are species then yours are specious.

Look, this is your statement

“if there is a moral intelligence...
then there can be an absolute morality“

That can only be correct in meaningless sort of way because you can substitute anything for absolute morality in it

“if there is a moral intelligence...
then there can be bananas”

Plus the intelligence need not be moral nor does it need to have morals we agree with. It's not any sort of useful argument.

I believe in a resurrected Jesus ....

We know what you believe, we're looking or valid argument supporting your belief.

They are attributes. Anger is an emotion - morality isn't.

Our sense of morality is a bloody emotion! It's a brain function, we can see it working just like we can identify the speech and sight and other functional areas of the brain we know where the emotions of empathy and compassion are. You’re denying facts, why?

quote:
Moral Emotions
Emotions – that is to say feelings and intuitions – play a major role in most of the ethical decisions people make. Most people do not realize how much their emotions direct their moral choices. But experts think it is impossible to make any important moral judgments without emotions.

Inner-directed negative emotions like guilt, embarrassment, and shame often motivate people to act ethically.

Outer-directed negative emotions, on the other hand, aim to discipline or punish. For example, people often direct anger, disgust, or contempt at those who have acted unethically. This discourages others from behaving the same way.

Positive emotions like gratitude and admiration, which people may feel when they see another acting with compassion or kindness, can prompt people to help others.

Emotions evoked by suffering, such as sympathy and empathy, often lead people to act ethically toward others. Indeed, empathy is the central moral emotion that most commonly motivates prosocial activity such as altruism, cooperation, and generosity.

So, while we may believe that our moral decisions are influenced most by our philosophy or religious values, in truth our emotions play a significant role in our ethical decision-making.


Moral Emotions - Ethics Unwrapped

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by GDR, posted 03-05-2020 3:55 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 111 by Faith, posted 03-06-2020 5:57 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 113 by GDR, posted 03-06-2020 11:54 AM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 117 of 306 (872904)
03-06-2020 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by Faith
03-06-2020 5:57 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Faith writes:

If there is a universal moral intelligence that governs this universe
then there can be an absolute morality…And Tangle, what difference does it make to your thinking?

When I asked what a moral intelligence was, GDR said “God” so it becomes.

“ If there is a god that governs this universe
then there can be an absolute morality.”

This doesn't follow.

First, why can't there be an absolute morality without god?

Second this god could have a morality we didn't like, for example he could be the god of the Old Testament who is a total bastard.

Third, what is an absolute morality anyway? Can you describe one? If there was one, how could free will exist?

Fourth, we know that in fact our morality is relative, so …?

Fifth, morality is actually a biological and social construct, god has nothing to do with it


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by Faith, posted 03-06-2020 5:57 AM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by Phat, posted 03-06-2020 1:59 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 119 of 306 (872906)
03-06-2020 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by GDR
03-06-2020 11:54 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

This is a pointless discussion

This is actually THE point of the discussion and it's why you're resisting it.

I am trying to demonstrate to you that morality is an internal, biological function like all others. You prefer to think of it as an external influence on us - your 'still small voice'. I have physical evidence that it is the former, you have a superstitious, mystical belief that it is the latter.

but when you read that quote it is clear that emotions impact our morality in a given situation.

Of course, our emotional state determines to some degree how we react to situations.

For example we might morally know that murder is wrong but while angry we might do it anyway. That does not make morality an emotion.

Sure, we may know that it's wrong but murder in a calculated and deliberate way too. We also justify murder to ourselves in times of war. There is no external absolute.

But we know what is wrong because we have learnt that it is wrong and most of us also know it physically because our emotional state rebels against it - this is our empathetic functioning - we can't help but feel it. I wonder why you continue to deny this? Morality is a combination of social learning and internal emotional states. No god necessary.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 113 by GDR, posted 03-06-2020 11:54 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by GDR, posted 03-06-2020 4:56 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 140 of 306 (872989)
03-08-2020 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by RAZD
03-07-2020 12:35 PM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
RAZD writes:

Are the morals of a lion the same as the morals of an antelope?

