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Can any answer be yes if atheism is true?

Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The answers are either yes or no.

Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Do we have moral obligations?

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

Is there truly such thing as a good person?

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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10/17/2015 6:33:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Poor Ben. You live in a world where truth is not meaningful unless it has an absolute authority to tell you what it is. And you have no idea how to understand truth if there is no such authority.

This problem is in your mind. You need to be asking a different question:

How can one understand, agree on, and be accountable for truth if there is no absolute authority to prescribe it?

You should ask that question explicitly, rather than trying to answer it piecemeal.

But the reason I wrote 'Poor Ben' isn't your ignorance; it's your idealism.

You'd like to believe in an absolute authority prescribing truth, but you have two problems:

1) What decision procedures identify that authority and interpret its pronouncements, and what makes those procedures reliable?
2) Regardless, what prevents a supposed absolute authority from lying or being mistaken?
Amoranemix
Posts: 521
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10/17/2015 6:37:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
All of your questions are ambiguous and can be interpreted such that the answer is indeed yes. However, since this would be too short a post, I will try answering your questions. The answers may however not mean what you want them to.

Benshapiro
Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?
I'll assume that with 'we' in this and following questions means 'experts'.
I'll assume that with 'why' you presuppose there is a motive.
The answer is therefore no.

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?
No.

Do we have moral obligations?
In this case I take 'we' to mean most people.
Yes.

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness.
No.

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?
No.

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?
Yes.

Is there truly such thing as a good person?
Yes.

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?
No.

This must be one of my shortest posts on this forum.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:33:12 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Poor Ben. You live in a world where truth is not meaningful unless it has an absolute authority to tell you what it is. And you have no idea how to understand truth if there is no such authority.

This problem is in your mind. You need to be asking a different question:

How can one understand, agree on, and be accountable for truth if there is no absolute authority to prescribe it?

You should ask that question explicitly, rather than trying to answer it piecemeal.

But the reason I wrote 'Poor Ben' isn't your ignorance; it's your idealism.

You'd like to believe in an absolute authority prescribing truth, but you have two problems:

1) What decision procedures identify that authority and interpret its pronouncements, and what makes those procedures reliable?
2) Regardless, what prevents a supposed absolute authority from lying or being mistaken?

I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs. God isn't necessary for a correspondence theory of truth. Ontologically, questions such as these are propositions, meaning that they must either be true or false.

If truth is valuable despite our values, then truth is objectively valuable and requires that humanity has inherent purpose which then requires God's existence.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?
bulproof
Posts: 25,225
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10/17/2015 6:53:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:33:12 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Poor Ben. You live in a world where truth is not meaningful unless it has an absolute authority to tell you what it is. And you have no idea how to understand truth if there is no such authority.

This problem is in your mind. You need to be asking a different question:

How can one understand, agree on, and be accountable for truth if there is no absolute authority to prescribe it?

You should ask that question explicitly, rather than trying to answer it piecemeal.

But the reason I wrote 'Poor Ben' isn't your ignorance; it's your idealism.

You'd like to believe in an absolute authority prescribing truth, but you have two problems:

1) What decision procedures identify that authority and interpret its pronouncements, and what makes those procedures reliable?
2) Regardless, what prevents a supposed absolute authority from lying or being mistaken?

I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs. God isn't necessary for a correspondence theory of truth. Ontologically, questions such as these are propositions, meaning that they must either be true or false.

If truth is valuable despite our values, then truth is objectively valuable and requires that humanity has inherent purpose which then requires God's existence.

Remember the baby rapers. Yes that's right, they do exist and poor little benny can't figure out why in his perfect world.
For benny it is just mind boggling, but then so is reality.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
bulproof
Posts: 25,225
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10/17/2015 6:57:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Can any answer be yes if atheism is true?

BTW atheism is true because it rejects your claim to the existence of gods, you have no evidence to support your claim thus making the rejection of such the default position and thereby true.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Hitchian
Posts: 764
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10/17/2015 7:01:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Do we have moral obligations?

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

Is there truly such thing as a good person?

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?

A thread a week?

I0m beginning to suspect your intentions, your good faith. Frankly, of all the threads you've started, this is the absolute worst. The questions themselves are for the most part disjointed and puerile.

but Hey!, it's a free country!
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 7:04:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:37:34 PM, Amoranemix wrote:
All of your questions are ambiguous and can be interpreted such that the answer is indeed yes. However, since this would be too short a post, I will try answering your questions. The answers may however not mean what you want them to.

Benshapiro
Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?
I'll assume that with 'we' in this and following questions means 'experts'.
I'll assume that with 'why' you presuppose there is a motive.
The answer is therefore no.

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?
No.

Do we have moral obligations?
In this case I take 'we' to mean most people.
Yes.

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness.
No.

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?
No.

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?
Yes.

