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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
Tangle
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Posts: 7805
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


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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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1965
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 306 (872559)
02-28-2020 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
02-28-2020 4:20 AM


Framing The issue
Shall we confine this to a Science Forum or shall we put it in Faith & Belief so that believers can legally even respond?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 02-28-2020 4:20 AM Tangle has responded

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Tangle
Member
Posts: 7805
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


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

  
AdminPhat
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Posts: 1965
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 4 of 306 (872562)
02-28-2020 4:51 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Morality without God is impossible thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
PaulK
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Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 5 of 306 (872563)
02-28-2020 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
02-28-2020 4:20 AM


It’s just a silly apologetic. Humanity is the frame of reference.

Throwing in “blind chance” to cover up the role of selection is just a rhetorical trick. Humans are not just randomly thrown-together chemicals. There has been a long and complex process of evolution to get this far, and that includes aspects of our minds as well as our physical bodies. No, evolution is not just “blind chance”. If it was we wouldn’t exist.


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jar
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Posts: 32723
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 6 of 306 (872568)
02-28-2020 5:52 PM


Morality with God is imaginary
Looking at "morality" in the Bible shows that the only possible definition of Biblical morality is that Morality what the author of the story thinks the God character says is moral.

Morality is and has always been something solely defined by a society. God has absolutely nothing to do with the concept or practice of morality.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Percy
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From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
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(2)
Message 7 of 306 (872569)
02-28-2020 5:54 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
02-28-2020 4:20 AM


The GDR quote seems to be saying something different from the thread title. It says that the absence of God leaves us with no frame of reference for understanding morality, not that its existence proves God. (I didn't see the discussion this branches off from. The quote doesn't mention God, but He seems strongly implied.)

But does morality have any actual reality, or is it all relative, like the familiar war conundrum where killing a man from an enemy nation is moral, while killing a man from your own nation is immoral. Or consider the bombardier conundrum where dropping bombs on innocent civilians in a city of an enemy nation is moral but killing a captured civilian of that same nation is immoral.

And even if morality is something real, is God really a frame of reference for it? Was the OT God moral? Or is it that, to paraphrase Nixon, if God does it it's moral?

--Percy


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GDR
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Joined: 05-22-2005
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Message 8 of 306 (872572)
02-28-2020 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
02-28-2020 4:20 AM


A Universal Morality
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.

Percy did make my point with what I meant by this statement and I stand by it. If there is no universal sense of morality that exists outside of human thought then I hold to that statement that there is no frame of reference for our sense of morality. Maybe the 9/11 bombers actually got it right and you and I have got it wrong.

Tangle writes:

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 can't say that I know it is impossible just as you can't say that you know that it is. I agree that morality has largely grown culturally but that doesn't prove anything. It is the same as physical evolution. We might be able to learn about the process but that doesn't answer the question of why the process exists in the first place.

Actually the evolution of morality is quite consistent with my own theological beliefs. I contend that humans have had a progressive understanding of the nature of God and how that should impact our lives from the beginning through today and then into the future. I contend, and certainly it's a belief, that along with all the cultural memes that there is a God meme that has over the centuries been an influencer along with the cultural memes.

Tangle writes:

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?

We either believe that there is a god that represents a universal morality or we believe that such an entity does not exist. Both views are subjective.

In general it does appear that there is a universal sense of morality in the Golden Rule. It isn't universal in the sense that everyone holds to it but it does seem to be represented in virtually all cultures and all of the major religions. If there is a universal law it suggests a universal law giver in the same way that the laws of physics suggests the same thing. Again, it is my belief and my belief is contrary to yours.


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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jar
Member
Posts: 32723
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 9 of 306 (872573)
02-28-2020 8:17 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by GDR
02-28-2020 8:06 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
GDR writes:

If there is no universal sense of morality that exists outside of human thought then I hold to that statement that there is no frame of reference for our sense of morality.

And, thank God, that is correct. There is no universal sense of morality or absolute morality. Morality evolves and is defined by each culture.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Replies to this message:
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GDR
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Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 10 of 306 (872575)
02-28-2020 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
02-28-2020 8:17 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
jar writes:

And, thank God, that is correct. There is no universal sense of morality or absolute morality. Morality evolves and is defined by each culture.

