UnderGround Forums
 

HolyGround >> Ultimate standard of morality

| Share | Email | Subscribe | Check IPs

3/22/11 10:21 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7623
I'm quite sure that Sam Harris would not write moral codes to instruct parents to stone their disobedient son to death. So yes, I do believe it would be worse than what Sam Harris could come up with.


Are you describing practices some generic "desert tribe" might do, or are you describing Islamic or Christian moral codes (neither of which is 2500 years old)? I may have missed the part of Christian teaching which tells parents to stone their disobedient son to death. I remember Jesus going all La Cosa Nostra on the subject and teaching that, better those who abuse children should have a millstone tied around their neck and be tossed into the ocean to die, compared to what Jesus will do when he gets His hands on them.
3/22/11 11:59 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3795
LoveToChoke - Grakman,
I'm paraphrasing Harris because as I said I left my book at work and don't have access to it.

As a society WE can define unnecessary suffering. It's done every day when politicians make laws and provide budgets to hospitals, homeless shelters, public housing etc. As far as the slavery comment, I'm pretty sure that would be considered unnecessary suffering and was banned by politicians.

Are you suggesting that it is our duty to end ALL suffering in the world? That's a big ask and quite impossible. Unless of course if you're God, but if he's okay with suffering and permits it to continue then who am I to argue with Him?

ba-dum-tish! :)

Once society is the final arbiter of what is good, they can decide that slavery *is* not unnecessary suffering 'for the good of society.'  

Have you taken a look at public housing lately? You think that's a good thing? lol  ba-dum-tish! ;-)
3/22/11 1:28 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
49 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 22679
LoveToChoke - Ridge,
Which part of "I've only managed to start his latest book " makes you think I claim to understand Harris well?

Do you know what a metaphor is? You made a claim that Harris is vague with his definitions. I stated that he talks about this in his book (in the 30 odd pages I've managed to read so far), and uses the metaphor of health i.e. health is kind of vague, but we know the difference between healthy and unhealthy, and what activities and foods are healthy and unhealthy for us. I'm not sure why this is so hard for you to understand?

You can't have it both ways.  Either you can answer why he uses vague terminology or you shouldn't be correcting me.   He uses "human well being" all the time in his debates and talks.  He doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.  He is expressing his wish that science could be used to answer all the questions of life, but it cant.  Real philosophers of science already know this and don't try.

He will never overcome his category error.  Science is powerless to give us morality, although some people have hidden their power dominance under the guise of scientific progress, but it is the same old business of people with more power preying on those who don't have enough to stop them.  

My suggestion is you move on from Harris to some real thinkers like Camus or Kierkegaard.
 
3/22/11 2:30 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Joe Ray
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/24/00
Posts: 58661
RoidsGracie - Coming from that framework, what is your opinion of what Sam Harris has to say about scientifically deriving an universial morality?


A completely ridiculous and futile endeavour.

3/22/11 5:27 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 865
Ridgeback,
I did answer why he uses the term "well-being", and showed that he uses the analogy of health. It really doesn't seem that difficult a concept to grasp so I don't know what your problem with this statement is.

Let me ask you this:
1. Not all morals are equal right?

2. Can we agree that rape for example is not right, even if some societies were to permit it?

3. How do we determine what is not right? What are the criteria? Is it simply because the Bible says not to? Is that the only reason for why you would not rape someone?

4. If it can be shown (via science e.g. brain imaging) that rape has an adverse affect on someone - that it damages their mental health - surely it is not unreasonable for someone to put as much stock in that as a reason not to rape, as the Bible? Why should the Bible "hold more water" in this regard than science?
3/22/11 5:33 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 866
I'm not suggesting that philosophy, common sense and logic are not up to the task of deciding what a moral course of action is, but the use of science to prove that something may be damaging to someone's well-being (yes, that word again), or damaging to society, is hardly cause for concern or derision.
3/22/11 7:30 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
49 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 03/22/11 7:40 PM
Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 22687
You keep avoiding the real issue here.  How does health correspond to character? In a way, this is the same kind of wrapping up of "fitness" with "goodness" that the Nazis were engaged in.  Health and morality are not in the same category.  Diving into a frozen river to save a child is very unhealthy, but also morally about the best thing you could do.  Please explain how these intersect and how science is doing anything more than it was ever capable of doing in terms of providing moral insights.

