Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) an English classical scholar and poet captured
the meaningless of life in a naturalist worldview in this brilliant poem :.
Tell me not here, it needs not saying Tell me not here, it needs not saying, What tune the enchantress plays In aftermaths of soft September Or under blanching mays, For she and I were long acquainted And I knew all her ways. On russet floors, by waters idle, The pine lets fall its cone; The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing In leafy dells alone; And traveller's joy beguiles in autumn Hearts that have lost their own. On acres of the seeded grasses The changing burnish heaves; Or marshalled under moons of harvest Stand still all night the sheaves; Or beeches strip in storms for winter And stain the wind with leaves. Possess, as I possessed a season, The countries I resign, Where over elmy plains the highway Would mount the hills and shine, And full of shade the pillared forest Would murmur and be mine. For nature, heartless, witless nature, Will neither care nor know What stranger's feet may find the meadow And trespass there and go, Nor ask amid the dews of morning If they are mine or no.
To this, atheist zoologist Richard Dawkins’ sum up brilliantly:
“We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA. … This is exactly what we are for. We are machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object’s sole reason for living.”1
“DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music”2
Meaningless. All is meaningless if atheism is true. Our sole reason for living is to reproduce, pass on my genes to another meaninglessness gene. Meaningless generations dancing to meaningless music.
You may be tempted to created your own subjective meaning. Self-delusion yourself to fight despair.The Meaning Delusion. But that would not do. If atheism is true, creating your own subjective meaning is meaningless.
For this I cry out:
As the Universe grow cold,
It meaningless becomes old,
Was its meaning not told,
Yes, but the wise are old,
While their young’s are cold,
When should I unfold
Its meaning again to be told
- Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, ‘The Ultraviolet Garden’, (No. 4, 1991)
- November 1995’s Scientic American p.81-85
71 thoughts on “The Meaningless Life Of Atheism”
“Brap, define what is an opinion? Can an opinion be correct or incorrect(or both(contradiction), or none(contradiction))?
Example; There are 5 elephants on the surface of the moon(Earth’s moon).”
For our discussion here, two definitions of “opinion” from dictionary.com seem applicable:
1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
Your stated example of five elephants being on the surface of the moon would not be considered an opinion by most people, because I believe we have sufficient grounds to be certain that is not true, given what is known about the atmosphere on the moon and what cargo has been sent to the moon throughout human history.
Of course, one could argue that that entire surface of the moon would need to be inspected in order to achieve absolute certainty, but we obviously live our daily lives accepting as certain things about which we cannot be absolutely 100% certain. To do so otherwise would simply be impractical.
When it comes to morality, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, pretty vs. ugly, etc., I obviously think all of that falls under the second definition I gave. I believe my spectrum argument is the best argument supporting my position, and I’ve never had an apologist even attempt to address it. They simply bring up examples at the ends of the spectrum and are astonished that I still consider them a matter of opinion and not absolute.
How did you pick which one falls into definition 1 or 2? Is that just your opinion that it falls into definition 2 you gave?
When you give your opinion/a personal view on something, you offer a conclusion or a judgment that, although it may be open to question, seems true or probable to you at the time.
A given opinion/a personal view given ought to be question to be proven true at all time.
Thus opinion/ a personal view can be correct or incorrect.
Opinions which fall under definition 2 would be the obvious ones such as a person’s preferences for music or ice cream.
Opinions which might fall under definition 1 would be certain types of predictions, especially economic ones such as “increasing the minimum wage will cause many low-paying jobs to be eliminated.” I don’t think there is sufficient data to predict with near-certainty what the true effect of increasing the minimim wage would be, mainly because there are so many other variables involved and there is no way to know what would have happened had the minimum wage not been raised.
There may be data available to objectively evaluate opinions that fall under the first definition, if not now then perhaps in the future. But I don’t think there is an objective way to tell me my music and ice cream preferences are correct or incorrect. We can objectively determine what percentage of people share my opinion, but we all know being in the majority does not make something right.
Brap, there is a difference between preference and Moral opinion/personal view.
1. I do not like Beer(Preference Opinion/personal view)
2. Beer is not good(Moral opinion/personal view)
These two opinions/personal-view are different because 1 does not argue for value(goodness or badness) namely it is “belief or judgment that does rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. while the 2 can rest on grounds sufficient to produce complete certainty(If one succeed to defend it).
With 1, I do not have to give reasons, evidence why I do not like Beer, But opinion/personal view 2, is open to reasons and evidences so as to have an objective ground, outside myself. Example if Beer caused stomach cancer, and I have evidences(not true)
Ok, so what objective reasons or evidence do you have to support whether or not anything is good or bad? (I’ll let you pick the anything.)
Assuming you pick something at or near one end of the good-bad spectrum, I would recommend that you have some examples from the opposite end of the spectrum and some points in between, so we can see if your objective criteria works as the majority opinion decreases from 100 percent to 50 percent.
Lets begin witht the one I meantion in the comments above
A forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years).
Child sexually forced as Wendy Moelker, psychologist in charge of Emergis, Goes, the Netherlands and Jacob Palme, professor, Stockholm University writes faces the following consequences.
Thus one reaches a conclusion Child sexually forced is wrong.
If this is proven to be true, then Child sexually forced is objectively wrong.
Note that other traumatic events can cause the same symptoms as sexual molestation. Thus, occurrence of the symptoms listed above is not proof of sexual molestation.
Ok, your comment clearly shows many consequences of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult (+18 years) to a child (0-12 years) would be considered undesirable by the vast majority of the sane population. For the sake of argument, let’s consider that particular act objectively bad.
Now, which of the following acts are objectively bad, and which ones are not?
– Forced sexual intercourse between two adults of the same age. (There probably won’t be quite as many consequences of that act as there are between the adult and the child.)
– Consensual sexual intercourse between an adult (+18 years) and a child (0-12 years).
– Consensual sexual fondling between an adult and a child. (There probably won’t be as many physical consequences of that act. If it’s an isolated incident that isn’t repeated, there may not be many consequences at all, depending on the age of the child when it occurs.)
– Consensual sexual intercourse between two people, ages 18 and 13. ages 18 and 14. ages 18 and 15 (and so on).
– Consensual sexual intercourse between two people, ages 17 and 12. ages 16 and 12. ages 15 and 12 (and so on).
Could we make a two-dimensional graph, where the x-axis is the age of person A, and the y-axis is the age of person B, and plot the points where consensual intercourse between the two people is objectively bad? If we simply consider any consensual intercourse where at least one person is less than 18 years old to be objectively bad, isn’t the age of 18 just a line drawn by most court systems as the line between childhood and adulthood? Does a person automatically have the emotional maturity to handle the consequences of consensual sex the day after their 18th birthday? If the age of maturity is 18 in one country, 17 in another, and 19 in another, does that determine when consensual sex between an adult and a child is objectively bad?
My whole point, obviously, is that there is no empirical way to determine if something is objectively bad. Different people will evaluate things differently. Some people will give more weight to short-term consequences, whereas others will give more weight to long-term consequences. Some people will give more weight to the effects on the individual, whereas others will give more weight to the effects on society. If you are of the opinion that long-term survival of the human species on planet earth is the ultimate goal, and you are convinced that overpopulation is a major threat to that long-term survival, you might consider anything that reduces the current population to be a good thing.
If we have two objects which weigh very nearly the same, and they are too heavy for us to lift, there is most likely a way to weigh the two objects, or compute their weights based on their dimensions and densities. It likely can be empirically determined which one is heavier. And even if we cannot weigh them or compute their weights, that does not change the fact that either they weigh the same, or one weighs more than the other.
