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HolyGround >> Ultimate standard of morality


4/1/11 2:18 AM
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RoidsGracie
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 In the Africa/malaria example you gave, it is simple to test scientifically as it is a physical problem; in this case a biological one. For a question such as, "what is the cause of malaria" you can perform lab experiments and apply the scientific method in order to determine the cause of malaria. I don't see how a similar approach can be done to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life" or "Is there a universial morality?"

Different groups of people have been all over the map of morality through out the ages. I don't see how this is unique to Christians. Secular forms of morality have been all over the place as well. For example, the Conan the Barbarian quote I mentioned above that was based on a Genghis Khan quote could be viewed as a secular answer to question "What is best in life?" If the Khan could listen in on this conversation he might think us soft and weak and see that as a vice. And how could we prove him wrong? Or what about the "master morality" of the Romans vs. the "slave morality" of Christianity and liberalism/humanism? How do we know that we are so much better then the Romans?

I've been reading the book 'Straw Dogs' and the author makes a point in it that the only true progress of knowledge is new scientific discoveries. Everything else seems to have happen in cycles.
4/1/11 6:48 PM
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prof
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RoidsGracie -

Different groups of people have been all over the map of morality through out the ages. I don't see how this is unique to Christians. Secular forms of morality have been all over the place as well.


Yes of course that's true.

However, the implications for atheism and theism are not exactly the same, because theism introduces different premises - i.e. that morality comes from a Good God, a Being who could communicate moral rules unambiguously to human beings. So moral confusion carries implications against that claim.

Whereas it does not for many versions of secular moral theories. For instance, from the point of view of secular moral realism, since this implies there are moral facts about the universe to discover, in no way does it imply that those facts would be easily known. Just as there are many "true facts" about the universe that are true, whether we could easily know them or not. (For instance, how many grains of dust are on the moon at this moment? There is an answer, despite that there is no currently practical way for us to know the answer).

On atheism nature is mute and non-sentient and has no ability to communicate it's facts to us. Hence we are stuck with our limitations in trying to uncover them. And various influences of circumstance and quirks of human cognition make this problematic and it's no surprise at all that there will be, at least for some time, conflicting interpretations.

So moral confusion is fully explicable, and even expected, on various secular moral theories. (That doesn't make it hopeless though, since if moral realism is true then it holds the promise of discovering moral facts so progress can be made, as it has slowly been made in science in general).


RoidsGracie - For example, the Conan the Barbarian quote I mentioned above that was based on a Genghis Khan quote could be viewed as a secular answer to question "What is best in life?" If the Khan could listen in on this conversation he might think us soft and weak and see that as a vice. And how could we prove him wrong? Or what about the "master morality" of the Romans vs. the "slave morality" of Christianity and liberalism/humanism? How do we know that we are so much better then the Romans?




It depends on the soundness of any particular moral theory, of course. Deontological, or Consequentialist theories all have their ways of allowing us to infer the immorality of Khan. But any particular theory will have to be explicated and defended.

I tend toward moral realism at this point myself, and I've defended certain theories a lot on other forums, and occasionally on this forum.

Cheers,

Prof.

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