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Atheists' problem with objective morality

matt8800
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1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?
Jovian
Posts: 1,720
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1/12/2016 1:21:16 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

This is what I often talk about too. Even though it's accepted that it's wrong to kill, we still do loopholes around it anyway. For example killing in self defense and promoting death penalty. This is done by the most "normal" and "ordered" people. If you saw someone with a bomb belt in a place with 100s of people he or she has taken hostage of, and you had a sniper rifle, would you think "nah it's wrong to kill, I aim on his legs instead"? No, you would be in such a panicked mode that you aimed for the head immidiately. Doing something other in this situation, now THAT would maybe bear witness to a disorder.

You could do horrible things even without having a disorder. The Nazi leaders were probably not disordered for example. They just saw their actions as an appeal to "a greater good".
SNP1
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1/12/2016 2:03:13 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

Fkkize is an atheist and moral realist.

Also, you comparing moral realism with evolution makes it seem like you are saying moral realism is actually decently supported.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

What is "wrongness"? Does it actually exist?
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matt8800
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1/12/2016 2:12:55 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Moral realism and objective realism is considered the same thing.

Yes, if genocide is wrong no matter what I think, moral realism/objectivism is correct. I don't there is any way to get around it.

I believe in evolution but that is moot to this topic. I just bring that up because some people like to say morals are simply an evolutionary adaptation. I think it is something more.
matt8800
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1/12/2016 2:17:52 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
I do not think materialism and moral realism are compatible.

Materialism is the belief that nothing exists outside of matter and energy.
Casten
Posts: 391
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1/12/2016 2:32:15 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
If you subtracted human beings from the universe, I don't think morality would even exist. That sort of kills the whole "objective morality" idea for me. Morality is a human idea that exists in the human perspective. Or at least, that's what I'll be forced to conclude until the aliens contact us, which they won't because real life is never as exciting as Star Trek.

But just because there's no such thing as objective morality doesn't mean we can't arrive at human moral conviction. Rather than relying on this idea of objectivity, what we really do is pool all our subjective experiences together and draw overarching moral conclusions from it. These intersubjective conclusions -- "rape is wrong, genocide is wrong," etc -- are, in my opinion, strong enough to build cities upon.
Chaosism
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1/12/2016 2:56:47 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:12:55 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Moral realism and objective realism is considered the same thing.

Yes, if genocide is wrong no matter what I think, moral realism/objectivism is correct. I don't there is any way to get around it.

I believe in evolution but that is moot to this topic. I just bring that up because some people like to say morals are simply an evolutionary adaptation. I think it is something more.

Consensus does not make something objective. If everyone agreed that green was the best color, for instance, it wouldn't render it objectively better than the other colors. What distinguishes objective things from subjective things is that it is conceivable to objectively measure the former. For instance, there is no means by which beauty can be judged outside of personal opinion, unlike the mass of the object.

Morality is the same way, in that, it is opinionative and it relies entirely on our intrinsic evolutionary bias towards life and well-being, especially towards members of our own species. If you can demonstrate an objective means of determining good and bad without resorting to opinion or bias, then I believe you can demonstrate that morality is objective.
matt8800
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1/12/2016 3:21:51 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:32:15 AM, Casten wrote:
If you subtracted human beings from the universe, I don't think morality would even exist. That sort of kills the whole "objective morality" idea for me. Morality is a human idea that exists in the human perspective. Or at least, that's what I'll be forced to conclude until the aliens contact us, which they won't because real life is never as exciting as Star Trek.

But just because there's no such thing as objective morality doesn't mean we can't arrive at human moral conviction. Rather than relying on this idea of objectivity, what we really do is pool all our subjective experiences together and draw overarching moral conclusions from it. These intersubjective conclusions -- "rape is wrong, genocide is wrong," etc -- are, in my opinion, strong enough to build cities upon.