For instance, let’s say there are two asteroids in space. Astronomers can track them, but they obviously cannot weigh them. In fact, they don’t know enough about the actual dimensions or composition of these two asteroids to even make a reasonable guess as to which one has more mass. However, it is an objective fact that either those two asteroids have the same mass, or one asteroid has more mass than the other one. No humans required.
The same cannot be said for the goodness or badness of any two acts. All we can do is evaluate the consequences of the acts, but any value judgement we place on those consequences are of our own making. Take away the humans, and all you are left with is actions and consequences.
Brap, we have to stay in the topic before we move on. You agree that it “would be considered undesirable by the vast majority of the sane population”
Why is it considered undesirable by the vast majority of the SANE population?
“Why is it considered undesirable by the vast majority of the SANE population?”
Because most people wouldn’t want those things to happen to themselves or to people they care about.
Why does most people wouldn’t want those things to happen to themselves or to people they care about?
“Why does most people wouldn’t want those things to happen to themselves or to people they care about?”
Most people wouldn’t want the physical problems to happen to themselves because humans, like many other animals, have evolved a sense of pain, which causes most of us to avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body. Natural selection naturally favors members of a population who protect themselves from harm over those who do not protect themselves.
The psychological problems are certainly more complicated, but most people wouldn’t want those problems to happen to themselves because of what they have learned about those things during their lives. This knowledge can come from direct experience, observing others with those problems, or learning about those problems through other means (books, TV shows, Wikipedia, etc.) The main drawback to those psychological problems is that they limit the ability of a person to function “normally.”
Now, not wanting those things to happen to themselves is one thing, but not wanting them to happen to other people is another thing entirely. That requires empathy, which is the ability to identify intellectually with the feelings of others. Without an understanding of the feelings of others, an individual would have no reason to care about things that did not affect him or her personally. I think studies have shown that most children start developing empathy after the age of 4, so it’s not something we’re born with. I also saw a TV show about serial killers that talked about their almost universal lack of empathy, and the fact that there is a definite difference between the brains of non-empathetic serial killers and the brains of “normal” empathetic people. So the ability to become empathetic does appear to have a genetic component.
You still have not answer the question, because I will ask;
Why humans humans, like many other animals, have evolved a sense of pain, which causes most of us to avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body? Is the physical harm subjective?
Prayson: “Why humans humans, like many other animals, have evolved a sense of pain, which causes most of us to avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body?”
I thought I did explain why pain evolved, but let me state it again with further explanation. The sense of pain in humans and other animals evolved due to natural selection, plain and simple. It’s similar to why many natural things that are bad for us taste bad, and many natural things that are good for us taste good.
Imagine a person who feels no pain (there actually are people like this today due to a rare genetic defect) and therefore takes no action to avoid physical harm. Without that person’s caregivers taking extraordinary measures to protect them from physical harm, how likely is that person to survive long enough to reproduce, compared to a person who does feel pain? In a population with both types of people, those who feel pain are more likely to reproduce and have offspring who feel pain, gradually reducing the number of people who do not feel pain in that population.
“Is the physical harm subjective?”
The physical harm itself could be considered objective, in the sense that a broken arm is a broken arm, a slashed jugular vein is a slashed jugular vein, etc. But there is a range of reactions people will have to the same pain. Some tolerate pain better than others. There may be ways to observe the neurological response in the brain, I just don’t know about that.
Natural selection is not the answer Brap. Natural selection explain how animal survive but not why they ought to avoid actions that cause physical harm. Animals survive with actions that cause physical harm(Bear eating honey while bees stinging,Giving birth, human working hard, headache, stress, smoking tobacco etc).
Thus Why humans humans, like many other animals, have evolved a sense of pain, which causes most of us to avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body?
Prayson: “Natural selection is not the answer Brap. Natural selection explain how animal survive but not why they ought to avoid actions that cause physical harm. Animals survive with actions that cause physical harm(Bear eating honey while bees stinging,Giving birth, human working hard, headache, stress, smoking tobacco etc).”
I thought the question in your January 5, 09:56 comment was, “Why have humans evolved a sense of pain?” not “Why should humans avoid actions that cause physical harm?”
Prayson: “Thus Why humans humans, like many other animals, have evolved a sense of pain, which causes most of us to avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body?”
Oh look, I was right, you asked the same question again, why have humans evolved a sense of pain.
However, if your question is actually “why should humans avoid actions that cause physical harm to the body?”, here is my answer:
It is totally up to the individual to decide whether or not to avoid an action that causes physical harm to the body. People who really like honey may decide it’s worth a few bee stings to get some fresh honey. People who want to avoid the flu may decide it’s worth the pain of a shot to get a flu vaccination. People who want stronger muscles may decide it’s OK to lift heavy weights, which actually damages muscles, because they know the muscles will likely rebuild and become stronger. A female who wants to reproduce may decide to lose her virginity which, as I understand it, is usually a painful process due to the damage incurred.
So no, one cannot derive an “ought” from the “is” of physical harm to the body.
“So no, one cannot derive an “ought” from the “is” of physical harm to the body.”
Please defend how? How when for example I steal(taking what is not mine),I know that I ought not take it, even though sometimes I do it anyway.
Brap (previously): “So no, one cannot derive an “ought” from the “is” of physical harm to the body.”
Prayson: Please defend how? How when for example I steal(taking what is not mine),I know that I ought not take it, even though sometimes I do it anyway.
Your example does not appear to involve any physical harm, so I will attempt to defend my statement as it applies to physical harm.
I assume you brought up physical harm earlier in this thread in an attempt to show that some objective morality can be derived from an analysis of physical harm. (Oversimplified, physical harm = bad.) Let’s assume physical harm or pain can be objectively measured, and the amount of physical harm done to a human can be expressed empirically as a number from 0 to 100, where 0 means pain-free and no physical harm, and 100 is so much physical harm that it results in death.
It’s easy to rule out the possibility that causing physical harm or pain to oneself cannot be objectively right or wrong, based on the examples I gave in my previous comment.
Now that brings us to actions that cause pain or physical harm to others. Can we say it is objectively wrong to cause physical harm to others? Well, what about a doctor who gives someone a shot that is deemed medically necessary? What about a boxer who strikes his opponent during the boxing match, causing a cut above his opponent’s eye? Most people don’t consider either one of those acts to be morally objectionable.
Well, let’s modify our statement to this: It is objectively wrong to cause physical harm to someone without their permission. The doctor only gives a shot with the patient’s permission (or, in the case of children, the permission of the child’s parent). People who participate in some sports are implicitly giving permission to their opponents to cause them physical harm. (If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t play football and don’t step into a boxing ring.)
But if it is objectively wrong to cause physical harm to someone without their permission, what about the police officer who shoots a suspect with a real gun or a taser gun? What about the prison guard who has to get a little rough with the inmates in order to stop a prison riot? What about the homeowner who confronts a burglar in his house and takes measures to protect his family and his property? What about the citizen who tackles the thief he saw take a woman’s purse?
Maybe we need to modify the statement like this: It is objectively wrong to cause physical harm to someone without their permission, unless causing such physical harm is justified by previous actions of the other person. But who decides when causing physical harm is justified, and how much physical harm is justified? Should only those in authority positions (police officers, prison guards, etc.) be allowed to do this? What if we only allow it in cases of immediate need (protecting life or limb, subduing a suspect believed to have just committed a crime), or when the potential victim has already been convicted of a crime? So it’s ok for a police officer to rough up an Afghan woman while arresting her for refusing to wear a burka (it’s the law over there, after all), and it’s ok to execute people for homosexuality or apostasy in those countries where that’s the law.
Every situation is different, and different people will have different opinions on when physical harm to another is justified, and how much is justified. These opinions are shaped by our experiences from birth to the present time, which is why they are subjective, which is why there is no objective morality.
