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Thread: the fallacy of the concept of evil.

  1. #1 the fallacy of the concept of evil. 
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    was watching the clip with the discussion between thunderfoot and ray comfort.
    tfoot brings up the argument, should mentally ill people be punished?
    RC banana man says "no".
    Tfoot then says "but its scientifically proven that insane murderers have screwed up brain chemistry. it can be measured, we might be able to heal these people by altering their brain chemistry"
    RC then says "but these people are evil, and they will be punished by being sent to hell"
    now here's the giant hole RC dug for himself to fall into:

    their brain chemistry is screwed up. by RC logic,since god made everything, god made these people evil.
    so god makes evil people, then punishes said evil people by sending them to hell.

    i'm sure the fundie argument that follows then will be "this is not the work of god, this is the devils work. the devil makes people evil"
    i haven't figured a good rebuttal for that yet.


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  3. #2 Re: the fallacy of the concept of evil. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i'm sure the fundie argument that follows then will be "this is not the work of god, this is the devils work. the devil makes people evil"
    i haven't figured a good rebuttal for that yet.
    "Ok, well, who made the devil?"

    (If god is omnipotent, then god made the devil. And if god made the devil, then god is responsible for evil. And if god cannot unmake the devil, then he is not omnipotent. And if god can unmake the devil but chooses not to, then he's not against evil and therefore isn't omnibenevolent. In fact he's an sadistic bastard who enjoys sending lesser beings who are powerless to control their behavior to suffer eternal torment in a place that he allows to exist)

    Is that enough to get you started?

    P.S. There is no such thing as "evil".


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  4. #3 Re: the fallacy of the concept of evil. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    P.S. There is no such thing as "evil".
    Wasn't "evil" a concept created by religions? I cannot find anything that demonstrates an alternative.
    Religious Fundamentalist Club - Member #1.
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    Indeed there is the human construct, but there is no objective "force" (???). Same thing goes for "good".
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    Good and evil are happenings that are subjectively and/or communally either good or bad for us. We always need to blame or thank someone for it, so we anthropomorphise the two sides of the coin into wilful and conscious actuators.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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    yes, its moral absolutes that has no place in reality.
    there is no such thing as good and evil, only a relativistic morality soup with shades of gray.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    yes, its moral absolutes that has no place in reality.
    Which, interestingly, is a subjective statement. Which means that there might very well be a place moral absolutes in reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    there is no such thing as good and evil, only a relativistic morality soup with shades of gray.
    I guess that depends on what you mean when you mention "relativistic morality". If we're talking about moral relativism, then it's important to note that moral relativism itself is relative (some cultures may reject the notion). Isn't moral philosophy fun?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    yes, its moral absolutes that has no place in reality.
    Which, interestingly, is a subjective statement. Which means that there might very well be a place moral absolutes in reality.
    right, its based on my subjective view that i haven't observed any moral absolutes, and concluded that i do not believe they exist.
    plus my claim is completely baseless, since there is no evidence that moral absolutes doesn't exist. plus, i cannot absolutely disprove that moral absolutes exist, leaving a small probability that they actually do exist.
    religious discussion in a nutshell.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    there is no such thing as good and evil, only a relativistic morality soup with shades of gray.
    I guess that depends on what you mean when you mention "relativistic morality". If we're talking about moral relativism, then it's important to note that moral relativism itself is relative (some cultures may reject the notion). Isn't moral philosophy fun?!
    moral philosophy is another religious paper tiger. actually i'll make another frivolous and baseless claim, that moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    right, its based on my subjective view that i haven't observed any moral absolutes, and concluded that i do not believe they exist.
    "It is acceptable to kill in self-defense". True or false? Why or why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    plus, i cannot absolutely disprove that moral absolutes exist, leaving a small probability that they actually do exist.
    It sounds as though we're in perfect agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    religious discussion in a nutshell.
    Not quite. I don't recall ever encountering faith statements in any of my moral philosophy class (IIRC, they were frowned upon )

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    moral philosophy is another religious paper tiger. actually i'll make another frivolous and baseless claim, that moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion.
    I couldn't disagree more. Religion wants to be moral philosophy when it grows up.

    In my idea of a perfect world, people would actually study legitimate moral philosophy rather than get the dime store version spoon-fed to them by someone else who probably can't support any of their propositions without resorting to the aforementioned faith statements.

    Of course, as I have indicated, moral philosophy was a large part of both my undergrad and graduate degree programs, so I'm probably a little bias and I also probably have a slightly different perspective than those that aren't familiar with the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    "It is acceptable to kill in self-defense". True or false? Why or why not?
    this is on the extreme end of subjective. to some, even the thought of killing someone whether they're a crazed psychopat who would go on to murder
    until they are dead, is abhorrable.
    to others, the thought of this person killing more people is abhorrent, and they'd kill this person in a heartbeat if they had the chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    moral philosophy is another religious paper tiger. actually i'll make another frivolous and baseless claim, that moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion.
    I couldn't disagree more. Religion wants to be moral philosophy when it grows up.
    true.
    i didn't have any absolute conviction about this, and wrote my thought process.

    "moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion."
    and
    "Religion wants to be moral philosophy when it grows up."

    rings the same, if you think that moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion, and religion is the bastard child of moral philosophy.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    in christianity evil is a lie, it is nothing, it is merely a distancing from god, and this is not some concrete thing that is created it is a state of being. In this sense god did not create evil (and so by "logic" is a contradiction).
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    yes, its moral absolutes that has no place in reality.
    there is no such thing as good and evil, only a relativistic morality soup with shades of gray.
    I don't think anybody can really believe this at a gut level (intellectually yes, gut no), nor could any societies truly function on that basis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this is on the extreme end of subjective.
    I don't think that it is a subjective question at all. It either is okay or it is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    to some, even the thought of killing someone whether they're a crazed psychopat who would go on to murder until they are dead, is abhorrable.
    Indeed this is true, but this isn't an argument. It's a values statement. The values statement can exist completely separately from the moral argument (i.e. "I acknowledge that killing in self-defense is not immoral, however I don't think I could take another life, even in self-defense").

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    to others, the thought of this person killing more people is abhorrent, and they'd kill this person in a heartbeat if they had the chance.
    Keeping in mind that we're talking about self-defense, would someone be acting immorally if they defended themselves "in a heartbeat" if they had to?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    True.
    i didn't have any absolute conviction about this, and wrote my thought process.

    "moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion."
    and
    "Religion wants to be moral philosophy when it grows up."

    rings the same, if you think that moral philosophy is the birth ground for religion, and religion is the bastard child of moral philosophy.
    I was careful to frame my response within the same theme to avoid any confusion, however it appears that I didn't do a very good job.

    If B comes from A (as in your statement), but is A trying to mimic B (per mine), don't we have a problem?

    If it helps, try to think of it in evolutionary terms: both religion and moral philosophy shared a common ancestor (maybe we'll call it proto-moral philosophy). That doesn't mean that "religion came from moral philosophy" it just means that once upon a time, they both had a common ancestor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this is on the extreme end of subjective.
    I don't think that it is a subjective question at all. It either is okay or it is not.
    here's one self defense scenario which i consider morally grey:

    lets say there's 2 families, everyone in the family is peaceful, except for 1, who is a crazed murderer. these 2 murderers hate eachother so much, they've sworn to kill the other murderers whole family.
    lets say you're in one of these family's. is it morally right to kill the murderer in the other family in self defense, when it will cause the murderer in your family to
    kill the other family?

    this is a fairly exaggerated scenario, but i hope it will give you an idea of what i'm trying to say. for any absolute moral value A, there will be a scenario A, B, C, D where this absolute moral value does not apply, thus absolving its absolute moral value.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    I was careful to frame my response within the same theme to avoid any confusion, however it appears that I didn't do a very good job.

    If B comes from A (as in your statement), but is A trying to mimic B (per mine), don't we have a problem?

    If it helps, try to think of it in evolutionary terms: both religion and moral philosophy shared a common ancestor (maybe we'll call it proto-moral philosophy). That doesn't mean that "religion came from moral philosophy" it just means that once upon a time, they both had a common ancestor.
    right, i see your point of view now.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    here's one self defense scenario which i consider morally grey:

    lets say there's 2 families, everyone in the family is peaceful, except for 1, who is a crazed murderer. these 2 murderers hate eachother so much, they've sworn to kill the other murderers whole family.

    lets say you're in one of these family's. is it morally right to kill the murderer in the other family in self defense, when it will cause the murderer in your family to
    kill the other family?
    I suspect we may have to pause here to operationally define "self-defense". Self-defense means that your life is in danger. Someone is trying to kill you. Right now.

