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Absurd Theologians and Atheists
Posted: 11 March 2007 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]  
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Silenus,

I cringe every time I see the word ‘objective’. NOTHING is objective. We cannot observe without an observer.

Our disagreement lies in the word ‘rules’. You see rules as having a positive value. I see them as being negative.

For example: Thou shalt not kill.

For most people, that seems to be a good rule.

But what does it really mean?

It means, “We will NEVER address the reasons that people kill. We will IGNORE that completely, and just make a rule against it”.

That leaves us with an eternity of killing. Rules prevent problem solving. They are an open admission of failure.

You see rules as divine guidance. I see them as the failure of authority to solve problems.

Christianity is an ideology that requires us to be evil. It keeps us in eternal conflict. It requires that we forever maintain the desire to kill so that we can obey the command not to kill.

As an Athiest, who was not created by god, I am not required to have any of the flaws inherent to Christians. I do not require a rule against killing because the desire to kill was not placed inside me by God.

Perhaps created humans need all those rules. I can only speak as a non-created human. I only have those properties which developed within me. I don’t have any of those which would have been imposed on me by a creator.

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Posted: 11 March 2007 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”]
Finally, to occam.  You accuse me of using ad hominem in response, which you are right I did do it once when I referred to your vein ego and I apologize for that.  And everything else was sarcasm and not ad hominim.  If my questions are annoying and distracting to you I can only assume three things.

1) You are easily distracted
2) You don’t like my comments because they are getting to you
3) you just don’t like to be questioned

and that is exactly what I said.  Also, the only adamant person here is you. .

Firstly, it’s Mr Razor to you. Secondly, I could give two fucks if you or anyone else want to use ad hominim (sic) attacks; no need to apologise. The only reason I brought it up was it struck me as odd that you denounced ad hominem attacks in one post and used them in the next. Then again, inconsistency is a defining trait of the religious. 
Thirdly, your comments aren’t so much ‘getting to me’ as providing a source of amusement. I find the intellectual and moral acrobatics required of modern day religious apologists very entertaining and your particular twists and turns more so than most. Keep ‘em coming.

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Posted: 11 March 2007 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]How do we attain to this “complete understanding” of the invariant moral principles?

The sad truth, burt, is that you don’t get to have one. And you certainly don’t get to define one for me.

The best you can do, perhaps, is to treat your interlocutors in what you consider to be an ethical fashion. If they react well to it, so much the better for both of you. If poorly, there may be no explanation for why your good intentions did not work out. Move on to someone else and try again. It’s a safe bet that you are ignoring me by this time.

If you promote a universal morality to someone, and they spit it back in your face, that they are in the wrong is not the first thing that should come to your mind. Evangelism is a risky game. Some of the responsibility for that rests on your own shoulders.

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Posted: 12 March 2007 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]  
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Salt Creek wrote:

The sad truth, burt, is that you don’t get to have one. And you certainly don’t get to define one for me.

Say it loud and say it often.

The desire for universal group-think is insidious. It never means that we should all think alike. It always means that everyone should think like me.

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Posted: 12 March 2007 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]How do we attain to this “complete understanding” of the invariant moral principles?

The sad truth, burt, is that you don’t get to have one. And you certainly don’t get to define one for me.

The best you can do, perhaps, is to treat your interlocutors in what you consider to be an ethical fashion. If they react well to it, so much the better for both of you. If poorly, there may be no explanation for why your good intentions did not work out. Move on to someone else and try again. It’s a safe bet that you are ignoring me by this time.

If you promote a universal morality to someone, and they spit it back in your face, that they are in the wrong is not the first thing that should come to your mind. Evangelism is a risky game. Some of the responsibility for that rests on your own shoulders.

Who is promoting a universal morality?  I was asking Silenius how he got in touch with his claimed universal principles.  My claim is that there is a universal morality but it cannot be captured in any set of principles or concepts dictating action.  Rather, it can be approximated by an internal search—your suggestion to treat others according to your best understanding of ethics is actually in agreement with this, if you include being sufficiently self aware to recognize mistakes and learn from experience.  I would certainly not want to dictate your moral behavior, if I found it objectionable I’d avoid you.

