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Secular Morality/Objective Moral Standards

Orangatang
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2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.
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Sswdwm
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2/10/2014 3:10:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

You should check out Sam Harris' book 'The Moral Landscape' or Matt Dillahunty's video 'The Superiority of Secular Morality' if you haven't already. I don't necessarily agree with all their ideas but the gist of it makes a lot of sense.
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Orangatang
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2/10/2014 3:57:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 3:10:27 AM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

You should check out Sam Harris' book 'The Moral Landscape' or Matt Dillahunty's video 'The Superiority of Secular Morality' if you haven't already. I don't necessarily agree with all their ideas but the gist of it makes a lot of sense.

Ok, I've seen Matt Dillahunty's and I think it is exactly why I am asking other people. I want to know if they think the theists argument of a monopoly on objective morality is valid or not.
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Tophatdoc
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2/10/2014 6:19:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?
No, one only needs to ask what is the basis of said morality? Who determines it? Theists have can utilize "god" as the basis for morality because "god gave them the moral standards.

Atheism and Agnosticism are not moral standard systems. Atheism boldly denies the existence of god. While Agnosticism is skeptic about the existing god. Neither are adequate replacements for religion. They only address the existence of a god. Nothing about moral standards is associated with either. That is why someone can be an atheist and be a humanist or an atheist and an "amoral" automaton. One could argue that there is no moral difference between stomping a bug and stomping a human being. An atheist/agnostic has no absolute standard to tell that person they are morally wrong for suggesting or acting upon it.

Then again, I am an Agnostic and a nihilist so what do I know.
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Noumena
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2/10/2014 8:01:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 3:10:27 AM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

You should check out Sam Harris' book 'The Moral Landscape' or Matt Dillahunty's video 'The Superiority of Secular Morality' if you haven't already. I don't necessarily agree with all their ideas but the gist of it makes a lot of sense.

Most of Harris' book is beyond bad and doesn't command the least bit of respect in the philosophical community.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Sswdwm
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2/10/2014 8:07:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Atheism and Agnosticism are not moral standard systems. Atheism boldly denies the existence of god. While Agnosticism is skeptic about the existing god. Neither are adequate replacements for religion. They only address the existence of a god. Nothing about moral standards is associated with either. That is why someone can be an atheist and be a humanist or an atheist and an "amoral" automaton. One could argue that there is no moral difference between stomping a bug and stomping a human being. An atheist/agnostic has no absolute standard to tell that person they are morally wrong for suggesting or acting upon it.

Then again, I am an Agnostic and a nihilist so what do I know.

True in the first part. Atheism and agnosticism doesn't lead to anything, it's just a position taken on the question of the existence of a god(s). The rejection of which also discards the associated baggage associated with specific god beliefs - which includes it's moral values.

That's not to say people who reject the notion of a god cannot have objective moral values, it's just they do not attribute them to a particular belief in a god. Sam Harris' argument which I mostly agree with is morality essentially comes hand in hand with the well-being of concious beings. Which is not a simple notion, as it's akin to describing someone who is healthy. There is no consensus on what makes somebody healthy, but there is plenty of a consensus on what makes you ill. Pathogens, poisons, bad diets etc.

These are facts (objective ones, even) in themselves, while it's unlikely that secular morals will come up with a 'moral code', it is likely to be able to judge the moral implications of competing actions objectively.
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Tophatdoc
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2/10/2014 8:44:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 8:07:35 AM, Sswdwm wrote:

True in the first part. Atheism and agnosticism doesn't lead to anything, it's just a position taken on the question of the existence of a god(s). The rejection of which also discards the associated baggage associated with specific god beliefs - which includes it's moral values.

That's not to say people who reject the notion of a god cannot have objective moral values, it's just they do not attribute them to a particular belief in a god. Sam Harris' argument which I mostly agree with is morality essentially comes hand in hand with the well-being of concious beings. Which is not a simple notion, as it's akin to describing someone who is healthy. There is no consensus on what makes somebody healthy, but there is plenty of a consensus on what makes you ill. Pathogens, poisons, bad diets etc.

These are facts (objective ones, even) in themselves, while it's unlikely that secular morals will come up with a 'moral code', it is likely to be able to judge the moral implications of competing actions objectively.

People who reject the notion of god(or gods) have no basis for the objectivity of morality. It appears Harris has misled you. How can one attribute morality is objective if it is your opinion against mine on what is immoral or moral? That is not objective, that is relative.

