A Dark Apologetic
Debate Rounds (5)
Nihilism, Irrationality or Faith
Premise One: Objective meaning, purpose and morality does not exist in the worldview of atheism. All existential and moral beliefs are opinions, not truths. No particular existential and moral belief is true over another's, all are equal in value.
Premise Two: Mere intellectual affirmation in the non-existence of God is not the end of atheism. One must also purify one's mind of any existential and moral beliefs which are in and of themselves objective through self-analyzation and being mindful of one's thoughts and words.
Premise Three: Throughout the process of purification, you will eventually find yourself in a world that is utterly depraved and void of substance. You will soon see more clearly what the worldview of atheism proclaims, and begin contemplating suicide.
Conclusion: You are left with three options, nihilism, irrationality or faith. Either you will find yourself with a noose around your neck, living in the worldview of theism without justification or putting your trust in God.
"Atheists, practice what you preach. Look within, self-analyze, be mindful of your thoughts and speech, purify yourselves of all existential and moral objectivity, become one with your rational truth and embrace suicide." - Tyler Newkirk
Premise One: There is as much objective meaning and purpose for someone who rejects supernatural claims as there is for someone who arbitrarily chooses to believe in one of the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of magical, supernatural fable-beings. That all supernatural beliefs are comparably useless, however, is entirely true. There's no more evidence for the Abrahamic god than there is for Tiamat or Hanuman or a collection of sentient, all-powerful clumps of moss cooperating to create everything and monitor human sexual activity.
Atheists absolutely can accept and conform to an objective moral code, though; because I do.
Premise Two: Tyler, establishing a premise based an inaccurate definition makes this much easier for me. "[T]he intellectual affirmation in [sic] the non-existence of God is not the end of atheism". That's right, nor is it the BEGINNING of atheism. I'm not sure how the purification of a mind works, but atheism is the rejection of god claims (and usually, all supernatural claims), NOT the "intellectual affirmation" of anything. Unlike theism, atheism doesn't involve any positive claims. Atheism is, again, the rejection of the baseless assertions of theists. And atheism doesn't involve the... "purification" of any words. whatever that means. I don't know any atheists who refrain from mentioning supernatural claims.
Again, Tyler, a basic understanding of the subject matter generally results in a sturdier base for the building of arguments, or apologetics, light or dark.
Premise Three: Tyler, as an atheist, the world I "find [my]self in" is no more depraved (utterly or no) or "void of substance" than the world of any theist. Particularly since atheists require actual, practical, legitimate, reality-based evidence for the features of existence we accept, atheism is nothing BUT substance. Theism involves the denial and ignoring of evidence in favor of comforting fictions.
And considering that atheists are, per capita, considerably less likely to commit crimes, particularly violent crimes, than Christians; atheists get pregnant out of wedlock and as teenagers less often than Christians; atheists are less likely to get divorced than Christians; and atheists are far less likely to commit crimes that send them to prison than Christian [citation can be provided for all of that], atheism obviously isn't some shortcut to depravity. Considering those statistics, in fact, belief in a god is apparently a surer path to immorality than a rejection of one.
Conclusion: "Atheists, practice what you preach." Tyler, we "preach" a rejection of god-beliefs because the burden of proof for those gods have not been met. We "practice" that by... being atheists. So - done.
How you get from your flawed, poorly defined, and muddled premises to "atheists should commit suicide" is really, really not clear. However, since atheists believe that this one life is our sole window of existence, why would we purposefully cut it short because we choose not to lie to ourselves about the existence of a Hebrew war god? And you consider... "faith" as an ALTERNATIVE to "irrationality"? Is that a joke, Tyler? Faith is the belief in something despite a LACK OF ALL EVIDENCE and/or EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY - that is the DEFINITION of irrationality. How is "faith" EVER an effective path to truth. After you fail to provide evidence that faith effectively leads to the truth of a deity's existence, name another facet of life in which faith is more effective for establishing truth than evidence is.
Tyler, your "dark apologetic" says a lot more about the sad, superficial, hopeless state of your inner-world than it does the existential void you claim atheism is. Apparently, your subjective choice to worship a tribal Hebrew war god from the Bronze Age, is everything to you. Because you've fallaciously decided that the only alternative to that fiction is nihilism. To atheists, the arbitrary worship of a god is nothing and this incredible universe we inhabit is everything. Atheism is a rejection of gods, not every single other thing ever.
Before I get into an actually objective framework for morality, Tyler: I do not believe that theism provides an objective moral code. I reject that premise entirely. So please provide evidence that theism DOES establish that moral code and outline that moral code. As a theist and the author of your dark apologetic, you obviously believe YOU have an objective moral code established by your belief. So, again, please provide any evidence that this objective moral code even exists and outline it here. Because without evidence that moral code exists - what this objective moral code IS - your assertion is entirely moot.
So, until Tyler provides evidence that a belief in a magical being is the ONLY way someone can conform to an objective moral code, I reject that absolutely evidence-devoid supposition. How can the SUBJECTIVE AND ARBITRARY SELECTION of a supernatural being for which there's NO EVIDENCE magically imbue someone with an objective moral code? Unless that moral code was established by some communication from that being which both provided compelling evidence that the being existed AND outlined the moral code, believers can (and constantly do) manufacture their own subjective and arbitrary moral code and then disingenuously, irrationally, and often dishonestly simply assert that it's objectively supported by the deity they've subjectively adopted. In fact, that's PRECISELY what Tyler Newkirk is doing here. Unless he can provide evidence to the contrary.
However, a practical, effective, realistic, and objective moral code absolutely CAN be established without a belief in any magical, mythical being. What objective standard is this moral code based on? The objective and absolutely unequivocally existent drive of living organisms to preserve and perpetuate itself. That is the chief and primary compulsion that unites all life: to keep living.
