This is a split board - You can return to the Split List for other boards.

The Sandy Hook shooting: objectively wrong or subjectively wrong?

#291C_Mat(Topic Creator)Posted 1/24/2013 12:30:37 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Do they not? Consensus is a thing. Chocolate ice cream is not objectively better than vanilla, but if we lived in a society where pretty much everyone liked chocolate more we're not going to sell a lot of vanilla. Would you cite such a society as evidence that chocolate actually is objectively better based on the fact that 'people live that way'?


No, I would not.

I'm not saying that a consensus doesn't matter; it's very useful when creating laws or giving society a direction. But when it comes to deciding whether something is right or wrong, consensus can be taken into account but it can't be your standard of measurement I mean, 100 years ago, the consensus was that homosexuality is wrong, and 100 years from now the consensus will likely be that homosexuality is great. I don't think anybody would say they think both groups were right just because of consensus. It makes no sense to say that the abolitionists in the 1800s were morally wrong just because their view on slavery went against consensus.

This statement is much more complex than I think you realize.

To start with, you assert that all of us agree that humans have value, yet also assert that it is not apparent to everyone that humans have value. That's contradictory. If it is not apparent to everyone, then why do we all agree on it?


Sorry if I was unclear, but I didn't mean that all of humanity agrees that humans have equal value. I meant that all of us in this topic do. (I was only saying that so that I didn't give the impression that I was trying to demonize the atheists in this topic). Obviously, however, everyone else in the world is not going to agree that all of humankind have equal value to each other. If I could rewrite that paragraph, I'd say:

To say that humans have value, though all of us in this topic agree that they do, is not a factual statement that can be empirically proven or is apparent to everyone else in the world.

So nothing contradictory.

Then you have a pretty thorny job in front of you in defining value in such a way that 'empirically' or 'factually' showing humans have it requires something more than pointing to the fact that humans will, on the whole, tell you that they value other humans. Value is an inherently and necessarily subjective term. Nothing has value in the absence of a person to desire that thing.


Good point, but for me, that's very easy. I believe in a God who says everybody is valuable regardless of what other people think of them. I'm pointing out that on the atheistic view, the concept of human value is as fickle as you just explained. I'm not trying to turn the topic into "so atheists should just become Christians," I'm just saying that I don't personally have the problem of justifying why I think humans have value because their value is not dependent on my opinion.
---
http://youtu.be/gmnSnNC8UJk
#292kozlo100Posted 1/24/2013 12:47:24 PM
C_Mat posted...
I don't think anybody would say they think both groups were right just because of consensus. It makes no sense to say that the abolitionists in the 1800s were morally wrong just because their view on slavery went against consensus.


Here's the thing, you're trying to evaluate one group by the other's standards. You can do that, but it doesn't really show anything. We think we'd be wrong to do it, so of course we think they're wrong to do it. They didn't think it was wrong for them to do, and they wouldn't think it's wrong for us to do either.

I'm not sure what you think that situation is supposed to mean.

To say that humans have value, though all of us in this topic agree that they do, is not a factual statement that can be empirically proven or is apparent to everyone else in the world.

So nothing contradictory.


So you don't think people generally agree that humans have value?

Good point, but for me, that's very easy.


We're not talking about you. You're saying that subjective morality is malleable on the point of human value. I'm asking you: So what?
---
The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#293C_Mat(Topic Creator)Posted 1/24/2013 3:37:52 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Here's the thing, you're trying to evaluate one group by the other's standards. You can do that, but it doesn't really show anything. We think we'd be wrong to do it, so of course we think they're wrong to do it. They didn't think it was wrong for them to do, and they wouldn't think it's wrong for us to do either.

I'm not sure what you think that situation is supposed to mean.


Yes, isn't that just proving my original statement that consensus is not a useful tool for determining whether something is moral?

So you don't think people generally agree that humans have value?


Yes, they probably generally agree, at least in Western cultures. I simply said that the belief that all human beings have equal value is not empirically provable or self-evident to everybody.

We're not talking about you. You're saying that subjective morality is malleable on the point of human value. I'm asking you: So what?


...if you don't see the problem with that, I don't know what to tell you.
---
http://youtu.be/gmnSnNC8UJk
#294kozlo100Posted 1/24/2013 4:03:30 PM
C_Mat posted...
Yes, isn't that just proving my original statement that consensus is not a useful tool for determining whether something is moral?


Only if you're trying to assert that morality is something more than what consensus says it is.

...if you don't see the problem with that, I don't know what to tell you.


No, figure out what to tell me. If you think it's a problem, you need to say why.
---
The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#295C_Mat(Topic Creator)Posted 1/24/2013 5:42:18 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Only if you're trying to assert that morality is something more than what consensus says it is.


