Arguing morality with theists

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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#21  Postby Thommo » Oct 27, 2019 3:13 pm

Fabloolah is wonderful. Sounds like the name of a trashy character from Footballer's wives. "Ye babe, I'm Fabloolah innit, cuz I'm just sooo fab".

Like Chardonnay.
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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#22  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Oct 27, 2019 3:14 pm

jamest wrote:
Mr. Skeptic wrote:
jamest wrote:Pure morality must be boundless, by meaningful-rational default. Any other reference to it is hence meaningless (subjective). As is yours, evidently.


That's not how morality works. Any sort of morality is inevitably subjective,

Nonsense. Morality is only ever subjective when one individual distinguishes themselves from another. In other words, an absolute/boundless morality is perfectly objective so long as one does not distinguish themselves from anything else, an attitude perfectly compatible with my philosophy as a whole.


So morality is somehow objective when you abandon the pragmatic position of realism and adopt the position of hard solipsism/idealism, ideas that simply don't work in reality? Do you know what subjective means?
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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#23  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Oct 27, 2019 3:20 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
jamest wrote:
Mr. Skeptic wrote:
jamest wrote:Pure morality must be boundless, by meaningful-rational default. Any other reference to it is hence meaningless (subjective). As is yours, evidently.


That's not how morality works. Any sort of morality is inevitably subjective,

Nonsense. Morality is only ever subjective when one individual distinguishes themselves from another. In other words, an absolute/boundless morality is perfectly objective so long as one does not distinguish themselves from anything else, an attitude perfectly compatible with my philosophy as a whole.



You don't have a philosophy, and even if you did, that wouldn't decree how all the other people in the world are obliged to consider any subject. Thus the only 'nonsense' here is your self-delusion.



The whole distinction between "objective morality" and "subjective morality" is one huge red herring; all we technically we need to do in order to have "objective morality", is simply appel to what is and what guides actions (beliefs, desires), and look to change that as shoulds or oughtness. I'm a determinist myself and I'm more humanistic because of it.
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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#24  Postby zoon » Oct 28, 2019 9:55 am

Mr. Skeptic wrote:….
The whole distinction between "objective morality" and "subjective morality" is one huge red herring; all we technically we need to do in order to have "objective morality", is simply appel to what is and what guides actions (beliefs, desires), and look to change that as shoulds or oughtness. I'm a determinist myself and I'm more humanistic because of it.

I think the snag there is that we don’t yet know in any detail what’s going on in our brains, the deterministic mechanisms that actually drive our actions. So far, the best way we have of predicting each other is our evolved, prescientific, Theory of Mind (or “mindreading”, there are a couple of example brief introductions here and here). Theory of Mind is a collection of evolved brain processes which use the fact that one human brain is very similar to another, to guess what other people are thinking and so what they may do. Often, this means guessing what the other person’s goal might be, and then working backwards to how they might try to achieve it. This is teleological and unscientific, but so far it’s the best we have and is the basis of many of our social interactions, including the concept of punishing someone to get them to change their ways, which is the standing threat behind moral rules. It does seem to me that morality is essentially teleological and unscientific for that reason, but until neuroscience progresses to the point where predicting people through brain mechanisms is better than prediction via Theory of Mind, we’re stuck with morality (and the formal version, legal systems) as the best method of managing the close cooperation which is central to human success. ?

While we are using the evolved guesswork of Theory of Mind, we think of each person as essentially an entirely separate mind, and it’s the subjective experience of each individual which is being targeted when we use the threat of informal or formal punishment by the rest of the group to keep people within the moral (informal) or legal (formal) rules. The rules themselves would only be objective if they were set up and enforced by some supernatural humanlike power, a god; without any god, the rules are the result of some sort of group consensus, and since we are at least partly competitive within the group, there is never likely to be total agreement, there’s at least an element of subjectivity?

I think that if/when neuroscience does make understanding of brain mechanisms a better method of prediction than evolved Theory of Mind, social life is likely to change radically, morality as such may dissolve as well as the sense of individuality??
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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#25  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Oct 29, 2019 9:30 pm

zoon wrote:
Mr. Skeptic wrote:….
The whole distinction between "objective morality" and "subjective morality" is one huge red herring; all we technically we need to do in order to have "objective morality", is simply appel to what is and what guides actions (beliefs, desires), and look to change that as shoulds or oughtness. I'm a determinist myself and I'm more humanistic because of it.