Or, answer this question:  A single man gets his girlfriend pregnant.  Using the scientitic method, should the girl get an abortion or not?

I am not sure why you keep bringing up the Bible considering it is not a library of morality.  The reason the teachings of Jesus hit people so powerfully is because they knew deep in their hearts that he was right.
 
3/22/11 8:01 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3797
LoveToChoke - Ridgeback,
I did answer why he uses the term "well-being", and showed that he uses the analogy of health. It really doesn't seem that difficult a concept to grasp so I don't know what your problem with this statement is.

Let me ask you this:
1. Not all morals are equal right?

2. Can we agree that rape for example is not right, even if some societies were to permit it?

3. How do we determine what is not right? What are the criteria? Is it simply because the Bible says not to? Is that the only reason for why you would not rape someone?

4. If it can be shown (via science e.g. brain imaging) that rape has an adverse affect on someone - that it damages their mental health - surely it is not unreasonable for someone to put as much stock in that as a reason not to rape, as the Bible? Why should the Bible "hold more water" in this regard than science?
1.Why aren't all morals equal?
2. No we can't agree on that. Why is it wrong?
3. I don't know how we determine what is right without an objective standard. It isn't the only reason I personally wouldn't rape someone but what criteria could you use to tell someone else that it is wrong if they didn't share your attitude?
4. Who cares if science shows that rape has a harmful effect on someone? We can see that from observation. Why is it wrong to harm someone else?
 
3/22/11 8:28 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 867
Grakman,
Some moral codes are used to keep a certain group of people in power, and in doing so make life a misery for others e.g. the Taliban and women.

Are you honestly saying you see no difference between the moral standards of say, the Taliban and Western society? That you have no issue with the way that women are treated like property in that society, that they have no rights etc?

If you can't agree that rape is morally wrong, then there is something seriously wrong with you. It is a soul-destroying thing to do to someone, and if you're being flippant about it to simply try and prove a point, then you sir, are an asshole.

So what objective standard do you use?

Did Jesus mention rape, or stem-cell research, or abortion? Or can we, using common sense, logic and empathy for others, infer what he would want, or think is the right thing to do? Do we then in fact need Jesus for us to use common sense, logic and empathy?
3/22/11 9:41 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7624
LoveToChoke: 2. Can we agree that rape for example is not right, even if some societies were to permit it?

3. How do we determine what is not right? What are the criteria? Is it simply because the Bible says not to? Is that the only reason for why you would not rape someone?

4. If it can be shown (via science e.g. brain imaging) that rape has an adverse affect on someone - that it damages their mental health - surely it is not unreasonable for someone to put as much stock in that as a reason not to rape, as the Bible? Why should the Bible "hold more water" in this regard than science?


If there is an objective "right," what is its source and how do we find it? Saying "C'mon, guys, we all know what is right!" probably won't convince many people around the world. And that's an issue, as Sam Harris has said he would like to see a one-world government to enforce this new, non-religious moral code. How will you convince people of this?

Consensus? 9 out of 10 people involved in a gang-rape may think that it is "healthy" for them, and might even describe it that way in a scientific survey. Their MRI scans would probably show great happiness at what they are doing.

Also, to which scientific discipline are you appealing? An anthropologist may argue that this is an accepted practice within their tribal culture, and it would amount to cultural and western-centric imperialism to try to impose your social norms on them.

What if a scientist who was born and raised in a culture where gang-rape is accepted as a way to punish transgressions by women against the cultural norm disagrees with you? He can argue that from the standpoint of their cultural traditions, such behavior promotes social cohesion (between the men, anyway) and discourages anti-social behavior (such as women being "uppity.") You and I and probably everyone on this forum would agree that such viewpoints are sick and depraved, and think the correct way to treat a rapist to to pop a cap on them, but there are many cultural/social anthropologists who would agree with those sick and depraved viewpoints, and would feel that imposing western standards on them is a greater crime than the act itself. Including many "scientists" in the West. I think Sam Harris talks about one of them in that clip you asked me to watch. Some would argue that your "common sense, logic, and empathy" are just the viewpoint of someone who wants to preserve western hegemony over the Third World.