That drive is obviously present in human beings, since we're living organisms. Homo sapiens sapiens are a social species. The VAST majority of human beings live in human societies. According to all the evidence, the healthier, safer, and stronger a society is, the healthier, safer, and stronger the members of that society, and therefore, the better their chances of survival - all of their survival.
The best way to KEEP a human society healthy, safe, strong, alive and therefore able to perpetuate life (by reproducing) is the establishment of the most comprehensively beneficial societal moral code. The greater the percentage of a society's members abiding by a moral code that requires they treat their peers with respect, doing the most good and/or least harm, generally, to the fellow members of their society - the healthier, happier, and safer a society is. Which, consequently, optimizes everyone in that society's chances for self-preservation and perpetuation.
Without a mind outside of ours to judge the truth value of our existential and moral judgments, we have only opinions. An atheist will resort to two areas for a source for objective morality, society and empathy. Society is nothing more than a collection of subjective opinions concerning our meaning, purpose and morality, and often enforced on the minority which differs. And there are two kinds of empathy, emotional and cognitive, with the former being conditioned by our education, society and own beliefs, and the latter being a choice, one we are not objectively obliged to use.
Nothing outside of our minds says that we must put ourselves in the shoes of others or care about the laws and opinions of society. Absolutely nothing.
This is your rational truth. You have no existential or moral truth.
Is it true (objective) that fornication is immoral? Is it true (objective) that cowardice on the battlefield is immoral? Is it true (objective) that rape is immoral?
Should your answer be yes to any of those questions, you will have exposed yourself as an irrational atheist. But you've already done that by stating "Atheists absolutely can accept and conform to an objective moral code, though; because I do." You do? Really? And what mind-independent moral code is this? How does it exist outside of an eternal, metaphysical mind which is logically necessary for such a moral code to not only be borne from, but sustained as well?
"Objective morality is the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true. Proponents of this theory would argue that a statement like "Murder is wrong" can be as objectively true as "1 + 1 = 2." Most of the time, the alleged source is God, or the Kantian Categorical Imperative; arguably, no objective source of morality has ever been confirmed, nor have any a priori proofs been offered to the effect that morality is anything other than subjective.
The moral principles that people claim to be "objective" usually coincide very well with what they feel subjectively to be true. When pressed to provide justification, the person in question will usually just fail to understand that morality might not be objective, and might consequently grow increasingly doubtful or hysterical as the subjective bases of their arguments are progressively revealed, as has been observed in recent times."
Why is it that these atheists understand objective morality, but you seem incapable of it? Read carefully, Frank.
"Objective morality is the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true."
Factually true. A person's subjective existential and moral judgments or opinions are not true, ever, unless they exist independent from our minds, thereby making them facts.
If you believe your life has more meaning and purpose besides survival and sexual reproduction, you're deluded. You believe something which contradicts your rational truth. So no, the meaning and purpose of life isn't to love and let live, it's to have babies and replicate your DNA, to survive. It's not true (objective) that rape is immoral, it's just your opinion that it is. It's not true (objective) that genocide is immoral, it's just your opinion that it is.
What the argument calls for is the psychological purification of objective meaning, purpose and morality from the atheist's mind. This is done through self-analyzation and mindfulness. You must struggle for rationality, you must be vigilant. Because right now, you're still on our shore, the theist's shore, and you have yet to swim to the other side.
You must show me why your "feelings" are true, superior, over my own, regardless of our own opinions. You must show me why I must use my cognitive empathy, without, again, resorting to your own opinions.
I am not trying to prove the existence of God or objective meaning, purpose and morality. That is never stated in the argument. All I call for is you and your kind to practice what you preach, look within, self-analyze, be mindful of your thoughts and speech, purify yourselves of all existential and moral objectivity, become one with your rational truth and embrace suicide.
Stop being a hypocrite. Be rational. Or stop being a belligerent prick and attacking the faith of theists, because you look dumb when you do. God doesn't exist? Really? Try living that before spewing it. It's just amazing how you can attack the morality of the Bible as though it were false or somehow inferior to today's when you have nothing to judge that by except your own opinion, which is equal to anyone else's. Hitler's, Stalin's and yes, even my Abrahamic God's.
Atheism equals nihilism for those who actually live it.
"Existiential [sic] and moral truths are objective, which means mind-independent, existing metaphysically, eternally." Really? Name some of those objective moral truths. Because, again, Tyler - I reject your nonsense about these metaphysical truths existing. I reject that there is a "mind outside of ours" that... judges human moral claims. Minds require brains or some other temporal, physical framework. We have no evidence that there are any other intelligences in the universe, much less those that judge us, MUCH LESS, magical ones that judge us.
You keep attempting to set up this argument that the human capacity to cooperate in the establishment of moral codes based on some objective principle is impossible and ridiculous because... it fails IN COMPARISON to the make-believe fantasy ingredient that, IN YOUR OPINION, is required to actually do that: god.
And then in a stunning (but unsurprising) exhibition of intellectual dishonesty and cowardice, you insist that you're not making ANY claim like that. So your argument is: an objective moral code requires some... mind outside of our own - god - and that god's endorsement and presumable imparting of that moral code. Atheists fail at the establishment of an objective moral code because they don't have this god to lend their code objectivity, so it's all just subjective opinion on their part and they can't say that ANYTHING is truly (objectively) wrong because of that.
Inevitably, when you are asked for ANY evidence that this objective morality-sharing god exists, or to provide ANY evidence of this objective moral code, AGAINST WHICH YOU'RE JUDGING THE GOD-FREE MORAL CODE, you cop out:
"I am not trying to prove the existence of God or objective meaning, purpose and morality. That is never stated in the argument."
Except that it is. Again, this is a fantastically dishonest attempt on your part to use your god-based moral code as the standard against which a non-god-based one fails, require that I provide evidence to the contrary, with absolutely no obligation on your end to provide ANY EVIDENCE that your standard even exists!
The problem is, Tyler, YOU are the one who INTRODUCES GOD INTO THE CONVERSATION IN THE OPENING OF THIS DISCUSSION! You're the one who LISTS GOD AND FAITH AS THE ALTERNATIVE to "nihilism" and "irrationality".