I think more specifically if you take consciousness out of the picture, morality wouldn't exist. Humans are such a small part of the universe, it wouldn't be worth mentioning if it wasn't for our experience. Statistically speaking, I think it would be foolish to say that consciousness isn't prevalent throughout the universe. Out of the one planet we can observe that can support life, it does. That's batting 1000.

Its true that we can arrive at moral conviction without moral objectivity but obviously convictions can be very misleading, as in the case of religion.

So then the question is, despite whatever conviction we have to the contrary, is genocide wrong? I think it is and that is objective moralism by definition.
matt8800
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1/12/2016 3:34:34 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:56:47 AM, Chaosism wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:12:55 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Moral realism and objective realism is considered the same thing.

Yes, if genocide is wrong no matter what I think, moral realism/objectivism is correct. I don't there is any way to get around it.

I believe in evolution but that is moot to this topic. I just bring that up because some people like to say morals are simply an evolutionary adaptation. I think it is something more.

Consensus does not make something objective. If everyone agreed that green was the best color, for instance, it wouldn't render it objectively better than the other colors. What distinguishes objective things from subjective things is that it is conceivable to objectively measure the former. For instance, there is no means by which beauty can be judged outside of personal opinion, unlike the mass of the object.

Morality is the same way, in that, it is opinionative and it relies entirely on our intrinsic evolutionary bias towards life and well-being, especially towards members of our own species. If you can demonstrate an objective means of determining good and bad without resorting to opinion or bias, then I believe you can demonstrate that morality is objective.

That is a good argument but I still think it appears to be flawed enough to still consider the matter further. That is saying consensus IS morality.

If Nazi Germany was an isolated population and the general consensus was in support of the genocide, that argument would say it is perfectly moral. The only argument that would remain is that it would be perfectly moral in that location and our repugnance would just be simple social programming.

There were some Germans that worked to protect the Jews, contrary to the society around them. If consensus is morality, wouldn't that make them immoral?
Chaosism
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1/12/2016 3:59:04 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 3:34:34 AM, matt8800 wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:56:47 AM, Chaosism wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:12:55 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Moral realism and objective realism is considered the same thing.

Yes, if genocide is wrong no matter what I think, moral realism/objectivism is correct. I don't there is any way to get around it.

I believe in evolution but that is moot to this topic. I just bring that up because some people like to say morals are simply an evolutionary adaptation. I think it is something more.

Consensus does not make something objective. If everyone agreed that green was the best color, for instance, it wouldn't render it objectively better than the other colors. What distinguishes objective things from subjective things is that it is conceivable to objectively measure the former. For instance, there is no means by which beauty can be judged outside of personal opinion, unlike the mass of the object.

Morality is the same way, in that, it is opinionative and it relies entirely on our intrinsic evolutionary bias towards life and well-being, especially towards members of our own species. If you can demonstrate an objective means of determining good and bad without resorting to opinion or bias, then I believe you can demonstrate that morality is objective.

That is a good argument but I still think it appears to be flawed enough to still consider the matter further. That is saying consensus IS morality.

Essentially, yes. Humans are social creatures, and we have a natural capacity to be able to recognize and be concerned for the well-being of others. But, as similar as we may be, we are not exactly the same. Societies establish ethical codes (usually laws) to attempt to maximize the well-being of the individuals of that society by prohibiting actions that bring harm, despite some having the desire to do them. After all, if everyone thought it was fine for a person to kill others as he saw fit, that group wouldn't last very long.

If Nazi Germany was an isolated population and the general consensus was in support of the genocide, that argument would say it is perfectly moral. The only argument that would remain is that it would be perfectly moral in that location and our repugnance would just be simple social programming.

If morality is just a subjective aspect of our sentient minds, then morality does not exist outside of those minds. Morality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Those within that society may very well not question the morality of their actions, but that doesn't make it right or wrong in actuality. Outside of one's personal judgment, I don't believe there is any answer to the question of morality, much like asking what color "nothing" is.