Historical Christian scientists view knowledge of God(religion) and of nature(science) not parrelle as competing to give certain truth,but perpendicular. They view science as loving thy neighor as thy self, and religion as loving God, with all the mind,heart,spirit and strength(acts). They view these views as asking quite different question but all in one goal. That goal is God.
Hello Daniel, I hope you are well.
A big part of my purpose is to love and support my family and friends.
I think my purpose in life is kind of Darwinian…to pass on the knowledge of the past and present and to further the dispersion of the species, and to work to insure the survival of not only my offspring, but all of humanity. Further I think it is incumbent on all of us to work to alleviate pain and suffering in our world, to help those in need, to continually be learning and working to make our world safe for all of us.
We have only this life and we need to make the best possible use of it. We as a people need to learn that life is a fragile and beautiful thing and needs constant reinforcement and support from all of us from the greatest to the most vulnerable. We must learn to treat our world and environment with greater respect and do our part to stop the degradation of our only home in the cosmos.
I can tell you what it is NOT…”Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Just how egotistical is your God anyway?
If it were all up to Christian and Muslim religion we would be setting around on our butts waiting for Armageddon or some such crud. Research and learning would be a thing of the past…why research anything…God did it. We would enter another dark-age and the spirit of mans intellect, that glow in the dark vastness of the universe, would be extinguished forever…all for nothing…as there is no God.
I truly fear for this world as there are forces afoot conspiring to end civilization as we know it, and there is serious effort behind this plot. If religion is allowed to stand we are doomed as a people.
If God exist, then he is not my God, but our God. Either we believe in Him or not. Moreover “A big part of your purpose is to love and support your family and friends.” is at the bottom meaningless, a pitiless indifference if God does not exist.
Christian thinker has shaped the Modern Science:
Though out history to date, Modern Science has being shaped by Christian thinkers:
Few of the Christian thinkers(for example):
1. Isaac NEWTON(1642-1727) – founder of Classical Physics and Infinitesimal Calculus
2. Galileo GALILEI(1564-1642) – founder of Experimental Physics
3. Nicolaus COPERNICUS(1473-1543) – founder of Heliocentric Cosmology
4. Johannes KEPLER(1571-1630) – founder of Physical Astronomy and Modern Optics
5. Francis BACON(1561-1626) – founder of the scientific inductive method
6. Rene DESCARTES(1596-1650) – founder of Analytical Geometry and Modern Philosophy
7. Blaise PASCAL(1623-1662) – founder of Hydrostatics, Hydrodynamics, and the Theory of Probabilities
8. Michael FARADAY(1791-1867) – founder of Electronics and Electro-magnetics
9. James Clerk MAXWELL(1831-1879) – founder of Statistical Thermodynamics
10. Lord KELVIN(1824-1907) – founder of Thermodynamics and Energetics
11. Robert BOYLE(1627-1691) – founder of Modern Chemistry
12. William HARVEY(1578-1657) – founder of Modern Medicine
13. John RAY(1627-1705) – founder of Modern Biology and Natural History
14. Gottfried Wilhelm LEIBNIZ(1646-1716) – German mathematician and philosopher, founder of Infinitesimal Calculus
15. Charles DARWIN(1809-1882) – founder of the Theory of Evolution
16. Ernst HAECKEL(1834-1919) – German biologist, the most influential evolutionist in continental Europe
17. Thomas H. HUXLEY(1825-1895) – English biologist and evolutionist, famous as “Darwin’s bulldog”
18. Joseph J. THOMSON(1856-1940) – Nobel Laureate in Physics, discoverer of the electron, founder of atomic physics
19. Louis PASTEUR(1822-1895) – founder of Microbiology and Immunology
20. Wernher von BRAUN(1912-1977) – rocket engineer, founder of Astronautics
21. Francis COLLINS(1950-) – Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute
All these great scientists among many do science for the Glory of God. Science done because there is at bottom meaning, value, and purpose 🙂
Oh my…saying Darwin was a Christian is a little exaggerated, héhé…though he did start out and spend much of his life that way…
“Though out history to date, Modern Science has being shaped by Christian thinkers:”
Has the religious affiliation of scientists throughout history reflected the religious affiliation of the general population? Would a typical scientist centuries ago have received the same support from the community if he had declared himself to be an atheist?
Are there any atheist scientists today doing great work and shaping modern science? Do a person’s actions or accomplishments have any bearing on whether or not their belief or lack of belief in the supernatural is true?
“All these great scientists among many do science for the Glory of God. Science done because there is at bottom meaning, value, and purpose”
I thought they were doing science because they wanted to figure out stuff and answer questions like “why?” and “how?” (Note that science yes never determined the answer to anything is “God.”)
Max Planck commented on Science and religion:
“The one does not exclude the other; rather they are complementary and mutually interacting. Man needs science as a tool of perception; he needs religion as a guide to action.”
The problem people find religion and science in combat is because one assumes that they are competing world views asking the same question to which I think is a wrong assumption.
Science and religion are not parallel, which raise a question of either .. .or but perpendicular(Jonathan) in unit. Science tries to How? What? Where?, and religion answers Why? Who?
“The problem people find religion and science in combat is because one assumes that they are competing world views asking the same question to which I think is a wrong assumption.”
I think religion and science are in combat because of scary data like the recent Gallup poll that found 40% of Americans believe in Young Earth Creationism.
If there ever was justification for atheists attacking religion, there it is. The negative effects of such stupidity as the YEC position, and whatever else YECers can be convinced of, are immeasurable. Intelligent Design appears to be an accommodation tactic that was developed by Christians who know evolution and YEC are contradictory, so they had to keep God in there somehow. Unfortunately, 38% of Americans believe in ID.
Your argument above is a Non sequitur(Latin “it does not follow.”), weak inductive argument with emotional language(i.e “stupidity”, “immeasurable”, “justified” and “unfortunately”)
YEC = Young Earth Creation(ism)
ID = Intelligent Design
1. Some Americans believe in YEC
2. YEC are Christians
3. Some Americans believe in ID
4. Some ID believer are Christians
5. Some atheist believe in evolution
6. Evolutionist and YEC-ist attack each other
7. Therefore atheists attack religion?(Christianity?)
Remove the emotional language(above), the argument can be seen as it is, to which in logic known as weak inductive argument. Because
1. If evolution is true and all atheist believe in it, then atheists are justified to attack some Christians(not religion?) If they attack the religion and not the believe then atheists commits a Genetic Fallacy. Why so, because the religion may still be true, even if the some of its believe is false.
2. Not all atheist believe in Evolution
3. Some Christian believe in Evolution
4. Some atheist believe in ID
Stupid, justified, unfortunately, immeasurable carries some presupposed truth that are not defended in you argument. Example:
1. How are one justified to act the way they act?
2. How stupid something is, and what make it stupid?
3. How fortune was it for it to be unfortunate? Etc
Therefore one may conclude that your inductive argumentation above is weak and also Non sequitur(Latin “it does not follow.”) because the conclusion does not follow from the premises.
Sometimes I’m just talking and not trying to present a logical argument.
To glorify God, you as an atheist, I as theist, plants and animal gives glory to God.
Are children dying of hunger by the thousands every day giving glory to God? Are animals by the uncountable millions being eaten alive, terrified and screaming, right now, giving glory to God?
Do murderers, rapists, muggers, and false preachers conning little old ladies out of their life’s savings giving glory to God?
In days gone by, were the witch burners, the pardoners, the “celibate” clergy with mistresses and children, and those that were brutalized and oppressed for studying the natural world giving glory to God?
There are no easy answers to questions like these. I cannot envision a deity that delights in these things – that would be horrible.
