I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity."  Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."

A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of  "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?

Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.

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@Keith -I've pointed out your inconsistency several times.

I have responded to every criticism with a well-reasoned response, drawing on evidence on many occasions. In your case, you have on may occasions failed to reconcile causing unnecessary suffering with eating meat.

The argument I made was not shown to be invalid. I admit, it is based on an assumption that causing unnecessary suffering is wrong. I made it clear that the argument did nto apply to anyone who disagreed with that premise. In other words, and to my way of thinking, those who lack empathy need not enter the debate. Empathy is a quality necessary for the argument to work. That is why some in these forums would eat an animal while it it is alive or fail condemn a cat being boiled alive and then skinned alive, respectful of a difference of (moral) opinion.

May I humbly suggest that you focus on whatever it is that you find repugnant about veal production and see if the farming practices around chicken, cow pig etc production is really materially any better. Then ask yourself, is it right to keep quiet about your views when such suffering is taking place on such a massive scale and with such disastrous consequences.

I cannot prove you should have empathy towards non human animals. This is not some high school debating class where to the likes of Arcus, for example, winning the debate is everything. All I can do is make a good argument on the basis of what we misleadingly call humanity, what Richard Dawkins describes as being anti-Darwinist and shaking self-interest.

You would condemn slavery just like everyone on these forums. Watch some videos of slaughterhouses (better still, visit one as I have for a truly sickening experience) and then come back and tell me I need to prove my argument, or it's all assertion and accusation.

Now, I know you think little of me but as a last post on the subject I just wanted to say thanks for entering into the conversation, for being mainly civil and for giving some consideration to the interests of non human animals.

I've learned long ago to not get involved in subjective banal discussions that revolve around opinion.

Facts supported by evidence = good

Supposition supported by desire= suspect at best

Assertion based upon faith= evil

@G - I definitely agree.  I don't mind having a conversation that is based around opinion as long as everyone understands that.  When you get one side who thinks their opinion is actually fact, it makes for a very frustrating and unproductive conversation.  That's why I've been backing out of this one (the morality of being an omnivore).

Finally someone steering this back on topic...it def went 90 degrees haywire from my original question. Gracias.

What evidence is there that helps you determine your morals?

You should read nonzero it explains morality. Or start reading about game theory.

@Wretched Saint, dare I say that your evil plot has succeeded?!


Dude, This is freakin' nutzo hahah. This post has gotten so derailed I had to go eat a steak medium rare and hang out with some only black scholars then some only white scholars. I think i need to start a part two where I explain my position....to do it on this particular post seems quite fruitless at this point. Advice?

I tire of people dissing each other here, but somehow I'm still learning as I read. We're still basically on topic wrt what Wretched's asked from us, and it even ties into the concept of Free Will.

I used to wonder if any notion of morality could have validity, as it seems so debatable, dynamic, easy to disagree with, and hard to pin down. In conjunction with my ideas about intelligent humans' over-emphasis on grammatical rules, I even see a relationship now between such dogmatic (grammar) rules vs moral guidelines. I.e., deviation from "standard" English elicits almost as much objection at an emotional level as does deviation from a culture's current agreement on what's morally acceptable behavior. (If you think I'm over-conflating these concepts, please bear with me.)

Another guide to human behavior is civil and criminal law, codified in writing, and officially adjudicated and enforceable by authority.

What these three sets of rules (morality, grammar, law) have in common is that they tend to be stable over time in one's particular culture. What's written is obviously more stable than what's not written. But for better or worse, what's written down is also more enforceable, just because it's physical form is permanent.

Now as far as this thread is concerned, bases of morality are both written and verbally dynamic. The interpretation of (e.g.) the Bible varies according to local custom or group or charismatic leader (etc.). So even the validity of morality as derived from the Bible is subject to dynamic interpretation. This doesn't make the morality in it invalid as much as it points out how dynamic morality really is.

Now as far as Free Will is concerned, the question always comes down to how much choice we have when it comes to our own behavior. It depends! It depends not only on the salience and enforcement of the local sets of morality/law/grammar rules, but it also depends on how much choice each of us believes we have wrt deviation from the norms imposed on us.

Finally, the important question (thanks Wretched) comes down to who decides these codes of behavior. It's not simple! But what I think I understand better now is that concepts of morality really are important (at least to some degree), in the sense that we should all be able to choose whether or not we agree with such dynamic concepts. And it's not just important to be able to adjust morality (and laws) based on current circumstances, but ideally we should try to codify such guidelines transparently (i.e. not covertly), and impose them as little as possible on those who would choose to live by different sets of rules.

God, am I making sense?! Sorry folks, I hate to leave my words here so carelessly and in such an unreviewed/unedited state, so if they don't make sense, just forget about it! Or diss it. I don't care. :)

You just asked God if you were making sense? Classic. Kidding and just giving you a hard time.

No problem, of course.

(But if anyone's wondering, the irony really was intentional humor. And no, I'm not equating prescriptions/proscriptions of grammar with morality, but just pointing out that maybe they both come from related loci in the brain, wrt value judgments, tribal behavior, prejudice, xenophobia, etc.)

Here are some observations

It is interesting that many here place judgment on God/god/gods (whatever) by using the very same moral standards that are given in divine revelation and reflected in natural law.

Few would espouse a universal moral ethic. Many more would see any ethical consensus as localized.

You all go on as many pissy rants as Christians do, which is quite comforting--hahaha.

That many have said their ethics are drawn from scientific evidence, but no one has clearly explained to me the scientific method used to absolutely determine ethics.

The is/ought chasm proposed by atheist philosopher David Hume has not been sufficiently crossed for me (and yes I watched the Sam Harris video like 6 times--not compelling from a purely rational sense to be a bridge). It was Hume who in fact said, There is no way to reason from facts about the way the world is, to statements about the way the world should be. You can’t derive values from data." This atheist got it right.

Sam Harris misses it on his basic premise.

1. Morality is “all about” improving the well-being of conscious creatures.

2. Facts about the well-being of conscious creatures are accessible to science.

3. Therefore science can tell us what’s objectively “moral” — that is, it can tell us whether something increases, or decreases, the well-being of conscious creatures.

Here’s the problem. Premise (1) is a philosophical premise. It’s not a fact of science, it’s not a fact of nature, it’s not derivable from science, it’s not derivable from nature: it’s a value judgment. You might think this is a good premise; you might not – and even if you think it’s basically on track, there’s a lot of philosophical work to be done to spell it out. (Exhibit A – how do you define well-being in the first place, “scientifically” or otherwise?)

So on to putting together my views, which many have asked me to do.


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