    The argument is that it is not immoral to kill in self-defense. Whether the person attacking you is a crazed psychopath or a down-on-his-luck former pastor trying to scrape together enough food to eat today is irrelevant to the scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this is a fairly exaggerated scenario, but i hope it will give you an idea of what i'm trying to say. for any absolute moral value A, there will be a scenario A, B, C, D where this absolute moral value does not apply, thus absolving its absolute moral value.
    And it may be that you're right, but I don't have enough to understand the argument. The above sounds as though you're talking about "preemptive self-defense" (i.e. I'm concerned that he might attack me, so I'm going to attack him). Unfortunately, this puts you in the roll of the antagonist, meaning that the murderer would be acting in self-defense if he killed you.

    Unless we can clarify this sticking point, I think the argument for a moral absolute stands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    I suspect we may have to pause here to operationally define "self-defense". Self-defense means that your life is in danger. Someone is trying to kill you. Right now.
    this, again is subjective. something might appear to want to kill you,
    by making a lot of noise to scare you away,
    like a bear protecting its cub. if you are then scared to act in self-defense, by shooting the bear, but in this worst case scenario, you miss a vital organ, mortally wounding the bear, instead of killing it,
    the bear will charge at you, mauling you to death, and then dying from its wounds. its cub will then starve to death.
    so the bear acting pre-emptively in self defense by threathening, causes you to think you act in self-defense, causing the bear to act in self-defense,
    and in the end everyone dies.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    The argument is that it is not immoral to kill in self-defense. Whether the person attacking you is a crazed psychopath or a down-on-his-luck former pastor trying to scrape together enough food to eat today is irrelevant to the scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this is a fairly exaggerated scenario, but i hope it will give you an idea of what i'm trying to say. for any absolute moral value A, there will be a scenario A, B, C, D where this absolute moral value does not apply, thus absolving its absolute moral value.
    And it may be that you're right, but I don't have enough to understand the argument. The above sounds as though you're talking about "preemptive self-defense" (i.e. I'm concerned that he might attack me, so I'm going to attack him). Unfortunately, this puts you in the roll of the antagonist, meaning that the murderer would be acting in self-defense if he killed you.
    so you're saying pre-emptive self-defense is intending to harm whoever is trying to harm you?
    yes, i think that would put you in the role of the antagonist, and i also believe the situation is far more fluid than that.
    i'm sure you're familiar with the term, "hunter becoming the hunted"
    if there's a man with a knife, proclaiming that he is going to kill you,
    then you'd be acting in self defense if you try to kill him.
    however, if after he claims he is going to kill you, you also shout "i am also going to kill you", and draw out a gun, then this person who is attacking, is suddenly in a situation of self defense.
    because these things are subjective, and relative, merely stating the intention of wanting to harming someone, causes it to become a self-defense for the opposing party, irregardless of whether the intention is true or not.
    if someone slashes at you, without the intent of harming you (its a rubber knife)
    you will act in self-defense, although the situation isn't objectively a self-defense situation, you will act in self-defense as if it is an actual self-defense situation.
    i would argue that having moral absolutes, would be the same as having an objective truth of what is right and wrong.

    i've said a lot about killing the opposing party in self-defense.
    but there's a third option as well. you could disarm the opposition and put him in jail. if he manages to escape, this action would be wrong, since it will endanger both your life, and potentially others. but if you successfully manages to subdue the criminal, and put him in jail, or rehab, the situation would become morally right. thinking about this... i think time is a vital factor in whether something is morally right or wrong. with hindsigh, you are able to state the moral absolutes of a situation, if you obtain absolute knowledge of the situation.
    however, before, or during the situation, the morals are subjective, and fluid.

    it could be i'm jumping to conclusions however.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this, again is subjective. something might appear to want to kill you,
    by making a lot of noise to scare you away,
    like a bear protecting its cub. if you are then scared to act in self-defense, by shooting the bear, but in this worst case scenario, you miss a vital organ, mortally wounding the bear, instead of killing it,
    the bear will charge at you, mauling you to death, and then dying from its wounds. its cub will then starve to death.
    so the bear acting pre-emptively in self defense by threathening, causes you to think you act in self-defense, causing the bear to act in self-defense,
    and in the end everyone dies.
    I've already operationally defined self-defense. There shouldn't be any ambiguity.

    If you would like to put forth a different argument for discussion, and operationally define terms in a different way, feel free.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    so you're saying pre-emptive self-defense is intending to harm whoever is trying to harm you?
    Why are you asking me about your scenario? Yes, the impression that I got from your repeated use of "murder" was that there was intent to harm.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    yes, i think that would put you in the role of the antagonist, and i also believe the situation is far more fluid than that.
    i'm sure you're familiar with the term, "hunter becoming the hunted"
    if there's a man with a knife, proclaiming that he is going to kill you,
    then you'd be acting in self defense if you try to kill him.
    The threat is not enough. If a man brandishes a knife, says that he is going to kill, then comes towards you, and you kill him, you are acting in self-defense.

    If a man pulls a knife, says that he is going to kill you, and then does nothing to indicate that he intends to harm you, you aren't morally justified in killing him. Our laws reflect this.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    however, if after he claims he is going to kill you, you also shout "i am also going to kill you", and draw out a gun, then this person who is attacking, is suddenly in a situation of self defense.
    Indeed he would be, in a manner of speaking, however since he instigated the situation all pretense of acting in self-defense is gone. He created a situation where there wasn't one before. He's not reacting to circumstance the way you would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    because these things are subjective, and relative, merely stating the intention of wanting to harming someone, causes it to become a self-defense for the opposing party, irregardless of whether the intention is true or not.
    Again, if you want to introduce a different argument for discussion, I'd be happy to participate (and maybe we should move the next one to the philosophy sub-forum). However for the time being, this does not seem relevant to the argument that I put forth.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i've said a lot about killing the opposing party in self-defense.
    but there's a third option as well. you could disarm the opposition and put him in jail.
    Again, this has nothing to do with the argument. The question is whether or not it is immoral to kill in self-defense.

    You just killed someone in self-defense. Did you act immorally? Not "could you have disarmed him and sent him to jail". Not anything else. Please try to stick to the constraints of argument.

    Thanks.
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    Self-defense means that your life is in danger. Someone is trying to kill you. Right now.
    and my point is that this is subjective. you can perceive that your life is in danger, while it is not. you need to be an omniscient being to be able to know absolutely that your life is not in danger.
    anyways, within these terms, "your life is in danger, somone is trying to kill you"
    Someone is threathening to kill you, if you don't give them their wallet. you don't give them your wallet. your life is now in danger, as someone is trying to kill you to get your wallet. right now.
    is this a situation of self-defense?
    another one: you call someone an asshole, and tell them you're going to kill them.
    this person has a knife, and is drunk. your life is now in danger. someone is trying to kill you. is this self defense?
    note that in both situations, your terms for self-defense are fulfilled.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    and my point is that this is subjective. you can perceive that your life is in danger, while it is not. you need to be an omniscient being to be able to know absolutely that your life is not in danger.
    Sir, if you think that someone trying to kill you is subjective, then we probably don't have much more to discuss.

    I have removed all ambiguity and it seems like you keep trying to introduce it. In the hypothetical situation that I have put forward (and asked you to comment on) there is no question. Your life is in danger. I have made multiple attempts to clarify this, yet you refuse to address the argument. I am left with no other option than to conclude that you're not participating in good faith. If this is the case, then we're done and I'll see you next time. If I am mistaken, then please demonstrate that this is the case by addressing the argument instead of trying to take us down rabbit trails.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    and my point is that this is subjective. you can perceive that your life is in danger, while it is not. you need to be an omniscient being to be able to know absolutely that your life is not in danger.
    Sir, if you think that someone trying to kill you is subjective, then we probably don't have much more to discuss.