As I pointed out in one of my recent debates, people have the tendency to project their morals onto others claiming they have the same ones but don't want to acknowledge it. This is not true so there can't be a consensus as you claim.

For example, in modern America and throughout the world people denounce Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany for being evil for their actions against the Jews. However, during the 1930s, Hitler's actions against the Jews were popular and celebrated(in some instances) in the Third Reich. If morality was objective everyone would of have had the same reaction back then and in today;s time. Or for example, the Trayvon Martin shooting that happened not so long ago. Some said the shooting was justified while others decried it was "murder." If morality was objective we would have reacted the same way. That was not the case. It is clear that objective morality can not be determined by the biological makeup of the human anatomy due to the different distinctions and definitions of what is good and bad from various human beings. If objective morality exists, it must come from an entity(or entities) superior to that of human beings(god or gods).

I would suggest avoiding Sam Harris altogether also. Sam Harris is philosophically ill-equipped in many respects to take seriously. His writings tend to be written for popular reading rather than towards the philosophy connoisseur. They also tend to be too theoretical for my taste as well.
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Sswdwm
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2/10/2014 9:14:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
People who reject the notion of god(or gods) have no basis for the objectivity of morality. It appears Harris has misled you. How can one attribute morality is objective if it is your opinion against mine on what is immoral or moral? That is not objective, that is relative.

That first sentence you need to actually support, because logically the only thing that happens when one rejects a particular (religious) take on objective morals is they have rejected that particular one. In my case I reject all religious takes on it.

More (theist and non-theist) people will agree that:

1. If objective moral values do exist, they are independent of the opinion at any time of the people thinking of them
2. There are multiple religious claims to these objective moral values

From this, if objective moral values exist, then at least some mutually exclusive religious takes on them must be wrong.

A crude example would be the 9/11 bombers, according to divine command theory or interpretations of the Qu'ran, would have been seen as an objectively moral action for the perpetrators but a patently immoral by the standards of the Christians who died in those towers.

if objective moral values do indeed exist, this is factually an objectively good or bad action, but it's patently clear that a particular belief in a particular god will not resolve this. This as far as I understand is the basis of Sam Harris' hypothetical take on morality, and how one can objectively judge actions against each other.

Like with the scientific method - the answer will not always be correct - there will at least be a tendency towards a better understanding and better decisions being taken as a result over time. I don't necessarily agree with some of Harris' deductions and conclusions but the principle itself is one I think can be applied in principle - however difficult it may be.

As I pointed out in one of my recent debates, people have the tendency to project their morals onto others claiming they have the same ones but don't want to acknowledge it. This is not true so there can't be a consensus as you claim.

I agree, people generally judge others according to their own moral standard, which I have already said differs greatly even between those who claim to have the right objective moral values. Which is why when we make these big decisions such as those on homosexuality, women's rights, abortion, execution etc we need to be able to have a rational approach to reaching a sound conclusion (the whole point of Harris' book)

I would suggest avoiding Sam Harris altogether also. Sam Harris is philosophically ill-equipped in many respects to take seriously. His writings tend to be written for popular reading rather than towards the philosophy connoisseur. They also tend to be too theoretical for my taste as well.

Perhaps this is true, of course one should not use him at any sort of authority even if he was indeed a professor in philosophy - but the ideas stand on their own merits and he's not the only one to make this sort of take on morality.
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Rational_Thinker9119
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2/10/2014 9:15:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Well, morality is liked with personhood. So, if there is an objective standard above humans that which we were all bound, it seems it would need to be grounded in a personal God. Otherwise, the only personhood we have to tie morality to is ourselves, but then its anybody's game and anything goes.
Tophatdoc
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2/10/2014 10:21:43 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 9:14:15 AM, Sswdwm wrote:

That first sentence you need to actually support, because logically the only thing that happens when one rejects a particular (religious) take on objective morals is they have rejected that particular one. In my case I reject all religious takes on it.
I need not defend or support it according to your reasoning because I was not referring to a particular entity or entities that dictate objective morals. I would need to support it if I was arguing a particular entity(or entities) dictates objective morals. But I am not doing that at all.

More (theist and non-theist) people will agree that:

1. If objective moral values do exist, they are independent of the opinion at any time of the people thinking of them
2. There are multiple religious claims to these objective moral values

From this, if objective moral values exist, then at least some mutually exclusive religious takes on them must be wrong.
Of course.