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Posted: 14 March 2007 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]  
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Too Almost Everyone I have enjoyed the discussion so far on the post that I have made.  Many of you have given me questions that I myself have never thought of, pushing me to think much deeper about the issue of God and absolute/subjective morality.  Most of you have been very respectful with how you approach my opposition to your beliefs and I feel true dialogue is occurring, which was my main reason for posting my thoughts on this forum.  On the side…there is one thing I see Christians and Atheist do too often and that is stereotype each other into a set of conceptions about each other.  As I am in the Christian circle I see Christians, especially fundamental Christians, make atheists to be immoral and wicked people.  They often times become extremely cynical of atheist and make them out to be anarchist youth who don’t like authority.  As we all know this is the furthest thing from the truth.  In no way do I believe most atheists are more immoral than Christians.  However, on the other end many atheist look at Theist as idiots who threw their brains away.  However I feel this is greatly arrogant; after all Newton, Galileo, and Francis Bacon were all theists-I hardly doubt we want to call them idiots.  The 700 club, “Left Behind” books are not the hallmark of Christians.  I throw up when I watch the 700 Club and the “Left Behind” books take the pre-millennia view of Revelations which started up in the early 1900’s by some Christians who read too many comic books.  So to summarize thanks for the discussion.

Waltercat

“Until we have answers to these questions, we really have no explanation of how God can produce objective morality. And until we do, the theist is in the same boat as the atheist in this regard. Neither has a completely compelling account of how objective morality is possible.”

Before it appeared that you believed boiling babies is objectively wrong.  Now it appears from the quote above you believe in subjective morality.  Can you clarify on whether you believe in subjective or objective morality?  It also seems everyone is in disagreement, except Burt, with Sam Harris on morality as Sam Harris claims the belief in objective morality in his book, “Letter to a Christian Nation.”  I think most of us can agree that an atheist cannot claim objective morality, I would like to see Sam Harris explain how objective morality exists in a world where time, chance, and matter are the only cause of everything.  If I have used a strawman with this paragraph please feel free to correct me.  I believe the debate now in this discussion is; If the Christian can hold to a standard of absolute morality and is there a problem with holding to subjective morality, a morality where man is the measure of all things? 

“….have been arguing that theists have no way to account for objective, non-arbitrary morality. It is a well-established claim that the Divine Command Theory cannot do it. Even many (if not most) Christian philosophers agree with this. Now many Theists do believe that morality comes from God. But how is this possible. Again, we lack an explanation.”

I’m not sure if you are using an appeal to authority for why I NEED to believe in the Divine Command Theory.  As explained by Silinus and I the Divine Command Theory poses a false dilemma.  In fact philosophers way back from Aquinas have commented on the Divine Command Theory.  But you seem to think that ‘most Christian philosphers agree with this.”  May I suggest you read the works from Cornilus Van Till, Bahnson, Aquinas, E. Stump, and Paul Copan.  I’ll even give you a link to get you started…http//www.rzim.org/resources/essay_arttext.php?id=4

“Let’s take a closer look at creation. The theist explanation for the existence of the universe is “God created it.” But this explains nothing. How did God do it? What are the metaphysical principles that allow God to go from nothing to something? What did he do, exactly? Did he just speak, and the world popped into existence? But how did that happen? Normally when I speak, worlds do not pop into existence. There must be some very strange metaphysical laws at work here that transfroms God’s speech into the physical universe.”

The atheist explanation for the existence of the universe is “Matter created it.”  But this explains nothing.  How did matter do it?  What are the laws of nature that allow matter to go from nothing to something?  What did matter do exactly?  Did matter just pop into existence?  But how did that happen?  There must be some very strange metaphysical laws as work here that matter can just come into existence, especially when the laws of nature say matter can not be created.  My presupposition is in a God that is eternal, outside of time.  With this presupposition these questions do not pose a problem for me. 

That’s all I have time for now.

Burt you raise a very interesting comment that I am still pondering in my brain.

