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What the New Atheists Don’t See by Theodore Dalrymple
Posted: 13 November 2007 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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SaulDeOhio - 14 November 2007 12:37 AM

If being moral results in your death, something has gone tragically wrong.

Meanwhile, being mortal always results in your death; situation normal.

Juiced up on fantasies about “heaven” and an “afterline,” frank can’t handle the truth raspberry

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“Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it”—Andre Gide

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Posted: 13 November 2007 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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Listen to the force Luke…but it is not a mind or it might be a mind all I know is I can’t say anything about it because if i do I will be wrong but the force will be with you but its not really a force because that would be misleading lets talk quantum physics for a second.

Are there things we ought to do? Can some of these things be harmful and even deadly? Why would we do them? Should we do them to appease the evolutionary process? Should we be moral even until death for the sake of humanity? Why should I do something that I ought even when it is of no benefit to anyone I know or love? I have said and still say the atheist lack the metaphysical framework to answer this question.

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Posted: 13 November 2007 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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But if I do something because it’s what I think is ‘good’ (giving an elderly person my seat on a crowded train) and don’t do something because it’s ‘bad’ (killing someone and stealing their Nikes when the chances of being caught are negligible)and for the sake of this stage of the argument I don’t offer any irrefutable definition of what is good and bad, how is that any less grown-up an explanation of morality, really, than you saying you do something because you believe a certain confused and heavily edited book is ‘holy’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: man-made morality vs religious morality is a false opposition because religion is itself entirely man-made. All religious people are doing is adhering to the moral tenets of other human beings, some of whom were very silly indeed.
Sometimes religious tenets are decent and defensible ones; sometimes they’re rather less, to put it mildly.
Either way, they’re no more divine and ineffable than my bollocks.

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All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

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Posted: 13 November 2007 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 01:36 AM

Are there things we ought to do? Can some of these things be harmful and even deadly? Why would we do them? Should we do them to appease the evolutionary process? Should we be moral even until death for the sake of humanity? Why should I do something that I ought even when it is of no benefit to anyone I know or love? I have said and still say the atheist lack the metaphysical framework to answer this question.

And what is your answer to these questions?

(I bet you knew I was going to ask that.)

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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: 13 November 2007 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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O.R.
I am not saying that atheists or better or worse at being moral. I say that there is no reasonable explanation for self sacrifice in the atheist metaphysic and yet most of us, believers or not, honor those who make the sacrifice. We expect others to do good.

Waltercat
things are moral because God approves them. (I’m just pulling you chain) Metaphysicallly things are moral because the universe is created by God and it is good and there is a moral structure in place in the universe and we are equipped via reason to recognize that structure. All of us (well most of us. We should rule out those because of physical or mental incapacition are unable to reason properly) Using reason we know what we ought to do and we applaud those who do it (including ourselves) and we are disappointed with those who don’t (including ourselves).

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Posted: 13 November 2007 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 02:49 AM

O.R.
I am not saying that atheists or better or worse at being moral. I say that there is no reasonable explanation for self sacrifice in the atheist metaphysic and yet most of us, believers or not, honor those who make the sacrifice. We expect others to do good.

Waltercat
things are moral because God approves them. (I’m just pulling you chain) Metaphysicallly things are moral because the universe is created by God and it is good and there is a moral structure in place in the universe and we are equipped via reason to recognize that structure. All of us (well most of us. We should rule out those because of physical or mental incapacition are unable to reason properly) Using reason we know what we ought to do and we applaud those who do it (including ourselves) and we are disappointed with those who don’t (including ourselves).

But this does not answer your motivation question:

Why should I do something that I ought even when it is of no benefit to anyone I know or love?

Why should I?  Why should I care about what is moral, even if there is a God? 

What is the explanation for self-sacrifice in the Catholic metaphysic?

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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: 13 November 2007 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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waltercat - 14 November 2007 02:55 AM

But this does not answer your motivation question:

Why should I do something that I ought even when it is of no benefit to anyone I know or love?

Why should I?  Why should I care about what is moral, even if there is a God? 

What is the explanation for self-sacrifice in the Catholic metaphysic?

Metaphysically we are drawn toward the good (for the most part) We do good because it is what we are supposed to do.. It is our vocationm and reason is our guide. We do good because it is what man is created to do. Now I think most men (humans for the pc) are driven to do good. My claim is that in my metaphysical world, that ethical drive is in line with my metaphysical principles. In the atheist view his ethic (to do good) does not spring from his metaphysics. In fact they can be seen as being opposed. A cold uncaring universe would seem to make no demand on its creatures or have no ability to make any such demands, and yet most of us try to be moral. Most of think morality better than immorality. Most of us are ashamed of our sins even if we never were caught.

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Posted: 13 November 2007 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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Duplicate post. I am impatient.

I ought to show more control

[ Edited: 13 November 2007 11:57 PM by frankr]
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Posted: 14 November 2007 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 12:49 AM

Things go tragically wrong every day. People die carrying out moral actions. Faced with the choice to live because of an immoral choice or die and do the right thing, why should I be moral. We celebrate those who do as being heroes. Why? Why is the fireman who runs into the fire, celebrated even in death?

saul I think your definition is lacking.

Firemen choose their careers not out of a desire to die, but as their own way of living. In a way it is like the danger of extreme sports, only with higher stakes. Firemen take all sorts of precautions, and do their best to avoid injury or death. They don’t sacrifice their lives. They accept certain risks in exchange for the rewards. When those risks turn into actual death, its a rare tragedy.