A crude example would be the 9/11 bombers, according to divine command theory or interpretations of the Qu'ran, would have been seen as an objectively moral action for the perpetrators but a patently immoral by the standards of the Christians who died in those towers.
This has nothing to do with what I am discussing at all. Your referring to the standards of a particular "god."

if objective moral values do indeed exist, this is factually an objectively good or bad action, but it's patently clear that a particular belief in a particular god will not resolve this. This as far as I understand is the basis of Sam Harris' hypothetical take on morality, and how one can objectively judge actions against each other.
Of course belief in a particular god will not resolve it. One must have evidence to show that particular entity is the entity that creates objective moral standards. At least in order to be correct that is.

Like with the scientific method - the answer will not always be correct - there will at least be a tendency towards a better understanding and better decisions being taken as a result over time. I don't necessarily agree with some of Harris' deductions and conclusions but the principle itself is one I think can be applied in principle - however difficult it may be.
I don't follow your reasoning here at all, honestly.

I agree, people generally judge others according to their own moral standard, which I have already said differs greatly even between those who claim to have the right objective moral values. Which is why when we make these big decisions such as those on homosexuality, women's rights, abortion, execution etc we need to be able to have a rational approach to reaching a sound conclusion (the whole point of Harris' book)
No, "we" don't always make these big decisions. That is exclusively a matter of sovereignty and legitimacy. In the United States, the elected officials, judges, and the public at large are sovereign so they dictate what is acceptable and what is not. If someone has a minority opinion it will be inconsequential. Versus in Saudi Arabia where the monarchy is sovereign, they dictate what is acceptable and what is not. Saudi Arabia is more representative of human history because most known societies have had an authoritarian leaning framework(king, queen, emperor, warlord, chieftain, etc.). Who makes the "big decisions" is up to sovereignty and legitimacy only.

Also "rationality" is relative to perspective as well. There is no "rational" approach. You may call what you wish rational from your perspective. One millenia or possibly a minute from now it will be considered irrational by someone else.
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Sswdwm
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2/10/2014 10:52:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I need not defend or support it according to your reasoning because I was not referring to a particular entity or entities that dictate objective morals. I would need to support it if I was arguing a particular entity(or entities) dictates objective morals. But I am not doing that at all.

You said, "People who reject the notion of god(or gods) have no basis for the objectivity of morality.". I guess this statement is one you have not supported - and one which I have tried to show you is completely untrue. If I can come up with even a bad basis for objective morals, it's still a basis nontheless (I happen to think this example is better than that, of course, but the point regardless).

This has nothing to do with what I am discussing at all. Your referring to the standards of a particular "god."

I was trying to establish the point I just made here that different basis for objective moral values exist, and can all be incorrect. Meaning I need only find a basis (good or not).

Of course belief in a particular god will not resolve it. One must have evidence to show that particular entity is the entity that creates objective moral standards. At least in order to be correct that is.

I was using this to challenge the notion that being religious doesn't entitle one to dismiss moral judgements from non-theists, or the notion that their basis is somehow inferior.

Until any one particular theistic belief is proven - then I as a non-believer can counter the argument against those who criticize my moral values of being subjective with the argument that any theistic claim to objective moral values is purely subjective of the particular belief they hold.

I don't follow your reasoning here at all, honestly.

Sorry, it was just a claim that progress can be made the same way we make progress is made scientifically in other areas in our society (biology, chemistry etc...)

Also "rationality" is relative to perspective as well. There is no "rational" approach. You may call what you wish rational from your perspective. One millenia or possibly a minute from now it will be considered irrational by someone else.

Rationality is contingent on being logical - which is objective, no?
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EndarkenedRationalist
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2/10/2014 1:45:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

I don't believe there is any objective moral standard for either atheists or theists. Or agnostics. Or anyone at all.
Orangatang
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2/10/2014 2:57:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 1:45:22 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

I don't believe there is any objective moral standard for either atheists or theists. Or agnostics. Or anyone at all.

You don't think that there is a "best" moral action that can be taken from a set of finite actions?
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EndarkenedRationalist
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2/10/2014 3:25:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 2:57:02 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:45:22 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

I don't believe there is any objective moral standard for either atheists or theists. Or agnostics. Or anyone at all.

You don't think that there is a "best" moral action that can be taken from a set of finite actions?