I think the snag there is that we don’t yet know in any detail what’s going on in our brains, the deterministic mechanisms that actually drive our actions. So far, the best way we have of predicting each other is our evolved, prescientific, Theory of Mind (or “mindreading”, there are a couple of example brief introductions here and here). Theory of Mind is a collection of evolved brain processes which use the fact that one human brain is very similar to another, to guess what other people are thinking and so what they may do. Often, this means guessing what the other person’s goal might be, and then working backwards to how they might try to achieve it. This is teleological and unscientific, but so far it’s the best we have and is the basis of many of our social interactions, including the concept of punishing someone to get them to change their ways, which is the standing threat behind moral rules. It does seem to me that morality is essentially teleological and unscientific for that reason, but until neuroscience progresses to the point where predicting people through brain mechanisms is better than prediction via Theory of Mind, we’re stuck with morality (and the formal version, legal systems) as the best method of managing the close cooperation which is central to human success. ?

While we are using the evolved guesswork of Theory of Mind, we think of each person as essentially an entirely separate mind, and it’s the subjective experience of each individual which is being targeted when we use the threat of informal or formal punishment by the rest of the group to keep people within the moral (informal) or legal (formal) rules. The rules themselves would only be objective if they were set up and enforced by some supernatural humanlike power, a god; without any god, the rules are the result of some sort of group consensus, and since we are at least partly competitive within the group, there is never likely to be total agreement, there’s at least an element of subjectivity?

I think that if/when neuroscience does make understanding of brain mechanisms a better method of prediction than evolved Theory of Mind, social life is likely to change radically, morality as such may dissolve as well as the sense of individuality??


As far as I'm aware. neuroscience is probably the most radical (in the sense that it keeps changing our view morally and egoistically) part of science there. If a hypothetical world were neurotechnology was personalized, democratized, or simply made consumer-available, it would change our lives profoundly, maybe even more than AI ever could. I'm not sure how a god would make morality objective. This being still has a mind with opinions, feelings, and his own morality. All he has is power, might, and that doesn't make him or anyone else right. If it did, it would be special pleading otherwise.
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Re: Arguing morality with theists

#26  Postby Scott Mayers » Nov 17, 2019 12:46 pm

Mr. Skeptic wrote:I haven't posted here in a while. I'm arguing morality with a theist on r/atheism. He basically says that God is unchanging and what is moral or immoral, thus morality is unchanging and, apparently objective, as God is immune to subjective influences. The problem with this is that he doesn't know (can justify) that God is an unchanging, objective being. He just believes that he does. If we are talking about the biblical god, it's very subjective, filled with human biases, emotions, and favoritism. He also thinks that if morality is subjective, we can't say what's good and bad on whatever is accepted at the time. Utterly fucking foolish. Look at slavery for a counterexample. You may also want to look at animal abuse and child abuse. These aren't moral any more thanks to the people who fought against such things and given very good reasons for us not to do them. We understand more about the human condition now and our morality has changed because of that.

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/commen ... _religion/

In order to understand the rationale of the religious who argue against relative morality, you first have to understand that they interpret "God" as minimally "Nature" itself. As such, whatever Nature commands, whether it be morals or anything else, this nature is independent of human opinion about what is or is not 'moral'. And if their historical interpretation of this being is true, then whatever differences in conduct OF this God is immune from our judgement even against our confusion. As such, the 'unchanging' factor is akin to nature and any "changes" of behavior is akin to natural evolution (oddly Darwinian style.) They may not adapt this explanation for fear of associating this factor but this at least helps relate their thinking to a rational one. You can't begin to help them if you assume they are just idiots. Many may not be able to actually argue as the apologists who are philosophically more adept. As such, you have to try to take a charitable understanding of them and first try to clarify what they mean.

As to morality, nature itself doesn't hold value. As an atheist myself, I understand that we only create morals (and I thus don't support those who attempt to presume we could find actual universal morals outside of religion, like Michael Shermer might argue.) So I understand the religious who argue for a source of nature (their 'god') as DEFINING what is 'good'. In fact, the etymology of the word "god" is co-evolved from the word "good", and why you see this in Genesis where God declares satisfaction for each phase of his 'creation' by asserting his steps as "good".

The fear of the religious person is justified rationally if you can understand that no absolute code of behavior (as in a natural law) exists to distribute fairness to EACH and EVERY person universally. And to me, if you DO believe there is such rules, I'd like to challenge this. What matters is that we use political processes to define morals but that even where we presume obediance as a 'good' thing to follow laws, even these are never universally applicable. They are just practical codes we create to optimize civil conduct.....or at least we try.
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