    I have removed all ambiguity and it seems like you keep trying to introduce it. In the hypothetical situation that I have put forward (and asked you to comment on) there is no question. Your life is in danger. I have made multiple attempts to clarify this, yet you refuse to address the argument. I am left with no other option than to conclude that you're not participating in good faith. If this is the case, then we're done and I'll see you next time. If I am mistaken, then please demonstrate that this is the case by addressing the argument instead of trying to take us down rabbit trails.
    "You just killed someone in self-defense. Did you act immorally?"

    i don't know. why did i kill someone in self defense? what events lead to me killing someone in self-defense?
    and even with these variables in place, it would depend on what kind of person i am.
    if i am a soldier, i would likely think that what i did, was morally right, because that person would probably kill someone else.
    similarly if i had a family to feed, i would come to the conclusion it was morally right, after some soul-searching, since i'd be able to continue providing for my family.
    however, if i was a vegetarian, who considers even killing a fly a mortal sin,
    i would never be able to forgive my actions, and regret killing that person for the rest of my life.

    well, maybe if you go small enough, you will find moral absolutes.
    but they are subjective moral absolutes.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i don't know. why did i kill someone in self defense? what events lead to me killing someone in self-defense?
    Completely irrelevant to the question. It happened. Was your action immoral? Yes or no.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    and even with these variables in place, it would depend on what kind of person i am.
    No it would not. Per the point I raised when you first broached this, you're trying to access values. Values and values statements are irrelevant to the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    if i am a soldier, i would likely think that what i did, was morally right, because that person would probably kill someone else.
    So morality is different for members of military? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    Similarly if i had a family to feed, i would come to the conclusion it was morally right, after some soul-searching, since i'd be able to continue providing for my family.
    So if a man was attacking you with a knife and the only way to save your life was to take his, you wouldn't do this unless you had a family counting on you? What if your spouse was the breadwinner in your household? Would this change your answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    however, if i was a vegetarian, who considers even killing a fly a mortal sin, i would never be able to forgive my actions, and regret killing that person for the rest of my life.
    Values statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    well, maybe if you go small enough, you will find moral absolutes.
    but they are subjective moral absolutes.
    Something cannot be subjective and absolute at the same time. It's one of those either/or things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i don't know. why did i kill someone in self defense? what events lead to me killing someone in self-defense?
    Completely irrelevant to the question. It happened. Was your action immoral? Yes or no.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    and even with these variables in place, it would depend on what kind of person i am.
    No it would not. Per the point I raised when you first broached this, you're trying to access values. Values and values statements are irrelevant to the question.
    what do you mean by values? moral values?
    or is it that morals are absolute, and values are subjective?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    if i am a soldier, i would likely think that what i did, was morally right, because that person would probably kill someone else.
    So morality is different for members of military? Why?
    soldiers are trained to kill. they think lesser of killing someone, and considers ridding the world of a bad person a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    Similarly if i had a family to feed, i would come to the conclusion it was morally right, after some soul-searching, since i'd be able to continue providing for my family.
    So if a man was attacking you with a knife and the only way to save your life was to take his, you wouldn't do this unless you had a family counting on you? What if your spouse was the breadwinner in your household? Would this change your answer?
    you seem to switch between past and present tense a lot.
    first you set the scenario that i've already killed this person, and now you set the scenario that i have a choice whether to kill a person or not. make up your mind. is this past, or present?
    this scenario is strictly based on how i feel AFTER killing someone.

    what is right, and wrong, will switch VERY rapidly, depending on what you know about the circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    Values statement.
    moral values?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Something cannot be subjective and absolute at the same time. It's one of those either/or things.
    there can be subjective absolutes, because its a relative absolute. if you know a person, you will know how they will act, and react. therefore their thoughts and resulting actions will be predictable, and absolute, even though they are subjective.
    its like asking you what speed are you traveling at right now.
    depending on the frame of reference, you'd be sitting still,
    or traveling at 107 826.048kph.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  24. #23  
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    There is a book by Richard Rhodes called "Why They Kill"
    that discusses the theories of a criminologist named Lonnie Athens.

    Athens discusses a process that he believes causes people to become violent that he calls "violentization".

    People who have not been subjected to this process will tend to see a threat and generally avoid a confrontation. However, a violent person could interpret even a verbal insult as a threat, and respond with severe physical violence.

    Thus, "self-defense" is really a legal issue since people perceive threats differently.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    what do you mean by values?
    Values

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    or is it that morals are absolute, and values are subjective?
    Yes and no. Yes, values are subjective. Morals can be subjective (especially if they are based on values). Moral absolutes cannot be (by definition).

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    if i am a soldier, i would likely think that what i did, was morally right, because that person would probably kill someone else.
    So morality is different for members of military? Why?
    soldiers are trained to kill. they think lesser of killing someone, and considers ridding the world of a bad person a good thing.
    This doesn't answer the question. This tells me that soldiers are trained to kill. It doesn't tell me why you think a soldier would have a different set of morals (different values I can probably see, but morality should apply equally to everyone).

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this scenario is strictly based on how i feel AFTER killing someone.
    No, it's based entirely on my question, which you still are not answering. Moral absolutes don't care (and neither do I, frankly) about how you feel about anything. The question is whether or not the action is moral or immoral. Do you intend to offer an answer at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    what is right, and wrong, will switch VERY rapidly, depending on what you know about the circumstances.
    Indeed this can be true, but as I protested earlier, you keep trying to make the situation complicated when it is not. The scenario I put forth has no ambiguity. Someone tried to kill you. You killed them in self-defense. For the purposes of the scenario, these are absolutes and non-negotiable. Rather than answer the question, we're hearing a lot of other scenarios (which I'm happy to discuss) that have nothing to do with mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    there can be subjective absolutes, because its a relative absolute.
    Let me help. Link.

    If you say that chocolate is the best ice cream ever, that is not an absolute that everyone must recognize. That is an expression of your value for chocolate ice cream. Others may have similar values and others may have different values, but none of you have claim to any absolute truths about the best flavor of ice cream.
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  26. #25 Do not miss it! 
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    http://www.gobrandmall.com

    So wonderful website!

    Do not miss it!
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  27. #26 Re: the fallacy of the concept of evil. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    was watching the clip with the discussion between thunderfoot and ray comfort.
    tfoot brings up the argument, should mentally ill people be punished?
    RC banana man says "no".
    Tfoot then says "but its scientifically proven that insane murderers have screwed up brain chemistry. it can be measured, we might be able to heal these people by altering their brain chemistry"
    RC then says "but these people are evil, and they will be punished by being sent to hell"
    now here's the giant hole RC dug for himself to fall into:

    their brain chemistry is screwed up. by RC logic,since god made everything, god made these people evil.
    so god makes evil people, then punishes said evil people by sending them to hell.

    i'm sure the fundie argument that follows then will be "this is not the work of god, this is the devils work. the devil makes people evil"
    i haven't figured a good rebuttal for that yet.
    At the core of this argument is the issue whether self and all its capabilities (like free will, etc) are simply an issue of chemicals or not.

    As an interesting side point, one could also put the boot on the other foot, and say that since its all an issue of chemicals, the entire notion of reward and punishment is a complete fabrication, so we should turf out the legal system and get real.

    It seems that if you entertain a world view where life exists independent of its environment, you end up with absurdity, much like if you entertain a world view where life is a product of environment, you end up with absurdity.

    Most sensible people recognize that it lies somewhere between the two.
    At the very least, if you rob a bank and blame your DNA, you will still get a jail sentence.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    what do you mean by values?
    Values

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    or is it that morals are absolute, and values are subjective?
    Yes and no. Yes, values are subjective. Morals can be subjective (especially if they are based on values). Moral absolutes cannot be (by definition).
    how can morals not be based on values?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    if i am a soldier, i would likely think that what i did, was morally right, because that person would probably kill someone else.
    So morality is different for members of military? Why?
    soldiers are trained to kill. they think lesser of killing someone, and considers ridding the world of a bad person a good thing.
    This doesn't answer the question. This tells me that soldiers are trained to kill. It doesn't tell me why you think a soldier would have a different set of morals (different values I can probably see, but morality should apply equally to everyone).
    it does answer the question. your morals are defined by your upbringing.
    which is why i'm stating there are no moral absolutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    this scenario is strictly based on how i feel AFTER killing someone.
    No, it's based entirely on my question, which you still are not answering. Moral absolutes don't care (and neither do I, frankly) about how you feel about anything. The question is whether or not the action is moral or immoral. Do you intend to offer an answer at some point?
    given the way you defined acting in self-defense, it can be both moral and immoral. which makes moral absolutes false.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    what is right, and wrong, will switch VERY rapidly, depending on what you know about the circumstances.
    Indeed this can be true, but as I protested earlier, you keep trying to make the situation complicated when it is not. The scenario I put forth has no ambiguity. Someone tried to kill you. You killed them in self-defense. For the purposes of the scenario, these are absolutes and non-negotiable. Rather than answer the question, we're hearing a lot of other scenarios (which I'm happy to discuss) that have nothing to do with mine.
    no, your scenario is very ambiguous, and i'm trying to put it into a more objective context. there's no knowledge of the intent behind the person trying to kill you. there is no intent behind you defending yourself.

    its like saying "you ate candy" did you like that candy? give me an answer, yes, or no.
    all i can do in this scenario is "there is lots of candy that i like, and a few that tastes horrible." so in most cases, the answer would be around 70-90% yes.

    the above case of killing someone in self defense is even more ambiguous than this.
    so here's the most unambiguous answer i can make for your question:
    if you and other people think your life is worth more than the assassins,
    then yes, its a moral action, within this group of people.
    if your group considers all people of equal worth, then no, its an immoral action.
    if the notion that all people are of equal worth is an absolute value, then it will universally be an immoral action.
    the same goes for animals.
    if a crocodile is trying to kill you, a crocodile's life is usually valued lower than a human life, so it would be a moral action to kill this crocodile.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    there can be subjective absolutes, because its a relative absolute.
    Let me help. Link.