These questions are really intended to be rhetorical and a bit snarky, so no need for anyone to reply unless you really want to.
How does a human glorify God? Are there any specific actions (other than the Ten Commandments) that glorify God? Are there any specific thoughts that glorify God? Is God more concerned about what we do or what we think?
What percentage of a Christian’s time should be spent glorifying God? Do Christians do any God-glorifying actions that atheists also do, and if so, do atheists get any credit for those?
Do plants and animals give glory to God just by their sheer existence?
Why does God need to be glorified? Given God’s capabilities for omniscience and omnipotence, and this marvelous universe he allegedly created, what can humans possibly do that adds to God’s glory? What does God get out of it? Does it make God feel better about himself?
Why does God feel a need to threaten us with eternal punishment if we do not glorify him (or at least accept his son as our Lord and savior)? Would my lack of God glorification really make a difference to God in the big scheme of things? If God is so worried about being glorified by everyone that he condemns those who don’t believe in him to hell for an eternity, wouldn’t it make sense for him to do something to help the nonbelievers believe? Seems like he could get a heck of a lot more glory with minimal effort.
It isn’t hard to come up with questions that make this God glorification business seem absurd.
Oh yes they do! According to the writing of Isaiah earlier that reign of Manasseh, king of Judah (687–642 b.c) this is what He records about God:
I form light and create darknessI make success and create disaster I, the Lord, do all these things.(Isaiah 45:7 HCSB)
Compare this truth with Gen 50:20; 1Sm 16:14; 1Kg 21:21; 22:8; 2Kg 6:33; Ps 78:49; Job 2:10; Isa 13:11; 31:2; 47:11; Jer 1:14; Lm 3:38; Am 3:6)
If this Christian God exist, As understood as:
If this is the God we are talking about, then yes, Everything He created was for his pleasure.
This is not the god of atheists imagination, the god who wont hurt a fly, good, and only who want sweet stuff, calm and rosy things.
Nope, God is love but yet he is Just, and in either his justice(not in Christ) or in his love(in Christ) we all fall.(If he exist)
Something else just occurred to me…why is it that ONLY religious sites moderate their comments? Why would someone who is honestly strong in their beliefs need to censor dissenting opinion?
I can not follower your argument here! Can you explain more what you mean.
Robert, It does not mean you need to believe in God for there to be meaning, no but because God existence. Wether you believe in Him or not.
If God doesnot exist, life has no objective meaning or purpose.
Creating one would be delutional.
RD is just a bold atheist
“If God doesnot exist, life has no objective meaning or purpose.”
Jonathan, what is the objective meaning or purpose of your life?
What is the objective meaning or purpose of my life?
What is the objective meaning or purpose of the life of any animal? (I’ll let you choose the animal.)
What is the objective meaning or purpose of the life of any plant? (I’ll let you choose the plant.)
Only thinking beings can have a meaning or purpose to their lives. And that is because they ascribe that meaning or purpose to themselves.
Newborn children have no objective meaning or purpose. They are just tiny, helpless, barely sentient, languageless bundles of potential.
According to your chain of thinking, then the child molesters, rapists, murderous are not objective wrong because they ascribe a different meaning or purpose to what they do.
Newborn children are bound to the same rules(if they exist). 2 + 2 = 4 even to a helpless, barely sentient, language-less bundles of potential.
Héhé…I think that’s your favorite set of quotes from Dawkins…if there’s no “meaning” floating out there, we CAN always make it up…you wouldn’t have to make up lies to do so…”My goal in life is to take care of my dog”…”My goal is to make a huge scientific discovery”, “be the first to go to Mars”, “eat a hotdog tonight”, héhé, or “I want to help people around me”…you don’t have to say: “I have an invisible ghost walking next to me all the time” in order to do so…that would be a probable delusion…
Believe it or not, you can give meaning to your life without thinking the whole of the universe is soaked with such meaning…there would be no reason to write a “Meaning delusion” book, héhé…
Indeed it my favorite, because a true face of atheism unmasked itself.
Creating a delusion of meaning, How was it define? :
If there is no God, oh yes, it a Meaning Delusion. And one ought to written book to address it 🙂
There’s “invalidating evidence” that I should eat a hot dog tonight? That I should marry a girl I love? That I should help others? What evidence? Héhéhé…
Any emotional appeal wont help here Hehe!
An appeal to emotion is a type of argument which attempts to arouse the emotions of its audience in order to gain acceptance of its conclusion.
If God does not exist, all you do is eat, survive and reproduce. You loving that girl is just evolution process to enable you pass your DNA. Thus at the bottom, its meaningless.
I never denied that “at bottom it’s meaningless”, as you say…I just don’t agree that it’s delusional for someone to fabricate purpose (while knowing very well that he’s making it up) for one’s life without twisting reality…
Of course, of course, héhéhé…it’s either an appeal to emotion, a fallacy, or a red herring since you can’t answer it…
A meaningless life is one lived in a lie, delusion. Dawkins has a great deal more to say about the wonder and beauty of life, the immense privilege we have to be self-aware and conscious of the universe, than the cherry-picked quote you use above to, it would appear, deliberately mislead. Intellectual honesty, integrity, underlies our absence of belief in deities. But this does not prevent those of us who are also, for example, humanists, from living fulfilled lives, finding meaning in our hopes for humanity, and the wonderful journey we find ourselves on in this awe-inspiring multiverse of possibilities.
Thank you for you comment. But It is not a deliberately misleading or a cherry picked quote. I will Let me add detail for you to grasp Dawkins “great deal of wonder and beauty of meaningless life”
In November 1995’s Scientic American p.81-85 Dawkins made it clear after his publication of River Out of Eden(BasicBooks, 1995) his position on Morals values and duties.
He writes in God’s Utility Function:
He clearly nails his meaning in his book, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), p112
There is a great deal of wonder and beauty of life, but without God all is meaningless at the bottom.
Humanists, Christians, Atheists lives a fulfilled life of meaning and purpose because God exist.
Just as gravity, whether you believe it, or write Gravity Delusion, or enjoy the beauty of free sky diving, when you fall, it does not care if you believe it, or not, to it it will pull.
If God does not exist, then Dawkins is truly right, there is no meaning, no evil, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.
But there is meaning, there is evil, and they are things which are not blind pitiless indifference(example Child Molestation), thus God exist.
Our universe on the road to a cold death! Are we here to pass our DNA and get deluded as if there is meaning and purpose?
More detail in my article Richard Dawkins’ Dangerous Ideas?
You have chosen to quote excerpts where RD is using deliberately harsh language to strike home his point about the nature of the evolutionary process. As you ignore his writings that directly deal with finding purpose in life without belief in deities, I stand by my comment that you are misrepresenting both Dawkins and the views of most atheists. Deliberately or otherwise, you paint a false picture.
You assert that without god, there is no objective sense of right and wrong, good and evil. Indeed there is not. Nonetheless, science is fast developing an understanding of how complex moral frameworks evolve over time in social animals, as part of cooperative behaviour that on balance has fitness benefits. This includes altruistic actions to the point of self-sacrifice. Such a moral code is not set in (tablets of) stone, fortunately for mankind. Otherwise the Bronze Age version of morality would still hold sway today, with biblical approval of slavery, homophobia, the subjugation of women, etc. No, simple moral codes had evolved long before man had dreamt up gods, and it is evident that religions have used these templates on which to base their laws, and not the other way around. We are not ‘indifferent to child molestation’ for perfectly sound evolutionary reasons, not because the Christian god allegedly said so (or did he?) a mere few thousand years ago.