"Best" is a matter of perspective.
Wocambs
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2/10/2014 3:26:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ideas of 'objective value', 'objective morality', and 'moral authority' should be hated by all people. The values of one individual cannot be the same as the values of another, and so the 'morality' of one individual cannot be the same as the 'morality' of another. To decide that what you value is more important, and ought to be given more respect, than what someone else does has led to all of the truly unjust suffering caused to humans by humans.

The existential crisis is perhaps worsened by the realisation that what you value is no more important or valid than, and should be given no primacy over, that which others value, but that is a burden that should not be eased at the expense of others. Every rightly condemned act is an expression of moral authority. I may stone a homosexual or execute a muslim because they disagree that my God is supreme; I may rape someone because I may take what I want from others; I may send young men to kill and die in the interests of my power and profit because both of those things are more valuable than the lives of others.

Accepting the individual nature of morality does not constitute accepting that all actions are 'fair game' - the truth is quite the opposite, and only those who are too weak to come to terms with their own freedom are the worse off for it.
Tophatdoc
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2/10/2014 6:38:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 10:52:46 AM, Sswdwm wrote:

You said, "People who reject the notion of god(or gods) have no basis for the objectivity of morality.". I guess this statement is one you have not supported - and one which I have tried to show you is completely untrue. If I can come up with even a bad basis for objective morals, it's still a basis nontheless (I happen to think this example is better than that, of course, but the point regardless).
I am not arguing for the existence of objective morals. In fact,I would argue morals are relative. You seem to be requesting that I support the idea that morals are objective. I don't believe such a thing so why would I support it? I said people who reject the notion of god have no basis for objective morality. Who determines what is objective if there is no god(or gods)? To suggest something is objective is a bold claim that there are no other standards to be measured by.

I was trying to establish the point I just made here that different basis for objective moral values exist, and can all be incorrect. Meaning I need only find a basis (good or not).
Interesting point but that is not what we are discussing at this moment. We are not discussing whether someone's standard is correct or incorrect. We are discussing whether someone can make a claim of objective morals without an objective source.

I was using this to challenge the notion that being religious doesn't entitle one to dismiss moral judgements from non-theists, or the notion that their basis is somehow inferior.
What source do they have to claim objectivity for morals? It can't be biological as I have already pointed out due to inconsistency.

Until any one particular theistic belief is proven - then I as a non-believer can counter the argument against those who criticize my moral values of being subjective with the argument that any theistic claim to objective moral values is purely subjective of the particular belief they hold.
No, your not criticizing their moral standards. Allegedly ,their moral standards derive from a higher entity which reinforces the concept of objectivity if said entity exists. You have shown at all how your morals are objective. I do not have to support the idea my morals are objective because I don't believe in objective morality.

Sorry, it was just a claim that progress can be made the same way we make progress is made scientifically in other areas in our society (biology, chemistry etc...)
I thought that was what you were saying but I wasn't sure. How can you measure something that has no objective standard to be measured by? That assumes you have a standard to be measured. I believe such a standard does not exist in terms of morality. I don't believe in objective morality.

Rationality is contingent on being logical - which is objective, no?
Based on what? Who determines what is illogical and illogical?

I apologize if I am a bit hostile because currently I am trying to touch up some homework that is due in an hour.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Tophatdoc
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2/10/2014 6:40:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 6:38:53 PM, Tophatdoc wrote:
At 2/10/2014 10:52:46 AM, Sswdwm wrote:

You said, "People who reject the notion of god(or gods) have no basis for the objectivity of morality.". I guess this statement is one you have not supported - and one which I have tried to show you is completely untrue. If I can come up with even a bad basis for objective morals, it's still a basis nontheless (I happen to think this example is better than that, of course, but the point regardless).
I am not arguing for the existence of objective morals. In fact,I would argue morals are relative. You seem to be requesting that I support the idea that morals are objective. I don't believe such a thing so why would I support it? I said people who reject the notion of god have no basis for objective morality. Who determines what is objective if there is no god(or gods)? To suggest something is objective is a bold claim that there are no other standards to be measured by.

I was trying to establish the point I just made here that different basis for objective moral values exist, and can all be incorrect. Meaning I need only find a basis (good or not).
Interesting point but that is not what we are discussing at this moment. We are not discussing whether someone's standard is correct or incorrect. We are discussing whether someone can make a claim of objective morals without an objective source.

I was using this to challenge the notion that being religious doesn't entitle one to dismiss moral judgements from non-theists, or the notion that their basis is somehow inferior.
What source do they have to claim objectivity for morals? It can't be biological as I have already pointed out due to inconsistency.