Without an independent (and more importantly: AUTHORITATIVE) voice to say otherwise, your viewpoint is just one of many.
3/22/11 11:33 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3798
LoveToChoke - Grakman,
Some moral codes are used to keep a certain group of people in power, and in doing so make life a misery for others e.g. the Taliban and women.

Are you honestly saying you see no difference between the moral standards of say, the Taliban and Western society? That you have no issue with the way that women are treated like property in that society, that they have no rights etc?

If you can't agree that rape is morally wrong, then there is something seriously wrong with you. It is a soul-destroying thing to do to someone, and if you're being flippant about it to simply try and prove a point, then you sir, are an asshole.

So what objective standard do you use?

Did Jesus mention rape, or stem-cell research, or abortion? Or can we, using common sense, logic and empathy for others, infer what he would want, or think is the right thing to do? Do we then in fact need Jesus for us to use common sense, logic and empathy?
Sure, I see the differences in the morals of Taliban and Western society.  I think rape is morally wrong. But Choke, what makes my moral code the best?

What you fail to grasp is that we in the West are steeped in Christian morality. You cannot escape it. That is why people in the West abhor honor killings of raped women; that is why our country does not a have a 'one child per family' policy with forced abortion; that is why our country fights long legal battles over euthanisia and abortion. People who are not raised within these norms will see nothing wrong with ritual sacrifice, slavery, rape of women who are of the 'other,' and so on.

Your morality is based on Christian morals but you give all the credit to 'reason' and 'common sense.' People in other parts of the world would look at you like you are a dumbass for suggesting that it is immoral to kill their sister who cheated on her husband.

You're making sweeping generalizations about what mankind and reason would determine is a 'best,' 'universal' morality without looking at the fact that the vast majority of the world already does not have the same moral beliefs as you. And you offer no means of convincing them that what they are doing is bad. Are they all just lacking in reason and common sense or what is the problem?
 
3/22/11 11:50 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 868
Just to be clear Grakman, are you arguing that a secular society could not have morals, or develop them?

Or are you arguing that we need a God to somehow convince other societies (who believe in a different God) to believe in our moral code?

I don't want to waste my time running down rabbit holes.
3/22/11 11:54 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
49 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 22695
 The only "morality" Christians are called to live by is to love their neighbors as themselves.  Bringing up the strictures of the OT is their various forms only betrays an ignorance of historical Christianity.

The truth is if we are merely the product of an unguided process and are merely the sum total of a particular arrangement of atoms, then there is no morality.  There are merely behaviors that we place arbitrary judgments on even though the full variety of behaviors from protecting the young to raping them could be said to have been "selected" as part of this blind process.  Most atheists seem to cling to Christian ethics for dear life rather than owning up to the real import of what they claim to believe about the world.  I would suggest every atheist start with Straw Dogs as a starting point for morality discussions.  Trying to get science to provide morals is like trying to get a rock to provide advice.  It reeks of desperation and it betrays a scientistic world view.  
3/23/11 11:04 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3799
LoveToChoke - Just to be clear Grakman, are you arguing that a secular society could not have morals, or develop them?

Or are you arguing that we need a God to somehow convince other societies (who believe in a different God) to believe in our moral code?

I don't want to waste my time running down rabbit holes.
Sure Choke, anyone can develop a system of morals. But there is no telling what kind of morals you will get.  I'm not telling you that atheists aren't moral and can't come up with a 'moral code.' I'm telling you that it will be arbitrary and malleable. You've been given many examples - you think it's wrong to kill a person for dishonoring the family; other cultures disagree. You think slavery is wrong, obviously other people disagree and have disagreed for centuries.  Not sure if you're aware but at least in Europe and the Americas it was the advent of Christianity that ended human sacrifice. But they still burn wives on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands in India.  How will you convince all these people in these other countries that your moral code based on 'reason' is the right one?