    If you say that chocolate is the best ice cream taste ever, that is not an absolute that everyone must recognize. That is an expression of your value for chocolate ice cream. Others may have similar values and others may have different values, but none of you have claim to any absolute truths about the best flavor of ice cream.
    thats not what i'm trying to say.
    i'm saying its an absolute value that i love chocolate ice cream.
    and its an absolute value that you love vanilla ice cream.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    how can morals not be based on values?
    I believe the subject of discussion was moral absolutes. Absolutes cannot be subjective. Otherwise you cannot call them absolutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    it does answer the question. your morals are defined by your upbringing.
    which is why i'm stating there are no moral absolutes.
    Which is a subjective argument about an absolute state. Your argument fails on two levels.

    I've given you an example of one moral absolute and invited you to discuss it. You continue to do everything but. Why? Is it simply a matter of you deciding that you're going to turn you position on moral absolutes into a faith statement? You've made up your mind and now nothing will change it?

    If so, please let me know so that I can stop wasting my time.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    given the way you defined acting in self-defense, it can be both moral and immoral. which makes moral absolutes false.
    Okay, please explain your argument? What about the scenario is immoral?

    If your response starts off with "I think" or "I believe" then it's a values statement and not a moral argument. Please consider this as you're drafting your response.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    no, your scenario is very ambiguous, and i'm trying to put it into a more objective context.
    False.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    there's no knowledge of the intent behind the person trying to kill you. there is no intent behind you defending yourself.
    I've already told you what the intent is. And desire to defend yourself is irrelevant to the question.

    It's a simple question: is it immoral to kill someone in self-defense.

    Not: Is it immoral to kill someone who you think is trying to kill you but might just be playing around? Your handwaving is only applicable had the question been framed thusly. It's not. So please stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    its like saying "you ate candy" did you like that candy? give me an answer, yes, or no.
    I'm not asking you how you feel about killing someone in self-defense. I'm asking if such an act is immoral. Your analogy isn't applicable.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    so here's the most unambiguous answer i can make for your question:
    if you and other people think your life is worth more than the assassins,
    then yes, its a moral action, within this group of people.
    if your group considers all people of equal worth, then no, its an immoral action.
    if the notion that all people are of equal worth is an absolute value, then it will universally be an immoral action.
    I don't understand the logic behind the argument. If all life is equal (a baseline I'm perfectly comfortable accepting and working from), then why is it wrong to act in self-defense? If life has value, then isn't the killer violating this value by trying to take yours? If forced to choose between your life and his, shouldn't his life be forfeit, since he's displayed that he does not acknowledge that life has value?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    thats not what i'm trying to say.
    i'm saying its an absolute value that i love chocolate ice cream.
    and its an absolute value that you love vanilla ice cream.
    I think you're confused as to what "absolute" means.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  30. #29  
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    how the hell am i supposed to argue with you whether morals are absolute or not, when you've already concluded that morals are absolute in all relative contexts?

    I don't understand the logic behind the argument. If all life is equal (a baseline I'm perfectly comfortable accepting and working from), then why is it wrong to act in self-defense? If life has value, then isn't the killer violating this value by trying to take yours? If forced to choose between your life and his, shouldn't his life be forfeit, since he's displayed that he does not acknowledge that life has value?
    because the life of the killer is just as valuable as the life of other humans.
    in the above statement you've devalued the life of the killer, with this statement:

    If forced to choose between your life and his, shouldn't his life be forfeit, since he's displayed that he does not acknowledge that life has value?
    given the fact that everyone are equally valuable:
    no, his life isn't forfeit. he's just as valuable as everyone else, no matter whether he aknowledges these values or not, because he's a human being.
    you're trying to label him as a "lesser human" a murderer.
    killing him, means you consider yourself of more worth than him.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    'Evil' is a human construct coming out of religion - we slap that label on those who refuse to follow society's rules and break them for their own benefit.


    You're making an error of assumption right from the off:

    the life of the killer is just as valuable as the life of other humans.
    Maybe for a liberal pansy! Not for most people!
    Anyone with a modicum of sense realizes that a killer is not someone conductive to a functioning society. Someone takes the lives of more than one person and you would let him live?!?

    That's foolish in the extreme.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    'Evil' is a human construct coming out of religion - we slap that label on those who refuse to follow society's rules and break them for their own benefit.


    You're making an error of assumption right from the off:

    the life of the killer is just as valuable as the life of other humans.
    Maybe for a liberal pansy! Not for most people!
    Anyone with a modicum of sense realizes that a killer is not someone conductive to a functioning society. Someone takes the lives of more than one person and you would let him live?!?

    That's foolish in the extreme.
    obviously you don't understand the argument here.
    its crystal clear that you don't value the life of a murderer the same as the life of any other person.
    however, phoenixG is trying to argue "If all life is equal"and then sets the value of the life of a murderer lower than the rest of society, because they break the rules of society. In this case, a murderers life is NOT equal to the rest of society, ergo all life is NOT equal.
    the logical fallacy here is the assumption of the equality of all life.
    if that was true, then even killing a murderer who tries to kill you should be immoral.
    obviously, people don't value eachothers life equally.
    in nearly all circumstances, the life of a murderer IS valued less than that of a normal human being.
    this throws back onto the argument of whether morals are absolute or not.
    because the values of people between various groups are not consistent,
    morals are not consistent either.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    how the hell am i supposed to argue with you whether morals are absolute or not, when you've already concluded that morals are absolute in all relative contexts?
    At no point have I even attempted to make that argument. Your argument was that there are no moral absolutes. I'm presenting you with an argument for just one.

    "All" is misrepresentation of my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    no, his life isn't forfeit. he's just as valuable as everyone else, no matter whether he aknowledges these values or not, because he's a human being.
    One person is going to lose their life. It is either you (who did nothing) or the person attacking you (who does not acknowledge that human life has value, and therefore forfeits his).

    This is the argument. You can either refute it with a counter-argument or by demonstrating a failure of reasoning on my part. Hand-waving will not count.

    If my argument stands, then it can be said that killing someone in self-defense is not immoral is a moral absolute. Therefore, your earlier assertion that there can be no moral absolutes would be disproved.

    That's where we are. Ball is in your court.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    how the hell am i supposed to argue with you whether morals are absolute or not, when you've already concluded that morals are absolute in all relative contexts?
    At no point have I even attempted to make that argument. Your argument was that there are no moral absolutes. I'm presenting you with an argument for just one.

    "All" is misrepresentation of my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    no, his life isn't forfeit. he's just as valuable as everyone else, no matter whether he aknowledges these values or not, because he's a human being.
    One person is going to lose their life. It is either you (who did nothing) or the person attacking you (who does not acknowledge that human life has value, and therefore forfeits his).

    This is the argument. You can either refute it with a counter-argument or by demonstrating a failure of reasoning on my part. Hand-waving will not count.

    If my argument stands, then it can be said that killing someone in self-defense is not immoral is a moral absolute. Therefore, your earlier assertion that there can be no moral absolutes would be disproved.