But, as I pointed out there does seem to be a universal sense of morality as we see it in the The Golden Rule. This is from that site.
quote:
The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as you want to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures.[1] It can be considered an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although other religions treat it differently. The maxim may appear as a positive or negative injunction governing conduct:

Treat others as you would like others to treat you (positive or directive form)
Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form)[1]
What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form)[1]
The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BC), according to Rushworth Kidder, who identifies that this concept appears prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and "the rest of the world's major religions".[2] The concept of the Rule is codified in the Code of Hammurabi stele and tablets (1754-1790 BC).[citation needed] 143 leaders of the world's major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic".[3][4] According to Greg M. Epstein, it is "a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely", but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it.[5] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".



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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jar
Member
Posts: 32723
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 11 of 306 (872578)
02-28-2020 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
02-28-2020 8:25 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
The Golden Rule is so vague that it is meaningless beyond a really general "feel good" bumper sticker.

And it has never been universal.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Hyroglyphx
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Posts: 6056
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 12 of 306 (872582)
02-29-2020 12:12 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by GDR
02-28-2020 8:06 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
In general it does appear that there is a universal sense of morality in the Golden Rule.

And that may very well be partially instinctual and partially sociologically based. All animals have certain predilections and behaviors based on deeply ingrained instincts. Humans have an incentive to be kind to one another.

Its about as helpful as pointing out that canine behavior is pretty consistent... among other canines.

Even supposing morals are absolute, we have no way of knowing which morals are absolute and which are relative. Case in point, ISIS thinks that an execution is not murder and is in fact retributive justice. To other people its cold blooded murder. No consistency.

Even supposing morals were absolute there's no way to confirm where it comes from. Who is the source? Lots of people and different religions claim moral absolution that often contradict one another.... so how do you determine which is the real absolute moral?


"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

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PaulK
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Posts: 16470
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 13 of 306 (872585)
02-29-2020 12:47 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by GDR
02-28-2020 8:06 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
quote:
Percy did make my point with what I meant by this statement and I stand by it. If there is no universal sense of morality that exists outside of human thought then I hold to that statement that there is no frame of reference for our sense of morality. Maybe the 9/11 bombers actually got it right and you and I have got it wrong.

And as I said it is obviously wrong that there is no frame of reference. There is no provably correct frame of reference, but that is true anyway. You can’t prove the 9/11 bombers wrong either.

quote:
We either believe that there is a god that represents a universal morality or we believe that such an entity does not exist. Both views are subjective.

Which puts your views uncomfortably close to that of the 9/11 bombers. Their self-justification relied on the idea that their actions would be approved by God.


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GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 14 of 306 (872621)
02-29-2020 8:39 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Hyroglyphx
02-29-2020 12:12 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Hyroglyphx writes:

Even supposing morals are absolute, we have no way of knowing which morals are absolute and which are relative. Case in point, ISIS thinks that an execution is not murder and is in fact retributive justice. To other people its cold blooded murder. No consistency.

I don't disagree with that at all. We all make choices and we can accept and try and live out the Golden Rule or choose something else.

Hyroglyphx writes:

Even supposing morals were absolute there's no way to confirm where it comes from. Who is the source? Lots of people and different religions claim moral absolution that often contradict one another.... so how do you determine which is the real absolute moral?

We can't know. It is a matter of belief and faith.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


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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GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 15 of 306 (872622)
02-29-2020 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by PaulK
02-29-2020 12:47 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
PaulK writes:

And as I said it is obviously wrong that there is no frame of reference. There is no provably correct frame of reference, but that is true anyway. You can’t prove the 9/11 bombers wrong either.

Again, I completely agree. I am simply saying that if there is a moral intelligence that is responsible for our existence then there can be an absolute morality, but we can't know it for a fact. Again, it is belief and faith.

PaulK writes:

Which puts your views uncomfortably close to that of the 9/11 bombers. Their self-justification relied on the idea that their actions would be approved by God.

They made their choice and it must be what they believed. However, atheists that have a strong sense of nationalism can do the same thing, so it can be as uncomfortably close on the other side of the table as well.

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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