Until any one particular theistic belief is proven - then I as a non-believer can counter the argument against those who criticize my moral values of being subjective with the argument that any theistic claim to objective moral values is purely subjective of the particular belief they hold.
No, your not criticizing their moral standards. Allegedly ,their moral standards derive from a higher entity which reinforces the concept of objectivity if said entity exists. You have not shown at all how your morals are objective. I do not have to support the idea my morals are objective because I don't believe in objective morality.

Sorry, it was just a claim that progress can be made the same way we make progress is made scientifically in other areas in our society (biology, chemistry etc...)
I thought that was what you were saying but I wasn't sure. How can you measure something that has no objective standard to be measured by? That assumes you have a standard to be measured. I believe such a standard does not exist in terms of morality. I don't believe in objective morality.

Rationality is contingent on being logical - which is objective, no?
Based on what? Who determines what is illogical and illogical?

I apologize if I am a bit hostile because currently I am trying to touch up some homework that is due in an hour.
Fixed
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Orangatang
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2/14/2014 8:51:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 3:25:26 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 2/10/2014 2:57:02 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:45:22 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?

I ask this because theists always claim that their scripture gives them an objective moral standard, and say that atheists can never have an objective moral standard. I think this this is Bologna. Consequentialism, for example should be justified in being part of an objective moral standard. After all, the action that gives the best consequences overall doesn't depend on personal values.

I don't believe there is any objective moral standard for either atheists or theists. Or agnostics. Or anyone at all.

You don't think that there is a "best" moral action that can be taken from a set of finite actions?

"Best" is a matter of perspective.

But, don't you think for certain moral dilemmas one action is definitely better than another action regardless of perspective?
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Orangatang
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2/14/2014 8:54:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 3:26:42 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Ideas of 'objective value', 'objective morality', and 'moral authority' should be hated by all people. The values of one individual cannot be the same as the values of another, and so the 'morality' of one individual cannot be the same as the 'morality' of another. To decide that what you value is more important, and ought to be given more respect, than what someone else does has led to all of the truly unjust suffering caused to humans by humans.

The existential crisis is perhaps worsened by the realisation that what you value is no more important or valid than, and should be given no primacy over, that which others value, but that is a burden that should not be eased at the expense of others. Every rightly condemned act is an expression of moral authority. I may stone a homosexual or execute a muslim because they disagree that my God is supreme; I may rape someone because I may take what I want from others; I may send young men to kill and die in the interests of my power and profit because both of those things are more valuable than the lives of others.

Accepting the individual nature of morality does not constitute accepting that all actions are 'fair game' - the truth is quite the opposite, and only those who are too weak to come to terms with their own freedom are the worse off for it.

Do you think there is a best moral action for certain moral dilemmas, regardless of perspective?
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Orangatang
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2/14/2014 9:31:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/10/2014 6:19:11 AM, Tophatdoc wrote:
At 2/10/2014 1:58:56 AM, Orangatang wrote:
Simple question. Can secular moral systems hold objective moral standards for atheists?
No, one only needs to ask what is the basis of said morality? Who determines it? Theists have can utilize "god" as the basis for morality because "god gave them the moral standards.

Well in this case wouldn't God's standards be considered subjective as well? This insinuates a reference to euthypro's dilemma. God's standards is scripture written by people anyway (regardless if they were inspired by God or not), so there is definitely a false double standard going on here. If you accept my fundamental assumption that in some situations one action may be better than others, regardless of perspective then there is an objective moral standard (some secular moral system) that we may appeal to. I think it is a quite reasonable assumption.

Atheism and Agnosticism are not moral standard systems. Atheism boldly denies the existence of god. While Agnosticism is skeptic about the existing god. Neither are adequate replacements for religion. They only address the existence of a god. Nothing about moral standards is associated with either. That is why someone can be an atheist and be a humanist or an atheist and an "amoral" automaton. One could argue that there is no moral difference between stomping a bug and stomping a human being. An atheist/agnostic has no absolute standard to tell that person they are morally wrong for suggesting or acting upon it.

You don't have to waste time explaining to me that atheism and agnosticism aren't moral systems. I never said they were. I am simply stating that atheists may adopt secular moral systems.

Then again, I am an Agnostic and a nihilist so what do I know.