    That's where we are. Ball is in your court.
    well, in that case, you win. there is no such thing as immoral actions. that would be the one and only moral absolute. everything else is subjective opinion.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    well, in that case, you win. there is no such thing as immoral actions.
    Again, this discussion was about the existence (or non-existence) of moral absolutes. "No such thing as immoral actions" is not only patently false, but has nothing to do with the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    that would be the one and only moral absolute. everything else is subjective opinion.
    Huh? What would this "one and only moral absolute" be? I presented one, but I don't see how it would have much (if any) application outside of that particular scenario.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    well, in that case, you win. there is no such thing as immoral actions.
    Again, this discussion was about the existence (or non-existence) of moral absolutes. "No such thing as immoral actions" is not only patently false, but has nothing to do with the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    that would be the one and only moral absolute. everything else is subjective opinion.
    Huh? What would this "one and only moral absolute" be? I presented one, but I don't see how it would have much (if any) application outside of that particular scenario.
    there is no immoral actions. everything is allowed. rules are subjective.
    judgement is subjective.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  37. #36  
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    Alright. Clearly you've decided that you're going to take your ball and go home.

    Thanks for the discussion.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Alright. Clearly you've decided that you're going to take your ball and go home.

    Thanks for the discussion.
    my pleasure. i've learned a lot.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  39. #38  
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    Morals are subjective. ALL of them. We would all agree that if we had to choose if the attacker or victim had to die, then the attacker should. BUT, the attacker has an opinion too and would maybe argue that he has suffered during his life and is simply trying to survive, that his victim deserves to die because he acts and/or believes this or that, etc. This becomes even more apparent when two groups or nations attack each other. Both sides think they are in the right.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    It's the old adage.

    "Might makes Right".

    Whichever nation winds up being the strongest wins the war. And strongest doesn't necessarily mean most technologically advanced, if that same technological nation allows idealist bleeding hearts to creep into its decision making and tie the hands of its military.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Morals are subjective. ALL of them. We would all agree that if we had to choose if the attacker or victim had to die, then the attacker should. BUT, the attacker has an opinion too and would maybe argue that he has suffered during his life and is simply trying to survive, that his victim deserves to die because he acts and/or believes this or that, etc.
    Consider Kant's categorical imperative:

    "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

    You seem to agree that if someone were to attack you, with the intent to kill you, that to kill that person in self-defense (assuming that you had no other option) would not be an immoral act. To say that this is always true is to concede that it is a moral absolute.

    No doubt that the attacker might have a different opinion, but the nice thing about dealing with absolutes is that one person can be very clearly right and another person very clearly wrong. Per my arguments earlier, the attacker's opinions, etc are forfeit. They violated the categorical imperative.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    You seem to agree that if someone were to attack you, with the intent to kill you, that to kill that person in self-defense (assuming that you had no other option) would not be an immoral act. To say that this is always true is to concede that it is a moral absolute
    Yes, I believe it would be morally sound, but you can't tell me that you won't find people who would not be able to do it due to some kind of personal moral imperative they would not break. My view is that if you can imagine the existence of a person with specific morals, chances are hugely in favour of such a person actually existing or having existed in the past.

    I happen to be a humanist, so I believe that it is possible to find a common set of morals, but I understand that they cannot be absolute and will always be subject to amendment.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  43. #42  
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    Reality is more complex than such a model

    A attacks B
    B kills A

    B is moral
    A is immoral

    ponder
    Why did A attack B? Did A actually want to kill B or just hurt B, and does whether or not B know effect the morality of B's decision? Did B need to kill A, or would relatively harmless imobolization suffice? Was A in a "conscious" state of mind? If not then why was A out of one's mind? If A was out of one's mind, for a reason beyond A's control, is A's actions while out of mind, imoral? Does this make A, after coming to one's senses, less moral than A was before?

    context matters
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Yes, I believe it would be morally sound,
    Okay. And could such a belief be supported by sound argumentation? My point is that it could be (and is).

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    but you can't tell me that you won't find people who would not be able to do it due to some kind of personal moral imperative they would not break.
    Which (as I have pointed out repeatedly) is a values statement. It isn't a counter-argument at all. It's simply saying "well, that's not how I would do it". See the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I happen to be a humanist, so I believe that it is possible to find a common set of morals, but I understand that they cannot be absolute and will always be subject to amendment.
    Indeed, however this says nothing about the existence of moral absolutes. I am by no means arguing there is a moral absolute for every scenario imaginable. My point is that is some scenarios there is a clearly defined "right" and a clearly defined "wrong". For the 87.5% of all other scenarios, we have the ambiguous use of moral that you used above. Does that help?
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    I am an existentialist a well. The counter argument I am making is that morals are entirely subjective. If you wanted to define morals in an absolute sense, the closest you could come would be so say that they should promote conduct that is most conducive to a free, prosperous and safe society. But the moment you start narrowing it down, you run into opposing moral views which automatically destroy objectivity. Could you give another example of an objective moral? The first one has a few holes in it.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The counter argument I am making is that morals are entirely subjective.
    Which is

    1) subjective (someone might disagree that they are subjective)
    2) a faux absolute ("entirely" eh? Sounds like an absolute to me)

    Therefore the argument can't even support it's own weight.

    Yes, morals (ambiguous) can be subjective. But not all of them are. These exceptions are the moral absolutes that dejawolf and I were debating the existence of. Some things are always right and somethings are always wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    If you wanted to define morals in an absolute sense, the closest you could come would be so say that they should promote conduct that is most conducive to a free, prosperous and safe society.
    Utilitarianism is one way to go. I prefer Kant's categorical imperative (quoted earlier)

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    But the moment you start narrowing it down, you run into opposing moral views which automatically destroy objectivity.
    That shouldn't be a concern. You just got finished explaining that everything was relative, so...?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Could you give another example of an objective moral? The first one has a few holes in it.
    Okay, what are these holes?
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    Which is

    1) subjective (someone might disagree that they are subjective)
    And they would be wrong (why did I just think of Archy), since I am making the claim that it is an absolute truth, like the fact that humans are social animals. As an existentialist atheist, to me it is undeniable that morals are the sole product of our own subjective interpretation of the world around us and our place in it.

    2) a faux absolute ("entirely" eh? Sounds like an absolute to me)
    A faux contradiction, since the two statements do not pertain to the same concept layer. Morals are subjective constructs and the fact that this is so, is absolute.

    Utilitarianism is one way to go. I prefer Kant's categorical imperative (quoted earlier)
    The "do unto others,..." guideline, slightly modified towards the benefit of the larger group. It seems that the consideration of morals shifts more towards an absolute nature when the larger group is considered and more towards subjectivity when fewer or singular parties are considered. How does Kant's imperative differ from a utilitarian one?

    That shouldn't be a concern. You just got finished explaining that everything was relative, so...?
    Just making the point clearer.

    Okay, what are these holes?
    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Things that are always right or wrong are only so when looked at from a third person's perspective, an objective one, but that cannot and should not be the only perspective that should be considered. Good morals require empathy. It might be difficult for us to understand empathically, but the attacker can do nothing else but attack at that point in time. Our attempts at objective moral judgement can only happen after the fact.

    Do you remember the movie Minority Report? People were tried and convicted for murders they were yet to commit. The thing is, we can't really know if someone will do something until he does it. We can only make a subjective judgement of the situation while it is happening. This means that any moral judgements can only ever be subjective. When one considers the scenario of killing in self defence after the fact, subjective judgements of the involved parties have to be made. Why would it be better for the attacker to die than the defender? Because he is a "bad" guy that is acting in an extremely anti-social way. What happens then in a situation where two people are forced to fight to the death? Both involved person's perspective is equivalent to the defender's in the first scenario.

    Man, I just realised how much I am rambling in the above response. :? Sorry 'bout that. To cut it short, absolute moral judgements only tend towards being absolute, but can never reach it, since it never represents a full consensus IMO. No God exists to hand down Its set of moral absolutes. We make our own.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    And they would be wrong, since I am making the claim that it is an absolute truth, like the fact that humans are social animals.
    If it's subjective, the "wrong" is subjective as well. Otherwise there is objectivity involved and you're conceding the point.

    You cannot have it both ways. There are either scenarios in which there is an objective right and an objective wrong or there are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    As an existentialist atheist, to me it is undeniable that morals are the sole product of our own subjective interpretation of the world around us and our place in it.
    I've already pointed out why this line of reasoning doesn't work. Rephasing the same argument you made before doesn't constitute a counter-argument, nor does it make it true.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    A faux contradiction, since the two statements do not pertain to the same concept layer. Morals are subjective constructs and the fact that this is so, is absolute.
    Again, you're trying to have it both ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The "do unto others,..." guideline, slightly modified towards the benefit of the larger group. It seems that the consideration of morals shifts more towards an absolute nature when the larger group is considered and more towards subjectivity when fewer or singular parties are considered. How does Kant's imperative differ from a utilitarian one?
    "Do onto others" is a non-idealized version of Kant's categorical imparative. "Do unto others" has nothing to do with ultitariansm (if it benefits the "greater good" to kill a million people, that's utilitarianism. To not kill a million people because you wouldn't want to live in a world where others could "just decide" to have you killed would be an example of categorical imperative).