Wait, are you saying you think consensus is the best measure of morality?

No, figure out what to tell me. If you think it's a problem, you need to say why.


It just creates a number of problems/inconsistencies in atheist arguments, especially weakening some of the arguments against Christianity. For example, a lot of atheists reject Christianity because they think it ascribes less value to men than women, or gay people than straight people, or that it promotes slavery and racism. Yet they themselves have a belief system that gives no rational basis to give any value to anyone white or black, gay or straight, male or female. If anyone rejects Christianity because he thinks it's dehumanizing, he's actually got a more dehumanizing thought system than what he thinks Christianity offers.

Second, atheists reject Christianity because they see a lack of evidence for Christians' beliefs, and they claim to only believe in things that are rational and provable. Yet any atheist who believes in human worth or moral values and duties has no proof for his beliefs, so why do they demand more evidence for others' beliefs than they do for their own beliefs?

Third, you mentioned in your last post that we can't "evaluate one group by the other's standards. You can do that, but it doesn't really show anything." However, many atheists will judge the Christian God, call Him racist, accuse Him of genocide, and so on. I believe Sam Harris coined the phrase "moral monster" when describing God's actions in the Old Testament of the Bible. Using your logic, a 21st Century American atheist can't reasonably evaluate God or anybody's actions from 4,000 years ago on the other side of the world. Or they can, but it doesn't "show anything."
---
http://youtu.be/gmnSnNC8UJk
#296kozlo100Posted 1/24/2013 6:59:22 PM(edited)
C_Mat posted...
Wait, are you saying you think consensus is the best measure of morality?


For the purposes of this discussion I'm saying it's the only measure of morality. It is what defines it. My actual position is a little more nuanced than that, but not in ways that are important to this point.

It just creates a number of problems/inconsistencies in atheist arguments, especially weakening some of the arguments against Christianity.


First off, someone being inconsistent about how they criticize Christianity has nothing to do with whether morality is objective or subjective. Also as an atheist who does not criticize Christianity in any of the ways you mention, it wouldn't matter to me if it did.

That said, we modern atheists, and most other members of the society we live in have considered the questions of slavery, racism, and sexual equality, talked about them, analyzed opinions, arguments, lines of reasoning, and come to an agreement that people from different groups ought to be valued equally. This is the very definition of a rational basis for a belief. I don't see how this is in any way dehumanizing.


Yet any atheist who believes in human worth or moral values and duties has no proof for his beliefs, so why do they demand more evidence for others' beliefs than they do for their own beliefs?


This question is flawed in it's premise. One need simply point to the common consensus, and the reasoning that went on behind it, as evidence of the aforementioned rationality. It's not hard to prove that a consensus exists.

Third, you mentioned in your last post that we can't "evaluate one group by the other's standards. You can do that, but it doesn't really show anything."


You mistake my meaning. It doesn't really show anything that supports objective morality or weakens subjective reality. Of course we judge God to be immoral. He takes actions that our morality says are wrong. God, should he exist, would obviously think differently. This is not a problem.
---
The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#297Faust_8Posted 1/24/2013 6:55:30 PM
C_Mat posted...
kozlo100 posted...
Only if you're trying to assert that morality is something more than what consensus says it is.


Wait, are you saying you think consensus is the best measure of morality?

No, figure out what to tell me. If you think it's a problem, you need to say why.


It just creates a number of problems/inconsistencies in atheist arguments, especially weakening some of the arguments against Christianity. For example, a lot of atheists reject Christianity because they think it ascribes less value to men than women, or gay people than straight people, or that it promotes slavery and racism. Yet they themselves have a belief system that gives no rational basis to give any value to anyone white or black, gay or straight, male or female. If anyone rejects Christianity because he thinks it's dehumanizing, he's actually got a more dehumanizing thought system than what he thinks Christianity offers.

Second, atheists reject Christianity because they see a lack of evidence for Christians' beliefs, and they claim to only believe in things that are rational and provable. Yet any atheist who believes in human worth or moral values and duties has no proof for his beliefs, so why do they demand more evidence for others' beliefs than they do for their own beliefs?


Jesus H. Christ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

Third, you mentioned in your last post that we can't "evaluate one group by the other's standards. You can do that, but it doesn't really show anything." However, many atheists will judge the Christian God, call Him racist, accuse Him of genocide, and so on. I believe Sam Harris coined the phrase "moral monster" when describing God's actions in the Old Testament of the Bible. Using your logic, a 21st Century American atheist can't reasonably evaluate God or anybody's actions from 4,000 years ago on the other side of the world. Or they can, but it doesn't "show anything."