Is there truly such thing as a good person?
Yes.

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?
No.

This must be one of my shortest posts on this forum.

Excellent.

I want to challenge all of your "yes" answers.

First, is humanity inherently a means without an end?

"In philosophy, the term means to an end refers to any action (the means) carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else (an end)."

The answer to this question should be yes.

If so, how could a person be morally obligated to do something that they don't want to do? If a person is inherently a means without an end, how could they be obligated towards any end?

The same logic applies to whether someone is truly a good person. If people are means with no ends, no end can truly be better than another. The "good", would merely be a product of our ideals, preferences, and desires which are subjective.

Now, the free will argument. Do you agree that the laws of physics don't have free will? If everything, including intelligent life, is ultimately the result of deterministic processes like the laws of physics, how could indeterministic processes, such as free will, possibly arise?
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 7:09:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?

By remaining as objective as possible by utilizing the scientific method. Nevertheless, reality is defined according to human conceptions and perceptions of it. We can never be sure of an actual state of affairs apart from our conceptions or perceptions of it.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 7:12:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:01:15 PM, Hitchian wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Do we have moral obligations?

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

Is there truly such thing as a good person?

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?

A thread a week?

I0m beginning to suspect your intentions, your good faith. Frankly, of all the threads you've started, this is the absolute worst. The questions themselves are for the most part disjointed and puerile.

but Hey!, it's a free country!

Out of curiosity, would you have answered yes to any of them?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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10/17/2015 7:13:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:09:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?

By remaining as objective as possible by utilizing the scientific method. Nevertheless, reality is defined according to human conceptions and perceptions of it. We can never be sure of an actual state of affairs apart from our conceptions or perceptions of it.

Exactly. So allowing that there are always ignorance and error in observation, but that we can constantly contest and refine them, what's the problem with allowing ignorance and error in our understanding of values?
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 7:13:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:53:38 PM, bulproof wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:33:12 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Poor Ben. You live in a world where truth is not meaningful unless it has an absolute authority to tell you what it is. And you have no idea how to understand truth if there is no such authority.

This problem is in your mind. You need to be asking a different question:

How can one understand, agree on, and be accountable for truth if there is no absolute authority to prescribe it?

You should ask that question explicitly, rather than trying to answer it piecemeal.

But the reason I wrote 'Poor Ben' isn't your ignorance; it's your idealism.

You'd like to believe in an absolute authority prescribing truth, but you have two problems:

1) What decision procedures identify that authority and interpret its pronouncements, and what makes those procedures reliable?
2) Regardless, what prevents a supposed absolute authority from lying or being mistaken?

I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs. God isn't necessary for a correspondence theory of truth. Ontologically, questions such as these are propositions, meaning that they must either be true or false.

If truth is valuable despite our values, then truth is objectively valuable and requires that humanity has inherent purpose which then requires God's existence.

Remember the baby rapers. Yes that's right, they do exist and poor little benny can't figure out why in his perfect world.
For benny it is just mind boggling, but then so is reality.

I think it's a good example of evil which highlights the absurdity of moral subjectivism, which you still for some reason believe.
bulproof
Posts: 25,225
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10/17/2015 7:15:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:04:34 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:37:34 PM, Amoranemix wrote:
All of your questions are ambiguous and can be interpreted such that the answer is indeed yes. However, since this would be too short a post, I will try answering your questions. The answers may however not mean what you want them to.

Benshapiro
Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?
I'll assume that with 'we' in this and following questions means 'experts'.
I'll assume that with 'why' you presuppose there is a motive.
The answer is therefore no.

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?
No.

Do we have moral obligations?
In this case I take 'we' to mean most people.
Yes.

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness.
No.

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?
No.

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?
Yes.

Is there truly such thing as a good person?
Yes.

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?
No.

This must be one of my shortest posts on this forum.

Excellent.

I want to challenge all of your "yes" answers.

First, is humanity inherently a means without an end?

"In philosophy, the term means to an end refers to any action (the means) carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else (an end)."

The answer to this question should be yes.

If so, how could a person be morally obligated to do something that they don't want to do? If a person is inherently a means without an end, how could they be obligated towards any end?

The same logic applies to whether someone is truly a good person. If people are means with no ends, no end can truly be better than another. The "good", would merely be a product of our ideals, preferences, and desires which are subjective.

Now, the free will argument. Do you agree that the laws of physics don't have free will? If everything, including intelligent life, is ultimately the result of deterministic processes like the laws of physics, how could indeterministic processes, such as free will, possibly arise?
For years now you have tried to convince yourself that your god exists and despite all of the alleged evidence to the contrary is the source of morality.
I don't think you ever will.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
bulproof
Posts: 25,225
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10/17/2015 7:18:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:13:39 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:53:38 PM, bulproof wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:33:12 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Poor Ben. You live in a world where truth is not meaningful unless it has an absolute authority to tell you what it is. And you have no idea how to understand truth if there is no such authority.