I don't know if you know this but atheism and agnosticism aren't mutually exclusive. And sorry for the super late response, I have been overwhelmed by school.
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Tophatdoc
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2/15/2014 8:08:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/14/2014 9:31:24 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well in this case wouldn't God's standards be considered subjective as well? This insinuates a reference to euthypro's dilemma. God's standards is scripture written by people anyway (regardless if they were inspired by God or not), so there is definitely a false double standard going on here. If you accept my fundamental assumption that in some situations one action may be better than others, regardless of perspective then there is an objective moral standard (some secular moral system) that we may appeal to. I think it is a quite reasonable assumption.
I never said or implied the Christian God which is what it seems your implying mentioning the term "scriptures." I don't see what your getting at because that is relative to the Christian God in this case. Your also suggesting human beings have the capacity to understand said entity or entities clearly. I disagree with this profusely.


You don't have to waste time explaining to me that atheism and agnosticism aren't moral systems. I never said they were. I am simply stating that atheists may adopt secular moral systems.
Or they could chose to adopt their own moral system believing and acting as they wish.


I don't know if you know this but atheism and agnosticism aren't mutually exclusive. And sorry for the super late response, I have been overwhelmed by school.
That depends upon the definitions your are using for those terms.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Wocambs
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2/15/2014 11:33:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/14/2014 8:54:45 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/10/2014 3:26:42 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Ideas of 'objective value', 'objective morality', and 'moral authority' should be hated by all people. The values of one individual cannot be the same as the values of another, and so the 'morality' of one individual cannot be the same as the 'morality' of another. To decide that what you value is more important, and ought to be given more respect, than what someone else does has led to all of the truly unjust suffering caused to humans by humans.

The existential crisis is perhaps worsened by the realisation that what you value is no more important or valid than, and should be given no primacy over, that which others value, but that is a burden that should not be eased at the expense of others. Every rightly condemned act is an expression of moral authority. I may stone a homosexual or execute a muslim because they disagree that my God is supreme; I may rape someone because I may take what I want from others; I may send young men to kill and die in the interests of my power and profit because both of those things are more valuable than the lives of others.

Accepting the individual nature of morality does not constitute accepting that all actions are 'fair game' - the truth is quite the opposite, and only those who are too weak to come to terms with their own freedom are the worse off for it.

Do you think there is a best moral action for certain moral dilemmas, regardless of perspective?

Not particularly. To some extent I wish there was, but I don't think it makes any rational sense, it just has plenty of emotional appeal.

The most difficult example against my own views, I think, is that if someone is sitting on the road and a bus is hurtling towards them, I would need their consent to act morally. This seems quite insane, yet the only solution I can think of is to say that if it seems like the person would, could I freeze time and ask them then and there, consent, then I might try to save him from the bus.

The impression I have that the guy would consent is not the justification, it just enables action, I suppose - if I thought he wouldn't consent then obviously it would be wrong to act. The justification would be that he did or would wish to be saved.

I would be opposed to Brave New World-style paternalistic interference on the grounds that they do not at the time of the action consent to it, even if they feel glad about it in the future.

The situation the individual seeing the man on the road has then, is that he may choose to interfere or not, there is no obligation, yet should he choose to interfere, he is liable to act wrongly by a misjudgement of the situation. As quite a sceptical person I'm sure you'll agree with me that even in situations which we would say that we are 'completely sure' of the person's consent we actually cannot be justifiably 100% certain.

My thoughts on morality are mostly applicable in a political sense, but I think they should hold up in ethical situations.
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2/15/2014 3:12:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 8:08:40 AM, Tophatdoc wrote:
At 2/14/2014 9:31:24 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well in this case wouldn't God's standards be considered subjective as well? This insinuates a reference to euthypro's dilemma. God's standards is scripture written by people anyway (regardless if they were inspired by God or not), so there is definitely a false double standard going on here. If you accept my fundamental assumption that in some situations one action may be better than others, regardless of perspective then there is an objective moral standard (some secular moral system) that we may appeal to. I think it is a quite reasonable assumption.
I never said or implied the Christian God which is what it seems your implying mentioning the term "scriptures." I don't see what your getting at because that is relative to the Christian God in this case. Your also suggesting human beings have the capacity to understand said entity or entities clearly. I disagree with this profusely.

I am just repeating the argument all the theists keep saying, not necessarily Christian. They say they have objective moral standards due to their scripture, which is written by men anyway. I do not see how that can be considered objective while secular moral standards cannot. Well, they say they understand this entity regardless of the millions of denominations and even personal interpretations. They say God's word is the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran and that these are the sources of their objective morals. All I am saying is that if that can be considered objective moral standards, so can any other secular moral system that has been written up.