Here, I'll show you:
"You are left with three options, nihilism, irrationality or faith. Either you will find yourself with a noose around your neck, living in the worldview of theism without justification or putting your trust in God."
SEE THAT? In THE CONCLUSION of your... dark apologetic, YOU INSIST that god and faith ARE THE ALTERNATIVE to the subjectivity of the god-free moral code. And the ALTERNATIVE to our necessarily subjective, opinion-based, god-free moral code MUST BE an objective moral code, OR IT WOULDN'T BE THE ALTERNATIVE TO SUBJECTIVITY!
Please stop being dishonest here. This is YOUR CLAIM. That is the CONCLUSION of the argument YOU OPENED WITH. SO provide evidence for that.
Also, you apparently have these copy-pasta blocks that have nothing to do with what I said. In response to my assertion about the drive to preserve and perpetuate life being an OBJECTIVE, scientific, fact-based, and opinion-independent established reality, and the OBJECTIVE BASIS for a god-free moral code, you paste, "An atheist will resort to two areas for a source for objective morality, society and empathy."
How fun! You make up your own version of the debate you're having and then respond to that! Except, I am an atheist and I didn't cite either society or empathy as the source of objective morality, DID I, TYLER? Try to respond to what I said, rather than your strange misunderstanding of what atheism is, what atheists believe, and how you've decided they should answer to make your argument more convenient for you.
You've decided that a society is "nothing more than a collection of subjective opinions concerning our meaning, purpose and morality." Again, Tyler, it'd be nice if you'd read the words I'd written and respond to them rather than relying on your own misunderstandings. So no. That's not all a society is. There are BILLIONS of animal societies on this planet, and most of those societies HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH A "collection of subjective opinions concerning our meaning, purpose and morality".
The EVOLUTIONARY DRIVE FOR SURVIVAL has dictated how these societies operate. Is it because of their... subjective opinions that piranhas don't eat each other during those blood-soaked feeding frenzies? Is it because they have "emotional or cognitive empathy", Tyler? No, it sure isn't. It's that evolutionary drive that determines the BEST WAY FOR SOCIAL ANIMALS TO SURVIVE IS WITH A BASIC CONSTRUCT OF RULES DICTATING INTERACTION AND COOPERATION.
Human beings are animals. Our animal societies are more complex than other animal societies, but an animal society is NOT whatever nonsense you've imagined it is involving subjective opinions on meaning, purpose and morality.
As animals, human beings are obviously party to and actively manifest that OBJECTIVE drive of preservation and perpetuation of life. According to all of the EVIDENCE, not subjective feelings or opinions or... faith in a magical being, Tyler, but actual facts that are identifiable and manifest in the real, adult world, the happier, safer, healthier, and more content a society is, the less dangerous, unstable, and threatening to that preservation and perpetuation of life it is.
You say, "Nothing outside of our minds says that we must put ourselves in the shoes of others or care about the laws and opinions of society. Absolutely nothing."
Riiiight - nothing except... the understanding of whether or not the situation of other people and/or the laws and opinions of a society contribute to the health, safety and stability of a society and, consequently, the preservation of the human species. Slavery, for instance, was a destabilizing influence that resulted in the societies practicing it being far less healthy, content and optimal for the survival of those societies' members. So disobeying and fighting against those laws was the moral thing to do.
SO, according to that objective standard, fornication is not objectively immoral because consenting adults having sex is not a threat to a society's health or stability. Rape, however, IS. So it is OBJECTIVELY immoral. People being sexually assaulted against their will destabilizes a society and makes it less healthy, which is why rape is used as a tool for exactly that purpose in many places. As for the cowardice in war thing - war is necessarily destabilizing and runs contrary to the objective perpetuation and preservation of the species. Whatever the individuals involved in that war did to either aid in the perpetuation of and preservation of our species and human societies or hinder it would determine the morality of that act.
And real quick - confusing and disappointing as this may be for you... RationalWiki is not the end-all be-all crowning arbiter of all atheists or their opinions. Beyond REJECTING GOD CLAIMS, atheists' opinions are just as diverse as everyone else's.
OK, and you are REALLY stuck on this "Atheism necessarily leads to nihilism" nonsense. No offense, but it's laughably stupid in so, so many ways. For one - as fond as you are of your god belief, it's not necessarily, objectively, the best, defining, and only supernatural belief that exists or matters. You have failed to provide ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that your god even exists, that this god has a moral code, that this moral code is objective, that this moral code exists, or ANYTHING about what this moral code says. As such, rejecting a belief in your pet myth does not mean that we have to reject all objectivity. Or, based on the evidence you've so far entirely failed to provide, to reject ANY objectivity.
Provide evidence that of ALL the possibilities in the universe, the ONLY one that offers an objective moral code is your god. Or any god.
Provide evidence that refusing to accept your claim about a god can ONLY lead to nihilism and... suicide...?
Even if atheism DID inevitably lead to nihilism - atheists are NOT so cowardly that without some magical being or its rulebook we might as well just end it all. And as mentioned - if this is all we have, WHY THE HELL WOULD WE END THE ONE AND ONLY EXPERIENCE WE'D EVER KNOW?! Why would not having an objective "purpose" suddenly make the amazing things we learn and experience, and those we will in the future, suddenly such a horrible prospect we'd... kill ourselves?! Again, that says SO MUCH MORE about how desperately you need this god fiction and how empty you are without it than it does about atheism.
"God doesn't exist? Really?"
*Sigh* Oh, Tyler. That's not atheism. Atheism is, "God exists? Really? Provide evidence. Because until I see evidence, I'm not just going to take your word for it."
Atheism is NOT an assertion that your god absolutely doesn't and can't exist. Just like it's not an assertion of the nonexistence of magical fascism fairies, which are responsible for making fascists confused and upset and not sure why.