This problem is in your mind. You need to be asking a different question:

How can one understand, agree on, and be accountable for truth if there is no absolute authority to prescribe it?

You should ask that question explicitly, rather than trying to answer it piecemeal.

But the reason I wrote 'Poor Ben' isn't your ignorance; it's your idealism.

You'd like to believe in an absolute authority prescribing truth, but you have two problems:

1) What decision procedures identify that authority and interpret its pronouncements, and what makes those procedures reliable?
2) Regardless, what prevents a supposed absolute authority from lying or being mistaken?

I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs. God isn't necessary for a correspondence theory of truth. Ontologically, questions such as these are propositions, meaning that they must either be true or false.

If truth is valuable despite our values, then truth is objectively valuable and requires that humanity has inherent purpose which then requires God's existence.

Remember the baby rapers. Yes that's right, they do exist and poor little benny can't figure out why in his perfect world.
For benny it is just mind boggling, but then so is reality.

I think it's a good example of evil which highlights the absurdity of moral subjectivism, which you still for some reason believe.
What it shows is that your much vaunted "objective morality" is a fantasy that exists only in your head along with the alleged author of it.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 7:24:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:13:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:09:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?

By remaining as objective as possible by utilizing the scientific method. Nevertheless, reality is defined according to human conceptions and perceptions of it. We can never be sure of an actual state of affairs apart from our conceptions or perceptions of it.

Exactly. So allowing that there are always ignorance and error in observation, but that we can constantly contest and refine them, what's the problem with allowing ignorance and error in our understanding of values?

Empiricism allows us to analyze the cause and consequences of our values but can't reveal how we should act upon that information. Are we both in agreement that we actually live in a world where objective values exist?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 7:24:20 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:13:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:09:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?

By remaining as objective as possible by utilizing the scientific method. Nevertheless, reality is defined according to human conceptions and perceptions of it. We can never be sure of an actual state of affairs apart from our conceptions or perceptions of it.

Exactly. So allowing that there are always ignorance and error in observation, but that we can constantly contest and refine them, what's the problem with allowing ignorance and error in our understanding of values?

Empiricism allows us to analyze the cause and consequences of our values but can't reveal how we should act upon that information.

Sure it can. If we know our priorities, we can use empiricism to explore how to pursue them.

So you're asking how can we know our priorities.

But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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10/17/2015 9:54:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:24:20 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:13:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 7:09:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:49:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:44:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I'm not sure that I understand your contention. Truth is whatever corresponds to an actual state of affairs.

How can one be sure of the actual state of affairs?

By remaining as objective as possible by utilizing the scientific method. Nevertheless, reality is defined according to human conceptions and perceptions of it. We can never be sure of an actual state of affairs apart from our conceptions or perceptions of it.

Exactly. So allowing that there are always ignorance and error in observation, but that we can constantly contest and refine them, what's the problem with allowing ignorance and error in our understanding of values?

Empiricism allows us to analyze the cause and consequences of our values but can't reveal how we should act upon that information.

Sure it can. If we know our priorities, we can use empiricism to explore how to pursue them.

So you're asking how can we know our priorities.

But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?

I appreciate how concise and cogent your responses have been. Clear cut and right to the point. We're both in agreement that empiricism offers useful information if we know our priorities. All I'm saying is that empiricism, in principle, can't and doesn't tell us what our priorities should be. I want priorities, such as being compassionate rather than hateful, to be a true and real priority. If our priorities are grounded in nothing other than our subjective minds, there are no true or real priorities. Once disagreements emerge, there's no standard to appeal to other than our own. We need to ask ourselves whether priorities, values, and ideals can be objective or not. Certain values are objective. Do you think so?
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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10/17/2015 10:21:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Possible false dillema...................


Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

If you mean biological evolution by natural selection then from what I hear yes, but I don't know much about that.


Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Well according to evolution via natural selection............mutation, change, step by step, that which doesn't work gets discarded, changes accumulate, rinse repeat.

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Earthquakes, plates move, something like that............


Do we have moral obligations?

If morality is objective, if that morality that is objective contains obligations.


Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

Ummm no, cause reality would any kind of awareness ?


Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

All things being equal yes..............well why ? better probability of well being.

But if there is a trade off, maybe not.


Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

Well that is the question now isn't it.

Imagine the past differently doesn't prove free will now does it.


Is there truly such thing as a good person?

Depends how you define good.


When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?

Depends on what you think is necessary or not for something to quality as "ultimate" difference.

If you think never ending existence is necessary then no, if you don't maybe, maybe not.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,095
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10/18/2015 12:46:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

"How" would have been an appropriate question, but, assuming you're suggesting some sort of purpose, "why"makes the question incoherent.

Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Same.