The universe may indeed be ‘pitilessly indifferent’ to our presence; but to make the claim that our lives are therefore without meaning doesn’t follow. It assumes that we cannot create meaning for ourselves, that there is no purpose without a creator. Well, as you are fond of selectively quoting Dawkins from areas of study that do not touch on ‘meaning’, here is a more apt quote:
“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?” .
To be part of that amazing journey, conscious of the staggering wonder of the universe we inhabit, while contributing as best as one can to the wellbeing of our fellow man, now that’s what I call meaning. I need to add no woo factor, be a slave to no vengeful, capricious deity, to find meaning in life. Indeed through intellectual honesty, openness to all eventualities, critical thinking and a clearly defined moral compass based to a great degree on the ‘Golden Rule’, I can think of no more fulfilling way to live one’s life. On the other hand, I feel particularly sorry for those who, through a geographical accident of birth, child indoctrination and various other memetic and genetic factors, spend their entire lives in a state of delusion.
You are completely misunderstanding what Dawkins wrote. The fact that nature is indifferent has nothing to do with the meaning we ascribe to our lives.
Nature is pitiless, and almost all animals have short, fearful, starving lives that end in painful death. That is the truth. It is also awful. Knowing it is awful doesn’t mean it is less true.
Despite nature’s indifference, we, as humanists, attempt to make our lives meaningful, to ourselves and others. That is the beauty of existence.
Also, child molestation is real, therefore god exists? That’s some bad reasoning, my friend.
Thank you for a wonderful comment and you honest. You rose interesting objections worth answering.
One: On Richard Dawkins
Quote this because that is Dawkins and many atheists before him Conclusion on meaning of life:
To which you also agree:
To which great famous atheist Bartrand Russell concludes:
Two: Meaning of life
C.S. Lewis’ Classical work, Mere Christianity, rose an interesting argument for the meaning of our universe worth pondering.
We have meaning, one does not have to believe in God for there to be a meaning. God existence brings meaning to all the life, whether you believe in Him or not.
Thus atheist and theist have meaning not because of the belief or non-belief of God but because of God’s own necessary existence.
Objective Moral Values and Duties.
Objective The Moral Values and Duties exist prior to the Law’s of Moses, if Christianity is true, then according Saul of Tarsus(Paul) writings(c 57 A.D)
If he is right, then Objective Moral Value and duties are wired to every human being by their Maker.
The Golden Rule which is earliest recorded document found goes back to c. 1446/1260 B.C, Wayyigra documents -Hebrew for “And he called”. In Bible, Leviticus(Pentateuch)
To which is echoed Confucius almost a millennium(c 1000 years) later.
But this amazing journey, conscious of the staggering wonder of the universe we inhabit, while contributing as best as one can to the well being of our fellow man is at the bottom meaningless if God does not exist(Remember not because of non-believe of God).
It is an amazing journey, conscious of the staggering wonder of the universe we inhabit, while contributing as best as one can to the well being of our fellow man, because God exist(Despite our belief in Him)
If Atheism is true, you ought not to feel sorry, because at the bottom it is just pitiless indifference.
Thus you feeling sorry reaction rejects the core belief of atheism. That our sole purpose is to pass our DNA. Feed,Flight,Flee, Reproduce, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference as we struggle to survive to ensure out DNA is pass on.
“If he [Paul] is right, then Objective Moral Value and duties are wired to every human being by their Maker.”
Or perhaps this perception of objective moral value and duties comes about due to our experiences throughout life, and are primarily shaped by the culture in which we live. For example, if monogamous relationships had never become the norm in human civilization, there is no reason to think a person who grew up in a culture where everybody had consensual sex with everybody would think there was anything objectively wrong with that.
“If Atheism is true, you ought not to feel sorry, because at the bottom it is just pitiless indifference. Thus you feeling sorry reaction rejects the core belief of atheism.”
Atheism does not say people cannot or should not have opinions or desires or feelings for others. It says those opinions and desires only exist in our minds, with no Divine grounding. They do have very real, observable consequences (including measurable brain activity and other physiological responses), but they only have meaning in our minds. No meter can be developed to measure how tragic an untimely death is, and compare it to other untimely deaths or tragic events.
The argument is
1.If there is no God, there are not Objective moral values and duties.
2. There are objective moral values and duties.
3. There God exist.
How does a blind process produce Objective moral value and duties?
“How does a blind process produce Objective moral value and duties?”
It doesn’t, which is why objective moral values and duties do not exist. People can be easily convinced there are objective moral values because of things at the far end of the good-bad spectrum that we find universally revolting, such as torturing or killing infants just for fun.
The reason I claim objective moral values do not exist is because as you list things that are closer and closer to the midpoint of the good-bad spectrum, the percentage of people who agree that something is bad is gradually reduced from nearly 100% to 50%. Nobody is able to draw a line and say everything on one side of the line is objectively bad, but everything on the other side is a matter of opinion. That’s why it’s all opinions, and some opinions are more universally held than others. But a unanimous opinion is still an opinion. If there were no humans to interview, an alien visiting this planet would not be able to build a measuring device to determine what is good and what is bad. He would have to form his own opinions.
“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — W. Shakespeare
On a separate note, do you have any more to add to our discussion of Craig’s ontological argument, or should I declare victory? 🙂
“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — W. Shakespeare
Hamlet Act II Scene II
I am confuse, Hamlet there neither good nor bad, yet he had BAD dreams? Mh!
Brad, lets play pretend! Lets pretend you are right namely:
It doesn’t, which is why objective moral values and duties do not exist.
I think Brap last comment was idiotic,silly, hopeless, valueless that it does not worth reading it. Does the commenter have a brain? I think it ought to be deleted!
I do not think its anything of above, but to your chain of thinking what is in pretend is quite okay because it pitiless indifference.
But if its pitiless indifference why bother comment? If your comments are of non value, why waste your time?
Ontological Argument, we are not done there Brap. Sorry I taking long time.
I think Brap last comment was idiotic,silly, hopeless, valueless that it does not worth reading it. Does the commenter have a brain? I think it ought to be deleted!
I do not think its anything of above, but to your chain of thinking what is in pretend is quite okay because it pitiless indifference.”
Correct, it is ok for you to have opinions and take whatever actions you believe are appropriate. It is ok for others to have opinions about your opinions and your actions. And, there are consequences of the actions we take based on our opinions. That’s all there is really, just actions and consequences.
If you were to delete my comments instead of engaging them in the thoughtful manner you do, I probably would not comment as much, if any.
“But if its pitiless indifference why bother comment? If your comments are of non value, why waste your time?”
My comments have value to me, and I like to think other people are occasionally entertained by my comments. (Everybody’s a comedian . . .) But my main purpose in commenting is to see if any of my reasons for being an atheist hold up. (I actually didn’t even know what an apologist was two years ago.) Some of my reasoning is now quite different, thanks to blogs such as yours. The atheist and the apologist each contribute to the evolution of the other, much like the predator and the prey in nature.
Your honest amazes me.
This is what we have so far: You have agree to the truth of first premises of moral argument namely:
1. If God does not exist, Objective moral value and duties do not exist.
I will echo your comment here:
Now I will through premise 2:
2. Objective moral value and duties exist.
You wrote the following which I will press with why:
Why would you probably comment less or not at all? If it is like a predator and prey. A predator does not hunt less or give up, just because the prey escaped.
From your chain of thinking, you could have declare yourself victor, long time ago, or now, or never because it is just as you said, If true “our opinion”. But why do you ask for my opinion? Does my opinion matter?
Do you ask for victory because you believe you have GOOD reasoning and I BAD? If so then Good and bad exist to which you deny.
If my 2 + 2 = 5 in my opinion, does it make that Objectively right?
If child molestation is those priests opinion was okay, does that make it Objective right?
I am not asking Subjectively but Objectively.