3/23/11 7:04 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 870
Grakman,
Ridgeback has said above that the main call to morality for Christians is to follow Jesus, and to follow "Love thy Neighbour..." i.e. The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule can be found in many cultures and religions around the world. I believe you would have a greater chance of persuading someone to adopt this rule through reason than to believe that it is the Will of God.
3/23/11 7:13 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3800
LoveToChoke - Grakman,
Ridgeback has said above that the main call to morality for Christians is to follow Jesus, and to follow "Love thy Neighbour..." i.e. The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule can be found in many cultures and religions around the world. I believe you would have a greater chance of persuading someone to adopt this rule through reason than to believe that it is the Will of God.
Then why aren't the adherents of all the world religions following that rule? Are they lacking reason or faith or both?
 
3/23/11 8:24 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
LoveToChoke
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/1/06
Posts: 873
Nice generalisation! Do all Christians follow that rule all of the time?

How about because people aren't rational? Or because sometimes temptation overrides common sense and moral standards?
3/24/11 12:26 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7626
LoveToChoke - The Golden Rule can be found in many cultures and religions around the world. I believe you would have a greater chance of persuading someone to adopt this rule through reason than to believe that it is the Will of God.


From an Atheist viewpoint, it still doesn't tell you WHY you should treat other people as they would like to be treated. You're just mouthing a platitude. Why not just run roughshod over them and their desires, and cheat and lie to them as much as you need to, so you can accomplish your goals and pleasures without get caught by the authorities? Many prominent atheist philosophers, past and present, have argued that you should.

Variations of The Golden Rule (Treat others as you would have them treat you) are found in many cultures and religions. The problem is that it is a good signpost to good manners and relations between people, but is ultimately incomplete for a number of reasons.

I can argue, if I am a sociopath, that I can force myself onto the attractive girl next door, as I would like her to do the same to me.

It also doesn't reflect differences in situation, as Kant said. As a prisoner, I can tell the judge not to sentence me to prison, as he would not want to go were he in my place. I can argue, if I am poor, that I am okay with taking all of my neighbor's belongings, as I would be okay with him taking all my (few) possessions.

I can walk into a bar because I am angry and want to fight. By swinging at another man, I have fulfilled the Golden Rule, as I am treating him as I want him to treat me. (The same may be true of starting an ugly argument on the Internet.)

It also gives me far too much latitude in deciding how another person "really" would want to be treated, and how my actions should be regarded. If the "other" is not a single person, or if I cannot contact or communicate with the other in a complex situation, how should I know how they would want to be treated? I can argue that it is a moral act under the Golden Rule to require others to purchase a health care policy against their will, as it improves their health and that they would want to improve my health care. There are no set laws under the Golden Rule, so it leaves my actions very open to personal interpretation. As George Bernard Shaw said, "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same."

And, again - from the perspective of someone who expects to die and experience extinction forever, why should I follow it, logically? Isn't it better to do what I want, for as long as I can, as long as the consequences aren't bad for me?

I agree with you that the threat of Heaven or Hell isn't, and shouldn't be, why I act in a "good" matter. You should do right, because it is good to do good. Christians believe there is a "Natural Law" provided by God to give the basics of correct behavior to all people, and that the conscience within you is your moral compass to that law that helps you decide, and is part of the divine spark placed within you. From my perspective, that best explains why most of us feel there is a right and wrong, and are able to make a decision based on the choices. Atheists may be hard-pressed to explain WHY there is an objective moral code without that, without arguing for morality by "instinct" or claiming an inborn "conscience" without defining what it is or its origin. I wrestled with that as an agnostic for decades.

Even if you can't admit to a God, you could certainly give some credence to the idea that the Christian code of morality is so omnipresent on our western culture, that you can't get away from it easily.