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Same.

Do we have moral obligations?

No.

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

I don't think reality is dependent on consciousness at all, but who knows.

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

No.

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

I would like to think I can choose differently than I have in the past, but without going through any exact scenario twice, who knows.

Is there truly such thing as a good person?

Sure.

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?

Maybe, perhaps we might figure out how to leave the universe or make a new one before then. The death of humanity is not certain as far as I am concerned.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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10/18/2015 1:54:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 9:54:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?
I appreciate how concise and cogent your responses have been. Clear cut and right to the point. We're both in agreement that empiricism offers useful information if we know our priorities. All I'm saying is that empiricism, in principle, can't and doesn't tell us what our priorities should be.

But do we need it to, Ben? We know humans seek to survive and thrive -- any species that generally didn't, wouldn't exist for long. Moreover, religion itself appeals to those desires, so religion doesn't contest them.

Empiricism tells us very clearly what survival and nourishment require, and a key input into effective decisions is a reliable approach to truth-determination.

From that, it seems to me, all things follow.

So why pick at the foundations when the foundations aren't in any serious dispute, and there's no practical reason to contest them?

I want priorities, such as being compassionate rather than hateful, to be a true and real priority.
It's easy to make the case that compassion benefits individuals, societies and our species. The benefit is overwhelming. Let's call that a moral observation.

But moving from a moral observation to an ethical mandate is contentious, regardless of whether you use a secular or a religious ethical system. There's always the question of whether one should do good because it's good for you, or one should do good because it's good, and if so, why should it be you doing it. There's also the question of doing good in word, deed or spirit.

Religion hasn't resolved that at all, Ben. It makes a massive appeal to fear, vanity and laziness in its promises of heaven and hell, raising into question whether adherents are seeking to do good for good's sake, or just seeking to inveigle their way into heaven through flattery and ostentatious obsequy. Moreover, religion itself is conflicted over good as obedience and good as an expression of good spirit -- and those impulses put two very different complexions on dogma.

I personally think the answer lies within our sense of self. A bigger sense of self can produce a broader, and more coherent sense of ethics than a smaller sense of self. But whether a bigger sense of self is better for oneself is for another conversation. :)

Certain values are objective. Do you think so?
I believe in good that is observably beneficial, and since the benefit is observable, transparent, and accountable, it's objective. My thoughts on ethics though, are more complex, and I'll not clutter your thread with them here. :)
Ramshutu
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10/18/2015 5:41:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
The answers are either yes or no.

Do we know the reason as to why things evolve?

Do we know the reason as to why we have organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach?

Do we know the reason as to why any natural phenomena occurs?

Do we have moral obligations?

Would reality exist exactly as we perceive it in absence of all consciousness?

Is it truly better for a person to be intelligent, virtuous, handsome, and strong rather than dimwitted, immoral, ugly, and weak?

Do we have free will in the sense that we could've done otherwise than what we did?

Is there truly such thing as a good person?

When humanity dies off in the imminent heat death of the universe would the way in which you lived your life ultimately make any difference?

Imagine the following scenario.

There is a universe, which through some naturalistic means or mechanism that I do not know, exists and whose properties, evolution and variations are mediated via a set of mathematical laws. There is no right, no wrong; there is no good or bad. There is no concept of value. The universe just is.

Now, suppose in this universe, there exists matter which, through the same set of mathematical laws produces stars and planets, and complex chemistry; which are all mediated through those same mathematical laws.

Now, suppose on one (or more) of these planets, these chemicals produce a complex set of reactions that eventually get so complex, they form self sustaining chain reactions whose precise chemicals attempt to recreate themselves.

Now, suppose on one of these planets, this reaction continues, and forms life; which continues to propagate through a series of replication events and environmental pruning to produce more complex chemical entities.

Now suppose these chemical entities develop brains and processing systems over billions of years that allow the chemicals to form rudimentary intelligence. Starting off by reacting to the environment, then learning appropriate reactions to the environment, then predicting the environment, then forming an understanding of the environment by learning and predicting how it works. Suppose they evolve concepts of motivation, and actors in order to interpret intentions of others, and to save their lives if a rustling bush is a bear, rather than the wind. Thus they evolve the assumption of intent in the world around them, because more of them survive assuming things around them happen for a reason, because even though most of the time it doesn't, when it does, that reason could kill them.

Now, suppose these "life forms" that now exist, evolve in a complex social structure which means their actions to each other, and responses to each others reactions help or hinder the survival of the group, and so this group evolves a complex mechanism of mediating their own actions based on the needs of the group, and the group as a whole evolves a mechanism to judge each others actions.

Now, suppose, these life forms create or evolve a complex language that allows them to describe the environment, themselves, and how their actions related to the wellbeing of others in their group, and relate these words to the feelings illicit by this complex mechanism that they have evolved. They create language that involves concept such as "value", "good", "bad", "right", "wrong", "meaning" and others to denote the actions and reactions of themselves and others, based on their learned perceptions of the world.