    Just out of curiosity, what is your background with moral philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Just making the point clearer.
    My point was that you appear to be contradicting yourself. Therefore your effort to clarify missed the mark.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Things that are always right or wrong are only so when looked at from a third person's perspective, an objective one, but that cannot and should not be the only perspective that should be considered. Good morals require empathy. It might be difficult for us to understand empathically, but the attacker can do nothing else but attack at that point in time. Our attempts at objective moral judgement can only happen after the fact.

    Do you remember the movie Minority Report? People were tried and convicted for murders they were yet to commit. The thing is, we can't really know if someone will do something until he does it. We can only make a subjective judgement of the situation while it is happening. This means that any moral judgements can only ever be subjective. When one considers the scenario of killing in self defence after the fact, subjective judgements of the involved parties have to be made. Why would it be better for the attacker to die than the defender? Because he is a "bad" guy that is acting in an extremely anti-social way. What happens then in a situation where two people are forced to fight to the death? Both involved person's perspective is equivalent to the defender's in the first scenario.

    Man, I just realised how much I am rambling in the above response. :? Sorry 'bout that. To cut it short, absolute moral judgements only tend towards being absolute, but can never reach it, since it never represents a full consensus IMO. No God exists to hand down Its set of moral absolutes. We make our own.
    I don't mind the diatribe. My concern is that nothing you said here addresses the question.

    You stated that my earlier example of a moral absolute ("It is not immoral to kill someone in self-defense") was full of holes. Nothing you posted tells me why this is true. The questions you did raise were either answered or pointed out to be irrelevant in my dialog with dejawolf.

    I don't mind having the discussion and I'm perfect willing to consider that my argument is flawed, but you're either going to have to produce a superior argument or point out how mine is flawed in order for that to happen.
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    I think that KALSTER values and trusts humanity above all else. More than his perceptions of right, wrong, reality, or sanity.

    I sense that he finds humanity not only great and wonderful but also fundamentally flawed and shabby. Endearingly. So what is absolutely good then, is the irrationality that defines us, including our flawed lenses. Is accepting this a problem? No, he's realistic not idealistic. The human mind can't reduce to absolutes or objectivity any better than weeds and lemonade can, and that must be good.

    I imagine KALSTER's honest enough to trust his lens too must be flawed.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, KALSTER.



    So, PhoenixG, do you now see how subjectivity itself may be an absolute? How one may say, "I'm wrong and that's just right" ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So, PhoenixG, do you now see how subjectivity itself may be an absolute?
    No, because the ideas are mutually exclusive. If something is absolute, it cannot be subjective and if it is subjective than it cannot be absolute.

    Stating that something is both absolute and subjective is trying to have it both ways. Arguments such as these might have a place in armchair philosophical discussion, but they will get you a big fat "F" in a moral philosophy course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    How one may say, "I'm wrong and that's just right" ?
    Yes, I agree that there are some circumstances in which such a statement can be made. My point is that those situations are examples of moral absolutes.

    KALSTER appears to be arguing that there cannot be any such thing (i.e. "all morality is subjective")
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    Well, suppose a compass points north. If not absolutely north, isn't it at least pointing absolutely? A finger points to the moon. Isn't this the best anyone can do?

    We subjective human beings bristle with pointers. How we create and engage absolutes. We can't actually arrive anywhere.



    "Armchair" philosophy? As opposed to football philosophy?
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    i agree with kalster.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Well, suppose a compass points north. If not absolutely north, isn't it at least pointing absolutely? A finger points to the moon. Isn't this the best anyone can do?

    We subjective human beings bristle with pointers. How we create and engage absolutes. We can't actually arrive anywhere.
    Those are definitely words on a page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    "Armchair" philosophy? As opposed to football philosophy?
    If you're confused, perhaps you should try google.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    i agree with kalster.
    That's nice. FYI, this isn't a democracy and we won't be voting later.

    Arguments are either valid or they are not.
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    I don't understand you and we're not helping. :?


    I think by "moral absolute" you mean regardless of us. Like a secret law to be discovered. I don't see how morals can exist apart from us. We make them. One may as well propose tomato horticulture, as it came to be during the Big Bang. So if "absolute" means "above this sloppy reality here & now" then I'm passing on it. I can't believe in timeless truths tailored for me or anyone.

    I do think individuals may fairly map their own absolutes. Even and especially from the fact of our subjectivity. If you know your sight is limited and must be limited or you wouldn't be you, that's an absolutely essential condition of your existence. For starters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I think by "moral absolute" you mean regardless of us.
    I think I've been pretty clear by what's meant by "moral absolute". A moral absolute describes an action or set of actions which are "always right" or "always wrong" in a certain circumstance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Like a secret law to be discovered.
    If it helps you to think of it that way, then fine. I don't think there anything "secret" to be "discovered". Anyone familiar with the basic concepts of logic and reason should be able to ferret these out themselves. Of course, it also helps to read the works of moral philosophers, because they have done all the heavy lifting/made all the big mistakes already (I recommend John Rawls and the annotated works of Immanuel Kant. Kant is very difficult to comprehend without an expert's notes )

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I don't see how morals can exist apart from us. We make them. One may as well propose tomato horticulture, as it came to be during the Big Bang.
    Normally I would skip this as being off-topic, however since I get the feeling that you're struggling with the idea of absolutes, I want to try to make a point here.

    2+2=4. Is this always true? Does it sometimes equal 5? No, it always equals 4. No matter where you go in the universe 2 of something, plus 2 more of something, makes 4 of something. You might encounter a civilization that doesn't have concepts of 2, plus, 4, or equals. They might not even have language. But 2+2 still equals 4, even there.

    Did 2, plus, 4, and equals come out of the big bang? Or are they all concepts that we...I think you used the term "discovered"?

    The concepts of moral philosophy and the rules of logic aren't always a neat or intuitive as those of mathematics, but sometimes they do function in a very similar manner. Sometimes, if you put the correct things in the right sequence, the product is an argument which is not subject to individual values or perspectives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So if "absolute" means "above this sloppy reality here & now" then I'm passing on it. I can't believe in timeless truths tailored for me or anyone.
    Okay. If you're going to take this discussion out of the realm of logic and reason and turn the outcome into a faith statement, then there probably isn't anything for us to discuss. You want to reject an idea (that admittedly you don't understand) because you "don't like it" (not because it contradicts itself, is patently false, is easily countered by other arguments, etc). Okay, see you later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I do think individuals may fairly map their own absolutes.
    Once more: absolutes and subjectivity are mutually exclusive. You can't have both things at the same time. It has to be one or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Even and especially from the fact of our subjectivity.
    See the section above on 2+2=4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    If you know your sight is limited and must be limited or you wouldn't be you, that's an absolutely essential condition of your existence.
    Not relevant to the discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So, PhoenixG, do you now see how subjectivity itself may be an absolute?
    No, because the ideas are mutually exclusive. If something is absolute, it cannot be subjective and if it is subjective than it cannot be absolute.

    Stating that something is both absolute and subjective is trying to have it both ways. Arguments such as these might have a place in armchair philosophical discussion, but they will get you a big fat "F" in a moral philosophy course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    How one may say, "I'm wrong and that's just right" ?
    Yes, I agree that there are some circumstances in which such a statement can be made. My point is that those situations are examples of moral absolutes.

    KALSTER appears to be arguing that there cannot be any such thing (i.e. "all morality is subjective")
    Meta-ethics is a complicated business.

    Kalster is expressing a view called moral subjectivity. Which is that moral propositions can be true or false for an individual or group, but that those morals are subjective and personal. So, for Kalster their may be a moral absolute, for him it may always be wrong for him to kill.

