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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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.

Objectivity and subjectivity are both irrelevant. We are describing a naturally occuring process.

Honestly can you objectively tell me what a pretzel is with out defining it? If you can not then god makes all the pretzels in the world! 

Your argument for objective morality is equivocation. We can define what is moral by a set of standards.  Can you tell me why 1+1=2 and when 1+1=3? Because I can and its the same rules for everything else in science. 

Read a game theory book it explains where we get morality.

Nonzero sum trade, it is a description of a type of trade that is beneficial to both parties. For example if two people were to both grow apples and cattle they would likely produce less apples and less cattle than than two people where one grows apples and one raises cattle. It is difficult to live on apples or cattle. But if you are able to trade, both parties would have excesses would still come out ahead of the two people who grew both and did not trade. Thus your trading partner becomes an asset. You can expand this circle of trade to include as many people as you need all producing different goods. This means that people become more valuable alive, they become more valuable if there healthy, they become valuable when they engage in this nonzero sum game.

Zero sum trade trade is trade where the there is no net gain in the product. If a person sees that there neighbor is producing apples and cattle and is unable to produce food himself. The person likes both cattle and apples and the person has no intention of giving him anything in return. The person decides to use force to take his cattle and apples injuring. There is no reprisal against the person and his neighbor is no longer produce apples and cattle. The net gain from this trade is likely to be lower than what the neighbor would have produced if left by himself. He will probably be unable to care for either the cattle and apples and will likely try to steal again. These two people still do not come ahead of the two people who traded. Now the person who steals has to steal again. He sees the two people who trade with each other. Each person has an invested interest in the well being of each other and therefore are likely to come to the aid of the other making person less likely to to be successful. The two that trade and are invested in each other come out ahead. This is not the whole picture but it is a good starting point.   


Good example and it does fit certain scenarios, but many it does not address many deeper ethical questions. How would you apply game theory to the example of whether or not abortion is wrong? And why did slavery have a hold in the world for so long in religious and non-religious cultures as that was definitely zero sum exchange? Was it a blatant disregard of game theory. Interested to hear your opinion.

Who is imposing anything on anyone?

Heck, even cannibalism could become ethical someday, if/when we learn how to grow bodies without heads, eh? Perhaps we could even clone our own, new, headless bodies for replacement purposes, and donate all of our (freshly headless) old bodies to homeless shelter soup kitchens?

Now that would be relative/dynamic morality, or perhaps even objective morality? (I haven't thought this out fully, so I'm still mostly at the humorous stage of this idea.)


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