You don't have to waste time explaining to me that atheism and agnosticism aren't moral systems. I never said they were. I am simply stating that atheists may adopt secular moral systems.
Or they could chose to adopt their own moral system believing and acting as they wish.
Yes, they can...

I don't know if you know this but atheism and agnosticism aren't mutually exclusive. And sorry for the super late response, I have been overwhelmed by school.
That depends upon the definitions your are using for those terms.
I'm using the more concise definitions which clears things up.
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Orangatang
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2/15/2014 3:25:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 11:33:08 AM, Wocambs wrote:
At 2/14/2014 8:54:45 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/10/2014 3:26:42 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Ideas of 'objective value', 'objective morality', and 'moral authority' should be hated by all people. The values of one individual cannot be the same as the values of another, and so the 'morality' of one individual cannot be the same as the 'morality' of another. To decide that what you value is more important, and ought to be given more respect, than what someone else does has led to all of the truly unjust suffering caused to humans by humans.

The existential crisis is perhaps worsened by the realisation that what you value is no more important or valid than, and should be given no primacy over, that which others value, but that is a burden that should not be eased at the expense of others. Every rightly condemned act is an expression of moral authority. I may stone a homosexual or execute a muslim because they disagree that my God is supreme; I may rape someone because I may take what I want from others; I may send young men to kill and die in the interests of my power and profit because both of those things are more valuable than the lives of others.

Accepting the individual nature of morality does not constitute accepting that all actions are 'fair game' - the truth is quite the opposite, and only those who are too weak to come to terms with their own freedom are the worse off for it.

Do you think there is a best moral action for certain moral dilemmas, regardless of perspective?

Not particularly. To some extent I wish there was, but I don't think it makes any rational sense, it just has plenty of emotional appeal.

Well I claim that there is. In some cases it is just much more clear than others. A moral dilemma is like a game of chess, there are many possible finite actions that could be taken, but one action is clearly better than the other in some situations, sometimes one move may not seem any better than any other, and sometimes one move is the clearly the best possible move. I think the best possible moral action (or actions clearly better than others) should be determined through some consequentialist moral system. Here is a possible moral situation based upon a real story (I gave the son's characteristics to make my point more clear):

There is a Jewish mother in a concentration camp. She has two sons. One is taller, stronger, smarter, nicer, etc.., and has great ambitions towards promoting a healthy and progressive society. The other is lazy, short, stupid, etc.., and a nuisance to society. One of the Nazi officers gives her an ultimatum. Either she can choose one son die in the camp, or both of them will die. What should she do? Seems obvious to me, I don't think every life is worth the same.

The most difficult example against my own views, I think, is that if someone is sitting on the road and a bus is hurtling towards them, I would need their consent to act morally. This seems quite insane, yet the only solution I can think of is to say that if it seems like the person would, could I freeze time and ask them then and there, consent, then I might try to save him from the bus.

The impression I have that the guy would consent is not the justification, it just enables action, I suppose - if I thought he wouldn't consent then obviously it would be wrong to act. The justification would be that he did or would wish to be saved.

I would be opposed to Brave New World-style paternalistic interference on the grounds that they do not at the time of the action consent to it, even if they feel glad about it in the future.

The situation the individual seeing the man on the road has then, is that he may choose to interfere or not, there is no obligation, yet should he choose to interfere, he is liable to act wrongly by a misjudgement of the situation. As quite a sceptical person I'm sure you'll agree with me that even in situations which we would say that we are 'completely sure' of the person's consent we actually cannot be justifiably 100% certain.

I would agree with that. However I need you to elaborate more on what your moral belief is, so I can see how this example challenges it.
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Wocambs
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2/15/2014 7:22:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 3:25:57 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well, it's basically 'No values are superior to others; consent is required to act upon someone'.

In your example the mother would require the consent of one of the children, the value of each life being equal (which is to say that there are no non-relative ways of differentiating from or even establishing the value of the two), unless the children are of such an age that 'consent' is fairly meaningless (I dislike the fuzziness of this too, actually).
Tophatdoc
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2/15/2014 7:28:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 3:12:12 PM, Orangatang wrote:

I am just repeating the argument all the theists keep saying, not necessarily Christian. They say they have objective moral standards due to their scripture, which is written by men anyway. I do not see how that can be considered objective while secular moral standards cannot. Well, they say they understand this entity regardless of the millions of denominations and even personal interpretations. They say God's word is the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran and that these are the sources of their objective morals. All I am saying is that if that can be considered objective moral standards, so can any other secular moral system that has been written up.
It would be objective because the human being is being told what to believe and value by a higher entity. You can not say secular moral standards are objective unless those moral laws have been given from a higher entity than that of the human being. The human being can not be making the standards himself/herself for moral standards to be considered objective. But as I said I don't believe human beings have the capacity to communicate with such an entity or entities if they exist. That is a different matter entirely because then we would need to discuss who's objective standards(Bible v. Quran v etc) are correct. But I would disagree with this entirely because I believe moral standards are relative.