    It is important not to confuse this with ethical non-cognitivism (Which includes emotivism and prescriptivism as ethical schools), which says that moral propositions can not be true or false. Thus, on all levels moral absolutes can't exist because morality does not exist. Emotivist would say moral propositions are expressions of emotional responses. Thus, killing is wrong would be equivalent to "I don't like killing". Prescriptivist would say killing is not wrong for any particular reason, but thou shall not kill because authority X says so.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    2+2=4. Is this always true? Does it sometimes equal 5? No, it always equals 4. No matter where you go in the universe 2 of something, plus 2 more of something, makes 4 of something. You might encounter a civilization that doesn't have concepts of 2, plus, 4, or equals. They might not even have language. But 2+2 still equals 4, even there.
    2+2=5 has a certain appeal to it though , sometimes it would be wonderful if it were true.

    Edit: Anyway I am drawn to moral realism, I want there to be moral truths out there that all humanity can be bound to. The problem is that accepting the existence of moral truths is like accepting the existence of gods, it requires a leap of faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    The problem is that accepting the existence of moral truths is like accepting the existence of gods, it requires a leap of faith.
    That hasn't been my experience at all.

    I certainly agree that it does require acceptance of certain presuppositions (such as "human life has value", etc), however I don't see how that equate to "faith", per se.
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    Can you objectively demonstrate that moral truths exist?

    They have no physical existence, thus believing in them requires faith.
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    I would probably change 'good' with 'beneficial' and 'bad' with 'unfavorable'. Basically, genes will tend to do what's beneficial for their survival. The notion of good and bad are old and outdated, and naturally hold some subjectivity behind them, which is why they're so vague and confusing in my opinion.

    Assuming as much, what can we derive from this? Genomes/genes benefit from survival (I'll tend to speak in 'the language of purpose' as Dawkins did in "The Selfish Gene" for simplicity), and tend to hold grudges against other genomes/genes which prevents them from replicating. Although deleterious genes can ride along in a genome as long as they don't prevent there being future generations of the genome. We see here that there are 'moral absolutes', in that there's a line to be drawn on how beneficial or unfavourable something is. This line can be drawn with reproductive fitness. The thing is, resources are finite. This sparks the need for competition.

    I think this might bring about some interesting discourse.
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    It sounds dangerously close to the naturalistic fallacy, knowledge of how things are doesn't inform us of how things should be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It sounds dangerously close to the naturalistic fallacy, knowledge of how things are doesn't inform us of how things should be.
    Yes, I agree. However, there's a difference between 'gene perception' and 'brain/real-time perception' which changes what becomes beneficial and what becomes unfavourable. And this is where I think things might be interesting. :P

    EDIT:
    Call it an extrapolation from what we know of the biological world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    If you know your sight is limited and must be limited or you wouldn't be you, that's an absolutely essential condition of your existence.
    Not relevant to the discussion.
    It's relevant to every observation, every thought, and every discussion. It's why scientists never quit doubting & testing. It's admitting you can't ever know anything for certain. It's an honest start.

    Man, my ancestors swung in trees. Wouldn't it be just typical for such as me to see the world in absolutes? Especially about those moral irritants that make me snarl and shriek? In spite of this fog I try to be objective. So "the correct things in the right sequence" remembers my logic bound by subjectivity, and worse.

    Now the proposition of moral absolute looks like perfect monkeybait to me. But luckily I spot the monkey and I mark him, cancel him out. I strongly distrust moral absolutes, especially those which just happen to pander to us. And yeah I rate "two mangoes plus two mangoes" a function of my monkey mind. I trust my view is less subjective this way.


    A funny consequence of this line, is that when asking what is good we only need look back, and find a good heap of mangos!
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Can you objectively demonstrate that moral truths exist?

    They have no physical existence, thus believing in them requires faith.
    I think you and I are going to have fundamental disagreements on how to define "faith".

    To draw from the earlier example, concepts such as "2", "plus", "4" and "equals" don't have a physical existence either. I can represent them in the physical world, much the same way that the events that I described in my scenario can (and sometimes do) take place in the physical world too.

    That doesn't mean that arithematic is based on "faith".

    Faith is belief without good reasons. If a moral absolute is to be acknowledged as such, it should be based on sound reasoning and logic (i.e. good reasons). No faith involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    <snipped non-sequitur>

    I strongly distrust moral absolutes, especially those which just happen to pander to us.
    That's fine, but that doesn't tell me why they can't or don't exist.
    If you want to present a counter-argument, you must either provide a superior argument or show how my argument is flawed. Arguments from personal incredulity (such as the one above) aren't persuasive.
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    Aside,
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Faith is belief without good reasons.
    A popular, and I think good, definition of faith is "belief without evidence". One may have good reason in absence of evidence. For example one may be compelled to choose a path, where any choice beats dithering.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    <snipped non-sequitur>
    Don't be an ass. That "snipped" is no non-sequitur. Firstly because you know as well as I it precedes the concluding "I strongly distrust..." so it makes no claim to follow. Secondly because it informs why "I strongly distrust". I strongly distrust the proposition of moral absolutes because I know the worst parts of me would love them for entirely self-serving reasons, and I know I'm capable of self-deception. And that's no "argument from personal incredulity", more the opposite e.g. it's an offer too good to be true. I admit I was difficult to follow, first time, if this scruple is new to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    That's fine, but that doesn't tell me why they can't or don't exist.
    True. But I can't prove their non-existence any better than the non-existence of Invisible Unicorns. I could argue why we should or shouldn't believe in them, real or not. But that would be practical morals, therefore mucky and demanding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    A popular, and I think good, definition of faith is "belief without evidence".
    That's fine, too. It still isn't applicable to what I'm talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    One may have good reason in absence of evidence.
    Indeed. Sound argumentation might be one of those good reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    For example one may be compelled to choose a path, where any choice beats dithering.
    That isn't a good reason. It's coercion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Don't be an ass. That "snipped" is no non-sequitur. Firstly because you know as well as I it precedes the concluding "I strongly distrust..." so it makes no claim to follow. Secondly because it informs why "I strongly distrust". I strongly distrust the proposition of moral absolutes because I know the worst parts of me would love them for entirely self-serving reasons, and I know I'm capable of self-deception.
    This still isn't an argument. It still does not follow with regards to the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    And that's no "argument from personal incredulity", more the opposite e.g. it's an offer too good to be true.
    The sad thing here is that I even provided a link...

    This is still an argument from personal incredulity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    True. But I can't prove their non-existence any better than the non-existence of Invisible Unicorns.
    So then you don't have a counter-argument. Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I could argue why we should or shouldn't believe in them, real or not.
    You're welcome do so, however that still wouldn't be a valid counter-argument. At best it would be an appeal to consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    But that would be practical morals, therefore mucky and demanding.
    I can only guess that you happened upon this discussion by mistake then (???). Surely you didn't expect anyone here to just take things on your say-so, did you?
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    I've read some threads you've posted in. Let's just say you're a magnet for nonesense worthy of your ridicule. Too bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Can you objectively demonstrate that moral truths exist?

    They have no physical existence, thus believing in them requires faith.
    I think you and I are going to have fundamental disagreements on how to define "faith".

    To draw from the earlier example, concepts such as "2", "plus", "4" and "equals" don't have a physical existence either. I can represent them in the physical world, much the same way that the events that I described in my scenario can (and sometimes do) take place in the physical world too.

    That doesn't mean that arithematic is based on "faith".

    Faith is belief without good reasons. If a moral absolute is to be acknowledged as such, it should be based on sound reasoning and logic (i.e. good reasons). No faith involved.
    Except that arithmetic is based on logical reasoning based on observable facts.

    Moral theory always starts with a subjective judgement. They can be very reasonable, but ultimately moral theories start with a leap of faith. Utilitarianism with the assumption that goodness is equivalent to pleasure, Kantians with the Categorical Imperative, naturalist with the naturalistic fallacy.
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  68. #67  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I've read some threads you've posted in. Let's just say you're a magnet for nonesense worthy of your ridicule. Too bad.
    Seems to me that if my posts contained so much "nonsense" it would be quite easy to refute my arguments. Instead of actual debate, I see you're resorting to well-poisoning.

    Clearly my loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Except that arithmetic is based on logical reasoning based on observable facts.
    I don't see how this is an exception.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Moral theory always starts with a subjective judgement.
    So far, I have nothing but your say-so to support this.