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Posted: 14 March 2007 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]Waltercat: 

“Until we have answers to these questions, we really have no explanation of how God can produce objective morality. And until we do, the theist is in the same boat as the atheist in this regard. Neither has a completely compelling account of how objective morality is possible.”

Before it appeared that you believed boiling babies is objectively wrong.  Now it appears from the quote above you believe in subjective morality.  Can you clarify on whether you believe in subjective or objective morality?  It also seems everyone is in disagreement, except Burt, with Sam Harris on morality as Sam Harris claims the belief in objective morality in his book, “Letter to a Christian Nation.”  I think most of us can agree that an atheist cannot claim objective morality, I would like to see Sam Harris explain how objective morality exists in a world where time, chance, and matter are the only cause of everything.  If I have used a strawman with this paragraph please feel free to correct me.  I believe the debate now in this discussion is; If the Christian can hold to a standard of absolute morality and is there a problem with holding to subjective morality, a morality where man is the measure of all things?

Fletch,
You seem to have a hard time understanding what people say.  I suggest thinking harder.  Maybe try taking a course or two in philosophy. 

I said that nobody has a totally complete and compelling account for how objective morality is possible, including theists.  This is comapitable with believing that morality is objective.  What is the source of your misunderstanding?

Here is my view:

There really are genuine, objective moral claims.  Such claims as, “It is wrong to boil babies” and “It is wrong to torture dogs” are examples.  However, I do not have a completely compelling account of the ground of objective morality.  The argument that since we lack an explanation of how objective morality is possible, thus we must reject objective morality, is a fallacy.  Just because we don’t have an explanation for how some thing comes to be, this does NOT mean that we should conclude that it doesn’t exist. 

“….have been arguing that theists have no way to account for objective, non-arbitrary morality. It is a well-established claim that the Divine Command Theory cannot do it. Even many (if not most) Christian philosophers agree with this. Now many Theists do believe that morality comes from God. But how is this possible. Again, we lack an explanation.”

I’m not sure if you are using an appeal to authority for why I NEED to believe in the Divine Command Theory.

The technical name for the fallacy you are trying to refer to is ‘Appeal to Unqualified Authority.’  People often omit the word ‘unqualified’ but it is crucial.  An appeal to qualified authority is not a fallacy.  If I say that I know that the cause of my back pain is a herniated disc and not a tumor, and that I know this because a doctor told me so, this is not a fallacy even though I am appealing to authority.

My appeal to what philosophers think was an attempt to make you understand a pertinent point.  In the field of professional philosophy, almost everybody agrees that the Divine Command Theory does not provide a basis for non-arbitrary, objective morality.  I am more that prepared to defend this postion and I have done so on numerous occassions.  (Search my posts, you’re sure to find some very fine arguments).  Indeed, I have presented many of the arguments to you.  I fear that you don’t take the time to think about them and to understand them and that is why you continue to make such claims as, “atheists can’t believe in objective morality.”

As explained by Silinus and I the Divine Command Theory poses a false dilemma.

No.  Silenus explained nothing.  Go back and read the posts.

In fact philosophers way back from Aquinas have commented on the Divine Command Theory.  But you seem to think that ‘most Christian philosphers agree with this.”  May I suggest you read the works from Cornilus Van Till, Bahnson, Aquinas, E. Stump, and Paul Copan.  I’ll even give you a link to get you started…http://www.rzim.org/resources/essay_arttext.php?id=4

Believe me. I have read plenty. The Divine Command theory just does not work.  Plato settled this over 2300 year ago. Please read Euthyphro

“Let’s take a closer look at creation. The theist explanation for the existence of the universe is: “God created it.” But this explains nothing. How did God do it? What are the metaphysical principles that allow God to go from nothing to something? What did he do, exactly? Did he just speak, and the world popped into existence? But how did that happen? Normally when I speak, worlds do not pop into existence. There must be some very strange metaphysical laws at work here that transfroms God’s speech into the physical universe.”

The atheist explanation for the existence of the universe is:  “Matter created it.”