I'm using the more concise definitions which clears things up.
Which would be which definitions exactly?
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Orangatang
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2/15/2014 7:30:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 7:22:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 2/15/2014 3:25:57 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well, it's basically 'No values are superior to others; consent is required to act upon someone'.

So someone who values and enjoys gratuitous suffering has values equal to a philanthropist?

In your example the mother would require the consent of one of the children, the value of each life being equal (which is to say that there are no non-relative ways of differentiating from or even establishing the value of the two), unless the children are of such an age that 'consent' is fairly meaningless (I dislike the fuzziness of this too, actually).

She doesn't have the opportunity to get any consent. So you are saying she should not choose, because she doesn't have consent? And let both die?!
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Wocambs
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2/15/2014 7:38:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 7:30:58 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/15/2014 7:22:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 2/15/2014 3:25:57 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well, it's basically 'No values are superior to others; consent is required to act upon someone'.

So someone who values and enjoys gratuitous suffering has values equal to a philanthropist?


Well, yes, I suppose so, seeing as to judge someone's values involves the use of my own, necessarily.

In your example the mother would require the consent of one of the children, the value of each life being equal (which is to say that there are no non-relative ways of differentiating from or even establishing the value of the two), unless the children are of such an age that 'consent' is fairly meaningless (I dislike the fuzziness of this too, actually).

She doesn't have the opportunity to get any consent. So you are saying she should not choose, because she doesn't have consent? And let both die?!

Actually, I think in that situation, since the outcome is the same for both unless one is saved, think she could pick one to save, but there's wouldn't have to be any particular logic behind it.
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2/15/2014 7:40:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 7:28:39 PM, Tophatdoc wrote:
It would be objective because the human being is being told what to believe and value by a higher entity. You can not say secular moral standards are objective unless those moral laws have been given from a higher entity than that of the human being. The human being can not be making the standards himself/herself for moral standards to be considered objective. But as I said I don't believe human beings have the capacity to communicate with such an entity or entities if they exist. That is a different matter entirely because then we would need to discuss who's objective standards(Bible v. Quran v etc) are correct. But I would disagree with this entirely because I believe moral standards are relative.

So would some super advanced, and more intelligent alien species be considered a higher entity? If they are, and they gave us some moral standards, would those now be considered objective? The problem I have with your argument is that I do not think that a higher being is necessary to discover or rationalize the best possible moral standards (objective moral standards). Perhaps someone has already figured out the best moral system, why does a higher being need to give it to us? Do you agree that some moral actions are better than others?

I'm using the more concise definitions which clears things up.
Which would be which definitions exactly?

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Orangatang
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2/15/2014 7:47:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/15/2014 7:38:14 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 2/15/2014 7:30:58 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/15/2014 7:22:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 2/15/2014 3:25:57 PM, Orangatang wrote:

Well, it's basically 'No values are superior to others; consent is required to act upon someone'.

So someone who values and enjoys gratuitous suffering has values equal to a philanthropist?


Well, yes, I suppose so, seeing as to judge someone's values involves the use of my own, necessarily.

Well than this is where we fundamentally disagree. To be consistent you have to agree that Hitler's values are equal to Ghandhi's. If I grant this to be true, then we have no justification to stop people like Hitler.

In your example the mother would require the consent of one of the children, the value of each life being equal (which is to say that there are no non-relative ways of differentiating from or even establishing the value of the two), unless the children are of such an age that 'consent' is fairly meaningless (I dislike the fuzziness of this too, actually).

She doesn't have the opportunity to get any consent. So you are saying she should not choose, because she doesn't have consent? And let both die?!

Actually, I think in that situation, since the outcome is the same for both unless one is saved, think she could pick one to save, but there's wouldn't have to be any particular logic behind it.

Why not use logic? Shouldn't she pick the one who she thinks is better (even though it would be hard)?
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