    I would agree that all moral arguments start like all arguments: with a premise or series of premises. You seem to want to declare all premises that happen to support arguments that happen to pertain to moral philosophy as "subjective". I don't see what your good reason for doing this is.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    They can be very reasonable, but ultimately moral theories start with a leap of faith.
    And I repeat my earlier point that you and I are going do disagree on what "faith" is.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Utilitarianism with the assumption that goodness is equivalent to pleasure, Kantians with the Categorical Imperative, naturalist with the naturalistic fallacy.
    Ignoring that some of these terms are being misused, I still don't think that "faith" applies. You want to insist that at it's smallest part, we find belief in something for which there are no good reasons (one such "good reason" is hard evidence, per Pong's post). I've yet to see your argument as for why I should accept this as true.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I've read some threads you've posted in. Let's just say you're a magnet for nonesense worthy of your ridicule. Too bad.
    Seems to me that if my posts contained so much "nonsense" it would be quite easy to refute my arguments. Instead of actual debate, I see you're resorting to well-poisoning.

    Clearly my loss.
    Oh, no. The nonesense is all mine, and of everyone engaging you. It must be frustrating. I don't come here to compound frustrations.
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  70. #69  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Instead of actual debate, I see you're resorting to well-poisoning.
    Oh, no. The nonesense is all mine, and of everyone engaging you. It must be frustrating.
    And it continues.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I don't come here to compound frustrations.
    What do you come here to do? You don't seem to be interested in debating (actual debate, not just throwing words) this topic. So why are you posting in this thread?
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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  71. #70  
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    what exactly are you arguing at this point, morality?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix
    Ignoring that some of these terms are being misused, I still don't think that "faith" applies. You want to insist that at it's smallest part, we find belief in something for which there are no good reasons (one such "good reason" is hard evidence, per Pong's post). I've yet to see your argument as for why I should accept this as true.
    When asking if there are universal moral truths, yes.

    This isn't to say that someone can't have reasonable reasons to believe one should act in certain ways. However, to make claims that moral truths exist out there in the ether as something that can be discovered, such as what ethical naturalist believe in, is no different than faith in a god.
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    just another question for phoenixG:

    with moral absolutes, do you mean empirical morals?
    and in the case you mean empirical morals, do you mean morals absolute to all beings of the earth, or absolute to all of humanity? or moral absolutes in every sense of the word throughout the universe and beyond?

    moral absolutes in the sense of right and wrong, good and evil?
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    on that, how can a moral be empirical in the first place? Aren't morals constructs of society in order to maintain a sense of connection and 'law'? Individual's morals simply being an individuals opinion on society, making the individual's moral code just a comment on the abstract and ever changing morals of the society in which they live?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    on that, how can a moral be empirical in the first place? Aren't morals constructs of society in order to maintain a sense of connection and 'law'? Individual's morals simply being an individuals opinion on society, making the individual's moral code just a comment on the abstract and ever changing morals of the society in which they live?
    You're thinking of moral details that stick out and get noticed, debated. The bulk of morals however are too baldfaced for consideration. Like, "Don't kill your offspring."
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  76. #75  
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    and how can you empiricize that moral?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    It's easily observed. Grant that extinction is bad.


    I think you're taking a position where morals by definition can't be facts. This works fine for debatable morals... that is, the ones that catch our interest. It's like a fisherman can say "there's no fish in that bay" and all fishermen agree, because that bay contains absolutely no fish of a desired species and good size, that will also bite a hook. In my view, most morals lie low as "facts of life" until disturbed.
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  78. #77  
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    So, let me get you straight: ambiguous figures-of-speech should be considered valid scientific support?
    Dick, be Frank.

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    "Don't kill your offspring" isn't propped by ambiguity. Worded for science, "Infanticide is detrimental to survival" says the same thing. Does the world need more experiments to support such bald empirical facts?

    My point (I think you ignore, marcusclayman) was responding to Arcane_Mathematician's
    the individual's moral code just a comment on the abstract and ever changing morals of the society in which they live
    I'm arguing that an individual's set of moral quirks should not be confused with the common and empirically verifiable moral code we take for granted.
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  80. #79  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Call it an extrapolation from what we know of the biological world.
    Really, the thing I'm 'advocating' here is moral relativity and the inadequacy of words like "good" and "evil". Those words naturally carry with them some subjectivity which makes it dificult to clarify what's what. If one elaborates "good" and "evil" by replacing them with "beneficial" and "unfavourable" and thinking in terms of selfish genes; then extrapolate it from "gene perception" (short-time benefits) to "brain/real-time perception" (long-time benefits, or even short-time for that matter), we might get an interesting picture of morality. Not that this necessarily should be a model for making moral judgements, but it could be interesting to explore. A more or less objective view of morality.

    The way I see it, we shouldn't hold nature's version of morality as a model for ourselves, but at the same time I suspect we're more or less a part of it, whether we like it or not.
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    "beneficial" and "unfavourable"
    but in this context, its more equal to good and bad.

    i've thought about this one for a while now.

    i think trying to distance good and evil from its religious roots is just doomed for failure.

    in the religious context, "good" would mean righteous, and "evil" would be sinful.
    righteousness would entail doing what pleases god, and sinfulness would entail doing what angers god.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    the inadequacy of words like "good" and "evil". Those words naturally carry with them some subjectivity which makes it dificult to clarify what's what. If one elaborates "good" and "evil" by replacing them with "beneficial" and "unfavourable"...
    Clark Kent is "beneficial" and Lex Luthor is "unfavorable"? I'm not wishing to be confrontational but your reasoning implies we should also jettison terms like "love" and "hate" or "fear" because they're in the mushy realm of human feeling... which you express difficulty navigating. I think we can do better. We can grasp these terms as tools and learn to think by these terms with confidence. When you name something, you become aware of it. You own it.

    It is true "evil" is subjective. But one can think objectively about subjective things.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    trying to distance good and evil from its religious roots is just doomed for failure
    Ever seen a Disney movie? Everybody knows the good guys from the bad guys. And most of those movies scrupulously avoid religious mores, appealing to all cultures... young children in particular who lack religious baggage. How do pre-religious children of every nation just know who the wicked ones are?

    You may not recall, but I'll add this: The breast was good. Tickles were good. Perhaps you had a stuffed toy or pet or favorite blanket that was good. What's religion got to do with it? And Obviously, these good things are not necessarily so beneficial as, say, eating your vegetables, which you may recollect as "evil times".
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  83. #82  
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    "How do pre-religious children of every nation just know who the wicked ones are? "

    Context maybe
    Dick, be Frank.

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  84. #83  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Ever seen a Disney movie? Everybody knows the good guys from the bad guys. And most of those movies scrupulously avoid religious mores, appealing to all cultures... young children in particular who lack religious baggage. How do pre-religious children of every nation just know who the wicked ones are?

    You may not recall, but I'll add this: The breast was good. Tickles were good. Perhaps you had a stuffed toy or pet or favorite blanket that was good. What's religion got to do with it? And Obviously, these good things are not necessarily so beneficial as, say, eating your vegetables, which you may recollect as "evil times".
    you didn't get what i was trying to say.
    in norway, the semantics are different.
    there's actually 4 different words:

    "snill, slem" would be good and bad.
    "god og ond" is good and evil.

    here's some etymology:

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...earchmode=none
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...earchmode=none
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    but in this context, its more equal to good and bad.

    i've thought about this one for a while now.

    i think trying to distance good and evil from its religious roots is just doomed for failure.
    And I'm trying to demostrate that this need not be the case. I elaborate in the response to Pong below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Clark Kent is "beneficial" and Lex Luthor is "unfavorable"?
    That sounds like a strawman from what I was saying. It's not as simple as changing words; but to clarify what one means by the introduction of the new words, which is the part that you cut out when quoting me. We could debate whether or not Clark Kent is all beneficial, partly or rarely unfavourable, and the same with Lex Luthor. One has to consider different factors, look at the cause and effect, etc, and then come to a conclusion; did it benefit one person, several, or none? Was it unfavourable? Basically there's more attention to detail.

    I'm probably not explaining this very well. I blame the kebab I just ate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    It is true "evil" is subjective. But one can think objectively about subjective things.
    That's what I'm trying to introduce by thinking in terms of selfish genes and extrapolating it to our ability to predict the future, etc. I'm basically objectifying "good and evil".
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    Interesting semantics Dejawolf. I wonder if one rounded up the world's languages, architypes would emerge?


    Rereading Obviously, I agree 100%. Every view reveals something.

    When people say, "let's see it this way" however they often mean stop seeing it in other ways, e.g. ways they fail to see themselves. Most us have trouble with culturally and emotionally charged terms like "good" "love" etc. and the motive in swapping them for other terms is to short-circuit the free run of thoughts those terms enable. Only recently could we tell children "A boy has a penis." But notice that we still don't say a girl has a clitoris. No, she has a vagina. Or nothing!
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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