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Good and Evil


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4 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

All of my posts have been assuming that there is no God. It is others who keep throwing God into the mix.

I apologize if I misunderstood your position.  But in all fairness, it seems like a LOT of us were confused by your statements.  This is the statement I responded specifically to. (bold added by me)

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Negative. My whole point and the examples I have put forth have been just to point out that without God all moral codes (those you may agree with and those that may strike you as repugnant) are moral relativism.

That statement you made seems to clearly state that without God all moral codes are moral relativism.

Just why did you say "without God" if you weren't coming from a position that there is a God?  By implication, you are stating that with God moral codes are not moral relativism, but subject to the eternal truth of God.  Hopefully you can see why I as well as others believed you to be saying that God is necessary for moral codes to be valid.

If you would have said simply all moral codes are moral relativism, I would have agreed with you.  

 

Edited by california boy
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On 9/11/2020 at 8:18 PM, Islander said:

Obvious you have not been many places. In most places, today,  the Western morality doesn't exist. Your life is not worth much and if you get mugged or otherwise victimized, by criminals or the government (at times one of the same) it is your fault for not being prepared, able to defend yourself or putting yourself in that situation.  They do not believe you have the right to anything but a true darwinism existential ethos. Americans, in particular, are very ethnocentric and myopic. They don't know much about what goes on in the world and for the most part don't care. Even worse, they believe that the way they live is the norm when in reality is the exception. 

It a certainty, by your statements, that you have not probed deep enough into the root nature and foundation of your philosophical position. I suggest you go ahead and do that. Even atheist philosophers like Kai Nielsen acknowledged that without the legacy of Judeo-Christian thought and worldview we would be subject to naturalistic and utilitarian ethics. The theory of a humanistic, secular morality without God is a late child of post modernism. Is like enjoying the fruit while despising and rejecting the notion of the farm work that produced it. A very scary prospect.

For the most, the exchange here is getting repeative and tiresome. I think it has reached the point of  diminishing returns. 

I begin to see why the “barbarians at the gates” rhetoric has attracted so many followers. The credulous who believe everyone outside the gates is a barbarian.

You are still endorsing the teachings of godless atheists who are, by your own definition, amoral? They are the barbarians at the gates? Why? If those you call amoral are really the best support you have does that not say something about your case?

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On 9/12/2020 at 1:52 PM, Meadowchik said:

The position you've been arguing all along presumes that your definition of morality is valid in the first place. It seems to me that you are relying on an unverifiable idea to dismiss more verifiable ideas.

Negative. I have merely been maintaining that human beings are subjective (I hope that there is no real dispute on that point) and that moral codes originated by human beings are also subjective and subject to change as human perspectives change.

Edited by Glenn101
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On 9/12/2020 at 5:21 PM, california boy said:

I apologize if I misunderstood your position.  But in all fairness, it seems like a LOT of us were confused by your statements.  This is the statement I responded specifically to. (bold added by me)

That statement you made seems to clearly state that without God all moral codes are moral relativism.

Just why did you say "without God" if you weren't coming from a position that there is a God?  By implication, you are stating that with God moral codes are not moral relativism, but subject to the eternal truth of God.  Hopefully you can see why I as well as others believed you to be saying that God is necessary for moral codes to be valid.

If you would have said simply all moral codes are moral relativism, I would have agreed with you. 

I am not going to simply say that all moral codes are moral relativism because that does not leave room for the possible  existence of an objective morality and an entity or entities that exist on a higher plane than ours which know and understand objective morals. I was not arguing for the existence of such an one, only what morals would in the absence thereof.

Edited by Glenn101
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6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Negative. I have merely been maintaining that human beings are subjective (I hope that there is no real dispute on that point) and that moral codes originated by human beings are also subjective and subject to change as human perspectives change.

That has not been clear.

 

6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

I am not going to simply say that all moral codes are moral relativism because that does not leave room for the possible  existence of an objective morality and an entity or entities that exist on a higher plane than ours which know and understand objective morals. I was not arguing for the existence of such an one, only what morals would in the absence thereof.

Right, this is more like what you've been saying. What is the impact of people believing they have special access to that objective morality when people can only ever be subjective? This of course, is a problem in the ongoing battle between good and evil.

I'm saying it is much more moral to build that moral framework upon what one can verify by science and reason. It is much less moral to build one based on unverifiable fact, but even worse to build on unverifiable authority.

 

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31 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm saying it is much more moral to build that moral framework upon what one can verify by science and reason. It is much less moral to build one based on unverifiable fact, but even worse to build on unverifiable authority.

Science is neutral on morals. Thus we are left with subjective reasoning which can and does change. This type of subjective morals is alive and maybe not so well in the U.S. of A.

I do not think I can take this any further. I would only be repeating myself. I will allow you the last word.

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58 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

Science is neutral on morals. Thus we are left with subjective reasoning which can and does change. This type of subjective morals is alive and maybe not so well in the U.S. of A.