And based on the OBJECTIVE standard of perpetuation and preservation of life - the Bible is a hysterically immoral, hilariously inaccurate, and unbelievably useless relic that should be ignored by anyone with a pulse. Kidnapping "young girls who are virgins" to enslave and rape after slaughtering entire populations; and smearing the blood of a sacrificed bird on your skin, stripping naked, circling a tent seven times, and chanting magic words to some invisible being to cure infectious disease.... would you say, Tyler, that those things (and SO MANY OTHER equally insane "lessons") do or do not contribute to the health, happiness and stability of human societies and, consequently, the human species?
Tyler324 forfeited this round.
"What Frank doesn't seem to understand is that I don't have to provide em evidence for anything. This argument doesn't try to prove God or objective morality. It simply points out the consequences of atheism and tells the atheist to practice what he preaches using techniques from religion."
OK, so you are intent on setting up this debate dynamic where you define the terms and parameters into conformation with your strange (mis)understanding of these things, assert your baseless opinions as simply accepted, obvious, and unquestionable fact, demand that I respond to your opinions as though they are are obviously and unquestionably facts, refrain from requesting any evidence from you, and then agree that the only POSSIBLE option after all of those strange steps is... accepting nihilism and suicide as the best and only remaining options.
Well, that's ridiculous as hell.
I'm sorry that you've decided your opinion about religion's objective moral code and objective purpose is a fact that you don't have to defend, but that too is ridiculous as hell. When you insist that that atheism inevitably leads to nihilism and suicide because UNLIKE RELIGION, it offers no objective moral truth or purpose, and that atheists pretend to have some objective moral code or purpose by "using techniques from religion" (whatever that means), you are ASSERTING, without question, that atheism lacks the objective moral code and objective purpose of religion.
THAT'S YOUR WHOLE ARGUMENT! Atheism, according to you, leads to nihilism and suicide, while RELIGION AND THEISM DON'T, because atheism has no objective moral code and religion/faith/theism DO!
You are citing that as a FACT, Tyler. That is the CRUX OF YOUR ARGUMENT. So I'm sorry that you want religion and faith offering objective moral truth and purpose to be an unquestionable and absolute given of this debate and also want to avoid the obligation to ever provide a SHRED of evidence for that, but you CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.
I ABSOLUTELY REJECT your painfully childish assertion that subjectively choosing some magical being blesses the chooser with an objective moral code and a life-purpose. That is NONSENSE. Christianity in particular is OBVIOUSLY the furthest thing from a path to moral objectivity. Which is why the embarrassing mess that is the Bible has spawned hundreds or thousands of sects and remains endlessly and uselessly interpretive. There's absolutely nothing objective about it. And we're not talking about some non-Bible-affiliated god, because you are the one who cited that god in the conclusion of your... Dark Apologetic.
So the religious HAVE NO OBJECTIVE MORAL CODE. They just don't. They don't have an objective moral purpose either, as the details of serving, worshiping, appeasing, avoiding-angering, pleasing this god (or whatever god) is as interpretive and subjective as everything else about religious fables.
So, unless you can provide evidence that a god exists (specifically YOUR GOD), that this objective moral code exists, and outline this objective moral code for us, entirely or in part, your dark apologetic and claim that atheists are (mis)appropriating some feature of religion is simply inaccurate and useless.
As for atheists necessarily having to... choose nihilism and/or suicide if they're being honest - that's hilariously inane and fantastically absurd. For one, you don't seem to understand these terms. Atheists aren't insisting that no gods could possibly exist. We are rejecting the god claims of theists for a reason you should be really familiar with: theists are incapable of providing ANY even marginally compelling evidence that their pet deity exists.
And refusing to arbitrarily and subjectively just choose among the thousands of deities worshiped on this planet (all with an equivalent and apparently absolute lack of any legitimate evidence) is not the first inevitable step toward nihilism and suicide. It's being an adult.
So you've mischaracterized atheists as some breed of hard, absolute anti-theists, and we're not. At least I'm not and I don't know any atheists who are. You're also conflating atheism with skepticism. There are plenty of atheists who believe in things, supernatural and otherwise, without legitimate/sufficient evidence to do so for one reason or another. You happen to believe that your god belief is the best supernatural belief and therefore the only one that matters. And if anyone is CRAZY enough to reject Tyler's god belief, obviously their.. daily mind-purifying introspection will lead them to reject every other possible supernatural belief. And without those, for you at least, life just isn't worth living.
Well Tyler, your insistence that atheism MUST lead to nihilism is inaccurate, obviously, just like your claim that suicide is the only possible recourse for someone after they've fallen into the abyss of nihilism is your strange, emo, subjective opinion. And again, it's an opinion that says a LOT MORE about your personal seemingly desperate reliance on this god belief you have. For you, without this comforting, soothing, arbitrary, subjective belief in a Hebrew tribal war god making life and death less frightening, your life would literally not be worth living.
Thankfully, your subjective opinion is NOT universal. EVEN IF someone becomes a nihilist, decides that life has no objective purpose and no objective moral code... why would that necessarily lead to suicide?! Discounting all of the excellent and entirely compelling reasons to live - IF SOMEONE BELIEVES THAT THIS LIFE THAT'S AN ACCIDENT OF THE COSMOS IS ALL THEY WILL EVER HAVE, THAT MAKES THIS LIFE INFINITELY MORE PRECIOUS TO THEM THAN SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THEIR SOUL WILL FLY UP TO HEAVEN AFTER THEY DIE!
Why would life be SOOOOOoooo precious to some theist who believes that this existence is just a place to wipe their feet and grovel to some god before their REAL life begins FOR ETERNITY after they're dead. This life is less than a blink when compared to eternity. Compared to eternity, it's brief to the point of virtual nonexistence. It is SO, SO brief, right? And... that makes it so much more important to the personal who believes that than to the person who believes that this blink is ALL WE GET between the big voids of nothing on either side of our lives? You think the only logical option for people who believe that is to... end this one brief little shot at existing early? That's one of the most absurd conclusions I can possibly imagine.