Ridgeback has said above that the main call to morality for Christians is to follow Jesus, and to follow "Love thy Neighbour..." i.e. The Golden Rule


Without speaking for Ridgeback, I would say that he was saying that as far as our moral duty to other humans, Jesus' admonitions in Matthew 23:27 are what we are called to do. (Jesus went into a LOT more detail on the specifics, though, which expand out both that admonition and the 10 Commandments, elsewhere, such as the Sermon on the Mount, and gives us very specific rules for what to do and not to do.) It's important, obviously - a version of it is included in the Lord's Prayer. You misinterpret Jesus's admonition as "The Golden Rule," though, which it really isn't (and which I don't think Ridgeback would describe it as, either). It's much more.

The "Golden Rule" is just an admonition to treat others equitably, as we would like to be treated (or in some versions, such as Confucius, NOT to treat others as you would NOT like to be treated). Jesus gives a version of it, too, as in Matthew 7:12 ("Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them") hearkening back to the earlier Genesis 21:23 ("Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me...")

Jesus goes w-a-a-y past the Golden Rule, expanding out and fulfilling the earlier laws of Judaism again, to, "Love your neighbor as you do yourself." Think how much you care about yourself. That's a much heavier obligation than simply treating someone else as you would like to be treated - it could include sacrificing yourself for him, even if he would not do the same for you.

The Golden Rule is just a rule of reciprocity, which Jesus' commandment is not - Jesus seems to be saying that you should love your neighbor as much as you do yourself, REGARDLESS of how he treats you. He doesn't qualify it. That's not easy, it's something you have to work at, every day of your life. And, apparently, not something you just think about when trying to decide if an action is right and equitable - it's a guiding principle for every part of your time on Earth.

In the sentence before that, though, Jesus says the law that's even greater than that ("the first and greatest commandment") is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Quite explicitly, Jesus links the requirement to love another person as much as we love ourself, to the requirement to love and worship God even more. Clearly, one flows from the other in His eyes.
3/24/11 5:38 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
49 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 22732
 I think I noted above the "Love thy neighbor" commandment and made no reference to the "Golden Rule," which, as the StewedOwl pointed out, is not the same thing.  And I also agree that loving God first and foremost is what makes that second commandment actually possible in people.   This is probably why atheists have a very poor record of charity.  They simply lack the "juice" to live out that very hard commandment.  

My main point anyway was that trying to get Christians to answer for OT strictures makes no sense historically.  The first Christians didn't live by them.  They lived by the much more advanced and difficult teachings of Jesus.  It is clear in the gospels that many of the OT strictures were contingencies at best and Jesus was calling his followers to something more.  That is why he teaches it isn't enough to not commit adultery, but rather even the thoughts of lust that come out of the heart are a problem for who one really is and will be a huge problem if those thoughts survive into his Kingdom.  The Kingdom ethics of Jesus may have their roots in the OT to some degree, but that would be it.  That is why the early Christians primarily saw the OT scriptures as books that hid Jesus within the narratives, and served as allegorical pictures for the Christian standard.  

Atheists should really stop reading the 4 horsemen.  They actually lead peole astray and degrade their education.  There are some truly brilliant atheists who have very legitimate criticisms of Christianity that are much more worthy of one's time.  Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris all think they have somehow trapped Christians by bringing up the OT, when they have only revealed their own ignorance.  They are really like people who go around proclaiming that a person who upholds Animal Farm as an important book must believe that animals can really talk and should be castigated for doing so.
3/28/11 7:13 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 78
 Kinda random but I was watching a Youtube video of the scene from Conan the Barbarian where they ask him Conan what is best in life and he answers with the famous: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women". It made me think of this thread and once again about how culture influences our moral values. Someone who comes from a martial culture like Conan's would probably be laughing at all of us right now and say that our beliefs (whether it be the Christianity of certain posters or the secular humanism of others) amounts to fostering weakness which is bad to him.
3/28/11 8:28 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7632
RoidsGracie -  Kinda random but I was watching a Youtube video of the scene from Conan the Barbarian where they ask him Conan what is best in life and he answers with the famous: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women". It made me think of this thread and once again about how culture influences our moral values. Someone who comes from a martial culture like Conan's would probably be laughing at all of us right now and say that our beliefs (whether it be the Christianity of certain posters or the secular humanism of others) amounts to fostering weakness which is bad to him.


