Absurd Theologians and Atheists

 
 
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waltercat
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17 February 2009 11:41
 

If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist (1a)
Objective moral values do exist
Therefore, God Exists

The above is an argument.  It has two premises and a conclusion.  The first premise is: “If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.”  The second premise is “Objective moral values do exist.” and the conclusion is “God exists.”

The conclusion does validly follow from the premises via the rule of Modus Tollens (more on this later, if needed), not Modus Ponens.

More to the point, though the above argument does have (1a) as a premise, it is crucial to recognize that (1a) is not the same as the argument in which (1a) occurs.  Obvious, right?  The above argument contains much more information than (1a) by itself.

Why is this important? For many reasons. Perhaps the most important is that a person can believe that (1a) is true and yet believe that the second premise and the conclusion are both false.  That is, believing that (1a) is true does not commit one to believing that either the second premise or the conclusion are true.

Here is an analogy:

Premise i:  If there is life on Mars, then we are not alone in the universe.
Premise ii: There is life on Mars.
Conclusion: We are not alone in the universe.

I can believe Premise i and still maintain that Premise ii and the conclusion are both false.  Right?

Another example:

Premise i: If there is life on Mars, then we are not alone in the universe.
Premise iii: We ARE alone in the universe.
Conclusion:  There is no life on Mars.

Again, I can believe that Premise i is true and still maintain that Premise iii is false and the conclusion is false. 


So, it is crucial to distinguish between a conditional statement and an argument in which the conditional statement occurs as a premise.  You have been confusing the conditional statement (1a) with an argument in which it occurs.

[ Edited: 18 February 2009 08:06 by waltercat]
 
 
fletch_F_Fletch
 
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fletch_F_Fletch
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19 February 2009 14:18
 

You have been confusing the conditional statement (1a) with an argument in which it occurs.

I understand everything you have said and there isn’t anything I disagree with.  My point of turning the statement into an argument was to show that (1a) is a conditional statement under modus ponens.  Now can we move to my main point? 

I believe Selinus is not stating that they are false for the same reasons.  Selinus states that (1a) is false due to it’s inability to have any ontological basis for objective morality.  Pertaining to (2a) he is stating that it is false for a different reason, Selinus believes it is false because it goes against, in his view of God, God’s eternal character.  He is not denying the ontological basis for morality being in God but rather the God you describe.

 
 
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waltercat
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20 February 2009 10:25
 
fletch_F_Fletch - 19 February 2009 07:18 PM

I believe Selinus is not stating that they are false for the same reasons.  Selinus states that (1a) is false due to it’s inability to have any ontological basis for objective morality.  Pertaining to (2a) he is stating that it is false for a different reason, Selinus believes it is false because it goes against, in his view of God, God’s eternal character.  He is not denying the ontological basis for morality being in God but rather the God you describe.

You need to re-read the thread, fletch.  Silenus does not think that (1a) is false.  He thinks its true. 

Look especially at post #731 and surrounding posts.

 
 
fletch_F_Fletch
 
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fletch_F_Fletch
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20 February 2009 12:57
 

Silenus does not think that (1a) is false.

As you know throughout the posts I have been stating that he agrees with (1a), it was a mix up.  I’m sure you could pick up that I’m aware Silenus thinks (1a) is true.  I’ll post it again with the correction:

Selinus states that (1a) is true due to it’s inability to have any ontological basis for objective morality.  Pertaining to (2a) he is stating that it is false, not because of it’s inability but rather Selinus believes it is false because it goes against, his view of God eternal character.  He is not denying the ontological basis for morality being in God but rather the God you describe.

[ Edited: 20 February 2009 13:10 by fletch_F_Fletch]
 
 
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waltercat
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21 February 2009 10:07
 

I’ll just reassert what I have been saying from the beginning:  Silenus thinks that the antecedents of both (1a) and (2a) are false.  By the definition of the conditional operator, this implies that both (1a) and (2a) are true.  A conditional is true whenever its antecedent is false.

 
 
fletch_F_Fletch
 
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fletch_F_Fletch
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21 February 2009 17:24
 

Silenus thinks that the antecedents of both (1a) and (2a) are false.

Let’s repost (1a) and (2a):

(1a) If God does not exist, then there are no objective moral truths.

(2a) If God’s nature is such that He approves of rape, then rape is morally acceptable.

He doesn’t think the antecedents of both (1a) and (2a) are false.  Silenus stated this comment pertaining to (1A):

As of now, although I didn’t always think this, yes I would agree.

