There has often been many debates against atheists including myself that if I have no god, there is no reason to be moral, so we take advantage of it and do immoral actions. Morality should not come from fear of being sent to a place of eternal punishment. Knowing what is right without having an excuse to be moral, in my mind is the best type of morality there is. People don't need religion to show them what is right and what is wrong. Religious people sometimes make excuses to do immoral things, thinking that if they ask for forgiveness from god, they can do whatever they please. Or sometimes religious people might think about their immorality and say that god wanted them to act immoral. A couple weeks ago I read a news article about a man that killed a USA soldier only because he was an atheist. I bet that man still thinks he can go to heaven. Atheists know what is wrong, and they don't make up a fairy tale excuse to make them look better. I mean, everyone makes immoral actions. Like just today i stole ice cream from the freezer without my fathers consent. I'm guilty as charged and maybe some day I will learn. Some religious people create dangerous situations, and they should be careful about what they do or say. So... what makes a person moral? Is morality really getting a fresh start on forgiveness promising to do the right thing out of fear? Or is morality a good deed. Or maybe morality is just being there for someone. Morality has often peaked many interests.
Everyone has empathy unless they have a neurological problem, so it's not hard to learn right from wrong. Even a year-old dog has empathy, or at least a few I've seen. Doing the right thing because humans can feel it and even learn to enhance it is not as big of a mystery as religionists like to believe.
I'll give the inventors of early religion/"morality" some credit for when it encourages compassion and liberation, but the hateful, destructive crap and most of the stone age wisdom has to be seen for what it is: divisive and subjugating.
MikeyMike1 - morality exists in the animal kingdom, among social species. Morality is all about how we treat others. I do think we can use our rationality to refine and enlarge our morality - just like anything else.
In your opinion, what makes this an objective moral value?
I disagree with your definition of objective, because we are dealing with the world of human values, not the objective world of physical facts.
"Unnecessary" would seem to need no further definition. Or rather, it's up to the individual's judgement in each case, and as such, is a little difficult to define maybe? I suppose you could say "proportionate". "Don't go over the top".
"If it was a value it wouldn't be objective."
Then you've answered your own question. I disagree with you, however.
I'd say that "avoiding unnecessary pain" is generally a good thing. The problem comes with any absolute, "objective" definition, when it comes to details of unusual circumstances, e.g. war. Could we ever (e.g.) trust a computer programmer to properly program a computer to "objectively compute" necessary vs. unnecessary suffering for any circumstances possible in the universe?
So I see "good" morality only in general terms that often require human judgement. Golden rule, plus perhaps some variation in choice of which rules one would prefer to live under, e.g. similar to having different morals and laws per each country in the world, as long as one isn't forced to stay in that country if one doesn't want to.
Can you give me an example where avoiding unnecessary suffering is ever a bad thing?
No I can't, and I'd probably agree with you as you've stated it. My argument is that what's "unnecessary" is not always easy to determine objectively.
There is no argument for not taking the interest of the livestock animals into account, as we have just agreed, causing unnecessary suffering is wrong.
But that is exactly where our various arguments are. For example:
We do take into account the suffering of the animal, and we try to minimize if not completely eliminate it (albeit not always enough). I eat less meat than I'd like, because (I estimate that) raising meat can be 10 times more earth-resource-intensive than raising crops, yet another point of view.
We humans evolved as omnivores, and the meat that we hunted surely suffered more than most farm animals currently do.
So we may disagree about how much humans still need meat for nutrition, or how much the animals are suffering. Even if someday we could measure these variables objectively and objectively calculate "least suffering" (or similar), we can't do that today, and so we're still stuck with disagreeing on the calculations.
I agree that unnecessary suffering is always a bad thing. I believe that almost everybody would agree with that statement. How do we define "unnecessary"? That's a good question, and surprisingly easy to answer, I would contend.
See? This is what happens when people take the blinkers off, when they begin with not knowing, instead of thinking they already know the answer. I think you've put your finger exactly on one of the key principles involved. "We should not cause unnecessary suffering" may be called an objective moral value, because everyone believes it, and it is always valid. What exactly "unnecessary suffering" is, differs according to the situation. So what to actually DO, is not objective and never can be, because reality is so infinitely varied. However, I still think we can refine and narrow "what to do" down from "whatever you like" to "use your judgement in *this* way".
MikeyMike1 - I am agreeing with you.
"I think I am logical in concluding that the interests all species should be considered insofar as they have the capacity to suffer."
"What I can't accept is that it is ethical to disregard the interest of another being capable of suffering becuse this is based on an objective ethical/moral value."
Do people actually believe that? That would be "rationality gone wrong".