No it isn’t.  There are many competing explanations for the existence of our universe.  Please do some better research.  You can find information about such theories if you conduct a thoughtful and careful search of this site.

And, of course, the Atheist is willing to grant that there are no explanations.  That is the difference.  You pretend to have explanations, but I admit that I do not and I also admit that none may be forthcoming.

My presupposition is in a God that is eternal, outside of time.  With this presupposition these questions do not pose a problem for me.

Pathetic.  How does such a presupposition solve these problems?  Or does it just make you feel as if you don’t have to think about it any longer.

That’s all I have time for now.

That is your problem. You won’t take the time to put your beliefs to the test.  You just parrot out pre-fabricated answers that make you feel good.  But you have no anwers and you have no explanations.  Please take the time to think more critically about you beliefs.

[ Edited: 14 March 2007 06:23 PM by ]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 14 March 2007 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]Burt you raise a very interesting comment that I am still pondering in my brain.

That’s great, fletch. Wouldn’t want you pondering it in your spleen or something. :D

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Posted: 14 March 2007 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]  
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Fletch,
I am continually amazed that you fail to see the problems with the Divine Command theory.  I really think that it is crucial that you do and so I have created a reading list that you might enjoy.

First, The dialogue Euthyphro:

Click Here

Second, here is an old debate concerning slavery in the Old Testament.  It is well worth reading.  It shows the fallacy of assuming that the God of the Bible is the source of moral laws:

Does God like slavery?

Pay careful attention to the posts of waltercat smile

Here is another discussion that hits some of the same points:

God is beyond our understanding

And a preview:

[quote author=“waltercat”]But this sounds like the Divine Command Theory again. Are you saying that God is the author of the moral law in the sense that he wrote it, as a legislature writes (and is thus the author of) the legal code? If so, then the moral law can only be a product of God’s interests and desires and hence, from a moral perspective, it is completely arbitrary. If God wrote the moral code, then he DECIDED which actions are wrong and which are right. No action is/was wrong prior to God’s commands. Hence, from a moral standpoint, his decisions are completely arbitrary. If he had decided to make murder right (or puppy torturing right) he could have, nothing is to prevent this decision. Murder is not wrong prior to God’s decision so, in deciding to count murder as a sin, he could not do so on the basis of the action’s moral features (actions do not have moral features prior to God’s commands).
So there are serious problems with the notion of God as the author of the moral code.

And here is a decent but not great entry on the Divine Command theory at Wikipedia:

Divine Command Theory (Wikipedia)

I can provide more, but start with these.  Happy reading.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 15 March 2007 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]  
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Waltercat:

Earlier you said:

“The theist has no account of how morality can be non-arbitrary. All that theists have is an idea which, when you dig into it just a bit, completely falls apart as an account of objective morality. In reality, theism in no way helps us understand the source of objective morality.”

Then you said:

“Until we have answers to these questions, we really have no explanation of how God can produce objective morality. And until we do, the theist is in the same boat as the atheist in this regard. Neither has a completely compelling account of how objective morality is possible.”

In the first paragraph you said the theist cannot account for objective morality.  In the second paragraph you said the theist and atheist are in the same boat.  Now I looked up the word ‘same’ in the Websters dictionary and it said, “being the very one; identical.”  So from this definition I concluded the following things;  When you said the theist cannot produce objective morality and yet the atheist and the theist are in the SAME boat, well that tells me your saying the atheist cannot produce a set of objective morality either.  I am thinking very hard Waltercat but I simply can’t think of another definition for the word “Same”.  I’m sorry Waltercat, i’m really not trying to pull a Strawman on you.

Can you address why the below comment from Silenus does not tackle the Divine-Command-Theory?