There were some Germans that worked to protect the Jews, contrary to the society around them. If consensus is morality, wouldn't that make them immoral?

It depends on the observer who is casting the judgment. I would think them very moral, as would many people, today. There is still no attainable objective answer, though. Also, morality is different than ethics, remember. The former applies to personal values while the latter more reflects societal system in which morals are applied.

On the other hand, there were Jews who worked against their own people, too. Funny thing, the human mind. People have a tendency to obey authority despite what their personal morals would otherwise dictate. Have you ever heard of the Milgram Obedience Study? Check out the links, below for more info on that.

The Stanley Milgram Experiment:
Short: Milgram Experiment - Big History NL, threshold 6 (https://www.youtube.com...)
Long: Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiment (May, 1962) (https://www.youtube.com...)

Due to this, I don't think I could cast a single judgment against them all without knowing their external pressures and internal rationalizations. And, that is only my personal judgment, at the end of the day.
Illegalcombatant
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1/12/2016 3:59:47 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.


If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

God doesn't help with morality.

Take genocide, if it's wrong then its wrong, it's not well it's not really wrong, but all things being equal add an invisible person who exists outside of the material realm (eg God) and now it becomes really wrong.
"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
Bennett91
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1/12/2016 5:48:06 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Yes I agree, **reality** does exist. I'm "real". you're "real", we're not brains in a vat - good start!

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

Not all Christians reject evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

I can, by your very own phrasing. I can say Hitler was wrong because I "live in a society [of] that shared opinion." If you disagree, well that's just how you were raised to be.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

That's just what Hitler and every other dictator say - among other more sanctimonious reasons - during the atrocities they commit. The only "justice" served that we can verify was carried out by other humans. Human systems satisfied by human action; no God actually required.

That is the **reality** of the situation. Do you agree with **reality**? No, you want to talk about what is is transcendent and beyond reality - God.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

You still can say what ever you want in terms of moral stance - but everyone else can too. So when you point to God as the source of morality it makes me think you're simply projecting your morality as objective when in fact many others do too (with even bolder assertive claims). Yes many different people having their own "objective" morality/world view - what a coincidence, what a convenience - but a contradiction none the less. How can there be many Objective truths in regards to a single matter/scenario? [Answer: Personal Perspective]

What does God have to do with morality any ways? You seem like a Deist.
RuvDraba
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1/12/2016 6:09:16 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.
Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

Hi Matt. I'm an atheist, and believe there's a framework in which objective morality can be identified.

However, I'd caution against conflating objective morality ("I have compelling evidence that this hurts, harms or destroys others needlessly") with absolute morality ("Nobody should ever do this.") I think the question of what people ought to do is a matter of ethics, and ethical principles are informed by more than just what is good or bad.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.
It's clear that humans can be made suicidally miserable in the face of material abundance, and therefore whatever our moral sensibilities, they need to be about more than simply wealth.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?
Again, I'd focus morality on what is harmful and beneficial -- it's a descriptive discipline. Ethics is the question of what we ought to do -- it's prescriptive, and more complex.

I don't believe that ethics are arbitrary, but the same moral concern can produce more than one legitimate ethical solution.

Happy to explain further if desired.
Skepticalone
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1/12/2016 6:20:50 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

I'm an atheist and I don't deny objective morality.
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
bulproof
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1/12/2016 1:41:15 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

The objection to genocide is a reaction predicated upon self survival.
If your tribe practiced genocide in their battles then any foe who managed to defeat you would reciprocate for self preservation. Or all the other tribes would destroy your tribe and agree not to do it to anyone again. Morals.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
DPMartin
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1/12/2016 9:49:58 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

No, it"s always about what is agreed to by the group as to what is wrong. Benefitting the group is also perceived by the group as to what benefits the group. If you remember there were cults that would commit group suicide. Therefore the group saw or agreed that this was to the good of the group.
DanneJeRusse
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1/13/2016 2:54:36 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 9:49:58 PM, DPMartin wrote:
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

No, it"s always about what is agreed to by the group as to what is wrong. Benefitting the group is also perceived by the group as to what benefits the group. If you remember there were cults that would commit group suicide. Therefore the group saw or agreed that this was to the good of the group.