It doesn't "show anything" about the invalidity of morality. He never meant we can't use it judge the morality of others, it just doesn't debunk the concept of subjective morality. Do you misunderstand everything that is said to you? It would certainly explain why this topic is still going.
---
You are the universe
Expressing itself as a human, for a little while
#298C_Mat(Topic Creator)Posted 1/25/2013 4:21:16 PM
kozlo100 posted...
For the purposes of this discussion I'm saying it's the only measure of morality. It is what defines it. My actual position is a little more nuanced than that, but not in ways that are important to this point.


I hope I'm not misunderstanding what you mean by that, but I would bet that any atheist who measures morality by consensus still has some beliefs that go against popular opinion. I strongly doubt anyone accepts consensus as the "only" measure of morality- perhaps it's the best indicator of what is moral, though. More on that below...

First off, someone being inconsistent about how they criticize Christianity has nothing to do with whether morality is objective or subjective. Also as an atheist who does not criticize Christianity in any of the ways you mention, it wouldn't matter to me if it did. That said, we modern atheists, and most other members of the society we live in have considered........This is the very definition of a rational basis for a belief. I don't see how this is in any way dehumanizing.


I wasn't trying to prove a point about whether morality is objective vs. subjective when I said that. I was simply pointing out that an atheist- specifically, one who believes in subjective morality and criticizes Christianity because it they think it places unequal value on different types of humans- has instead chosen a non-religion that places no value on anybody.

I'm not saying that an atheist can't place a value on human life, not at all. I'm saying that atheism alone doesn't give anyone a reason to value human life. A person would have to believe in atheism plus humans-have-value, or atheism plus human-flourishing-is-good. Atheism alone doesn't give you either of those things. This is in contrast to most other religious systems of thought that do give value to humans. Do you see the difference?

This question is flawed in it's premise. One need simply point to the common consensus, and the reasoning that went on behind it, as evidence of the aforementioned rationality. It's not hard to prove that a consensus exists.


It sounds an awful lot like you're saying that a person should think, "This action is moral because everyone else (the consensus) thinks it's moral." I'm saying that a consensus alone, while a good indicator of what is moral, is not enough to demonstrate morality. A consensus doesn't provide a factual basis for morality, especially sense consensus changes and facts don't.

So I stand by what I said. I think atheists are willing to accept a ton of moral beliefs without a factual basis, but scorn the followers of other religions because they see no factual basis for others' beliefs. This is hypocrisy and severely weakens their arguments. Even if you're not one of those type of atheists, I don't see how you can defend them on this point.

You mistake my meaning. It doesn't really show anything that supports objective morality or weakens subjective reality. Of course we judge God to be immoral. He takes actions that our morality says are wrong. God, should he exist, would obviously think differently. This is not a problem.


I understand what you mean by that now. But originally you asked what the problem was with saying that, "subjective morality is malleable on the point of human value." If that's the case (which according to atheism, it is), then any argument the atheist wants to throw at God for His Old Testament actions is pretty much shot. They have no actual facts to bring against Him, they can only proclaim only their own personal preferences about how human beings should be treated.
---
http://youtu.be/gmnSnNC8UJk
#299kozlo100Posted 1/25/2013 4:43:50 PM(edited)
C_Mat posted...
I wasn't trying to prove a point about whether morality is objective vs. subjective when I said that. I was simply pointing out that an atheist- specifically, one who believes in subjective morality and criticizes Christianity because it they think it places unequal value on different types of humans- has instead chosen a non-religion that places no value on anybody.


This is not a problem because the atheist isn't referencing his atheism as the source of his morality.

It sounds an awful lot like you're saying that a person should think, "This action is moral because everyone else (the consensus) thinks it's moral." I'm saying that a consensus alone, while a good indicator of what is moral, is not enough to demonstrate morality. A consensus doesn't provide a factual basis for morality, especially sense consensus changes and facts don't.


You're treating 'consensus' as if it's some kind of object or text one references to find information. That's not what it is. It's a set of shared ideas and opinions based on the reasoning and consideration of those sharing it. It is a fact that the people in the consensus hold these opinions. It is a fact that they do so because they have considered them and agreed with them. I'm not sure what more of a factual basis you want.

They have no actual facts to bring against Him, they can only proclaim only their own personal preferences about how human beings should be treated.


And that, loaded terminology aside, is exactly how subjective morality works. These acts are immoral because we've decided they are. You seem to be trying to posit this as some kind of problem or hypocritical judgement, when it's just subjective morality playing out in its normal fashion.
---
The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#300kozlo100Posted 1/25/2013 4:43:08 PM
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]