Now also suppose, that at some point one of the organisms invents a supernatural explanation of this purely naturalistic universe involving right and wrong, for the reason their brains have still a highly evolve sense of pattern and intent seeking in their brain from their evolution, and this meaning that helps provide an understanding of the environment that their newly evolved intelligence that allows them to analyze, interpret and reason about the world as revealed to them.

Now, suppose after a time, these organisms use their reasoning ability and predictive skills to provide explanations of the world that actually work, and come to the conclusion that the universe operates through mathematical laws. And some conclude, after many thousands of years of the organisms believing in the supernatural, that the universe, probably exists through some naturalistic means or mechanism that they do not know, and its properties, evolution and variations are mediated via a set of mathematical laws. There is no right, no wrong; there is no good or bad. There is no concept of value. The universe just is.

Now, please tell me:

What definitive experiment could tell that universe apart from this one. For what reasons would those organisms not be justified in holding that judgement?

It seems you're dancing around this fundamental issue using abstract philosophy that obfuscates this one key point:

You regularly talk about morality, right, wrong, judgement, value, etc:

What plausible, logical reasons would a universe that exists without a God that is amoral, doesn't have any inherent value, or good or bad, NEVER contain life forms that evolve those concepts regardless of how life evolves, where it evolves, how many times it evolves and to what extent.
Amoranemix
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10/18/2015 8:51:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Benshapiro
First, is humanity inherently a means without an end?

"In philosophy, the term means to an end refers to any action (the means) carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else (an end)."

The answer to this question should be yes.
Humans can give a purpose to humanity, but other than that I agree it has no purpose.

Benshapiro 10
If so, how could a person be morally obligated to do something that they don't want to do?[1] If a person is inherently a means without an end, how could they be obligated towards any end?
[1] By there existing a morality the person adheres to that has prescriptions. If I borrow something from someone, I ought to return it, for I expect the same from others.
I don't know what it means to obligated towards an end.
What about your worldview ? Suppose your god prescribes it should be given back. Why should anyone care about that ?

- Benshapiro 10
The same logic applies to whether someone is truly a good person. If people are means with no ends, no end can truly be better than another. The "good", would merely be a product of our ideals, preferences, and desires which are subjective.
'Good' is both a concept and a term. The term was chosen by people to refer to a certain concept. That concept can in exist without those people, but it depends on the existence of whatever it applies to.

- Benshapiro 10
Now, the free will argument. Do you agree that the laws of physics don't have free will? If everything, including intelligent life, is ultimately the result of deterministic processes like the laws of physics, how could indeterministic processes, such as free will, possibly arise?
I agree the laws of physics don't have free will.
I believe in quantum physics and that is not deterministic.
How does free will arise in your worldview ?
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Benshapiro
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10/18/2015 6:18:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 12:46:14 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Is there truly such thing as a good person?

Sure.

There can't be a truly good person if moral realism is false. Do you agree?
kp98
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10/18/2015 7:11:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Imagine someone who is kind, generous, unselfish and wise. I'd say that was a good person whether or not there is a god. I would further suggest that it is unreasonable to suppose that a someone who is kind, generous, unselfish and wise was could be actually a 'bad' person under any realistic circumstances, Subjective and relative morality allow for some flexbility, but if you strech things too far you end up talking about fantasies unrelated to the world we live in.
Benshapiro
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10/18/2015 7:17:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 1:54:25 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:54:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?
I appreciate how concise and cogent your responses have been. Clear cut and right to the point. We're both in agreement that empiricism offers useful information if we know our priorities. All I'm saying is that empiricism, in principle, can't and doesn't tell us what our priorities should be.

But do we need it to, Ben? We know humans seek to survive and thrive -- any species that generally didn't, wouldn't exist for long. Moreover, religion itself appeals to those desires, so religion doesn't contest them.

No, but 'should be' can't be drawn from those preferences.

Empiricism tells us very clearly what survival and nourishment require, and a key input into effective decisions is a reliable approach to truth-determination.

From that, it seems to me, all things follow.

So why pick at the foundations when the foundations aren't in any serious dispute, and there's no practical reason to contest them?

There are individuals and societies that still contest it. North Korea, for example. "Who gets to survive and thrive and who doesn't?" Is also another serious issue.

I want priorities, such as being compassionate rather than hateful, to be a true and real priority.
It's easy to make the case that compassion benefits individuals, societies and our species. The benefit is overwhelming. Let's call that a moral observation.

Any so-called benefit is measure of something towards something strived for - an aim or goal. The aim or goal can be anything. The goal could be to achieve maximum compassion, survival, well-being, etc,. but what sets those particular ends as the aim or goal? What you're effectively saying is that compassion is apparently an all encompassing goal or aim for all of humanity. Now, imagine a Muslim extremist version of RuvDraba, raised in Syria and current proponent for ISIS. He says that killing infidels effectively benefits all individuals, societies and our species. The benefit is overwhelming and he calls it a moral observation. The benefit is towards instating a worldwide caliphate. Let's recall that human beings are inherently something with no goals, aims, or objectives. All goals, aims, or objectives are extrinsic. Why are your goals, aims, or objectives superior to his? Philosophically, if humanity is a byproduct of unembodied processes, absolutely nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Yet, it just simply isn't true. The only way it could possibly be true (that compassion is superior) is if humanity has inherent ends. There's simply no mechanism for inherent ends without a source of intentionality and knowledge. Whether aliens, God, or something else.


But moving from a moral observation to an ethical mandate is contentious, regardless of whether you use a secular or a religious ethical system. There's always the question of whether one should do good because it's good for you, or one should do good because it's good, and if so, why should it be you doing it. There's also the question of doing good in word, deed or spirit.

I think we both know the answer to this. One should do good because it's good. Doing good only because it's good for you is just selfishness, which isn't good. Doing good is an end in itself.

Religion hasn't resolved that at all, Ben. It makes a massive appeal to fear, vanity and laziness in its promises of heaven and hell, raising into question whether adherents are seeking to do good for good's sake, or just seeking to inveigle their way into heaven through flattery and ostentatious obsequy. Moreover, religion itself is conflicted over good as obedience and good as an expression of good spirit -- and those impulses put two very different complexions on dogma.

I agree, but there are interpretations of religious doctrine that don't require hell or doing good for rewards. Whatever the interpretation I don't think it has any bearing on the truth of the matter.

I personally think the answer lies within our sense of self. A bigger sense of self can produce a broader, and more coherent sense of ethics than a smaller sense of self. But whether a bigger sense of self is better for oneself is for another conversation. :)

I agree. Selfishness isn't a maxim that can result in a better world. Selfless love and virtue is the ultimate maxim, as I see it.

Certain values are objective. Do you think so?
I believe in good that is observably beneficial, and since the benefit is observable, transparent, and accountable, it's objective. My thoughts on ethics though, are more complex, and I'll not clutter your thread with them here. :)

Is the good that you observe observable to everyone else? I really don't think so. "Bontinck explains: "They called him 'very good' because they once saw him torture someone and he then said 'very good'."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
RuvDraba
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10/18/2015 7:52:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 7:17:27 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/18/2015 1:54:25 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:54:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?
I appreciate how concise and cogent your responses have been. Clear cut and right to the point. We're both in agreement that empiricism offers useful information if we know our priorities. All I'm saying is that empiricism, in principle, can't and doesn't tell us what our priorities should be.
But do we need it to, Ben? We know humans seek to survive and thrive -- any species that generally didn't, wouldn't exist for long. Moreover, religion itself appeals to those desires, so religion doesn't contest them.
No, but 'should be' can't be drawn from those preferences.
A species cannot use collective self-interest to make reasonable and unonerous demands of its members?

Er... what exactly -- moral or practical -- will stop it from doing so?

So why pick at the foundations when the foundations aren't in any serious dispute, and there's no practical reason to contest them?
There are individuals and societies that still contest it. North Korea, for example. "Who gets to survive and thrive and who doesn't?" Is also another serious issue.
So let's be clear:
Nearly everyone in North Korea hates the way they live -- those lucky enough not to be killed off by starvation or persecution in the first place. Nearly everyone outside North Korea is appalled by how North Koreans live. However, a small family and their sycophants and opportunists love the privilege it gives them, but cannot admit what they're actually doing, to their populace or the world. So in no sense can any of them be said to be living ethically.

There is no moral, ethical or intellectual defense for the North Korean regime. It is defended from within by greed and fear, and from without by nuclear weaponry.

If you had the ability to push a button to bloodlessly eliminate the regime with no harm to anyone else, what secular reason could you find not to do so?

I want priorities, such as being compassionate rather than hateful, to be a true and real priority.
It's easy to make the case that compassion benefits individuals, societies and our species. The benefit is overwhelming. Let's call that a moral observation.
Any so-called benefit is measure of something towards something strived for
Is it? Must there be an over-arching narrative behind value?

Does a child need to understand why it's hungry? Isn't the alleviation of misery itself a sufficient definition of need?

imagine a Muslim extremist version of RuvDraba, raised in Syria and current proponent for ISIS.
Since you'd be hard put to find a person more strongly opposed morally and ethically to religious dogmatism, I've no idea what this idea means.

He says that killing infidels effectively benefits all individuals, societies and our species.
Ruv would ask to whom he is accountable for that observation. If the answer is nobody, or a conjectured magic man in the sky, then he's being subjective, and to inflict hurt, harm or destruction against another intelligence on subjective grounds is a pretty effective definition of evil.

If he has an answer, then its evidence, transparency and accountability can be submitted to best practice empiricism.

If you want to know what best practice means with respect to knowledge, poke me. :)

But moving from a moral observation to an ethical mandate is contentious, regardless of whether you use a secular or a religious ethical system. There's always the question of whether one should do good because it's good for you, or one should do good because it's good, and if so, why should it be you doing it. There's also the question of doing good in word, deed or spirit.

I think we both know the answer to this. One should do good because it's good.
Is it that one should do good because it's good, or good should be done because it's good?
The question of what should be done can be framed pretty well in terms of sustainable benefit. But the question of how it should be done, by whom, and when, admits multiple answers, and hence multiple approaches to ethics.

Which makes it negotiable, but not arbitrary, since under many approaches, good may not be done, or what is done may not be good, or it may not be sustainable.

We could think of human moral development as growing a better understanding of good and consequence. But human social development could be described as developing better means to make good more widespread and effective, less onerous, and therefore less ethically contentious.

And we can imagine human ethics as developing morally efficacious practices consolidating human social development, since ethics are enabled by the practical.

My point being: ethics can and should improve based on better practices, just as morality can and should improve based on better knowledge.

There are interpretations of religious doctrine that don't require hell or doing good for rewards.
There are also non-religious ideas that promote good without expectation of individual reward. These were typically developed independently of belief in metaphysical supervisory agencies -- either by nontheists, or by people who felt that theological conjectures were too unsound to trust morality and ethics too.

I personally think the answer lies within our sense of self. A bigger sense of self can produce a broader, and more coherent sense of ethics than a smaller sense of self. But whether a bigger sense of self is better for oneself is for another conversation. :)
I agree. Selfishness isn't a maxim that can result in a better world. Selfless love and virtue is the ultimate maxim, as I see it.
I don't see it that way.

Certain values are objective. Do you think so?
I believe in good that is observably beneficial, and since the benefit is observable, transparent, and accountable, it's objective. My thoughts on ethics though, are more complex, and I'll not clutter your thread with them here. :)
Is the good that you observe observable to everyone else?
What does 'objective' mean? How can we tell when our apprehensions are more or less objective?

Those are serious questions, and I'm happy to work through an answer with you.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,095
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10/18/2015 9:10:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:18:02 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/18/2015 12:46:14 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 10/17/2015 6:17:55 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Is there truly such thing as a good person?

Sure.

There can't be a truly good person if moral realism is false. Do you agree?

Sure, but moral realism does not require belief in god. An atheist might embrace ethical naturalism and believe there are truly good people.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Hitchian
Posts: 764
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10/18/2015 9:31:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 7:17:27 PM, Benshapiro wrote:

I wasn't going to comment, but since this snippet takes the cake, I am.

Any so-called benefit is measure of something towards something strived for - an aim or goal. The aim or goal can be anything. The goal could be to achieve maximum compassion, survival, well-being, etc,. but what sets those particular ends as the aim or goal?

The goal of the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people is directly derivable from the goal of self-preservation and replication of the species.

What you're effectively saying is that compassion is apparently an all encompassing goal or aim for all of humanity. Now, imagine a Muslim extremist version of RuvDraba, raised in Syria and current proponent for ISIS. He says that killing infidels effectively benefits all individuals, societies and our species.

A 6-year old would be able tor refute the extremist.

The benefit is overwhelming and he calls it a moral observation. The benefit is towards instating a worldwide caliphate. Let's recall that human beings are inherently something with no goals, aims, or objectives. All goals, aims, or objectives are extrinsic. Why are your goals, aims, or objectives superior to his?

Because they can be shown to be conducive to better chances at self-preservation , replication and individual happiness, whereas his can be shown to lead to the opposite.

Philosophically, if humanity is a byproduct of unembodied processes, absolutely nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Yet, it just simply isn't true. The only way it could possibly be true (that compassion is superior) is if humanity has inherent ends.

Self-preservation and replication are inherent ends.

There's simply no mechanism for inherent ends without a source of intentionality and knowledge. Whether aliens, God, or something else.


Wrong.
Those ends have been imbued in us through evolutionary processes, namely natural selection, that are out of our direct control and are not dependant upon our conscious will.
Benshapiro
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10/18/2015 9:44:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 7:52:19 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/18/2015 7:17:27 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/18/2015 1:54:25 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:54:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 10/17/2015 9:17:32 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
But you encounter the same problem you're trying to hand off. You want an absolute authority to dictate your priorities. But what makes it an authority, other than your priorities? And if it's based on your priorities, how is it absolute?
I appreciate how concise and cogent your responses have been. Clear cut and right to the point. We're both in agreement that empiricism offers useful information if we know our priorities. All I'm saying is that empiricism, in principle, can't and doesn't tell us what our priorities should be.
But do we need it to, Ben? We know humans seek to survive and thrive -- any species that generally didn't, wouldn't exist for long. Moreover, religion itself appeals to those desires, so religion doesn't contest them.
No, but 'should be' can't be drawn from those preferences.
A species cannot use collective self-interest to make reasonable and unonerous demands of its members?