Please share with us the sanity of group suicide and how that sanity is good for the group?
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
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matt8800
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1/13/2016 4:39:40 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:41:15 PM, bulproof wrote:


The objection to genocide is a reaction predicated upon self survival.
If your tribe practiced genocide in their battles then any foe who managed to defeat you would reciprocate for self preservation. Or all the other tribes would destroy your tribe and agree not to do it to anyone again. Morals.

Actually, many tribes have practiced genocide for the good of their group, but not needed for their survival. Ill play devils advocate and ask, Is it moral and who says?
matt8800
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1/13/2016 4:56:09 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 6:09:16 AM, RuvDraba wrote:

Hi Matt. I'm an atheist, and believe there's a framework in which objective morality can be identified.

However, I'd caution against conflating objective morality ("I have compelling evidence that this hurts, harms or destroys others needlessly") with absolute morality ("Nobody should ever do this.") I think the question of what people ought to do is a matter of ethics, and ethical principles are informed by more than just what is good or bad.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.
It's clear that humans can be made suicidally miserable in the face of material abundance, and therefore whatever our moral sensibilities, they need to be about more than simply wealth.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?
Again, I'd focus morality on what is harmful and beneficial -- it's a descriptive discipline. Ethics is the question of what we ought to do -- it's prescriptive, and more complex.

"Ought" is an interesting word choice because it would beg the question as to who determines what "ought" entails.
RuvDraba
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1/13/2016 5:29:01 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/13/2016 4:56:09 AM, matt8800 wrote:
At 1/12/2016 6:09:16 AM, RuvDraba wrote:

Hi Matt. I'm an atheist, and believe there's a framework in which objective morality can be identified.

However, I'd caution against conflating objective morality ("I have compelling evidence that this hurts, harms or destroys others needlessly") with absolute morality ("Nobody should ever do this.") I think the question of what people ought to do is a matter of ethics, and ethical principles are informed by more than just what is good or bad.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.
It's clear that humans can be made suicidally miserable in the face of material abundance, and therefore whatever our moral sensibilities, they need to be about more than simply wealth.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?
Again, I'd focus morality on what is harmful and beneficial -- it's a descriptive discipline. Ethics is the question of what we ought to do -- it's prescriptive, and more complex.

"Ought" is an interesting word choice because it would beg the question as to who determines what "ought" entails.

Let us define a person of enlightened good will as one who:

* seeks an objective understanding of what harms and helps others;
* is willing to submit that understanding to independent evidence, collected, analysed and evaluated by best practice methods;
* seeks a life that avoids needless harm to others, ensures that people have what they need to thrive wherever possible, and enables mutual benefit where possible; and
* is willing to be honest and transparent about decisions that affect the welfare of others, and submit them to best practice scrutiny for consequences and lessons learned.

If you accept that such people can be recognised independently by their commitments, behaviours and sacrifices, then I would suggest that such people can:

i) recognise one another;
ii) cooperate toward mutual benefit, even in the face of different views and priorities;
iii) resolve differences on the basis of evidence and equity;
iv) adapt to changing situations;
v) learn from mistakes;
vi) welcome those of like minds, excluding nobody of enlightened good will, whatever their sex, culture, faith or creed;
vii) sacrifice and invest for a better tomorrow; and
viii) cooperate to set policy and legislation accountable to broad human benefit.

And that sketches my answer to your question regarding 'whom', Matt.
Cobalt
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1/13/2016 5:38:46 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

You are supporting the idea of an objective morality by using an example that is entirely subjective in nature?

Something "objective" is unchanging, despite the circumstance of the action, the support of the action or the knowledge of the action.

We have no reason to believe that genocide is morally right or wrong because we do not have a source that reliably tells us such actions are right and wrong in any given situation. Do we generally view genocide as repugnant? Yes, because it is an activity that most people view as a detriment to society, which we all have wish to protect. Does the fact that we see it as repugnant have anything to do with objective morals? No. If you disagree, why?

That pang of anger you feel in your gut when you hear about that nice girl who was violently raped and killed; that feeling of anguish when you read that some pastor is supporting the destruction of all homosexuals; that ire that you feel in your heart when you see a video of a bomb ripping apart a building full of young children -- all of those are human reactions. When people care about other people and society, they can't help but feel distressed by events that threaten that idea.

However, those feelings are just those -- understandable biological responses to threatening stimuli. It's an instinct any animal needs to feel to survive. But it is not indicative of any "objective morality".

Next time you hear about genocide and you get mad, consider not that the action may be objectively wrong, but that it may be objectively bad for the society you wish to live in.
Casten
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1/15/2016 10:50:47 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 3:21:51 AM, matt8800 wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:32:15 AM, Casten wrote:
If you subtracted human beings from the universe, I don't think morality would even exist. That sort of kills the whole "objective morality" idea for me. Morality is a human idea that exists in the human perspective. Or at least, that's what I'll be forced to conclude until the aliens contact us, which they won't because real life is never as exciting as Star Trek.

But just because there's no such thing as objective morality doesn't mean we can't arrive at human moral conviction. Rather than relying on this idea of objectivity, what we really do is pool all our subjective experiences together and draw overarching moral conclusions from it. These intersubjective conclusions -- "rape is wrong, genocide is wrong," etc -- are, in my opinion, strong enough to build cities upon.

I think more specifically if you take consciousness out of the picture, morality wouldn't exist. Humans are such a small part of the universe, it wouldn't be worth mentioning if it wasn't for our experience. Statistically speaking, I think it would be foolish to say that consciousness isn't prevalent throughout the universe. Out of the one planet we can observe that can support life, it does. That's batting 1000.

Its true that we can arrive at moral conviction without moral objectivity but obviously convictions can be very misleading, as in the case of religion.

So then the question is, despite whatever conviction we have to the contrary, is genocide wrong? I think it is and that is objective moralism by definition.
See, this is why I want to meet aliens. I want to see if consciousness and morality really do go hand in hand or if it's a human thing. Heck, I want to see if a lot of stuff is "just a human thing."

And you are way more optimistic about the prevalence of alien life than me. It looks like a lonely universe from where I'm standing. You've got the Rare Earth Hypothesis, which basically says Earth is a cosmic freak, and then you've got things like the Great Filter, which says that complex life does occur moderately often, but it always kills itself with its own technology at some point. Just depressing.

All I can say is that I, personally, think genocide is completely wrong. I couldn't imagine any version of myself that wouldn't. Does that mean it's objectively bad? Eh... I don't make that claim. I don't know what "objectively bad" would even look like. Do the Vulcans have to show up and give us a confirming second opinion? Does God have to pop in and be like, "Nah, you guys have it right, I almost sent another flood after that business in Nazi Germany"?
distraff
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1/15/2016 11:45:45 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

No, we just ask for any evidence of objective morality. So far we have found none.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

Well, if someone said that genocide is morally acceptable then he would need to tell us why he thinks so. It all about evidence.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

That is what we did to the Indians. We stole their land and ended up making a great nation. Sometimes horrible things end up doing good. Other times they don't.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

Do you have anything more than a suspicion?

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

If there is no objective morality then there is no objective moral right or wrong. The ancient Israelite did it and the two billion Christians in the world approve of it.
Double_R
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1/16/2016 3:17:23 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

First of all morality is not determined from the point of view of one group, it is determined from an overall perspective. Genocide is certainly not good for the group being wiped out, and their point of view cannot be disregarded if we are to have an honest discussion about whether it would be moral.

But more importantly, when people assert an action to be wrong or "incorrect", they are not appealing to some mystical objectiveness that exists somewhere in reality. Take a game of basketball for example. Am I incorrect if I claim that a free throw is 2 points? If so, am I objectively incorrect? Is that even possible?

The rules of basketball (and consequently the point value of a free throw) are determined by thinking minds. As such they can be changed on a whim, making them subjective. It is however within that starting point (aka standard) that we can objectively determine the number of points for example that each team scored. So just because the rules are subjective, does not make one incorrect in saying that Team A scored X number of points.

Morality works the exact same way. The starting points for what we find to be moral are based on our desires. But once we agree (as we often do on basic things because we are all the same species with the same general desires) then we can use that as our starting point and be correct or incorrect within that framework.
bulproof
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1/16/2016 3:35:18 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/15/2016 11:45:45 PM, distraff wrote:
If there is no objective morality then there is no objective moral right or wrong.
As evidenced by the existence of humans on this planet.
What was right is now wrong, there is no objectivity because humans are subjective creatures who decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
matt8800
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1/16/2016 4:47:49 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/16/2016 3:17:23 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

First of all morality is not determined from the point of view of one group, it is determined from an overall perspective. Genocide is certainly not good for the group being wiped out, and their point of view cannot be disregarded if we are to have an honest discussion about whether it would be moral.

Why would the succeeding group care what happens to the failing group? In fact, they usually don't. I guess this could actually be used as an argument for subjective morality.

But more importantly, when people assert an action to be wrong or "incorrect", they are not appealing to some mystical objectiveness that exists somewhere in reality. Take a game of basketball for example. Am I incorrect if I claim that a free throw is 2 points? If so, am I objectively incorrect? Is that even possible?

If you are separated from the group that thinks its 1 point, you can make it however many points you want. I suppose this could be used as an argument for your premise also.

The rules of basketball (and consequently the point value of a free throw) are determined by thinking minds. As such they can be changed on a whim, making them subjective. It is however within that starting point (aka standard) that we can objectively determine the number of points for example that each team scored. So just because the rules are subjective, does not make one incorrect in saying that Team A scored X number of points.

Morality works the exact same way. The starting points for what we find to be moral are based on our desires. But once we agree (as we often do on basic things because we are all the same species with the same general desires) then we can use that as our starting point and be correct or incorrect within that framework.

Im torn on objective morality. If there is no objective morality, all morality is just an illusion. Im not saying this as an argument for it - just a fact with broad implications.
matt8800
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1/16/2016 5:12:21 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/13/2016 5:38:46 AM, Cobalt wrote:

That pang of anger you feel in your gut when you hear about that nice girl who was violently raped and killed; that feeling of anguish when you read that some pastor is supporting the destruction of all homosexuals; that ire that you feel in your heart when you see a video of a bomb ripping apart a building full of young children -- all of those are human reactions. When people care about other people and society, they can't help but feel distressed by events that threaten that idea.

Good point. This would lead to the conclusion that morality's foundation is love. I think the essence of consciousness and self-sacrificing love are also complicated subjects.

However, those feelings are just those -- understandable biological responses to threatening stimuli. It's an instinct any animal needs to feel to survive. But it is not indicative of any "objective morality".

Next time you hear about genocide and you get mad, consider not that the action may be objectively wrong, but that it may be objectively bad for the society you wish to live in.

Well put. If subjective morality is the reality, then that would mean that evolution has genetically programmed us to act in ways that may be a detriment to the individual for the benefit of society. This would still mean that morality is an illusion however.
Double_R
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1/16/2016 5:21:53 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/16/2016 4:47:49 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 1/16/2016 3:17:23 PM, Double_R wrote:
First of all morality is not determined from the point of view of one group, it is determined from an overall perspective. Genocide is certainly not good for the group being wiped out, and their point of view cannot be disregarded if we are to have an honest discussion about whether it would be moral.

Why would the succeeding group care what happens to the failing group? In fact, they usually don't.

Whether they should care is a completely different conversation. The question we are addressing is how we determine whether an act is moral. And I just told you, we do it from an overall perspective. So was the group that committed genocide morally correct? I wouldn't know, because I don't have enough information to evaluate it. I would need to know why they did it, and whether their reasons were correct.

Going down this path... We also have to separate the question of whether their intent was moral, and whether their actions were moral. If you give a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a homeless person you would be considered to have done a moral thing. But what if that person had a peanut allergy and died? In that case your intent was good, even if the act (giving a lethal substance to someone to consume) was bad. Two different questions.

The rules of basketball (and consequently the point value of a free throw) are determined by thinking minds. As such they can be changed on a whim, making them subjective. It is however within that starting point (aka standard) that we can objectively determine the number of points for example that each team scored. So just because the rules are subjective, does not make one incorrect in saying that Team A scored X number of points.

Morality works the exact same way. The starting points for what we find to be moral are based on our desires. But once we agree (as we often do on basic things because we are all the same species with the same general desires) then we can use that as our starting point and be correct or incorrect within that framework.

Im torn on objective morality. If there is no objective morality, all morality is just an illusion. Im not saying this as an argument for it - just a fact with broad implications.

No. Morality and being objective are two completely different concepts that have no logical tie to one another. Morality is a system by which we evaluate intent and actions in accordance with a moral standard. A standard is chosen (just like the rules of basketball) so it will always be subjective and will always be derived from our ideals, which are nothing more than an extension of our desires.

Where objectivity comes into place is the evaluation from the point of our standard. Do you want your things to be stolen? No. Is your general desire to not have your things stolen stronger than your desire to steal from others? Yes. Do others feel the same? Yes. From this all we need is logic to determine that ideally, we would not steal from each other. And if we define a moral wrong as contradicting the ideal, *then* objectively, stealing is wrong.

There is no problem with this because we are all the same species so our desires are remarkably similar. We want to live. We want to be healthy. We want to own things. We want to have control over our decisions. Because we pretty much all agree on the basics, and are smart enough to use logic from those core desires, we are able to figure this out and live together in a peaceful way oriented towards everyone's benefit. We don't need some objective source floating around telling us what is right and wrong.
ken1122
Posts: 484
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1/17/2016 6:23:48 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 1:08:22 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I am an agnostic. I think religions are full of silly tooth fairy stories but I don't think objective reality is as easy to deny.

Atheists deny objective morality with equal fervor of Christians denying evolution.

For example, if someone believed genocide was acceptable if it benefited the group he belonged to, he lived in a society that shared his opinion (such as the Nazis) and he was found to not have a mental disorder, would his opinion be incorrect? You cannot say he is incorrect and deny the existence of objective morality.

If a materialist's worldview was correct, he could legitimately say it is simply survival of the fittest and similar to slaughtering cattle for the benefit of the group.

I hope this post doesn't lead to Christians quoting the Bible or saying objective morality is proof their religion is correct because that is NOT what Im saying. While I suspect objective morality exists outside the construct of our own mind, religious texts completely lack credibility in my opinion. I do not believe in an interventionist god although I have my suspicions about something else.

If objective morality does not exist, how could one say genocide that benefits one group is wrong?

You seem to be confusing Objective morality as real morality, and subjective morality as equal to no morality at all. If morality were objective, you would be able to demonstrate why (for example) genocide is wrong. Because it can't be demonstrated morality subjective.

Morality (good, bad, etc) don"t have an actual existence outside human thought; they are just judgment calls people assign to human actions. With every moral issue, there will be those who say it is right and others who will say it is wrong. So how do you say genocide is subjectively wrong? The same way you would be able to say it if you believed morality were objective; and you will still have those who say it is right.

Ken