Tyler, become one with actual rational, reality-based cognition and embrace logic and really basic common sense.
Also - provide evidence that religion has ANY objective moral code or stop making that claim.
I've got two posts from you to respond to, and most of it seems to be belligerence, so forgive me for glossing over the nonsense.
If you read the conclusion slowly, in conjunction with the premises, you will see that I say putting your "trust" or faith in God is an alternative, but nowhere do I state that God exists.
Let's now address this fantasy of yours, that the evolutionary drive for survival somehow establishes an objective standard for morality. You're essentially implying moral utilitarianism, that is, whatever standard brings about the best results is the best standard for us to go by. So you're suggesting that because murder, rape and theft upsets the order of society, they are by default immoral. There are a few problems with this however.
The results being good or bad are subjective from the very beginning. For example, I could easily argue that an institution which provides a stoic philosophy, orienting the people towards introspection, self-discipline, clergy who dedicate themselves to self-mastery and being able to identify flaws in others and providing them with a community and an absolute man would be very beneficial in comparison to lacking said institution. I could argue that allowing uncontrolled hedonism and the lack of unified meaning and purpose for the people would have many negative consequences.
And then there is the fact that we are not objectively obliged to even care about society, or about our species. I could personally be for only my own family, race and nation, and perhaps even for the subjugation of all other races and nations, nothing says that this is objectively wrong. What outside of our own opinions says we "must" care for the well-being and flourishing of the entire human species? Why can't we be selective? You have nothing. Absolutely nothing.
What about fornication and marriage? Some say sex outside of marriage is good, some say it's bad, both have their own arguments. Some say marriage is a fraud, others argue it's necessary and beneficial. Why should I go by your vision for society and not my own? Or by theirs? Nothing says I have to. Absolutely nothing.
Being that we are self-aware and far. Ore autonomous than the other animal species on this planet, we are capable of breaking free from such constraints and doing whatever we please. If all you have are good and bad "results," then you really don't have anything at all. It is not true (objective) that we must act in a way that promotes the greatest well-being and flourishing of the human species, or even a part of it. That would be a moral truth, an intelligent concept, which simply cannot exist outside of our own minds without another mind, a metaphysical mind.
It is true (objective) however that behaving in a certain way will further the well-being and flourishing of the human species. But notice the difference in how that was stated. It's not true (objective) that I "have to" behave in this way, only that in doing so the human species will be better off and flourish in a greater way. You seem incapable of understanding the difference.
To say that it is true (objective) that I must behave in this way is to say this moral duty exists outside of our own minds, obliging us to do so. But this doesn't exist in your worldview. You can shout, whine, spit and stammer all you want like a petulant child, nothing objectively (mind-independently) obligates me to be a good person or to behave in such a way, making me "wrong" or "immoral" for not doing so.
Another prime example is your mention of rape being objectively immoral because it threatens the health and stability of society. This is incorrect. It's not that it is immoral, but that it is bad (consequentially) for society. You see, there are two different goods. There might be good chess moves, but those chess moves aren't somehow morally good. Learn the difference, please.
As to atheism inevitably leading to nihilism? Well this is certainly true should you actually practice wha you preach and rid yourself of delusions. Self-analyzation and the practice of mindfulness can help you to purify your mind of existential and moral objectivity, to live and see what your worldview actually proclaims. And until you practice this, you're still in our world. Your meaning and purpose in life is to survive and make babies, nothing more, nothing less. That's why you exist. You're nothing more than very complex bacteria. If you believe the meaning and purpose of life is to love, live and let live, you have allowed yourself to become deluded. If you believe that it is true (objective) that rape, gemocide, murder, etc, is immoral, you have allowed yourself to become deluded. It's certainly true (objective) that such acts have harmful effects to society, but that's a far-very from their actually goodness. Heck, in your worldview, rape becomes a good and necessary thing should there ever be more good than bad, or even necessity, from the act.
You're an arrogant, cocky, naive and deluded little atheist with no real clue as to how philosophy works. Practice what you preach, look within, self-analyze, be mindful, purify yourself of all existential and moral objectivity, become one with your rational truth and e,brace suicide.
Of course, we wouldn't want belligerence and nonsense getting in the way of this debate. Because...
"You're an arrogant, cocky, naive and deluded little atheist with no real clue as to how philosophy works. Practice what you preach, look within, self-analyze, be mindful, purify yourself of all existential and moral objectivity, become one with your rational truth and embrace [sic] suicide."
Excellent. Objectively consistent philosophizing there. And, in your most recent attempt to assert that atheists are drafting off of the religious who have an objective moral code and because of this, in opposition to the religious and their objective moral code, atheists should just kill themselves because they don't have an objective moral code, you wrote this:
"If you read the conclusion slowly, in conjunction with the premises, you will see that I say putting your "trust" or faith in God is an alternative, but nowhere do I state that God exists."
Again, Tyler, I KNOW you really, really want to avoid taking responsibility for and the burden of your claims, but you do make those claims. Here's your conclusion:
"Conclusion: You are left with three options, nihilism, irrationality or faith. Either you will find yourself with a noose around your neck, living in the worldview of theism without justification or putting your trust in God."
See how god and faith there aren't "an alternative" to the relativistic, empty nightmare that is atheism? God and faith are THE ALTERNATIVE. The ONLY alternatives ever cited are: "nihilism, irrationality or faith". And you make it clear that it's faith in god.
So... your conclusion is absolutely asserting that this god and faith in it are the ONLY alternatives.
Anyway, that being said - obviously you are never going to provide evidence for your god or cite anything about this vaunted but nonexistent moral code of his, because neither of those things exist. So we'll stick with your premise. (Although I do like that my assertion that evolution and life's drive for self-preservation, both of which are the primary and objectively existent drivers of human morality, are "a fantasy", while your alternative - a magical tribal Hebrew war god from the Bronze Age that thinks rabbits chew their own cud, bats are birds, that the world and universe are the same age, 6500 years, that the world is flat, and that stars would fall out of the dome of heaven onto the ground if god ever shook the dome, is the... rational choice.)