With the possible exception of the higher apes, you can't talk about moral behaviour in animals, just behaviour.

To be able to act morally an organism needs both agency and capacity, that is it must be able to act independently by rational choice and be mentally capable of understanding the difference between good behaviour and bad.

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by RAZD, posted 03-07-2020 12:35 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by jar, posted 03-08-2020 10:55 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 154 by RAZD, posted 03-09-2020 11:20 AM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 141 of 306 (872990)
03-08-2020 10:26 AM


We getting away from what I wanted the thread to be about, which was whether it was possible to have morality without god.

It seemed to me that GDR's concept of morality was an external force guiding us - his 'still small voice', while I'm clear that it's internal to us, an emotion just like others. Handily we have evidence for the latter but none for the former.

To demonstrate this very potently there's the example of Fred

quote:
There's a guy called Fred, married for many years, normal.
At the age of 40 his personality changes, he starts developing overt and inappropriate sexual tendancies. He starts looking at child porn. He gets kicked out by his wife for making sexual advances to young girls. He is finally prosecuted for a sex offence and put on the sex offender's register.

He also starts getting bad headaches and when he finally turns up at a hospital, they find an enormous tumour on his prefrontal cortex. They remove the tumour and his paedophilia is cured.

A couple of years later he starts having sexual problems again, he checks in to hospital, they find that the tumour has returned. They remove it, it cures the paedophilia. He's currently fine.

So this particular 'evil' was caused by neurology. Perhaps then free will and morality are dependent on the way our brains work rather than how Satan works.

quote:

"Studies suggest that when damage is done to the frontal lobe before 18 months, people never learn right from wrong," Swerdlow said. "When damage is done after that time, people can learn right from wrong but they can't control their impulses. There is no longer regard for long-term consequences, only short-term gratification."
"Nothing puts the brakes on their behavior. They are always in trouble," he said. "If their brain wants something, they take it."

Swerdlow said this was the case with his patient. The man knew his actions were wrong "but the pleasure principle overrode his restraint. [snip]

"He concluded: "We're dealing with the neurology of morality here."

Scientific paper here:
http://www.ahealthymind.org/...y/right%20OFC%20pedophile.pdf

Article here:
WMBB-TV, Panama City, Florida - Putting The Brain On Trial


It seems obvious the basis of morality are emotions such as empathy and compassion and are evolved traits. Earlier Christians used to have this idea of a soul that was implanted by god at birth and was responsible for our consciousness and hence morality, I find that a truly stupid idea but at least it's compatible with this external cause.


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.


  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 143 of 306 (872994)
03-08-2020 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by jar
03-08-2020 10:55 AM


Re: possible nitpick
Jar writes:

Should that be "To be able to act morally an organism needs both agency and capacity, that is it must be able to act independently by rational choice and be mentally capable of having a concept of some difference between good behaviour and bad."

I'm not sure I'm picking up the distinction your making?

Is there some real difference between good and bad behavior that is not relative to the society and specifics of the incident?

I think it all resolves down to harms and benefits. We all have very basic feelings of those and our societies refine them as we develop. This is why all societies have complicated normative rules of behaviour.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by jar, posted 03-08-2020 10:55 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by jar, posted 03-08-2020 12:22 PM Tangle has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8236
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 145 of 306 (872999)
03-08-2020 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 144 by jar
03-08-2020 12:22 PM


Re: possible nitpick
jar writes:

But they are related to that society. I can't see anyway to say one set of morals is better or worse beyond relating it to my moral standard. And I imagine someone from the other set of moral standards can be equally justified comparing my standards to those of his society.
God and bad only relate to a given perception within a given society for a given incident.

I think some forms of morality can be objectively judged to be better than others.

If you accept that morality is based on harms and benefits to both individuals and societies then, for example, I think that a society that persecutes homosexuals is less moral than one that doesn't.


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 144 by jar, posted 03-08-2020 12:22 PM jar has not yet responded

  
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