The screenwriter and director of Conan, John Milius (his son Ethan was one of my first BJJ instructors) paraphrased that quote from one that is commonly attributed to Genghis Khan: "The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”

That could be considered an effective morality derived without using Christian ethics. From a sociobiological perspective, the Khan was pretty successful, as gene studies have shown a large proportion of the Asian population is related to him. I doubt that Sam Harris or Dennett will be rushing to use the Khan's ethos as a model for the New Atheist Morality. (Khan himself was not an Atheist, I think he was supposed to be a shamanist.)

I think that a lot of very robust martial cultures have used Christianity, or at least their version of Christianity, as a model for their morality and their actions on the battlefield. The fact that we are not speaking Arabic or Turkish now probably demonstrates that fact.
3/31/11 7:22 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
prof
176 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5687
Wow, where to begin...?

Ridgeback, your replies betray an unfamiliarity with Harris' argument, especially in it's long form - his book The Moral Landscape.

The entire book is devoted to answering the type of objections you are raising. In fact few books I've ever seen, even few philosophy books, do as thorough and conscientious a job of first raising objections to the book's thesis as Harris has done.

So why don't you interact with the actual meat of Harris' argument, instead of raising objections without a clue that Harris answers those objections?

Prof.
3/31/11 7:26 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
prof
176 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 03/31/11 7:36 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5688
TheStewedOwl -

From an Atheist viewpoint, it still doesn't tell you WHY you should treat other people as they would like to be treated. You're just mouthing a platitude.



Before even getting to a secular moral theory, it should be noted that Theists always just presume they have a standard - a coherent basis for moral injunctions. "I have a standard for morality...from the Biblical God....but what is yours Mr. Atheist?!!"

It's a laughable claim given theists, Christians especially, been all over the map on morality throughout the ages. Further, inspecting the very basic assumptions of Divine Moral Theory shows Theists don't have any such good basis for morality. See my earlier posts concerning the Euthyphro Dilemma (and the failure of Christian attempts to get out of the dilemma).

Prof.
3/31/11 7:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 102
My point was that it seems to me any standards of morality, whether it be faith based or secular seems to just be based on whatever is dialed into our brain by society.

What you said about theists in your second paragraph applies to atheists as well.
3/31/11 8:53 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
prof
176 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 03/31/11 8:54 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5690
RoidsGracie - My point was that it seems to me any standards of morality, whether it be faith based or secular seems to just be based on whatever is dialed into our brain by society.


I absolutely agree in a certain sense. There is obviously a strong tendency for anyone to express the viewpoint of the society, or clan, or family in which they were born.

If I were born in the Bible Belt it's more likely I'd be a believing Christian. If I were born 300 years ago in the Southern States, I'd be likely to think it was just fine that I owned a slave. If I were born in Ancient Rome I'd likely subscribe to some ethics that would horrify me as I am now.

However, those facts do not mean we don't have tools available to evaluate the soundness of our beliefs!
It does not follow that because culture influences our beliefs that there are no true facts about the universe, that we can't be right and wrong in our beliefs, and that progressions in knowledge are impossible.

If I'd been born in Africa thousands of years ago I'd have presumed that Malaria was caused by a magic spell put on my by my neighbor. Some societies STILL hold such beliefs about malaria or similar diseases. However, we know now that is factually wrong: Now we know malaria is caused by small organisms - a specific type of eukaryotic protists, transmitted typically by mosquito bites.

So simply because any of us could have held different beliefs depending on when/where we were born it doesn't follow there are no arguments, no reasons available (in principle or practice), showing our belief to be wrong.

Same goes for morality. From the fact I may have had different moral beliefs, God-based morality, if I were born in Saudi Arabia, it does not follow that there is no argument
showing my moral beliefs are wrong.

RoidsGracie -
What you said about theists in your second paragraph applies to atheists as well.


Whether secular moral theories are as hopeless as theistic moral theories remains to be argued.

Cheers,

Prof.

| Share | Email | Subscribe | Check IPs

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.