OK, so there's a huge problem with your assertion that to practice some objective moral standard (and avoid become suicidal for some reason), people need to believe in some magical being (beyond how objectively absurd just choosing some magical space man gives someone an objective moral standard is in the first place). Practically, that problem is: if there is an objective code accompanying religious fables, no one's found it. Every single human being is the arbiter of their own morality, regardless of their beliefs. Not only does religious belief not make people more moral, according to the evidence (which I can provide), it appears to contribute to them being less moral. Even people who ARE legitimately and earnestly attempting to abide by their objective moral code have to interpret that code for every action they take that has moral consequences.
And then there is the fact that we are apparently not obligated to even care about your god, or any god, because... most of the world doesn't care about your god, at all. The lack of uniformity in god belief is compelling evidence that there is NO objective, transcendent moral standard out there. You have agreed that life's drive to preserve and perpetuate itself IS an objective fact, Tyler, although you don't believe it can be the author of an objective moral code. However, how many people, despite that objective reality existing, defy it and say... kill themselves? Or act in a manner that causes an avoidable death. So clearly - HUMAN BEINGS ARE PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF IGNORING OBJECTIVELY EXISTENT REALITIES! So if this objective moral standard DID exist, what outside of our own opinions says we "must" care about that moral code or follow it? Even if some god really wants us to follow its code, they're all apparently incapable of enforcing that desire. Why can't we be selective?
You said, "And then there is the fact that we are not objectively obliged to even care about society, or about our species." Yeah, again, we're not objectively obliged to even care about this moral code-provider or its code. Because according to all the evidence, sets of rules (from whatever source) don't make people "care" about the rule-giver or the rules.
And if this objective moral code did exist, why should I go by the dictates of that objective moral code and not my own? Does the threat of punishment or promise of reward from some space demon make following that demon's instructions "moral"? So if you want to rape a woman but don't do it because your god's objective rulebook tells you not to (not the Bible, of course, that god orders a number of kidnappings and rapes), are you MORE moral than someone who wants to rape a woman but doesn't because they know that rape destabilizes a society, making it less conducive to survival and has other temporal consequences?
You said, " It's not true (objective) that I 'have to' behave in this way, only that in doing so the human species will be better off and flourish in a greater way. You seem incapable of understanding the difference." Great, well it's not true (objective) that I "have to" abide by some objective moral standard if it existed, only in doing so I curry the favor or induce the anger of some being.
As someone CLEARLY far more erudite and well versed in philosophy, I imagine you're familiar with Plato's Euthyphro's Dilemma: is what the gods demand automatically, objectively morally right because the gods have decided it's right, or is it right because it just IS the (objectively) morally appropriate thing to do and the gods are just letting you know that? Because... if it's just right because it's right, then what the hell do we need some invisible, magical middle man for? If the god(s) is/are just DEMANDING that it is moral by fiat, then you're not making some moral choice, you're a dog following orders. You're also the limp, shackled amoral/immoral tool of some more powerful thing, not a moral agent exercising some caring code of conduct. And believing that you ARE just the moral servant and tool of some powerful being with an objective vision (moral and otherwise), as we have seen MILLIONS of times over, is one of the most dangerous and deadly beliefs existent.
You said, "Heck, in your worldview, rape becomes a good and necessary thing should there ever be more good than bad, or even necessity, from the act."
Right... Not sure how that could happen but it seems like an incredibly shortsighted condemnation of a naturalistic, humanist, "atheist" moral code considering the one you're pitching. The HUGE problem with your hypothetical objective moral code is: what the hell sort of assurance would any of us have that it was a legitimate one? How would us lowly, slavish, dog-like order-following human beings on the leash of your objective law-giver know if that law-giver was an omnibenevolent being doing the best for everyone... OR A DEMON DECEIVING US FOR ITS OWN AMUSEMENT?!
When you bend over and grab your ankles for your objective law-giver and become its tool, LITERALLY ANYTHING could be given the moral stamp of approval by this being and, according to you, without any thought, consideration, discussion, context, history or say in the matter, IT SIMPLY WOULD BE MORAL!
You cited the threat of rape somehow being asserted as moral in some naturalistic, humanist, atheist moral worldview with the group consideration, history, context, etc. that accompanies those decisions. OK... And to you, that's a GREATER threat than a bunch of mindless drones groveling to some more powerful, mind-independent code-giver just being TOLD that some horrific thing is perfectly moral and all of them agreeing unquestioningly? Your objective moral code giver, TOMORROW, could send down the orders that rape is great and anyone not white and straight was inferior. And to the followers, that would objectively be true.
As mentioned, it's not like there's not a TON of precedent for this. Homosexuality, for instance. It's the 21st century and gay people were JUST NOW granted the same right that straight people have enjoyed for millennia BECAUSE so many fans of your objective morality decided that some arbitrary, subjective old myth was objective truth.
Let me put it this way: if the naturalistic-cum-utilitarian, humanist, atheist moral code, or one similarly and rationally constructed to accord the most good for the most people and the least harm for the most people isn't "objective", then an objective moral code doesn't exist. Which is certainly not grounds for suicide. And you keep asserting that if an atheist "practices what they preach" atheism leads to nihilism. How is that? Atheism isn't a positive claim. I'm rejecting theistic claims about gods, but I CANNOT KNOW IF ALL THERE IS TO LIFE IS TO SURVIVE AND MAKE BABIES. Without evidence one way or the other, NO ONE CAN MAKE OR ABSOLUTELY REJECT THAT DETERMINATION. So deciding that WAS the case would be the OPPOSITE of an atheist practicing what they preached, since it would be making a positive claim about something for which there was insufficient evidence.
Again Tyler, embrace a dictionary and familiarize yourself with these definitions.