It seems to me that your premise is that, for an ethic to be truly objective, it must above both God and man. But, in an atheist world, isn’t morality a principle that your mind developed. If something is good, it’s because my mind judges it to be so. You form the definition of good and then appraise things accordingly. Your argument discounts your own ethics, does it not? And so, you seem to say that I must be able to say God is good because he does good things. If God cannot be judged by a morality greater than himself, morality cannot be understood and neither can God. But, if a creator God exists and if he doesn’t create, there is no rape or good or evil, just God. And we can understand his morality through divine revelation and the fact that morality has been implanted in us through natural law and through experience as well. We are made in His image. And yes, if we are made in God’s image, than the rapist is violating his character by raping because he is violating the divine wisdom and the image in which he was created. revisit the Aquinas quote. And I don’t agree that people don’t do things that violate their own character or beliefs. I’ll revisit this later on in this post. I feel like your basic beef with DCT is that you have no way to appraise God and that a non-arbitrary ethic must stand above the ethic giver. However, it is the very nature of the creator metaphysic that the lawgiver gives the law and cannot, therefore, be appraised by it but can be understood by them. It’s like saying; If God is all powerful can he make a rock he can’t lift. Of course not. It is the very nature of being all powerful that such a rock isn’t possible. It’s like saying a round circle. We can; however, appraise Him by His ability to keep His promises, His lack of contradiction, and His consistent action.

You said,

There are many competing explanations for the existence of our universe. Please do some better research. You can find information about such theories if you conduct a thoughtful and careful search of this site.

If someone actually had a working theory on what caused the ‘big bang’ I wouldn’t have to go looking for it.  They would be on the front page of Time Magazine for “Man/Woman of the Year”.  “.  Laws state matter cannot be created nor destroyed, so it appears that ‘something’ needs to be infinite and outside of a materialistic framework for this to happen.  Christians, Muslims, and so forth call it God, you may call it something else.  That is what I meant when I said my presupposition of a God is outside of time and matter.  While I can’t prove it, I don’t see matter, time, and chance accounting for the creation of matter.  Again, I’m putting this out to be discussed if I’m wrong that is fine I am interested in your explanation, however try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum.  Have I given you reason to think I truly don’t want to learn from you?

I’ll check out the links you have given me.  I will also be posting my response to Sam Harris and his discussion on Slavery.  Obviously this will take some time…

Fletch

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Posted: 15 March 2007 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]If someone actually had a working theory on what caused the ‘big bang’ I wouldn’t have to go looking for it.  They would be on the front page of Time Magazine for “Man/Woman of the Year”.  “.  Laws state matter cannot be created nor destroyed, so it appears that ‘something’ needs to be infinite and outside of a materialistic framework for this to happen.  Christians, Muslims, and so forth call it God, you may call it something else.  That is what I meant when I said my presupposition of a God is outside of time and matter.  While I can’t prove it, I don’t see matter, time, and chance accounting for the creation of matter.  Again, I’m putting this out to be discussed if I’m wrong that is fine I am interested in your explanation, however try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum.  Have I given you reason to think I truly don’t want to learn from you?

I’ll check out the links you have given me.  I will also be posting my response to Sam Harris and his discussion on Slavery.  Obviously this will take some time…

Fletch

First of all even Stephen Hawking said that “To know what happened before the Big Bang is to be in the mind of God” and yet he’s an atheist.
Second of all Christian call that you talked about Yehova and muslims call it Allah.
Third of all chinese call this Tao.
So please stop using the word “God” when you talk about “Jehova” like your particular god is “THE GOD” and not just “A GOD”. Even if you believe that the Big Bang was the masterpiece of a god you still have no account about why is it the God of the Bible and not another one. You need to jump like a cangaroo and take hundreds of leaps of faith to arrive to this conclusion. Oh… yeah… and a little intelectual dishonesty on the side.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]Waltercat:

Earlier you said:

“The theist has no account of how morality can be non-arbitrary. All that theists have is an idea which, when you dig into it just a bit, completely falls apart as an account of objective morality. In reality, theism in no way helps us understand the source of objective morality.”

Then you said:

“Until we have answers to these questions, we really have no explanation of how God can produce objective morality. And until we do, the theist is in the same boat as the atheist in this regard. Neither has a completely compelling account of how objective morality is possible.”

