The value of anything is established by its properties. If values aren't really arbitrary, then there is an absolute morality. The rest of this is trying to explain why values can't be arbitrary, they can only be misunderstood as arbitrary.
This thread is an argument that order is the basis of all concepts. Order is very rigid, so when you build a concept like a moral system on it, like all concepts should be built, it is going to lead to absolute results. Morality is based on values, and the only way to justify morality is to prove your values are accurate. My argument is that values aren't arbitrary, thus there is an absolute morality.
Original post below:
Many atheists shy away from absolute morality because it sounds religious. I argue that there has to be an absolute morality because the universe is absolute. This may seem wrong as there are many subjective things. I am contending that this isn't true because subjectivity resides on the conceptual level and like disorder and change is not a part of actual existence, but rather merely descriptive. Absolute morality has to exist because the base foundation for morality is order, which enables it to have structure as a social concept. This means that even as a concept, it has to have an absolute and most perfect form as a social concept.
I have been working on this for a while, and I think I am nearing completion, but I am wondering what faults may be found with this line of thought... I have had to return to the drawing board to correct my errors a few times already.
This below is an addendum:
What I am contending is that once morality is conceived as a concept, the nature of order upon which any concept is structured necessitates a most perfect form.
Individual perception causes humans to see the concept with innaccuracy in contrast to the order with which the concept maintains structure in conceptual reality. This creates subjectivity.
But where I am really going with this is that order is the base functional principle of any structure in the universe.
At the very foundation of the level of actuality lies order. Without order, molecules neither form nor bind. Order enables structure, which in turn enables every other level of existence. Order permeates every level of existence as its foundation, including anything that exists on the conceptual level. For this reason, structural order serves as the archetypal basis that justifies having a moral system.
Disorder is mistaken as coexisting with order, but it exists on the conceptual level only and is a name given to an observation of change. It is not a counterpart to order. That means disorder is not actual. It is conceptual.
These things tie together to start to point out that best action can be established on the basis of the order of the universe, and the lack of actuality of disorder which would be its only challenger.
Of course, you're right to be cynical, as every other attempt to produce a coherent system has been a failure. This one is different, I believe, because I've independently arrived at the same beliefs as the religions, except I've been able to give it a simple rational basis (from evolution), and this simplicity follows through to the rest of the framework. Because of this I've been able to enlarge it easily.
Instead of superceding the religions, it will join forces with them, and we can all reinforce each other in the same mission. If they can suspend their horror at atheist morality, the religions will fully approve of this system. It's actually flattering to them, and all proper respect will be paid to the grand traditions of religion.
The problem with people like Sam Harris is that they will insist on having an agenda, on setting out to prove some pre-existing belief. Also, he's very divisive and domineering over the religions, and that is not what is needed.
It seems to me that what you're driving at is "truth". I think the foundation of morality is love, and this has to be effected using truth and strength.
Since value is measurement, truth is the foundation. Love is an attribution of worth. I think love is subservient to truth. Love only gains value in truth. Without truth, love is misdirected toward anything, and has no meaning.
Since grammar is measurement, clarity is the foundation. Rhetoric is an attribution of vocabulary. I think rhetoric is subservient to clarity. Rhetoric only gains value in clarity. Without clarity, rhetoric is misdirected toward anything, and has no meaning.
Rhetorics is most useful in obfuscation. Case in point-William Lane Craig's debates.
I recently heard him say in one of his podcasted teaching classes, to a group of avid students, that he likes to think of God as having existed "Sans" time. 'Sans' being French for 'without'. So, why not just say "without"? Because he's a skilled rhetorician, and obfuscation is his game. Listen to his teaching classes, especially the Q&A, where it is obvious his students have totally not gotten what he's said, but they are awed by his profundity. His rhetoric gains value in inverse proportion to its clarity. He's good, I'll give him that. But he's still wrong.
sorry Heather Spoonheim, I just can't help myself. I will argue with the walls. Just be glad you don't have to live with me.
I love it when people throw in French words just to be pretentious! To get back and them I just continue the conversation in French, :D
Calisse de tabarnak, ostie!
That's easy for YOU to say --!
Oh, you're going to hate me.
I won't argue with your def. of value, but it does have other definitions-it's a verb, and a noun after all.....but I disagree with the other assertions. I can value and have values based on utter lies and misapprehensions, both knowingly and unknowingly. People do all the time! You may not hold the same values, and think they're nutty, but there they are all the same.
Love also has a whole lot of definitions, the love I have for my dogs is profound, but is it based on their 'worth'? I love them more than people I don't know, but are they 'worth' more than the average 3 year old? I dunno. Even if you ask if they are worth more to me, I hesitate, but I sure love them more than any 3 year old. And peoples love of their God, or prophet grows despite the truth.....surely we agree here. So, I say love happens, truth be damned. Love is emotional, and truth or no, it has whatever meaning (even value!) we say it does. The two are not necessarily relevant to each other.
Yes, what kind of love are we talking about?
The truest kind of love, like that of a good parent for their child?
The selfish love we call "romantic love" which bears a lot of resemblance to obsession and compulsion?
The love of a stamp collector for stamps?
If you were to list a dozen or so discrete examples like the above, you might find it hard to locate the core concept uniting them all.