PS question: How would the follower of an objective moral code from some "independent mind" (god), know that code was from god and not the Devil?
Let's look at the first premises:
"Premise One: Objective meaning, purpose and morality does not exist in the worldview of atheism. All existential and moral beliefs are opinions, not truths. No particular existential and moral belief is true over another's, all are equal in value."
This has been clearly established. As you can see, I have not argued for the existence of existential and moral objectivity, I have in fact done the opposite by declaring that it does not exist. There is no proposition for its existence, therefore I have no reason to argue for it.
Now the second premise:
"Premise Two: Mere intellectual affirmation in the non-existence of God is not the end of atheism. One must also purify one's mind of any existential and moral beliefs which are in and of themselves objective through self-analyzation and being mindful of one's thoughts and words."
What I mean by intellectual affirmation is not the end is that within your mind there inevitably exists existential and moral objectivity. This is very easy to determine, simply ask and atheist or irreligious person whether or not it is true (objective) that murder, theft, rape and genocide is immoral, and they immediately respond that it is. Those lacking God never actually face the consequences of their faith, they instead continue to live and see as though He exists.
It is absolutely necessary for God to exist to have existential and moral objectivity, and this is obvious by the fact that only we self-aware, thinking and intelligent beings are capable of considering these concepts in these concepts in the first place. A tree doesn't think about the meaning of life, neither does a dog or a monkey, so it logically follows that at the foundation of reality there exists a self-aware, thinking and intelligent mind necessary for it to be imbued with meaning, purpose and morality. Unless someone is able to provide an alternative that is, I have yet to encounter such a one.
Here we arrive at the third premise:
"Premise Three: Throughout the process of purification, you will eventually find yourself in a world that is utterly depraved and void of substance. You will soon see more clearly what the worldview of atheism proclaims, and begin contemplating suicide."
You might wonder as to what I mean by the "process of purification." It's not that complicated to understand. We each have a particular mindset-outlook, a way we are inclined to think, see and behave in the world. For example, the way one thinks in the Christian west is inevitably going to be different to the way one thinks in the Muslim east. all of us are inclined towarsds seeing our moral standard in an objective manner by believing their moral values and duties to be right regardless of what anyone thinks (objective). This is to contradict the rational truth of one lacking the only possible source for existential and moral objectivity, thereby making one irrational.
You can obtain a rational mindset-outlook through the practice of self-analyzation and mindfulness. Imagine if you will a glass of dirty water. These practices are like drops of purifying chemicals which clear way the muck and grime (irrationality). One who does not practice this is bound to have a dirty glass of water. If atheism came with rituals and practices which instead of orienting the believer towards holiness like with Theism, to rationality, there wouldn't be many atheists, but a lot of nooses.
And this is why we come to the conclusion:
"Conclusion One: You are left with three options, nihilism, irrationality or faith. Either you will find yourself with a noose around your neck, living in the worldview of theism without justification or putting your trust in God."
Nihilism is inevitable. Those lacking God already suffer from this, but in a more subtle way. Only through practicing what they preach do they activate this inner truth of theirs and begin actually seeing and thinking in a way that conforms to it. And should they not, then they are simply irrational, living as though the sky daddy and faeries (existential and moral objectivity) exists while rejecting them at the same time. If you actually live pure nihilism, with no delusions, you will contemplate suicide. Disagree? Well practice what you preach, actually get to the other shore instead of remaining in ours before you disagree.
The first option allows you to be consistent, but far from happy. The second makes you inconsistent, but happy. The third gives you both consistency and happiness. It's up to you to decide.
Both of us debaters havent exactly been proper or formal, but then again, we know each other outside of this site. I ask you voters to really consider what has gone on here, consider both sides and ask yourself who actually had the better argument. Read the irrationality spewing from the words of Con, you can see exactly what I'm talking about. Living with or without God is very hard, it's when you live in the grey that you're irrational.
"Atheists, practice what you preach, look within, self-analyze, be mindful, purify yourself of existential and moral objectivity, become one with your rational truth and embrace suicide." - Tyler Newkirk
Furthermore, despite insisting that atheists are being irrational and dishonest for not admitting we're emulating religion by pretending to have some objective moral code, because religion obviously does), you've declared, over and over, that you're not asserting religion has an objective moral code. You've insisted that you don't have to provide evidence for this moral code, that religion provides it, what this moral code is, or even that it exists.
"I am not trying to prove the existence of God or objective meaning, purpose and morality. That is never stated in the argument." "As you can see, I have not argued for the existence of existential and moral objectivity, I have in fact done the opposite by declaring that it does not exist."
And then... "Those lacking God already suffer from this, but in a more subtle way. " "It is absolutely necessary for God to exist to have existential and moral objectivity, and this is obvious by the fact that only we self-aware, thinking and intelligent beings are capable of considering these concepts in these concepts in the first place. A tree doesn't think about the meaning of life, neither does a dog or a monkey, so it logically follows that at the foundation of reality there exists a self-aware, thinking and intelligent mind necessary for it to be imbued with meaning, purpose and morality. Unless someone is able to provide an alternative that is, I have yet to encounter such a one."
Apart from that being a fantastically absurd position, you just argued, RIGHT THERE, that god is necessary for your moral objectivity and that it "logically follows" that god must exist since humans... can think. Yeah. That makes... no sense at all. That's true, trees probably don't think about the meaning of life. However, human beings can't put down roots and survive on water and sunlight alone. So it logically follows that at the foundation of reality there exists a photosynthesizing, leaf-having, root-growing tree-essence necessary for that tree to be imbued with its photosynthesis, leaves, and roots.
See how the human evolutionary adaptation for greater cognitive acuity that's engendered our self-awareness because of a brain that's evolved to be large, efficient, and featuring a neo-cortex of tightly-packed neurons (one we can watch evolve in the fossil record, DNA, comparative zoology and biology, etc.) is a feature of our biological existence? So... why would THAT feature of life require a magical "mind" that exists somewhere without any structure to provide a mind? It wouldn't, by the way, is the answer.