Brap (previously): “If you were to delete my comments instead of engaging them in the thoughtful manner you do, I probably would not comment as much, if any.”
Prayson: “Why would you probably comment less or not at all? If it is like a predator and prey. A predator does not hunt less or give up, just because the prey escaped.”
The predator may decide to seek other prey. Still hunting, not giving up, just moving on. There are a lot of zebras in the herd for the lion to choose from.
My primary goal is not to persuade you to come over to the dark side. It is to find a challenge for my viewpoints and sharpen my skills in these discussions. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of other blogs where these discussions take place.
Brap (previously): “On a separate note, do you have any more to add to our discussion of Craig’s ontological argument, or should I declare victory?”
Prayson: “From your chain of thinking, you could have declare yourself victor, long time ago, or now, or never because it is just as you said, If true “our opinion”. But why do you ask for my opinion? Does my opinion matter?”
I’m seeking confirmation that I’m not crazy to think Plantinga’s Premise 3 is unsupported by logical reasoning. Plus it’s fun to see what arguments people try to present for such absurd (my opinion) positions, like transubstantiation. Unlike transubstantiation arguments, which typically end with someone pulling the faith card, the ontological argument doesn’t seem to require any faith.
Prayson: “Do you ask for victory because you believe you have GOOD reasoning and I BAD? If so then Good and bad exist to which you deny.”
I never denied the existence of opinions, I denied the existence of objective goodness or badness. Whenever we say something is pretty or ugly or any other similar adjective we don’t always add “in my opinion” to that. “That’s a pretty girl.” “That’s an ugly dog.” “This is wonderful weather today.” It is generally understood that those are opinions and not everyone will agree. There may be extremes of those scales where one could find almost universal agreement of opinion, but that does not make something objectively pretty or ugly or wonderful or whatever. It just means most or all people have the same subjective opinion about it.
The adjectives “good” and “bad” are the same as those others. Just opinions.
Prayson: “If my 2 + 2 = 5 in my opinion, does it make that Objectively right?”
No. Once we agree on what those symbols mean, and how to count, that equation is wrong and can be easily demonstrated with physical objects. No humans are needed for two objects plus two objects to equal four objects. If aliens land on earth after all the humans are gone, they would likely have different symbols for numbers and arithmetic operations, but two plus two would still equal four with their symbols.
“If child molestation is those priests opinion was okay, does that make it Objective right?”
In whose opinion was it ok? I think the opinion of most people is that child molestation by priests is not ok. Again, that’s a unanimous or near-unanimous subjective opinion, which does not make it objectively true.
Brap; Are there Objective truth?
If the opinion of the whole world say 2 + 2 = 5 does it make it true?
“Are there Objective truth?
If the opinion of the whole world say 2 + 2 = 5 does it make it true?”
Yes, there are objective truths which people’s opinions do not impact, such as the sum of two plus two. If everyone decided 2 + 2= 5, without changing the meaning of the symbols “4” and “5,” math would quickly collapse and become useless.
If there is a society that believe that 2 + 2 = 5, will that change the objective truth that 2 + 2 = 4?
I do not ask for symbolic II + II = IV or two plus two equals to four. That is not what I am after. I am after the truth behind it.
“If there is a society that believe that 2 + 2 = 5, will that change the objective truth that 2 + 2 = 4?”
If that society believes adding two items to two items will result in five items instead of four items (all items being equal), then no, that does not change the objective truth that adding two items to two items will result in four items (all items being equal).
I don’t think the sun ever rotated around the earth, although all or nearly all of humanity believed it did for thousands of years. Since the formation of the earth, the objective truth has always been that the earth rotated around the sun. Physical truths, especially those that do not involve humans, are not impacted by human beliefs.
2 + 2 = 4 is impacted with human belief, a correct belief. Your last comment carried a negative cogitation within the word “belief”.
Say I belief, it will rain today. If it rains, my belief was true(positive). If it doesn’t my belief was false(negative).
Back to the Topic 🙂
That we have agree that there are Objective truths. I will like to go farther.
Are there moral values, that is saying, something is good or bad independent of whatever people think about it?
Are there moral duties, that is saying, certain actions are right or wrong for us regardless of what people think about it?
It is best we do not mix between a moral claim and a preference claim.
I love chocolate ice-cream better than Vanilla; is a preference claim
Some people prefer to steal movies than to buy them; is also a preference claim.
Those above statement does not say weather one thing is good or bad(First one), right or wrong(Second one).
As you answer these two question, it is best that we know the difference between preference claim and Moral claims.
“Are there moral values, that is saying, something is good or bad independent of whatever people think about it?”
No, things are good or bad only because people label them so. Same as pretty, ugly, big, small, funny and sad.
“Are there moral duties, that is saying, certain actions are right or wrong for us regardless of what people think about it?”
No, only humans can label something as right or wrong, and it’s always an opinion. (Sometimes a unanimous opinion, but still an opinion.)
However, if there is a well-defined outcome or goal, such as maximizing the happiness of others, obeying The Golden Rule, or extending another person’s comfortable life as long as possible, then it may be possible for something to be objectively good or bad for reaching the stated goal. (I think that is what Sam Harris tries to argue in his latest book, “The Moral Landscape.”) However, the goodness, badness, or appropriateness of the goal itself is still a matter of opinion.
Are these labels Objective?
Say: Child Molestation, you mean, good and bad(Value), right and wrong(duty) about the act depend on the label? So we can just as well say Child molestation is good? A right thing to do? It is okay to have an opinion, but I will push farther, is your opinion a correct opinion?
Prayson: “Are these labels Objective?
Say: Child Molestation, you mean, good and bad(Value), right and wrong(duty) about the act depend on the label?”
The label “child molestation” is simply what we have chosen to call that particular act. A label can impact people’s gut feelings about an act. The labels “child molestation,” “child abuse,” “child sexual abuse,” and “child mistreatment” may cause different feelings in a person, depending on what else they know about what has occurred. As they learn more facts about the actual event (especially hearing the victims describe their abuse), people’s sense of outrage over the act may change, although it’s probably always considered on the bad side of the spectrum.
For instance, some people may not consider consensual heterosexual sex between a 22-year-old adult and a 17-year-old minor to be objectively evil (example 1). But as you go further along the path of child sexual abuse (change the ages, change from consensual to non-consensual, change from heterosexual to homosexual, etc.), eventually getting to something as horrendous as twin pre-teen brothers being duct-taped to the floor of a parish office so they can be gang-raped by a group of priests (example 2) (yes, I watch Oprah), many people will say that act is objectively evil.
My question is this: There is a whole range of acts between example 1 and example 2. If example 1 is not objectively evil but example 2 is, where is the line between objectively evil and not objectively evil? Is it a matter of opinion? I say if it’s a matter of opinion where you draw the line, it’s all a matter of opinion (subjective), therefore none of it is objective.
Prayson: “So we can just as well say Child molestation is good? A right thing to do?”
Yes, you are entitled to have that opinion. Fortunately, our society has determined that the consequences of child molestation are such that it is something that should be prevented, and those committing such acts should be punished.
Prayson: “It is okay to have an opinion, but I will push farther, is your opinion a correct opinion?”
I don’t think opinions can be objectively correct or incorrect, since they wouldn’t be opinions if they could evaluated objectively. I believe 2 + 2 = 4, but that is not my opinion. I believe the recent lunar eclipse was beautiful, and that is an opinion which is not objectively correct or incorrect.
Some people will agree with my opinions and some people won’t. We often think those whose opinions we agree with are correct, which is, of course, an incorrect viewpoint in my opinion. Also, those who agree with the majority opinion will nearly always think they are correct.
Thank you for you comment but you have not fully answer the question(You answered a Strawman) and have interchange and confused preference claims with moral claims. :
Opinion can be right or wrong, Opinion does not mean just meaningless ideas, nothing to nothing for nothing. If we take that route, then we would not learn anything because all that we learn are other peoples opinion. Evolution, Charles Darwin opinion , Existence of God, Theist opinion, The God Delusion,Richard Dawkin’s opinion, the question is ,are these right or wrong opinions. Why should one listen/accept/follow/agree ones opinion?
On the Question “Removing labels” and More specific::
Do you mean an act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years) ; “that particular act” goodness and badness(Value), right and wrong(duty) about the act depend on the society label?
Thus when society label it Child Molestation, then its wrong and bad! But they could just have label the “same act” Child Sexual Preparation, then it is right and good?
I am not asking if you(or society) prefer that act(“like,love,enjoy” or not like, not love), I do not ask for your(or societies) preference claim, I am asking for a Moral claim. I may love,like,prefer something, but that does not state if that thing is right or wrong(for me to do), good or bad(for my health). Example; Smoking! Junk Food!
Is an act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years) Objectively wrong? or does it depend on the subjective view of right and wrong with a person or society X?
And if latter is so, then, How do we know that person X or society opinion and act is “right or wrong” or “good or bad” Morally not preferentially.
Lets avoid, Straw-man Example “Homosexuality”. Let argue first on act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years), Is it Objectively wrong?
Prayson wrote: “Opinion can be right or wrong, Opinion does not mean just meaningless ideas, nothing to nothing for nothing. If we take that route, then we would not learn anything because all that we learn are other peoples opinion.”
Why can’t we learn objective facts (2 + 2 = 4; F = ma; pure water freezes at 0 degrees Celcius; the heart pumps blood around the human body) in addition to the opinions of others?
Prayson: “Evolution, Charles Darwin opinion , Existence of God, Theist opinion, The God Delusion,Richard Dawkin’s opinion, the question is ,are these right or wrong opinions. Why should one listen/accept/follow/agree ones opinion?”
Evolution is, in the opinion of many people, the best explanation for a massive amount of data, some of which is historical (fossil record) and some of which is currently observable (genetic mutations, rapid evolution of viruses). I agree with that opinion, but others do not. However, it is an objective fact that either evolution (both macro- and micro-) is the actual cause for the diversity of life on earth, or it isn’t.
The existence of God is, in the opinion of many people, the best explanation for the existence of the universe. I do not agree with that opinion, but others do. However, it is an objective fact that either God exists, or God doesn’t exist.
Regarding why one should listen/accept/follow/agree with one’s opinion, that decision is up to the individual. The consequences of agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion will vary. Some people accept the opinions of others blindingly without evaluating any data themselves, whereas some people would rather evaluate the data and develop their own opinion or at least reach a certain level of comfort before agreeing with the opinions of others. I have not evaluated any of the data supporting the theory that the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old, but I respect the scientific community enough to agree with their current estimate. (I also understand the estimate has changed and may change in the future as additional data is evaluated, which is the primary reason for the respect.) The consequences of agreeing or disagreeing with that particular opinion are rather minimal, whereas the consequences of agreeing with the opinions of Jim Jones turned out to be quite disastrous for some people.
Prayson: “Do you mean an act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years) ; “that particular act” goodness and badness(Value), right and wrong(duty) about the act depend on the society label?”
I think I said people’s inital gut reaction is impacted by the label.
Prayson: “Thus when society label it Child Molestation, then its wrong and bad! But they could just have label the “same act” Child Sexual Preparation, then it is right and good?”
If that act were labeled Child Sexual Preparation, some people might have a different opinion of it, especially if it were not illegal. But that would probably not change the consequences of the act for the child.
Prayson: “Is an act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years) Objectively wrong? or does it depend on the subjective view of right and wrong with a person or society X?”
No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are. No dog bark is objectively right or wrong, although some dogs may wake people up in the middle of the night. No lion’s attack of a zebra is objectively right or wrong, even when they kill a mother zebra with a newborn calf who also dies as a result of the mother being killed. No thunderstorm is objectively right or wrong. Those are all acts that happen, and they all have consequences.
Prayson: “And if latter is so, then, How do we know that person X or society opinion and act is “right or wrong” or “good or bad” Morally not preferentially.”
We form our opinions of rightness or wrongness based on our experiences and what we think the consequences of an act will be. The consequences can be evaluated in terms of their ability to meet a certain goal, or to meet our desires.
Prayson: “Lets avoid, Straw-man Example “Homosexuality”. Let argue first on act of forced sexual intercourse done by an adult(+18 years) to a child(0-12 years), Is it Objectively wrong?”
No, and I’d like to know how those who believe it is objectively wrong know it is objectively wrong.
“No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are.”
Easy say than done, Brap, Its for those reason above you gave,why Atheism is dangerous and wrong worldview.
I fail you, in this part Brap, but I will ask you to read more on Moral values and duties farther.
Thank you for your wisdom in all this.
Do you have any arguments against my arguments about objective morality, or do you just not agree with my position and that’s that?
Do you have any arguments for why something (anything) is objectively bad, other than human intuition or near-unanimous agreement that something is bad?
Any suggested readings on moral values and duties?
Your position Brap is called Moral Relativism and there are I believe two strong arguments against it.
One: Moral or Ethical Progress; Argument from Change;
If moral were relative namely “No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are” then there would not be a moral progress. Example the abolition of slave trade, women rights, racism, colonial independence, etc.
Moral or Ethical progress happens when one discover that a certain truth example slavery has always being wrong and ought to be abandon.
Remember, Moral/Ethics are discovered not formed.
Two: Argument from Reformers Absurdity
The great reformers that helped in bring moral progress namely the changes, the abolition of slave trade, women rights, racism, etc like Mart Luther King, Emily Pankhurst, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and many more are judged immoral in a relativistic worldview(cultural) because they all opposed the existing values and sought to improve them.
Thus bring about a state of absurdity
Easy Said Than Done; Livability of Moral Relativism
Livability of this worldview, is simply against what a relativist believe. I have a chat with a Naturalist German professor on a train ride from Copenhagen to Aalborg on his way to a lecture in Aalborg University(Denmark). He held the some view that “No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are” Our discussion had capture many listeners in the train as we discuss the Existence of God, to which Objective Moral value and duties pop up.
He said something close to “No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are”, and that its was all about art of language. His laptop happened to be on the table, so I decided to pick it up and put it in my bag. He quickly object, and ask me what I were doing. And I reply, I am stealing it from you. He said, I could not do that, and I answered; Yes I can “ No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are”. For you it is wrong for me to take your Laptop, to me, Its okay because I want your laptop. He said I could not do, I gave it back and asked Him, then said; so some acts are objectively wrong and not just art of language 🙂
His reaction, refuted his view. This also is true with New Atheist like Richard Dawkins, on time they affirm no evil, no good and at the same time deny it as Dawkins against child molestation and indoctrination.
Reading Further On Moral Relativism, Moral and Ethic
Here you will read much on Moral:
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) was founded in 1995 as a non-profit organization to provide open access to detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). From its inception, the SEP was designed so that each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public
OpenCourseWare on critical thinking, logic, and creativity
University of Hong Kong
Illustration, Practical Relativism
I have an article called Cruel Logic, to which a serial killer has a chat with a Moral Relativist Atheist professor, as he put to practice this idea that “No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are”
Prayson: “If moral were relative . . . then there would not be a moral progress. Example the abolition of slave trade, women rights, racism, colonial independence, etc.”
I don’t agree with that at all. What we as a society view as right or wrong can and should change as more data becomes available. Objective truths, on the other hand, should be static.
“Moral or Ethical progress happens when one discover that a certain truth example slavery has always being wrong and ought to be abandon.”
That’s exactly my point. Society’s viewpoint of right and wrong evolves. It is dynamic.
“Remember, Moral/Ethics are discovered not formed.”
So how do we know when we have discovered the “correct” moral viewpoint? Where is the objective viewpoint that can state whether or not we (our current society) have discovered the appropriate moral truth for a given situation? As I have asked before, how do those who believe an act is objectively wrong “know” it is objectively wrong?
Prayson: “The great reformers that helped in bring moral progress namely the changes, the abolition of slave trade, women rights, racism, etc like Mart Luther King, Emily Pankhurst, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and many more are judged immoral in a relativistic worldview(cultural) because they all opposed the existing values and sought to improve them. Thus bring about a state of absurdity”
I’m not sure I understand this argument, so let me try to paraphrase it: “(1) People who oppose society’s existing values and seek to improve them are initially viewed as immoral while the majority of people disagree with their position. (2) These same people are no longer viewed as immoral after the majority of people agree with their position. (3) Therefore, morals are absolute.”
If I have paraphrased the argument correctly, then I don’t think statement 3 follows from 1 and 2. In fact, statement 3 is exactly what moral relativism would predict: Morals evolve, and those with the minority opinion are considered immoral. (Similarly, in an insane society, the sane person appears insane.)
Prayson: “Livability of this worldview, is simply against what a relativist believe. . . . His laptop happened to be on the table, so I decided to pick it up and put it in my bag. He quickly object, and ask me what I were doing. And I reply, I am stealing it from you. He said, I could not do that,”
He should have said (and possibly meant): “You should not do that in my opinion.”
“and I answered; Yes I can “ No acts are objectively wrong. No acts are objectively right. They just are”. For you it is wrong for me to take your Laptop, to me, Its okay because I want your laptop.”
Good answer. I agree with that.
“He said I could not do, I gave it back and asked Him, then said; so some acts are objectively wrong and not just art of language 🙂
His reaction, refuted his view.”
No it didn’t. Moral relativism does not mean we should not care if our stuff is stolen. It just means we cannot appeal to a divine being (or writings allegedly inspired by a divine being) to convince someone they should not steal our stuff.
“This also is true with New Atheist like Richard Dawkins, on time they affirm no evil, no good and at the same time deny it as Dawkins against child molestation and indoctrination.”
Whey they deny the existence of good and evil (first instance), they are denying the existence of objective good and evil that transcends human opinion. When they say they are against things like child molestation and indoctrination because they consider them evil (second instance), they mean “evil in my opinion.” Language becomes cumbersome if you insert “in my opinion” everywhere it is implied, such as pretty, ugly, good, bad, nice, mean, etc.
Thanks for those links. I’ll try to check those out before replying to your new post on moral relativism. 😉
Brap; Objection On Moral Progress, namely Moral right or wrong can and should change as more data becomes available, is not an objection at all. I agree to this, but as I argue, these changes are progressive, not other way or no way around.
If moral relativism is true, then we would not observe a forward only progress.
Brap, you stated that objective Truth should be static, we this is a wrong. Even if the whole universe believe that 2 + 2 = 5 it does not change the fact that 2 + 2 = 4. If it is static then its not objective but subjective.
If Moral evolution means, moral progress, then yes. This argument destroys your view because, in Moral relativism evolution is absurd. Because to have evolution, X move from Y were Y is better position than X(Progressively). But there is not better position in Relativism X and Y are just are!
Thus Moral evolution is the argument against moral relativism not against.
You paused these questions:
So how do we know when we have discovered the “correct” moral viewpoint?how do those who believe an act is objectively wrong “know” it is objectively wrong?
If moral relativism is true, then we can not discover correct moral view point, your question assumes there are correct moral view point discovered, therefore according to your question moral relativism is false.
You wrote: “He should have said (and possibly meant): “You should not do that in my opinion.”” Well, my answer would be, That is your opinion, sadly I have a different one 🙂 Then we will be stuck in absurdity.
On His Reaction;
Yes it did, Because if moral relativism is true he should not care because my act was not objectively wrong. “No acts are objectively right. They just are” 🙂
You can not cut down the trunk(or the roots) of a tree and expect it to hang in the air Brap, If you deny Objective moral that transcends human opinion, the whole fall down with it.
Prayson wrote: “Brap; Objection On Moral Progress, namely Moral right or wrong can and should change as more data becomes available, is not an objection at all. I agree to this, but as I argue, these changes are progressive, not other way or no way around. If moral relativism is true, then we would not observe a forward only progress.”
How does moral relativism require bidirectional change in morals? How do you know society’s moral changes or viewpoints have always been progressive?
Prayson: “Brap, you stated that objective Truth should be static, we this is a wrong. Even if the whole universe believe that 2 + 2 = 5 it does not change the fact that 2 + 2 = 4. If it is static then its not objective but subjective.”
By the criteria you just stated, 2 + 2 = 4 is not an objective truth. Is that really what you meant?
“If Moral evolution means, moral progress, then yes. This argument destroys your view because, in Moral relativism evolution is absurd. Because to have evolution, X move from Y were Y is better position than X(Progressively). But there is not better position in Relativism X and Y are just are! Thus Moral evolution is the argument against moral relativism not against.”
Moral evolution means moral change. Some people may consider a particular change to be progress, while others may not consider it progress. “Progress” is, again, a matter of opinion. Moral relativism does not require or disallow the evolution of morals, and it makes no claim about the direction of moral evolution if there is any.
Prayson: “You paused these questions:
“So how do we know when we have discovered the “correct” moral viewpoint?how do those who believe an act is objectively wrong “know” it is objectively wrong?”
Prayson replied: “If moral relativism is true, then we can not discover correct moral view point, your question assumes there are correct moral view point discovered, therefore according to your question moral relativism is false.”
As can be clearly seen in my 12-23-10, 18:41 comment, I am not asking how a moral relativist knows when he has discovered the “correct” moral viewpoint. You made the point that moral truths are discovered and not formed. So let me ask again: How does someone such as yourself, who believes objective morals exist, and believes moral truths are discovered and not formed, know when he (or society) has discovered the “correct” moral viewpoint? How do those who believe an act is objectively wrong “know” it is objectively wrong?
Prayson: ”Well, my answer would be, That is your opinion, sadly I have a different one Then we will be stuck in absurdity.”
It may be a standoff, but why is it absurd for two people to have different opinions about something? There are many classic moral dilemma problems (trolley problem, for instance) in which people will have different opinions about what is the best moral response. I agree that there may be no way for one person to convince the other to change his opinion, but I wouldn’t consider it absurd if your response to the trolley problem was different than mine.
Prayson: “On His Reaction; Yes it did, Because if moral relativism is true he should not care because my act was not objectively wrong. “No acts are objectively right. They just are””
How does moral relativism eliminate the possibility of opinions? Is this the argument you are making:
1. Moral relativists claim no acts are objectively wrong or right. They claim the rightness or wrongness of an act is just a matter of opinion.
2. Therefore, moral relativists should not have opinions.
I just don’t see how that conclusion follows from the premise.
Prayson: “You can not cut down the trunk(or the roots) of a tree and expect it to hang in the air Brap, If you deny Objective moral that transcends human opinion, the whole fall down with it.”
The existence of opinions doesn’t fall down with the claim that there is no objective basis for morality. Is there an objective basis for smell, taste or beauty that transcends human opinion? If not, don’t those opinions still exist?
Brap, define what is an opinion? Can an opinion be correct or incorrect(or both(contradiction), or none(contradiction))?
Example; There are 5 elephants on the surface of the moon(Earth’s moon).
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