I do not think I can take this any further. I would only be repeating myself. I will allow you the last word.

I'll just link you another post that probably expressed my position the most thoroughly in case you missed my reply to Pogi:

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/73153-good-and-evil/?do=findComment&comment=1209991954

 

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On 9/11/2020 at 4:27 PM, pogi said:

Now don't start that again.  

From a different angle (because this is wrong from several different angles and for different reasons) - in a different thread you said I can dismiss the entire second half of the first premise and the argument would still stand.  Help me understand how.

How do we conclude from those two premises that-

Let me get this straight.  Morality depends on conscious minds.  The natural laws of nature constrain those minds.  Therefore, there are right and wrong answer to the questions of morality? 

That is a rough outline of the position.  Minds are natural phenomena and as such are constrained by nature.  Thus, potentially, the mind, and it's various states, can be studied by natural science.  If so, then it is also possible we can find answers, scientifically, to moral questions since our minds and their natural states consider morality, and their states are dependent on those questions of morality.   In other words, morality doesn't exist without the human mind.  Our tools of science can study and determine the human mind, its states and the causes and effects of those states.

On 9/11/2020 at 4:27 PM, pogi said:

Given naturalism and determinism, isn't morality whatever the natural laws of nature constrain our conscious minds to believe it is - i.e. it subjective to the individual and different for everybody?  How could that be right or wrong?  According to whom? And who made them the arbiter of morality?

Nope.  As the argument holds, science can investigate the questions of morality determining their effect.  As we scientifically answer the questions of morality, by showing the positive vs negative impacts of the answers, we can show it's not a subjective thing after all.  It's not dependent upon whatever an individual thinks or feels.  There is science to it. 

Thanks for chiming in.  I thought we had reached an impasse or sorts.  All the best.  

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3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

That is a rough outline of the position.  Minds are natural phenomena and as such are constrained by nature.  Thus, potentially, the mind, and it's various states, can be studied by natural science.  If so, then it is also possible we can find answers, scientifically, to moral questions since our minds and their natural states consider morality, and their states are dependent on those questions of morality.   In other words, morality doesn't exist without the human mind.  Our tools of science can study and determine the human mind, its states and the causes and effects of those states.

In a naturalistic sense, morality is entirely a human construct - a paradigm that we create and choose to live by.  It is entirely relative to the individual's natural upbringing and culture.  Each person's paradigm of morality is different from the next.  It is not a ubiquitous state of mind that can be objectively measured and universally defined.  It is something that humans made up to try to create meaning and make sense of a world in which there is no cosmic meaning.  It is entirely relative, and thus entirely arbitrary as it is determined by chance constraints of nature and culture on each individual mind.  There is no scientifically objective moral code in our minds where we can discover answers of objective and universal moral good and evil, right and wrong.  It doesn't exist in nature or in our minds any more than art does, and is therefor just as non-scientific.  They are both something we create to try and enhance meaning - where there is none.  Morality doesn't belong to the sciences any more than art does.

All your scientific measurements will only find that there is no moral meaning to discover other than what we arbitrarily are constrained by nature to imagine in our minds.  It is totally imaginary.  An illusion not unlike art, or free-will, or the self...  There is nothing to measure there.

 

 

 

 

Edited by pogi
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4 minutes ago, pogi said:

If you remove God from the picture as Harris does, morality is entirely a human construct - a paradigm that we create and choose to live by.  It is entirely relative to the individual's natural upbringing.  Each person's paradigm of morality is different from the next.  It is not a ubiquitous state of mind that can be objectively measured and universally defined.  It is something that humans made up to try to create meaning and make sense of a world in which there is no cosmic meaning.  It is entirely relative, and thus entirely arbitrary as it is determined by chance constraints of nature and culture on each individual mind.  There is no scientifically objective moral code in our minds where we can discover objective and universal moral good and evil, right and wrong.  It doesn't exist in nature or in our minds any more than art does, and is therefor just as scientific.  They are both something we create to try and enhance personal subjective life experience and meaning. 

By all means, measure away.  There is no moral meaning to discover other than what we arbitrarily are constrained by nature to imagine in our minds.  It is totally imaginary. 

 

 

 

 

The same problem of uncertainty applies to theism, too, and often moreso when people require less reason or evidence from the authority who presumably represents God 

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15 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

The same problem of uncertainty applies to theism, too, and often moreso when people require less reason or evidence from the authority who presumably represents God 

Except our paradigm isn't constrained by scientific objectivity, so it is not the same problem at all.

Morality is subjectively determined/discovered in religion.  Problem solved.   

Uncertainty is not a problem in religion any more than faith is a problem. 

Edited by pogi
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38 minutes ago, pogi said:

Except our paradigm isn't constrained by scientific objectivity, so it is not the same problem at all.

Whose paradigm?

39 minutes ago, pogi said:

Morality is subjectively determined/discovered in religion.  Problem solved.   

How is that? And which problem is solved, precisely?