Silenus accepts (1a) but still has questions comments pertaining to (2a) I’m sure you mistyped and knew this, just making it clear.  His further comments and question, pertaining to (2A):

Are we dealing with humans as we know them with the moral intuitions we are accustomed to seeing?

Again, I’m having trouble seeing how this has anything to do with how you have defined objective morality.  Once yahwey exists and creates, morality is objective in the manner in which you defined it.  It is not up to anyone’s opinion and it applies to everyone.

[ Edited: 21 February 2009 20:25 by fletch_F_Fletch]
 
 
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waltercat
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22 February 2009 08:14
 

The antecedent of (1a) is “God does not exist.”  Silenus thinks that this is false.

The antecedent of (2a) is “God’s nature is such that He approves of rape.”  Silenus thinks that this is false.

 
 
fletch_F_Fletch
 
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fletch_F_Fletch
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22 February 2009 17:28
 

The antecedent of (1a) is “God does not exist.”  Silenus thinks that this is false.

Silenus said this pertaining to (1a):

As of now, although I didn’t always think this, yes I would agree.

 
 
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waltercat
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23 February 2009 08:35
 

I’ve agreed that S. thinks that (1a) is true. But he has said that (2a) is false.  But if the antecedent of (2a) is false, then (2a) is true.

 
 
 
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Avdhut
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19 January 2011 06:43
 

As for Sam Harris’ standard of morality, you’re not suggesting that atheists have no internal sense of morality, are you? Please think through that absurd notion for a moment.

* So what we’re after is the empiricism of that morality including proof of it’s validity in everyday usage, beyond perception and interpretation; what is the absolute and how is it rationalised.

 
 
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Avdhut
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19 January 2011 07:36
 
waltercat - 17 February 2009 04:41 PM

If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist (1a)
Objective moral values do exist
Therefore, God Exists

The above is an argument.  It has two premises and a conclusion.  The first premise is: “If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.”  The second premise is “Objective moral values do exist.” and the conclusion is “God exists.”

The conclusion does validly follow from the premises via the rule of Modus Tollens (more on this later, if needed), not Modus Ponens.

More to the point, though the above argument does have (1a) as a premise, it is crucial to recognize that (1a) is not the same as the argument in which (1a) occurs.  Obvious, right?  The above argument contains much more information than (1a) by itself.

Why is this important? For many reasons. Perhaps the most important is that a person can believe that (1a) is true and yet believe that the second premise and the conclusion are both false.  That is, believing that (1a) is true does not commit one to believing that either the second premise or the conclusion are true.

Here is an analogy:

Premise i:  If there is life on Mars, then we are not alone in the universe.
Premise ii: There is life on Mars.
Conclusion: We are not alone in the universe.

I can believe Premise i and still maintain that Premise ii and the conclusion are both false.  Right?

Another example:

Premise i: If there is life on Mars, then we are not alone in the universe.
Premise iii: We ARE alone in the universe.
Conclusion:  There is no life on Mars.

Again, I can believe that Premise i is true and still maintain that Premise iii is false and the conclusion is false. 


So, it is crucial to distinguish between a conditional statement and an argument in which the conditional statement occurs as a premise.  You have been confusing the conditional statement (1a) with an argument in which it occurs.

To dispel the ‘clouds of reason’...

God exists in so far as the word ‘God’ came form the mind of mankind in a bid to understand one’s relationship to everything. In that respect God is a concept and exists as such. In respect to the deeper significance of why the concept originated, the closest we can come to that is to conceptualise the highest aspirations of mankind, there it comes down to choice and freewill, and an understanding of evolution, the apparent order in chaos. So the decision has to be made, WHAT is God !? In it’s subtlest form, (and perhaps most chaotic for the mind/ego to accept ) God IS…simple as that ([hypothesis] Ref: Isreal - Hebrew Trans: God-Fighting; the name given to Jacob by ‘God’ upon his wrestling with his conscience ), but in so far as how mankind conducts himself for the best possible outcome for the most individuals (all men being created essentially equal), ‘God’, or the ultimate Go[o]d, is truth and love…and we all know that absolute truth is inconcievable ( beyond concept ) so there’s one thing left to work with, and for that one needs to know oneself, beyond emotions, and intellect…it’s about how people FEEL nad what is the feeling most conducive to achieving the truth ( what is TRUE being that which has the right aim ), and how should that aim be achieved. THAT was what the word ‘Religion’ was first used for, the search for one’s self.

