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.
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.
So far, so good. I mostly agree with what you say here. I don't yet see how science can determine objective morality. Science can help along those lines, in the same way science has helped us understand how to improve the human condition. But I think ultimately, morality can only be defined and determined by local agreement, and it can change depending on conditions/circumstances.
Meanwhile, in defense of science, science has certainly done more to improve the human condition in the past 200 years than religion has in the past 2000 years. And whether one believes that or not, the increasing power that science has over our lives has to be not just acknowledged by us humans, but understood well enough by enough of us to lower the risk of its abuse against us and our environment. It's power will continue to increase at an accelerating rate, whether pushed by good or evil people.
That is only if you them as antithetical though, correct. Vishal Mangalwadi has made numerous arguments of why a biblical worldview actually was the soil for the seed of the scientific method to develop. He makes quite a compelling historical case. Anyone read him?
You have yet to respond to my reply, wretched. I've asked you if you think it morally/ethically acceptable to kill non-combatants, without prejudice, and also to torture their animals. Do you?
Either you do, in which case you are a sicko - but at least consistent with your bible/divine moral code.
Or you don't, in which case you get your morals in the same way as the rest of us.
All things being equal, I think it not prudent to kill non-combatants. However, this is a leading question into the Old Testament Exodus so all things are not equal.
In other words, where your faith is concerned, you are intellectually committed to dishonesty - and THAT describes Christian ethics to a T. Thank you for illustrating that for me.
Wretched Saint wrote: All things being equal, I think it not prudent to kill non-combatants. However, this is a leading question into the Old Testament Exodus so all things are not equal.
@ Wretched Saint - So does that mean that this god you believe in, thought it prudent to tell humans to hack through horses tendons in order to hobble them since they belonged to "the enemy", as this is what seems to be described in Joshua scripture 11:6?
Man, what kind of god do you people believe in, anyway? This is supposedly an all powerful god of mercy, according Christians. Wow. What happened? Does he get a personality change when he gets bored? What? I simply don't get it.
What I think really happened was humans wrote the Bible inspired by their own psyches. The god they describe in the Old Testament seems to be based on the way great kings acted back then (like egotistical maniacs). That's all the Bible writers had to go on, I suppose.
Don't worry. Your god never did such a horrible thing because he doesn't exist.
And that doesn't even take into account dashing babies against rocks, slaughtering children for calling an older guy "baldy", saving young virgin girls from other communities where "god's chosen" slaughtered their families so they could be raped and made their "property". Oh ya, ywhw is a kind and merciful god. Sure it is.