Now let's consider Tyler's objective moral code and objective truth. In an amazingly unsurprising lapse, Tyler has failed to respond to the enormous flaws in his absurd argument that I pointed out. A few of the chief flaws are:
ANYTHING this mind-independent "mind" or being that transcends human minds, that he's weirdly asserting must logically exist, declares moral just is moral, according to Tyler. So... it could declare that rape, incest, genocide, baby-cannibalism, orphan-torture, etc. is moral, and it absolutely would be. Because this being knows better.
And, how exactly would human beings ever know that their "objective" moral code from this super-being is... actually moral? Again, if the universe's most evil demon lied to humanity and handed down his moral code, who would know better? Who could question this being? Tyler certainly wouldn't. He'd simply accept that it was OBVIOUSLY handing down an objective moral code. And there's nothing about Tyler's... "logical" evidence for god that suggests this god's character. Just that it thinks, and imbues life with morality and purpose. Great. So if it's a demon, it's morality is cruel anti-morality and the purpose its imbued on humanity is that we are horrific to each other for its amusement.
Not to mention that simply following orders, as mentioned, is NOT moral! It's being a dog doing as it's told for a treat or to avoid being whipped.
Perhaps my favorite thing about his OBJECTIVE moral and truth-imbuing god's existence and its code is that god is the ONLY objective law and morality-giver because: "Unless someone is able to provide an alternative that is, I have yet to encounter such a one." Keep in mind that Tyler is arguing for an OBJECTIVE morality here, and his objective path to this truth is... his opinion? Because he hasn't "encounter[ed]" another one? So based on Tyler's argument from ignorance fallacy regarding his subjective opinion about a GOD HE ALREADY WORSHIPS, we should accept that this... objective moral code TOTALLY exists and is so great that atheists should kill themselves for the lack of it? Someone choosing their own religion's god as the source of objective truth, in their opinion, with no evidence, is... an objective determination is it?
It reminds me of my objective proof that my dad is OBJECTIVELY, without a doubt, the toughest, bravest, greatest dad in the whole wide world. See, he's the greatest, toughest and bravest dad because I know him and I know he is and I have yet to encounter another dad who's anywhere near as tough, great, or brave as he is. See? Objectively proven. It's airtight.
As for Tyler's ridiculous assertion that being an atheist INEVITABLY leads to nihilism, which INEVITABLY leads to horrible emptiness and suicide - the primary problem, again, with that silliness is his profound and chronic ignorance regarding what atheism actually is.
Tyler, if you take nothing else away from this debate, try to remember this, OK? Imagine if you will that atheism is what it actually is: a rejection of god claims. That's it. Your opinion about the necessity of daily brain-purification rituals to be a truly consistent atheist is... your strange, subjective opinion. Again, you don't seem to understand the difference between atheism and skepticism.
I KNOW that you're REALLY attached to your SUBJECTIVE OPINION that the ONLY possible source of objective purpose and morality is your god. Unfortunately, that's absurd. An atheist could believe that... say, the universe itself is unconscious but has evolved into life-perpetuation construct and imbues that atheist with the objective purpose to preserve and perpetuate life (I don't believe that, by the way).
But guess what, Tyler - there's 100% as much evidence for THAT as there is for your god. In fact, since we ACTUALLY KNOW THE UNIVERSE EXISTS, there's a LOT MORE evidence for it than there is for your god.
But let's go ahead and grant your confused conflation of atheism and skepticism. If atheists practice what they preach, self-analyze, and are mindful, every day, they reject the acceptance of anything for which there's no evidence. And guess what, Tyler - THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE REJECTION OF SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS, FOR NOW, BECAUSE OF A LACK OF EVIDENCE, MEANS THAT LIFE IS EMPTY AND DEVOID OF PURPOSE, EVEN OBJECTIVE PURPOSE!
So, if an atheist, every single day rejected baseless assertions, your weird assertion that rejecting "existential and moral objectivity", RIGHT NOW, due to a lack of evidence, means that no existential or moral objectivity will ever be discovered ever. Those are NOT the sort of broad, stupid, and ill-informed assumptions about the universe that atheists make.
I don't know how to make that any clearer: by practicing what we preach, atheists keep an open mind and neither accept or reject possibilities outright and entirely without the appropriate evidence.
And then there's this: "If you actually live pure nihilism, with no delusions, you will contemplate suicide. Disagree?" Yes, Tyler, I disagree, because human beings are all different. Some people who... "live pure nihilism" might contemplate suicide, sure, while others might find it incredibly freeing and suicide would be the LAST thing on their mind.
This is ground we've already covered, but let's again grant your fallacious confusion of atheism, skepticism and perhaps more fallacious assertion that it inevitably leads to nihilism. AGAIN, why would someone who believed that this life was the ONE shot they had to experience everything they could in life, learn everything they could, travel, study, etc., before dying forever - why the hell would they choose end that existence early? You believe that paradise is waiting for you... after you've died, paradise that lasts for eternity, making your little blink of existence here is MORE precious than it is for someone who thinks this is all they get? Do you understand how ridiculous that is?
Again, apparently for you the prospect of living without this evidence-free religious mythology that promises paradise after you die, is SO INCREDIBLY TERRIFYING, you think the ONLY alternative that anyone could honestly entertain is suicide. Tyler, that doesn't say anything about atheism or the "atheist worldview" or skepticism or the rejection of supernatural claims and/or existential objectivity - it says EVERYTHING about how incredibly, desperately necessary your religious crutch is to you. Not to mention how barren the non-religious facets of your life seem to be.
Anyway, for me and most atheists I know, investigating the mysteries of life and the universe, and investigating questions like the existence (or not) of objective morality, truth, and purpose is reason enough for existence and the rejection of your bizarre suicide fixation.
Voters: I hope you enjoyed the debate! I enjoyed having it. Thanks for the time and consideration of it.
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