The debate really need to move beyond ‘sides’ and differences to what there is in common witnin all of us and how we are going to utilise that commonality to achieve what we NEED, and we have to WANT that if there is going to be any ‘real’ progress. For that we have to make the right choices using what little freedom we have to choose, based upon experience. It takes courage and the willingness to live by example, REGARDLESS of the opinions of others. Evolution has provided us with all we require in that respect, most notably the ability to make compassionate decisions with respect to our affairs with one another.

Religion as an aspiration became estranged the moment Socrates was condemned by the Athenian elite who saw him as a threat to their paedophilia, cronyism, and unwilingness to extend themselves beyond the concepts of expression of ape-like aggression and debauchery.

In order to evolve in a benign manner we need to make the right choices. For that we have to go beyond what we think to what we feel, and there is empiricism in that, governed by the autonomous nervous system, where our emotions/sympathetic and intellect/parasympathetic meet.

Look forward to hearing your reply.

 
Rami Rustom
 
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Rami Rustom
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30 October 2012 16:27
 
fletch_F_Fletch - 25 February 2007 07:42 AM

Sam Harris,

While the Jains believe many improbable things about the universe, they do not believe the sorts of things that lit the fires of European Imperialism in Africa.  You probably think Social Darwinism in the late 1800’s was a perversion of the ‘true’ spirit of Atheism.  Perhaps it was.  The problem, however, is that the teachings of Atheist are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Atheist to happily kill Europeans/non-Europeans for a century.  It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of Atheism like Thomas Huxley, Thomas Malthus, and Francis Galton to conclude that whites are the superior race.  From these men many Social Darwinism advocated the wholesale murder of Africans, Asians, and Indians.  You are, of course, free to interpret Atheism differently-though isn’t it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Atheism, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith failed?

Sincerely, Fletch_F_Fletch


Atheism is not a philosophy nor a religion. It is not one cohesive set of ideas (like can be said of religions and philosophies). So what could you mean by “free to interpret atheism differently”? Atheism is not an ideology. There is nothing to interpret. It is a void of ideology. A void of ideas. It is the rejection of a certain set of ideas.


Now lets consider some cohesive sets of ideas. Islam is one. Christianity is one. Libertarianism is one. Objectivism is one. Atheism *isn’t* one.


Note that Objectivists reject the God idea, thus making them atheists. But you can’t lump together an Objectivist atheist with a non-Objectivist atheist. Consider this. Many atheists believe in relative morality. This means that they think that whatever I want to do, is morally right. Its horrible. It causes a lot of suffering in the world. But these atheists are wrong. The truth is that morality is objective. Objectivists know this. And so do Christians. So whats the point of lumping all atheists together? I guess you think that they share a lot of ideas, but you’re wrong, they share very little.


To clarify, consider the Objectivist idea presented in the below post. Note that 99% of atheists and theists don’t believe it this idea (because its new).

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/17047/

 
 
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Charwiz
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10 May 2013 19:31
 
Joad - 25 February 2007 09:03 AM

The easiest way to understand the difference between an atheist standard of morality and a theist standard is:

Theism is based on morality being external to mankind.
Atheism is based on morality being internal to mankind.

When an Athiest says that murder is immoral, he is creating a standard based on human experience and understanding of what is best for humans.

When a Theist says that murder is immoral, he is creating a standard based on his understanding of scripture and what is best for God.

The real question is, Are humans moral?

If so, then our innate morality will be superior to any external morality. If not, then imposing an external standard on us is just an exercise in cruelty.

Actually you can say that Theism and Atheism are both based on morality that are internal. Man created God, man writes words about his creation, book found to be moral. It’s not really external….its internal.
Atheist just get right to the point. They skip the make-believe god part. They don’t have to beat around the bush about it. All morality comes from man.
I can prove that men do exist, and that they did write the bible. But I cannot prove, that God exist. There for its all internal. Religion needs to ketch up to the 21st century in their internal beliefs.
Charwiz

 

 

[ Edited: 10 May 2013 19:35 by Charwiz]
 
 
 
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MargKocik
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21 September 2013 20:07
 

God’s character never changes therefore morality cannot change, thus cannot be subjective.  I believe matter does not give us instruction on what is morally right/wrong.

 
 
 
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Charwiz
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22 September 2013 14:49
 

If what you say is true, then why are we today more moral than God? Is it not true that God committed all kinds of immoral acts throughout Biblical history?  Is genocide immoral? Is incest immoral? Is slavery immoral? Is commanding believers to eat their children immoral?  Is human sacrifice immoral? I agree that the immoral acts I’ve mentioned were all done by man.  However I can prove that they and many more immoral acts were not only indorsed by Gods approval, but were commanded by God to commit.  The Bible proves that GOD is immoral, or less moral than we are today.