39 minutes ago, pogi said:

Uncertainty is not a problem in religion any more than faith is a problem. 

What do you mean by that?

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8 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Whose paradigm?

The paradigm of religion - in the general sense.   It is not constrained by scientific objectivity.

9 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

How is that? And which problem is solved, precisely?

The problem of uncertainty.  It is not a problem.  

13 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

What do you mean by that?

I mean that faith, by definition, is uncertain.  Because faith is not a problem in religion, neither is uncertainty. 

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14 minutes ago, pogi said:

The paradigm of religion - in the general sense.   It is not constrained by scientific objectivity.

Well I suppose there are some religions that denounce science, but I would say that historically the ostensible intent of religion has generally been to understand our relationship with the Universe. And so many religions and religious people do use scientific thought to that end. I know some would say that all truth is important be it discovered subjectively through something like "The Spirit" or more objectively through reason or the scientific process. And there are schools of religious thought which obligate themselves to all that truth. 

In other words, religion is not necessarily unconstrained by science. It might claim to go further than science claims to go, but not necessarily against it.

Edited by Meadowchik
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10 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well I suppose there are some religions that denounce science, but I would say that historically the ostensible intent of religion has generally been to understand our relationship with the Universe. And so many religions and religious people do use scientific thought to that end. I know some would say that all truth is important be it discovered subjectively through something like "The Spirit" or more objectively through reason or the scientific process. And there are schools of religious thought which obligate themselves to all that truth. 

In other words, religion is not necessarily unconstrained by science. It might claim to go further than science claims to go, but not necessarily against it.

Not being constrained by scientific objectivity is not the same as being against it.  

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10 minutes ago, pogi said:

Not being constrained by scientific objectivity is not the same as being against it.  

Not sure what you mean. Consider this: are most religions and/or religious thought against medical care? 

I do think that ever since the divergence of science and religion--where people pursue scientific knowledge independent of religious belief or religious authority--there has still always been at least some tension between the two.

However, religions do allow themselves to be constrained by science. The LDS church does, for example. Religion does use science when it is useful to it and is constrained in its claims as science narrows their probabilities.

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26 minutes ago, pogi said:

Not being constrained by scientific objectivity is not the same as being against it.  

Yep!

As you know, mixing religion and science is a logical error called a category mistake 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_mistake

Edited by mfbukowski
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18 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Not sure what you mean.

I mean that they are two different approaches to truth.  The one is not constrained by the other. 

Where is the scientific objectivity in prophecy, for example?  

Prophets do not use any methods of scientific objectivity in discovering truth.  But neither are they against scientific approaches as a separate field of study, per se.  

 

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5 minutes ago, pogi said:

I mean that they are two different approaches to truth.  The one is not constrained by the other. 

Where is the scientific objectivity in prophecy, for example?  

Prophets do not use any methods of scientific objectivity in discovering truth.  But neither are they against scientific approaches as a separate field of study, per se.  

 

Here is another relevant link

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_of_being

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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

Prophets do not use any methods of scientific objectivity in discovering truth.  But neither are they against scientific approaches as a separate field of study, per se.  

 

Sorry, that doesn't sound accurate at all, especially not with Mormonism. 

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43 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Sorry, that doesn't sound accurate at all, especially not with Mormonism. 

If I had to guess where the disconnect is, I think you are conflating 1) being constrained by natural laws, and 2) being constrained by scientific objectivity.

We believe that we are constrained by #1, but not by #2. 

Edited by pogi
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2 hours ago, pogi said:

In a naturalistic sense, morality is entirely a human construct - a paradigm that we create and choose to live by.  It is entirely relative to the individual's natural upbringing and culture.  Each person's paradigm of morality is different from the next.  It is not a ubiquitous state of mind that can be objectively measured and universally defined.  It is something that humans made up to try to create meaning and make sense of a world in which there is no cosmic meaning.  It is entirely relative, and thus entirely arbitrary as it is determined by chance constraints of nature and culture on each individual mind.  There is no scientifically objective moral code in our minds where we can discover answers of objective and universal moral good and evil, right and wrong.  It doesn't exist in nature or in our minds any more than art does, and is therefor just as non-scientific.  They are both something we create to try and enhance meaning - where there is none.  Morality doesn't belong to the sciences any more than art does.

All your scientific measurements will only find that there is no moral meaning to discover other than what we arbitrarily are constrained by nature to imagine in our minds.  It is totally imaginary.  An illusion not unlike art, or free-will, or the self...  There is nothing to measure there.

 

 

 

 

I realize you disagree.  You didn't have to lay out a line of dogma to tell me so, but I appreciate it.  I simply disagree with many of your assertions.  

 

All the best.  

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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think you are conflating 1) being constrained by natural laws, and 2) being constrained by scientific objectivity.

We believe that we are constrained by #1, but not by #2. 

Natural law IS scientific objectivity, usually just discovered much longer ago. Religions do frequently alter and constrain their claims over time when those claims become increasingly demonstrated to be inaccurate by science. 

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