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Author Topic:   Morality without God is impossible
GDR
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Posts: 5151
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 151 of 238 (873059)
03-09-2020 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 146 by Stile
03-09-2020 8:46 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Stile writes:

Why would you need something "independent of human thought" to compare things?
Why can't you compare two things as long as you have something "independent of those two things?"
A ruler isn't independent of "length" - it's simply independent of two other-things-with-length that you want to compare.

I disagree. Lewis’ point was not about comparing good and evil to each other. In either case he is saying that if you just compare them to each other then how can you label them good and evil. He is saying that in order to call something good or evil that has to something to compare either one to.

Take you example of a ruler. Sure you can compare 2 different lengths. However, if you just say something is long then you have to ask in comparison to what. If you just say something is morally good or evil then it must be in comparison to something agreed upon standard.


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 146 by Stile, posted 03-09-2020 8:46 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 157 by Stile, posted 03-09-2020 11:50 AM GDR has responded
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Tangle
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Posts: 7439
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 152 of 238 (873060)
03-09-2020 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 148 by RAZD
03-09-2020 9:32 AM


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

Empathy and compassion have been observed in many animals, from dogs to horses to camels to whales, as well as in chimps, especially where deaths of offspring are mourned

We've also seen experiments with Capuchin monkeys have a sense of morality

We also see whales and dolphins protecting/helping swimmers

Sure. Or at lest we see behaviours that look to us like empathetic behaviour. That's ok by me, but it's not moral behaviour. Moral behaviour requires both the instincts to act empathetically in certain situations and the capacity to choice whether to obey them or not. It may be that higher apes may have some limited capacity to intellectually choose, but I doubt it goes too deep.

So it should be rather obvious that "morality" is relative to the specific species and society and that it is an evolved behavior/trait.

I think that what we call morality is human specific and it is both an evolved instinct and a socially learnt trait. Being so it will be both universal and vary between societies based on their history and level of development.


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 148 by RAZD, posted 03-09-2020 9:32 AM RAZD has responded

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Faith
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Posts: 35110
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


(1)
Message 153 of 238 (873061)
03-09-2020 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by Tangle
03-09-2020 11:10 AM


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

RAZD writes:

We also see whales and dolphins protecting/helping swimmers

Sure. Or at lest we see behaviours that look to us like empathetic behaviour. That's ok by me, but it's not moral behaviour. Moral behaviour requires both the instincts to act empathetically in certain situations and the capacity to choice whether to obey them or not.

That's a good point. In the examples I gave I think my little raccoom showed the abili6ty to choose. She chose not to bite me, she was able to curtail that instinct, and I think showed something like remorse for almost acting on it.


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RAZD
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Posts: 20628
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 154 of 238 (873064)
03-09-2020 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 140 by Tangle
03-08-2020 10:05 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
With the possible exception of the higher apes, you can't talk about moral behaviour in animals, just behaviour.

Yet you say

msg 141 writes:

It seems obvious the basis of morality are emotions such as empathy and compassion and are evolved traits. ...

and empathy and compassion can be observed in the behavior of many animals. Thus they have at least the basis for morality.

We also have evidence of monkeys exhibiting behaviors we see a moral. Of course this perception is based on our own evolved morality which would be heavily biased towards apes/monkeys -- cousins.

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.

... so unless an individual is capable of "understanding the difference between good behaviour and bad" they cannot have morals?

Certainly many animals are capable of making decisions, and who are we to decide that they are or are not good/bad decisions? ... is this grass good to eat? or should we just smoke it?

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel•American•Zen•Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by Tangle, posted 03-08-2020 10:05 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
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Posts: 20628
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 155 of 238 (873067)
03-09-2020 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 149 by Faith
03-09-2020 9:46 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
Here's the thing: They have an intelligence that can make decisions. It's not all instinctual behavior. Certainly this has to be true of the mammals, but I think it may also be true of birds, not sure how I have that iidea.

If they can make decisions, then they have the capacity to judge that one is better than the other, and that is a moral decision for them imho.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel•American•Zen•Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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

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RAZD
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Posts: 20628
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 156 of 238 (873068)
03-09-2020 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by Tangle
03-09-2020 11:10 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
Sure. Or at lest we see behaviours that look to us like empathetic behaviour. That's ok by me, but it's not moral behaviour. Moral behaviour requires both the instincts to act empathetically in certain situations and the capacity to choice whether to obey them or not. ...

and they make a choice when that behavior is observed, a choice that it is better to behave one way vs not behaving that way.

That to me is a moral decision on their part, according to their morals.

I think that what we call morality is human specific and it is both an evolved instinct and a socially learnt trait. ...

And I think the same can be applied to all species, without the anthropocentric biases.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel•American•Zen•Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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

This message is a reply to:
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Stile
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Posts: 3914
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


(1)
Message 157 of 238 (873072)
03-09-2020 11:50 AM
Reply to: Message 151 by GDR
03-09-2020 11:07 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Take you example of a ruler. Sure you can compare 2 different lengths. However, if you just say something is long then you have to ask in comparison to what. If you just say something is morally good or evil then it must be in comparison to something agreed upon standard.

Exactly.

"How long?" Implies - long against what? - but this "what" can be something imagined by humans, like a ruler.

"How moral?" Implies - moral against what? - but this "what" can be something imagined by humans, like a moral guide such as "good is helping people, bad is hurting people - according to the people you're interacting with."

CS Lewis' restriction that this "moral against what?" needs to be "independent of human thought" is silly.
Why would it need to be independent of human thought?

Rulers are imagined-by-humans and provide a great "long against what" - yet they themselves are not independent of human thought, or length, or physical reality.

Why can't an imagined-by-humans idea of morality provide a great "moral against what?"
-why would it need to be independent of human thought?
-why would it need to be independent of morality itself?

It doesn't make any sense to impose such restrictions if the goal is to have "something you can compare 2 different morals against."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by GDR, posted 03-09-2020 11:07 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
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Posts: 16052
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 158 of 238 (873075)
03-09-2020 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by GDR
03-09-2020 11:07 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
quote:
I disagree. Lewis’ point was not about comparing good and evil to each other. In either case he is saying that if you just compare them to each other then how can you label them good and evil. He is saying that in order to call something good or evil that has to something to compare either one to.

Nope. Lewis’ claim is that you must have an objective standard which is untrue. If Lewis was making the claim you say, then there would be nothing to it. We have our ideas of good and evil and that’s all that is needed.

quote:
Take you example of a ruler. Sure you can compare 2 different lengths. However, if you just say something is long then you have to ask in comparison to what. If you just say something is morally good or evil then it must be in comparison to something agreed upon standard.

I.e. the standard must be intersubjective. That’s fine but it doesn’t get you to objectivity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by GDR, posted 03-09-2020 11:07 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 7439
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 159 of 238 (873078)
03-09-2020 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 154 by RAZD
03-09-2020 11:20 AM


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

Yet you say…

Yes, I say that some animals exhibit what we think of as moral behaviour and the apes seem to do it more than others. It's limited by their intelligence and concept of agency though.

and empathy and compassion can be observed in the behavior of many animals. Thus they have at least the basis for morality.

Yes, as I said.

so unless an individual is capable of "understanding the difference between good behaviour and bad" they cannot have morals?

Pretty much, yes. Morality is the ability/intelligence to make independent rational decisions, know the difference between right and wrong and deliberately choose between them.

Certainly many animals are capable of making decisions, and who are we to decide that they are or are not good/bad decisions? ... is this grass good to eat? or should we just smoke it?

I doubt you'll find many people agreeing with you that choosing between good and bad things to eat is a moral decision.


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 154 by RAZD, posted 03-09-2020 11:20 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 169 by RAZD, posted 03-10-2020 12:08 PM Tangle has responded
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GDR
Member
Posts: 5151
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 160 of 238 (873091)
03-09-2020 8:26 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Stile
03-09-2020 11:50 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
Stile writes:

Exactly.

"How long?" Implies - long against what? - but this "what" can be something imagined by humans, like a ruler.

"How moral?" Implies - moral against what? - but this "what" can be something imagined by humans, like a moral guide such as "good is helping people, bad is hurting people - according to the people you're interacting with."

CS Lewis' restriction that this "moral against what?" needs to be "independent of human thought" is silly.
Why would it need to be independent of human thought?

Rulers are imagined-by-humans and provide a great "long against what" - yet they themselves are not independent of human thought, or length, or physical reality.

Why can't an imagined-by-humans idea of morality provide a great "moral against what?"
-why would it need to be independent of human thought?
-why would it need to be independent of morality itself?

It doesn't make any sense to impose such restrictions if the goal is to have "something you can compare 2 different morals against."

But IMHO you are comparing physical things that we can evaluate objectively. We can say that a foot is longer than an inch but shorter than a mile.

We say that generosity is better than greed and compare them to each other but if we can simply say that generosity is good without having to compare it to greed.

So we say something is good it stands on its own, whereas if we say something is long it has to be understood what it is long in comparison to. So, when we say something is good, we know what it means without having to compare it to some other good or evil.


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 157 by Stile, posted 03-09-2020 11:50 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 171 by Stile, posted 03-10-2020 12:29 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5151
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 161 of 238 (873092)
03-09-2020 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by PaulK
03-09-2020 12:04 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
PaulK writes:

Lewis’ claim is that you must have an objective standard which is untrue. If Lewis was making the claim you say, then there would be nothing to it. We have our ideas of good and evil and that’s all that is needed.

That's fine if we were all going to choose good all the time. Unfortunately we don't. Also, we don't know objectively how we come to the moral decisions that we do.

We are subject to a myriad of cultural memes but it is my subjective belief that in that mixture of influences is a God meme that also influences us towards a morality that exists whether people exist or not.

PaulK writes:

the standard must be intersubjective. That’s fine but it doesn’t get you to objectivity.

We all have our subjective beliefs on this. There is no proof of whether we are influenced by an external morality or not.

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 158 by PaulK, posted 03-09-2020 12:04 PM PaulK has responded

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Dogmafood
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Posts: 1812
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 162 of 238 (873098)
03-09-2020 10:53 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by Stile
03-09-2020 9:06 AM


Re: A Universal Morality
The whole idea of "a universal idea... deviants not withstanding..." means you're attempting to force that a "universal idea" exist.
If deviants exist - then the idea isn't universal.

Well you always have to account for outliers but all that I am trying to say here is that there is such a thing as a human and they are a distinct species. They all have certain qualities that make them a human. For example we could say that every human has a pre frontal cortex and yet there are some humans that do not. That's what I mean by deviants. There are psychopaths with no empathy and there are comatose humans with no moral agency. These are deviants and they do not negate the idea that there can be universal conditions that apply to any moral agent or that there can be universal elements that a functioning moral code must have. It doesn't mean that they all have to be the same but they will all share common elements.

I am not trying to force anything. I see that there are universal conditions and I am trying to identify them not to dictate them. In the context of morality, being able to make choices is a universal condition or requirement. Having not only the capacity to make a choice but also the opportunity to act on that choice. Self awareness and a theory of mind are requirements that any moral agent must possess. There are at least a bunch of rules that apply universally.

But there is no part of morality that works like that.
Morality is extremely situation-specific. It almost always depends on the exact details and the exact subtleties of the situation.

Absolutely. Just like the speed of light and the relationship between energy and mass.

Doing things 'because we should' is an immature moral system.
Doing things 'because we want to' is a mature moral system.

Figuring out why we should do something will help us want to do it. Understanding why you shouldn't follow an instinct or desire is the only means you have to resist the impulse. The very essence of your ability to choose.


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Dogmafood
Member
Posts: 1812
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 163 of 238 (873099)
03-10-2020 12:23 AM
Reply to: Message 150 by RAZD
03-09-2020 10:15 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
Or in other words, what is moral for the lion differs from what is moral for the antelope, and morality is relative to the species/society they live in.

Of course every moral agent is unique. Not only between species but within as well. The acceptable moral behaviour of a starving man is slightly different from that of a wealthy man. This doesn't mean that they aren't being held to the same standard.

And any universal standard would need many chapters, with many subchapters, amendments and exclusions added over time in order to encompass all life.

That is not how you distill a universal standard. You look for common elements and reduce them to their most fundamental qualities.


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16052
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 164 of 238 (873103)
03-10-2020 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by GDR
03-09-2020 8:35 PM


Re: A Universal Morality
quote:
That's fine if we were all going to choose good all the time. Unfortunately we don't. Also, we don't know objectively how we come to the moral decisions that we do.

First, whether we choose good all the time or not doesn’t matter.
Second, our lack of access to the basis of our moral decisions only strengthens the case for subjectivity.

quote:
We are subject to a myriad of cultural memes but it is my subjective belief that in that mixture of influences is a God meme that also influences us towards a morality that exists whether people exist or not.

And you try to cover up the glaring error in Lewis’ argument to support that opinion. Which is not a good thing to do.

quote:
We all have our subjective beliefs on this. There is no proof of whether we are influenced by an external morality or not.

Which does nothing to counter my claim. Intersubjectivity is a shared standard, and that is all we need. Therefore the idea that we need an objective standard for agreement - which we don’t have anyway - is incorrect.


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frako
Member
Posts: 2904
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 165 of 238 (873104)
03-10-2020 6:47 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by Tangle
03-09-2020 11:10 AM


Re: Are the morals of a lion the same as an antelope?
I think that what we call morality is human specific and it is both an evolved instinct and a socially learnt trait.


Christianity, One woman's lie about an affair that got seriously out of hand

What are the Christians gonna do to me ..... Forgive me, good luck with that.


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