Er... what exactly -- moral or practical -- will stop it from doing so?

A species can use collective self-interest to make reasonable demands from those who are willing to pursue the same initiative. Someone can't make demands for someone else who doesn't share the same goals.

So why pick at the foundations when the foundations aren't in any serious dispute, and there's no practical reason to contest them?
There are individuals and societies that still contest it. North Korea, for example. "Who gets to survive and thrive and who doesn't?" Is also another serious issue.
So let's be clear:
Nearly everyone in North Korea hates the way they live -- those lucky enough not to be killed off by starvation or persecution in the first place. Nearly everyone outside North Korea is appalled by how North Koreans live. However, a small family and their sycophants and opportunists love the privilege it gives them, but cannot admit what they're actually doing, to their populace or the world. So in no sense can any of them be said to be living ethically.

There is no moral, ethical or intellectual defense for the North Korean regime. It is defended from within by greed and fear, and from without by nuclear weaponry.

If you had the ability to push a button to bloodlessly eliminate the regime with no harm to anyone else, what secular reason could you find not to do so?

Why is collective self interest our moral basis? Is fear and greed objectively immoral? Of course I would eliminate their regime. The only secular basis to do so would be appeal to shared ideals and values.

Any so-called benefit is measure of something towards something strived for
Is it? Must there be an over-arching narrative behind value?

Does a child need to understand why it's hungry? Isn't the alleviation of misery itself a sufficient definition of need?

We need to be careful in making a distinction between a moral framework and a framework that consists of "if you want to achieve X, do Y". "If you want to satiate hunger, then eat " is not the same thing as "we ought to achieve X, so do Y". What moral basis do we have for alleviating misery? Well-being?

imagine a Muslim extremist version of RuvDraba, raised in Syria and current proponent for ISIS.
Since you'd be hard put to find a person more strongly opposed morally and ethically to religious dogmatism, I've no idea what this idea means.

He says that killing infidels effectively benefits all individuals, societies and our species.
Ruv would ask to whom he is accountable for that observation. If the answer is nobody, or a conjectured magic man in the sky, then he's being subjective, and to inflict hurt, harm or destruction against another intelligence on subjective grounds is a pretty effective definition of evil.

Who is accountable for your current moral perspective?

If he has an answer, then its evidence, transparency and accountability can be submitted to best practice empiricism.

Evidence, transparency and accountability can be construed oppositely of what you advocate for.

If you want to know what best practice means with respect to knowledge, poke me. :)


I think we both know the answer to this. One should do good because it's good.
Is it that one should do good because it's good, or good should be done because it's good?
The question of what should be done can be framed pretty well in terms of sustainable benefit. But the question of how it should be done, by whom, and when, admits multiple answers, and hence multiple approaches to ethics.

Sustainable "benefit" in what sense? Well-being, survival, compassion?

Which makes it negotiable, but not arbitrary, since under many approaches, good may not be done, or what is done may not be good, or it may not be sustainable.

We could think of human moral development as growing a better understanding of good and consequence. But human social development could be described as developing better means to make good more widespread and effective, less onerous, and therefore less ethically contentious.

And we can imagine human ethics as developing morally efficacious practices consolidating human social development, since ethics are enabled by the practical.

My point being: ethics can and should improve based on better practices, just as morality can and should improve based on better knowledge.

There are interpretations of religious doctrine that don't require hell or doing good for rewards.
There are also non-religious ideas that promote good without expectation of individual reward. These were typically developed independently of belief in metaphysical supervisory agencies -- either by nontheists, or by people who felt that theological conjectures were too unsound to trust morality and ethics too.

I personally think the answer lies within our sense of self. A bigger sense of self can produce a broader, and more coherent sense of ethics than a smaller sense of self. But whether a bigger sense of self is better for oneself is for another conversation. :)
I agree. Selfishness isn't a maxim that can result in a better world. Selfless love and virtue is the ultimate maxim, as I see it.
I don't see it that way.

Certain values are objective. Do you think so?
I believe in good that is observably beneficial, and since the benefit is observable, transparent, and accountable, it's objective. My thoughts on ethics though, are more complex, and I'll not clutter your thread with them here. :)
Is the good that you observe observable to everyone else?
What does 'objective' mean? How can we tell when our apprehensions are more or less objective?

Those are serious questions, and I'm happy to work through an answer with you.

I ran out of time but wanted to save my responses.