In the first paragraph you said the theist cannot account for objective morality.  In the second paragraph you said the theist and atheist are in the same boat.  Now I looked up the word ‘same’ in the Websters dictionary and it said, “being the very one; identical.”  So from this definition I concluded the following things;  When you said the theist cannot produce objective morality and yet the atheist and the theist are in the SAME boat, well that tells me your saying the atheist cannot produce a set of objective morality either.  I am thinking very hard Waltercat but I simply can’t think of another definition for the word “Same”.  I’m sorry Waltercat, i’m really not trying to pull a Strawman on you.

I have a very hard time believing that you are doing anything other than trying to deliberately misunderstand.  Why do I think this? Because you willfully chose to change a very key word in my explanations so as to criticize my argument. 

I have said, over and over, that the theist cannot ACCOUNT for objective morality.  And I have explained what I mean by this.  When I say that the theist cannot ACCOUNT for objective morality I mean (and always have meant; and it is obvious that I have always meant) that the Theist has no explanation for how objective morality is possible.  That is, there is no Theistic explanation for where morality comes from.  This, of course (as I explained in a previous post) does NOT mean that the Theist cannot believe in objective morality.  The theist CAN and so CAN the Atheist.  The Theist and the Atheist are in the same boat when it comes to explaing the ground of objective morality: Neither has a completely compelling account.

(Actually, this is conceding far too much, there are a few well-worked out completely secular theories of morality.  I think that they are all flawed, but they are also very important to study.  There is no religious theory of the ground of morality other than the hopeless Divine Command Theory and Natural Law Theory, both of which are much more implausible than any of the secular options.)

Now I don’t know what it would mean for the Theist to PRODUCE objective morality nor what it would mean for the Atheist to PRODUCE objective morality.  But, if you go back and look at my two quotes you provided, you will notice that I never did talk about what the Theist or Atheist can PRODUCE.  I spoke about what God can or can’t PRODUCE but I only spoke about what Theists and Atheists can ACCOUNT FOR (never what the Theist or Atheist can PRODUCE).

So, if you go back now and read your response to my comments you’ll discover a curious fact:  Whereas I spoke about Theists and Atheists being unable to ACCOUNT FOR objective morality, you attribute to me the bizarre claim that the Theist cannot PRODUCE objective morality.  Why did you switch the words? The only explanation that I can come up with, given you superb access to Webster’s, is that you are deliberately trying to misunderstand me.  Understanding does take careful thought, it can be difficult; but it is totally hindered when a person does not want to understand.

It is amazing that, with your obviously skill with Webster’s you spent your time looking up the word ‘same.’  I suggest you try to understand the meaning of the expressions ‘ACCOUNT FOR’, ‘PRODUCE’ as well as ‘THINK.’

Can you address why the below comment from Silenus does not tackle the Divine-Command-Theory?

[quote author=“Silenus”]It seems to me that your premise is that, for an ethic to be truly objective, it must above both God and man.

Yes.  If God really exists and is good (a claim that all theists make), then God must be subject to moral rules.  In just the same way that God is subject to logic and mathematics, God must also be subject to morality.  God CANNOT make 2+2 = 5.  He can’t do it no matter how hard he tries.  Similarly, God CANNOT make it morally permissible to torture babies.

But, in an atheist world, isn’t morality a principle that your mind developed.

I have no idea why anyone would think this.  I don’t think it.  And I am an atheist.

If something is good, it’s because my mind judges it to be so.

No.  Torturing babies is wrong regardless of what I or anyone else thinks.

You form the definition of good and then appraise things accordingly. Your argument discounts your own ethics, does it not?

I don’t see how.  Silenus’ argument is becoming very obscure at this point.

And so, you seem to say that I must be able to say God is good because he does good things.

First sensible thing you’ve said.

If God cannot be judged by a morality greater than himself, morality cannot be understood and neither can God.

Well I’m just not sure what Silenus’ point here is.  My point is that if God is good, then He must be subject to morality.  If God is the author of moral laws,  then it doesn’t make any sense to say that He is good. (Go back and read my post that Silenus is responding to here).

But, if a creator God exists and if he doesn’t create, there is no rape or good or evil, just God.