The link to extreme sports is confirmed by a friend of mine who is training to become a fireman. He says “What can be more fun than running into a burning building.” He also windsurfs, kitesurfs, and snowboards.

The purpose of a fireman isn’t to seek death. Its a unique way of pursuing life. When you face a real risk of death, it makes you feel all that much more alive. Also, there is a vicarious kind of enjoyment of life and the same feeling of being alive that comes from saving another person’s life.

Nathaniel Branden defined self-esteem as “the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.” What can support such a feeling of self-esteem more than actually being a real-life hero?

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“The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.”

- George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

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Posted: 14 November 2007 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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Sorry. Double post because the server was VERY slow, and I got impatient, hit the “Post” button twice.

[ Edited: 14 November 2007 03:47 AM by SaulDeOhio]
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“The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.”

- George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

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Posted: 14 November 2007 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 01:36 AM

Are there things we ought to do?

Depends. Any “ought” implies a goal or purpose.

Can some of these things be harmful and even deadly?

Maybe, if the harm is outweighed by some benefit. Or the “deadly” is an acceptable risk.

Why would we do them?

To live or enjoy life. Why else?

Should we do them to appease the evolutionary process?

No. Why would I want to? Evolution is a natural process, not an authority to be appeased.

Should we be moral even until death for the sake of humanity?

We should be moral until death for our own sakes. We are humanity.

Why should I do something that I ought even when it is of no benefit to anyone I know or love?

Then why is it something you “ought” to do?

I have said and still say the atheist lack the metaphysical framework to answer this question.

That last question you asked isn’t a valid question untill you answer mine. Why is that something you “ought” to do?

Theists have that problem even worse, they just push it back one step. Your supposed metaphysical framework is “God wants us to do it”. Your God defines what is moral. But how do you know what God wants? You have to refer to holy men who claim some divine inspiration, or try to derive it from reality yourself. The first puts you at the mercy of other human beings whose motives may be corrupt, and the second puts you back in the same metaphysical framework we atheists are in.

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“The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.”

- George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

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Posted: 14 November 2007 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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Occam’s Razor - 14 November 2007 02:25 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: man-made morality vs religious morality is a false opposition because religion is itself entirely man-made. All religious people are doing is adhering to the moral tenets of other human beings, some of whom were very silly indeed.
Sometimes religious tenets are decent and defensible ones; sometimes they’re rather less, to put it mildly.
Either way, they’re no more divine and ineffable than my bollocks.

While I agree with most of this, I have to say there is an important distinction between religious morality and (other) man-made morality. If you claim morality is God-given or God-made, we cannot question it. The very act of questioning it or suggesting that it be changed would be a sin, even heresy. But if we all admit it is man-made, (Actually, I would say man-discovered) then it is open to question, even modification. If something we have always thought to be moral keeps resulting in bad consequences, we can re-evaluate it and test it in the real world.

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“The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.”

- George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

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Posted: 14 November 2007 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 04:50 AM

A cold uncaring universe would seem to make no demand on its creatures or have no ability to make any such demands, and yet most of us try to be moral.

If morality is defined as a code of behavior for living in this cold, uncaring universe, then the universe most definitely does make demands (metaphorically speaking). And its judgment is inevitable, and cannot be appealed.

(Of course there are degrees. I know a lot of you are going to quibble on this point, so I might as well get it out of the way) Not every “sin” results in immediate death. Minor infractions can simply make it harder to achieve goals, to live with your neighbors, friends and family. Some lead quickly to death and destruction. You might even “get away” with some, but you still know you acted wrong by your own standards, and it affects your self-confidence, your very necessary “disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.”

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“The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.”

- George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

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Posted: 14 November 2007 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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frankr - 14 November 2007 04:50 AM

Metaphysically we are drawn toward the good (for the most part)

I see the hedge, but still, I think that this is obviously false.  Many people are not drawn to the good.

My claim is that in my metaphysical world, that ethical drive is in line with my metaphysical principles. In the atheist view his ethic (to do good) does not spring from his metaphysics. In fact they can be seen as being opposed. A cold uncaring universe would seem to make no demand on its creatures or have no ability to make any such demands

So . . . . The universe is cold and uncaring?  What ever gave you that silly idea?? I know that it is popular, in certain quarters, to speak of the universe as cold and uncaring.  But such a view of the universe is clearly myopic; for thinking of the universe as cold and uncaring is to think of it as lacking one of its most interesting features: namely, the fact that it contains sentient creatures. 

The universe is not cold and uncaring for the very simple reason that I am part of the universe, as is my very warm and caring son and wife, mother and father, sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, grandparents, aunts, uncles.  And that is just one very small part of the world.  I think you are caring, too, frank, and we are all a part of this gloriously caring universe.

And that is where morality comes from:  The universe is a caring place and we have obligations to those parts of the universe that are feeling, caring, conscious beings.

[ Edited: 14 November 2007 07:00 AM by waltercat]
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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 November 2007 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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Why? I have to be good because I am good and there is good in the universe. It seems to be saying that goodness is necessary to have goodness. a = a. The point you seem to be avoiding is this. You say in your post that some people are not drawn to the good. How can you say it? What is good? Where does it come from? What does it mean? We seem to recognize it but you have no way of accounting for its existence except for through the individual or the culture. Yet you seem to hold (through many dct posts) an objective morality. How so?

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