Poll
Is there a universal morality?
yes 0
no 4
don’t know 2
Total Votes: 6
You must be a logged-in member to vote
Poll for atheists of the universe
Posted: 06 January 2008 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  500
Joined  2005-02-22

This poll is for atheist forum folk of the hard or soft or whatever variety. Non-belief in religious deities is the minimum requirement.
I humbly request all theists to abstain from voting, since we can presume that all theists are yeses.

Is there a Universal Morality? As in, A Morality That Is Of This Universe.

If all humans were removed from the universe, just for an hour, would there be any morality in the universe during that hour? Throw in all intelligent life on other planets if you need to. And all the books and web pages go blank, and all the elevators stop.

I vote no.
The universe is a crazy place. At any given moment and in any given locality, an observer can collect enough information to assemble a set of working rules that seem to describe the way things are enough to make some reliable predictions about what might happen next. All the observer has a description of is the current balance of power between local physical and evolutionary forces. Anything further is mint frosting.

Let’s face it; we humans have walked in on a fifteen billion year old poker game like a bunch of over-excited Hollywood farm hands.
We will get cleaned out in the blink of an eye if we keep betting on the frosting.

Morality is unreal and an illusion. Why is that a problem for anyone? Much of our lives are unreal and an illusion. It is only within the unreal part that we can have a morality. In the real world, morality is observed in one’s actions and utterances regardless of which brand of morals is stored as information in the brain.

That’s the real freakin relativism.

Does that mean anything goes? Absolutely. I offer the universe as evidence.
Anything goes is the sorry truth for us unless we put our heads together and decide otherwise. If you’ve come to enjoy drive-through tacos at 4am, I think we’re going to need a morality to sustain a society capable of such an incredible feat.
If we create a morality, then there’s a morality. Is it a groundless sham? Of course. So what?  Can moralities judge each other? Sure, why not.  Would I gamble high stakes to rescue women in another society? Yes. But that’s my individual morality talking. Individual moralities emerge from cultural moralities just as individuals (egos) emerge from cultural mass-minds. Then the culture dies like an old seed pod leaving a bunch of befuddled individuals arguing over which shade of green the mint frosting should be.

We get together to create morally sovereign zones that are manifest in the strength of their means of enforcement. I hope I am using arildno’s term tolerably. What do you get when you put two morally sovereign zones together? A storm front.
What do get when you put three or more MSZ’s together? Another poker game. There’s your freakin universal morality.
Long live the bluff!

[ Edited: 06 January 2008 07:44 AM by Nhoj Morley]
 Signature 

Delude responsibly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

If there is no universal morality, then you cannot blame those who will “dominate” others by their form of morality.
(Or rather, you CAN, but they need not bother with your complaint)

So, you have basically excluded yourself from any moral debates whatsoever.

But. I’m sure you personally would prefer to live in a society where
most people regarded morality to exist, and that included your right to shout in their face there is no morality without any physical harm done to you, than to live in a society where they would kill you if you shouted out your nihilism.

So that, on purely egotistical grounds, would make you prefer some morality systems above others.

So there.


I voted “I don’t know”.
We might as well start out with the premise there exists some universal morality, but we don’t know what it is.

If there isn’t any, then no harm has been done in making that assumption.

If there is, much harm has been done..

[ Edited: 06 January 2008 07:58 AM by arildno]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  892
Joined  2007-12-04

A resounding no from me. Morality is like politics, or epistemology, its a concept developed in conscious brains, between conscious beings. Morality in a physical sense does not exist. It is merely a word we use for a behavioral code of conduct for human beings towards each other and towards other creatures.

“Anything goes”, can be a dubious statement though. Anything does not go in moral terms, since to say anything goes you will have to base your morality on the universe, but there is no morality in the universe, so that is not morality then, hence its a false statement, you can only base morality on human conduct, in which case the only case when anything goes is if that is the global moral opinion.

All of this said though I think we can definitely talk about better and worse morality, we can talk about moral truths. We cant apply physical science on it but we can nevertheless apply reason on it. We may end up with several ideas that we cannot objectively distinguish from each other, but we can at the very least exclude plenty of bad ideas as less moral.

 Signature 

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

We can think of “moralities” that are more rational, or in tune with overall reality than others.

Just because morality trivially is just some particular functioning of our brain, some brains function better than others..

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2819
Joined  2005-04-29
arildno - 06 January 2008 12:50 PM

If there is no universal morality, then you cannot blame those who will “dominate” others by their form of morality.

Arildno, does culpability rely on morality being “universal,” whatever that may amount to? All social animals act in ways that can be described in terms of morality, whether by conscious decision or instinctual reaction. In this light, does morality need to be universal in order to have a real effect in the animal kingdom? I would say that different species/tribes/packs/families have different moral ways. Universality would only get in the way.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

To give one meta-moral axiom we might adhere to:

Morality systems that represent “stable equilibria” in that the core values of those morality systems are accompanied by justified restorative forces towards core-value-destructive perturbations, those morality systems are “better” than the same morality system that will crumble as the result of a perturbation.

Self-contradictoriness, or the paralysis of action resulting effectively in cultural suicide essentially states that there are other, divergent systems of thought that has greater value than itself, i.e, such systems betray their own valuation ladder, and are therefore ignorable systems of morality.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26
homunculus - 06 January 2008 01:01 PM
arildno - 06 January 2008 12:50 PM

If there is no universal morality, then you cannot blame those who will “dominate” others by their form of morality.