I really have no idea what is being said here.  If just God exists, then, presumably, He may be good or He may be bad.  So good and evil still exist even if the only object in the universe is a divine creator.

And we can understand his morality through divine revelation and the fact that morality has been implanted in us through natural law and through experience as well. We are made in His image. And yes, if we are made in God’s image, than the rapist is violating his character by raping because he is violating the divine wisdom and the image in which he was created.

But I don’t see the relevance to OBJECTIVE morality.  Sure God can create us to believe anything He wants us to believe.  He could have created us to believe that rape is acceptible.  And of course, throughout history, there have been people who thought that rape was acceptible.  But none of this has any bearing on the issue of whether rape really is acceptible.  There is an obvious difference between someone thinking that action A is acceptible and actions A really being acceptible.  So God can create us in any way He wants.  And if He is a real jerk, he would create us with characters such that we think rape and murder and torturing babies is acceptible.

revisit the Aquinas quote. And I don’t agree that people don’t do things that violate their own character or beliefs. I’ll revisit this later on in this post.

Still waiting.

I feel like your basic beef with DCT is that you have no way to appraise God and that a non-arbitrary ethic must stand above the ethic giver. However, it is the very nature of the creator metaphysic that the lawgiver gives the law and cannot, therefore, be appraised

Right.  If God is the lawgiver and there is no objective, non-arbitrary morality, then God cannot be morally appraised.  But clearly God can be morally appraised.  Thus God CANNOT be the author of morality.

by it but can be understood by them.

He’s lost me again.

It’s like saying; If God is all powerful can he make a rock he can’t lift.

This is a different problem, though related in an interesting way.  The point about the Rock that God cannot move is that we see that there are limits to God’s omnipotence.  God cannot violate the laws of logic, He is subject to them, as I said earlier. 

Here is how it goes:  Assume God is all-powerful.  If God is all-powerful then there is nothing that he cannot do.  So, can God make a boulder that He cannot move?  No.  Why?  Because if he could make such a boulder, then there would be something that God cannot do: namely move the boulder.  If God cannot make such a boulder, then, again there is something God cannot do: namely make the boulder.  It is logically impossible for God to make this boulder, therefore God is subject to logic.

In the same way, I have been claiming that God is subject to moral rules.  God can no more make torturing babies permissible than he can make a boulder that he cannot move.  If God said that torturing babies is permissible, He would be wrong.  Just as he would be wrong if He said that 2+2=5.

If the Divine Command Theory were true, God could make any action right just by commanding that we do it.  He could make baby-torturing right just by issuing the command, “Thou shalt torture babies.”
But obviously God cannot make torturing babies right.  If He thinks it is right to torture babies then he is a sadistic A-Hole.  Obviously the Divine Command theory cannot be right.

Of course not. It is the very nature of being all powerful that such a rock isn’t possible. It’s like saying a round circle. We can; however, appraise Him by His ability to keep His promises, His lack of contradiction, and His consistent action.

If the Divine Command Theory is true, keeping one’s promises would be right only if God commanded that we keep our promises.  The Divine Command Theory does not offer any account of which of God’s actions are right.  Indeed, on the Divine Command Theory it is non-sensical to claim that God has moral obligations.  God issues commands to humans, and according to the DCT, those commands establish our obligations.  But God himself is not under any moral obligations, how could he be?  He is the author of morality, He decides what is right and what is wrong.  If God chose to not keep a promise he would not have done anything wrong (at least according to the DCT).  On the DCT, God is, by definition, incapable or moral conduct.  He is outside of morality.  Thus it makes no sense to praise or blame Him.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 15 March 2007 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]If someone actually had a working theory on what caused the ‘big bang’ I wouldn’t have to go looking for it.  They would be on the front page of Time Magazine for “Man/Woman of the Year”.  “.  Laws state matter cannot be created nor destroyed, so it appears that ‘something’ needs to be infinite and outside of a materialistic framework for this to happen.  Christians, Muslims, and so forth call it God, you may call it something else.  That is what I meant when I said my presupposition of a God is outside of time and matter.  While I can’t prove it, I don’t see matter, time, and chance accounting for the creation of matter.  Again, I’m putting this out to be discussed if I’m wrong that is fine I am interested in your explanation, however try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum.  Have I given you reason to think I truly don’t want to learn from you?

And here you betray your ignorance of the progress of science.  There are multiple worked out theories to explain the origin of the cosmos.  It is just that none of them has reached a scientific consensus.

But you have entirely missed my point.  My point is NOT to claim that science has all of the answers.  It certainly does not.  And explaining where the universe came from is pretty damn difficult.  My point is that Theists believe that they have answers; but in actuality all that they have is a form of words to repeat.  And they fool themselves into believing that these words are an answer.  Saying, “God did it” is not an explanation for how the universe came into being.  Why?  Because it tells us nothing about how God did do it. (again, re-read my post on this topic)

Contrary to your previous post, the atheistic explanation for the existence of the universe is not “Matter did it.” It is ridiculous in the extreme to think that this is an atheist explanation.  I have no idea how the universe came into existence.  But unlike theists, I do not fool myself into thinking that I have an explanation.  Furthermore, as I indicated previously, unlike theists, I recognize that there is not going to be an ultimate explanation.

But science will continually progress, forever pushing the envelope of what can be explained.  The Theistic “explanation” (which again is NOT an explanation, hence the scare quotes) puts a stop to inquiry.  Theists think they have it all figured out.  But all they really have is something like a mantra to repeat to themselves when clear-thinking people push them into an uncomfortable corner.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 15 March 2007 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]
[quote author=“Silenus”]It seems to me that your premise is that, for an ethic to be truly objective, it must above both God and man.

Yes.  If God really exists and is good (a claim that all theists make), then God must be subject to moral rules.  In just the same way that God is subject to logic and mathematics, God must also be subject to morality.  God CANNOT make 2+2 = 5.

I was quite shocked years ago in a mathematics class when the professor had (it seemed to me) proved a theorem and then he said “that finishes the proof except for the case where 1 + 1 = 0.”  So not only God, but anybody can make 2 + 2 = 5 if they set up their axioms properly.  God can’t make 2+2=5 according to the axioms of ordinary arithmetic.  (Now whether he could deceive us into believing that 2+2=5 is something we might have to ask Descartes.)  Now, if God is the Good, then since this Good has to be approached by approximation the analogy of the limit point of an infinite sequence might be appropriate, and this limit point need not have the same properties as all other points in the sequence (assuming that it does, in analogy assuming that the Good must be subject to moral rules) is the fallacy of continuity.  Of course, this in no way supports the divine command theory: the Islamic theologian al Ghazali (d.1111AD) already knew that when he argued that God could not even be the one who issued the command for the movement of the heavenly spheres.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]  
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Waltercat:

It is amazing that, with your obviously skill with Webster’s you spent your time looking up the word ‘same.’ I suggest you try to understand the meaning of the expressions ‘ACCOUNT FOR’, ‘PRODUCE’ as well as ‘THINK.’”

Okay, I understand your explanation.  I assumed that when you said the theist view falls apart for explaining objective morality, you were saying that the theist has no grounds for accounting absolute morality.  I was wrong in putting ‘account for’ morality as with ‘accepting’ morality.  And yes I did deserve the nicely laid out sarcastic response at the end.  So we both agree in ‘objective morality’ however we both cannot account for it, Is this what your saying? 

Selinus said:

“If God cannot be judged by a morality greater than himself, morality cannot be understood and neither can God.”

And your response was:

Your response was:

Well I’m just not sure what Silenus’ point here is. My point is that if God is good, then He must be subject to morality. If God is the author of moral laws, then it doesn’t make any sense to say that He is good. (Go back and read my post that Silenus is responding to here).

This is the main point in why I believe the Divine Command Theory holds no problem for me, I can’t speak for Silenus.  You said you do not know what Silenus’ point here is:  Can you read this quick article, especially towards the bottom?  Copan explains is quite well:

http://www.rzim.org/resources/essay_arttext.php?id=4


I barely graded any essay tests on WWI, thanks Watercat smile

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