Arildno, does culpability rely on morality being “universal,” whatever that may amount to? All social animals act in ways that can be described in terms of morality, whether by conscious decision or instinctual reaction. In this light, does morality need to be universal in order to have a real effect in the animal kingdom? I would say that different species/tribes/packs/families have different moral ways. Universality would only get in the way.

And why should not a universal morality include the right for significantly different species to live in different manners?


For example, we may have different attitudes to practically non-sentient bugs and earthworms than towards dogs and other highly sentient creatures.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  500
Joined  2005-02-22
arildno - 06 January 2008 12:50 PM

If there is no universal morality, then you cannot blame those who will “dominate” others by their form of morality.

Yes I can. I must stand within some morally sovereign zone to do so. In the real observable world, I get angry. Real angry.

So, you have basically excluded yourself from any moral debates whatsoever.

I’ve given you no reason to think so. My chips carry just as much moral weight as yours. Maybe more. Want to bet?

But. I’m sure you personally would prefer to live in a society where
most people regarded morality to exist,

At the very least, but I would prefer that my fellow citizens understood the illusory and hence flexible nature of it.

and that included your right to shout in their face there is no morality without any physical harm done to you,

WTF? We’re just posting.

than to live in a society where they would kill you if you shouted out your nihilism.

What nihilism?

So that, on purely egotistical grounds, would make you prefer some morality systems above others.

Spot on.

So there.

I’m really trying to get a grip on your point. Try to ask me something from outside of a morally sovereign zone.

 Signature 

Delude responsibly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

Well, then you could start by trying to find out what sort of society a rational egotist unable to fool his co-citizens would prefer to live in.

To give you a starter, why don’t you pick up John Rawls’ “A theory of justice” and pay particular attention to the importance of the “veil of ignorance” condition.

[ Edited: 06 January 2008 08:15 AM by arildno]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

I must go think about this after I spend a ration of local currency in order to purchase a frothy caffeinated beverage of my choice at a local shop established for the purpose.

You don’t really want to know what I think about this subject. For that matter, I don’t either.

I’ll be back.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26
Nhoj Morley - 06 January 2008 01:10 PM
arildno - 06 January 2008 12:50 PM

If there is no universal morality, then you cannot blame those who will “dominate” others by their form of morality.

Yes I can. I must stand within some morally sovereign zone to do so. In the real observable world, I get angry. Real angry.

So, you have basically excluded yourself from any moral debates whatsoever.

I’ve given you no reason to think so. My chips carry just as much moral weight as yours. Maybe more. Want to bet?

Sure, you have already contradicted yourself.
You cannot on the one hand say “there exists no morality”, and at the same time regard “morality” as some relevant weighting principle of arguments.

You COULD argue that your chips have more rational weight, but not more moral weight as you just did.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  500
Joined  2005-02-22

Here is the very question I hoped to leave begging.

homunculus:
does culpability rely on morality being “universal

My only quibble:

Unbeliever} you can only base morality on human conduct, in which case the only case when anything goes is if that is the global moral opinion.

Anything is what goes in the absence of any organized moral opinion global or otherwise.

Other than that, I agree with all your comments.

Thanks for coming. I’m late for my nap.

I’ll be back

Oh good. So will I. work permitting…

 Signature 

Delude responsibly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  500
Joined  2005-02-22
arildno - 06 January 2008 01:21 PM

Sure, you have already contradicted yourself.
You cannot on the one hand say “there exists no morality”, and at the same time regard “morality” as some relevant weighting principle of arguments.

You COULD argue that your chips have more rational weight, but not more moral weight as you just did.

Try reading slower. I didn’t say argue, I said bet. And yes, morality exists just as much as those who think about it.

later.

 Signature 

Delude responsibly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26
Nhoj Morley - 06 January 2008 01:34 PM
arildno - 06 January 2008 01:21 PM

Sure, you have already contradicted yourself.
You cannot on the one hand say “there exists no morality”, and at the same time regard “morality” as some relevant weighting principle of arguments.

You COULD argue that your chips have more rational weight, but not more moral weight as you just did.

Try reading slower. I didn’t say argue, I said bet. And yes, morality exists just as much as those who think about it.

later.

And whatever other “existence” are you demanding for morality?
I’m not.

I’ll grant you that the word “universal” has connotations of smoothing over, making unwarranted simple generalizations etc, and a better word might be “not necessarily arbitrary”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
homunculus - 06 January 2008 01:01 PM

In this light, does morality need to be universal in order to have a real effect in the animal kingdom?

I still want to know about the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box. This is rather getting to be like Christopher Hitchens’ challenge to the theists, in that it continues to be met with sullen silence.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2008 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2819
Joined  2005-04-29
Salt Creek - 06 January 2008 02:07 PM
homunculus - 06 January 2008 01:01 PM

In this light, does morality need to be universal in order to have a real effect in the animal kingdom?

I still want to know about the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box. This is rather getting to be like Christopher Hitchens’ challenge to the theists, in that it continues to be met with sullen silence.

Of course, it’s all a game of pretend. (Have you started your 2008 reading list yet, S.C.?) The crackerjack box, when viewed closely, contains no popcorn, caramel, peanuts or prize.

I agree with you that “morality” has become a disreputable term (if that’s what you’re getting at) as a result of being tainted by dogmas, and that it’s probably beyond repair. When I do use the term, however, it’s in the secular, Frans de Waal sense.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed